This is my kick-off post for my week of birth stories written by guest bloggers! I wrote my original birth story earlier this year. I also published the following story to Unexpectant, but I wanted to post it here as well. Please come back each day this week to read more birth stories from This Mom Loves, The Planet Pink, Nine More Months, Common Sense Dancing & Sporty Mama Says!
9am New Years Day & I awake to a contraction. I had been having Braxton Hicks for weeks, but this felt different, stronger. I felt another one a few minutes later & started timing how far apart they were soon after that. They stayed consistent at every 6 minutes or so. I told Lewis that I thought it was possible I was in labor. Since we had been dealing with some contractions for a while, neither of us were too quick to believe it really was labor. It seemed like God just wanted to tease us, so we decided not to get excited until we were sure.
I spent the morning laying in bed with Lewis, watching Cops. I ate lunch around noon & started to notice that my contractions were getting stronger & were coming about 4 minutes apart. There were a few that I had to focus a little more to get through, but still nothing too bad. I could’ve done this part all day. I watched some Buffy episodes on TV, which was awesome! It was New Year’s Slay on Logo & I enjoyed it for a while, but I eventually needed a little more help getting through the contractions. I don’t remember exactly when I started communicating with my nurse-midwife through text message, but it was somewhere in this time. I told her what was going on & just kept her updated every hour or so. I wanted to stay home as long as I could because I was most comfortable in my own familiar space.
Trying to explain contraction pain is so hard. For me, it felt sort-of like a wrenching menstrual cramp. They were really low. Mine would slowly come on & then slowly go back down. I focused a lot on my breathing. In & out, in & out. I did a lot of visualizing Isis moving down & out, down & out. Every contraction was her moving one tiny step closer to me. I had to think about it like that or I’d lose focus & just think about pain. I did my best to never think of it as pain. It was life, it was movement, it was her making her way out.
I ended up taking a bath & that helped a lot with the pain. Somehow being able to float a little bit helped take the pressure off the other parts of my body like my back & just focus it in my uterus. When I wasn’t laying against something, there wasn’t extra pressure. It was all just belly.
When I got out of the tub, my contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart. Lewis had been with me from the time I got in the bath, so he was helping me get through things. We tried having me do different positions, like sitting on a birthing ball, on my hands & knees, laying on my side & standing. I eventually got to the point where I felt like I probably wanted to go to the hospital & Lewis was definitely on board because he was feeling like he couldn’t do much to help me. I was nervous to go to the hospital because I thought that the intensity of actually being there would slow down my labor, but we packed everything in the car & headed on our way. I told the nurse-midwife we were going, so she called ahead & told them I wanted a natural birth, no IV, no pain medication, labor tub, nurse who was ok with natural birth, etc. I at least felt comfortable that I was going somewhere that was prepared for me.
Luckily, we were able to get the only labor room with a tub in the hospital. It was at least twice the size of mine at home & was so awesome because I could submerge my entire body in there & still not lay on the bottom. I could just float. This helped my contractions immensely! Looking back on it, I’m not sure I could’ve done a natural labor for as long as I did without the tub.
I was monitored intermittently for 20 minutes of every hour. They also used a small heart monitor wrapped in a plastic bag to listen to her heartbeat while I was in the water. My best friend, Diana, was there with us. For the next several hours, it was me, Lewis, Diana & the labor nurse. I had told the nurse-midwife that she was ok to stay home until I was ready for her. She wasn’t even on call, but was graciously coming in anyway to deliver my baby. She was ready to come in when I wanted, but I knew I wasn’t dilating really quickly & I felt comfortable with our process of going back & forth from the tub to a birthing ball to be monitored.
I was almost completely effaced when I got to the hospital, but I was only 4 cm dilated. As I continued on with labor, I dilated about 1 cm every hour & a half to 2 hours. After a few hours, the nurse noticed that things were slowing down a little & she told me it’d probably be good to go walk around the halls to speed things along. So I put on the little mesh underwear they give you with a big pad – I had no idea you start to bleed a little when delivery gets close – & we went for a walk in the halls. Every 30-45 seconds, I’d have to stop & hold on to Lewis while I had a contraction. I was the only one in the hall, although I knew there were other women in the room in labor, but my nurse told me they were all hooked up to IV’s & epidurals. Even though I was definitely in pain, I was happy that I was able to walk around to speed things up. I liked being able to do what I wanted as long as Isis & I were both doing good.
Shortly after the walk, they checked me again & I was 7 1/2 cm. The contractions started to get stronger & closer together & the nurse offered to call my nurse-midwife to come in to break my water & speed things along. We said we were ready. Up until this point, I had been confident & felt good about everything that was going on. It wasn’t easy & the contractions were a lot harder than I probably make it sound when I’m talking about it, but I was still happy & confident with the way things were going.
Once my water was broken, a lot of that changed. Everything got a lot more intense. The nurse-midwife described it as having no more cushion, so the contractions felt a lot harder. This is definitely true. They started coming faster & felt a lot stronger. It was a lot of things at once. I was clearly in transition, I had no more cushion from the water & I got to the point where I had to stop talking at all, even between contractions. I went inward, focusing on her moving down & out, down & out. I’ve heard that the majority of labor happens in your brain & I found that to be so true for me. When things got hard like this, I focused all my energy on “breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.” It was a conscious effort to not think about pain & put it on something else. It took every ounce of my energy to just keep my mind where I wanted it & not lose control.
The nurse-midwife told me to make noise. She said that a lot of times it helps to let out a groan or a growl or a yell or whatever while in the contraction. I didn’t want to do that because I just didn’t see the point & I thought it seemed embarrassing, but as soon as I finally started doing it, things started moving along. I started feeling a desire to push at the end of every contraction. Not a lot, but a little. Everything in my body wanted that baby out. I was breathing out & groaning out & pushing out. I was ready for her to be out.
I pushed on the birthing ball & I pushed while sitting on the toilet. When I was sitting on the toilet, I looked down & noticed that there was brighter red blood coming out & I got scared. I didn’t realize that this was normal. That’s one moment where I almost lost it. I looked at Lewis & then I saw myself in the mirror & I thought in my head, “I’ve made a huge mistake…” but I wouldn’t say anything out loud. I knew if I said it out loud, I would lose control, lose focus. I closed my eyes & focused on Isis – moving down & out, down & out.
Finally I got back on the bed & the nurse-midwife checked me one last time & ended up having to push the lip of my cervix back so that Isis’ head could get through. That one single thing was more painful in that moment than anything before or after. Even pushing Isis out wasn’t as painful as when she did that. I’m not sure what makes that so much more painful. Maybe it’s the fact that the baby is already making its way down or that you could be in the middle of a contraction when she does it, but either way, Lewis had to literally hold me on the bed because I was in so much pain. Still, I never said a word. I groaned, I cried, but I was thinking in my head, “down & out, down & out, breathe, breathe, breathe.”
Then came pushing & I remember very little of what was going on around me. I know Lewis & Diana were having to help me curl my body up to push her out because I was completely exhausted. I know that 2 other nurses came in right before she came out to do all the prep stuff to her right after she is here. I know that Diana stood at my head. I know that I couldn’t tell the difference between her still being in the birth canal & her crowning.
But I remember exactly what it was like when she came out. 6:06am January 2 – It was an instant, a second & she was there. Within the same second she was placed on my bare chest & we looked at each other. I was completely overwhelmed with what I had just done, with the fact that she was here, with what was coming up, with what I had to do now. I was exhausted & I was scared, but I was home. This girl was going to change everything. She was brand new & I had sacrificed to get her here. Real love always requires sacrifice. For me, that sacrifice began with 9 months of pregnancy & a 21 hour, medication-free, painful labor. She was born through sweat, tears, blood, but also hope, excitement, joy. She gave so much more in that moment than had been taken from me through labor.
My body knew what it was doing. It was bringing her to me. Breathing in, breathing out, pushing down, pushing out, moving second by second, to my arms. Looking back, I wouldn’t do it any other way. Although it is the hardest single thing I’ve ever done in my life, it was also the most rewarding by far.
I have heard several of the issues with cloth diapers & I think people have valid concerns. It is definitely either something you’re interested in or something you know just isn’t for you. For those of you who think you may be interested, but are trying to figure out exactly how it works, I’ve decided to share our set-up! I’ve found them to be easier than I expected & even more user-friendly than I had originally thought! I thought about splitting this post into separate posts so it’d be shorter, but I’ve just left it all as one thing.
First of all, we use GroBaby, although they are now re-launched as GroVia. I will refer to them from now on as GroVia since that is their new official name. We just don’t have any of the new kind yet, but after this video I shared the other day, we are absolutely going to buy a couple! One of the things I really liked about GroVia is that they can be used when the babies are really small. We started Isis on cloth once her umbilical cord stump fell off, so at about 2 weeks. She was about 7 lbs at this point.
I tried several different kinds of cloth diapers (fitted w/ covers, pocket diapers, folded with covers, etc) and I found that I’m not a cloth diaper girl in general, I’m a one-size kind of girl – specifically GroVia. So my first piece of advice is study, study, study & figure out which kind is going to work for you. I’ll also say, you probably won’t know for sure until you put one on your baby & see what it does. I thought the fitted ones with covers were so cute until I used them. You also may find you like one kind for daytime & a different kind for night. I’ve liked GroVia for both, so you just have to find what works for you.
We use a 30 gallon white trash can from Wal-Mart with PlanetWise diaper pail liner. The thing I like about the PlanetWise diaper pail liner is that it has elastic around the top, so it holds great in the can. I have another brand that has a drawstring at the top & I hated it. It also has a much more flimsy feel than the PlanetWise. When I looked around in reviews, PlanetWise was raved about & I have found myself to have similar reviews.
If we are out all day, we use the larger (can’t remember if it’s medium or large) PlanetWise wet bag, which holds anywhere from 5+ diapers – depending on if you do shells & soakers or just soakers.
We use regular Huggies wipes usually, but I have found that a plain, dry cloth wipe does much better with the poop. I’ll get everything cleared off & then I’ll use one regular Huggies wipe to actually clean everything before putting on a new diaper. Some use cloth wipes with a wipes warmer & some solution, but I found buying the wipes was just easier. The cloth wipes we have were actually made by my mom. She bought a couple of flannel receiving blankets & cut them into squares & just sewed around the sides.
Continuing with the Blog Bash over at Not Your Average Teen, Brittany has asked us to write a post with the theme of “rekindle” to bring back some memories of our high school years. I thought for a while about what I would want to share. I have some really wonderful & some really horrible memories from high school. Don’t we all? But I decided that the most important thing I could share about high school (aside from meeting my husband senior year) is to share with you about my best friend Diana.
(By the way – these pictures are not placed to match the specific events I’m talking about necessarily. I just picked out best pics! They are in chronological order, though.)
It was Freshman year of high school & she had been a homeschooler up until this grade. She was new to this type of school environment to begin with. We went to a private Christian school that I had attended already for 3 years before this. Diana was growing out her bangs & decided to wear a headband every day. She was super cute, but for some reason this larger man-shaped girl decided she was going to break Diana’s headband & proceeded to tell everyone in our English class that she was going to do it. Diana hadn’t gotten to class yet, but I overheard all this gloating. So when Diana entered the room & sat down, I picked up my stuff & sat beside her & decided right there that we were going to be friends. Nobody was going to be breaking her headband on my watch!
Well, continue through the next couple of years & Diana was there through good & bad. I remember spending the night at her house countless times, chatting about boys & life & the future as we fell asleep. I remember shopping & laughing & talking & eating. We loved McDonald’s fries. I went to cheer/dance competitions with Diana & her family. I rode my bike to her house when things at my house got crazy.
Everything got really fun when she got her Purple Toyota Tacoma for her 16th birthday! It was ON then! We had a “Junior Year Mix” that included fabulous rap songs like “What’s Your Fantasy” by Ludacris. Oh we were cool. We dyed my hair on a regular basis – I was very adventurous with hair color. We were pretty adventurous in general – for a couple of private school girls. I remember getting in her truck after school, taking off our solid color school uniform polos to reveal our super cute tees underneath & then rolling down the windows & jamming our mix.
We got closer as time went on. We were there for each other through a varying degree of rough situations. I fed her chocolate pudding when she had her wisdom teeth removed & she held my hand when my world fell apart. I’ve held her hand several times when her world did the same. I’ve always known I could count on her & I’ve always tried to be a friend she can depend on.
After high school, we took a trip to Florida to stay in my grandfather’s condo & we bid farewell to our high school years. That December, we moved in together in my grandmother’s old house. We were perfect roommates. We went different directions in a lot of ways in college, but the bond between us never faltered. We lived together, but we didn’t hang out in the same circles, but whenever we were together, things picked up right where they left off.
The year we turned 20, we both got married & she had her first baby girl. She was 8 months pregnant in my wedding, but she still served as my matron of honor. We started weekly dinners at this point to make sure that we could maintain our friendship through the craziness of marriage, kids, jobs, etc. After she had her second baby girl when we were 22, our weekly dinners turned to Saturday lunches & shopping trips. Those continue even now.
As time has gone on, our relationship has grown & changed & I feel closer to her now than I’ve ever felt to a friend in my life. To have someone you can count on – who sees your darkest secrets & is willing to stand next to you anyway – is a gift I don’t even know I’ll ever fully comprehend. No one besides Lewis has ever shown the degree of loyalty & companionship that she has shown me. I see her as family. Her girls are practically cousins to Isis & Diana is the same as an aunt. She was there when I delivered Isis & she will be there when I delivery any future children.
She is an important part of my life & that relationship started in high school. I know so many people lose touch with their high school friends or their high school boyfriends, and although I have definitely moved past the high school stage, my best friend has grown up with me & my boyfriend became my husband. I am now going on 6 years of marriage with Lewis & more than 12 years of friendship with Diana.
I’ve been following Heather over at Theta Mom for a while now. I love her willingness to share the ups & downs of motherhood & her sincere desire to build a community of moms who are sharing & learning from each other. Her blog is turning One this week & to share in that celebration, she asked her readers to draft a post about their experience as a mom – their reasoning behind why they are what she calls a “Theta” – the true, authentic mom.
As I started diving back into my memories over the past year or so that I’ve known I was going to be & then became a mom, I found several reasons why I think I’m a true, authentic mom. For one, anyone who knows me in real life knows that I tend to make my own way. I’m not like anybody I know & it took me years to realize that & be okay with it. I used to spend a lot of time trying to fit in with the crowd. In high school, I was lucky to finally find a group of friends who were very authentic & who accepted me for who I was & were okay with the fact that I would geek out over Buffy orNewsies or a smorgasbord of other fabulously nerdy obsessions. As the years passed, I had to be okay with the fact that I talk a lot & I get really excited about stupid things & I cry at great movies & I have a strange, sarcastic sense of humor. I’m not the girl that laughs hysterically at slapstick comedy. I’m the girl who can’t get enough of Michael Cera’s awkward nerdy humor. And that’s ok. I can’t get tan even if I try, so I’ve had to accept my practically see-through pale skin. I hate when I have blonde hair. I just don’t fit into anybody’s category of traditional or classic anything. I speak my mind when I have something to say & I sometimes say the wrong thing. I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth more times than I can count. I constantly find myself leaving some gathering of friends thinking, “should I have said that?” or “should I have talked about that?” But as I get older, I’ve just started to realize, that was me being myself & if I can’t be authentic around those people, then I don’t need to waste my time.
It’s been a liberating experience for me as I’ve grown into an adult. It’s been an even more liberating one as I’ve become a mom. Never before have I had such a strong need to buck up & be a real woman, a real wife, a real mother. I want my daughter to see strength & integrity in her mother. I may not be perfect, but I’m the same person in all circumstances. I am willing to admit my flaws & lay bare my insecurities because I know that I’m constantly on a path toward becoming the woman I know I need to be & the woman God wants me to be. That path is hard & full of potholes sometimes, but it’s the right path & I’m proud to be walking it. And I want my daughter to see that. I want her to know that it’s okay to not fit in the “popular” crowd. I want her to know that some of my favorite people & some of the most sincere & genuine people I know are also some of the strangest, most intense, out-of-the-box people in my life. They are also the people who have made mistakes, picked their head up & kept walking. They are people with strengthbecause it takes real strength to be authentic in this world.
I find it interesting that Theta mom uses the word authentic in particular. I think this is probably why I was drawn to her blog in the first place. I am constantly telling people that one of the traits I value above others is authenticity. I talk about this a lot when it comes to Christianity. I don’t trust Christians who act like they have something to hide – Christians who act one way at church & a different way at home. It severely contradicts everything I have studied about Christ & makes me very uncomfortable. I value authenticity. If this means you admit your flaws & own up to your mistakes, then that’s what it means. Really, that’s what it should mean, because we all have those flaws & we all make those mistakes. In friends, I always look for authenticity; people who are true to themselves & true to me. I have friends who have nothing to hide, who admit their shortcomings & accept me with mine.
So as a mother, being authentic has meant searching out the things that fit my family & the things that I believe are best for my daughter & then sticking with these things no matter what others may say. It means figuring out who I am & living that way so that my daughter sees a mother with character. It means making a commitment to her dad which is even stronger than the one we made when we got married – I will raise a child with him & accept the difficulties that brings in addition to the normal difficulties of marriage. It means being honest with her in the future & exhibiting authority, but also grace. It means constantly striving toward that goal of the woman, wife, mother that God wants me to be. It means holding myself to a high standard. It means evaluating every decision with integrity, conviction & love. It means being willing to say “this is me; take it or leave it” & then being okay if they leave it, because I cannot conform to someone else’s definition of a good mother or friend or Christian or wife or person. God made me a mother & I believe that by looking to Him & by partnering with my husband, we will be true, authentic parents. And I believe by doing this, we have a better chance of raising a true, authentic child.
This is not a post that I looked forward to writing, but after my experience, I thought it would be important to share. I have found through conversation & just searching around online that I am definitely not the only one with this problem. I also want to say that my blog is not a place where I feel the need to discuss or debate political issues. This is not a post endorsing or contesting the new health care plan, but, I do believe there is a problem with some (many?) aspects of our health care system. I do not offer a solution to that problem, but I will offer some tips as to how we were able to lower our prenatal & delivery costs during pregnancy with no maternity coverage.
I do have health insurance through a popular company and have held it on my own – not through an employer – for almost 5 years. When I applied for the plan, I requested the plan with maternity coverage & received an approval letter. I never received any letter stating that the plan I was approved for was different than the plan I applied for. I was never notified that I did not have maternity coverage. Therefore, we started trying to get pregnant, got pregnant, & found out when we received the bill for our first prenatal appointment & ultrasound that I had no maternity coverage. I later found out that in my state, a woman on a plan alone without a spouse or a child is not eligible for maternity coverage until after she has a baby. (Um, what?!?!?)
Anyway, that is all background info, basically, we had to find a way to pay for prenatal care, ultrasounds, lab work, labor & delivery, hospital costs, etc. without maternity coverage. Here’s how we did it:
1 – We used a nurse-midwife rather than an OB-gyn
My nurse-midwife works in a practice with 3 other nurse-midwives & 2 OB’s. If there was an emergency or a problem during labor or delivery, an OB was always available to help. This is a personal preference for a woman & definitely depends upon your specific circumstances. High risk pregnancies or women who already know they will want scheduled c-sections would definitely want an OB from the get-go. But either way, a nurse-midwife is cheaper. This is not why I chose a nurse-midwife, but it was an added bonus when I found out that I had no maternity coverage.
2 – Everyone offers HUGE discounts
From the doctor delivering your baby to the labs to the hospitals, everyone offers at least 40% off if you have no maternity coverage. Our hospital gave us 50% off & some of our labs ended up being 60% off. There are also options based on your income that you can apply for. I have a friend whose hospital bills were free because of her income status.
3 – Repayment plans charge no interest
I’m not sure if this is true everywhere or just in my area, but all the repayment options for all our bills were offered with no added interest. We could have paid them off over the coming year if we wanted. We ended up paying most things off within 3 months of her birth, but that was because I got a little help from family when we finally told them what we were dealing with.
4 – Everything costs extra money
This was one thing I wasn’t completely aware of. I mean, obviously you would expect everything costs extra money, but we didn’t realize how MUCH until we received our bills. I did not use an IV or an epidural or any medication at all during my labor, so that was all an added bonus. An epidural at my local hospital has a starting price of $800. I had to get a shot after my daughter was born that cost $450. Sending your baby to the nursery during the night while you are sleeping costs $700 PER NIGHT. (Again, these are all our charges. Check with your hospital for amounts where you are.) Anything that you don’t want to pay for, you can opt out of (if medically safe & healthy). Keep the baby in the room with you at night, try to go unmedicated during labor. All of these are ways you can save money, but obviously you need to weigh your cost-benefit analysis and decide what is worth it to you. For a lot of women, the $800+ for an epidural is a small price to pay for the comfort & benefit of a more painless delivery. I would just check in advance about any costs you are questioning.
5 – Additional insurance
This is something that I didn’t actually have, but I know others who did and it can help. Additional insurance providers like Aflac will many times have short-term care sort of plans where 2 days in a hospital for any reason can qualify you for a specific payout. Check with these insurance providers if you have that insurance.
6 – Medical Card
This is another thing we did not qualify for due to income, but I have several friends who have had the benefit of using a medical card during their care. If you are a lower-income or no-income family & qualify for this, you & your baby can have coverage throughout pregnancy & for a certain amount of time post-partum. Check with your local Health Department or Community Action to find out how to apply for a medical card.
I have found myself so full of fear at times since knowing Isis was even a possibility. While trying to get pregnant, I was scared that I wouldn’t be fertile. During early pregnancy, I was scared of a miscarriage. During later pregnancy, I was scared of something being wrong. During labor, I was scared of a c-section. When she was a newborn, I was scared of SIDS. Now that she’s 5 months old, I’m scared of her choking on something or of me falling down the stairs while I’m carrying her or any multitude of things that could hurt her! When a little life is your responsibility, I feel like the fears can just be overwhelming at times! I was reading on Mixed Mama Project & Erin was talking about her fears during pregnancy & they sounded so similar to mine! Melissa at Dear Baby also talked about some of her fears2010/06/5-ways-to-calm-those-baby-fears during the early days with Everly & it hit home to me as well.
Last night, I found myself lying in bed, unable to fall asleep because I was scared of the possibility of her choking on food at some point & me not knowing what to do! I mean, we just started her on rice cereal 5 days ago!! We aren’t even close to the foods she could choke on. Just always looking ahead to the possibility of problems in the future, I guess. Cameron – time to get a grip. I decided to come up with my suggestions to myself for how to calm these baby fears!
1 – Give it to God
This one is so much harder than it sounds. If you don’t believe in God, you’ve got to just let it go & tell yourself that you can only control so much. I find myself repeating this verse: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” -2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) I also find myself reading Psalm 139:16 (NLT) “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” God has been preparing for Isis’ life even before I was.
2 – Talk to a Friend
I’ve found so much comfort from talking to other friends who are moms who have been through the exact same thing. Getting advice about how they got control of their fears or just hearing that I’m not alone in being afraid has been really helpful. Although the overwhelming consensus is that the fears never really go away. I think it’s only natural to always be aware of the bad things that could happen, but you have to learn to prepare & move on – just doing what you can & letting go of the rest.
3 – Prepare!
You can only do so much & then it’s out of your hands. When I was pregnant, I tried to just eat right & stay active & be as relaxed as possible. I took all the proper vitamins & drank lots of water. In the newborn stage, her bed had tight, fitted sheets & she was placed on her back to sleep. Now that she’s older, I’m just aware of what’s going on around her & I plan on finding a baby CPR class for the choking fear. I can only do what I can do.
4 – Identify & Face the Fear
Maybe this is the morbid one & my friend Diana said this is the trick she’s had to use a lot. Say you are afraid that your child could choke. Well, okay, let’s walk through it. Say they choke & you can’t see the food in their throat: then you need to perform the Baby Heimlich maneuver. Haven’t been trained? YouTube is a great source for some videos. Say they choke & you can see the food in their throat: swipe your finger from one side to another to move the blockage – don’t push it back further down the throat. Say you can’t get the food: immediately seek help, calling 911 if possible. Okay, I’ve identified the fear & worked through my possible options if something were to happen. You can do this with any fear. You work through exactly what you would plan on doing before it happened. This way you are not dominated by the fear – you are able to take control of it & know your plan of action if something were to occur.
5 – RELAX
Last night when I couldn’t sleep, I went through all the above things (except talking to a friend of course because it was late). Once I’d done everything I could do, I just took a few deep breaths & told myself to relax. She is perfectly safe in her crib right now, sleeping soundly. Nothing she can choke on, nothing that can hurt her. Time for me to sleep. Take a bubble bath, read a book, watch a movie, just relax & remember to enjoy your life as a parent!!
What fears are you facing right now?
How do you calm your fears?
Any other advice besides what I listed above?