Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Marijuana & Pregnancy - for those who need some relevant real talk.


If you were on Google, researching like a madwoman. And landed on this post. Well, lucky you. Seriously. Consider yourself lucky. Because I'm going to be 1000% honest. I'm going to tell you MY ACTUAL experience. And it took place in 2020. So, not only is my experience reliable, more importantly, it's recent.

I wanted to open this post with a disclaimer of sorts because when I was pregnant, and looking for resources on smoking weed while pregnant, I was at a loss. 

Every account I came across online was either super dated - sorry, but your experience from 2011 just isn't comforting when I need current laws factored in. OR the story was from a girl's sister's friend's mom's coworker...so, not exactly reliable.

Yes. I smoked while I was pregnant. Marijuana? Yes. Cigarettes? Hell no. Just to clarify. In case you're already chomping at the bit to judge. If you already have a preconceived negative notion of how you feel about this topic, then I suggest you move on.

If you want some fucking real talk, no judgement, then you're in the right place.


First off. I just want to say. My child is an absolute ray of sunshine. And perfect in every way. Just kidding. She shits and screams and spits up just like the best of them. My point being, Delilah is a normal baby in every way. She is healthy. She is smart. She is loud. She is hilarious. And she actually is a little ray of sunshine. And according to her pediatrician, she is advanced.


Delilah - 4 months old.


Guess smoking weed while I was pregnant wasn't as detrimental as the surgeon general and naysayers would have you believe. Mind you, the surgeon general does not have an issue with you being prescribed opioids while pregnant. 


So, before I was pregnant, I smoked weed to chill out. To quell anxieties. To zone into a project. To write. To help me sleep. To cure a desperate hangover! Most significantly though, I smoke weed to help keep migraines at bay. I don't get your average migraine. If only mine were relegated to just throbbing pain and throwing up everything...no, I get special migraines - migraines with aura. Aura can be experienced as bright spots in your vision, like stars, but not as alluring as it sounds. My particular experience with aura is half of my body goes numb. Only one side. And it's weird. One of the first discoveries of this was when I sliced through my tongue while I slept. And I had no idea. Because I couldn't feel it. Good times. Yeah. Migraines with aura are a tale for another post.

Basically, weed is not something that has ever held me back. I often prefer it over a cocktail for the simple reason that I have control over my actions and the only aftermath of smoking a good joint is I'm going to sleep really well.


So when I got pregnant, unexpectedly, I felt like I needed to clean up my act for obvious reasons. Wanted to give this babe the best chances. I knew 2 basic things about being pregnant: Don't drink and don't smoke. 



First trimester, I suffered. Although migraines had all but disappeared, I was sick to my stomach. So sick. Morning sickness for me lasted all day. And I did what everyone tells you to do. And honestly, it worked pretty well. I would keep boxes of mini saltines at my bedside with a bottle of water. As soon as I woke up feeling nauseous at 3am, I'd stuff my face with saltines and drown myself in water. The trick was just to fill myself up as much as I could with something bland like crackers so I could push through the nauseous feeling and go on with my day. It worked, usually.

Second trimester things changed. Duh. Pregnancy is a fucking trip. Every day is something new. And it's just a game of  "Do I go to the hospital for this or don't I?" 

My migraines returned. And they returned with a vengeance. This was actually something that had been lightly discussed with my gyno. Sometimes women with migraines get worse and this was something I was concerned about. When a bad migraine hits, I take a cocktail of Rizatriptan (instantly relieves nausea & can help relieve migraine pain), Excedrin Migraine for the pain and a sedative, Promethazine, which calms me down and eases me to sleep.

Pregnant...can't take my usual go-to pharma-cocktail...what the hell am I going to do. I got a second opinion from another gyno who felt that, with the exception of Excederin, it was safe for me to take my usual meds. I felt otherwise. Both of my gynocologists clearly resisted having to give me the okay but felt that if my migraines persisted and were only getting worse, I could take my meds. My main gyno actually recommended I come in for a shot of Dilaudid - an opioid used to treat moderate to severe pain.

And that's where I decided to take matters into my own hands. I loved how my doctors were ready to prescribe opioids to calm my symptoms but somehow, marijuana was taboo. It's laughable really. 

In reality, I wasn't able to take any pills because as it was, when a severe migraine hit, I wasn't able to keep down anything. Not food. Not water. And certainly not any pills. I started to lose weight instead of gaining it and the last thing I wanted was to end up hospitalized from malnutrition. I needed to handle my situation the best way possible. 

And so towards the middle of my second trimester, I started smoking little bits of weed to stop myself from dry heaving in the mornings from morning sickness. It cured my nausea. Quelled my anxiety which was at an all-time high during my first pregnancy. And it fueled my appetite which was so important! It allowed for me to eat all the things. And I was happy. FINALLY feeling hungry AND being able to keep the food down was literal happiness. Something pills would NOT have accomplished.

And while marijuana didn't always help with a couple of my worst migraines, it definitely helped keep them at bay in general. 

My child did not suffer from my smoking small amounts of weed while I was pregnant with her. Although, according to the Kaiser-appointed psychologist I was forcibly paired with while I was pregnant, my child potentially faced any number of issues....

I cannot tell you how annoying it is that Kaiser pairs you up with a psychologist when you get pregnant. She's nosy. She asks you questions that are eye-brow-raising....like, "Do you want this baby?" "Are you happy about being pregnant?" And my favorite assertion of hers, "If you smoke marijuana, you are risking miscarrying and if your baby survives, she's going to probably be deformed or have any number of things wrong with her..." 

QUE THE MAJOR FUCKING EYE ROLL.

Her job is to scare the bejesus outa you. Smoke weed while your pregnant and you're risking your babies health! And if you're willing to risk her health, that means you're a bad mother! And if you're a bad mother when does social services step in....

My gyno literally told me in the most casual way, to "lay off of it a little" as I approached my due date. Mainly because I wanted clean breast milk. However, my gyno never at any point tried to disway me from smoking marijuana. I also told her I drank it in tea form. Again, never any reproach from her.

But, per Kaiser bullllllshit rules, my gyno has to inform this psychologist who was younger than me and my husband. Had never been pregnant herself. Didn't have experience with severe migraines or migraines in general. And spoke to us in this silly little voice that one uses when talking to preschoolers. She asked us questions at our first encounter that we found beyond intrusive. For example, where we live and the size of our home and the size of our baby's room is really none of her business. And yet, there we were. What was supposed to be a nice trip to see our baby's anatomy scan tuned into an unscheduled interrogation with a cop, er psychologist. 

Take note, Kaiser appoints all pregnancies with a psychologist. Her job is to root around your private business to look for problems to report back to social services. That's what her main job is. However, she masks this by saying she is there for you to provide you with resources for your mental health. If my mental health was at stake, this psychologist would be the last person I'd want to go see. Unrelatable and condescending don't do it for me, Kaiser.

This psychologist gave me all the bad vibes. Besides making me feel like I was a bad mom for consuming small amounts of marijuana, she had me under the impression that I HAD to see her for scheduled appointments to check on my mental health, and basically her taking notes to hand over toooo, to who? Who exactly? Enough was enough. No one can force you to see a doctor when there is no need, as I finally decided to confirm with my gynecologist. 

Literally an email was sent after a family pow-wow. My husband was pissed and so were my parents. All of whom were on board with me smoking weed over taking opioids during a pregnancy.

My gynecologist was quick to respond to my email and assuage concerns.

I was not a case that would be of any interest to social services. We live in CALIFORNIA. Marijuana is legal HERE. And that changes everything. The small amounts I was smoking were of no interest to her and she assured me it was really of no concern to the psychologist either. Psychologists are looking for more deep-set issues. Domestic abuse. Alcohol abuse. Drug abuse such as prescription pills, cocaine, heroin. Fucking serious stuff. Marijuana doesn't fit the bill in California anymore. NOT so for other states ladies. So, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. 


39 weeks pregnant & ready to pop!


In the end, I basically told the appointed psychologist to go kick rocks. For real. She tried to push appointments on me in order to "educate me" on the effects of marijuana. Mmmmhmmm...someone who had never smoked herself, guaranteed. And her only knowledge of it is what the surgeon general recommends. Another person who's only interaction with marijuana is what someone else has told him is "fact." 

And while my doctor doesn't openly condone usage, because she legally cannot, she also doesn't deny its benefits. Keep in mind, I stopped smoking weed into my 3rd trimester to ensure clean breast milk.


So, in a nutshell:

Did I face any legal repercussions for ingesting marijuana? NO. 

Was I tested at any point during labor & delivery? NO clue. Doubtful.

Was my baby tested? Again, NO clue. But I doubt it.

Was there any threat of having my child removed from me at birth? Hell NO.

Did the nurses ask about drug use? OF COURSE.

Did I answer them truthfully every time? ABSOLUTELY.

Did any of the nurses care when I said I smoked weed, drank infused tea? NOPE.

Was my baby born without complications? Yes.

Any complications since birth? Not at all.


Anatomy scan looking perfect.


I sincerely hope this answers some questions! Keep in mind my account is from that of a Kaiser member. And that's generally how it goes across the board for Kaiser in California. They drug test everyone, no matter what. They test your urine and they don't tell you. When they send you to the lab for all sorts or preggo testing, marijuana is definitely one of the tests.

They test specifically for marijuana because its usage among pregnant women is on the rise. More women than you think are resorting to marijuana to ease pregnancy woes because it actually works to ease more than just one symptom. Curing nausea while calming your evermore anxious mind and giving your appetite a boost...it's only a matter of time before they finally stop giving mothers shit over using it. 


If you have any questions, leave them here at the bottom and I'll definitely try to answer you to the best of my own knowledge and experience. I promise it's firsthand, not I heard from a friend of a friend kinda crap.

 

Labor & Delivery - March 24, 2020.




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Monday, August 3, 2020

Hello Baby!

Sitting down to type because I finally have a few moments. Weird to say that now considering I used to have ample time only a year ago. Copious amounts of time to dedicate to this website and to MYSELF. 

But here I am. Mother of 4 months to Miss Delilah Maria. And honestly, I still don't believe it. I can't believe she's here. She actually belongs to me. I'm in charge of keeping another human alive. Omigod. How did this happen? Well, I know how she happened. But still. It blows my mind, and her father's. 

July 26, 2020 - 5:27pm.


I think maybe the mind blowing is due to the fact that we were never careful. Together since Summer of 2015. Married Spring of 2017. And not once in that time frame were we ever careful. Naturally, after some time we definitely made appointments to make sure we were all good. Maybe there were issues we didn't know we had. So, after we got the "You both are fine and fully capable of having children," confirmation, we decided we were not interested in alternative methods of conceiving.

October 21, 2017 - 6:33pm. Chris & I taking the train home after cocktails in the city.


Naturally, we looked into IUI's and IVF. Made an appointment or 2 and consulted with a specialist. And pretty quickly decided it wasn't for us. The truth was neither of us felt that we wanted children bad enough to go through these invasive procedures. 

We decided that if we were both healthy and capable, if a baby was to be a part of our future, then it would happen. If it was meant to be, it was meant to be. Maybe not on our preferred schedule or timeline, but it is what it is. And if it wasn't meant to be, then I'd be writing to you about my new Chanel bag right now instead. Ha!

January 1, 2020 - 1:01pm. 


And so, Chris and I went about our lives. I mean the man was about to cave and buy me a convertible when we got the crazy news. Seriously! We had been looking into getting me a new car and I had convinced him a convertible would be so much fun! Right? Literally, there we were at our fave little Mexican restaurant, drinking margaritas and Modelo Especial's, discussing my convertible...only to go home, take a freakin' random pregnancy test and find out I'm pregnant.

After about 4 years, there I was, preggo. And of course we didn't believe it. I mean I had actually bought the pregnancy tests as a joke to play on my bestie because we were taking off for a weekend in Vegas.  AND I thought it would be funny to text him a positive pregnancy test before we left....so, that obviously backfired big time. lol.

July 19, 2019 - 7:17pm. We are freaking out.



I still went to Vegas. And did a lot of pool lounging and shopping instead. No complaints actually. It was nice. Other than the fact I was beginning to get bouts of nausea. And weird cravings. I mean there we were in Vegas and I made Kimmy make a pitstop at a CVS so I could buy beef jerkey and Doritos. Yummmm.

July 21, 2019 - Pregnant in Vegas.


And that set the pace for the next nine months.


My first pregnancy. So of course it was anything but uneventful. Nine full months of waking up almost every day wondering what new mysterious ailment would cause me a newfound anxiety. The thing is, when you're 36 and this is your first time being pregnant, it's fucking terrifying. I literally felt like a character out of the movie Alien. With this foreign thing growing inside of me and just making me sick. Unmotivated. Tired. Anxious. SICK. TIRED. ANXIOUS. And totally unlike myself. It's a strange feeling.

Suddenly I was just too tired to get dressed and take my usual outfit shots. Which is something I love to do! So, that was depressing. Too tired to care about my outfits or keeping up with the website. Which explains the year-long hiatus. On the other hand, I never really minded growing bigger and slowly not being able to fit into things. That was kinda fun. Watching myself grow and eating whatever, whenever with TUMS for dessert, of course. I mean there were days where I wasn't so amused by this sudden weight gain (I got up to 160 lbs at the time of delivery). But it's all good. 4 months postpartum and I weigh about 135 lbs. Still work to be done. Nothing like a pandemic to procrastinate weight loss.

October 10, 2019 - 3:53pm. Squeezing into a swimsuit I bought right before I found out I was pregnant.


I never invested in maternity-wear other than a pair of pregnancy leggings to accommodate my growing stomach, a couple supportive tank tops and a slip - ALL from Blanqi Supportwear. A brand I highly suggest you check out. The items I purchased carried me throughout my pregnancy and postpartum. AND they wick moisture. AND they're so, so comfortable. AND this is not an advertisement. I will link the exact items I bought in an upcoming post on ALL the baby stuff I suggest.

December 19, 2019 - 9:09pm. Living in those Blanqi leggings.


Getting back to the whole unexpected pregnancy thing...it was rough. With that said, I realize that there are pregnancies way more difficult than mine. But for me, it was rather unpleasant for the most part. I was not a fan of sharing my body with this little someone who I didn't know. And she had the audacity to make me sick and tired and feeling anything other than my normal fabulous self!  *breathe, breathe*

December 9, 2019 - 10:02am. Home after another scare & subsequent ER visit.



Then, there was the bleeding. The spotting to use the proper terminology. When you don't know any better, like me, you assume that pregnancy means no bleeding for the next nine months. Not so. And while every pregnancy is different, mine had plenty of spotting. Some brought on by intercourse, which is normal, and something we didn't know until one of our many trips to the ER.

March 4, 2020 - 4:28pm. Getting to know the nurses well at this point.



But then there were times where I bled for no apparent reason. I bled when I overdid it one day trying to get Christmas shopping done. I bled when I started feeling super overwhelmed because Chris decided to remodel the house the entire nine months I was pregnant. Take note: remodeling whilst you're pregnant is not something I recommend. AT ALL. Stress makes your body do all kinds of shit. Especially when you're pregnant.

So, when you don't know any better, you automatically assume it's a miscarriage every time you see blood. I probably had this thought at least once a week. I swear. Some women spot in the very beginning and stop all together. And some spot all throughout their pregnancy. And I was one of them. I finally, finally stopped thinking I was miscarrying somewhere towards the end of the 2nd trimester. But the fear and paranoia for me were pervasive. I am thankful for the friends who answered my worried texts, sometimes with graphic photos attached, and for their advice. I was just scared. Scared to lose something we never thought we'd have. 

Side note: I never took any baby classes or labor classes. They're suggested, of course. But around the time I would have signed up, Coronavirus triggered a nation-wide shelter-in-place order. And therefore I was unable to attend any workshops. NO BIGGIE LADIES! I watched classes online which are available. They gave me an idea of what to expect. But in the end, didn't need them. 



Ummm...while it's on my mind. When your pregnant friend says to you that she's just over it. She's sick and tired of being sick and tired. Don't and I repeat do not tell your pregnant friend that she needs to stop and "enjoy this time."  The thing is, your pregnant friend would really love to enjoy this time. But as she pointed out, she's SICK and TIRED. and that makes things really hard to enjoy. 

Instead try one of these, a "I'm sorry this is so miserable for you right now." And "I can't imagine how you must feel." Or a "Don't worry sweetie, this too shall pass. And when it does, we're going to drink mimosas till we pass out."


These are all far better options than urging someone who's miserable to enjoy feeling miserable.


I would also like to say that while pregnancy was miserable, labor was literally a breeze for me. Everything I had feared was for nothing. I realize I'm so lucky to have had such an easy experience. Being my first time and all. AND not to mention, we were in the middle of one of the worst pandemics the world has seen. 

We checked into Kaiser Santa Clara around 7-8pm in the evening with no problems and a practically empty hospital, thanks to Coronavirus. Miss Delilah was born at 2am. With epidural, all things are possible. I love you epidural. I felt NO pain. Not once. Only pressure like you're squeezing out a soccer ball out of your vagina. And it's SO WEIRD. It didn't hurt but the sensation of feeling her head right before it popped out is INSANE. The incredible wooooosh feeling when the rest of her little body slipped right out. And the same wooooosh feeling when the placenta and after-birth come out. Lot's of crazy sensations, but never once was I in any pain. Also, in case you were wondering, contractions, for me, were very uncomfortable. But I found them manageable. 

March 24, 2020 - 2:20am. Life changed forever.


March 24, 2020 - 2:20am. Hello Baby!



I had a minor first degree tear. Which at the time of labor felt like no big deal. That epidural was hiding the true pain that would come in the next few days. The epidural wore off just as I was being loaded into the wheelchair and wheeled out to the car with my little honey. I still had no idea of the pain that was lurking. Just waiting for me once I got home and settled.

March 25, 2020 - 8:17am.


So, nobody tells you what happens after. And I think it's because none of us really think to ask. It's like we're all so consumed with the lead-up and the actual labor. And for some reason I was under the impression that that's where the buck stopped. In the labor room. My mom always said, "labor is the biggest pain of your life and as soon as it's over you feel nothing. No pain." Fucking lies. Lies I tell you.


I spent the first 2 weeks postpartum wishing I was dead and buried. I'm not exaggerating. I was in so much pain I would just sit and cry and cry. Crying because I couldn't pee without screaming from the pain of the stitches dissolving. And I mean SCREAMING. Chris had never heard or seen me like this before and I know it was terrifying. I cried, more like sobbed, because my sciatic pain was so unbearable that every time I sat down, I shrieked from how hard I had to bite down to withstand the pain. Sciatica was something that settled in during my first trimester and unfortunately only got worse postpartum. 

March 28, 2020 - 12:26pm. Delilah is 4 days old. This is real life.


All of this pain made it sad and difficult trying to nurse and deal with a newborn.  And I quickly understood why everyone was so concerned as to whether Chris and I would have help in the beginning - till we got the hang of things. Which let me tell you, as a new parent, those first 4 weeks are the most difficult and trying, both on you and your partner. Know this and don't feel bad when you're feeling exasperated and at your wits end. 

My mom lives down the street and so does my sister. I am very lucky to have all the help I need. 

Eventually, all the horrible pains I had melted away. And not a moment too soon. My babe needed her mama and the immense pain I had been going through made me almost useless to my newborn.


Again, friends who know just know. But if you don't know, this is yet another time where it is ill-advised to tell parents that they should really try to "enjoy this time."

May 4, 2020 - 5:31pm.


Cry when you need to. Scream if you want to. Preferably when the baby is at grandma's. This is no time to be waking sleeping babies. Not even for your postpartum temper tantrum. Trust me on this. You'll thank me later. SLEEP when they sleep. Do not try and do what I did and clean house every time they close their eyes. This incessant habit of mine to keep everything spotless was exhausting and painful. Because of course, I was trying to do too much too soon. Just rest. REST.

May 20, 2020 - 11:53am.


Rest because peaceful moments will now be far and few in between. Rest because you've never known exhaustion quite like this before. Rest because your life has changed. And this new life is different. And selflessness is the name of this game. Because it's all about her now. Her needs come before yours. And even though it's weird and different and tiring, you love it. You'll love giving every ounce of yourself to this little person...but if you're like me, you might not love it at first. And that's okay. I'm 4 months in and just now realizing how much I love it. How much I love her. 

May 27, 2020 - 6:11pm. Delilah is 2 months old.


We've still got a long ways to go in getting to know each other.

And I can't wait.




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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

So, a lot has happened in a year...

It's been one year and three months since my last blog post. And what a year it has been.

First of all, as most of you know, I went and got myself pregnant. I mean I guess not all by myself. Chris pitched in. I didn't keep up with the blog during my pregnancy. So, if you were looking forward to preggo-posts, you were shit-outa-luck. And if you were relieved that I didn't do preggo-posts, you're welcome. But take note, post-preggo posts are coming. Because there are actually some first-time mom's out here who wanna know my story. You know I don't hold back.

Next big thing to happen since I left off, was the planet decided it had had enough of humanity. Between a virus that has basically shut down our way of life and social unrest at a boiling point, it really blows my mind that THIS is the world I brought a child into? Seriously?

DELILAH HAS REGULAR TEMPERATURE CHECKS WITH AN INFRARED THERMOMETER.

And this is the precarious moment I've decided to delve back into blogging. The Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020. Fucking COVID-19.  Thankfully, the majority of my pregnancy was experienced pre-pandemic. And I was very lucky to have been able to have the baby shower I did. I believe the same day of my shower was the same day the first person in the USA was diagnosed with this strangely impervious virus. This was February 2020. And my baby shower was a very happy little get-together that we all enjoyed - blissfully unaware of how everything, our entire existence and way of living, was about to change.

GRAFFITI OUTSIDE ONE OF CHRIS'S CONSTRUCTION SITES, SHUT-DOWN FROM COVID-19.

My baby shower would be the last time I would be getting together with family and friends to celebrate a milestone.  At least for the foreseeable future.  And as I write this, it is July 21st and we are still encouraged not to gather in groups. "Social Distancing" has entered our lives and our vocabulary on a daily basis.

I went into labor March 23rd. Baby Delilah was born the next day at about 2am. And it was the most uneventful, dare I say, easiest labor. We checked in, and she was in the world a few hours later. And my God was I grateful for such an easy birth.  But the days leading up to this miracle were filled with fear and anxiety - and not so much from my upcoming labor, but the circumstances in which Delilah would be entering the world.

March 2020 was the beginning of the lock-down, "shelter-in-place" orders, and when they took effect, it seemed as if we had been transported into an episode of the Twilight Zone.  And Chris was suddenly home. All the time. Construction was deemed an "essential service" but Chris stayed home for weeks leading up to Delilah's birth and then after.  We just couldn't risk him getting the virus and bringing it home.

The streets were empty. All day. All night. No traffic. No one commuting to their job. No one being dropped off at school. No one doing anything normal. And at first, this giant sleepover seemed like a nice respite from the general huh-bub of life. Working from home? Amazing! Sleeping in? Even better. What? No school? Yessssssssss! (said every child in America) Alcohol deliveries? I mean who can complain?? Certainly not the mother's who had been forced, overnight, into new careers as school teachers. Happy Hour is now any hour you like.

Reality settled in fast. Because people started dying. People here.  In America.  It wasn't just a problem in Asia or Europe anymore.  People were dying and still are. Ugly, torturous deaths. And unfortunately, killing the most vulnerable in society. Babies miraculously coming out unscathed, for the most part. But the elderly and those with already compromised immune systems were the target of COVID-19.  And it spread like wildfire. Consuming our planet. Every nation touched.  Almost every family reporting a loss, some losing multiple family members. 

Fear of this unknown terror caused mass panic. And suddenly you couldn't find toilet paper, hand sanitizer or Clorox cleaning products anywhere. Store shelves were left bare as people stocked up on basic necessities and Mountain Dew. lol.

Fear affected every aspect of everyday life. And so, to avoid contamination, hospitals all over the country started banning visitors. You're dying you say? Sorry. Only allowed one person by your side. Going into labor? Oh, this is your first baby? Sorry. Your partner cannot be in the delivery room. No exceptions. Did we say we're sorry? Yeah.

Dying alone and bringing a new life into the world, alone, are not experiences I wish on anyone. 

Thankfully, officials who make these rules decided there needed to be some leniency. And the ban on husbands/partners being in delivery rooms was lifted...but not before 2 weeks passed of women having to give birth solo. I feel for those mothers and their partners.  

And so Chris was able to be there with Delilah and I the whole time. Holding my hand and generally pissing me off as I battled contractions. It was exactly how I hoped it would be. And we were lucky. Delilah was born right smack dab in the middle of one of the worst possible scenarios.  But she made it. We made it. 

It dawned on us as we drove our bundle home. No one would be visiting her. My sweet, precious little girl, who had been wanted for so long and everyone so eager to meet her, would have no one come to see her. Out of an abundance of caution. 

At first, this didn't bother me and I looked at it as rather a blessing. Not being bombarded with visits after you give birth isn't the worst thing in the world. My labor may have been heaven. But my recuperation was literal Hell. And so my new little family hid, tucked away from the world. Delilah's only visits taking place over Facetime and Zoom video calls.

My parents and my sister and her husband were the only ones allowed to come visit. They had self-quarantined about a month before it was enforced on everyone. They didn't want to miss out Delilah coming home for the first time. And I can't blame them.  They were all supposed to be in the waiting room at the hospital to welcome Delilah.  My mom was supposed to be in the delivery room.  Of course none of this was possible. 

If you have thoughts and opinions on my allowing my immediate family over to see my newborn, reserve your judgement.  Navigating the new world with a newborn is almost constant paranoia for new parents. 

After some time, we allowed other family members to have their first baby visit. Some family opted to just see her through the glass sliding door in our backyard. OR go through our extensive process of shoe-removal, hand washing, sanitizer, gloves and finally a mask.  My family would change clothes into something totally fresh out of the dryer before coming over.  Sometimes they didn't come in at all, opting to just leave us groceries and meals on the front porch.

All of this panic and anxiety and extreme caution finally broke me at some point. And I cried. I cried for my daughter. This was not the experience I had envisioned for her arrival.  I felt she was being deprived of all the love and excitement and fanfare over a new baby that always comes with a new arrival.  It's not fair. That is so immature for me to say. But it's how I felt. How I still feel. It's a rather shitty experience to have everyone have to wear a mask and gloves to touch your child.  It's cold. It's morbid. It sucks.  And currently, after Delilah's shots, we allow family to see her and hold her without gloves and a mask. 

And all the while I've not only kept a record of Delilah's entrance into the COVID world, but I've kept a record of all that's been going on around us as well.  My intention was to create a short pictorial documentary that I intend to show Delilah when she's older. Documenting how the world around has changed with no end in sight.  As there is no cure, no vaccine for the current plague trying to wipe us out.

My short documentary can be seen in the video linked below.  All photos are mine, with the exception of the personal photos sent to me by family and friends.  Their names have been left out for privacy reasons. duh.








Many thanks to everyone who contributed. Stay safe and stay sane and stay healthy. We got this.

"Keep Calm and Mask On!"


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Sunday, May 5, 2019

Subscription Boxes: Who I Subscribe to & Why


Subscription Boxes. They are everywhere. Seems like everyone's subscribed to at least one curated box of goodies. From skincare to yoga outfits. And vitamins to pet food. Boxed and shipped to my front door sounds like a good idea to me!

Depending on who and what you're subscribed to, typically these boxes are seasonal. Which makes them ever more enticing (considering you're only getting charged every so often). 

So, here's a quick rundown of WHO I'm currently subscribed to and WHY I subscribe.




CARE/OF VITAMIN PACKS

If you follow me via Instagram then you've definitely seen me touting these conveniently personalized little vitamin packs from Care/Of - short for, 'Take Care Of Yourself!'

How it all works is you go to the www.TakeCareOf.com website and take a short quiz. The quiz asks you information on everything from your current body weight and diet, to your lifestyle and health goals. This is ALL vital info for Care/Of to be able to base their recommendations for your daily vitamin/supplement packs.

You take the quiz. They give you recommendations. But ultimately, you can choose your own vitamins, supplements and protein powders to curate your monthly delivery as you see fit.

30 packs are delivered monthly. However, if you fall behind or need to skip a month for whatever reason, you can easily log into your account and opt to delay your delivery. No fees. No problems. They make this very convenient. 

Expensive? Heck no. Not when you consider how much you'd ACTUALLY end up paying if you bought individual bottles of everything you opt to take. Chris and I are both signed up and we both pay, individually, less than $40/month for our vitamins and supplements.

Have they made a difference? Absolutely. I take the prenatals which keep my skin clear and my nails and hair growing like weeds! Not to mention, prenatal vitamins are jam-packed with like everything you need and then some. I also take the Digestive Enzyme and Probiotic Blend capsules, which have helped enormously keep my weight, bloat and gut in check!


WANT $40 OFF YOUR FIRST ORDER?

USE CODE: VG7Y84 on www.TakeCareOf.com at checkout.





C O R A

Non-toxic AND contributes to an important cause. CORA pads, liners and tampons are my choice subscription when it comes to feminine hygiene product delivery services.

For every month's supply of CORA that you purchase, CORA helps provide a month's supply of pads and health education to a girl in need....in need you wonder?

Yes. In need.

Millions of girls and women around the world STAY HOME FROM SCHOOL OR WORK DURING THEIR PERIODS! Because they cannot afford menstrual supplies. 

"300 million girls and women use rags, plastics, sand and ash to manage their periods."

I've been finding that this fact blows peoples minds....if you can't afford shoes or notebooks, how can you afford a basic need like pads? It's a real problem and CORA is aiming to fix it. And I LOVE being part of a solution to a major problem.

Seen CORA at Target? You betcha. And for every month's supply of CORA you purchase from Target, CORA gives a percentage of profits to support the ZanaAfrica Foundation - which helps young girls in Kenya stay in school by delivering reproductive health education and sanitary pads.

CORA pads are made with 100% certified organic cotton. They are free of more than 20 different toxic chemicals typically found in menstrual pads.

With CORA there are different plans with different products. All to suit you and your specific needs. You subscription can be altered or canceled with ease at any time. I currently get a box from CORA every 3 months with a supply of liners and an assortment of Regular + Overnight pads. I add tampons to my plan as I need them and remove them when I'm stocked. 

Pads or tampons come with a discreet black box which I keep easily on hand in my bathroom. And aesthetically speaking? LOVE that CORA doesn't feel the need to proliferate pink on their products solely because they're for girls. I like pink. But definitely appreciate CORA's neutral color palette. 


Ready to have your pads/tampons delivered at your convenience?







FABFITFUN EDITOR'S BOX - SPRING 2018

FabFitFun

I mean, is there a soul in the universe that isn't subscribed to FabFitFun? After being a member for a full year now, I can honestly say this is one subscription that is hard to go wrong with.

It took me a minute to grasp their whole marketplace system...i.e. if you put something in your cart, you'll be charged for it! So, if you're not ready to seal the deal, DO NOT ADD TO CART. 

After I figured that whole thang out, ALL was well. And I like shopping FabFitFun's DEEPLY discounted array of products. Up to 70% OFF of brands like Coola, Kopari, Way of Will, Private Party, Whish, Elemis, Foreo, Pottery Barn, Grown Alchemist, GlamGlow, Bite Beauty, Oribe and SO. MANY. MORE.

FABFITFUN SUMMER BOX - 2018

FABFITFUN FALL BOX - 2018

FABFITFUN WINTER BOX - 2018

As you can see in the photos, each seasonal box from FabFitFun is filled to the brim with so many goodies that it's hard to figure out what to open first. The excitement is palpable. I exaggerate NOT. I have yet to be disappointed by FabFitFun, so what are you waiting for?

Sign up here: www.FabFitFun.com






CAUSEBOX EDITOR'S EDITION - SPRING 2018

CAUSEBOX

VERY similar to FabFitFun, BUT with a twist! CAUSEbox - root word CAUSE - because the whole point of your Causebox subscription is to learn about different brands and companies whose products aim to support an important CAUSE.

Causebox is relatively new to the subscription box game and I have an admittedly love/hate relationship with them. But if they've made it to my exclusive list here, then they're doing something right.

First of all, I love learning about different foundations and causes that I can contribute to, just by making better, more informed purchases. Buying products that will make a difference. Some kind of impact. And that's a good feeling! 

Causebox items are therefore going to be a tad more unique. Probably brands that will be new to you and some you're already familiar with. But I've found almost all products are useful and ALMOST never have an issue....Almost.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you've heard my gripes about Causebox. I've threatened on multiple occasions to cancel...lol...but I haven't. Because I have found that products I'm not interested in make great gifts to pass along...not everything in every box is going to knock it out of the ballpark for you, so remember, sharing is caring!

Buuuut, what about those gripes?

The very first box I got from Causebox was a dream. See the photo above. I mean there isn't one product in that box I don't love. I was obsessed and eager for the next box to come. Well, the next box had a major glitch when the highly-anticipated wooden cheeseboards had to be scrapped from everyone's boxes due to "water damage". I was annoyed. Mainly because the cheeseboard was swapped out for a Swell water bottle. Meh.

Another Causebox contained a set of earphones that initially excited everyone...but then we all quickly realized the earphones worked for about 2 hours before they died. Never coming back to life again. Total waste for an item purported to retail at $99.

More recently, Causebox encountered yet another snafu, this time with the way they decided to advertise a lovely, vegan leather portfolio. Their advertising showed the portfolio able to carry a laptop...unfortunately for the masses of people who signed up for Causebox, SOLELY for the portfolio, they found that the majority of laptops DID NOT actually fit into the portfolio. An item that retails for $100. The backlash for this was swift and understandable.

I contacted the designer of the portfolios and found out that the ones included in the Causebox subscription were NEVER meant to accommodate laptops. They were meant for iPads! And if you happened to have a tiny-ass laptop that fit in there, well, lucky you! Causebox made a whoops advertising the portfolio with a laptop, confusing everyone on the portfolio's actual dimensions and capability. Annoying to say the least. And so I digress.

I still subscribe to Causebox because I do like most of the products I receive. And whatever doesn't fit my lifestyle gets passed along...however, I did go into detail above because I felt details on my reasoning were a must. So, if you still feel like giving Causebox a whirl, here's the link:

Sign up for CAUSEBOX here: www.Causebox.com

* UPDATE: I have since CANCELED my CauseBox subscription because their Fall 2019 charging/shipping schedule was just all sorts of crazy. When you get charged in August, but well into October, you still don't have a tracking number...it's time to rip the band-aid off this one. A lot of customers canceled CauseBox this season. Mainly due to the monotonously and strange cheery disposition of the responses from the CauseBox customer service/social media reps.

You could've told them to fuck off and shove their box where the sun don't shine...and they'd politely respond with a Bless your little impatient heart! Not to fear sweetheart. Just keep an eye on your email & you'll get a tracking number any day now. Ta Ta for now! Love Always, Natalie! XO

Well, Ta-Ta for now, CauseBox!
Xo, Vanessa





So, there's my list of WHO and WHY I subscribe. Feel free to shoot me any questions about any of these subscriptions. OR to ask why I don't subscribe to other boxes like ipsy or Rachel Zoe's Box Of Style. 

I'm full of opinions, naturally, lol, so ask away!
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Monday, March 11, 2019

BARBIES & UNICORNS ARE WHAT COME TO MIND

PRODUCT PROVIDED C/O KAJA BEAUTY & INFLUENSTER FOR TESTING.

I mean, am I right or am I right? Barbies and unicorns!

And so, here it is.

The coolest highlighter formula, packaging, applicator...ever?

Possibly. I mean, at least thus far.




Once you get past the cutest highlighter applicator ever, this ruby-infused balm is fantastic.  Roll a little and get a subtle pink shimmer. Roll a lot onto your mini paint roller and you'll see a shimmery rosy pink highlight. It really is a lot of fun and I love how I glisten in the sunlight.


Apply with or without other makeup. It's buildable. So, you can go for a subtle pink sheen OR look like you got baptized by unicorns!




Roller Glow's roll-on highlighting balm formula can be rolled on (obviously) with the mini paint roller OR you can use your fingertips. With the paint roller, you gotta roll it in the balm a bit and warm it up to layer it on the roller real good.

Available at Sephora, Roller Glow retails for about $28. Not bad considering that it comes with an EXTRA paint roller. One for now and one for later. Yasssss.....


Roll your Glow wherever you want a shimmery pink highlight...
cheekbones, decolletage, shoulders, temples...
just have fun!












Products received c/o Kaja Beauty & Influenster
for testing purposes. All thoughts & opinions are mine.
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