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Oh my goodness, I’ve been meaning to write this post for the longest time.

Guess what?

On June 26 at 1:06pm we welcomed into the world our lil’ munchkin Olivia Larrinaga Carles. When our hearts saw her for the first time, right there n’ there, we instantly knew that life was now finally even better than our wildest dreams. Like that Armageddon song goes, “I don’t want to close my eyes, I don’t want to fall asleep, cuz I’ll miss you baby and I don’t want to miss a thing.”

She weight 7 pounds 10 ounces + measured 49 centimeters long, our little viking, leaving everyone wondering, “How the heck could such a big baby come out of such a small mama.” It must have been the late night banana milkshakes or daddy’s pasta parties, for sure. In any case, Olivia is the most darling little bundle ever. I know every mother says that, but it’s true, baby O truly is the beautifulest thing I’ve ever seen.

In this blog post I want to share with you a glimpse of what life with Olivia has been like this past month – my birth story + the challenges + the awesome parts.

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Birth Story

Despite my best intentions to have an all-natural labor + all that pre-natal yoga training n’ medicine ball prep work, I ended up having a C-Section. Olivia’s umbilical cord was strapped across her chest like a Miss Universe name banner (or a seat belt) + every time she wanted to come out, the cord pulled her back in.

Worried about Olivia’s safety, I made the call I never thought I’d make… to allow my doctors to interfere.

I won’t lie, it was hard letting go of the birth I had prepared for + planned. I really wanted to be one of those moms who could proudly say, “Oh yeah, I experienced every emotion of going into labor without an epidural.” I’m not.

I wasn’t even able to keep Olivia with me, kiss her, hold her, rub her tiny little chest against mine, right after she was born. I had to wait it out in the recovery room. And that made me sad. It made me feel guilty. Ashamed to share my birth story even. I wanted to feel it all, not because of any societal pressure, but because I wanted to. I couldn’t.

In the end (and these might be the hormones speaking now), I feel so incredible blessed for the opportunity to be a mom to a perfectly healthy baby girl whose lashes would even make Minnie Mouse jealous. My princess, who grew symbiotically inside my body for 40 weeks + depends on my nourishment, nothing is more sacred + profound + challenging + surprising + exhausting + tender + loving or life-giving as this evolutionary impulse. And no C-Section was able to take that away from me.

I now know that all moms, no matter the type of birth their babies end up choosing, have the hardest and yet the most rewarding job in the world. We should never feel guilty or ashamed, because we are doing our best. And that is ALWAYS enough.

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Some Challenges

  • C-Section Aftermath: Because of the operation, I’ve been a bit handicapped. I can’t do many of the thing a normal human being is meant to do, like bend over + take the stairs (I live in a two-story house) + pick up stuff from the floor + cook + drive + carry things, which is insane, considering I must care for a newborn, who obviously needs things that always seem to be located at the bottom drawer LOL.
  • Breastfeeding: Don’t even get me started with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding makes labor day look like child’s play. I had a dream: To breast feed my mini Tetosaurus Tex exclusively. What Google + every lactation book I read didn’t tell me was how HARD + PAINFUL this would be. Thanks to nipple creams + nursing tea + More Milk Plus capsules + H2O + moral support + hubby’s back massages + mom’s famous “Resbaladera” recipe (which I posted on my Instagram @mayicarles), I’ve been able to survive, one day at a time, without ever having to sterilize a bottle or use formula, but not without meltdowns.
  • Oh No! Spilling Milk: I have nightmares about leaking milk while showering. Dumping that milk down the drain is the most painful thing in the galaxy. Feels like I’m washing away liquid gold. Definitively tear worthy.
  • Sleep Deprivation: These days alarm clocks are a thing in the past. Now, I’ve got my very own wake up cutie pie. And she comes with a revolutionary 100% fail-proof anti-snooze system. If I’m lucky, I’m able to sleep 3 hours a day – 15 minutes here + half an hour there. Olivia sleeps just fine, for 2 hour stretches during the day + 3-4 hour stretches at night, but momma is too excited sewing Frida-style headbands + pinning baby clothes + reading about breast milk storage techniques to sleep when baby sleeps. I need to keep working on this one because I don’t think mama zombie is very sustainable.
  • Unused Furniture: Yeahhhh, so Olivia hates her crib. That can be a problem, right? If you know a good spell to fix that please dial mayicarles@gmail.com or leave a comment below. I will be forever grateful. And the crib will too, she’s feeling so unloved right now. In the meantime, the three of us will happily continue to co-sleep in our king size bed.
  • Nights are Scary:  Days, I feel like I can always manage. Oh man but when the sun is setting + the moon is rising I feel like “Winter is coming”, and hell will break lose. One night, the power went off + I swear to God I didn’t think I was going to make it. I must have breast feed Oli though her ear + put on her pajama backwards. I can’t believe I survived to tell the tale.
  • Not So Basic No More: Even the basic things like eating + showering have become a luxury affair. I can’t remember the last time I  sat down for a nice meal without being interrupted by a diaper change or the last time I had spare time to shave my legs in the shower.
  • Clock is Always Ticking: Now that Olivia is born, I feel like I have a constant mental clock running in your head. OK, I just fed the baby + laid her down, so that gives me 2 hours to grocery shop. Start the time NOW.
  • Limited Wardrobe: I was looking forward to fitting back inside my not-fat clothes after pregnancy, but now days the only outfit criteria is: Will I or will I not be able to get my boob out of my shirt successfully without spilling milk everywhere or damaging myself in the process? Looks like I’ll be wearing that one shirt I’ve got with a zipper + that other button down dress A LOT. Maybe this earns me the right to go online shopping, don’t you think?

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On The Bright Side

  • This New Workout Rules: While my friends are busy doing an hour of spinning or Zumba, I’m here laying on my couch, watching So You Think You Can Dance + nursing. And guess who’s burning more calories? That’s right! Breastfeeding, the only weight-loss program that increases your breast size.
  • License to Eat: Through the miracle of breastfeeding, those hamburgers I’m eating are finally going to someone else’s thighs.
  • Smells Like Heaven: The house smells like baby’s bottom. What candle can do that?
  • Ready For Anything: In the event of a zombie Apocalypse, knowing I don’t have to run to the store to buy formula because all Olivia needs are my boobs makes me feel pretty darn epic!
  • I Get To Play Doll Everyday, All Day: Matching dresses with headbands is my new occupation.
  • Look At All Those Gifts My Goodness: I already knew Olivia’s aunties + friends where awesome, but seriously, the amount of gifts she’s received from all over the world is ridiculous + pretty amazing. We’re beyond grateful for all the love + thoughtfulness.
  • Seeing My Mom n’ Dad Get Promoted to Grandparent: Priceless.
  • Best Excuse: I have the best exit strategy in the world. Saying “No Thanks” to things that are not top priority right now has never been so easy + guilt-free. Not that I needed an excuse to say “I’ll pass” in the first place.
  • Look I Can Eat With Only One Hand: Cirque Du Soleil be like… holy Guacamole she’s pretty good!
  • Funny Moments: Like that one time (or more like five times) I realized I’d been walking around the house for half-an-hour with one boob hanging out. Oopsie daisies! Or that other time when hubs had to babysit Olivia for 7 minutes without supervision + when I came back Olivia had chocolate in her hand. WTF?
  • Pediatrician Check-Ins: Felt amazing to see Olivia getting weighed at the doctor’s office + gaining 2 pounds in just one month. Yeah! Look what I did! Mom’s milk power, baby! Cue cheering in my own head as I leap onto an imaginary pedestal + accept my gold medal for most powerful breast milk ever.
  • Support: Motherhood has connected me with so many moms out there. It’s a beautiful thing to compare victories + letdown times with other mothers. Makes me feel like I’m not alone. Like we’re in this, together.
  • I Love My Family: I love my family for making sure my fridge has food + my bathroom has toilet paper. I love my family for caring for Olivia while I’m brushing my teeth or publishing a new Life is Messy Bootcamp lesson. I love my family for guarding the door like Navy Seals so no unwanted guests (like people who are coughing or have dirty hands) could move pass the front line to visit Olivia. I love my family for showing me how to be a mom, not telling me, but SHOWING me. I love my family more than ever!
  • Date Nights Feel Extra Special: They say that when mom + dad are happy, baby is happy. It’s soooo true. There might be a million things changing around us since we became a party of three, but not our commitment to one another. David + I have even made a pact to go on at least one date a week. Going to the movie theater or checking out a new pizza place in town has never felt so romantic + momentous.
  • My Heart Grew BIGGER: I never knew how much I loved my husband until I saw how much he loved our baby. I truly fell even more in love with David when I saw him become a father. Watching him watch her has been the most amazing gift.
  • Magic Powers: I think of breast milk as magic. If my baby is crying + fussy + whimpering + angry + tired, or otherwise not acting like her normal happy self? Time to nurse! Boom, whole new baby. Magic.
  • Doing Nothing: Maternity leave is my fave. Can you say guilt-free Instagram time?

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Thanks for letting me share this magical moment with you. After all you’re my virtual family!

I’m not exactly sure where this new chapter will take me or the natural evolution this blog will undergo, but I’m excited to use this down time with baby Olivia to explore all the abundance that’s possible. Hopefully, you’ll wanna come along for the ride with us, because it won’t feel the same without ya’.

This is it for now.

I’ll be back (said like Terminator).