The Motherhood Project: Chelsea

“I feel that in those days we shared really special and spiritual moments as a family that have made me so much stronger as a mother now.”

Name: Chelsea

Childs name and age: Hattie Pearl, 3 months old

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Did you enjoy your pregnancy?: The first part of my pregnancy I was super sick. Then at 10 weeks I started bleeding a lot and had to go to the ER and we found out that my placenta was having some problems. It was a scary moment and I was sure that I was having a miscarriage. The bleeding stopped, baby girl was doing great, and eventually my sickness went away. Until the end of the dreaded 3rd trimester. It was like I was having morning sickness all over again with the nausea and throwing up, not to mention feeling so huge this time around. So did I enjoy my pregnancy? Well let’s just say that I enjoyed being able to feel our little one move around and knowing that your body is capable of growing a tiny human is a really cool feeling.

How was your delivery experience?: Well I went to the hospital both the Monday and Tuesday before Hattie was born on Wednesday but got sent home even though I was dilated to a 4. My contractions just weren’t consistent enough. My water broke at home (I was going to go to work that day but my boss advised me to stay home, thank goodness) and almost instantly my contractions came on so fast and strong, they were 2 minutes apart. First, I thought I was going to die because of the pain, I am wimp and do not handle pain well. Then I thought I was going to have my baby in the car on the way to the hospital. But when I got to the hospital, I got an epidural and it helped. Seriously, props to moms who do it naturally. Contractions are no joke. When I got to the hospital I was 4 and a half centimeters dilated but quickly dilated to an 8, then soon after a 10. Hattie was still up too high so the nurse wanted to try to let her come down a little before I started pushing. I remember laying there telling my husband “I can’t believe this is it, I can’t believe she’ll be here so soon” it is such a surreal experience. While being in labor I got really sick. I started to get a fever and really nauseous. The nurse was trying everything to get my fever down but it just kept going up. Once I started pushing, I was throwing up in between pushes. They had me push for an hour, and then rest for an hour. I was so miserable. Thank goodness for my sweet husband who never left my side and kept cheering me on. Hattie’s heart rate was also getting dangerously high. So, the nurse had to call the NICU team in before she was born to be ready to get her when she came out. Once she came, she was covered in meconium and the NICU team instantly grabbed her and cleaned her up and checked her out right there in the delivery room. When they gave her to me I felt instantly bonded with her. I knew her and I know that she knew me. We got to hold her for a little while. That first time with just my husband and I in the room with her was so special, she truly was a little piece of heaven. We then had some family who came in and held her for a little bit too. But the nurse kept looking at her with a concerned face. She kept telling us “Sorry, I just feel like she’s not breathing right and I just need to listen to her lungs”. Bless her heart for being so attentive because she was right. She had the respiratory therapist come in three different times while being in the delivery room. I was getting so stressed that something was wrong with our perfect little baby, but the respiratory therapist kept telling us that everything was okay.  We got in the elevator to go down to the mother baby unit and that was the last time I saw our sweet girl that night. They immediately took her to the NICU and she began her week long stay there. We found out that her lungs weren’t expanding enough and she also had an infection that she got from my placenta. I instantly felt like everything was my fault and that my body had failed me because I didn’t keep our little girl healthy. But the nurses and doctors in the NICU were truly amazing, and they kept telling me that it wasn’t my fault and that I was a strong woman and a great mom. When Hattie was first born and I saw other people having their babies, I almost got a little envious of how they could keep their baby, and snuggle them when they wanted, and take them home when they got released from the hospital because we didn’t get that experience. But I honestly wouldn’t change our experience for the world. Because even though Hattie was in the NICU for just 7 days, I feel that in those days we shared really special and spiritual moments as a family that have made me so much stronger as a mother now. I think for me, that experience is what I needed in my life at that time.

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What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to being a mom?: I’d say my biggest struggle right now is how paranoid I am. I hate how paranoid I get about things or people being around our daughter if they’re dirty or sick. I know its normal with moms and their first babies, but I’d also like to chalk it up to her rough start to life. And it honestly bugs me that I’ve turned into “that mom” who makes everyone put hand sanitizer on before coming within three feet of her.

What’s your biggest strength when it comes to being a mom?: Right now, I’d say that my biggest strength when it comes to being a mom is almost being able to tell what Hattie needs. It’s taken me a while to figure it out, and there is still a lot I need to learn and honestly I’m not always right, but I like that I know when she’s tired or hungry or needs a diaper change or just to be held a certain way.

What is your favorite part of the day with your child/children?: Since I have started back at work, I’d say my new favorite part of the day is the evening. I love swaddling her up for the night before she goes to bed. She cuddles up and falls asleep in my arms and I melt every single time. I really do feel like it’s a bonding experience for both of us. I am seriously obsessed with my child.

Who is an inspiration to you when it comes to motherhood?: I would have to say my own mother of course. I have gained so much respect and appreciation for her. When we brought Hattie home from the hospital my mom stayed the night with us that first night, even though she lives like 5 minutes away. I cried when she left the next night because I would miss her. She truly is such an amazing mother and I hope that someday I’ll be half the mom she is. I also think that my mother-in-law and all of my sisters are an inspiration too. They all have different parenting styles but they all are wonderful loving mothers who are the best examples to me.

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Advice for fellow mothers who need a little boost?: I would say, it really is okay to ask for help. If you’re struggling, do NOT be ashamed of how you are feeling. Don’t feel guilty if you’re sad. It’s okay to talk about the struggles. I remember telling my sister-in-law while Hattie was in the NICU that I was just sad, and that I really had so much to be grateful for because at least Hattie was a full-term baby, and at least she was coming home soon, and that there were so many babies in there with way worse conditions and for a lot longer, but I couldn’t help but feel sad and guilty for feeling sad. I felt guilty even just telling her. But I love her response because she told me “yes, it really is great that Hattie is not worse. But do not let yourself feel guilty for being sad. You have every right to feel the way you feel” and it’s true. Whether your child is healthy or not, a newborn or 4 years old, it doesn’t matter, being a mom is hard and sometimes you just feel sad. Every mom has every right to feel the way they want to and they should not feel guilty for it nor should they feel like they can’t talk to anyone about it.

How has being a mom changed your life?: Oh my goodness being a mom is truly the best experience. I never knew that I could love someone as much as I love Hattie. I also have never felt closer to my Heavenly Father than I have being a mother, my testimony of the love that my Heavenly Father has for me has grown immensely. Being a mother is the greatest opportunity that I have ever been given, and I am so grateful.

*If you have anyone you’d like to nominate to be featured on the blog (yourself included) send me their email or phone number and I will contact them/you! ceeceesparkles@gmail.com

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