an update

I want to blog everyday. I really do. But the gravity of having a newborn baby (and a very fussy one at that) has proven to take me away from writing here. I fully intend on finding my rhythm again but everyday posting is just not going to happen right now. You see, on top of having a new baby, my husband and I need to relocate back to Southern California for his job as soon as possible. As in, next week. So that means in between raising my baby boy I also have to pack up my house, find a new pediatrician for my son, and find a new place to live and everything else that has to do with moving. I am overwhelmed.

But I love blogging and I love the community here so I will be back with more consistency–it will just take me a few weeks. So until then, here are some cute pictures of Jax.


baby name game pt III

First of all, thank you all for your kind words on my birth story.

I finally put my sweet, stubborn boy down to write another blog post. Well not really, he is right next to me but I will get better at blogging with baby. I wanted to finally share a little bit about Jackson’s name. The name Jackson was actual an easy pick. We did have a long list of names that included Miles, Harrison, and Henri but it was always Jackson. When Reggie and I were in college and had just started dating, we started talking about our future. We both knew we wanted to have babies with each other, probably before we decided we would get married. So when we did daydream about the day we would become parents together, we would talk about names. Early on Reggie told me he loved the name Jackson because of Jackson Pollock. Fun fact: Reggie majored in Art in college (he is a very talented) and aside from our love of babies, we also share a love of art. So fast forward to when we found out we were going to have a baby boy we came up with lots of potential baby names but our favorite was always Jackson. It just made sense.

His middle name, as you know, was a bit trickier. Originally we were going to use Kalama only as his middle name because that was the name featured in my dream. After some more research, Reggie and I knew the name needed some tweaking. We loved that the name Kalama meant light or torch but the name needed more personalization. The last couple years in my family have been trying and very stressful with various health problems and I loved how the meaning could be construed as “away from the darkness.” But we also wanted the meaning to include the type of man we wanted Jackson to be. A thoughtful leader. We conveyed our desire to some family members who speak fluent Hawaiian. In the end, the name we decided upon was Kalamaku’okano’eau (Kah-lah-mah/coo-oh-kah/no/eh-ow) literally meaning “torch of knowledge.” Immediately, when Reggie’s cousin explained to me the meaning, I knew it was the perfect name. So there you have it. It is a very long, complicated name but when I think of the meaning, I get the chills.


favorite baby products (so far)

Seasoned parents will tell you that there is not a lot you actually need when your baby arrives. As much as that seems to be true, having a few fun gadgets can sometimes make your life a little easier. Case in point, the Snuza. Before Jax was born I wrote a blog post about different baby products I was excited to try. The Snuza was definitely on the top of my list because I predicted that little device may eliminate my intense desire to stare at my son to make sure he was still breathing at night. Boy, was I was right. The first night at home we didn’t use the Snuza because I was all “I didn’t need it in the hospital, I got this down.” Cue the first bedtime. I spent the entire time he slept popping up out of bed to watch his chest rise and fall. It is funny because I have been trying to take a pretty laid back approach to caring for Jax because I am hoping this behavior will result in a laid back baby. But as it turns out, I am still a bit of a control freak with his sleep. The Snuza works perfectly and gives me the piece of mind to get some rest while my baby sleeps. And I didn’t get paid to write this. I really genuinely love this product.

Now when I ask Reg what his favorite baby device is, he will easily say our Pack ‘n Play. Seeing as I am still not supposed to be doing any lifting, Reg does the majority of the diaper changes.
We keep it in our room next to our bed and it is not a total eyesore. It has a basinett and a built-in changing table with room for diapers and wipes so everything we need for middle of the night changes is right there. Plus it has built in lights, sounds, and vibration that little Jax loves.

Another product that is great for nursing mamas:

Motherlove Nipple Cream

Even though Jax is only a week old, I am already reading to him each night. My favorite book to read to him is Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. My good friend Brian gifted us this book because Reg works in construction industry. But even if he didn’t work there, I would still read it to him all the time because I love the way the whole book is written and illustrated. SO cute!


the first week

I still cannot believe I am a mama. My baby is a week old today. Well not quite. I am not giving him one week old status until 11:01 tonight. I am just not ready for it, okay?  Every day moves so fast so I am really trying to soak in every moment. The past week has been filled with so much joy and emotion. Post partum hormones are so much more intense than I ever imagined. I find myself looking at Jax and just crying. It is not that I am sad.  It is just that I was in no way prepared for how full and heavy my heart would be filled with love. Every moment–even the ones where he nurses all night and my nipples feel like they might fall off– are perfect. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I know I was made to be a mom, his mom.

Being a parent is easily the most challenging job I have ever had. The good news is that Reg and I are starting to get into a rhythm as new parents. My husband has been absolutely incredible. Since I ended up needing a C-Section (more on that later) I can’t really do much other than breastfeed and hold the baby while sitting down. Just as I imagined, Reg has taken on fatherhood with so much enthusiasm. He is up with me at every feeding, changing almost every diaper, making all the meals, doing laundry, and burping the baby. He even made a custom spreadsheet for keeping track of breastfeeding and wet/dirty diapers. Seriously he is incredible. I have fallen even more in love with him. The way he looks at me with so much love swells my heart but the way he looks at our son is downright magical. I feel so lucky to have married such a wonderful man.

And he gave me my sweet little boy. So far, Jax is easy going. Sure, lots of crying ensues when diaper changing and bath time approaches but mostly he sleep and eats. Well he sleeps for small increments in between feedings. Speaking of eating, breastfeeding is really challenging. I know everyone says this but seriously it is really, really challenging. At least it was for me this week. Going into breastfeeding, I thought that milk production was going to be my biggest hurdle. Turns out, I have plenty of milk but a baby that has some latch issues. He hated my left boob for the first three days of his life but he seems to be coming around. As natural as breastfeeding should be, it is still something that needs to be learned–by myself and the baby. I don’t know why I didn’t fully wrap my head around that while I was pregnant. Fortunately, the hospital where I delivered is incredibly supportive of breastfeeding mamas. In fact, it is almost assumed that you breastfeed so there was never a shortage of people available to help me out. Without the support of the nurses and Reggie, I am not sure if we would still be exclusively breastfeeding. I spent a lot of time crying this past week but I am so glad I did not give up. In fact, nursing has become something that I really look forward to and I know Jax does too. The bonding time is priceless. And I sort of live for the the milk drunk face that comes at the end. Kills me everytime. Other than my boobs, his other loves during his first week include making funny faces and meeting all of his new family members. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.


meet jackson

Jackson “Jax” Kalamaku’okano’eau

Born July 20, 2011 at 11:01 PM

8 lbs. 2 ounces, 19.5″ long

Last Wednesday night, our son made his dramatic arrival into the world. I am working on posting his full birth story but I am finding that the whole day is really emotional to write and I am having a hard time putting the whole experience down into words. All I know is that I am experiencing a type of love that I never thought possible.


it’s time

Well, after eating all of the spicy food I could handle (including a ridiculous pizza that is known to induce labor), lots of fresh pineapple, walking/waddling everywhere, and  bouncing on my yoga ball, baby boy has decided he does not want to come out on his own. I am scheduled to check into the hospital tonight to start the process of inducing labor.

Hopefully, tomorrow at this time I will be in active labor about to meet my son for the first time. When I think about how that moment will feel my heart swells with happiness that it feels like it might burst out of my chest. I am crying a little bit right now as I write this. And then I think about not being pregnant anymore and how that will feel. For the past 41 weeks he has been inside my belly where I can keep him safe. Now I have to share him with the world and all of the craziness that comes with it. And then I cry again. But I compose myself and think about the adventure that I am about to partake in and how much more exciting, beautiful, and full of love my life is about to become. I have become more in love with my husband throughout this whole pregnancy. Every time I feel sad or nervous about this pregnancy being over, I think of him holding our son for the first time. If it feels this great in my imagination, I cannot imagine how beautiful the experience is going to be in reality.


PS: I plan on blogging about my birth experience but if you want to find out exactly when baby boy is born, I will most likely announce it here first.

my birthday

Today is my 27th birthday making me the exact same age as my mother when she had me. I love that. I plan on spending the day with Reggie relaxing, eating my favorite foods, and maybe seeing a movie. Oh, and maybe having a baby. Until my little one decides to grace us with his presence, I will leave you with a picture of me when I was a baby. This was taken shortly after leaving the hospital. Told you I was huge!


why i don’t have a birth plan

Today is my due date and while most women do not give birth on their actual due date, I thought today would be a good day to talk about my plan when the big day actually arrives. I know many women walk into their labor and delivery room with a list of things they want to happen. Dim lighting, no IV, drugs/no drugs, walk around during labor, etc. To be clear: I respect these women immensely. I am simply not one of them. I have never written out a formal birth plan and I have no plans to do so for this pregnancy.

27 years ago today my mother went into what she thought was labor with me. How is that for full circle? She went into the hospital after what she thought was her water breaking but something did not seem quite right. I am not going to speak for her or tell too many details of her story because it is her very personal story to tell but to say the image she describes is unsettling is an understatement. For some reason the hospital sent her home despite her symptoms.  Hours later, she returned to the hospital because she knew something was not right. She trusted her instict that something was wrong. Moments after arriving at the hospital for a second time, her doctor realized that I was in distress and she was rushed off into surgery for an emergency C-Section. I was a large baby—over 10 lbs and for the 1st couple moments seemingly healthy. They hurried me off to the nursery to be cleaned up while they finished my mother’s surgery. Soon after arriving in her recovery room a young nurse walks into my mothers room shaking and can barely utter the words that I stopped breathing several times and they needed to air lift me to Boston Children’s Hospital. Turns out, I had aspirated meconium. Moms out there know that it is a sticky, tar-like substance so imagine that in a newborn baby’s lungs. I was diagnosed with double pneumonia and was in the NICU in Boston for the first month of my life. All 10 lbs of me. I barely fit in the incubator. Nowadays when this happens, it is certainly not ideal but doctors are far more skilled at identifying the problem quickly and getting the baby into the NICU. This was not the case the day I was born. My mother’s voice still shakes when she tells the story. Scariest moment of her life she always says.

I am not saying this to scare anyone. Keep in mind my mother was over 2 weeks late which most doctors would never allow anymore mostly because situations like this are more to happen when the baby goes a long way past their due date. But my feeling for my personal situation is that I have no clue how my body is going to react to labor or if I will even go into labor on my own. My parents took a long 8 week childbirth class with every intention of having a beautiful natural childbirth. But things obviously did not work out like they wanted. My mom told me from the beginning to be open minded about how my son comes into the world. I may not listen to all of her advice but that is one area where we certainly agree. In the end all that matters is a healthy baby. Yes, it is cliche but I think we can all agree that it is true.

So I guess I do have a birth plan but it is simple: healthy baby. And the sooner I can get skin to skin contact and breastfeed, the better. That is it. I firmly believe in being educated on your options for child birth. I have read all the books. Reg and I took a childbirth class. My feeling is that I would like to avoid a C-Section because it is major surgery. But I am 100% aware that I may have no say in that matter and that is okay too. I just want to meet my son.


baby gear

You know how I posted about how great I was feeling on Monday? Hilarious! I woke up yesterday feeling awful and wanting to have the baby NOW. I keep reminding myself that 1) I am not technically due until tomorrow so I should probably take a chill pill and 2) the longer he bakes, the more time he has to develop and grow.

In the meantime, I am staring at (and occasionally playing with) all of the wonderful baby gifts we received over the last nine months. When I selected items for our registry, I spent a lot of time researching each item. I probably spent too much time doing this but I had a lot of time on my hands. I highly recommend the book Baby Bargains when creating a registry or for buying any baby item in general. This book is filled with bias free reviews for just about every brand out there. Here are some of the items I am looking forward to using the most:

aden + anais Swaddling Blankets

Made with bamboo and super lightweight for my summer baby. These are so soft that I want to be swaddled in them. Seriously.

UppaBaby Vista Stroller

This was a big ticket item for us that my parents generously purchased. I became a bit stroller obsessed when I found out I was pregnant, asking every mother I saw about her pick. No question, the UppaBaby was the most highly recommended and since we live in a place where we walk a lot, I know it was worth it. Plus, it is incredibly easy to use with one hand and made with eco-friendly materials. Mama like!

Graco SnugRide Car Seat

This was an easy pick: high safety rating and holds a baby up to 35 lbs. or 32″ so we should be able to use this for almost a year. Yes, it is a little heavier than some of the other car seats out there but I am just looking at that as an opportunity to work my arm muscles a bit more. Hopefully I won’t be cursing this decision later.

I have to mention this… people are always talking about how challenging car seats are to install but Reg installed this one perfectly the first time. We had it checked out at the hospital and even the staff was impressed with his skills. He was so proud. It was really adorable!

Planet Wise Diaper Pail Liner

I am pretty excited about these diaper pail liners because I can throw them into the wash with the cloth diapers and I didn’t have to buy a fancy diaper pail.

Snuza Halo Baby Monitor

I am really looking forward to using this product the most because it monitors the baby’s movement. This little device fits in the palm of my hand, clips onto the front of his diaper, and detects even the smallest movements. The Snuza uses vibration stimulation to gently rouse the baby if movement is not detected after 15 seconds. If no movement is detected after 3 vibration attempts, an alarm will sound. I like this because the baby does not need to be in the crib for us to use this monitor like the Angelcare version. He could be taking a nap anywhere. The Snuza was definitely pricey but I can’t really put a price on peace of mind. I have another monitor to use when he moves into his crib but for the those first couple weeks, this one should be perfect.

I love having a humidifier in my own room just because it is so dry in California. Plus, the white noise is highly recommended to simulate noise from the womb and help the baby sleep more soundly.

Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Bag

Originally, I did not want one of these Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Bags because they are EVERYWHERE. Seriously. But then I picked one up and played around with it. There are so many pockets and it is so comfortable even when full. I practiced using it with my squirmy pug and it was still really comfortable and easy to use. I told you I had way too much time on my hands.

Obviously baby boy is not here yet so I haven’t actually had a chance to use any of these yet. I will provide a follow up review for everything and of course include anything that made a huge difference that is not on this intial list.

Question to the mamas out there: What is your list of must have baby gear?