Oh boy. I wasn't sure if I ever really wanted to think or talk about what birth was like for me. But as time passes and evolution makes me forget the pain of it all, I have found it actually helps to talk about it, especially if sharing our story can actually help someone else to be better prepared for however your child decides to enter this world.
Back at my anatomy scan around 22 weeks, baby looked great but my placenta was super low, only about 1cm away from the cervix. Most of the time the placenta moves up on its own, but another scan at 32 weeks showed my placenta in the exact same place. My doctor told me the odds of the placenta moving at this point are very low. Its dangerous to give birth with such a low placenta because of bleeding and the possibility of the placenta detaching before the baby is born, so we scheduled a c-section for 11/8 at 39 weeks on the dot. For over six weeks I was mentally preparing myself for a c-section birth and recovery, and I felt ready for it. Most first time moms go well past 40 weeks before they go into labor so I never thought Stella would come before our c-section date.
Fast forward to the morning of 11/6 (two days before the scheduled c-section). At 4am my eyes shot open. I was having contractions. I had Braxton hicks before, but this was nothing like that. These were painful and radiating into my back. I tried to sleep but the contractions were coming every 10-30 minutes. By the time I decided to get out of bed around 9am, they were more consistently every 7-10 minutes. I called the doctor on call, but she assured me it was false labor and I felt better. But as time went on the contractions were getting longer and closer together. Around 3pm I told my husband he needs to come home from work, and by the time we were ready to go to the hospital around 5pm my contractions were every 4-5 minutes and I couldn't talk through them. The app I used to track my contractions is called Contraction Timer (it’s green) and it makes it super easy to time everything. It also tells you when it’s time to go to the hospital. The app told me multiple times at home it was time to go to the hospital, but I was a bit in denial. I did my hair and make up, and we left for the hospital.
Once we were in the hospital I was still expecting to have a c-section because of my placenta. I told the doctor at the hospital about it and they ordered an ultrasound. I was so shocked when the tech told me the placenta is actually now far from my cervix and it is safe to deliver. Because I wasn't yet 39 weeks, I couldn't have an elective c-section. Panic starting set in. I hadn't prepared for this what so ever. The next shock came when I asked for an epidural. Even though it was so early, I was in so much pain. Due to back surgery I had as a teenager, the anesthesiologist did not feel comfortable giving me an epidural without an X-ray of my back. I couldn't have a new x-ray because I was pregnant, and the nurse could not get a copy of any of my old X-rays from previous hospitals because it was a Saturday evening and all the offices were closed. My regular doctor had told me it was possible I could not have an epidural and would need to be completely knocked out for the c-section, which was another reason I was grateful we were scheduling a c-section.
I went from thinking I was having a completely anesthetized c-section, to having an unmedicated vaginal birth within the course of a couple minutes.
I started to lose it. The pain was starting to really get strong. I was crying and panicking. This was the last possible birth plan I would've chosen for myself. I was able to have one dose of pain killers (too much would affect the baby) that lasted about an hour. At this point I was only at 1 cm in early labor. The hope was that the pain killers would slow down labor and I would make it to my c-section. The pain killers helped a bit but I was still in pain, and when the nurse came back to check how dilated I was, I had progressed to 3cm. We were having a baby soon.
At this point I had accepted my fate, and adrenaline was kicking in. I started to find a way to manage the contractions. I discovered by the time I took three deep breaths once a contraction started, the contraction pain was going away and I felt better. I started to find the contractions more manageable than I did in the beginning when I was less dilated. Luckily for me, I had an angel L&D nurse. She was so kind and motivating, I don’t know if I would’ve made it without her. According to her, I was dilating very quickly for a first time mom. At around 7pm when I was admitted I was 1 cm, and by 2am I was fully dilated. The contraction pain was so bad for me, I was begging to push around 8cm. I had no idea, but when you get to this point in labor, your body is *forcing* you to push. Sometimes the nurse would tell me to try not to push with the next contraction to give baby a break, and it was so incredibly hard to fight my body!
Once the doctor and whole team arrived and it was time to really start pushing, I was so ready. I had heard scary terms like "ring of fire" but it was nothing compared to what I had been feeling from contractions the past couple hours. Apparently I pushed for 2 hours, but it was all such a blur. At 5:15am it was all worth it when sweet Stella was born. It is true, as soon as your baby comes out all the pain immediately stops and you feel so awake and in the moment.
Looking back, if I could change it I would have gotten an epidural if I could. The shock of not getting the birth I was expecting + the pain made me so out of it was hard to enjoy the process. I'm sure it was scary for my husband too. I had never felt I needed to prove to myself I could have an unmedicated birth. I was expecting a "cute" birth you see on social media with lots of pretty photos with my hair done nice and make up in place, being happy and excited with my husband as we got closer and closer to meeting our baby. Unfortunately that is just not how it happened and that is ok. I am proud of what I was able to overcome and I know I am capable of so much more than I ever thought. But if I could give someone advice, I would say educate yourself and prepare for anything. If you are expecting a c-section, still take that lamaze class. If you are expecting a vaginal birth, prepare yourself for the recovery of a c-section. If you are planning to have an epidural, look into pain management techniques in case it isn't possible. Birth is so unpredictable, but I would do it again in a heartbeat for my baby.
If you had told me at the beginning of this year I would be writing a post like this about my pregnancy (!!) in 2021, I definitely would've laughed! But we are really excited to meet our little girl Stella in November. Approximately on the 15th! Even before I ever thought I would be pregnant, I always enjoyed reading blogger's trimester updates, I have no idea why they peaked my interest as a non-pregnant person but I thought I would share what the past few months have been like for me in case anyone is curious, expecting, or plan to be pregnant in the future. :)
I found out I was pregnant on March 15th at exactly 5 weeks. But for 4 days before that I already suspected. I just felt 100% different. Around the time I was supposed to start my period I spotted super light. Every day after that I felt more strange, dizzy, and nauseous. I felt tweaks and pulls in my lower abdomen I had never experienced before. I also started getting the strangest, most vivid dreams that woke me up in the night they were so crazy. The day before I took the test the smell of my freshly washed hair made me gag. To me it smelled like cigarette smoke, even though I haven't smoked a cigarette in my life and can't remember the last time I was around someone who smoked. After Bjorn went to work on the 15th I went to Target and bought a pregnancy test and Cheez-Its (nausea lol). I couldn't wait and took the test in the Target bathroom. It didn't take more than a couple seconds for the plus sign to pop up. I hadn't cried in a Target since I worked there as a cashier in high school, but I definitely did that day.
I really wanted to tell Bjorn in person (this was going to be a bit of a shock) so I had to go through out the day texting him like I didn't know I was growing us a little human. And as it would turn out, a big random wind storm would come through Southern California that day making it impossible for Bjorn to leave the ship he was working on that day out at sea. He ended up having to sleep on the ship overnight until the winds/waves died down. This had never happened before! I had to keep this huge secret until the next afternoon. Of course being the emotional wreck I was I made the idea of telling him way worse in my head than it actually was. He was definitely shocked, but so happy!
Weeks 5 & 6 were the hardest so far. It felt like you mixed beer, wine, and tequila the night before. I was nauseous all day, dizzy, emotional, tired, so sensitive to smells, and had strong food aversions to everything except crackers. I especially had aversions to meat, seasoned foods, and even coffee :( It really affected my ability to go about my normal routine. I am super lucky I never threw up though, and once I got to the end of week 6 I was feeling more like myself again. I felt my worst when I had an empty stomach or drank liquids on an empty stomach, so I always tried to eat a handful of crackers right when I woke up and every hour or so throughout the day which really helped. My thoughts go out to women who suffer a lot worse sickness through out the first trimester, and even their entire pregnancy! Women are amazing.
I went to my first doctors appointment a couple days into the 6th week. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but lets just say the baby is tiny so they can't do the ultrasound over your belly. I'll leave it at that. Already at 6 weeks we could see and hear the heartbeat! It was such a relief. I assumed Bjorn couldn't come to the appointment due to Covid so I went alone, but my doctor is great and allows one support person during appointments so he has been since.
First and second trimester appointments are a month apart, so the next appointment at 10 weeks we actually had the option to do a blood test with my doctors office that would let us know the gender as well as test for any genetic abnormalities. I had no idea this was a thing! I assumed we would have to wait to know the gender when it was visible on the ultrasound. We decided to do it and got results just a couple days later. We wanted to do a little gender reveal with my family so my brother actually helped us out by reviewing the results and ordering the supplies so it would be a surprise to Bjorn and myself. We tried to do something a little unique so my husband had the fun idea of doing a burnout with his car (when the back wheels spin and make smoke without the car actually moving). It worked perfect, and I was so shocked and happy to see pink powder shoot up. I was so certain baby was a boy! All the other genetic tests came back negative, which was also happy news.
One thing that has surprised me during the first trimester was how consuming the thought of miscarriage was to me, and how this made it difficult to bond and plan for baby. I kept putting off sharing with family and friends because I was worried I would jinx it in someway. One website that helped ease my worry was a miscarriage calculator. You put in your info and it shows you for every day of your pregnancy the odds of miscarriage, along with odds of not having a miscarriage, which is a reassuring number. I checked it almost every day.
There have also been some pleasant side effects of pregnancy too (aside of course from the whole getting a baby part lol). I used to suffer 2-3 migraines a month, but since getting pregnant I have not had one. I am also so much less anxious and more go with the flow, happy, and slower to be annoyed/angry. Honestly not sure if this is a side effect of pregnancy or not taking birth control anymore for the first time in 10 years but I'm happy with it either way.
And that pretty much brings us to today in the second trimester! Thanks for coming along. :)
In honor of my husband rocking my birthday gift this year with a pre-loved Louis Vuitton wallet, I thought I would share some knowledge I've come across over time for authenticating LV wallets. Keep scrolling for some authentication tips!
Designer goods are made of high quality materials, and many LV wallets are made of leather. If the wallet is made of leather, the material should feel sturdy and not slippery. It should not smell like plastic. When you bend the wallet (gently!) it shouldn't wrinkle up but keep its shape.
Stamped Date Code
Since the 80s Louis Vuitton has included a stamped date code on their products that indicates the factory location as well as the date it was created. Mine was inside a slot up near the stitching. LV products can be produced in a number of countries, including France, USA, Spain, and Italy. It is not a unique serial number and its possible it has rubbed off over time so just because your item doesn't have one doesn't mean its fake. However, its good to check if you can find it as well as see that the factory matches with the country of production. (IE your product says made in France but the code has an Italian factory) I found a really comprehensive list of factory codes you can check out - HERE
Like pretty much all designer items, stitching should be straight and consistent. There should be no raw edges. One way to check stitching is to look for stitching ends. If the stitching back tracks over itself that is usually a sign of low quality stitching.
When inspecting the "Louis Vuitton made in ..." stamp, check whether the stamping is consistent. A common give away of a counterfeit is that the stamp was not weighted evenly so some ink areas may be more thick than others. Authentic LV items will have an evenly weighted stamp.
Also, on the "made in" stamp, make sure the O's are round like a circle, not like a "0". As well, the trademark R in the circle should not be touching the circle it is in anywhere.
If you have the traditional monogram pattern, it will be made up of the LV symbol along with a few other shapes. Spend some time to compare the same shapes against each other to make sure they are perfectly the same. You will see in counterfeit items that the same shapes will come in different shapes or show inconsistencies.
MYTH - Cut Off Monogram
One thing I had always thought to be true about LV monogram items is that they will never cut over an LV or other shape of the pattern. Turns out that is not true! Many products purchased directly from LV have shown that products can in fact be cut through the pattern. So this doesn't necessarily mean an item is fake!
If you are also looking for a secondhand LV wallet, I have rounded up some pieces from Vestiaire Collective below. Rest assured, they are authenticating through the site so you can have a lot of confidence they are authentic!
I'd been on the hunt for the past month to find a pair of white Golden Goose sneakers, since I loved my silver Superstars so much. Golden Goose sneakers are in demand and have high resell value, so I was excited to find this pair of gently used GG Starter sneakers for $200 on Poshmark. I love them! They are on the heavier side and well made, but also comfy to walk in. Plus I like that the Starter sneaker isn't distressed and is a little more versatile. I did a little digging and found a number of similar secondhand Starter sneakers, some even cheaper than what I paid! Check them out below!
I also found a couple white perforated sneaker dupes from Nasty Gal that are on sale below!
I was recently looking through Golden Goose sneakers on Nordstrom's website when I noticed something...kid's GG shoes are almost 50% cheaper than adult's GG shoes!
Wouldn't it be nice to pay the cheaper kid's prices? Absolutely, and you can! Women's shoe sizes 5-8.5 actually overlap with kid's shoe sizes. See a little chart I created below to find your equivalent kid's shoe size.
Women's To Kid's Shoe Size Chart
Something to keep in mind and help save some money when splurging on shoes! The Golden Goose sneakers I currently own are an adult size, but since I am looking for another pair I have started searching for kids sizes also.
I recently saw Vestiaire Collection had some great prices on secondhand Golden Goose sneakers so I have rounded some up on sale under $100 below:
Plus here are some cute dupes that give off the same vibe:
Live for luxury? No trust fund, no problem!
Join the fancy free journey as we seek the
finer things in life, sans millions.
- Marie Claire, September 2016