New Mom Mondays – Meet Vanessa

This post is part of the New Mom Monday series! A series about moms and their advice to new moms! Books and videos can only teach us so much, but there’s something special about hearing from real life moms. Honest, true, and always beautifully inspiring!!
♥ What’s your Name?


♥ Tell us a little about yourself!
I am a woman trying to find a way to share my knowledge and advice from what I’ve learned in the short time I’ve been a mother. I apply a lot of what I’ve learned from my education to my family and relationships.
I’ve been married for 8.5 years to a wonderful man serving our country with the US Marine Corps (been together for 12 years). Our relationship has been through boot camp, trainings, a deployment to Afghanistan, recruiting duty, and 3 duty stations (most currently, Cleveland, Ohio).
I have 2 little ones, a boy named Lucas, age 4 and a little girl named Zoe, age 9 months.
Prior to having our littles, I graduated with my bachelor’s in Child Psychology and Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy. Unfortunately, I need to have a license in order to practice Marriage and Family Therapy and moving from state to state makes that difficult to gain the amount of internship hours I need in order to take the licensing test!
Before moving to Ohio, I worked in special education. I’ve had experience in the special education setting from preschool to 10th graders. In the preschool setting, I worked with kiddos who had severe autism. The K-10th graders all had social, emotional and behavioral disorders. I also did an internship working with women in a residential treatment program, offering counseling for the women with their mental health issues.
Because of the moving around so much and wanting to stay at home with my kids, I turned to making money online. I began my journey in May, 2015 and January, 2017, I began my blog focusing on all things family related-crafts, education, parenting, money making, saving, budgeting.
♥ How many kids do you have? What are their names and ages?
2 kids, Lucas-age 4, Zoe-age 9 months
♥ How do you find your “me time”?
Mostly in the shower! (sad but true!) A nice, warm, long, relaxing shower is the best! But in all honesty, I used to go for runs until I injured my knee and it hasn’t been the same since. And now with 2 kids, it comes when the oldest is at preschool and the youngest is napping! Every once and a while, my husband will take both kids to run an errand so I get some time alone. It’s difficult to have “me” time with such a young baby (especially since she’s in the phase of all she wants is Mommy). On weekends, my husband does take both kids down to the basement to play toys or play a game, while I’m working or cooking.
♥ What is the best baby related book you’ve ever read?
I read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” when I was pregnant with my first. All baby books are more of a guide rather than a this is what will happen type of book! As a brand new parent, “The Wonder Weeks” was a great guide to help explain my son’s behaviors and what he was learning at each stage. It also explains when the dreaded sleep regressions begin and why they are happening!
♥ What’s the most useful baby product you have? Why do you love it?

BABY BUM BRUSH!!! Love, love, love it! That is one product I recommend to all new moms! You think putting on diaper cream is no big deal with your fingers, but it makes things so much easier to wipe it on with the brush (especially on the go!) when your child is twisting and turning trying to get away, while you are trying to fasten the diaper! Having your hands diaper cream free allows you to move slightly faster so you can get the diaper fastened before your child twists away!

♥ If you could say something to yourself when you first brought home your first baby, what would you say?
You won’t ruin your baby! You learn, adjust, and get in a routine! Soon, having a baby is just a part of your life and you barely even remember how it was before having kids!
Don’t worry so much about if you are doing things right because your child will let you know if they are happy or not!
Also, cat naps are the norm, not the exception! At first your baby will sleep a ton, but eventually, those 1-3 hour naps turn into 30-45 minute naps and it’ll be awhile before you get back to the 1-3 hour naps (like…once your kid is down to 1-2 naps a day…even then maybe even not!) And there will be days you miss the longer naps!
♥ How much planning did you do before your baby was born, and how do you think that it helped or didn’t help?
 For the first born, we were living at my parents’ house while our place was being built. We didn’t set up a nursery but we had things set up with a pack and play and a ton of clothes! Too many clothes! As soon as we knew the gender of the first, we started buying things. It helped to have the cost of the baby stuff spread out, but then again, we over bought! We didn’t need half of the things we got!
For our second, we didn’t even start getting things ready until I was around 30 weeks. I didn’t have any clothes or anything set up in the nursery. Even with the lack of planning, things came together just fine, without issues, and she had what she needed when she came home.
♥ What do you believe are the top three pieces of advice a new mom or someone trying to conceive should know?
Oh gosh, top three pieces of advice…
For new mom’s/mom’s to be:
1. You can’t ruin your child by loving them and meeting their needs! Their needs are basic, you absolutely will figure out what they need!
2. Breastfeeding is hard! Do what is best for yourself and that is what will be best for baby! Hospitals have resources available if you need/want help breastfeeding. They try not to pressure new moms with breastfeeding and try to make it guilt free, but you’ll feel the guilt by choosing not to breastfeed but it’s okay!
With my son, one nurse supported me breastfeeding, gave me a nipple shield to use and I felt okay with it, but the next nurse I had, was telling me my milk won’t come in without my son’s lips on my nipple so I need to pump after nursing to get my milk in. She freaked me out that my son wasn’t getting any milk so I just stuck with pumping instead. As a new mom, I had no idea how long I needed to pump after nursing and no one explained it to me. Pumping turned out to be what was best for me, which made it best for my son.
3. If you need a break, don’t be afraid to ask for one! It’s so important to take care of yourself during this time! With my first, I didn’t really ask for help because I felt like this is my child and my responsibility. I didn’t want to put that responsibility on anyone else. There were times, I didn’t eat during the day because my first wanted to be held all day. He would wake up the moment I’d put him down for a nap. I wouldn’t put him down and I wouldn’t want to move, so I never got a break!
For people trying to conceive:
1. There’s never a perfect time to have a baby. When you do plan to start trying, know it varies for everybody. For my son, it took us 9 months to conceive but for our daughter, it just happened without us trying.
2. If you get discouraged because it’s taking longer than you expected to conceive, find a group of people to support you in your journey.
3. Use the cheap ovulation sticks and pregnancy sticks you find on Amazon! You get a ton of them and they are just as good!
♥ What is your best memory so far of being a mom?

Watching our son meet his baby sister for the first time! He couldn’t stop smiling and watching her in the carseat! (He soon got over that and realized he’d no longer get all the attention, but then his love for her came back and he enjoys playing with her)

♥ Give us the short form version of your birth story.
My first pregnancy: I began having contractions on a Thursday night, but they went away. I fell asleep and woke up at 4:45am on Friday morning with contractions. My contractions never got closer together all day Friday, they just continued every 10 minutes. I wasn’t able to sleep Friday night and into Saturday. Finally, Saturday morning at 5am, I called the hospital and they said I could come in (I was afraid I’d be sent away because I wasn’t far enough along to get admitted. They had told me I wouldn’t be because the next day I was just going to be induced anyway.)
I was put on pitocin (the drug given to move along labor if you aren’t dilating on your own) and I got an epidural around 10am. I labored all day while sleeping, and needed another extra bolus (basically an extra dose) in my epidural around 6pm because it was wearing off. My doctor came around 9pm as I was finally at the point where I could push. I pushed for almost 2.5 hours and finally he was born at 11:20pm at 41 weeks.
My second pregnancy: I had 0 contractions and barely dilated when the doctor checked at my weekly checks. I was so disappointed that I wasn’t dilated because she was low in my pelvis. I was thinking she’d come faster than my first because she was my second and so low down. I had my induction scheduled for a Monday morning, but my water broke that Saturday before the scheduled induction around 12:30pm. (I was putting groceries away after my son’s soccer game and grocery shopping) Once my water broke, the contractions began. I would have preferred to labor at home a little, but they told me if my water breaks to come in due to a risk of infection.
I went in around 2:30. They had to make sure my water did break and then they admitted me. By the time I got in my room, it was around 3:30 or 4pm. The doctor asked me some questions about if I wanted an epidural or not and I said yes. At this hospital, they had a whole anesthesiology team, full of students and a supervising anesthesiologist. Well, the student was giving me the epidural and for some reason, they had to restart the whole thing. She poked me again in my spine and they ask what side do you feel it in and I told them only my left side. They said that’s normal, just lay on your right side and gravity will bring the drugs over. Well that didn’t happen! Long story short, the epidural did not take, I could feel the pain, and an anesthesiologist without the team came in and poked me for the third time.
Things are going well, so I thought, they weren’t really telling me much. Just making me change positions a lot! The doctor on call came in around 1am or so and had me start antibiotics. (I didn’t know it at the time because I felt like I wasn’t informed but my heart rate and the babies heart rate were elevated, which is a sign for an infection) They got some antibiotics in me in hopes the baby would get some too to protect her. She was face up while I was pushing and finally turned at the last second when she came out, born at 2:20am.
They let me hold her, but then took her saying she needed another round of antibiotics because my placenta tested positive for an infection. They told me she’d be upstairs in the nursery and will be brought to my room. I was finally brought up to my room at 5:00am and was told they were still trying to get an IV in her to give her antibiotics. I got, maybe, 2 hours of sleep, and at 9am, the lactation consultant came in to have me start pumping because my daughter was being brought down to NICU. They didn’t tell me a thing and I was so mad! At that point, I had only held her for maybe 5 minutes and I couldn’t believe she had to go down to the NICU. I still get teary-eyed just retelling the story!
I was not planning a NICU stay, no parent ever is, but you get through it, and put it in the past.
♥ Lastly, for fun, define motherhood!

Motherhood: Transforming from being an individual person, to having a part of you in another form. It’s not just birthing a child, it’s emotional, physical, cognitive, and social transformation. Once you enter motherhood, you will do anything for this little one who depends on you, because they are a part of you. You would sacrifice everything for these little ones, because nothing compares to how much you love them. The pride they have when they accomplish something, you have that same amount. The sadness they have when something/somebody hurts them, you have that same amount. The success they feel, you feel too. The frustration they feel, you feel too! You have immense responsibility for this child and it’s hard to put yourself above the needs of your child/ren. Your life will never be the same once you enter motherhood.

To hear more from Vanessa be sure to visit her blog Simple Lists Simple Life and follow her on Pinterest.

If you would like to participate in New Mom Mondays please feel free to message me by using my contact form! I would love to not only feature you on my blog but learn from your answers, as I’m sure many readers would too!