This is my Reality.

I don’t have a good sleeper.

I don’t know what a good sleeper is.

I don’t know what it’s like to get 3-6 hour stretches of uninterrupted sleep.

I don’t know what it’s like not to be exhausted.

I don’t know what it’s like to not feel like a zombie.

This is my reality.

I do know what it’s like to cry with my baby at all hours of the nights.

I do know what it’s like to question if he’s in pain, gassy, hungry multiple times a night.

I do know what it’s like to be told that I’ve put my son to sleep too early, too late, starving, incorrectly, and any other way that diminishes my credibility as a parent.

I do know what it’s like to be told I need to stop cosleeping because I may roll on top of him and kill him.

I do know what it’s like to be told to just “let him cry it out, he needs to learn.”

I do know what it’s like to scream, cry, blame myself because I just have a bad sleeper.

I do know what it’s like to doubt myself on a regular basis. Have anxiety attacks as the clock creeps towards bedtime. To want to just give up when it’s been two hours since the process has begun.

This is my reality.

Luca is a bad sleeper.

Luca had (has?) painful reflux, a cow milk protein allergy, a reaction to tree nuts through breast milk.

Luca screamed for the first six months of his life during every single moment of sleep.

Luca became afraid of sleep.

Luca could not handle sleep training. He would scream for hours, get so worked up he’d puke, finally say mama to stab my heart, and then cling to me thinking his life was over.

Luca is terrified of his crib.

Luca cannot sleep now unless he’s touching me.

It sometimes takes hours to even get him to sleep.

This is my reality.

Here I am at 11:45 at night. Have been trying to put my stubborn son to sleep since 8 pm. Have tried nursing, a bottle, white noise, lullabies, rocking, just about anything possible to get him to sleep.

Have tried moving bed time earlier, moving bed time later, filling him up before bed, moving feeding times around, scheduling, going with the flow, sleep training, co-sleeping- again just about anything possible to get him to sleep.

I cry most nights. I beg him to please just go to sleep most nights. I feel like a shit parent most nights.

Again, this is my reality.

But still I wake every day at 8:30/9 and I parent my son. I feed him breakfast, we play, he learns something new, we fight a nap, we have lunch, we play, we learn something new, we go out, we fight another nap, we play, have dinner- do you catch my drift?

My reality is that I do the damn best I can for my son. I be the best mother I possibly can for my child. I cry a lot because it’s all I can do when the frustration hits when he squirms and screams in my arms to fight sleep. When he wakes up 5-6 times a night shrieking at night, inconsolable because of reasons no damn doctor can explain except for teething and separation anxiety. I cry because no one knows the true struggle of raising a baby that NEVER seems to sleep but they so often can give opinions on where and how he sleeps; on parenting a child they just haven’t experienced because like I’ve said before Every. Single. Child. Is. Different.

This is my reality. This is my life of getting minimal amounts of sleep, doubting my parenting, crying with my child through the night, trying to keep my sanity while working & going to school, and just trying to not run away.

It’s a reality that is so not talked about. We hear so often “Oh is he a good baby, sleeping through the night?” I’m sorry, is my child bad because he doesn’t? Is there something wrong with him because he doesn’t? Do you feel I’m a bad parent because my child doesn’t? Do you see the line of doubt you place into parents heads with these assumptions on how a child is meant to act?

We don’t talk about the harsh side of parenting; the painful, gut-wrenching, pull your hair out, try not to yell at the world side. The side when you want to run and leave this child behind just for a second of quiet, peaceful, eight hour sleep. The side where you need sleep to function but you feel this painful bought of guilt every single time you ask someone to rake him just for an uninterrupted hour of sleep. When you feel guilty because this is the life you grew, the life you swore to protect and nurture but you feel like you’re falling apart because you cannot function. You cannot biologically function without sleep. But you feel like a failure for admitting that, don’t you? For admitting that you need something that takes time away from your baby.

This is my reality. This is so many parents reality and yet we hide within mom groups where moms spout opinions on babies they barely know. Where moms shame other moms because they choose other practices. Where surviving becomes shame because you did something that another mom deems unethical, dangerous, downright selfish. Where you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

We hide behind the shadows of the moms who know it all because we’re afraid to admit we don’t.


You could have raised 10, 15, 20 children and let me break it to you- you still don’t know it all.

Do you know what you know? YOUR children.

Do you know what you don’t know? MY children.

Let’s talk about the ugly side of parenting. The painful side of parenting. The scared, lost, and afraid side of parenting.

What is our actual reality?

This is mine, and I can’t hide it anymore.

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Expectations vs. Reality

We all have this idyllic image of how we want our birth to go. Some moms choose an at home setting and some choose a hospital. Some moms want a vaginal birth free of medications and interference, others want a vaginal birth with an epidural and any type of medical intervention that they deem fit. Some moms opt for a C-Section and some moms have no other choice than to have one. No matter what you choose, your birth plan is the way that you truly wish to bring your new bundle of joy into the world, and any way you envision is the right way for you. Period.

As soon as we found out Luca was going to be arriving I decided I wanted nothing more than an epidural or a water birth. Two very contrasting ideas when it came to giving birth. One meant I’d be in a bed until I birthed my child free of pain, and the other meant that I could freely walk around, hop on a ball, and soak in a pool till he was born; except I’d feel everything until he decided to arrive. For me, the deciding factor was the pain. I believe in the grand scheme of things my pain tolerance is not on the lowest of the spectrum, but it definitely was not high enough that I thought I could endure contractions and then pushing without some type of help. And that was okay. It was my birth and I deserved to have what I wanted and not be shamed for it.

Midway through my pregnancy I developed some pretty awful round ligament pain. For those who haven’t had a baby, your body has to stretch in all different types of ways to accommodate for a baby. The ligaments that keep your insides nice and tight need to stretch to accommodate your new houseguest, and for some this can hurt tremendously. Well for me, it definitely did. Pain very often is also a trigger for my MS symptoms because pain=stress & stress=potential flare up. Because of this out flew my birth plan of letting baby come when baby wanted to, and in came the discussion of possible induction at 39 weeks if the pain didn’t ease. Which it didn’t. In fact it got so much worse that I cried pretty much my last few weeks, but we are getting ahead of ourselves.

At 28 weeks I began to have steady cramping pain, which at the time I believed were contractions, but truly I was just dehydrated and my body was rebelling. But I remember when we arrived at L&D to be checked a nurse thought my water had broken, and when you’re sitting there only in the first week of your third trimester having the bed rest & NICU talk your heart kind of sinks, your anxiety begins to escalate to levels you did not know it could reach, and you pray. You pray until you can’t any longer. However, my water did not break and Luca was still snug as a bug in his little water home.

COME 38 WEEKS. As I sit there crying in the doctors office yet again, she decides we are no longer going to induce me because she doesn’t want to run the risk of a C-Section to possibly, if not inevitably, throw my body into a nasty flare. Now, with us being 10 months away from this conversation, I must completely agree with her decision. But then, immersed in pain, I was a very angry, very pregnant little firecracker. And that was that, I had no say. A few days later on April 6th I thought I went into labor. I did not, but She did strip my membranes (Oh My God did that hurt-the internet lied. I know, shocking.) which I think was mainly to help because in part I believe she felt a little bad.

Come April 7, 2017- one day short of 39 weeks- and I’m hopping on my yoga ball praying to the contraction god that this child would exit. I start getting pains again. Braxton Hicks or real contractions- the true question centered around every labor and delivery story. Drink some water and lay on your side, if they go away they’re Braxton Hicks. They did not. At this time I was also in the mindset of giving birth in the town we had lived in a few months prior, roughly 35-40 minutes away, even though there was a wonderful hospital about two minutes away. Again, getting ahead of myself. I time the contractions. 7-6-5 minutes apart. Okay time to call the doctor and see what she wants me to do. I did not, under any circumstances want this child born in my home or my car. I called the doctor in my old town to see what I should do, and low and behold out of the three I favored in the clinic I went to, none were on call. In fact the only doctor on call was the one I refused to go to because she was too nasty, and way too rough. She told me not to move until they were two minutes apart.

So me being the stubborn person that I am decided that if the doctor I did in fact like that was at the hospital near me (I had seen her a few times from my many false alarms) was on call I’d just go to her. Just in case. Lo & behold she was. She told me to come in to get checked. When we arrived they placed the normal band contraptions on my stomach to see what was going on and if I was actually in labor or not.

Side story: Due to my weight loss surgery I had a really soft tummy pre-baby because of excess skin from losing over 200lbs. It always took doctors FOREVER to find Luca because of this and each and every time I had to make a joke of it even though it bothered me tremendously to never have a “proper” pregnancy bump. One nurse told me at 34 weeks that I just don’t have a pregnant belly. I’m sure it was the hormones but I cried for a solid hour- yeah I’m pretty sure it was the hormones.

After twenty minutes of trying to find my typical hiding child they got both monitors in the correct place and found that I was indeed having contractions. Hooray, the hopping had worked! But had I progressed anymore than I was in the office only a few days prior? After the grueling cervical check, no. However, this wonderful doctor did order an ultrasound because of excess fluid coming out, and upon the scan realized little mans fluid was low. So at about 3:30 AM I was moved to a delivery room to be induced on the date I was originally meant to be induced on. Moments later upon being checked we had moved to about a 3/4. I was allowed to have the epidural whenever I wanted but me being the everlasting martyr that I am said I’d wait a bit and see what happened. Moments later my water broke, and I can still remember the nurse saying “Oh now the intense ones are coming.” I laughed. We all laughed. I was so naive. BUT did Luca have the best timing or what?

Five. Minutes. Later.

Have you ever seen an exorcism? Where the people are arched in the bed screaming as if the devil is ripping itself out of their body? That was me in labor. My entire body would go rigid and I’d scream. Profanities. Oh Jesus why me. Why me. I can’t do this. I change my mind. Hate to my fiancĂ©. The works. The poor other women on the floor. Why no one told me to be quiet I do not know. I think it was time for that epidural, if only to save the other mothers who would also be going through this that night. So in comes a nice man with a long needle to put some nice stuff into my back. Anthony comes around and tells me to breathe- ha- and says count with me. Ladies who are pregnant: this is the most magical thing in the world. I managed to sit still through two or three contractions while they did my epidural and I don’t remember feeling the pain as intensely during that time.

My epidural failed. Oh how angry I was.

They tried again. Yes, I let that man stick me in my back twice. But you know what? I felt nothing after that until they switched it off at around 8AM when I had reached a 10.

2 hours of pushing later, out popped little Luca. 6lb 6.62 oz and 19&1/2 inches long.

My birth plan did not turn out the way I had originally envisioned. I didn’t get a magical epidural that worked properly or a beautiful water birth, but I did have a baby that was born healthy & alive. Isn’t that the end goal? To get them here and healthy? Let us try not to put so much stress on ourselves when it comes to the way in which we birth our children. If your plan goes correctly, great, but if not look down at that blessing because we go through the obstacles for them. To get them here.

Judge Me Not

“There really is no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus, judge not” ~ Thomas S. Monson
I came across this quote at a very important time this past week. Lately, I have been struggling with my life not panning out the way that I believed at this point it should be. I have been struggling with coming to terms that I may not finish my education at the time I was originally supposed to. I have been struggling with coming to terms with a new life plan I may need to inact upon my family. I have been struggling with how to cope with all the change around me, both physically and mentally. 

I feel that in this world it is so much easier to pass judgment on people before we even do our research to understand why they make the decisions that they do. We so quickly judge a person on the decisions they might have needed to make for their lives before knowing their circumstances, their struggles, and their own ideals that led them to their decision. It is quicker to label someone’s choices as wrong when they don’t coincide with what we would have done for ourselves. But do we not remember that someone else’s life is not our own? 
When my fiancĂ© and I announced the pregnancy of our son we of course heard a menagerie of things. You’re too young. This is foolish. Your lives will no longer go the way you want it to be. You’ve ruined your future. This is a mistake. The negative far outweighed the positive. 

What we would have loved to hear was: This is a blessing. Congratulations. You will find a way to make this work. You can do this as long as you go through it knowing it may not be easy, but it will be worth it. All things worth it deserve the struggle. 

Most importantly I would have loved to have heard: You will be okay. This baby will be loved. You will find your way. 

The positives, though their, were shadowed by the negative. No one ever questioned why we chose to keep our baby for our reasons, but instead why we would have dared to keep him. No one ever questioned our intentions, our plans, why now. No one thought to inquire why we thought, at our age now, that this was the time to endure this life journey. No one thought to ask our circumstances that could have played a part. It was much easier to judge. 

Truth: The moment that test gave me two lines I felt relief.

Why? Because I was in a state of panic from receiving a diagnosis that I thought would end my life. I was in a state of panic because my life had just been turned around and it felt like my world was crashing. I was in a state of panic because not only did I feel like my life was being ripped away from me, but also that I’d never get to live through the moments I was about to enter. 

But it’s much quicker to judge and give an unwanted opinion rather than try to understand the situation. 

Lately, I’ve truly been struggling. I have chosen to leave the majority of it to myself in fear that I’ll get the same negative views on my families life choices. I’m fearful of the comments that could be made when I speak up of my troubles. I’m fearful of the judgement that will inevitably be passed when we speak of our choices, our plans, our hopes for our future when no one knows the backstory, the thought, the research we’ve done before making these decisions. I fear my own decisions because the negativity has swallowed me whole in a way I did not think possible. It has brought on a sense of doubt that I have never felt before. A sense of doubt that I am now struggling to break. 

I never thought that planning MY life, and the life that MY family would live would come with so much unwanted opinion. Yes, we had a baby young. But did he struggle? No. Do you know the real reason as to why he is such a blessing to me? Maybe, maybe not. The real question is do you ever stop to think and ask why we are living the way we are living? Do you? 

I might not finish my education on time. I feel guilty and ashamed because those who viewed my son as a mistake will simply use that as the excuse to why I am not fulfilling my potential in a timely manner. That could not be far from the truth. This makes me fearful. Fearful that I will get backlash and shamed judgement because people who we look to for reassurance and acceptance will simply place their own views and opinions on a matter they truly know nothing about. 

Why do we think it is okay to judge someone without even knowing their situation? 

And we ask ourselves, why should we care what people think? And yes, why should we? But a basic human need is acceptance. A basic human need is compassion. 

When we judge people on an issue we know nothing about we take those needs away. When we tell people their decisions have made them failures we strip them of their free-will without even discerning their need to fulfill their wants and goals. We take away their confidence without understanding their reasoning. 

Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. 

We have been told this saying since kindergarten and yet have fallen short on understanding basic human compassion. 

So, in closing. Someone else’s life decisions are not an area meant for judgement with lack of understanding. Of course, guidance and counseling are essential, but thinking you understand someone else’s life before actually understanding are not okay. Just because someone is not following the same path as someone else does not make it wrong. Stop comparing people. Stop comparing situations. Nothing is identical in this life. Everything holds a slight amount of uniqueness. It’s what keeps life such an adventure.