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// Window Shopping - 70% Off!

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ModCloth is having a huge 70% off sale right now so of course I had to spend some time lurking around, dreaming up a wishlist of my own. None of this stuff above really goes together, but I'd still love to welcome all of it into my wardrobe! And yes, that's totally a shark sleeping bag... Insane, right?

Did you score anything awesome from the big sale this time around?! xo

// Linden Atlas - The Birth Story

I was pretty positive that I wouldn't share Linden's birth story on the blog... I'm not sure why since I really enjoy reading those types of posts myself. I guess part of me was really heartbroken that his birth didn't go even remotely as planned, and I've sort of been mourning that experience for the past six weeks. The thought of writing about it made me feel guilty and ashamed because I was letting the little details cloud my memory of such an incredible experience. Don't get me wrong, he's here and I'm over the moon! He was born healthy and I got through it (fairly) unscathed... I'll consider that a huge success. I think I was just overwhelmed with everything. But for the sake of memory, and sharing my experience, I figured I'd write up a little something. (And of course a little something turns into a long something haha)

After being admitted to the hospital on five separate occasions in the five weeks that lead up to Linden's birth, I was terrified what the actual labor and delivery process might be like. Starting at around 34 weeks Linden's heart was going a little crazy. At my first hospital admission his heart was racing at lightning speed. Then just a week later when I was having regular contractions, his heart rate would drop considerably. Between his variables and my (mild) pre-eclampsia, my "totally easy" pregnancy turned into quite the adventure. Despite twice weekly non-stress tests, weekly admission to the hospital, and even a Pitocin-induced contraction challenge test, I was still loving being pregnant. I was sore and large, but I loved every minute of it. My doctor had expressed her concerns to me about Linden's heart and after a lot of consideration we agreed to start induction as soon as I hit 39 weeks. I was scheduled to be admitted to the hospital at 10pm on Tuesday, July 22nd and the Pitocin drip would begin at midnight. I was both elated and terrified.
Tuesday the 22nd rolled around and we went about our business as usual. I made sure to eat a delicious "last meal" and I even managed to sneak in a quick cat nap before heading out. At 9pm we left our house with our bags in tow and checked into the hospital. Apparently everyone was having a baby that night because we had to wait for a full half hour for a bed to open up before we could be admitted. After getting settled in I waited for my nurse to make her rounds and I psyched myself up for that awful Pitocin IV (seriously... the IV in the hand is the worst!). Finally at 12:30am my nurse came in to start the drip. She let me get up and move around a bit, go to the restroom, and then settle in bed to begin. As soon as I sat back down in the bed I felt a strange gush of water... like I had peed myself. Y'all, I thought I peed myself! I was so embarrassed haha! I looked around with a strange face and contemplated what just happened, and then I finally mentioned it to her and made sure to say "But I really don't think I peed myself... I mean, I just went to the bathroom"... Lo and behold my water broke on it's own! Seriously thirty seconds before the IV was to be inserted. (If my water had broken on it's own at home, I probably would've just assumed I peed myself. Seriously. That sort of comes with the territory of being 9 months pregnant haha It wasn't some crazy cinematic thing like you see on TV) Anyway, the IV was started and we were left to settle in for a long night of Friends reruns. 

After about 30 minutes my contractions (which I could barely feel in the beginning) were terrible. The pain escalated so quickly and I could barely stand it. Since my water had already broken on it's own, I was free to request an epidural at any point. (Shoutout to all of you moms who do it the natural way, but that was *not* for me! Holy moly!) I buzzed my nurse and told her I was ready knowing it'd be a full half hour before the anesthesiologist could make it up there anyway. At around 2am the anesthesiologist showed up and inserted my epidural. It wasn't the most painful thing in the world, but it sure as heck didn't feel good either. In fact, I cried like a baby. And had snot dripping down my face. Not my finest hour... BUT! Sweet relief was there! Almost instantly my lower body tingled and went numb. So numb that I couldn't even lift my feet to move the cover haha Luckily I was able to catch a little bit of shut eye before the real show began. Or so I thought... 

Not too long after my epidural I heard my "alarm" go off at the nurse's station. For the next couple of hours 2 nurses came in every 5-10 minutes to sort of roll me from one side to the other. Apparently Linden's heart wasn't doing so well. Despite "passing" the contraction challenge test a week prior, his decelerations were worrisome. By 4am my Mom and Nana were at the hospital, sitting in our dark room with us. The nurses came and went each time my alarm would sound, and eventually a midwife came in to talk to me about what was happening, telling me that a c-section might be in order. My doctor came by as soon as she got to the hospital sometime after 6:30am and said a c-section would be the only safe way to bring him into the world. I held it together long enough for the medical staff to leave the room, but as soon as the door shut behind them I broke out into tears. I had known all along that a c-section might happen. I had known for weeks that his heart wasn't really tolerating the contractions so it was a possibility. But I was scared. SO scared. I didn't know what to expect and I was terrified of being cut open on a table. Not only that but I was so scared that the contractions were actually hurting Linden in some way, like cutting off his oxygen supply or worse. It wasn't the birth that I had envisioned. Still, I made sure to write down my wishes on our birth plan should a caesarian take place. Within just a minute or two they had the OR ready, and Mike was suited up in his scrubs. They wheeled me in and started surgery at 7am exactly.

I don't really remember a whole lot about the actual surgery. I was awake the whole time, but the drugs were pretty strong. I had a really really wonderful anesthesiologist that talked me through the entire process. She was so kind and that honestly made a world of difference for me. I felt slight pressure, but nothing was ever uncomfortable or painful. The minutes blurred together, and in no time I heard Linden cry for the very first time. I couldn't see him, but his cries alone sent me into emotional overdrive. I started bawling like a baby right there on the table. They lifted him up and started to clean him off. Mike was able to take his phone and snap some photos, but it was difficult because his glasses were so fogged up from crying! Seeing this made me cry even more haha! After that I can't really recall much of the next half hour. They let Mike take Linden back to our room so our family could see him, but I never even saw them leave. I was in and out of sleep since the pain medication was so heavy. The anesthesiologist kept having to wake me up to remind me to breathe deeply. They pulled me off the table and rolled me out of the OR at 8am on the dot... One hour from start to finish.

I got back to the room and everything was still so hazy. I remember holding him for the first time and being so incredibly awestruck by how precious he was. I wish I could remember more from those first few hours but everything is a blur. (That's really what prompted me to finally write all of this down... I'm so afraid I'll forget!) My parents stayed for a few hours and then left to let us rest for a while. We stayed in our L&D room for most of the day until we could be transferred to the Mother/Baby Unit. Mike's parents and Toby came in to meet Linden and everything felt wonderful.

I had envisioned this certain kind of birth experience and it wasn't anything like that. I was okay with the c-section (though the recovery was excruciating!) and above all I'm just glad he's here, safe and sound. Part of me is still mourning the birth experience we didn't have... like Mike cutting the cord, immediate skin to skin contact, etc. Things that really aren't that huge in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes I'll still catch myself crying that I wasn't the first person to hold my baby... or the second. Or the third. It's silly to stress over because I've certainly made up for the "lost time" since then, but when you're in a heightened emotional state, all rationality goes out the window haha. There wasn't a single thing on our (extremely lax) birth plan that went according plan... but that's sort of how life is I guess. Even with the stress, surprises, and slight speed bumps, I get to be the mom to one of the sweetest little guys around.

Part of me finds it hard to believe it's already been over six weeks since this experience, while the other part of me feels like it was so long ago. Now that I have my first birth experience out of the way, I think I'll feel a lot more calm the next time around. I definitely hope we have more children in the future... no matter how they come into the world. I was never aware of how emotional a c-section could be, but I feel very lucky that we were surrounded by so many wonderful nurses, and my amazing doctor, because they made the whole thing so easy. I'd do his birth ten times over if it meant bringing the same sweet little person into the world. It may not have been my ideal, but it was perfect. I know so many women feel cheated when they have a c-section, and honestly, that's how I felt, too. I felt like my body was failing me, like when I got my preeclampsia diagnosis and when my body couldn't keep Linden stable. But now I see the good that has come from it and I can't really be mad, ya know? I asked a lot of my body during those nine months... I'd say I came out victorious. It was worth absolutely every second.

I know my labor and delivery experience may not be unique from anyone else's, but I'm glad I took the time to sit down and write it out. Even if just for my own sake. I'd like to be able to remember enough of it to tell Linden about it when he's older. That's good enough for me. Thanks for letting me share. xo

// Style File: Puddle Jumpin'

Since it's been a bit rainy and we're gearing up for Autumn, I thought it'd be fun to do another installment of Style File. This time I partnered up with Joules to create three fun outfits inspired by three separate pairs of their women's rain boots. I am officially coveting everything below! 

/////// skirt // necklace // umbrella // scarf // bag // boots ///////

/////// umbrella // necklace // boots // bag // skirt ///////

/////// skirt // coat // umbrella // necklace // bag // boots ///////

And yes, I would totally wear those striped rain boots with that frilly tulle skirt. Fashion and function! Though if we're being perfectly honest, I don't look half this put together when I puddle jump with Toby. Maybe I should take it up a notch?! Happy Saturday! xo

// I Gave Up On Breastfeeding... And We're All Happier Because Of It

When I was pregnant with Linden, I knew in my heart of hearts that I'd breastfeed. Never did the thought otherwise cross my mind. When it was brought up in conversation my answer was always the same "Yes, I plan on breastfeeding. As long as I'm able." When I started to think about my answer, I found it kind of strange. I kept saying "As long as I'm able" when asked, but never in a million years did I really think I'd have trouble. Before Linden came along, I thought breastfeeding was this totally natural, instinctual thing that we did as mammals. I mean, that makes sense, right? Boy was I wrong.

I've touched briefly on my struggle to breastfeed, but I haven't really discussed it to the extent that I'd like. This might be a long, choppy post so I'll go ahead and apologize. There's so much that I want to get off my chest, but I'm not always sure the best way to go about it. So I'll just free write.
While in the hospital immediately following Linden's birth, he was a champion nurser. He latched right on, albeit a bit shallow, and ate until he was satisfied and then he'd fall asleep. I requested a lactation consultant come by our room a few times a day to check on us and to help walk me through the process, and her enthusiasm made me feel like I was totally getting it. A few days passed and then it was time to head home. I made sure practice the different nursing positions she taught me, and I always fed on demand. But something just didn't click at home. Linden's latch grew more and more shallow, he never seemed satisfied, and he developed a nice little case of thrush. The thrush continued to get passed back and forth from me to him... mouth to breast. Now, for any of you who haven't had thrush on your lady lumps... it's terrible! Excruciating even. Add that to the long list of obstacles that we were facing at home, and I became depressed. I tried keeping a positive mind through those days, but looking back on it now there's absolutely no denying that I was beyond depressed. The postpartum surveys and questions I've had to answer to at the doctors were all the more telling.

Every single feed was met with sobbing... for Linden and me. Rushing him back and forth to the pediatrician (an hour each way) five days in a row was stressful, and I'd cry the whole way there and the whole way back. I started to dread feeding my own baby. And bonding? Forget about it. There was no bonding happening when just trying to feed him would overwhelm me. Just to add insult to injury, it was World Breastfeeding Week and I was inundated with "Breast is best!" "Breastfeeding is bonding!" and all sorts of propaganda that wasn't intended as mockery, but that's exactly how it felt. Guilt flooded my heart and mind. I cried because breastfeeding hurt, I cried because my baby was never satisfied, I cried because Linden kept losing weight, I cried because the doctor recommended we supplement, and then I cried because I was crying. Everything was hard.

When I touched on our obstacles publicly, everyone was so supportive by saying "It gets better!" "Just keep at it!" "In a few weeks it'll be totally different!" but my mind and body just couldn't take it. The first two weeks of Linden's life, I hardly ate anything. I was in such a deep funk that I couldn't even muster the energy or interest to eat. I wasn't even drinking anything. This of course came full circle and made breastfeeding even harder because all of a sudden I wasn't able to produce much of anything. Even when I'd try to give myself a pep talk to eat/drink, I couldn't. So I'd pump. And pump and pump and pump. I called the hospital's lactation department in tears. I was sobbing so hard I couldn't even tell her my name. Even seeing someone in my own home felt liberating at first, but then it all went down hill once she left. But still, I kept fighting. I wanted to breastfeed. I felt like I needed to. How on earth could I love my baby and give him formula?! The thoughts that clouded my head ranged from ridiculous to downright insane. Despite my family telling me that I didn't have to keep forcing myself to do it, I didn't want to give up. I tried nipple shields, fenugreek, oatmeal... you name it.
A few weeks in and it was all becoming too much. I felt like I couldn't bond with Linden and enjoy him the way I should be able. I didn't want to let his newborn weeks slip past me while I wallowed in my own self pity. I kept searching for "permission" to throw in the towel... from family members, from Mike... from myself. I've never once judged another mother for formula feeding her baby, but I just couldn't seem to offer myself the same grace. Then one day I just stopped. I stopped pumping. I stopped breastfeeding. And I only gave bottles. It was like a switch had been flipped. Linden was happy and satisfied, and I was able to enjoy feeding him. Not only that, but Mike was able to feed him more regularly, too. When I would pump, I could only get 1 ounce total in a half hour. Not nearly enough to satisfy Linden. With being strictly formula fed, everyone could get in on the action. For once he had a full belly.

I've been "wearing" Linden since his first few days and despite it not being breastfeeding, it has allowed me to bond with him in a way I can't even explain. I now look at this little guy and love him more than life itself. I felt so much shame for bottle feeding him, but I did (and do!) so much research. The best formulas, support groups, etc. It's because of other moms out there sharing their struggles and their stories that I've come to peace with our decision. Does that mean I don't still mourn the thought of breastfeeding? No way. Sometimes I'll be wearing Linden through the house after a feed and I'll just start crying because I wanted nothing more than to breastfeed. It still breaks my heart to know that I didn't get to experience that with him. But because of other wonderful blog posts I've read from moms just like me, I no longer feel shame about how I've chosen to feed my baby. He's fed every time he's hungry, and he's growing just as he should. I'm able to focus on things that are much more important like actually creating a bond between me and him.

That's not to say I haven't (felt like I've) been met with the stigma that comes with bottle feeding. Mike and I took Linden to the mall one afternoon and he decided he was hungry so I stopped, made him a bottle, and fed him while sitting in one of those little massage chairs in the middle of the walkway. While most people just marveled at how adorable he was, I did get a few stink eyes from older women. I didn't say anything to Mike in the moment, but I told him about it a few days later and I just cried and cried and cried. Granted the ladies didn't say anything to me (so they very well could have been stink eye'ing something else) but the inner shame I felt about feeding him projected itself on anyone who would look at me funny. It didn't feel fair to be shamed for giving my child exactly what he needed. But since then I've come to terms with not everyone being okay with our decision. There are plenty of other things that people give me the stink eye for. Adding one more to the list can't hurt, right? I was bottle fed, Mike was bottle fed, and Toby was bottle fed, too. In the grand scheme of things it can't be that bad. Instead of focusing on what I "missed out" on, I've decided to cherish what I do get to experience... and that's being this little guy's mom. Definitely something I don't want to take for granted.
Maybe I'll be more aware of the struggles that come with breastfeeding the next time around. I think my naiveté about the whole thing didn't help matters much. I never knew it would be so hard. I think I'll know more of what to expect the next go around, provided we're able to have more children. But even if it proves to be impossible, I'll feel completely comfortable bottle feeding that baby, too. Sometimes it's hard to not beat myself up for not "trying harder" or "sticking it out," but I know that if I had kept going the way I was going, I would've found myself even farther down that black hole of PPD.

I definitely want to share the blog posts, websites and resources that I've found to help me through the past several weeks. I think by lifting the veil of the difficulties of breastfeeding, the stigma associated with bottle feeding, and just sharing real life experiences, so many other new (and repeat) moms will feel comfortable making the decision that is best for their family. With his reflux and milk allergy, I just choose to celebrate when we get through an entire bottle without him screaming his head off or refusing to eat. Little victories.

Bottle feeding may not be right for everyone, but it has been absolutely perfect for our family. Whether you bottle feed out of necessity or simply because you want to, you shouldn't be shamed for nourishing your child. I think it's wonderful that breastfeeding is celebrated, but we shouldn't forget about the other moms out there. Rather than put breastfeeding moms on a pedestal, we should celebrate parents in general... feeding their babies when they're hungry. No one is going to know (or care!) if my child was formula or breast fed when he's playing on the playground. It's an unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves. And there are so many reasons for bottle feeding. Adoption, breast cancer, a working mom who can't pump while on the job, etc. We're all doing the best we can. Thanks for letting me share my story. I guess part of me thought it was this "big deal" and that I needed to keep this "secret." Like heaven forbid someone on the internet catch a glimpse of a bottle in the background of a photo. Seriously, those are things that I thought. It's so silly to have that mentality. But at the same time, you can probably tell that I'm still trying to come to terms with everything. While I feel "totally" okay with our decision, I'm still bummed and I still find ways to justify it, even though it's not necessary. Kind of like convincing myself it really is okay, ya know? I hope that if you've experienced something like this or if you do in the future, you'll feel comfortable sharing your struggles and feel proud about the decision you've made. It doesn't have to be some big shameful secret that you hide from. But it's not like you need my permission or approval either! xo

// Win An Ameda Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump!

The first few weeks of Linden's life were hard when it came to breastfeeding. He never seemed to be satisfied and we were advised by his doctor to supplement since he was losing so much weight. My lactation consultant advised that I pump after every single feed in order to stimulate more milk production in hopes that it'd help alleviate the problem. I stressed over my milk supply morning, noon, and night. I was constantly worried that he wasn't getting enough (obviously he wasn't since he kept losing weight) so my breast pump quickly became my best friend. While I was never able to pump more than an ounce or so at a time, I'd celebrate each little session as a victory. A pumping session was never even remotely enough to satisfy Linden, but I felt some slight reassurance knowing exactly how much I was able to give him. That's the one thing about breastfeeding that's so hard... knowing how much they're getting when they feed. 

Our breastfeeding journey hasn't been something straight from a movie or a magazine, but I'll leave that for another post (coming soon). Instead I'll just touch base on what I really love about my Ameda pump and then I'll get to the good part... giving one away!

(any excuse to post pictures of this snoozin' little dude!)

When I first opened my Ameda box I was totally overwhelmed. It looked like it was going to be so confusing to put together. So many parts to unwrap and pieces to assemble. Finally one night I put on my big girl britches, broke the wrapping open and was overwhelmed for a completely different reason. I was overwhelmed at how simple it was. Why did I think it was going to be such a huge to do?! Compared to the other breast pumps I looked at and contemplated, this one was without a doubt much easier to handle in terms of instructions. I had that bad boy ready to go in under 2 minutes. When it came to using the pump, it was just as simple. I really was not looking forward to the tedious act of washing and sterilizing each piece after each use (especially since I was hooked up to that thing every hour or two), but everything came apart easily. It isn't a "hands free" pump so I used one of my nursing bras (that doubles as a pumping bra!) to help me feel more comfortable during those long pumping sessions every day. Overall, two thumbs way up for my experience with my Ameda. I don't think anyone likes being hooked up to a pump, but at least it wasn't a terrible experience for me. It sure beat the thought of manually pumping or pumping one side at a time.


Now I'm giving you lucky gals a chance to win your very own Purely Yours Double Electric Pump! Check out the details below to get in on the action! If you're not expecting, or just aren't in the market for a new pump, consider entering for a friend or family member who could benefit from this awesome gift! You can even donate it to your local women's shelter or another mother in need!

To be entered to win the Ameda
Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump

Please share one thing about motherhood you're most looking forward to
(or that you already love) and leave it in a comment below


For additional entries, please do any of the following
(but be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry!):

Follow The Clueless Girl's Guide on Bloglovin // Follow @kaelahbee on Twitter // Follow TCGG via GFC (in the left sidebar) // Follow @kaelahbee on Instagram // Like TCGG on Facebook // Tweet the following: "Fingers crossed I win the @MyAmeda #PurelyYours breast pump on @kaelahbee's blog!"


A winner will be chosen at random next weekend and contacted to claim their prize. You have seven ways to win! Please be sure to leave me a way to get in touch with you in case you're the lucky winner! Good luck to everyone who enters! Happy pumping! xo

* I received a Purely Yours breast pump free of charge, but was not compensated for this review or giveaway. I simply wanted to help make life a little bit easier for a fellow mama out there by giving away another pump. Thanks to Ameda for being so generous!