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Tiffani’s Birth Story: An Unplanned Appearance

This baby wasn’t waiting for the crib or the car seat. Welcome to Motherhood.

Tiffani’s Birth Story: An Unplanned Appearance

I knew that my birth experience was going to be absolutely perfect. I had planned a drug free, pain free, water birth in a quiet, candlelit tub--just like on YouTube. One of out of three ain't bad.

Our baby was due on June 10, 2011. My husband and I had prepared extensively with birthing classes, books on what to expect, documentaries and breathing exercises. We had searched for a birthing center where we could have a peaceful, serene birth. One with a personalized iPod playlist of soothing songs, like Salt 'N Peppa's "Push It."

It seemed like everything was going according to plan--until we discovered that I had gestational diabetes. There went the birthing center, and the water birth I had envisioned. I was officially declared "high risk," and would need to deliver at a hospital instead.

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After months of weekly appointments with a perinatologist, blood sugar testing four times a day (which is just a joy for someone who hates needles), and a modified diet, I went in for a routine test on May 8th. I felt my son moving around, but didn't think anything of it. The nurse checked the monitor, and then looked at me strangely. "You don't feel anything?" I didn't, but apparently I'd been having contractions.

They sent me to the hospital, which was a few blocks away. I thought that I'd get checked out and be on my way, but I was already dilated 4 centimeters. The only place I was going was the maternity ward. I immediately started to cry. It wasn't supposed to happen this way. I wasn't due for another month! We didn't have a car seat yet. The crib wasn't ready yet. My baby shower was supposed to be that Saturday. I didn't even have my iPod!

Whether I was ready or not, the baby was coming--but not for another 23 hours. My doctor wanted to start Pitocin, but I refused. They offered me an epidural, but I refused. I wanted to control at least some part of the birth I had so carefully planned. I didn't really start feeling pain until I got to 8 centimeters. A few pushes and some blinding pain later (cross pain-free off of the list), I was finally able to hold the little person that I had carried for the past 35 weeks and 5 days at 7:35pm on May 10th, 2011.

Because he was born prematurely, he spent the next three days in the NICU. None of what I had planned prepared me for the sight of my tiny baby with tubes in his nose, enclosed in a plastic tube.

Being able to bring him home was one of the happiest days of my life. Our son is now a happy, healthy 3-year-old with a love of math and reading. He makes jokes, uses words like "cooperate" and "frustrated" with his little brother, and is so much better than what I planned.

You can read all of the books, take all of the classes, and detail all of the plans, but everything can change. Learning to go with the flow is all part of the process of motherhood--because when that sweet baby becomes tantrum-throwing 2-year-old, you'll be able to applaud his Oscar-worthy performance until he laughs. Which is all just part of the plan.

Tiffani Greenaway is a Brooklyn-born wife and mom of two toddlers. Her mission is to inspire, empower, and inform moms through social media and special events at mymommyvents.com.

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These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

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

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It’s science: Vacations make your kids happy long after they’re over

Whether you're planning a quick trip to the lake or flying the fam to a resort, the results are the same: A happier, more connected family.

Whether you're looking for hotels or a rental home for a safe family getaway, or just punching in your credit card number to reserve a spot in a campground a couple of states over, the cost of vacation plans can make a mom wince. And while price is definitely something to consider when planning a family vacation, science suggests we should consider these trips—and their benefits—priceless.

Research indicates that family vacations are essential. They make our, kids (and us) happier and build bonds and memories.

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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