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My birth story: My placenta accreta changed my entrance to motherhood

I was angry that the birth of my daughter was associated with trauma.

placenta accreta

[Editor's note: This essay contains graphic descriptions about birth complications that might be triggering to some.]

Like many first-time moms, I had envisioned a beautiful, life-affirming birth experience culminating with that special moment when the doctor places your baby in your arms.

In my vision, I spontaneously go into labor. While I experience pain, some deep breathing alleviates it. When it is time to push, I instinctively know how because a woman's body is built for childbirth. After only a few pushes, my baby girl arrives. Time freezes for a moment when I first see my baby and tears stream down my face. With pride, we take our first family photo together, highlighting a new mom basking in the glow of having just had a baby. My daughter seamlessly latches on my breast for her first meal. The day is capped off by our families bursting into the room with flowers and balloons as they gleefully admire our new bundle of joy.

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Cue my reality.

Due to late-stage hypertension, I was induced at 38 weeks pregnant, preventing any spontaneous labor. Induction was a slow process, and no amount of deep breathing, laughing gas, or sitting on a medicine ball could minimize the pain I experienced during my medicinally-induced contractions.

After two hours of pushing and feeling like there was no end to it, my daughter was born. She let out a roaring cry, but some skin-to-skin on my chest soothed her. While I was grateful my baby was healthy and safe, my face reflected relief, not joy. Relief that I survived.

Birth complications ensued

After giving birth, I pushed again to deliver the placenta—but something was wrong. My placenta didn't expel from my body, so my midwife needed to go in after it. Her hand reached inside my uterus through my raw, torn vagina to detach it. As I clutched my baby girl tightly against my chest, I could feel my midwife's hand searching for the placenta.

After almost three days of labor, a twice-failed epidural, multiple Pitocin doses, and two hours of pushing, my body had enough.

I knew things were serious when my midwife said, "I think you should have someone else hold your baby." My husband held our daughter as the midwife put her hand in my uterus twice more—three tries, endless screams, and still no placenta.

The intense pain and sheer exhaustion didn't allow me to process what was rapidly unfolding. Within minutes, a team of doctors rushed into the delivery room. I didn't have time to react when one doctor calmly informed me, "We have to take you to the operating room now to perform a D&C, and we may have to do a hysterectomy."

I held my daughter one last time in case things went wrong. They wheeled me away just as soon as I gave her back to my husband. We didn't even have a chance to choose her name.

The operating room was just as I imagined: cold and sterile, with white walls and steel instruments everywhere. Despite the many doctors and nurses in the room, the process was orderly with each person understanding their role. My midwife held my hand and explained the procedure, but I was too weak to comprehend. My legs ached from being in stir-ups, and I was so weak from not having consumed food or water for hours.

Thankfully, the doctors saved my uterus. Because the procedure caused significant blood loss, I received a blood transfusion. Pale and dizzy, I began breastfeeding my daughter. My doula helped me by expressing colostrum from my other breast. I was so hungry—all I could think about was eating, but I was restricted to ice chips for two hours following the D&C.

It turns out my placenta complications were the result of an uncommon condition called placenta accreta, where the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall. This condition is very rare for a first-time mom like me with no history of previous pregnancies—though it could happen again in future pregnancies.

It may sound silly, but it made me feel less alone when I read that Kim Kardashian had this condition during both of her pregnancies. I soon found other mothers with similar stories on Facebook support groups. Because placenta accreta is hard to detect during pregnancy and my pregnancy had been normal, I didn't find out until delivery.

Addressing my anger and finding acceptance

In the weeks and months that followed, I had a crushing belief that my broken body betrayed me. My body was supposed to be built for giving birth, but it failed me. I struggled with depression and anxiety from the birth trauma and the conditions I developed from having a vaginal birth. I was obsessed about whether I should risk repeated complications if I decided to have more children.

I was angry that the birth of my daughter was associated with trauma and that this was my introduction to motherhood.

My lingering depression and anxiety forced me to seek help from a maternal psychotherapist to process my feelings. I accepted that while I did everything right leading up to and during my pregnancy, things still went wrong—through no fault of mine.

My body didn't betray me. It created this new amazing human being that I now couldn't live without. I endured a bad experience, but I survived it.

And one bad experience doesn't mean that the next birth would be traumatic. Over time and through therapy and support from family and friends, I accepted my birth story—the good and the bad—and believed I could be well again.

Birth wasn't the magical experience I had envisioned. But childbirth, like life, is messy, unpredictable, scary, stressful and complicated. Through my trauma, I realized that I was stronger than I could ever have imagined. Rather than idealize childbirth, I wish I had surrendered to its unpredictability. While my birth experience did not meet my expectations, having my daughter introduced me to the purest form of love.

For that, I am grateful.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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