Virginia Claire’s Labor & Delivery: Pregnancy

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Here I sit, six weeks postpartum and feeling ashamed and humiliated to write this down for you to read. The girl who so adamantly fought tooth and nail to prepare for a natural childbirth but begged (literally) for an epidural. I was prepared to labor at home, in my beautiful jetted bathtub. I was prepared to breath through my contractions, and use what I had learned from Bradley classes to labor my daughter into this world. My husband was prepared, too. We were so ready to do the dirty work to bring Virginia into this world without the interventions that we had read, debated,  and decided against for our baby.  We had a birth plan, written and even illustrated in certain points. We were so, so, so, so, so, ready for everything that could come our way. Except we weren’t. I was so, so, not ready. I wasn’t ready for a 28 hour labor. I wasn’t ready for over 48 hours with no sleep during that labor, and I really wasn’t ready to even entertain pain medication options. Bad combo, guys…bad combo.

In order to really give you the nitty gritty details I’m sure I’d want to read if I were you, we have to bump ourselves back a week with my 39 week appointment at the OBGYN office.

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Hospital Bag(s) Hits, Misses, and Regrets: Pregnancy

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When I hit my third trimester it seemed like all of my nervous first time mom energy was thrown into what needed to be packed into my hospital bag. I blame Pinterest. You can’t spend ten minutes searching for Chip and JoJo inspired home decor on Pinterest without seeing at least seven different “Hospital Bag Must Have’s”.  Believe me when I tell you that I combed all of them over at least twice. Some of them were so ridiculous that they included “straightener and round brush” while others seemed to lack the important addition of shower flip flops. Another massive “perk” of my crippling anxiety is the desire it gives me to make a list, achieve the list, and then triple check the list. So, in short order, we had a list for baby’s hospital bag, my husband’s hospital bag, my hospital bag, and of course–the ever so important snack bag. We kept putting off making the bags actually happen, and I also attribute this to the anxiety that once the bags were packed, she was shortly following.

I was positive that I would be the first time mother that showed up to Labor and Delivery with fourteen bags, and never got out of my hospital gown. I decided that I would walk on the edge of caution and pack lightly.

Here is the rundown of what we actually used, what never saw the artificial light of day, and what I wish we would have had at our disposal.

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10 Maternity Must Haves For Mom: Pregnancy

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Pregnancy is by far the hardest thing that I’ve done in my short quarter of a century here on earth. When people ask how I’m feeling, I make sure to let them know that I feel like I could run a marathon…now. I felt like everyone told me that it would get better magically when week 12 hit. They (aka all of you doctors, midwives, and moms who are luckier than I) are either massive liars, or my body just never got that message. I was so miserably sick in the first sixteen weeks of pregnancy I swore our daughter would be an only child. In fact I frequently tell people that my husband may need a week 1-16 surrogate for future Leonard babes. But the second trimester, and what’s happening in the third so far (we are almost to week 38!!!)…this I can do and enjoy! Thank God that somewhere, some person decided to make things that can help make pregnant life a bit less rough for us all. Here’s the list of items that I think have made a drastic improvement in my pregnancy to this point!

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Iron Daughters Subscription Box: Mama Likes

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Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely adore a good deal, a cute boutique find, and things being delivered directly to me. Wrap those things together and I’m a regular subscriber to companies like iPsy GlamBag, Sephora PLAY, and daily deal sites like that find the boutique best for me.

When one of my friends from my cheerleading days and her business partner opened up their own business in downtown Martinsburg, I was thrilled. A place that had the boutique finds that I so love to wear at an affordable price–AND I can could shop online so that I didn’t have to leave the house? I was ecstatic.

Cue ahead to a week later and Emily announced on Facebook that their new boutique, Iron Daughters, was going to start doing HAND PICKED subscription boxes for $30.00 with some amazing loot inside, and I was begging her to sign me up. When they posted that you were guaranteed a top in your size (not one size fits all style like so many sub boxes out there!), 2 accessories, and inspirational bonuses I was legitimately running home every day with the hope that my box had arrived.

When the box arrived I was ecstatic, Emily and Brittany mailed it and then two days later I came home to this!


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Childcare Part 2- The Surprise Visit: Pregnancy

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If you missed part one in the Childcare Series, click here to catch up before reading on!

So you’ve done your homework, made your list, and you’ve checked it twice. At this point, you likely have anywhere between three to seven trillion options that meet your requirements from our figuring out the basics list.

What do we do next? Well, the best advice that I have for you is to do what I liked to call “drive by” or “pop in ” visits to these places.

Think about it, if you know that your in laws are coming for dinner on Tuesday night you’re going to make something really yummy, clean the house, and light that fancy candle you reserve for special occasions, right? Unless you hate your in laws…anyway I digress.

I started driving to the places that I was really interested in finding out more about at random times and asking if the director, or a staff member, could show me around. You’d be so surprised by some of the things that I saw.

This was the most eye opening thing for me, to see the way that the childcare providers were interacting with the children that were under their care.

You should be very observant of the surroundings, and ask questions if you want further information.

For example:

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Childcare Part 1- The Basics: Pregnancy

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When we found out that I was pregnant we waited what seemed a short time to us, but a long time to others to share the news. I was fifteen weeks when we officially told people outside our immediate families, and the first thing that so many people turned back and said to me was, “Congratulations! If you’re going to work and not stay home, you should really start calling daycares.”

Obviously, I knew better. This handful of people couldn’t be serious. At fifteen weeks pregnant, there was NO way that I needed to start thinking about daycare options for my unborn daughter, right?

Wrong. So, so, so, wrong.

After calling around to a few places I realized that I was already about six weeks behind the curve, and that not only where there a ton of daycare facilities to choose from…but that very few of them had openings seven months out.

So what does a Type “A”, anxiety driven, and control freak like me do? I made a plan.

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Thanks, But No Thanks: Pregnancy

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 I’ve heard so many  horror stories from a lot of moms that have had an encounter that was just so incredibly bizarre during their pregnancy– they almost don’t believe it happened. The stranger in line at the grocery store that just casually begins stroking your bump and telling you all about how you WILL kill your baby by co-sleeping and that bottles are Satan’s cups with a nipple. The total stranger who asks when the baby is due, and you’re seven weeks postpartum. I’ve been blissfully living my life for the last seven months with absolutely none of these weird instances happening to me directly. I thought that, surely, I had made it without any of this super weird conversations and would continue to month 10 with the same blessing.


I never realized that my RBF (Resting Bitch Face) was going to come in clutch during pregnancy. Sometimes I feel like people are SO close to asking me things I don’t want to answer, and then the RBF just does the job of letting them know just how unapproachable I am.  Something about having anxiety in public situations, having zero medication to help cope, and then having a stranger tell or ask things I’m not wanting to answer just seems unimaginable. Which leads us to today’s post.

Before I explain to you the most ridiculous encounter that happened to me on Monday, you have to understand one thing. The only other thing that I hate worse than going to the dentist, is going to the dentist without Xanax. For some reason that is my thing. Like, I would rather have a broken bone than get my teeth cleaned. BUT my mom worked in a dental office during my formative years, and oral hygiene is something I’ve known is a necessary evil for a LONG time. Sadly my worst nightmares of uninvited oversharing and dental torture married each other for my Monday afternoon.

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10 Most Wanted Baby Registry Items

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Registering for baby things was legitimately the most stressful part of the second trimester for my husband and I. I’m a chronic over-researcher who had to find every single Amazon rating, review, and BBB rating for all of the things that we would “need” for baby. Then, once you figured out your essential list…there are at LEAST twelve hundred options that you can choose from for that ONE specific thing that you really need. The internet is weird, man. I checked with all of my Mama friends and got their lists of items that they felt like they couldn’t live without after they became mothers to newborns, researched every Pinterest board that I could find, and this is what we came up with. You can view our complete registries here on Amazon, or here at Target. If you have any “why’d you pick that?” questions for me–please shoot me an email. I’d love to chat! If you see things that you think “Holy macaroon, they are going to be lost without THAT.” then do the same so we can learn from your wisdom.

I’m going to highlight the ten things that we  who am I kidding, I, am most excited for in regards to all things baby registry.

First of all, registering at Target and Amazon were legitimately the easiest things in the world to do. They gave us cute welcome boxes filled with samples, and my personal favorite–COUPONS! Amazon had a lot of products cheaper, with free PRIME shipping that Target, and vice versa. So we went back and forth to make sure we registered for the right place for the cheapest value.

  1. The Halo Basinest Swivel Sleeper


We are planning to safely co-sleep with baby Virginia until she is at least six months old. After researching all of the benefits for mom and baby, it seemed like a complete no brainer. To do this, we started hunting for bassinets that would reach the height of our master bed. Well, as hard as that entire process was we didn’t really find any that looked remotely functional. I decided on the Halo Basinest because: #1 it’s pretty minimalist and streamlined. #2 It has a light, a vibration setting, soft music, and a nursing timer built right into the bassinet. #3 It swivels. You can swivel the sleeper over to the side of the bed when baby needs you, and swivel them away when they don’t. All without having to get out of the bed. #4 Kathryn Dennis (Bravo’s Southern Charmed…duh) had one for baby Saint Julien which is pretty much all I needed to cement my desire for this one.

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The Woman In Cabin 10: Book Review


In what I would consider to be one of the most bone chilling thrillers that I have read in 2016, I immediately recommend that you go to Amazon and put this in your cart for payday. You’re welcome. Make sure to buy the hardback–it’s only a dollar more than the Kindle version, and you will want to share it with a friend when you’re finished!

The entire book reads with a constant humming of danger and “whodunit” to keep your normally manageable daily anxiety on an entirely new level of HIGH.

Honestly I didn’t go into this novel with a whole lot of confidence. I had just finished a few romance novels and wasn’t even in the mood to read any type of thrilling fiction. Never mind the fact that the last few thrillers I had read left me a bit high and dry–and I wasn’t a  cult fan of Ruth Ware’s first book, In a Dark, Dark Wood.

First you are going to meet Lo Blacklock, who’s a journalist with a naturally inquisitive mind. Lo writes for a travel and lifestyle magazine which leads her to be be a passenger aboard the Aurora Borealis. Covering the maiden voyage of the ship is the break of a lifetime for Lo. Even before Lo boards the ship we get the sense that she a very nervous human being. She seems shaken–stating that she can’t sleep, think, or forget the man who broke into her apartment the few days before boarding the ship. Girl, I get it–I wouldn’t sleep for weeks either. (That’s why we have a dog, and a security system!)

Lo meets the woman in cabin 10 with the most awkward exchange of,

“Sorry, I know this sounds really weird, but I wondered if I could borrow some mascara?”

Lo gets some mascara from her new pal and remains determined to not let her previous experience at home deter her from kicking some major tail and making this opportunity work for her. Then we read this…

… there was a splash.
Not a small splash.
No, this was a big splash.
The kind of splash made by a body hitting water.

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Twenty Four Questions We Asked Our Midwife at Twenty Four Weeks: Pregnancy


At the OBGYN practice where I’m getting my prenatal care, there is a major team dynamic. Several doctors intermingle and treat/deliver prenatal care alongside two nurse midwifes. When you become a prenatal patient you are rotated through a monthly scheduling device of meeting every doctor at least once, as well as each midwife. For someone with anxiety, I loved this plan–I would at least have a fifteen minute experience with each of these humans who may be on call when baby Virginia is born!

Being a first time pregnancy, I have been constantly writing down questions about natural childbirth or topics that I wanted to discuss with my medical caregivers. However, almost all of them seemed like questions I really wanted to wait to ask the midwife, who I assumed would give us a straight forward answer.

So armed with my two pages (literally) of questions and topics I was curious about, Matt and I went for our appointment with THE midwife that literally everyone who goes to the practice adores. Even my friends that were not interested in natural birth said they wanted her to deliver their babies. I felt like I’d waited the entire MD rotation for this moment.

I’m an anxious planner, and I figured having a lot of these questions that floated through my head early on answered would be ideal. That way, if I knew I really wanted a water birth but it wasn’t possible–I could adapt my way of thinking over the next few months instead of having major anxiety surrounding it the day of.

So the midwife came in, I told her I had a ton of questions, and she sat with us for almost an hour making sure that we had every single answer. She was amazing. I literally am thinking of naming our second baby after her, because she is THAT cool. She also told us everything terribly honestly, which is what we wanted. She didn’t tell us what we “wanted” to hear–she told us her truth.


Here’s the list:What does a “typical” natural labor and birth look like in this hospital?

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