Top Nursery Essentials + A Tour of Vir’s Room

As a new parent, moms have plenty of decisions to make for the first time, be it decorating the nursery, shopping for your baby’s outfits, deciding on the style of the baby-shower dress, picking out the baby registry Must Haves, packing the hospital bag and so much more. Working on all these tasks during my pregnancy in 2016, made me realize that one can never be too prepared for parenthood.

Yet, I will like to say the first and foremost step during your pregnancy is listing out the products you want for yourself and the baby. I had an excel spread sheet of items that I needed and was gradually listing them out in my baby registry after taking recommendations from my mom, friends, and seeking reviews online.  Thankfully, Amazon recently made the registry process extremely convenient for all new parents with theirBaby Registry service. They truly have Earth’s biggest selection of products, meaning you can pick and choose items from any retailer, giving you endless product options, great discounts, rewards and prime member offers. (I am glad to partner with them for their #BundleOfBenefits Program and share my opinions on their convenient service.)

Decorating Vir’s nursery was our most exciting and creative project so far. Honestly, planning it was a bit overwhelming, as there are tons of options to choose from styles, accent pieces, décor and colors.  In this post I am sharing a tour of our son’s modern /neutral nursery while hoping to send some inspiration your way. He is a toddler now and growing fast so we have also made some more additions to his room in last couple of months. I have compiled a list of my Must Have Items, after using most of them for more than 17 months.

Décor : We stuck to mainly white walls and white nursery furniture. To pop up the room we put grey triangle decals on one of the walls and added a personal touch with 4 small paintings made by me and my husband. Highly recommend making a simple piece of art whether you are good at art and craft or not. There is a keepsake framed artwork, which has balloons signed by our guests from our baby shower and a ledge with books right above the dresser. I really like the animal theme so most of the décor pieces are influenced by it.

Nursery items Must Haves

Crib: Vir has been sleeping in his Babyletto convertible crib since he was 3 months. Creating a safe sleep environment and good sleeping habits are important for your baby’s physical and emotional well-being. An important part of establishing good sleeping habits is the sleep environment – where your child sleeps, the kind of crib or bed, the type of mattress, and so on.

Dresser: Closet organizing can really take a lot of your time. I choose Ikea 8 drawer dresser to store my son’s clothes, diapers, bedding, toiletries etc. It is very convenient to fold and store the tiny clothing and easy to rotate as they grow. Highly recommend buying drawer dividers to separate their tiny pieces of clothing like onesies, shorts, pants, t shirts, socks etc.

A cool mist humidifier (warm mist can breed bacteria in the humidifier)- Highly recommend Crane Drop humidifier to all my friends, in fact this is the gift I like to pick up for baby showers. So definitely add it to your Amazon Baby Registry. It has been so helpful especially on those nights when our son has a stuffy nose. One of the most important benefits of having a humidifier in the nursery is the protection it provides against dry air. This is especially true in the winter months when indoor air tends to become dry from your heating system robbing the natural moisture in it.

White noise machine or soft toy– The Gentle Giraffe has been Vir’s sleeping companion since he was 3 months old. It has over 4 soothing sounds to lull the baby to sleep and is very convenient to travel with too. Babies are used to hearing a lot of noise in the womb, so I think its hard for them to sleep in a nursery that is too quiet. The white noise machine is one of my highest recommended registry items.

Diaper Pail: We live in a town home with 3 floors; we definitely needed 2 diaper pails as our baby lounges with us in the living room, too, apart from napping in his nursery. The Diaper Genie has been the most convenient option. Tip : While looking for a diaper pail remember trash bags need to be bought with them too. Amazon Registry lets you earn free baby essentials when your registry’s total purchase value reaches $1000 (from you and your gift givers), you can redeem $100 in diapers, wipes, formula, baby care products and more. Learn more here

Basket Bin: The clothing hamper is an important decorative piece of Vir’s nursery. It is so convenient to have all dirty clothes in 1 place. Also, instead of having several small baskets to store toys I recommend getting 1 big bin.

Nursing Chair: Breastfeeding is hard and sometimes you want your own zone to bond with your baby. My nursing chair was our space where we sat for hours. It supported my back and gave me the right positioning and comfort to feed or rock my baby to sleep.

Books and lots of them– Reading is essential to every child’s growth and development. Whether you read to them or they page through books themselves, you probably have an ever growing and changing stack of books for your child at home. Some of my son’s favorites are –The very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Little Zoo, My Papa Loves Me, Goodnight Moon amongst many.

With Amazon Baby registry, one can make their complete list of items that they need for their little one from the convenience of their home. No more running around the stores with a list and searching for scanners and bar codes, you can choose what you need with just a few clicks. Additionally there are many other benefits like (a) It is extremely simple to set up (b) Returns are easy and hassle free (c) A surprise from Amazon for parents-to-be and baby is  a Welcome Box containing selections of full, travel and sample size. The contents of the box changes from time to time, but always includes a full-size swaddle blanket and more. Learn more here  (d) Prime member Baby Registrants are eligible for additional rotating limited time offers. These offers can be found in the Exclusive Offers section of your desktop registry dashboard or in Offers & Benefits from your mobile device

nursery essentials by The Snazzy Mom

What are some of your highest recommended baby goods or nursery essentials? Will you be suggesting Amazon Registry to your friends and family after seeing the benefits and convenience in this post?

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My Body Reality 9 Months Post Pregnancy! 

 

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I love to jog especially when Vir can accompany me in the jogger!

 

Am I where I was before baby? In some ways yes, in other ways not at all.

If you read my previous post on my post baby weight loss journey, you know I had lost 30 pounds out of the 43 pounds I gained within the first 3 months. To continue with my progress I had set 2 goals for the next 6 months.

1) To get rid of those 13 pounds 2) To gain my fitness and endurance levels back. I believe that 9 months is a fair enough time frame to work on my postpartum body and fitness and that is exactly the time I wanted to bounce back in shape.

To accomplish these 2 goals I started with running because not only was it a great way to get out of home daily and get some fresh air but also because I had set myself up for a CHALLENGE.

The challenge was to participate in a 10k run, 4 months after my delivery! I wasn’t sure if I could complete it, but I was definitely preparing myself to do my best. On 16th Sept 2016, 4 month post my pregnancy, I ran and finished my first 10k race in 1 hour and 19 minutes. Completing this challenge I set for myself gave me a lot of confidence and appreciation towards my body.


Post race, I figured out I was ready to take my endurance levels up a notch. So I started doing more strength training routines for some muscle definition and toning. Daily cardio sessions felt great but when it came to strength training at the gym, I wasn’t feeling so good or enjoying it. After a month I stepped back and returned back to jogging.

I started to fit in my regular jeans after 6 months post partum. I was so glad to ditch those maternity jeans! Although, I still have a few inches to loose on my thighs. Losing weight on the lower half of my body has been a constant struggle since I was a teenager and it continues to this day. (I often blame it on my genes J )

My stomach was smushy after giving birth and still is. I have ways to go to get my lower stomach back in shape, and that’s OK. Despite using stretch oils and cream rigorously I still have stretch marks.  They have faded but will probably be there, and I am proud to have them as I was blessed to carry and deliver a healthy baby.

So far I have lost a total of 39 pounds in 9 months. Still 4 pounds shy from my pre pregnancy weight. Honestly, I have stopped looking at the scale now. I am trying to maintain my weight while exercising and enjoying my treats on regular basis. I can’t diet and restrict myself of certain food groups as I don’t want to live like that. I like food (and chocolate) too much.

As far as my boobs are concerned, they are not normal yet. They are neither perky nor saggy, just somewhere in between. I am still breast feeding in morning and nights so I think I will have to wait out on this.

img_2719Once Vir turned 6 months, maintaining a workout schedule has become a struggle. Between caring for Vir, work demands, home chores, and all the rest there is precious little time life for me to sweat and so workouts are the first to be scratched off the To Do list. Honestly few months back I was struggling to even keep up to my 4 days of staying active. It is hard now to find dedicated alone time as a parent, and I have learned it isn’t always possible to find some.

Yet in January I enrolled myself in Kayla Fitness. The SWEAT app has short 28 minutes of Resistance sets that I do from home as per my convenience. I plan to stick with my 2017 goals of staying active daily and not losing steam. If I don’t find the time or energy to workout, I make sure to walk my dog “Rio” an extra mile.  You can catch me on Instagram with my daily updates.

At the end I just want to say we are all aware that our life will never be the same once we have a baby, yet we expect our bodies to be. I could have never imagined that our bodies can do amazing things like – never failing to wake up for the fourth time in the night to feed a hungry baby or to hold an 18 pound baby for a ridiculously long periods of time or to even function the entire day with just an hour of sleep. There are truths of post baby body that I am trying to accept and realistically I still struggle over accepting the body I am in. But I won’t waste my time feeling bad about it. I plan to work towards what I can accomplish with it while not giving up on chocolate!

Watching Vir grow up and experiencing Motherhood is the most beautiful part of my life now. My smushy stomach and stretch marks are just reminders of what I endured for my son to be here.

arushi

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Pink Blush Maternity GIVEAWAY!! $50 gift card 

Such a classic little black dress from Pink Blush . You can never go wrong with one !

 

$50 Gift Card !! 🎉🎉INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY 🎉🎉
I have reached 2000 followers today on Instagram , and that too in such a short time, so here’s a way of saying THANKYOU 💖with my first #giveaway .

I’m a total sucker for dresses and Pinkblush has such an exciting collection for 🍁Fall🍁and has something for everyone. This #Pinkblush Dress has totally taken its place as one of my favorites. Check out their amazing collection www.shoppinkblush.com.

Because I love you all and want you to enjoy modern and versatile designed pieces, I’m teaming up with @shoppinkblush to give one of YOU the chance to win $50 to their shop, and entering is super easy!
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Go to Instagram

*TO ENTER*

1. You must be following both myself (@the_snazzy_mom) AND @Shoppinkblush

2. Comment ‘All Steps Done’ (the winner will be chosen from the comments, so make sure you do this step!)

3. ‘Like’ the giveaway picture

4. Tag a friend or friends

*For Extra Entries*
• Like my  FB  page TheSnazzyMom and let me know what will you get with your credit on the giveaway picture.

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Giveaway will run from 10/2-10/7 at midnight CST, and a winner will be announced on 10/11.
-Open to Internationals too.

Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by Shoppinkblush and no way sponsored by Instagram !

When Our Fur Baby Met our Son! 

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Rio warming up to 3 month old Vir

I am a mother of two. One is an adorable 3 month old who loves to smile and squeal.The other is a 5 year old terrier, who loves to chase squirrels and cuddle. One is our baby Vir and the other is our “fur baby” Rio !

Hell yes my dog is my baby!! I feed him, bathe him, walk him, play with him, take him to his vet appointments, buy him treats and toys, dress him up for Halloween, protect him from danger (stray cats in our neighborhood are vicious!), worry about him all night if he is ill, comfort him when he is scared, take family pictures with him, miss him when I am traveling, scold him when he is naughty and most importantly, love him with all my heart as I am his MOM. No wonder I didn’t refrain from celebrating Motherhood as a Dog Mom for the past 5 years.  Oprah’s quote – “Biology is the least of what makes… someone a mother” has stuck with me all this time.

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Rio when he was a puppy

The feeling of maternal love and the sensibilities of a mother first came to me when we adopted Rio from a local shelter here in Houston, when he was just 4 weeks, back in 2011. He just didn’t walk into our house with his tiny paws; he walked straight into our hearts.
We knew we were ready for this commitment of loving and caring for him for the rest of his life. His dark brown eyes and constant need for cuddle and kisses filled my heart with immeasurable love and an immediate need to protect and treasure him! For us Rio isn’t a domesticated animal but our first child. And I don’t mind saying that Rio trained me to be a better mom, since I made those classic first born child mistakes with him.

 

I believe it is the little things that shape our relationships in life, and my relationship with Rio is no different. Everything I do for him results in love and gratitude. His unconditional love, boundless energy, unrestrained affection and loyalty make us smile even in the worst of days! The mere mention of “Let’s go” makes him jump with joy. Watching him stick his head out of the car window just cracks me up every time. And the best part of the day is coming home to a wagging tail.

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Our pregnancy announcement photo shoot at home

When we found out that we were pregnant we were excited that our pack was going to grow! From flooding hormones to slight differences in routine, it is more than likely that Rio picked up on changes even before I started sporting a bump. He would sit and stare at me and follow me everywhere in the house, especially when I was suffering from nausea. (He would always be standing outside the bathroom). Rio also started camping at my feet in the bed and liked laying his head next to my belly when we watched TV. Things would sometimes get weird when he would chew up my underwear while I was gone. Now that I think about it, maybe he was acting out or feeling neglected. But he was definitely picking up something. They say a dog can tell that you are pregnant “Although it hasn’t been scientifically explored, it’s within the realm of reason,” Jennie K. Willis, an applied animal behaviorist, told Animal Planet.

Some people believe that it can be dangerous to bring a baby into a home with a dog. However, according to all the dog parents and owners between our family and friends; ‘Dogs have been loyal, loving and protective family members for them’. We were quite confident that Rio would be a good dog around Vir. As he prefers the company of human friends over dogs and is most excited when our friends come over (I think he is convinced that they are his buddies and are there to visit him). Yet, we often wondered how Rio would react when he would see Vir for the first time. Would he be scared, friendly, excited, indifferent or jealous? We researched online on how to introduce your baby for the first time to your dog, read online forums and checked out the cute videos recorded by awesome dog parents.  Please look up dog adoption and training guide for more information and tips on dog and baby relationship.

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Rio meets Vir for the 1st time

As newborn baby Vir entered his house for the first time, Rio waited anxiously at the door the entire day. I walked in first, hugged him and let him know that I missed him too. Once his initial excitement had died down a bit, we moved to the living room to introduce Vir to Rio. I remember he was excited, anxious, nervous all at same time and started to whimper as we walked into the house carrying Vir. We sat down on the couch and Rio immediately jumped next to me (still whimpering) and was bewildered to see Vir for the first time. He kept licking me and Deep and then very slowly, came close to Vir and sniffed him. Their introduction was priceless. Rio was extremely curious, but above all he was gentle towards his baby brother. It was a very emotional moment for all of us; I wasn’t prepared to see Rio whimpering like that for almost five to ten minutes after we got in the house. I was in tearsLet me tell you, Rio has grown extremely needy since the baby has got here and is comp

eting for our attention by acting cute.  Sometimes it seems he is trying too hard as he tries to play on his back or rub his face on the carpet or just constantly wag his tail while staring at us. He is slowly getting used to the fact that this new human is here to stay.I wished the two would have hit it off as BFFs right from the start, but it seems we will have to wait a bit longer. Rio still maintains his distance from Vir and avoids getting too close to him unless I call him to sit or sleep next to him. He does not show much affection towards Vir, but at the same time thankfully he isn’t jealous of him. (I think, he thinks of him as a mischievous tiny human, who has not only taken his spot on the sofa but is constantly pooping, and peeing all day!!) ( You can follow their journey on my Instagram account)

IMG_6687We are working on creating that special bond between them. We make sure to include Rio in all our daily activities and keep the same routine as earlier. Rio knows that the baby comes above him in the pack order as he is  aware of his boundaries of where he is allowed in the house and that the baby’s stuff is not his to chew or play. (Rio avoids everything but chews on his diapers when we are gone, I don’t know why he does it, but we are dealing with this phase right now). We call Rio every day to come and sniff the baby and also give him treats when he licks Vir’s feet to associate with space and respect. Its now a rule in the house to play with Rio first and then hold the baby, especially when our guests come over, as he would jump in between to get all the attention first. (jealous one)

My relationship with Rio made me realize dogs are nothing like humans; they can go through hell, yet forgive easily. This kind of love is one of the best things in life to experience as he filled a space in my heart that I never knew existed. It is an amazing feeling to be licked on your face when you are stressed or rubbed by a wet nose when you are lonely. No matter how crappy your day is, there is always a happy face waiting for you to get home.

I am thankful for my Dog for all the paw prints on my floor, for all the slobbery kisses on my face and for the fur on my clothes… for there will come a day when there is too much room in my bed.

“Parenthood requires Love not DNA”- unknown 

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Pregnancy photoshoot at home. (Photo credit: My dear husband)

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Catching a nap on the bump

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My Post-Baby Weight Loss Journey

 

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After a good run ! 10 weeks postpartum

I am three months and 1 week postpartum and you might wonder why I am already talking about weight loss. I have been struggling to write this post and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to commit this to the blog. Yet, I am posting it and I have decided to do so because it will not only motivate me to continue to work towards my “goal” but also give me a chance to celebrate my progress so far.

Will I ever get back to my pre-pregnancy physique? When will I hit my goal? How long will it take me to fit in my jeans? Will I have to continue buying bigger size clothes? Ahh!! .….all the questions pop up in my head as I step into my closet. No matter how many clothes are hanging in your closet, there are always those days when you feel you have nothing to wear. It’s all there but it’s all wrong and then you want to shop. I’ve faced this almost every day for last five months. Earlier I was so big that I could survive only in my maternity clothes and now, when I am neither 9 months pregnant nor my original size, I am in this no man’s land with only a handful of stuff I can fit in.

To fulfill my goal and stick to this weight loss journey I am putting a stop to buying any bigger size dresses or jeans or shirts. I think that this will encourage me to stick to my workout routine and healthy lifestyle to get back in shape and not fall off the wagon.

Pre- Pregnancy

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Last year Aug 2015, hiking Whistler Mountain, Vancouver

I feel I have always struggled with weight. I’ve always been the tall and athletic body type and never close to the slim shape. I played basketball and represented my school, college and state at competitions for almost 7 years. My love for sports directed me towards a healthier lifestyle and maintaining a workout regime so far. But my love for chocolates and cakes would wash away all that hard work and I would end up at the same weight rather than losing it! Post college I started getting comfortable with this theory and worked out so that I could indulge in my favorite food. I always enjoyed cardio and high energy activities like jogging, swimming, kickboxing etc . I have never been a big fan of dieting or staying on a controlled diet or eating clean. Right before pregnancy I was 150 pounds (68 kgs), a few pounds over what I envision my ideal weight to be, but I was working my butt off to maintain it. (Thanks to my metabolism which dipped like the oil prices last year, as I turned 30)

Pregnancy

When one is a pregnant you get a license to pack on the pounds!! Now since I have been pregnant let me tell you this is a load of bull….. I was obsessed with my weight gain (some of you might relate to it, except for a lone few who can rise above the weight gain issue). I stepped on the scale every day, I wanted to make sure I stick to the healthy weight gain between 25-35 pounds; in fact my target was to gain under 30 pounds. I was eating healthy, eating more green vegetables, fruits, eggs, milk, multigrain bread; cheese etc. (Bought mostly organic food) Also made healthy smoothies with Greek yogurt, almond milk, chia seeds, hemp seeds, spinach etc as staple ingredients. I ensured that I was having high nutrition snacks like dry fruits and nutritive bars daily.

 

As I wanted to be in the healthy weight gain spectrum, start first trimester I was running 3 miles, four times a week and swimming occasionally. Second trimester my energy started getting low and I began to walk 3 miles and do some weight training. Fast forward to third trimester I joined yoga and even with back pain issues I made it a point to go for a 2-3 mile walk daily with my fur baby Rio. Deep also accompanied me to keep me going.

Yet I gained 43 pounds!! I couldn’t believe it. Moreover, my yoga class was torturous; To make matter worse, where I live, pregnancy seems so competitive ! Somehow everyone manages to stay slim and gain weight just around their belly.

No matter how crazy the weight gain issue makes us, most doctors agree that we should keep check on our pregnancy weight gain, as many studies show it can lower risks of pre- eclampsia, gestational diabetes and other pregnancy complications.

Now 3 months Postpartum

After baby Vir’s arrival in May 2016, I was looking forward to lose the weight so that I could feel like myself again.  I wanted to live the lifestyle of my goal as I couldn’t believe that I had gained 43 pounds after working out almost every day and not falling for those ghee loaded “laddos” and sweets lying in my refrigerator. Within 3 weeks post delivery I had lost 15 pounds. Of course, Vir was 7 pounds of those.

I read success stories online of women bouncing back to their pre-pregnancy weight  in 4 months just by ‘breast feeding’. Also some stories mentioning that the ‘last 10 pounds will be the hardest to lose’ and  how the ‘wider hips and bigger breasts are here to stay’. These anecdotes helped me prepare mentally as to what I should work towards to achieve my goals and at the same time be realistic about them!

I believe its important to have your energy levels back; as life of a new mom is very demanding. I didn’t want to lie down and rest while my family manages things at home. The C section made mobility hard for me but I wanted to be up and working. For me getting my body back was also finding and developing my inner strength. Post my 6 week check up and getting thumbs up on starting my workout regimen from my doctor, I ensured that I got at least 4 days of workout weekly and started with 2 mile brisk walks around my neighborhood. The first few days of walking 2 miles were hard. My belly would hurt if I tried to jog,  but gradually it started getting better. To kick start my workouts Deep bought me a Polar A 360 fitness tracker which helps me keep a tab on my daily steps, workouts and weekly fitness reports. It also buzzes every 50 mins prompting me to walk if I have been sitting for that long. I highly recommend getting a fitness tracker.

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Walking Rio while wearing Vir in Baby K’tan , 8 weeks postpartum.

2 months postpartum, I had lost a total of 22 pounds. Even after that I was somewhat horrified to discover that I still had a belly and looked 5 months pregnant.

I am 3 months postpartum as I write this post and have lost a total of 30 pounds !! 🙂

I still have 13 pounds more to go ! To reach my goal my fitness plan includes 3 miles for at least 4 days a week in the evening as its super hot here in Houston. Rio and Deep are my workout buddies and sometimes when the weather is good, Vir also join us in his jogger. (Highly recommend a getting a jogger so you can start going on long walk/runs with your baby. Great way to unwind and the babies seem to love it). Honestly, the new game Pokemon Go is also making my workouts more fun and has somewhat helped me maintain my 3 mile run and not cheat on my workouts. (I am very competitive when it comes to gaming and Deep is currently leading).  I also do 1 minute planks 5 times everyday to strengthen my core muscles and tighten the belly.

Since I am a breast feeding mama, I am not working on curbing my diet or following a restricted meal plan.  I eat 6 small meals a day. Milk and fruits is a must daily and as I am a vegetarian, cottage cheese, pulses, beans and green veggies is what I live on. Yes I am chocoholic and I can’t do without 1-2 small pieces of dark chocolate daily and  my homemade healthy popsicles . However now I have moved on to chocolate chips which are used in baking to work on my cravings and eat less calories. I also indulge in cupcakes and frozen yogurt on weekends.  No soda, no junk and no processed food for me!!

“Be gentle with yourself and accept the changes of your body” says my Mom and I think she is right;  I don’t want to lose steam too fast by focusing on my weight loss.  My plan is to include different types of routines like weight training, yoga, rowing , home exercises in my regimen than simply running. I am building my endurance and my back and leg muscles groups so as to join Kayla Fitness BBG program by next month. For me it isn’t about a skinny body, but more of a healthier and stronger body. (you can see my workout updates on my Instagram page. Do follow!!!)

My hope here is not to get frustrated but to stay motivated and keep reminding myself that I have created a fabulous tiny human being, who adores me! The best advice I want to share is “Let’s not obsess over how we LOOK but how we FEEL !!! ”

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3 months Postpartum !! I finally feel I can run 3 miles at a go 🙂

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Multitasking  !!  (This pic is from when I was 10 weeks postpartum)

 

An Expectant Dad Chronicles

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Arushi is 4 weeks pregnant! At our friends wedding in Houston

Let me begin with saying that it was not just my wife who was expecting. The two of us were working on this life project together. I didn’t know how to handle every hormonal situation, but just being there, listening, talking, comforting, caring and loving her; made me feel more involved, we were a Team!

We had been trying for just a couple of weeks. So when Arushi told me that she was pregnant, my response was “you’re kidding me! Already!” rather than an emotional and more appropriate “Oh my God, we’re having a baby!”.

Even though it was a planned pregnancy, that doesn’t mean that I was prepared for fatherhood! I thought I’d have more time… I’d do my research, read books on parenting, and seek the wisdom of the more experienced. Now the clock had started ticking.

Arushi had her list of things she needed to do and I had mine…I sifted through Amazon looking for the best books for pregnancy and gain knowledge, after all my reading material had a new theme. ‘Origins’ by Annie Murphy Paul, ‘Brain Rules for Baby’ by John Medina and ‘Be Prepared- a Practical Handbook for New Dads’ were the 3 books that I read to get prepared for what was coming. The app Ovia was another indispensable tool that kept me informed on the progress of pregnancy and provided me with a window into what was going on with my wife- mentally & physically. (The app’s weekly updates would have this fascinating comparison of the size of the growing baby with a fruit or vegetable). We both shared so much in this phase – Good food choices, healthy habits, baby’s weekly development etc. Honestly, this gave me a sense of being part of the pregnancy.

First few weeks flew by fast, informing family & close friends. Then came the morning sickness. No one warns you about the morning sickness! Don’t fall for the innocuous sounding name. It gives you a false impression of something like a mild nausea in the morning. It lasts all day long, everyday for a month and can be quite extreme. Needless to say, Arushi wasn’t in a good mood during this phase. And I learned very quickly, never argue with a hungry pregnant woman.

The morning sickness eventually subsided. We had barely let out a sigh of relief when Arushi started experiencing Sciatica pain. I received daily critical feedback regarding my back massage skills for that period. Bought new massager, tried yoga, off-the-shelf pain medication. Only thing that ended up being somewhat effective was professional massage. The pain thankfully went away after about 3 weeks. So, advice for husbands- if you are not good at massage, surprise her by taking a massage class. She’ll appreciate it a lot. I also got to practice my photography skills as Arushi wanted to document her bump. Easiest way to earn some brownie points!

It’s a baby boy! We found out in the 8th week itself. It was a surprise for me to know the gender so early in the pregnancy (through non-invasive prenatal test). The news all of a sudden made me realize the huge responsibility that I was about to take on. Now, apart from being a good father, I needed to be a role model for a tiny man. Just like my father had been for me.

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My Favorite from the maternity photo shoot.

Second trimester went much smoothly. It was also an exciting time as we got to see the baby for the first time during the ultrasound. Trust me, it was quiet something to be able to see a fetus grow and move inside the tummy. It was a transcendental moment. We had read how important it is for overall health of the baby that the mom stays active. That inevitably meant that I had to stay active. I would typically work out a couple of days a week. But now, Arushi was dragging me to the gym or the park, everyday. At first I complained a bit, but then I figured, if I wanted to run around with my kids 10 years from now, I could use the exercise.

The third trimester was when the baby weight gain accelerated. And with that, Arushi’s attempts to stay within the healthy weight-gain spectrum also intensified. I tried to comfort her anxiety about weight by pointing out articles mentioning that every woman has a different weight gain curve, and just because she had gained weight rapidly during past few months didn’t mean that she’ll continue to gain weight at the same pace.

Our weekly activities and projects started as the final weeks started getting close. We started buying stuff for the baby. My DIY nursery project of putting together the crib, nursing chair, dresser and decorating the nursery was in full swing. We had our maternity photo shoot. Our friends threw us an amazing baby shower and we ended up with more baby stuff than we could’ve asked for. We also did the hospital tour. Being familiar with the inside of the hospital, definitely made us feel more comfortable when we eventually went there for delivery. We read more stuff on the internet and flipped through a couple of handed down parenting books. We also watched a few videos online, as we agreed on not doing Lamaze classes or any other parenting classes.

Our hospital was 10 miles from our home. I was antsy about what we would do if it baby decides to come during rush hour traffic. And of course, that is exactly what happened. I got the call at work from Arushi at 4:00 pm saying that she thought she was having contractions. It took me 35 minutes to get home and then it took us another 50 minutes to get to the hospital! Arushi was surprisingly calm and asked me to relax and kept saying she was fine throughout the drive.

An experienced friend of mine had given me a simple piece of advice -” trust your doctors & just follow their instructions.” And that is exactly what we did. After around 6 hours in labor Arushi finally got the epidural. The nurse informed us that based on her progress, the baby would come sometime in the morning. “Cool! I can amuse myself by reading my baby’s horoscope.” As I looked up for the date online, it occurred to me. Tomorrow is Friday the 13th! “Oh crap! We are going to have a Friday the 13th baby! Can’t we do something to get him out in the next one hour?” Of course the nurse said no. But, for those of us not suffering from triskaidekaphobia, you’ve got to agree- it’s a pretty cool day to be born on! For the rest of you… stop being silly.

“It’s time to push, Deep!” Arushi said excitedly while waking me up at 4:30 am. The nurse started to get the things ready for the delivery and within 5 minutes, Arushi was pushing, with me on her side holding her hand. I was truly amazed at how brave she was at that moment, shivering and pushing and focusing, all at the same time. She pushed for an hour but as she was running a fever and the baby’s heart rate was climbing, the doctor made the call to do a C-Section. We knew ahead that this could be a possibility. We were now faced with a situation that we had hoped wouldn’t arise. Again, I just followed the simple advice and put my trust in the doctors & nurses. After all, we were at one the best women’s health hospitals in the nation.

Arushi was wheeled away to the surgery room while I was dressed up in scrubs and asked to join later. In what felt like an eternity, a nurse came to get me. This was the first time I’d ever been in a surgery room. It was very busy, with everyone very focused. That’s one thing that the movies definitely get right. Arushi was on the operating table, wide awake and there was an opaque blue curtain across her waist blocking the view below. Boy was I glad for that curtain! I had been quite calm through the entire labor. But I don’t think I could have handled seeing her being operated on or seeing her in any kind of pain there.

About 10 minutes later, at 7:05 am on Friday the 13th, I heard the cries of my baby. I instinctively knew that he was going to be alright, even though the doctors had informed us that he would need to be taken immediately to the NICU for monitoring. No baby bawling with a lung strength like that had could possibly have anything wrong with him (he still likes to give us displays of that lung strength every now and then). He was quickly wrapped up and the nurse handed Arushi the baby. It is a beautiful sight to behold. A mother’s first expression as she holds her baby for the very first time. Soon, the baby & I were immediately escorted to the NICU while Arushi was being stitched back. By the time I could gather my feelings and realize what was going on, this little 7 pound human, our son, baby Vir was placed in my arms.

I was a changed person- for the better. I was now a father.

 

By – Deepanshu

 

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When Vir was getting his measurements I got his footprints !

 

P.S – I am currently reading ‘Baby Sense’ by Megan Faure and Ann Richardson and refer to ‘Baby 411’ for all the wisdom, advice and answers we seek as new parents.

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Hey you!

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Can’t believe my first Father’s Day with 4 week old baby Vir !

 

8 Things I Learnt About Motherhood in The First Few weeks

 

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Me and Vir @Kemah Boardwalk in Houston

I don’t think there is any manual or a “how to” book that can teach us how to be a perfect mother. I believe I am learning daily and this will be a learning process for my lifetime. Becoming a parent teaches us to live in the moment.  Our focus in life becomes our children, what we teach them, feed them, buy for them etc is an important and crucial household affair. Motherhood also teaches us a whole lot about ourselves; it might even shape us into the person we become.

It has just been 2 months and few weeks since I had “Vir”, and I have already discovered some my new traits and strengths, that I never knew existed.

  1. There is a “No sleep” function mode we operate on – I am amazed how mothers function with such less sleep. You don’t get a break with an infant. Wake up every 2 hours in the night to feed, change the diapers , sing them back to sleep; and by the time you are able to get back in deep sleep, the kiddo is up again. No wonder I am waking up with dark circles and baggy eyes in the morning, with a slight headache and lethargy, looking like a mama zombie or as I like to call it a “Mombie”. (A sleep deprived supermom who feeds on caffeine and survives on sticky kisses and messy smiles) Internet is full of articles telling us to catch short naps while the baby is asleep. Easier said than done, especially if you’re not a nap person.
  2.  You are now a MOM – Master of MultitaskingI was always proud of my multi-tasking skills, be it at work or at home. But now being a full-time work-from-home mom, with a 2 month breast-feeding baby and a furry terrier competing for my attention, I am able to simultaneously perform endless tasks and chores. I was an amateur multi-tasker before; motherhood has helped me master it and yes I already feel like a Supermom!
  3. No matter how strong we think we are, we can also cry like a baby – Some of us are strong, we can hold back our tears. I thought I was strong, until I saw tears in my baby’s eyes. Babies don’t have tears in their eyes until few weeks. But when I first saw his tears it broke my heart, and then when he got his first shots, I think I cried more than him. Now I understand why my mom can’t handle my tears.
  4. Appreciating your genes – With every passing day our babies start resembling one of the parents. “Vir” looks more like me. Yeahh !! His smile, eyes, long fingers and his full head of hair have suddenly led me to appreciate my genes more. “Doesn’t he look like me?” I ask with excitement to all my family and friends. And to the one who does not agree, I only have to show them my baby pic. Dare I say, he has my genes and they “suit” him better .
  5. Patience – the word gets added to my dictionary Patience never came easily to me. I’ve always wanted things to be fast paced and my way; it was my weakness. But as a mom our limits are pushed on plenty of occasions. Sometimes it drives you crazy, makes you go nuts! But now, every day my lil’ one is teaching me patience. We learn to understand and calm ourselves for this new life we brought into the world. And for the days when one just can’t and it gets overwhelming, then just take a pillow press your face against it and just scream! (I read it somewhere, it works) They say “this is just the beginning , wait till he start walking !!! “
  6. Dirty House , I can take that. In these few weeks I have learned things cannot always be perfect. Some days, it is okay if the diapers are everywhere in the living room or your stuff is spread out on the dining table, and that the laundry is still lying in the washer after its cycle . It is all about getting that one hour and boom! “Its SHINY” (The strength of Multitasking)
  7. Life is like a talent hunt show From feeding, to bathing to just making Vir sleep, I sing or hum numerous times of the day. Dancing and making animated faces, talking like a baby or making funny sounds are also a part of my daily acts that I break into to calm him. I have started enjoying this as I am rewarded back with his smiles and coos. I will continue to do this no matter how foolish I look, so I guess vanity also goes out of the door.
  8. Yoga pants a wardrobe essential: Our bodies change a lot and seriously when you don’t fit in anything and feel all crappy or more like a morbidly obese penguin, Yoga pants or stretch leggings come to the rescue. The only pieces of clothing which I could fit in from my pregnancy to my postpartum stage comfortably. They have been supporting me for so long that today they are my best friends (literally). The stretch fabric and elastic waistbands holds everything together and gives you a sense of tightness. I am so glad that these are more acceptable form of dressing to coffee shops and grocery stores. You can make your own personal style statement with it and stay snazzy. I have been buying more of these lately.
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10 weeks Postpartum  on a jog with my elder son ” Rio “

Welcome to the world Vir ! My Labor and Delivery story.

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Its my 39th week , I am big, round and hungry and all I want is to indulge in my favorite desert.  “Ahh , more aches and pains, I don’t know if these are contractions but I definitely feel uncomfortable” I said to my Mom at the cupcake store, assuming it to be false labor . My mom replied with some concern “Please, let’s go home. There is no need for any cupcake”.  “Mummy but this baby needs a cupcake. I can feel it! And If I am going to have him anytime soon, I better not be craving”. Exactly six hours later I find myself in the hospital bed connected to a machine monitoring my contraction frequency & intensity. Deep , my mom and my mother in law , sat beside me with a big smile on their face  and a sparkle in their eyes.

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My Mom , Mom in Law & Deep

 

I was 2 centimeters dilated and had the official word that I was in labor. At that moment I was experiencing a riot of emotions …excited, anxious, nervous, overwhelmed, scared. Very similar to how I felt a few years back in Colorado, standing at the threshold of the jump plane, ready to plunge from fifteen thousand feet.  “I am so ready to have this baby now” was my first sentence to that nurse and she looked at me smiled and said “Let’s do it Mama”.

Most pregnant women reach out to other mom’s to discuss how pregnancy feels. There are so many questions going through their minds- How much was the weight gain? What were your cravings? When do you feel the baby move? etc etc… However, they are most inquisitive about the “birth experience”, “Was it Natural or a C section?”, “Did it hurt a lot?”, “How exactly does pushing feel?” I too had the same questions and fears, and for the answers I didn’t get, I googled my way through pregnancy and calmed my unsettling nerves.

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The image of delivering a baby for me was shaped by the movies and TV soaps… That my water will break and splatter on the floor !! The contractions , the stabbing pain will make it the absolute worst experience! That someone else might be delivering my baby (I read an Uber driver delivered a baby) or that the doctor might have to vacuum the baby if the head is stuck and yes of course, that there will be so much blood that the room will look like a crime scene. Women acting crazy, clawing at everyone within reach, choking their partners…Phew!! So dramatic, so stereotypical (now when I think of it).

Thankfully none of this happened!!!

Yes, my water didn’t break naturally and the contractions felt more like my insides being twisted!  And of course, Epidural saved me from the labor pains; although I was shaking with fear of the pain I would feel in my spine (it was not that bad.) Now I knew I won’t be screaming and cursing my head off while pushing; I was spared from that horror. Also Deep’s presence in the labor room kept me safe and supported.  (There is something about his calm energy)

However, after being in labor for more than 12 hours and huffing and puffing  for almost an hour, the baby wasn’t interested in coming out.  I was sweating, shivering, having a bad headache and running a fever too, but, hey I was ready to push again. The doctor said it was a “sunny side up baby” , his body wasn’t turning in the right direction and due to my fever, his heart beat was getting faster.

 We had to go for the inevitable C section. A cold fear entered my heart as I was being strapped while I was conscious (made me feel like one of Dexter’s victims from the HBO show). The white light of the operation room was blinding. While the anesthesia was kicking in and helping a lot, I was grateful for that curtain, concealing everything from me. I remember the sensation under my rib cage of someone rolling a heavy pin and I asked my doctor “Is the baby out?”. Deep, and the anesthesiologist kept talking to me as they tried to keep me distracted from the surgery. But I was only waiting, waiting to hear the cries of my baby enter this world.

At 7am and few minutes later,  I finally heard his cries and he was held up for us to see. I screamed “OMG !! That’s my baby?” He was pinkish-red, wet and crying, and I felt my heart was going to burst.

That Feeling …. I can’t explain, I don’t have the words. It is almost like an explosion of emotions. And by the time I could realize that my baby had finally arrived and the feeling could sink in, he was swept away to the NICU. My mind went blank, I had no thoughts… (It was a state of disbelief, a similar feeling I had, after free falling at terminal velocity)

I immediately started sobbing my heart out as it felt like forever until I could see him again. .(Sometimes I envy Deep, as he was the first person to touch our baby and see him up close when they took him to clean and measure)

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Few minutes later the nurse zoomed in with my little bundle of joy with Deep accompanying them.

They placed him in my arms and right from that moment he snuggled straight into my heart!! We are grateful for our blessings ; it was magical to hold my baby in my arms after nine months of waiting.

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The whole experience was amazing and not scary as the hell I had imagined ! My recovery has been great too. I was out of the hospital in three days and was off pain meds within a week. And now almost 8 weeks later it doesn’t even feel like I had a surgery just a couple of months back.

PS : (I have a new found respect for all mothers. And want to applaud those women who go for natural deliveries without any medication-  “Hats off”).

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Missing the Bump

Every time I see my lil one, I can’t believe a 7 pound 21 inches living being was inside me. I ask my husband (Deep) every now and then,”Can you believe it ?”  And his response is inevitably “No.  But, I was not pregnant, God has given you women the gift of child bearing.”

Becoming a mom, a parent is such a big event in one’s life,  it feels like a miracle to me. The 9 month process which looked like a never ending affair, now is just a memory.

I have been lately missing that phase and now look back to those memories on my iPhone pics and my maternity book.What am I missing about being pregnant ? The waiting period to have the baby out, the pampering from family and friends,the planning and organizing, the curiosity of who will the baby look like , the routine I set for myself or is it my big heavy bump?

I realized its my BUMP!  The part of me that made my nights so uncomfortable, my clothes shrunk, mobility so difficult, driving uneasy , back pain, shoulder pain and what not. However, right now at this moment  I miss putting my hand on it, rubbing it , measuring it and looking myself in the mirror everyday and being amazed at what a human body can do. Our body goes through a lot during pregnancy and this experience has made me love it and respect it even more.

Seeing my bump grow each month and taking its pictures, finding that T shirt and maxi dress that I can still fit in, feeling the baby’s kicks, hiccups and movements, listening to his heart beat on the baby heart monitor or eating food by placing the plate on my round bump, are all faded memories. At that moment it was not a very pleasant experience ,yet today it has become the most important and memorable phase of my life.

True! pregnancy is not easy, they say its preparing you for whats going to come next. My friends told me to enjoy this phase as your life will change forever. But, how does one enjoy being hormonal, cranky, always hungry, tired and of course the elephant in the room (I mean that literally). Pregnancy wasn’t easy for me. I had Sciatica pain, morning sickness and sleeping problems that made me very uncomfortable. I often would get irritated and upset with the fact that I had to wait for another few months and weeks and that  I couldn’t control the situation and I had to be patient( which I am not). Also my weight gain was causing me grief and the thought of loosing all of it was making me anxious. I was waiting for all of it to get over and praying that I don’t have to wait for more than 40 weeks to deliver.

I am 2 months postpartum today as I write this post and all I miss right now is my pregnancy,and my bump. It was special , it was a life changing experience and it was the period when I felt most complete. I just din’t realize it.

Gosh ! I had 2 hearts beating inside me !!

Below are few pictures from my pregnancy.I feel I haven’t looked so beautiful  in my entire life as I do here in this pic. Its my best 🙂

@ Herman Park in Houston for my maternity shoot in March 2016 , by our very close friend Abhishek Anchliya

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At our baby shower in April 2016.

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This picture is just a day before my delivery on 12th May 2016 . Thanks to Pinkblushmaternity for this beautiful maxi dress.

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My Bump Style

I have always believed in effortless style. My fashion has always been minimal and comfortable. Dressing up for me is more casual, more like “untucked glamour” (a term I came across). My ‘go to’ dress code is a classic denim jeans and white T or a good plain black dress. I stuck to my personal style and continued with my minimal look during my pregnancy too.

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2nd Trimester

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3rd Trimester with a Jacket

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38 weeks pregnant, Almost there!

For my daily maternity style I loved layering up. I would usually team up my favorite H&M denim shirt with my midi dresses, it made me more confident with my curves. I would also layer it over my T shirts for the extra room with my maternity jeans, flats or converse all stars! I avoided heels my entire pregnancy.

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Motherhood Maternity Jersey Dress and Express Shrug

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Motherhood Maternity jersey dress with H&M denim shirt

For my workouts I stuck with dark color bottoms like yoga capris and sweat pants and for the top, it was loose racer backs and stretch fabric tanks to hold my  growing bump. For my workout routines I mostly stuck with 3 mile brisk walks with my scruffy puppy Rio, and on alternate days did low impact exercises like squats and lunges with light weights .

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Abercrombie Sweatpants

I planned to celebrate my pregnancy with an outdoor maternity photo shoot at the beginning of my third trimester. It was spring and Houston had some beautiful Azalea trail events around the city. We went to the River Oaks trail I was too tired that day but didn’t cancel the shoot. This is such an important memory and I wanted to frame it on a wall at my home. I dressed in a light peach color lace dress to capture the spring season and my husband- Deep went with an all denim look to have a good contrast for the pictures. It was simple and sweet and effortless for both of us. I am so glad the pictures are so pretty.

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I had the hardest time finding my baby shower dress. Whereas, my entire pregnancy I had no problems with my maternity wear. I definitely didn’t want a maternity dress for the shower, instead I preferred a regular gown or maxi dress which I can use later too (although a size or two up.) My first preference was a gown mostly which was long ,flowing with drapes and in pastel colors. After an exhausting shopping exploration of three weekends, I finally managed to find the exact piece of clothing I was looking for.

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My BCBG gown in mauve.

Thanks to  Pinkbushmaternity for collaborating with me . The maxi dress fitted me so well. This picture was taken exactly 1 day before my delivery. The dress is very versatile as it can also be worn post pregnancy and the overlapping V shape neckline makes it perfect for breast feeding.

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