Review: Bunnies By The Bay

Tuesday, November 4, 2014
*Many thanks to Bunnies by the Bay for sponsoring this post in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Hi everyone,

I'm really excited to share with you these two, super cute items from one of my (and Molly's) favorite stores: Bunnies by the Bay!

I first became acquainted with the store a few months back at Molly's baby shower. Because of my tumultuous pregnancy we waited to have such an event until after she was born. One of the lovely gifts we received was a gift basket from Bunnies by the Bay. It included several adorable items, such as a plush bunny and a crinkle book. The book quickly became Molly's favorite things to play with, chew on, and read before bedtime. 

So imagine my excitement (!!) when Bunnies by the Bay contacted me and asked me to review two of their items. 

The first item is the Bud Teether, made of 100% natural rubber and food-safe, hand-painted features. As a mom who is very conscientious about chemicals and the negative impacts they can have on our kids' health and development, I really appreciate that Bunnies by the Bay offers an all natural teething product. Plus, it's adorable!

Molly is 8 months old today, and in the full swing of teething, so as soon as I gave her this teether it immediately went into her mouth. She loves chewing on the ears and gets really excited when it squeaks (an awesome feature by the way)! 

Loving the Bud teether!


The second item that we received is a beautiful, plush coat called the Original Cuddle Coat. This thing is so soft that I wish I had one for myself! It's very well made, has an adorable pink ribbon in the front to tie into a pretty bow, and has a cute little carrot embellishment on it.

Love it!

Overall, Bunnies by the Bay offers an extensive array of high-end baby items. My only knock on them is that many of their items are expensive. The teether is $19.00 and the coat is $54.99 - both of which, in my opinion, are on the high end. However, the flip side of this high price is quality. And with baby products, you really get what you pay for. If you're looking for high quality, high end products for your child or to give as a gift, you honestly cannot go wrong with Bunnies by the Bay. Their customer service is top-notch, they give back to great charities, and they're local to Washington State. So go check out their website, like them on Facebook, and repin them on Pinterest!

I'll also be running a giveaway in the next week or so where you can enter to win your own Bunnies by the Bay swag! Stay tuned!

I Promise I'm Still Alive...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

So... it's been awhile. What can I say? I really have no excuse other than I'm a first time mom trying to figure out post-delivery life. Everyone always says that the first few months after having a baby go by in an exhausted blur and they were they right. Five months later and I finally feel like my head is just coming out of the fog. I'm finally able to come up for air.

Five months! Molly is officially five months old. Whoa. 

A Molly-related recap from the last four months...

  • She smiled at mommy for the first time at 5 weeks old!
  • She discovered her hands - 2 months
  • She recognizes certain songs and responds to them by cooing and "singing" along - 2 months
  • She tracks objects with her eyes and turns her head if you leave the room - 2 months
  • She started rolling from tummy to back more frequently - 3 months
  • She started sleeping through the night - what a champ! - 3 months
  • She rolled from back to tummy - 4 months
  • She loves to chew on things, like her hands or teething toys - 4 months

Now at five months she has done some pretty awesome things!

  • She started on rice cereal and oatmeal at 4.5 months, but is still trying to figure out that whole swallowing thing.
  • She loves to sit in the jumper or high chair at daycare and watch the other kids playing. She often laughs at them!
  • She just started recognizing the fact that when I drop her off at daycare that I am leaving - she now cries a little when I leave (but is easily distracted by the other kids/toys, thankfully!).
  • She recognizes and feels safe with familiar faces, mostly mom, dad, grandma and grandpa and her main teacher at daycare.

Individually these things might not seem like a big deal, but together they mean she is growing both physically and emotionally. It's amazing how quickly children change just in a matter of weeks and months. Pretty soon she will be sitting up on her own. Crazy!


One month

2 months

3 months

4 months

5 months

Molly is One Month Old!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

***I wrote this the day that Molly turned 1 month old, and then of course I was too exhausted/distracted/lazy to finish editing the photos until now. So, two weeks late.. here is the post!***

I can't believe how fast time flies by even when you're completely exhausted. Our little cupcake is one month old today! I know it sounds super cliche, but it's such an honor and pleasure to watch her grow and change every single day. 

She certainly has her own personality, too. Some things I have come to learn about my daughter...

She loves to be held. You don't even have to be moving, she just likes to be curled up next to you. She loves to be swaddled; it makes her feel secure. She likes piano music and the sound of running water. She's startled by Jasper when he barks and the jingle of his collar easily wakes her. She hates the sound of clanking - such as the sound of utensils on plates. She does not like to sleep flat on her back, but rather at a slight incline. She tolerates baths now, but at first she cried and cried. She also used to cry during diaper and outfit changes. Now she tolerates them, too. She follows the sound of my voice around the room and often moves her head to find me. She tracks my eyes with her own. She prefers to have her hands up by her face. I can tell when she's really upset because she kicks her legs out furiously and waves her arms around frantically. She doesn't cry much, unless she's really hungry or wants to be snuggled.

Of note this month:
*Molly rolled over from her tummy to her back at 2 weeks old!
*She recognizes my voice, her daddy's voice, and her grandparents voices
*She's too big for preemie clothes, but newborn clothes are still big on her

Here are a few photos from her one month photo shoot:

Our little "Mini" McIrvin

Sleepy baby

She's not sure what to make of this whole photo shoot thing

What an angel

Little feet

An out take ;-)

Want to see more photos of Molly? Follow me on Instagram for #thedailymolly photo!

The Birth of Molly Anne McIrvin

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Where has the time gone? Molly is more than 3 weeks old! It's high time I post the details of her birth.

As with most birth stories, this one will include some TMI so you have been warned.

First, I have to admit that the labor process and Molly's birth did not follow our birth plan or the expectations that I had built in my mind. I know we are not alone in this; it happens to many new parents. Ryan and I knew that we might need to deviate from the plan if medically necessary. Turns out, the changes to our plan were definitely necessary. I have absolutely no regrets about the way things went. I know some women get very upset about not having the birth experience that they had wanted or expected, and I completely understand that and sympathize, but for me the birth experience is what it is and I can't change it. Molly is here and healthy and in the end, that's all that matters.

Labor at 39 weeks began very eerily like preterm labor did at 33 weeks. On Monday, March 3rd I went in to see Dr. Kipa for my regular weekly OB appointment. Again, I was disappointed to learn that I had not dilated anymore from the previous week. It seemed I was stuck at 4cm and 90% effaced, despite the constant and painful contractions. Then things changed when the nurse checked my blood pressure. It had been elevated the last two weeks, but was now at the point of concern. Dr. Kipa sat down and we had a serious talk. She went over my symptoms... Prodomal labor, high blood pressure, extreme swelling all over my body, and seeing spots. Due to these issues, she felt that I was on the verge of preeclampsia. Since baby was at 39 weeks and fully developed, she recommended that I be moved to Labor and Delivery to be induced. Like before when I was moved to L&D for preterm labor, I was shocked and not quite prepared to face the "real thing" so soon. I had always imagined that my water would break at home, perhaps in the middle of the night, and I'd labor there until I would tell Ryan 'it's time.' I think I have Hollywood to thank for those images of the 'perfect' labor. 

Despite my shock, I agreed with Dr. Kipa and moved to L&D around 4:30pm. I called Ryan, who was still at work, to let him know what was going on. His parents were on their way back from a vacation in Montana and he had planned on picking them up from the airport. We both agreed that labor could take a long time, so it was decided that he would stick to his plan of picking them up.

I was put into a triage room and hooked up to the monitors. In addition to tracking the baby's heart rate and contractions, the monitors also took my blood pressure every 15 minutes. The contractions were about 3 minutes apart and my blood pressure was on a steady rise. Around 6:30pm the nurse and doctor-on-call came in to check me. I was still 4cm dilated. Because of this and my increasing blood pressure, they felt that we should induce labor with an IV drip of Pitocin. Since the only way to reduce the risk of preeclampsia is to deliver the baby, and because of my stagnant dilation state, they felt that the Pitocin would encourage the contractions I was already having into something more substantial. I told them that I would absolutely have to wait until Ryan arrived to make a decision. I said this partially because I was still on the fence about the use of medication, and partially because I wanted Ryan's support and guidance in the decision. If anyone could advocate for me, it was him. 

Ryan and his parents arrived around 7:30pm. The nurse and I brought him up to speed on the situation. He and I talked over our options and decided that we really did want to try for an unmediated birth. We let the nurse and doctor know that I wanted to labor on my own for awhile before considering the Pitocin. This is when time really started to speed up for me. 

By some sort of miracle, labor began on its own. The contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart and the pain was getting much more intense. I thought for sure that they were making things happen. Around 10:30pm the nurse came in to check me. To my extreme dismay, I was still at 4cm and 90% effaced. At that point, my blood pressure was too high for the nurse and doctor to not intervene. At 11:00pm we began the Pitocin, increasing it every 30 minutes.

Just breathe...

I started out laboring in the bed, on my side, but the contractions in my back were so intense that the nurse thankfully offered to get the jetted tub ready for me. Unfortunately, the jets that were suppose to be on my back were broken, but just being in the warm, moving water helped tremendously. I was in the tub for a long time, upwards of 2 hours. Ryan was amazing through this whole time. He played my favorite calming sounds - ocean waves crashing onto the beach - and fed me chocolate pudding between each contraction (seriously, how did I get so lucky?!). 

Although Ryan was there with me and the nurse was very sweet and attentive, this intense part of labor was very solitary. Almost lonely. With each contraction I went into a whole other world... I'm sure it was a coping mechanism for the pain. I kept wondering how much longer I was going to be in this much pain. But I still knew I could get through it; it wouldn't last forever. 

After I got out of the tub, I labored in the bed a little longer. The pain was so intense that I seriously considered asking the nurse not to increase the Pitocin anymore. I didn't think I could take it. The contractions were 1 minute apart; I hardly had time to rest before the next one started. They were so painful that tears came out of my eyes during each one.

Not. Happy.

Around 3am the nurse checked me again. Still. No. Change. My blood pressure continued to go up. The nurse and the doctor then gave us two options: Magnesium Sulfate to lower my blood pressure, or an Epidural to help with the pain and allow me to relax (and hopefully lower my blood pressure too). If you read my post about my preterm experience, then you know how incredibly insistent I was that I NOT be put on the Mag. The doctor made no promises about it, but she did say they would use it as the very last resort.

Since it was the middle of the night, and there was no one else in L&D at the time, the anesthesiologist made it to my room very quickly. Honestly, I was afraid to get the epidural. Not because I had to sign a release form acknowledging its potential side effects (which you'd think I'd care about, but at that point I did not!), but because I was afraid of the pain of a needle in my back. Thankfully, the anesthesiologist was very good and I hardly felt a thing. The pain relief was almost immediate. I was so, so thankful that I was able to catch my breath. 

Ryan and I fell asleep shortly thereafter and awoke an hour later, around 5:30am, when the nurse came in to check my blood pressure and dilation. Success! My blood pressure had gone down and I was dilated to 7.5cm! She told us to go back to sleep and we were happy to oblige. Once again, she came back about an hour later to check on me. This time I was at 9.5cm!

By this time there was a shift change and we got a new nurse, but thankfully it was the same nurse that I had had the previous day. The night nurse was sad that she had to go, since it looked like I was really close to pushing. 

Around 7:30am I started feeling an extreme pressure in my bottom. I was afraid to push the button for more epidural because I wanted to know when to push. So I started feeling... everything... I mentioned the pain/pressure to the nurse, and she said, "Great! That means it's time to push!" She gave me a quick lesson in how to effectively push - I had to stay in the bed because of the epidural - and I started to push, Ryan holding my left leg and the nurse holding my right. 

The doctor came in not too long after I began pushing. When I would push, the baby's heart rate would drop. So, between each push I was instructed to take several deep breaths into an oxygen mask. It seemed to help, because the doctor approved and left the room to let me push for awhile.

Sweet, sweet oxygen!

Well, not but minutes later the nurse had to frantically call the doctor back into the room because baby girl was crowning! The nurse told me to reach down and feel the baby's head. It was crazy feeling it - knowing that we'd see her very soon! The nurse offered me a mirror to see the rest of the birth, but I turned it down. Honestly, I was in so much pain from the "ring of fire" that I just wanted to get little one out! 

The doctor came in quickly and it was only a few minutes later that Molly arrived! It was such a strange and amazing feeling having her out and laying on my chest. I'm honestly not sure what I said to her, but I'm pretty sure it was something along the lines of, "Oh my God! Hi baby!!"

Hi Molly!!

She was so little, sweet, and amazing. Hearing her cry was like heaven. I didn't realize it at the time (too much going on!) but apparently Ryan had to sit down at that moment. He said he felt overwhelmed. 

The placenta was birthed immediately afterwords, no pushing required. Also not required? Any stitches. Booyah! In the end, I pushed for 25 minutes. Molly was born at 8:13am - she was 6 lbs, 3 oz and 18" long.

6 lbs, 3 oz

After things settled down a bit, the nurse pointed out to us that the cord on the placenta was in a strange place. We asked what she meant. She explained that normally the cord is in the middle of the placenta, but mine was on the side. She said it wouldn't show up on a ultrasound (and we all know how many of those I had!!), but that was probably why Molly had her intrauterine growth restriction. Ah hah! The culprit is finally found.

The culprit to Molly's IUGR

We also donated Molly's cord blood, to help those with cancer and other debilitating diseases. If you live in Washington State, please consider donating your cord blood too. It's easy, fast, and totally free through the Puget Sound Blood Center!

Donating Molly's cord blood to help save other's lives!

Since she was born, Ryan and I have focused on spending lots of time with our little one and getting used to having this new person in our lives. Molly certainly has her own personality (more posts to come on that!) and we can't wait to see who she becomes as she gets older. As for me, recovery has been fairly easy thanks to my stitch-free bottom and the wonderful care of the Swedish nurses and doctors.

A family of three

The new love of my life

And there you have it. Molly is here!

Pregnancy Week 37/38 Update

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Warning: This post contains TMI. Do not continue reading if you can't handle it.

Ok, so I admit I've really been lacking in the blogging area lately. Sorry about that! Given the fact that I've been working from home and overall not really doing much with my life, you'd think I'd be all over posting. But honestly? I just really haven't been in the mood. 

They say that the last few weeks of pregnancy make you a little crazy. My friends, I am no exception. I think at one point I may have even freaked out my husband, which says a lot, because he is one of the most even-keeled people you'll ever meet. 

Not only have the last two weeks been extremely uncomfortable, they've been mentally and emotionally draining. 

First, the physical. I realize now that I was getting off fairly easily when it came to being physically comfortable. But now? Oh my aching back. Ever since little one dropped down into my pelvis, called lightening, my lower back as been constantly aching. I've also had extreme pain in my pelvis and hips, and every once in awhile when baby moves I get a sharp pain... down there. The reason? She's been at a -1 station for awhile now, meaning that her head is right up against the cervix. Ouch!

In addition to peeing every 10 minutes, it has become much more difficult to pee because there is so much pressure on my bladder. And, up until last week, I had never experienced the joy of peeing myself. Yup, mark that one off the list. We were in Goodwill poppin' some tags when all of a sudden I turned to Ryan and said, "Either I just peed myself or my water just broke." Upon further inspection, turns out I just peed a little. And, because I'm now 3cm dilated and almost 100% effaced, I also have the added joy of mass amounts of discharge. Thank God for panty liners. 

But honestly, all of this pails in comparison with the insomnia. I love sleep. I covet it and do not function well with less than 8 hours of sleep (I know, I know, everyone tells me about how I should "get used to no sleep now!"). But when I wake up night after night at 2am, 3am, 4am and cannot go back to sleep... well, I kind of loose it. It makes putting up with the aches and pains that much harder. 

I think the lack of quality sleep has significantly contributed to my being so emotional the last two weeks. Oh, and those pesky hormones no doubt contribute, too. This week I am feeling much better - excited and looking forward to meeting little Molly - but for awhile there I was out of sorts. I freely admit it now, but at the time I felt so terrible in even thinking it: I was no longer excited to have a baby. I felt like such an awful person! How could I get this far into my pregnancy and feel this way? I cried, and cried, and... it even got to the point that I sat in the baby's room in the middle of the night, tears streaming down my face, feeling so guilty that I wasn't happy to meet my baby. And the worst part was that I felt so badly about it that I didn't think I could tell anyone. I felt really alone.

Ryan came and found me that night in the baby's room; he pressed me until I finally told him why I was so upset. And, like I should even be surprised, he totally understood. I felt so much better getting it off my chest and crying it out. The next few days were still emotional and frustrating - mostly because I saw my OB and early labor had not progressed anymore - but the feeling of excitement slowly started coming back to me. And this week, I feel calm and collected and excited once again to meet Miss Molly. My fears about labor and being a good mom are not gone, but I finally feel like I can accept the fear and know that it will not last forever. And more importantly, I will have a sweet baby girl to snuggle!

Today is 38 weeks 2 days and the contractions are still about 5 minutes apart. Some are painful, but most are just annoying. I'm still 3cm dilated, nearly 100% effaced. Early labor has lasted about three weeks at this point, also called prodromal labor. It's amazing to me that most doctors don't really talk about prodromal labor, even though it seems to be more common than we think. Reading about other's experiences has helped me get through this rough time. I hope with this post I can help others, too! Ladies, you're not alone.

Here's to having a baby very soon!

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