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Great Books for Infants

Growing up with a mother who was a early childhood educator means I inherently was a bit of a bookworm. I remember loving the repetition of some of the more popular works of Eric Carle like ‘The Very Hungry Catepillar‘ and pop-flap books like Eric Hill’s ‘Where Is Spot?’ These books were a big part of my childhood and also signified one-on-one time with my mother!IMG_8999Having our first child it is such a delight to see Titus take to books the same way! His GiGi sporadically sends these awesom kid-sized board books by Dr. Seuss and watching him engage with each turn of the page makes the little girl inside of me jump up and down!

I have curated a collection of Titus’ (and a few of my own!) favorite board books in our Amazon store. If you have Prime you can get these goodies to your doorstep as soon as tomorrow!

Taking Your Newborn Out in Public Do’s & Don’ts

Hiya! Welcome back to At Home With the Mitchells. If you’re new here my name is Eugenia AKA Momma Bear AKA E and I’m sooo ready to talk about a topic that I’ve been itching to discuss: when can my newborn go outside?

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Posting small snippets of our adventures on social media, I’ve received countless messages saying how “brave” I was to take our little one out of the house every now and again. With encouragement from my husband, I’ve slowly become more and more comfortable taking T out and about…with limitations of course!

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Mom and T on a brunch date at six weeks old.

It’s Too People-y Outside

Bringing baby home from the hospital can rightfully incite a touch of anxiety for even the most iron-willed of us. Being tasked with caring for a small human is a huge responsibility and everyone wants to do right by such a responsibility.

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T in London Heathrow Airport headed to Atlanta at two months

We research the best of the best to ensure that their needs are fully met. It seems like as soon as you get a semblance of a rhythm, something as small as a Well Baby checkup can throw the household for a loop. Like–hold up, wait a minute…I have to put on actual pants and take my precious gift from baby Jesus out into the dangerous world?!

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I am totally with you–I know I wasn’t the only new mama who felt like I needed to be on high alert. As if I could magically see dangerous germs in mid-air and obliterate them before they touched my little human. Completely irrational, of course, but the anxiety around caring for a healthy baby could be nothing when compared against caring for an ill child.

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One of many appointments at 4 weeks old.

People are going to “ooh and aah” over your little one…it’s a given! While your baby can’t vocalize to the overly touchy passerby “hey, don’t touch my face with your filthy paws”, you can and must be their advocate. Their mouth piece, so to speak. Try using something like:

“We are keeping his face hands free.”

“We like kind words, but please, no hands on the little ones face.”

Or the ever so tacit:

“Don’t touch my freaking kid.”

It’s entirely up to you! The point I would want to drive home is, you should not be afraid to inform people on how to engage with your immuno-compromised human. You should not be made to feel guilty (by strangers, friends, or even family!) that their adult germs are best kept to themselves.

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T bundled up for the chilly weather in Atlanta at two months.

Your feelings are valid but definitely a bit more incencesed due to raging hormones! Operating off irrational feelings, I’ve learned, is not helpful to anyone. Reign them in and know that taking your little one outside is great for them! Fresh air, real Vitamin D from some sunshine (for baby and mom), only aids in your recovery process and empowers you that you can do this mom thing–one day at a time!

Managing Expectations With Visitors

Whether you’re up for people visiting your home, or are taking your newborn away for holiday with family, the best thing you can do for yourself and your anxiety is to manage expectations before you make that journey.

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Three months old in an English park.

This includes that overly grabby aunt who swears that “babies have been around for centuries–I’m going to give that baby kisses and they’ll be fine.” Take the time to have conversations before your visit. The last thing you want to do is be reactive instead of proactive. It also prevents hurt feelings when everyone understands that adult kisses are best reserved for other adults, not for infants.

My mother is the consumate child rearer, she has been involved with, and now owns, day care facilities for the past 30 years so there was seemingly little explanation needed as to why we didn’t want hands and kisses on T’s face. In fact, when I brought the conversation up to her she laughed and said “really? Of course I would never kiss him or have my hands in his face!” I explained to her that I had the same conversation with everyone T was going to be in contact with over the holiday season and she was not to be excluded–even though I knew she agreed! Better to be safe than sorry!

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I know myself well enough to know that I am a pretty great advocate for myself and have ZERO QUALMS about speaking on behalf of our son. Feelings be damned. Remember, the intent is not to hurt anyone’s feelings, but a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. If you do not preface and properly prepare your guests/family about your wants, someone is bound to cross the line. Especially with the rise of infants admitted to the NICU due to the oh-so-common Respiratory Syncitial Virus (RSV). See graph and citations below. (Nov. 2016)

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If it’s not in your nature to be so up front and direct,  being a momma will (and should) change that really quickly. Because at the end of the day, it is your child and you aren’t being unreasonable by introducing physical boundaries by proxy (considering the fact that infants can’t speak). This can later tie into toddlerhood when children are popularly forced to hug and kiss adults. A whole different blog post for another day!

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T with his cousin Kiki in Atlanta at two months

SO! That being said here are your key take aways:

DO:

  • be proactive, not reactive and set expectations with forseeable guests including family
  • be your childs advocate–speak up
  • outfit your child for the elements, especially for winter babies
  • ask for those handling your child to wash their hands
  • ensure you and your partner are on the same page concerning wants and needs
  • operate from a rational aspect, wade through those wonky post-partum hormones (hard–I KNOW!)

DON’T:

  • stayed cooped up inside–sunshine and fresh air are great for mom and baby post-partum
  • allow people to kiss your childs face or hands
  • feel guilty for voicing your wants
  • allow those who are ill or just recovering from an illness to be in close range of your child
  • panic–you’ve got this!

Talk to Us

We can’t be the only ones who have dealt with the super over-protective feels! Lets us know in the comment section below some of your first experiences with taking your fresh newborn outdoors! We are now at 124 followers and are so pumped!

When we reach 150 AHWTM blog subscribers we will post our very first YouTube family video! Subscribe HERE!

Our Birth Story

A little under two weeks ago we gave birth to a smiling, amazingly hairy baby boy and fell completely in love. We went with the intention of birthing in a birth centre with little to no pain intervention and a possible tub birth, but our little King had other plans for us!IMG_3485Before you read ahead, don’t forget to subscribe to the family blog via email for the most up to date happenings at casa Mitchell!

My Water Broke

Early Wednesday morning my husband made his way to work and I, being the super preggo one in the equation, splayed out in our bed taking advantage of all the space. As I was repositioning myself, I had a sudden urge to use the bathroom so I made my way to the bathroom with the intent of emptying my bladder and crawling back into bed.

Now, I have been peeing for 31 damn years, so when I sat on the toilet and attempted to urinate I knew something was off. At 7:08 AM a gush of what I now know was amniotic fluid went into the toilet and I literally said “aw man.” My lazy self was literally bummed because I knew in my heart that I could not climb back into bed. Because I’m a bum–sue me.

I started to process what needed to happen next. Ok, my husband was at work so I needed to call him and let him know what was happening and that he needed to make the 40 minute commute back to the hospital.

I then realized that the cinematic portrayal of a woman’s water breaking is a LOAD OF BS. It doesn’t happen like how they show in movies where it’s this one solitary moment and rush of water. Maaan, my water continued to “break” up until I held my son in my arms.

My super OCD blogger research beforehand prepared me well enough to pre-purchase some adult diapers (YUP) from Amazon. After reaching my husband, I sent a group text to my family and slapped on a pair of diapers. I was NOT about to ruin the leather in our new car.

By this point it was morning rush traffic in Cambridge so I threw a towel in the drivers seat (in case the diaper wasn’t enough), placed my pre-packed Hospital Bag (this will be a separate post–soon to come!) in the trunk of the car and drove myself to the hospital. What should have been a 19 minute trip turned into a 42 minute traffic-logged ride. The contractions were sporadic and not as intense as I thought they would be. I parked my car and made my way to my midwife for assessment.

Laboring

After I explained the situation to my midwives, I was hooked up to a doppler to monitor my contractions and baby. A few minutes into the assessment, my husband arrived. Just seeing him there did wonders for my nerves and keeping me calm.

After 30 minutes attached to the doppler, our midwives determined that I wasn’t in active labor and were releasing us to go home until contractions were closer together and more frequent.

By the time we got home it was noon and as much as I should have sat my hind parts down and relaxed, I just went into over-drive preparing last minute things that I thought I had time to handle. My water broke only six days from my due date so I spent the majority of the day bearing through slow contractions and cleaning bottles, throwing away packaging from baby registry gifts, doing laundry, you name it. I was like a cat in heat. I could not be still! It wasn’t until late afternoon that I calmed down and watched a movie with my husband, ate lunch, then went for a walk relishing our time together before we became a trio.

Around 10:20 PM we were watching The Office and the contractions were beyond bearable and coming at four contractions in a 10 minute space. As my husband laughed at Steve Carrell’s buffoonery, I told him it was time to go while trying not to rip his head off. How dare he laugh at a funny joke?! 😂🤣

At 10:45 PM, we checked into our birthing suite which was AMAZING by the way. It was super tranquil given the hellacious feeling tearing through my abdomen. It came equipped with a private bathroom, small garden, a queen sized bed and a birthing tub.
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From 10:20 PM to 6:45 AM we labored (using oxygen for the more prickly contractions) attempting to have the natural birth we envisioned for our son and for ourselves.

My midwife who assisted us throughout these eight hours, advised us that because we were coming up on 24 hours since my water broke, the concern for infection to baby and mom was high and we needed to move our birthing process from the birthing suite to a more medical environment upstairs to deliver either one of two ways: vaginally or via C-Section. I just was not dilating in a way that was conducive to having our child. We needed to be 10 centimeters dilated and at 8 hours of active labor, I was only 3.5-4 centimeters dilated.

To C-Section or Not to C-Section

Moving “upstairs” was a whirlwind of emotions including:

  • exhaustion from being up since 7:00 AM the previous day (my husband had been up since 3:00 AM since he had to go into work that morning)
  • a tinge of failure as the visualization of your birth is ripped from your grasp
  • a strange guilt as you tried your best to will your body to do the right thing and alas, it worked against you
  • and happiness as we knew that we were one step closer to meeting our baby boy

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From the time we were admitted upstairs, we attempted to continue naturally but after a day of laboring, the exhaustion was setting in. To preserve what energy I had we opted for an epidural to take me through the worst of the contractions as we waited for my cervix to dilate so we could deliver vaginally.

Hours into this process each check of my cervix was a blow to the chest as the midwives would tell us after each check “unfortunately you’re still only 4 centimeters dilated.” How much longer could we go before baby was put into a position of distress?

After consulting with our midwife team and doctors, their suggestion of a C-Section was seen as the only logical way to get baby boy out happily and safely. We prayed to God that this was the right decision for our family and went into the operating theatre with the happiest (and cheekiest!) team of surgeons we could ask for.

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With my husband (and our HILARIOUS anesthesiologist!) by my side, I felt like this was how things were meant to be–picturesque dream of birth be damned. I felt pressure but no pain, baby T was delivered, Dad cut the cord, and he was placed on my chest aaaaanndd the waterworks began. Never have I ever felt a feeling so surreal and out of body than the second my son looked at me in my eyes. I just remember saying “he is so perfect” over and over to my husband and couldn’t believe that the boy I met at 15 years old is now the father to our first son.

Anything I had ever done wrong in my past was seemingly wiped clean by this wide-eyed human that squirmed on my chest. Purpose filled me as I knew that of all the things I will ever do in life, none will match or even come in a close second to rearing and keeping safe this child of ours.

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If you’ve made it this far and haven’t subscribed to the blog via email I am officially side-eyeing you! Thanks so much for reading!

Talk to Us

What was your birth experience like? Did everything go as planned? Let us know in the comment section below!

An English Baby Shower

If you haven’t followed us on Facebook yet, I can break the news to you that we are having a bouncing baby boy come October 1st! The military wives club here in England were so gracious in putting together this beautiful English-themed baby shower equipped with scones, finger sandwiches, and the traditional English spirit, Pimm’s!Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog via email for the most recent AHWTM updates!

The weather was so kind to us this Saturday. For those of you who haven’t visited England, I am here to tell you it is notoriously rainy and overcast. Luckily for us it was cool and super sunny!

We played your typical shower games like guess the size of the bump which was HILARIOUS because I carry super small! In the picture above I was 32 weeks and six days. He’s a little fella!Among the thoughtful gifts received, the ladies also proffered their advice concerning the new life that baby brings. I’ve become quite accustomed to it being just us two, so any insight on how to segway from a twosome to a threesome was appreciated!

Advice ranged from “continue to date your spouse” to “just go with the flow.” While the advice sounds simple enough, each of the ladies expounded on how pivotal it was to their sanity to implement it everyday.

Talk to Us

What advice would you give to new, expecting parents? Let us know in the comment section! Oh! Feel free to see some photos from the baby shower that didn’t make it to Instagram below! ☺️

Our Partnership with Legacy Magazine

IMG_2443Starting a new blog platform is always met with a variety of feelings and even slight expectations.

“Will it be received well?

Will anyone read our stuff?

How can we reach more people?”

It was quite a surprise to be received with open arms by the creative minds behind Legacy Magazine, the first publication for service member families and communities.

Dmitri and I both come from families that have served and know all to well the unique lifestyle it demands of those engrossed in such a family dynamic.

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Sure, there are countless celebrations, proud moments, and smiles like any family. But there are also a great amount of painful transitions, separations, and an increased likelihood of loss. Phew! That got real!

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About Legacy Magazine

This isn’t your average magazine! It includes articles from people living the exact life that you as a service-member or family member may familiarize with.

You’ll hear stories of overseas assignments, coping with single parenthood due to year-long deployments, and inspiring tellings of the iron-willed team it takes to raise a family thrusted into this lifestyle.

Auto-Renew subscriptions to Legacy Magazine are $18 per volume. We received our magazines all the way across the pond, check it out!

At AHWTM we give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on topics, events, or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger’s own.

Talk to Us

It’s a small world after all, right? How are you affiliated with the Armed Forces? A second-cousin in the Coast Guard? A boyfriend away at Basic Training? Let us know in the comment section!