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Jenny’s Birth Story: 40 Weeks, 4 Days

Sometimes the best things do come to those who wait.

Jenny’s Birth Story: 40 Weeks, 4 Days

My birth story plays out like most – with a plan, and the reality of that plan. It’s rare to go through this experience without a few battle wounds, and mine is consistent.

I went into labor naturally after being 4 days “late”, but my baby’s birth was a medical one – inclusive of a small pitocin drip, episiotomy, and epidural. I’m not the home birth type nor love the idea of interventions, but I fall somewhere in-between. My doctor recommended an induction only 2 days after my due date, but I was adamant about giving my body (and baby) time to arrive. It felt like an injustice to speed things along, and I did a bit of research on what an appropriate (and healthy) gestational period realistically is. Studies prove that 42 weeks is OK if mama and cub are both healthy. Anything later is when a pregnancy is considered “post-term.”

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Because of my age (36) and “size of baby” (she was charting in at over 8 lbs), the suggestion was not to wait. But I decided to do so anyway. A healthy baby can arrive anywhere between 37 – 42 weeks. It’s unfortunate that most doctors give us an expectation around one day. It looms over our heads from the minute we find out we’re pregnant and the $25,000 question is always “When are you due?” I--like most people--got anxious when that day came and went. And it didn’t help that my doormen would look at me daily with the same, “You’re still pregnant!?” expression on their faces. Fortunately with the help of an acupuncture induction specialist, I started contracting naturally at 40 weeks, 4 days.

In all of my life, I’ve never worked so hard to accomplish something. No one can prepare you for the intensity of birth and between contractions and the pushing, this was the most difficult thing I’ve done. I knew my physical strength needed the most support so depended on my mental self to get me through. With that, I reached into the depths of my soul and thoughts of the last two years raced across my mind. Everything that we had worked towards to create this magical creature was coming together, and the final moment of my pregnancy journey was here. I was ready.

I labored at home for 17 hours and an additional 14 hours in the hospital. By Sunday morning, I was ready to push. I almost passed out, threw up and died at the same time. And my wife Dina said she lost connection with me too. It’s almost as if I had to go somewhere else in order to find the strength to help my baby through to the other side. It was a challenge, and took every ounce of my mental, emotional and physical strength, but fortunately I was able to get there.

After an hour, my baby crowned. I was able to touch her head while she was both a part of me and her new world and it blew my mind. She was almost here. Five minutes after that, with one more final push, she was on my chest – beautiful, pure, wide eyed and alert. It seemed that she too was taking it all in. Despite being the most surreal moment of my life, what I remember most is her skin feeling so soft against mine. We named her Vida -- her name means life in Spanish and the miracle of it was something I finally understood.

The first 24 hours were tough because I spiked a fever during labor and Vida had to be in the NICU for a 24-hour observation. Her and I both were given antibiotics as a precaution. Because rooming-in, bonding, constant skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding were high up on my agenda, this killed me. As did the idea of her receiving unnecessary medication. I also lost a ton of blood so was kept lying flat in the labor and delivery room until stable. I wanted to immediately get up and visit her, but physically couldn’t do it. Dina went while I recovered.

Although I had expected glitches in my birth plan, having to separate from Vida was my biggest fear realized. I begged the doctors and nurses over and over again to leave her with us, but they couldn’t. While I’m appreciative of western medicine and top notch care, this was hard to accept. But I didn’t have a choice. Being in the hospital, I had to oblige by their policies, and unfortunately it was out of my hands.

A few hours later I stabilized and went down to see our beautiful (and according to the nurses, feisty!) little girl. I nursed her immediately. Being that breastfeeding is not a done deal for all women, I was over the moon when this connection was secure. It was pure bliss. We went back and forth during the 24-hour observation and by the next morning she was with us to stay. By Tuesday we were discharged, and on our way to start the next chapter as three. The level of gratitude for this new family of mine was (and still is) at an all time

No one could have prepared me for the type of intense and insane love that I’ve experienced with becoming a mama. While I thought I got it before, I never knew until I did which is the mantra I’ve been living by since Vida’s arrival. The past 3 months have been life-changing and I fall more deeply in love with her each day. My heart constantly feels like it’s about to explode. The love is indescribable. I am incredibly grateful for this beautiful gift who was beyond worth the wait. Vida is the new light of my life and I can’t wait to show her the world and experience life through her lens.

Photography by Lori Berkowitz.

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Tenth & Pine: Gender-neutral and butter-soft basics for littles + bigs

In 2016, after a stage four endometriosis diagnosis and a 10 year battle with infertility, Tenth & Pine founder Kerynn got her miracle baby, Ezra Jade. As a SAHM with a Masters in Business, she wanted to create a brand that focused on premium quality, function, comfort, and simplicity.

She sought out premium, all natural fabrics and factories that shared her core values, practicing environmentally friendly manufacturing methods with fair and safe working conditions for employees. As a result, her made in the USA, gender-neutral designs check all the boxes. The sustainable, organic basics are perfect for everyday wear, family photos and any adventure in between.

Lucy Lue Organics: Sustainably and ethically-produced modern baby clothes

This family-owned and operated business was started by a mama who wanted out of corporate America after the birth of her son. Thoughtfully designed to mix-and-match, Lucy Lue's sustainably and ethically produced collection of modern organic baby clothes only uses fabrics that are "environmentally friendly from seed to seam." Their gorgeous, earthy tones and comfy, minimalist styles make the perfect addition to first wardrobes from birth through the first years.

Sontakey: Simple bracelets that speak your mind

Sontakey has been such a hit in the Motherly Shop that we knew it was time to expand the line. And since these beautiful mantra bands look so stunning stacked, more options = more fun.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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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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Mothers wanted the president to condemn white supremacy—he didn't

What you need to know about the first presidential debate and the 'Proud Boys'.

Screenshot/CNN

[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

For many American families, the impacts of systemic racism are a daily reality. This summer saw mothers and children go out and join Black Lives Matter protests in an effort to make the United States a safer place for Black children.

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Individuals across the country stood up and condemned white supremacy in 2020 and wanted the sitting President of the United States to do that Tuesday night, during the first presidential debate.

But he didn't.

When Chris Wallace of Fox News, the debate moderator, asked President Trump to condemn white supremacy, to ask militia groups to stand down and not escalate violence in cities like Kenosha and Portland, the president stated he was willing to...but when Wallace said "Then do it, sir," the president's answer was far from a clear condemnation.

First, Trump asked for a specific group to condemn, rather than simply condemning white supremacy as a whole. When the others on stage offered "white supremacy" and "Proud Boys" as the name to condemn, the President picked Proud Boys. But a condemnation didn't come.

"Proud Boys, stand back and stand by," Trump said. "But I'll tell you what, somebody's gotta do something about Antifa and the left. This is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem."

This followed a previous exchange in which Wallace asked President Trump why he ended a racial sensitivity training program. Trump responded that the training was racist and was teaching people to "hate our country."

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