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Giving Birth with Preeclampsia

Yes, you can still have the birth of your dreams.

Giving Birth with Preeclampsia

The day that I became a mother came much more quickly than I expected. But delivering early was the best decision we could have made for my and her health.

I was diagnosed with preeclampsia when I was 33 weeks pregnant, after a worry-free and normal pregnancy. Though it took us by surprise, the diagnosis didn’t scare my husband and me. Mainly because we didn’t know what preeclampsia was or what risks it posed. But it took over very quickly, and all of the sudden, doctors were doing their very best to keep my little girl in my belly as long as possible. “The longer, the better,” they said, “so she can fully develop her lungs.” I still had so much to do to prepare for her arrival, but all I felt like doing was to allow my doctors to do their jobs and keep my baby girl healthy. It wasn’t about my health, but it was all about hers -- I wanted to make sure that she was safe and had everything she needed to come into the world.

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By then, I had to stay at the hospital to be monitored. The doctor asked to draw my blood, do urine tests and monitor my kidneys continuously. Though the test results always came back fine, I was in a lot of pain, as if I had poison inside of me. So by the end of the week, the doctor agreed that it was time to give birth. Seven weeks early.

I tried to give birth naturally, but my body wasn’t ready for it, and I couldn’t take the pain any longer. So on May 29th, 2017 at 7:08 pm, our beautiful daughter Amabelle Luna was born via an amazingly calm c-section. She was only 2 lbs 9 oz.

After a moment of silence, Amabelle came out kicking and crying. "Her lungs are fully developed!!!," I remember telling myself. Irving and I were able to see Amabelle for a couple of seconds before she was rushed off to the NICU. She was so tiny. The nurse held her in the palm of her hands, her face was red and wrinkly, she was wearing a beanie, and her little body was wrapped in a blanket.

After the delivery, my blood pressure was through the roof, and I had to be constantly monitored and continue to have magnesium IVs in case of seizures. I was still unaware of what was happening or what could happen to me. Once again, I just knew that I had to let the doctors and nurses do their job. I spent another week in the hospital post delivery, with occasional opportunities to visit Amabelle in the NICU. It wasn't easy, but our daughter was my drive to get better so that I could be there for her; so that I could be the strong healthy mother that I knew I needed to be for her and that she needed more than ever.

Amabelle spent a month in the NICU. She had the doctors’ and nurses’ loving eyes on her 24/7. She underwent multiple head scans, eye exams, daily monitoring of her weight, length, and vital signs consistency. Every dirty diaper was a sign of progress and success! Her daily advancements were astonishing, according to the doctors and nurses. So much so that we nicknamed uer our “little lion.”

Spending at least eight hours a day with her was a must for us -- we were inseparable. Leaving her in the evening to go home was painful. When we were home, we had to remind ourselves that she wasn’t alone in the incubator, that doctors and nurses were taking care of her, and she was going to be home with us very soon. Her time at the NICU, with all the doctors and nurses supporting her, was just the foundation she needed to come and live her life with us, at home.

Anabelle has been home with us for a few months now, and she’s continued to make strides in her development. Despite the fact that she was prematured, she quickly reached the average growth and development curve!

Before Amabelle made it earthside, I thought that I was being robbed of my last few weeks of pregnancy. I didn’t get to take all the cute belly pictures I wanted to take, and her nursery was nowhere near being done. I would have loved more time to feel stronger kicks, too. But now I know… giving birth early was the right choice for us -- for Amabelle’s health, and for mine. It shows not only that modern medicine can be helpful at assisting your body when it needs it, but also that birth comes in many various forms, and it’s beautiful no matter what.

Jelena has always been a career-driven girl. She moved from London to Florence to NYC and got married at the age of 37. She had Amabelle at 38 years old. She's a footwear designer and owns her company with her husband.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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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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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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