May 27, 2019

Welcome Cruz Michael Munafo: A Birth Story



Cruz turned six weeks today (at least on the day I finally got out my laptop to write this). 

I know it's cliche, but these past six weeks have been the fastest of my life. 

I guess I should start a little before I delivered... so I need to go way back. 

They say that no two pregnancies or babies are alike and I have found this to be SO TRUE. I delivered Jade at 39 weeks and 1 day and felt like a maternal goddess almost (...ALMOST) the whole time I was pregnant. With Cruz, I grew so much bigger, so much faster and carried him like a basketball straight out in front of me. Because of this, I was positive, just POSITIVE that I would deliver before my due date (April 8th). By the time I hit 30 weeks I just did not know how I could possibly get any bigger. What did I know?? ;) 

I worked like mad to have my classroom and sub plans ready early, just in case, and to have things at home in order. I kept wondering, will this be my last cleaning session before I go into labor? Will this be my last meal before going to the hospital? (Always thinking about food!) I made myself crazy. I've never been one to feel like I need to be in control, but I swear that I was a different person during this pregnancy. Every time I went to my prenatal appointments, my OB would check my cervix and NOTHING. Zero progress, despite tons of Braxton Hicks, getting stripped, losing my mucous plug, and trying all the tricks to naturally induce labor. This little boy was comfy and did not want to come out! My doctor and I agreed that if he did not come by my due date, then I would be induced the following day, April 9th. 

So the whole week before my due date, I was off work and kept cleaning and preparing like a mad woman in case he came. I did fun things with Jade and really tried to soak in my last week with it just being her, but I was extremely uncomfortable, irritable and grumpy. Then the weekend before my induction, I felt guilty for being so upset that he hadn't come yet, because if he had, I would not have had the week with Jade where I was off work. So finally my perspective changed and I was truly thankful that he waited and that Jade and I had a whole week of quality time together. 

On the night of April 8th, my family came up and took Jade back to their hotel. Brian and I finished some things at home, got into bed, prayed, and set our alarms for 3:00... we were to report to the hospital by 4:00 a.m. On our way to the hospital we were practically the only ones on the road, and even though the sky was not clear, Brian and I saw a very clear and large shooting star. It was a special moment for me. 

The night before my induction... our last photo as a family of three! 

Once we got to the hospital, I was 2cm dilated. Shortly after, I began having what felt like Braxton Hicks contractions (painless), but I noticed that they were every five minutes, so very regular. I got hooked up to the Pitocin around 7 a.m and my doctor broke my water shortly after that. Pitocin really does make your contractions more intense! I don't remember what time I got my epidural, all I know is that I progressed from 4cm to 8cm within 30 minutes and things were beginning to move quickly. One difference this time around is that I definitely felt painful pressure. I couldn't feel the contractions, but I could feel the pressure of my baby's head and ouch! I didn't experience that with Jade... the women who do this without meds are truly amazing! By noon, they were telling me it was time to push. 

I ended up pushing for a little over an hour. I found out after the fact that he was "sunny side up," which made it more difficult to get him out. But once he was out, I immediately felt better and started crying when they laid him on me. We did skin to skin and it was so sweet how that simple physical contact calmed Cruz down, as he was crying hysterically when he came out. I noticed right away how he looked like Brian. He had so many of his features and I began pointing them out.

"I was hoping he would look like you," I told him.
"Awww, well then he will love you very much," was his reply.

ALL. THE. FEELS. 

Cruz came into the world weighing 9 pounds, 4 ounces and was 21.5 inches. He sure was a big boy... no wonder I felt so uncomfortable during pregnancy! 


The postpartum period has been MUCH easier this time around for me. I chalk it up to several things: 1)  My physical recovery was much faster. Even though Cruz was a bigger baby, my body healed more quickly and I was able to get around better this time. 2) Cruz has been breastfeeding like a champ so that has made things LOADS easier. 3) Cruz has a sweet and relaxed temperament. He is a pretty chill baby and really only cries if he is hungry 4) I felt so much more confident this time around, just having gone through it once, I knew what to expect and how to mentally prepare myself. Because I wasn't fearful or unsure, I was able to focus more on bonding with my baby than on my uncertainties. 

All of the above factors have given me a beautiful postpartum period. Not that it's never hard and that there are never challenges, but I feel very clear headed, positive, and feel all the lovey feelings a mama dreams of feeling when she meets her baby. I am truly loving the newborn stage, which I know is a rare thing.  

It's funny because with Jade, I had a beautiful pregnancy experience, but the postpartum period really rocked me. With Cruz, I did not enjoy pregnancy, but have been loving "the fourth trimester." I asked for a lot of prayer for the postpartum period and Brian and I spent a lot of time praying for this time. I feel so thankful that the Lord gifted me with a good one. 

I love this little man of mine. Before having him, I was bewildered as to how I could love another baby the way I love Jade. I knew that I would, but I could not comprehend it. Now I understand. I truly feel that my heart has expanded so that I am not dividing my love among the two, but rather that my heart has multiplied to make room for both. 

And now life will never be the same. 



January 14, 2019

Preparing For Baby With Basic Invite

One of the many exciting things about getting ready for a baby is planning the baby shower. If you have a loved one who is getting ready to welcome a little bundle of joy into their lives and are planning a baby shower, I highly recommend Basic Invite! I love that they are a convenient and economical option for planning any celebratory event (not just baby showers). 



Here are some of my favorite things about Basic Invite's custom invitations and cards: 

Almost Unlimited Colors - The biggest draw that sets Basic Invite apart from other online stationary companies is their unlimited color options with instant previews online. It's so nice and reassuring for a customer to make sure their card is exactly how she wants them before purchasing. Once a design is selected, the elements can be previewed with over 180 different color options! 

Custom Samples - Speaking of making sure the card is exactly how the customer wants it, Basic Invite will actually allow customers to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see the paper quality and how their invite will look tangibly before placing their final order. 

Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes - Just as there are several options for the invitations, there are also several color options with the envelopes. Customers can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to their envelopes so that they can make their invitation stand out even before it is opened. All envelopes are "peel and seal," so no need to lick all those envelopes closed! 

Address Capturing Service - This might be the most convenient perk. Customers can share a link on any social media account to request addresses from friends and family. Addresses will be stored in the customer's Basic Invite account and can then be selected during the design process. Another perk: Basic Invite offers recipient address printing at no cost on all Christmas card orders! 

Foil - Foil cards are available in gold, silver, and rose gold. Customers can choose flat or raised foil on all of Basic Invite’s foil designs.

Check out some other baby shower invites: 




Basic Invite also offers baby announcements! How cute are these? 

Want to try Basic Invite for one of the celebratory events in your life? Right now Basic Invite is offering a 15% off coupon code: 15FF51

Happy designing!!

xx,
Court

In collaboration with Basic Invite.







December 06, 2018

Advent 2018 {Days 1-5}

Advent is here! I am all about creating memories and traditions, while at the same time keeping things simple. What is the point of making traditions if you are stressed out trying to make them happen? The purpose of our advent activities are to spend quality time together, enjoy the season, and to learn about the birth of Jesus and the things that make him happy (like worship, family, and blessing others). With that said, many of our activities are simple. Some required planning, but even the planning was fairly easy. Other activities were done with items we already have at home. My point is, you do not have to make yourself crazy trying to make memories with your family! Here is a recap of our first five days. 

Day 1: Open new Christmas jammies, make Christmas pretzels, and watch "The Grinch" as a family. 
I bought Jade these Christmas cat jammies last month and we planned to stay in and watch The Grinch (Netflix for the win!) while making these festive pretzels. She loved getting to open a present and the pretzels were so simple that Jade was able to help. We kept some at home and also passed some out to Jade's Sunday school teachers the next morning. 





My mom bought this book for Jade for her first Christmas, so it is a book we have had around for a little while. She also bought Jade her Nativity set. It has been put away with the Christmas things, so getting it out was new and exciting and Jade felt like she was getting a new toy. She calls the characters her "friends" and it is so precious! 




Day 3: Spread out blankets on the living room floor and get out all of our Christmas story books.
This was another simple and easy activity! We spread out all of the books and looked through them. Jade wanted to read "Pick A Pine Tree" and "Small, Medium, and Large." Then she spent time looking through the other books. I love having seasonal books on hand! We put some hot chocolate in a thermos and enjoyed it while reading. 




Day 4: Review the Christmas Story characters and play with Nativity stickers.


I bought these stickers from Michael's last year. There were several sets that came in the pack so I kept the extras. We ended up putting them in her baby book as an advent keepsake. 

Day 5: Surprise Daddy at work with his favorite hot chocolate. 
 Any excuse to go to Starbucks, right?! Haha, Brian's favorite hot chocolate is the Snickerdoodle one from Starbs, so this was a fun opportunity to bring him one while he was at work. Jade was so excited to go see her daddy during the work day.


Thanks for reading!! Hope you are enjoying this magical season with loved ones. 

xx,
Court