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Krista: This is Secret Mom Hacks episode number 14. My name is Krista and I am your host. It's May 11th, 2023, and today I'm bringing you another interview this time with my hometown friend Audrey. We grew up together back in Illinois, and honestly, I don't think we've seen each other since high school graduation, but thanks to Facebook, we've managed to stay in touch over the years. Now, we recorded this interview during the pandemic. So at the time, Audrey's newborn was just a few months old. He's now a few years old. These kiddos, they sure grow like weeds, and I think the pandemic aged us all a few years.

But I just wanted to point out the fact that our conversation was not recorded. Yesterday, last week, last month. It was recorded in late 2021. But before we get into our interview, I just wanna say thank you for tuning in, mama. As of this recording, I'm chasing around a four and a half year old that no amount of Googling mom groups or books were able to prepare me for.

There's a lot of stuff people don't talk about when it comes to pre-pregnancy. During pregnancy, postpartum, and so on, and as someone who was previously terrified of childbirth, parenthood and all that follows, I'm here to help you pull back the curtain on all of it. And every now and then it may get a little messy.

We may share a little TMI, but that's why you're here, right? My goal is that you will leave every episode feeling refreshed, inspired, and hopeful, knowing you're not on this mom journey alone. Now, there's a lot of subject matter to cover when it comes to mom life, and we are covering it all. So let's dive into this fun interview with my friend and fellow mom, Audrey.

Audrey and I go way back. We are in different chapters of our lives now, in different parts of the country now.

She's just outside of Cincinnati with her family. I'm in Nashville with mine, but we grew up in a great little town back in the Midwest near each other. I have lots of fun memories with you on the swing set at a mutual friend's backyard and being over at your grandmother's house.

Audrey: My sister lives in that house now.

Krista: Stop it. Really?

Audrey: yeah. Jessica lives there.

Krista: That's awesome. Good memories. What a great time. So anyway, Audrey and I go way back and happy that with social media we've been able to stay in touch. And of course I've brought her onto the podcast today because she's a new mom.

Audrey just had a little boy. We're at the two month mark. So we were just talking about before we started recording, about how we find out once we have this new precious little human life, how little we know all the surprises that we learn going into parenthood. So that's certainly the purpose of this podcast, mamas, is to pull back the curtain and talk life.

Talk about this journey, share some tips, tricks, stories from the trenches so that we can all bond together and just not just survive, but thrive in this thing we we know as motherhood. So Audrey, let's, let's jump into it. You just had your first child.

Share with us what you would like us to know about the birth story.

Audrey: So the birth story for me was a rollercoaster. I was due on a Friday and. Little man was giving no signs he was ready to come out. So I thought I'm probably gonna have another week. It's not uncommon for a first time mom to go over the due date. I had just moved into this house.

We'd had a lot of issues with the house. I still had people working on it, like the week of my due date. So I was not really in a hurry. But that weekend I went into labor. My water broke. I wasn't having contractions. It was like out of nowhere. It's time to have a baby. And when the water broke, there was meconium staining, which I didn't know was a thing, never heard of it.

Means he pooped basically. So like the risk for infection goes up for mom and for baby. So I was admitted to the hospital right away just to keep an eye on us. And 40 something hours later, I had my baby. I can't say it was a horrible labor. The whole first day was mild.

It would pick up and then it would kind of taper off again. They started me on Pitocin eventually, and the baby didn't tolerate it really well, so his heart rate would bottom out and they would take me off of it, and then they would try again. And so it was just really back and forth for, I don't know, 30 something hours.

I lost track of time. And then at that point I did get an epidural. And it moved quicker at that point for sure. And then in the end they had to use forceps. He wasn't, he wasn't quite lined up exactly right. And they called it an ob. He said, look, we could just jump right to the C-section if you want.

I don't think he's coming out any other way, but if you want, we can try forceps. So I have not been in labor for 40 hours to have a c-section, like I could have done that last week. So thankfully that worked out. The OB was wonderful. I had, I had an amazing team. I had a doula and a midwife team here in Cincinnati.

That was just fantastic. So in the end, I had, I had a happy, healthy baby, but it was a long unexpectedly long process. And then we had to stay a few extra days to make sure he didn't have any infection. So, it was like the whole first part of labor I expected to do in my home I had to do in the hospital.

So that was disappointing. You know, having to have all the meds, I wanted to have an unmedicated birth if possible. And they say you have a plan that's gonna go out the window, and mine completely went out the window. Like there was nothing about the birth that was as I had planned or expected.

But it worked out.

Krista: Yes. You have this sweet, precious, little healthy baby. And at the end of the day that is, that is what counts.

Audrey: yep.

Krista: Audrey, our birth stories overlap so much. I won't go into mine of course, right now because the, the first couple of episodes I go over mine, but I will share. I was also planning an unmedicated birth at a birthing center here in Nashville.

I had the doula. And my water broke first. No contractions. And,

Audrey: Oh wow.

Krista: but mine did end in a c-section. It finally got to that point where I was like, just stick the needle in me. Like just, just, I started at the birth center, ended up at the hospital, and I was just like, I just wanna meet this precious little baby.

However we get there, I just want everybody to be healthy and let's move on.

Audrey: Absolutely. You hit that point where it's like, I've got nothing left. whatever you need to do. Yeah.

Krista: yep. Well, what is something no one told you about being a mom?

Audrey: A whole lot of things and a whole lot of things that people, I think told me, but it doesn't really compute until you have the baby. People will say things like cherish this time forever. You know, it goes so quickly in the first few days even. I'm like, what are they talking about?

I'm exhausted. I haven't slept in a week, but it goes so quickly. That's a whole other thing. So there's lots of things that I think didn't register, but the big thing I wanted to talk about at this point is breastfeeding is hard. It's so hard and nobody told me that. Breastfeeding is hard.

Pumping is hard. I think partially because of the long and a little bit traumatic labor. And my milk didn't come in right away and I had to fight for it for weeks. And he also had a little bit of a tongue tie so he wasn't latching well.

And it was a battle. It wasn't until he was seven weeks old that I could really feed him without supplementing, but I just never knew.

It was so hard and so time consuming and painful and that there were so many factors, like I just thought. We're made to feed babies and like it's fine if you choose not to. I'm not, I'm not hating on people that don't breastfeed for sure. But I thought it would be natural. And like you have the baby, your milk comes in, you feed the baby, like what do I need to know?

And my doula said, you should look into this. You should meet in lactation consultant just in case you have issues, so you know where you're gonna go. And I thought, what are you talking about? Like it's breastfeeding. It's fine. I assure

Krista: the baby on there and they just start eating right?

Audrey: do I need to know?

Krista: pop the baby on the milk comes out and they have a full tummy in like 10 minutes, and then you just do it again in like two hours or three hours. Right. I feel like the movies and TV or I don't know, wherever, Really paints, breastfeeding is like the, this natural thing that just happens.

Just you pop the baby on the milk comes out and it's like, no, there are people who get paid to help you figure out breastfeeding.

Audrey: For a reason.

Krista: Yes, yes.

Audrey: It's so hard.

Krista: so great that your doula told you about a lactation consultant because I don't think I even knew that was a career until I was in the hospital trying to nurse her and I was trying to get her to latch and they were like, you may wanna talk with a lactation consultant. Like, what is, what is that? Is that, is something wrong with me if I need someone consulting with me about my lactation?

Audrey: And it feels that way because nobody's mentioned it. Like it's not common knowledge that people struggle with this, but so many people struggle with it. Like there's so many things about motherhood that lots of people share as. Like problem areas or things that didn't go easily that nobody talks about.

So like when I started talking about my birth story for instance, and the trauma that was there and the parts that were difficult for me, so many of my friends and my family members were like, oh, you know, my labor was terrible and I still like have these bad feelings about it. But nobody talks about it and it's just mind-blowing to me how much I don't know.

And maybe I wouldn't have heard it when I was pregnant. That's possible, but.

Krista: Right. Right. Well, that's a huge inspiration behind this podcast is to just get the information out there. So, I mean, I, there were a few podcasts I was listening to as I was pregnant, but I don't remember this, that particularly breastfeeding, which was such a hurdle for, for me.

And it sounds like you too. None of them. Were really talking about it. So really want this podcast to just like, let's cut, cut out the stigma of anything. Let's cut out shame. There's nothing like, let's just, there's nothing wrong with talking about this stuff and pointing towards solutions if that's what you wanna do.

Well, that leads me then into this next question. So, so you maybe you have multiple things you wanna talk about on the topic of breastfeeding. Again, before we hit the recording button, we were talking about a gadget that you had learned about to help with with breastfeeding. So the next question is, what's a piece of baby gear that's been a lifesaver?

So maybe this is where we talk about that. And two, if you have anything else you'd wanna share.

Audrey: several things. Yeah.

Krista: Let's hear 'em. Let's

Audrey: Yeah. So in the, in the breastfeeding realm the haka Google it. Haaka, the haaka, it's amazing. It's this little silicone, it's called a breast pump. I mean, it doesn't, there's no moving parts.

Krista: like a manual breast pump, right? Is that what they would

Audrey: yeah, I mean, I don't know. But it's amazing. And it's the side that you're not nursing on.

It catches your let down on the other side. And there's some suction to it, so it's not just like what comes out, but it will pull some out. So it's amazing because many people leak on the side that they're not nursing from, so you're just wasting it if you're not catching it, which some people have an oversupply and that's not a problem.

I still don't have an oversupply, so I'm saving every drop. And the hawk is amazing and the. The lactation consultant in the hospital did mention it, so I ordered it. I think it was waiting on my doorstep when I got home.

Krista: Yeah. And super inexpensive, right? Wasn't it like

Audrey: It was like 20 bucks or something. Yeah, they sell 'em at Target.

And there's different kinds. I know my sister-in-law uses one, it's called the Ladybug. I don't really know

Krista: Oh, I don't think I've heard of that one.

Audrey: what the difference is, but there's a few different models. So the haka is amazing.

You can save it for a bottle later or freeze it or you know, whatever.

Krista: What are some other lifesaving baby gear pieces for you?

Audrey: So I had two more that kind of go hand in hand for us, especially in the early days. The swaddle and the sound machine. Life savers for sure. And the swaddle, I think we ended up using one called like the swaddle Me. There's a million different ones. Lots of them are great. That's kind of the one that worked best for us.

But you could see, little man will be like visibly agitated or squirmy or you know, like sleepy. But their startle reflex is hilarious and the cutest thing I've ever seen. But it's not great when they're trying to sleep and they keep, startling themselves awake. So the swaddle Lifesaver.

We could put it on him and like see him visibly calm down and just like chill out and go to sleep. And the sound machine, I was reading shortly after birth that those two things really help mimic the womb for them. I read somewhere that it, I don't know how they know this but I read somewhere that it is as loud as a vacuum cleaner, like inside the womb.

So they're used to this loud, like constant, I'm guessing, like blood rushing around water movement. They're used to that sound, so the quiet like wigs them out. It feels wrong. And then the swaddle, obviously they were pretty bound up in there. There's not a lot of space. So those two things, I think make them feel comforted, make them feel at home.

And prior to being a mother, I always thought, oh, I'm not gonna do a sound machine. I don't want my kid to have to have to have that. I don't wanna introduce something that now I need to do for the next five years. I would do it again in a heartbeat. The sound machine is on in the background right now.

There's always a sound machine on at my house at this point. But I read at least like for the first 12 weeks that it's just so helpful to help them get used to being out of the womb. And it's been great. He doesn't sleep through the night, but he's a great sleeper. He's a great napper.

And I will attribute it to those two things primarily. We just switched out of the swaddles recently and he is doing well. But yeah, the first eight or 10 weeks, that was pretty clutch for getting him to sleep for sure. So highly recommend them.

Krista: Yes. I'll be curious to see. Audrey, I feel like we might need to do a part two of this interview in a year and compare answers. See what new things have you learned? What new gadgets are your new lifesaving Mom? Mom tools.

Audrey: For sure.

Krista: Well, what's something that didn't live up to the hype?

Audrey: Yeah. For me that was the bassinet, the halo bassinet, which many people love and they say, I couldn't do it without it. I feel like I could totally do it without it. I liked having the bassinet right next to the bed. I don't feel like the halo specifically added anything to our sleeping experience.

I just feel like I didn't need the swivel, I didn't need the side that drops down. Like if I'm getting outta bed, I'm getting out of bed. I'm picking him up outta the bassinet. I know a lot of people just loved it and raved on it for me, I think any bassinet would've done.

Krista: So I had the halo bassinet, and they were expensive and I realized that word is relative for everyone. But I ended up finding a secondhand one at a fraction of the price. One positive I will say about the halo is I liked that it could move up and down.

So that while I was laying in bed, she would be on my side of the bed, and it was easy for me to just turn over and, because you could see through the side, and I could have her up right even with my eyesight, I could turn over and easily, from where I'm laying, put my hand in and. As a new mom, you're like, are they breathing? You know,

Audrey: for sure.

Krista: you can't tell. So it's like, oh, let's just put my hand on her chest and see. But I did like that cuz I feel like maybe with a different brand's bassinet, I might not have maybe been able to do that. So I did like that feature.

But all that to say, I understand what you're, what you're saying. Half the time she ended up in bed with me too. Cause. It's like middle of the night nursing. No, you're just gonna lay right here and I'm gonna turn over and we're just gonna do that in bed so we can both just fall back to sleep.

Audrey: And then those growth spurts where you're gonna nurse again in an hour anyway, like, no, I'm not getting outta bed,

Krista: Exactly. So, okay, I realize you're just two months into this new chapter, but tell me how are you keeping it all together?

Audrey: Honestly, my spouse. She's amazing. She took five weeks off when we first had him. I don't know how people do it. I don't know how single moms do it. I don't know how people that their spouse, you know, has to go back to work right away or maybe didn't have time off. I don't know how they do it.

I guess you just survive is, kind of the key there. But she's just been amazing. All the support I could ask for if I need time and space, you know, then she gives me that. Everything I need. She has given. But I think also just my tribe, you have people in your life, whether it's friends or family, and when they offer to help, take them up on it.

If somebody offers to clean your house, let them. I have a dog that's like a year and a half old, so she's very much a puppy. We have this neighbor who's amazing, she has dogs, and she comes and picks her up a few times a week, takes her to her house, lets her run wild in her backyard with her dogs and like, it's amazing cuz then she'll come home and sleep the rest of the day instead of looking at me like mom, like let's go hiking, let's go play.

So just having support and really accepting it, that was hard for me. When people offer to say yes, but once I started saying yes, things got so much better. Having family that will cook for you or offer to do laundry or dishes, like yes, thank you. It's, it's, it's everything. Because you don't have time or energy or desire to do any of that stuff the first few weeks.

It's just really all about the baby.

Krista: Yep. Yep. And you're like, when's the last time I showered?

Audrey: Yeah.

Krista: Right?

Audrey: Yeah. Yep. I smell like milk. Yeah.

Krista: What You wanna come over and hold the baby? Yes. Okay. Please come over and hold the baby and let me jump in the shower real fast. That would be great.

Audrey: Yep.

Krista: Yes, the tribe, totally having a super supportive partner and people around you who care it's invaluable. What would be a tip or trick or piece of advice that you would share with another mama right now?

Audrey: I have two. The first one is to listen to your instincts and your gut. I don't know that the doctors would have seen that my son had a tongue tie. I'm the one that actually saw it. He wasn't gaining weight, he was having issues and nobody really Had an answer. It was just, you should just supplement and use bottles.

And as he was screaming one night after I fed him, I saw like, it didn't look like something just looked funny. So I mentioned it to the doctor even. Does he have a tongue tie? Oh, he does. He does have a, he has a pretty bad one actually. So that was like a whole other path for us to go down. But I don't know how long it would've taken somebody else to notice that, or if they would have, you know, in time to make a difference as far as breastfeeding was concerned.

So just listen to your gut. If something's not right, talk to your doctor. Talk to your, your mom, your sisters, your friends, people that have babies. you'll know if something's not right. And don't, don't let anybody tell you differently until you figure it out. And number two, if you're.

Pregnant, get a lactation consultant even just for a meet and greet, so if you do have issues, and hopefully you don't, but you'll know where to go and you're not sitting there in your first week. Trying to figure out who you're gonna see. My doula had recommended one who was amazing. She took my insurance.

She came to my house, like I didn't have to do anything. She, she's been here like five times. And she's amazing and so helpful and just has lots of suggestions. So lactation consultant is huge. I'm a huge proponent of winging it and like, I'll figure it out and this is gonna be natural and I'm good at stuff.

I'll be good at this. Get one anyway, and hopefully you don't need it. But if you do, it's so important that that's like ready to go. So those are my two things.

Krista: Love that. Yes. I, I'm hoping at some point to have the lactation consultant I used on the podcast. I think that would be a fun chat to just talk through what are the potential hurdles that can obstruct, breastfeeding. Whether it's a tongue tie or just a position. I remember my lactation consultant her name's Kimberly, she came here too, took my insurance as well.

And you know, I'd never been in such a hurry to like, take my top off in front of somebody. Like, come on, let's, let's get this show on the road and, and figure it out. Modesty goes out the window the minute, at least it

Audrey: Completely. Yeah, completely.

Krista: The minute you become a mom. So funny. But yes, I, I cannot echo those words enough.

Hiring a lactation consultant for sure. So this has been a really fun Chad, Audrey, and I'm curious if there's anything else I left out. Anything you wish I would've asked? Anything else you think that's important to cover?

Audrey: No. When I got your list of questions, I thought those were awesome questions. No, I think just really for new moms. Follow your instincts, follow your gut, and give yourself grace because there's gonna be a whole bunch of stuff you don't know and it's gonna be okay. Those first weeks are hard.

They're hard, but they're so worth it. It's gonna be a whole lifetime. So just give yourself some grace to learn.

yes. Oh, nothing better than baby cuddles for all of our listeners who cannot see. So we are of course recording this on Zoom. I have the pleasure of seeing Audrey's precious little baby right now. He just

Audrey: Baby Ezra.

Krista: Yes, he just

Audrey: so well. He stayed napping the whole time.

Krista: goodness. Hi, little one. So if you hear any sweet little precious breaths or gurgles or baby sounds it's our, it's our special guest jumping on with us as we, as we wrap the episode.

But I just wanna say, Audrey, thank you for doing this. I know some of this stuff is not always easy to talk about, but I think it's talking about those uncomfortable things that of course, Help us get to the next step that we're all trying to make in this mom journey. And I, I figure, you know, in every episode, if there's one thing that another mama takes away, or daddy, you know, I know this is called Secret Mom Hacks, but whatever parents out there are listening to this, if they walk away with, with one thing, you know, then.

Then this is serving its purpose. So I appreciate being on here and wish you all the best with little one and you and your sweet family. And I'm telling you, if, if you're game, I think we should do a round two in a little bit and, and see.

Audrey: I learn something every week, so for sure. Or something that I'm like. That's silly. I would never do that. I'm like totally doing it the next week, like co-sleeping. That was never gonna be a thing, and it's totally a thing. So

Krista: Yep. Yep.

[00:22:10] Audrey: things change.

Krista: just what is best for you and your family and, and little man there. Well, thank you

Audrey: for doing this, Krista.

Krista: I appreciate it. We'll talk again soon. That was so much fun to talk with my friend Audrey, catch up with her on all things mom life and I think it's about time to do a round two with Audrey and hear all that she has learned from then until now with her little man. So I also wanna say huge thank you to you for spending some time with me today. If you enjoyed today's episode and my interview with Audrey, please subscribe. If you haven't already, give me a five star rating and leave a review sharing your favorite takeaway so far.

Make sure you also go back and check out some of my back catalog where I talk about my birth story, my obstacles with breastfeeding, in my episode where I talk about maternity wear for mamas on a budget, all episodes you should definitely listen to. If you haven't yet, make sure you stop by where you can find transcripts, resources, and more. Stay tuned for next week's episode, and until then you've got this mama.


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