Tag Archives: pregnant

Casino Beach in Gulf Breeze, Pensacola

28 Sep

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This is another blog post I’d intended to post looooong ago. My “things I want to blog about” list is very very very backed up. (Speaking of backed up, my toiled is clogged and instead of calling maintenance, I went out and bought a plunger, and unplugged my very first toilet. It was rank and awful and filled with delightful things that only a woman who has experienced the two weeks post pregnancy could fathom. Now I feel powerful and commanding, and the plunger is my mighty scepter. But I digress.)

These photos were taken about a week before I gave birth. My doctor had just released me from the majority of my bed rest restrictions, so we decided to hit Casino Beach at Gulf Breeze, the beach that everyone raves about as the iconic white sand / blue water beach of Pensacola. The plan was that Jonathan and his mum would go swimming and I would sit in one of the overpriced chair / umbrella rentals and play with my phone and camera and people watch and get bitter over all the bikini bodies.

Speaking of, this was my FIRST TIME baring my preggo belly in public. I was slightly extremely uncomfortable doing so. Now before everyone jumps on me for being anti-woman or some drivel like that, let me clarify – I think the pregnant form is beautiful, mysterious and nigh sacred. Everyone else’s but mine, that is. In addition to chunking me up all over, pregnancy caused my belly button to veer off at a crooked angle, and gave me lovely purple stretch marks streaking up my sides like some retarded finger painting tiger mauled me.

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So anyway, off we trotted to the beach. It had been storming off and on for the past month, so the water was, shall we say, less than blue. In fact, it was so churned up with seaweed and algae that it looked slightly like we were stepping into the Mississippi River. I am NOT fond of seaweed while swimming in the ocean (that’s kind of why I tend to avoid the ocean… that, and things LIVE in there) so I ventured out to my waist (the water is so warm!), looked around at the sludge trying to worm its way into my swimming trunks, then said, “Yup, done now.”

The sand, however, WAS sparkling white. Tropical, beautiful, and the texture of sugar. It felt like getting a foot massage just walking over it.

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After my adventure into the sea, I snuggled down into the beach chairs just as a storm rolled overhead. I mean, one half of the sky was bright blue, the other was dark black / grey. The weather here in Pensacola is kind of bipolar like that. Jonathan and his mom raced out to jump into the water, splashed maybe a couple of steps in, and then the whistle was blown to clear the beach. Which was slightly lame.

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So that was our first beachy adventure in Pensacola! Hopefully the next one will look a bit more like the postcard imagery that Pensacola plasters on their tourism websites, with clear blue water and perfect weather. And next time, we’ll have little Tessa to join us!!

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Tessa Freeman’s Birth Story

14 Sep

Tessa Freeman’s Birth Story

I was checked into Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida to be induced on September 9. I was at 1 centimeter and 50% effaced. Tessa was snugly head down, having dropped almost two full weeks before.

My amniotic fluid was low and fluctuating wildly. I’d been leaking fluid and my placenta wasn’t being awesome. The doctors were pushing and offering induction at every checkup and ultrasound. I’d been declining since they released me from the hospital at 36 weeks. But a combination of the discomfort of Tessa pushing my hips apart, the uncertainty of her fluid levels keeping her safe and her moving in my belly less and less causing me to worry and stress over her health CONSTANTLY, prompted me to finally accept the induction at 38 ½ weeks. I felt a lot better with induction knowing that she was already considered full term, even without the steroids they’d put her on to mature her lungs a couple of weeks before.

So anyway, back to the 9th! They started me on Cervidil at 3:45pm. I sat in the hospital bed, watching Dodgeball on my laptop with my husband, letting my cervix marinate for four hours. At 7:45pm they checked me – dilated to 2 centimeters and 80% effaced. So in went another Cervidil. My husband and I tried to catch some sleep, which proved to be near impossible. If it wasn’t the staff coming in to check my vitals every half hour, it was me barely moving and bumping the fetal monitors hooked up to my belly and knocking them loose, causing alarms to sound and making some poor nurse have to rush in and fidget with them.

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At around midnight I was still at 2 centimeters, but was now 100% effaced. Another Cervidil was shoved into my lady parts. After another round of cervix checking and pill popping, my water broke. I had gotten up to use the restroom, and noticed that things were really… wet. I chalked it up to the pills being shoved up my hoohaw over the past 12 hours, and shrugged it off. But with my next cervix check, the nurse asked me, “When did your water break?!” Oh. So that’s what all that moisture was. When she moved her hand, I felt a warm gush. It felt like peeing in a pool. But, there was no pool. After that, I kept feeling small gushes of fluid with every little movement. I felt like I was gonna flood the whole room, but the nurse commented that it was a tiny amount of fluid in relation to a normal pregnancy. So at this point the nurse hooked Tessa up to a fetal monitor on her scalp – or tried to anyway, she had so much hair the monitor was having trouble sticking. So that was fun, having a mouth breathing nurse repeatedly shoving a hooked wire monitor up me till it stuck, as I was gushing fluid with every movement.

Once they had the wire strung up and attached to Tessa, they finally decided to start me on the Pitocin. This was around 6am on September 10th – with me being dilated to 3 centimeters and 100% effaced.

I was mentally preparing myself for the pain of a Pitocin induced labor. I’d heard all of the horror stories. I knew that my chances of having the epidural free, natural birth I’d been envisioning was a lot less likely to occur with Pitocin intensified labor contractions. While I kept telling myself that I could handle the pain and was emotionally psyching myself up for the approaching torture, I was irritated that I was strapped to a bed by two fetal monitors, an IV, a heart rate monitor, an arm cuff and a the scalp fetal monitor that they would not let me take off. I literally had six different cords strung from every angle of my body, limiting my movement – even my ability to roll over in bed. Everything I’d read about natural pain management during active labor included me NOT laying on my back, helpless and immobile. So I felt like my ability to cope with the pain was even more limited.

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Anyway, the nurses informed me that once the Pitocin was administered, I should expect a progress of roughly 1 centimeter per hour. But since I’d taken so long to get from 1 to 3, they kept warning that it would most likely take me longer than the average centimeter an hour rate. They wouldn’t make any promises or guesses regarding Tessa’s imminent debut, but I was led to understand that the time frame was most likely in the 1pm to 5pm range for her delivery.

Almost immediately after the first dose of Pitocin, I started noticing what felt like dull menstrual cramps. Not painful, but not comfortable either. The monitors were picking up regular contractions, but I wasn’t aware of anything I’d have recognized as a contraction. It was just…  aching. And it was slowly increasing, but still not registering on a pain level. My husband and mother in law hadn’t had anything to eat yet, so I insisted they go down and get breakfast at the cafeteria while they could. I decided I’d try to get some sleep and rest up, so I reclined my bed back for a quick nap as my hubby walked out the door.

I don’t know if it was the lack of distractions, or my reclining into a laying position or what, but suddenly I realized I could detect a rhythm to the “dull ache” in my lower stomach. And it was starting to hurt. So I started breathing through the cramps. Then the cramps were suddenly recognizable as contractions. And they were suddenly getting very very unpleasant. I was breathing through them, and forcing myself to keep my face stoic and grimace free, even though no one was in the room with me. I was very proud of myself. I got this! Then abruptly, the relaxing breaths were accompanied by grunts and whimpers, against my will. I glanced at my phone. I’d only sent the husband downstairs for food about 30 minutes ago. I didn’t want to call him back so soon, but the cramps were getting intense. It suddenly became very clear to me that I was having a baby. So I sent him a text, and Jonathan rushed back to my side and the hand holding labor officially began.

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Things get a little fuzzy after this point. I just remember it did not feel comfortable lying in bed. All I wanted to do was sit on the toilet. Whenever the contractions would roll around I’d bear down and leak fluid, and it felt uncomfortable soiling my bed with fluid and gunk and blood and God knows what else. So straining over the toilet just felt comfortable. And safe. But every time I’d get up and hide in the bathroom to wince over contractions – enjoying the freedom to spread my legs and lean over and alleviate some of the pressure in my hips – the hospital staff would hunt me down and demand that I get back into bed and hooked back up to the monitors.

So two hours into the contractions, as I found myself practically biting my pillow and audibly grunting, wincing and sobbing my way through what were becoming very frequent and mind numbingly intense contractions, I kept reasoning with myself: If you’re going to do this epidural free, you have to man up. You’ve only been at this for three hours. You’re only at a 5, if even that! The pain was threatening to become overwhelming, but at the moment the idea of an epidural was still terrifying to me and something I wanted to avoid at all costs. For those of you who don’t know, I am SO. SCARED. OF NEEDLES. Seriously. I actually set the heart rate monitor alarms off when they were administering my IV when I checked in. I freak the eff out when it comes to sharp pokey things. But even with my fear of an epidural, I was beginning to think that another two plus hours of these contractions would make me start to seriously reconsider a tube being strung into my spinal column.

I kept reminding myself that the pain I was currently feeling would pale in comparison to the pain that was to come later on in the day. By 9am my lower back started hurting SO BAD. All I wanted was for Jonathan to rub it. So he did. Then all of a sudden his touch was just shredding my nerves and his rubbing was torture. He had to stop touching my back or I’d explode. Then all I wanted was to sing worship songs. I kept trying to sing, “Better Is One Day” and “I Will Not Forget You”, but couldn’t remember the lyrics for the life of me. So I kept whimpering one line over and over and then demanded that my mother in law start looking up the lyrics online. So she did. But by the time she pulled up the music, singing and listening to music was the LAST thing I wanted. In fact, the music was chaos in my head. So I pleaded that she turn it off. Like, right now. Then it just seemed like there were so many people in the room. They just needed to all go away. But when my mother in law asked if I’d like her to leave I panicked. Don’t go! Why would you even suggest that?! Don’t leave me alone!

Jonathan tried to read me an article on “active labor” to encourage me that I was “there”, but it just pissed me off and made me snap, “I KNOW WHAT ACTIVE LABOR IS JONATHAN.” Then I made him rub my feet.

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Now, I’d been feeling pressure in my hips for weeks. And throughout my hospital stay the pressure continued to increase. It felt like I had to poop, constantly. Every ounce of my being wanted to just sit on the toilet in an exaggerated squat and strain with each contraction. In fact, I decided I had to do just that. Every natural birth book, article and mommy I’d talked to had stressed doing what feels natural. Trust your body. Do what it wants. And my body really wanted to go strain over the toilet. Pooping just sounded so magical in those moments. So, ignoring the nurses telling me I couldn’t go back to the bathroom anymore (I kept disconnecting the monitors and hiding in there), we waited for the coast to clear and then Jonathan helped me go sit at the only spot on the planet that promised me a shred of relief. As I sat on the toilet, pushing and gasping through waves of contractions, I asked Jonathan what time it was. A little past 9am. Oh God. I am in so much pain. I have to do this for 6 more hours?! And the pain is going to get worse?! How much longer could I go without an epidural? Maybe an hour? Possibly two?

Just then the nurse rushed into the bathroom. She took one look at me, got a very interesting look on her face and demanded that I stop pushing and get back into bed immediately. It wasn’t a suggestion. Did she not understand?! I needed to poop. I’d rather dooky myself now, on the toilet, than end up pooping up my bed during delivery. But she got me back on the bed, shoved her hand up me and then said, “Sweetheart, stop pushing. That’s not poop, that’s a baby. You’re at 9 centimeters. DO NOT PUSH TILL THE DOCTOR GETS HERE.”

After that, my memory gets REALLY muddled. I don’t remember a lot of things happening. Suddenly the room was full of people and I had my legs up in stirrups, with half the bed gone. I don’t remember any of that transition. Everyone was shouting at me to do things. I heard everything from push, grab your legs, breathe, don’t breathe, count, stop screaming… at one point I had to sob, “I don’t understand what you want me to do.” I could FEEL Tessa spreading me, trying to make her great escape and it hurt SO MUCH. I felt a sharp rip and realized I had just had a natural perineal tear. I’d never felt such pain in my life. I’d decide that I wouldn’t scream anymore, then I would hear myself screaming from a distance, like I was listening to someone else. I’d see an oxygen mask being placed over my mouth like I was watching a cheesy movie with a first person camera view of a mask being placed on someone.

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And then I’d have little lucid moments. Like at one point, Jonathan said, “Did you want to say your line?” One of our running jokes is that I would shout, “You did this to me!” at Jonathan while pushing Tessa out. So I whimpered / gasped out, “You did this to me!” It was pitiful, and nowhere near as funny of a moment as I’d imagined it would be. But I was still able to share inside jokes and silliness with my husband, even while in the midst of the most excruciating pain I’d ever experienced in my life.

Toward the end, things got intense, and I could sense a change in the atmosphere of the room. The doctor and staff got URGENT in their demands that I push. Apparently Tessa’s heart rate was not looking good. I kept locking onto Jonathan’s voice, telling me that I was so close, Tessa was almost there. Just one more push. On my final shove (they had to use a vacuum suction to help pull her out), I felt Tessa slip out, and they placed her on my stomach. All of a sudden there was a small child screaming on my tummy, with my husband holding her steady, with so much joy in his voice and face. I started sobbing uncontrollably from relief and joy and residual pain and probably just a dash of shock.

Then I heard the doctor urgently asking Jonathan to cut the cord. Jonathan started to protest, since we were hoping to do delayed cord clamping, but the doctor insisted Jonathan cut the cord NOW. Her little heart rate was putting the staff into emergency mode. Once the cord was cut she was rushed off into another room. Then the doctor got to work delivering the placenta, pushing excess fluid out of me and stitching me up. All very unpleasant and painful and gross. I kept straining to see my baby in the other room while wincing over stitches.

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The tone in the room lightened up. Tessa was fine, though it took a couple minutes for her heart rate to regulate. She was born at 9:34am, weighing 7 pounds 3 ounces and measuring 20 inches long. Jonathan put her first diaper and outfit on. She was eventually returned to me and I was able to spend skin to skin time with my daughter, with my husband by my side, stroking and staring at our precious baby girl. She was calmly looking up at us, impossibly chill and relaxed, just watching us, nuzzling against my chest and being the most gorgeous creature I’ve ever seen.

She has the most expressive eyes. And the cutest little round face, with a tiny button nose and a perfect little cupid bow mouth. I feel like I’ve always known her. Words really cannot describe how this child makes me feel. Really, I’ve been tapping at this blog post ever since I got home from the hospital two days ago. I keep feeling like every attempt I make to put my emotions to words pales in comparison to what I actually feel. I am just so very very blessed.

I don’t really know how to wrap this birth story up. There are so many details and aspects of my hospital stay that I could go on and on about – and that I intend to in later blog posts. Like our amazing experience feeding Tessa at my breast, nursing her with donor breast milk with the Lact-Aid. And our first night sleeping with Tessa in the bassinet in our hospital room, emphatically refusing every offer from the nursery to take her for the night. And how every time Tessa would cry, Jonathan would lean over her, whispering love into her ear, and she’d quiet down immediately, listening to her poppa’s voice with raised eyebrows.

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As I write this, sitting in my nursing rocking chair in my bedroom with my laptop, my handsome husband is sitting on the bed with our cat Wraith on his legs and Tessa laying on his tummy, tucked under a fuzzy pink blanket sharing skin to skin time with her poppa, who keeps kissing her tiny head and asking me to, “Look at our little princess!” whenever she moves or yawns or sucks on her fingers in her sleep.

We are so blessed. Tessa isn’t even a week old and already I cannot fathom a life without this tiny princess in our home. Thank you to everyone who kept us in your thoughts and prayers during my pregnancy and delivery. Thank you to those who helped us obtain breast milk here in Pensacola so my daughter has not had to have a drop of formula since her birth. And thank you to those who have gathered milk and shipping funds to send Tessa more milk – including some colostrum heavy early milk – all the way from California. I am overwhelmed with the generosity, kindness and love that has been shown to me and my young family through every step of this pregnancy.

I don’t know what else to say, but thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone.

Breast Milk Donations for Baby Tessa!!

5 Sep

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I just updated my last blog post with this little blurb, but this warrants a whole new blog post / praise report:

I have received an AMAZING flood of responses from mommies literally worldwide offering love, support, prayers and resources in my quest for breast milk for Tessa! My blog post asking for donations got over 17,000 views in just 24 hours!!!! Friends and family back home in California are hard at work gathering / sending me a shipment of milk and I’ve also had a huge number of local Pensacola mommies offering milk donations and networking options to get me the milk I need for Tessa.

I picked up my first little batch of milk today from a sweet gal on the Navy base. And I was able to attend a Pensacola Le Leche League meeting this morning and met a ton of sweet moms who reached out to me on Wednesday during my frantic milk search. I’ve gone from feeling alone and friendless in a new place, to feeling welcomed with open am by an amazing community of breast feeding and crunchy moms that are treating me like family. It’s overwhelming! I don’t even know what to say!

THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO HAS REACHED OUT!!! I knew it before, but it’s undeniable now… breastfeeding mommies ROCK! As I’ve said in a previous post, it just floors me that this unborn baby that means the world to me, has other mommies out there who are caring for and looking out for her too! I’m beginning to realize what it means when people say that “things feel different once you’re a mother”. All these e-mails, calls, texts, messages and donations are not just an act of generosity to me, they are an act of kindness toward my DAUGHTER. I don’t know how to begin to thank all of you!

I haven’t been able to respond to too many people on my phone (my service has been so sketchy!) but I am finally back to the local Starbucks for Internet access (these guys must love me) so I will be getting to work responding to the messages I’ve received. THANK YOU AGAIN EVERYONE!! YOU HAVE BLESSED ME MORE THAN WORDS CAN EXPRESS!!!!

Looking For Breast Milk Donations For My Daughter

4 Sep

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EDIT! I have received an AMAZING flood of responses from mommies literally worldwide offering love, support, prayers and resources! I’ve also had a huge number of local Pensacola mommies offering milk donations and networking options to get me the milk I need for Tessa. THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO HAS REACHED OUT!!! I knew it before, but it’s undeniable now… breastfeeding mommies ROCK! As I’ve said in a previous post, it just floors me that this unborn baby that means the world to me, has other mommies out there who are caring for and looking out for her too! I’m beginning to realize what it means when people say that “things feel different once you’re a mother”. All these e-mails, calls, texts, messages and donations are not just an act of generosity to me, they are an act of kindness toward my DAUGHTER. I don’t know how to begin to thank all of you!

I haven’t been able to respond to too many people on my phone (my service has been so sketchy!) but I am finally back to the local Starbucks for Internet access (these guys must love me) so I will be getting to work responding to the messages I’ve received. THANK YOU AGAIN EVERYONE!! YOU HAVE BLESSED ME MORE THAN WORDS CAN EXPRESS!!!!

This is somewhat urgent. My friends freezer that contained my entire stash of donor breast milk was somehow unplugged and all of the milk has been spoiled. I am currently looking for breast milk donations for my daughter Tessa, who is due sometime in the next week or two.

I was born with tuberous breasts hypoplasia. The condition affects the ability of women to breastfeed because the milk glands usually do not develop enough to produce breast milk. After finding various (thankfully noncancerous) lumps in my breasts as a teenager, my doctor decided to remove them, and in the process perform reconstructive plastic surgery. Due to the hypoplasia in my breasts, I had excess fibrosis connective tissue, and so as the lumps were being removed via free nipple graft, they had to take far more tissue than at first anticipated. I ended up receiving a partial mastectomy, which removed my milk glands and damaged the nerves around my areola – sealing the deal that I would never be able to produce breast milk and breastfeed in the future.

As many of you know, this is my first child. I always planned to provide breast milk for my daughter via donors. With my history of asthma and allergies I knew breast would most certainly be best for Tessa. I planned to procure breast milk and feed her with the Lact-Aid nurser. Around the second trimester I began seeking breast milk donors and was lucky enough to find a sweet gal who donated on a weekly basis for MONTHS… even including the first weeks colostrum heavy milk from her newborn son. I moved to Pensacola, Florida from Hanford, California a few weeks ago to join my husband as he attends A School in the Navy.

The plan was to have my friend (who was storing the milk in her deep freezer) overnight the milk to me. I just learned today that the freezer somehow unplugged and that all of the milk is completely spoiled. I currently have no breast milk for my daughter. I’m devastated. And I am back to looking for donors.

I’m a bit frantic. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been crying like a baby all day long. Since we still don’t have internet in the new apartment I’m writing this from a Starbucks and crying at my laptop in public like a freak. I hate feeling so helpless, so inadequate, so unable to provide food for my baby. Knowing how important the nutrients breast milk provides is, I feel sick that I cannot produce this for my daughter, myself.

And I hate asking people for donations. As I said in a previous blog post – I don’t know how to go about broaching the subject to people who might be able to help. And I certainly didn’t anticipate how painful inadvertent questions, suggestions or inquiries would be on the topic of breastfeeding. “Are you planning to breastfeed?” “You really should consider breastfeeding, it’s so important for a baby.” “How long do you plan to breastfeed?” “Have you produced any milk yet?” I get ashamed, embarrassed and defensive all at once and then feel awkward and bumbling when it comes to asking for help or resources.

Anyway. I’m looking for donations. If anyone can help, please let me know. You can e-mail me at gingifreeman@gmail.com

I’m about to make the rounds online, trying to locate generous moms in the area that might be able to feed my little girl. Please keep me and Tessa in your prayers?

Tessa’s 34 Week Ultrasound

9 Aug

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My daughter loves loves loves to hang out upside down in my belly. Every single second and third trimester ultrasound I have had (and I’ve had a lot with the whole RH negative / isoimmunization thing) she is upside down with her head planted on my cervix, her butt up into my ribcage, and her legs folded back over her face, so her feet or legs are usually blocking her face – like in the photo above, with her foot firmly planted on her chin.

She likes to flex and play with her toes A LOT. She has a huge, exaggerated pout and suckling reflex whenever she takes a gulp of amniotic fluid. She gets irritated by her hiccups and furrows her brow and flares her nostrils in frustration. She is cute and quirky and sassy and unique and she already makes me laugh. I mean look. She stuck her big toe IN HER NOSE while we were watching her on the ultrasound:

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Who DOES that? My daughter, that’s who! I’m already plotting and scheming to show this to her future husband when I pull out the embarrassing baby book. Oh yes. Yes I am.

Also, my mother-in-law Connie Jo just sent me this yesterday:

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We had decided to go halfies with my mother-in-law on the photo package they were peddling to Navy families at the Boot Camp graduation in Great Lakes. I was on the fence over whether I should invest the money in these stock / studio-esque photos, but when I saw my husband in his uniform in this shot, I couldn’t imagine NOT having this photo framed in my home. This is a frikkin’ heirloom. Our great grandchildren will look at that and know that’s their great granddaddy.

When Connie Jo texted me the image again last night to let me know they arrived in the mail, I started tearing up in the middle of an El Pollo Loco. At the risk of sounding freakishly slavish to my husband – I am so very much in love with this man! Yeah, I know, I repeat this every post. But it’s true. I will never know what I did to be so blessed with the man I married and the baby that is growing in my belly. God really is so good.

In other news: I leave this coming Tuesday (my birthday!) on a cross country road trip with my poppa to my new home in Pensacola, Florida. Keep us in your travel prayers my friends!

Tessa’s Winnie the Pooh Themed Baby Shower

29 Jul

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Saturday was my daughter Tessa’s baby shower at Ethel Reds in Lemoore! I always knew that when I had a chance to produce offspring that their “Welcome to the World” party would be Winnie the Pooh themed. So this was an exciting bucket list achievement for me!

My amazing friend Bree hosted the party, and she let me go nuts with crafts and décor. She even encouraged and supported my obsessive nitpicking of the room, helping me to transform the little banquet room in Ethel Reds and purge it of every trace of ornamentation that was too overwhelmingly cowboy.

As I’ve said in previous posts, the theme was Classic Pooh with an emphasis on honey and honeybees. The colors we chose were yellow and tan. And the overall feel I was going for was Disneyland’s Critter Country. (I even compiled a playlist comprised mainly of the Disneyland Critter County soundtrack to be played at the party, haha!) I deemed the party décor a success once it felt like I was standing in line for Splash Mountain. Yes, I felt like a veritable Disney Imagineer of party planning, hehe.

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Since my form of nesting is apparently manifesting itself in the form of creating party decorations and theme setting, I’m going to outline all the steps we took to create our little party space. Here’s some of the special touches we added to the room:

– First, check out the Winnie the Pooh baby shower invitations that Bree and I made for the party.

– We hung up the fabric pennant banners my mom and I made from Winnie the Pooh print above the dessert / drink table and along the windows.

– We put yellow balloons around the room and tied to the backs of chairs. There was an 11×14 framed photo of an Indian on the back wall, and my friend Shauna hung up balloons in front of it, since I was trying to hide everything “cowboy”, haha. (I love my friends.)

– We put yellow silk flowers in vases and mini terra cotta pots all around the room to give the tables a bright, sunshiney feel.

– I printed out some original Classic Pooh artwork by E.H. Shepard and put them in little 4×6 Dollar Store frames, and had them sitting around the tables to lend some storybook Pooh imagery to the room.

– We brought along some goodies from home that will soon be decorations for Tessa’s nursery: a ceramic Classic Pooh figure, a stuffed Classic Pooh bear, and a Classic Pooh hunny pot lampshade. We also brought along a honeycomb pitcher for water with lemons.

– My mom had the creative idea to bring some Pooh Sticks – chocolate dipped pretzels in yellow honey pots. I thought it was a super cute idea, and they were tasty too!

– There was a HUGE 10 foot long framed cowboy mural along the main wall where we put our dessert / drink table that I insisted simply had to be covered. So my mum supplied the yellow floral print fabric to cover the painting, and we strung up a clothes line of some of Tessa’s Winnie the Pooh themed baby clothes to hide it!

– My favorite project and special touch to the party was the Hunny Pot centerpieces. Me, Shauna and my mom painted these pots the night before, and we had way too much fun sticking the bees among the fresh flowers.

– For dessert we had ordered a honeycomb cake with honey bees. We didn’t see the cake before ordering, so we were a little surprised when the bees came out looking like cartoon dookies with googly eyes, but it was still cute! It was still, in it’s own way, a “Pooh” cake. (Haha, get it?)

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The party itself was a blast! My lovely friend Eliza took the pictures of the party and made me step away from the camera after grabbing my pre-party shots. (She’s the lovely friend who took my maternity pictures!)

So! Party details! Bree put together the games which consisted of:

Baby Shower Gift Bingo – Bree insisted we play this, and I thought, “Yeah, okay, sure. Sounds fun I guess.” But I didn’t see the inherent genius in this game. It was a great party starter, as people took the blank cards and filled out the empty squares with potential gifts Tessa might receive. And so the part of the party that makes everyone slightly bored – the gift opening – became a fun group conversation and rivalry as people tried to Bingo over their gift predictions. And it’s a life saver if the gift receiver is awkward when it comes to accepting free stuff, like I am. I would be genuinely thrilled with a gift, and then would be able to relax and enjoy the present while everyone devolved into scribbling on Bingo cards and arguing over what constitutes a teething toy. This game NEEDS to be played at every baby shower!

Guess The Baby Food – Bree brought a number of baby foods, took the labels off, and had the jars on display with mini tasting spoons. Everyone was encouraged to guess the baby food, by either looking, smelling or tasting – whatever they were comfortable with! It was surprisingly competitive, and I didn’t expect so many of my friends to approach the tasting portion so thoroughly. (I will forever hold the gagging faces photos as blackmail material.)

Blindfolded Speed Diapering – One person was blindfolded, while another coached and guided the blind partner in diapering the Winnie the Pooh doll as fast as possible. We’d originally planned to have the diapering be on a baby doll, but we forgot to bring it. Which I think made the game that much more hilarious… Pooh was so chubby and the newborn diapers so small, that it required a bit of manhandling and punching down the fluff to get the diaper on. Which was kind of awesome. My beautiful friend Mikaela won with a blindfolded diapering job of just 16 seconds!!

Before we started in on the games, we all had a sit down steakhouse lunch. The food was all good Western style hearty comfort foods. Guests picked off of the select lunch menu choosing from dishes such as BBQ Bacon Burgers, Tri-Tip Sandwiches, Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Chicken Salads and more, served with French Fries and Onion Rings. Everyone ate their fill, and many had to take to-go boxes home! (That’s my kind of party!)

We were all extremely happy with our choice of venue. Ethel Reds was extraordinarily budget friendly, and accommodating beyond all expectations. They provided great service and were very helpful and flexible with requests from moving furniture to providing extra plates, condiments and dessert utensils. The only down side was that the banquet rooms air conditioner had recently quit working, and the room had to be cooled via fans, which were very noisy. And even with the fans we were all uncomfortably warm. But aside from that detail, I have absolutely no complaints with the location and service! I love the barn wood walls, the rustic atmosphere and the eclectic décor. It fit our Winnie the Pooh / Critter Country-esque theme perfectly!

I had so much fun at Tessa’s Baby Shower! I feel so very blessed to have the amazing friends and family that I have. I am floored by the gifts my little girl received (So many kitty cat themed clothing! And Winnie the Pooh goodies! I couldn’t fit them all into my car!) and I’m deeply touched by the overwhelming kindness and support from everyone that came to the baby shower. I will treasure the memories from this day my entire life. I truly do mean that. THANK YOU EVERYONE WHO MADE MY DAY SO SPECIAL!!!!

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Hunny Pots and Pooh Sticks – Winnie the Pooh Baby Shower Decorations

28 Jul

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So yesterday was my Winnie the Pooh themed Baby Shower for my daughter Tessa! Before the shower, I posted a DIY tutorial blog for the Fabric Pennant Banners my mum and I made for the event. I haven’t gotten a chance to even look at the photos taken of the shower itself, but I did get some pictures prior to the party of a couple of the other do it yourself projects / decorations we dreamed up for the event!

I am proud to say that these are both fairly original ideas. While trolling Pinterest and the web in general for Classic Pooh Baby Shower decorations, I was slightly disappointed at the repetitive and generic décor. I knew our theme was Winnie the Pooh, and the emphasis would be on honey bees and honey, with yellow and tan as the primary colors for decoration. I thought, hmmm, Hunny Pots as a centerpiece. With flowers? And honey bees? Yeah. Why not? After I ran with the idea I saw a couple of terra cotta pots with “HUNNY” scrawled on them being used for favors or centerpieces on the web, but not quite like my dripping honey / fresh flower / swarming bees creation. Yay originality! (I’m mostly thrilled because everything I “dream up” I find has been done to exhaustion on Pinterest already, haha!)

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The “Pooh Sticks” chocolate pretzels were entirely my mother’s idea. She thought, why not coat pretzels in white chocolate with yellow food coloring, and stick them in a honey pot? And it will look like they are honey coated sticks out of the honey pot? My bestie Shauna and my mum made these the night before the party (I was being pregnant and lazy and compiling a “Baby Shower Playlist” and letting them do all the work) and it was really fun to listen to. Apparently yellow food coloring can make chocolate seize up?? Or something? I don’t know. But the pretzels tasted REALLY GOOD! And they look super cute too.

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Anyway, we had a bunch of other small details and projects we tackled to make the Baby Shower unique and fantastic. My inner Disneyland imagineer comes out when I get to party planning. I’ll share the photos and details of the actual Baby Shower as soon as I get the photos onto my computer. I had an absolute blast and I can’t wait to share!