baby on a plane, a summary.

You wake up early and pack every snack you own into the diaper bag. Pack plastic bags for the messy diaper you know is going to happen on the flight and jump in the car. Your car ride is full of screams because you booked your trip to be a little after naptime because you dont want to be that mom on the plane with the crying child. You get to the airport and the Southwest lady wants to see proof of age for your child who clearly is under 1 years old and you search through all of the snacks for a immunization record or something for proof that your diaper-wearing, babbling, and non-walking child is not a toddler. You go cheap on the flight and choose to have a lap baby and need to put their car seat under with baggage but forget to tell your husband to get a palstic bag to protect the car seat with. $15 later Southwest helps you out and gives you a nice big blue cheap cover to ensure the "safety" of the car seat. 

You're doing good on time and you feel like you got this in the bag. Here comes security checks. You smile at the lady who puts her germ-infested hands all over your babies sippy cup  top and then hollers for you to "move along lady, there is a line here". You listen and hurry up  with your baby in tow in the carrier to get checked for possible bomb powder on your hands. Now it is time to get all of your carry-ons and infected sippy cup all the while trying to help your husband from getting his brand new laptop smashed by on-coming luggages. 

The end is in sight. You see your gate and head on over and do a quick diaper change.You would go to the bathroom yourself but it's almost impossible to pee with a baby strapped to your chest. Good thing you get to go with family boarding because you checked in way too late and are in C class. Your baby is getting wrestless due to it being way past naptime, but you planned this all out perfectly so don't fret. Family boarding is a breeze minus the two families who purposefully cut you off because they clearly coudln't see or hear you in line before them. You let it pass because as a fellow parent you kow you are all just trying to survive at this point. 

Your baby gets a cold perfectly in time to meet family which sucks but on the upside you get a whole row to just you and your family. Thank you runny nose. Thank goodness for the carrier also because baby is just starting to fall asleep. Good thing you planned out the nap this way. Captain is on the loud speaker now and boy is it loud. His 9am coffee must be kicking in. You figure you are in the clear because your baby should sleep for the entire 45 min quick trip up north.

Here comes the stewardess who kindly tells you that you need to unstrap your baby from your carrier for departure. Wait! You mean the baby you just go to sleep for the flight? Yes, that baby. It obviously makes perfect sense and safer to unstrap the baby from your carrier so that in case of turbulence your baby while now have literally no way of being restrained and safe. Too bad they make flights so expensive or you could have had baby in their car seat on the flight. 

Thankfully, your baby doesn't wake up despite the unnecessary carrier needing to be removed. All is well and you are soon to nana's house. Oh wait, you hear sceaming. This is a loud scream but it's not your baby. Nope, it is another mom who's two year old wants something. The screaming does not stop. And now there are more than 5 babies screaming. Good thing your baby is exhausted and passed out. But the anxiety of a screaming baby fills up inside of you. Why didn't you pack lollipops? If only you brought the older boys bag with you then you would have had a lollipop to give the mom who won't give her child the snack they are begging for. Why can't that mom just give her child the snack? Think of all of us who's hears are figuartively and literally popping. Too late now, your baby is awake. Thankfully, the screaming helped the time pass and soon you are landing. Time to wake up your husband who had a nice nap on the flight, good thing he can sleep through anything. 

Thank you for choosing Southwest and welcome to Sacramento!

(jokes aside, we had a great trip up north to see family. My mom kindly kept the older two boys for us so the trip went smoother than normal but gosh travelling takes a whole lot of patience.)

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megan steven's birth story

 I woke up at 40 weeks and 5 days STILL pregnant after several false alarms and prodromal labor all week. I dislike being pregnant and have a huge and heavy belly since I have big babies and I'm short so, trust me, I was terrible to be around! I was set to be induced at 41 weeks because I just knew I couldn't bear to go over as I had with my son. We had moved states 3 months earlier, so this was a hospital birth and I had no birth plan as opposed to my midwife and birth center birth plan! (I went backwards, I know!) I knew I could do it naturally but I was so tired and huge and just worn down after a move and an energetic 3 year old, that I said to myself if I needed an epidural, I would just do it and rest. Well, at 6:00pm I started having the same old contractions (after have my membranes stripped that morning at my doctor! Ouch.) but after an hour they started getting more intense. I had my parents take my son for a sleepover and started watching a movie with my husband while bouncing on the birth ball. By 8:30pm I knew it was real and told my husband at 9:30pm, I wanted to go in. So about 9:45pm, we got to L&D and I was STILL 4 cm as I had been for a week but 90%. I was honestly discouraged thinking I would be sent home again and in pregnancy purgatory forever and that I would never know when I was actually in labor! I started to walk with my husband around the unit for 45 min or 17 laps (they told us it was a mile) and by the end I was unable to stand through the contractions and needed to start moaning . With the recheck I was 5 cm, 100% and I knew it was real. We checked in the room and I got antibiotics for GBS while bouncing on the ball. Things got intense from there and I told my husband maybe I wanted that epidural and he said ok, let’s try the water in the tub first. I headed there and hot water is medication to me! Then, I hit transition so much sooner than expected and told my husband that I felt faint and like I was going to puke. When I started saying "I can't do this, I feel like I'm going to die" my husband said he knew this was going way faster than our first labor. This only lasted 20-30 min and then I had the urge to poop and just then the nurses walked in to check on me because I had been moaning/screaming quite loudly.

My husband told them it was time and they half carried me to the bed. When they checked I was almost a 9! I was screaming for meds then and lost my cool a bit but it was too late. They did give me Nubian but it did NOTHING. The midwife got there and I was on my hands and knees trying to fight the same urge to push and after only a few contractions it was time. I pushed his head out pretty easily and then I felt his shoulder get stuck on my pubic bone and I became terrified of tearing upward. The midwife knew I was in a bad position and they literally flipped me over and told me I needed him out NOW and to stop loosing my mind. I actually felt so much better on my back and I regained my cool and pushed him out in one or two pushes. I soon realized she was in such a hurry because he was blue and not breathing. The handed him to the pediatric team and they kept stimulating him and his second APGAR was perfect but my husband said he has never been more terrified in his life. I was kinda unaware but just kept asking, where is my baby? Is he ok? I knew he wasn't placed immediately on me that something wasn't quite right. He ended up being perfectly healthy and HUGE, 9lbs 11oz birthed naturally with not a single tear! I felt amazing afterward and still feel great. The whole labor was only about 6 hrs with only 3 being terrible! Our son is fat and happy, eating and sleeping most of his first 2 weeks. And, I felt like superwoman. I love how proud my husband is/was of me and he just kept kissing my head and telling me thank you and good job. I’ll always treasure both our labors together. As all the nurses said, he was an amazing coach

The funny thing is I had a birth center birth and a baby who would not nurse (see my previous essay "not natural") and a hospital birth with no immediate skin to skin and a baby who LOVES to nurse (though we are working on a shallow latch issue). It's funny how different babies are! 

We are so grateful for God's goodness (after a failed IVF attempt this summer and this cycle that was almost canceled due to poor response) and kindness. For this child we have prayed...

We are proud to introduce Tobias Porter Stevens. Born 8/8/17 at 2:38 am at a whopping 9lbs 11 oz, 22 inches!

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*If anyone needs a listening ear as they are going through infertility or the IVF process please feel free to contact me. It can be a long road and sometimes having someone who understands is incredibly valuable! You can also comment here with any questions and I'll respond!  megstvns@gmail.com

an honest look at postpartum depression pt 2

Postpartum depression, for me, has been such a hard thing to experience because it has caused me to be a slave to my thoughts and fears which I normally would not have. This fear, worry, and anxiety keeps me from doing what might bring me joy and often it keeps me from experiencing life that is right in front of me. 

I recently went to a Solly Baby event in San Diego with Leo and had a great time meeting new moms and hearing an inspirational talk on beauty and body image.  Our Solly is our favorite baby carrier and I knew I needed a night out so when they advertised on Instagram they were having a local event with food, wine, a motivational talk, and girl time, I was all about it.

One of my friends from college who was there said something to me that really made in impact on my life with regards to postpartum depression and anxiety. We were catching up and she asked me how I was doing and I vented a little on how hard it is to get out of the house with 3 kids and how it is easy to just want to stay home all the time. She replied (ES), "but, look, you're doing it! You are here and that's what matters!" She didn't know it in that moment but that was exactly what I needed to here. Those few little words gave me validation that taking a night off for myself was okay and not a total failure.

A light bulb went off in my head in that moment. Yes, Leo screamed for half the drive down, yes, I had to pull over to nurse, yes, I was stuck in 30 min of traffic, and yes, I had spit-up down my new J. Crew top the entire night. BUT I was there! I wanted to get out and do something for myself and I did it.  I usually say no to things that take a lot of effort because of the work required to actually make it happen and I am so glad that this time I made it a priority to get out and do something fun and different.

The night was filled with a room full of 100+ moms from all walks of life. Lindsay and Lexi from Beauty Redefined talked to all of us about how we are "more than just a body. See more. Be more." I originally didn't think I would get much out of the talk but I was surprised with how much I took away from the night. 

  I did a lot of people watching, like I usually do and tried to pray for those who looked like me, moms who can put a smile on but inside are battling with their own thoughts. These women were so inspirational to be around because many of them balance blogs, careers, and hobbies while simultaneously being a mom and wife. 

If you or someone you know is struggling from postpartum depression and anxiety please talk to someone. The worst thing you can do is battle this awful illness alone and there is help out there. For me, getting out of the house and doing something for me made such a difference in my life. I felt, for a few hours, like I still had value in purpose in the world besides being a caretaker in my own home. With help from God, my family and medicine I have not been having as bad of symptoms as I did when I had Calvin and is a victory to be celebrated

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