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How I Planned My Entire Wedding in 17 Days

As we are approaching our one year anniversary next month, I have had a decent amount of time to process and ponder our special day!

I have also had an alarming amount of questions as to how I pulled it off.

Because, yes,

I planned our entire wedding in SEVENTEEN DAYS.

(As a side note, I was also in my third-trimester of pregnancy. Yeah. Let that sink in a little bit!)

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So, let’s start out at the beginning.

I have known for a long, long time that Dakota and I would end up getting married! On our first date, we both talked about how important our families were. As our relationship grew, I knew that we both wanted marriage in the future. People might not know this, but about five months before we found out I was pregnant, Dakota took me up on a mountain and confessed his devotion and commitment to me, and that one day he would marry me.

So, even with the pressures of a pregnancy and then moving into a new home together, I was never really stressed about us getting married. I knew it would happen, and that we loved each other. I wanted Dakota to ask me when he wanted to. I see girls in relationships constantly drilling their significant others about a proposal and a ring… and that just wasn’t my style. We were happy. I knew we would one day get married. And I was content with waiting until whenever that was!

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It was worth the wait, because on September 4th, 2016 Dakota planned a beautiful proposal in the state where we both were born- Arizona. It was honestly right out of a fairytale. I’ll never forget how genuine, sweet, and thought-out it was.

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We talked about when we wanted to get married, and we settled on October of 2017. I mean, I would have enough time to “plan”, right? Certainly I would have to wait until I got my “body back” after baby, too.

Right?

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The morning of the day he proposed! I had no idea it was coming! ❤

Well, four days later, on September 8th, we reached an insane decision. Why not get married in 17 days? And not just get married, but actually have a wedding!

(I will let the record show that I tried to convince Dakota in eloping! He was not for it, and wanted a wedding where all our family could attend!)

We made the decision to get married so soon for a few reasons.

After thinking about it, we realized it would mean a lot to us to be able to bring our daughter into the world as one family unit. I wanted to share the same last name with my baby and my husband. Oh, yeah, and I wanted to be able to curse at my HUSBAND on delivery day! (ha ha) We also realized that planning a wedding AFTER we had our baby, would be very difficult- and today, I am SO grateful I realized that! It was also essentially the end of an era- the end of just us TWO. And what a way to end it then with a wedding!

Ah, bless our young, romantic hearts.

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Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I want to heed with a warning. When planning a wedding so quickly, there are obviously going to be some sacrifices you will have to make.

My whole life, I dreamed of a bridal shower- as odd as that sounds. I remember going to bridal showers for relatives and family friends, even as a young child. It was such a fun, beautiful memory. A woman before her big day- being honored and celebrated. Gifts JUST for her. And not regular gifts like socks or books- no, beautiful lacy, pretty gifts. Money. “Wife” Gifts. It was just such a fun, up-beat atmosphere. (and later working in the lingerie retail industry for two years, I had developed a love of all things lacy and pretty!) So, as unusual and petty as it may sound, growing up, I looked forward to a bridal shower almost as much as I looked forward to my future wedding!

With our time and circumstances, I never had one.

We also didn’t have

Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties,

a Wedding Registry,

or even a real honeymoon. (Dakota later expressed to me that growing up he always looked forward to “The Big Send Off” and anticipated, adventurous honeymoon with his new wife.)

So, yes, you will make sacrifices and you very well might end up with a wedding that will differ from the one you grew up dreaming about. But, again, we knew that, and we chose that. And the wedding we ended up with, was perfect for us! I don’t mention these details to be negative, simply to be realistic. You will need to prioritize, because honestly, you won’t be able to do EVERYthing.

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Ashley Meagan Photography

SO…. How did I do it?

17 days is already a short amount of time, but while I was doing this I was also STILL working two jobs. I think I looked it over and only had two full days off during this time period! HAHA! YIKES. I remember in between phone calls at the office, I had about 47 tabs open on my computer with wedding planning taking place. I utilized every waking second that I had.

Another obstacle we faced was budget. I didn’t have endless funds, so on top of rushing things, I also had to manage to DIY a lot as well.

I Did My Own Wedding Flowers!

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I researched a few online stores, and ended up going with Fifty Flowers. Fifty Flowers is an online wholesale flower shop.

I will add, that I have NEVER, ever, in the history of EVER done anything like this before!

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But, I was able to find a lot of useful tips and tricks on their website, as well as finding additional blogs and of course, Pinterest. I spent a total of $370.45 for my wedding flowers- centerpieces, bouquets, boutonnieres! Which, is INCREDIBLE! (By the way, if you are ordering ANYTHING online, EVER, always google coupon codes before you submit! This is one of my life lessons!) Also, I put my order in about ten days before our wedding, and they were delivered 2 days before the wedding! So it is very possible to do in a rush!

I did keep my flowers to a minimum- they were certainly not the focus of my wedding. But, they were beautiful, and I don’t regret my choice one bit!

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The trick with bulk, online flowers, is that they will deliver them to you before they have fully bloomed. Then, you get to steep them in water 1-2 days, and THEN trim and arrange them.

(TIP- You will end up plucking wilted petals away from the buds, a job a florist typically does, but I kept all the petals and ended up using them for the Flower Girls to toss!)

I did end up finishing the bouquets THE NIGHT before the wedding, with a lot of amazing help from my bridal crew! So, helping hands is a huge plus!

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PS- Spray Paint & Mason Jars were my best friends!
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Luckily, my husband was a team-player!

I Kept It Personal

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It was really important to me to have some personal details in our wedding! The board in the above picture was actually another “DIY” that Dakota and I did.

We went to Home Depot, cut and stained the wood, and then went to a Vinyl Store in our mall and customized it! It turned out so pretty and is something I plan on keeping for a long time!

I also took full advantage of the talented shops at Etsy and had some cute gifts made for our guests. IMG_1747

When using Etsy on a time-crunch, I highly recommend reaching out to the shop before you order! Let them know the date you NEED the items by, and find out if they will be able to accommodate that. With some purchases, I did need to pay for ‘Rush Processing”, but it was worth it to get these last-minute touches!

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This is YOUR wedding, and even rushed, it is and should be personal to you and your S/O.

I Got Married On A Sunday Morning

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Ok, this is pretty self-explanatory, but I learned a lot in doing this!

If you want your wedding to be held at a Venue, and you don’t have a lot of time, consider doing yours on a Sunday! Not only will the availability be greater and sooner, most likely it will also be a lot more affordable. Our Venue Planner showed us the price difference after we had already decided on a Sunday, and WOW!

Also, you’re still having your wedding on a weekend, so out-of-town guests will have a good chance of being able to come- even on short notice.

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I Stayed Organized

 

I cannot express my gratitude enough for the FREE tools I used to keep everything on track.

Mainly, I used the Budgeter and Checklist tools from The Knot.

I couldn’t have pulled it off with these! Since I was my own wedding planner, I had to keep everything on track and on budget by myself! Even if you have all the time in the world, I would recommend using this site or one similar to it.

I Used Local, Small Resources

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I overheard a co-worker mention that she had a small hobby of making cakes, and I jumped on it.

“What are you doing next Sunday?”

No Joke! Keep your ears open! I get that the wedding cake may be really important to some couples, but it was not important enough to Dakota and I to shell out a month’s rent on one. I had a really simple design to begin with, which of course helped. We saved a TON by finding someone to make ours versus finding a wedding bakery to make ours! Also, big-time wedding resources might be less flexible on time restraints.

And, the internet can be an incredible resource! I utilized local Facebook Yardsale and Wedding Pages. You cannot believe the amount of people that have leftover wedding decor and are willing to part with it for pennies on the dollar!

You may also get wildly lucky like me, and have someone let you borrow their Wedding Arch for free! (Shout out to Chelsie!)

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I Didn’t Forget What A Wedding is All About

Ok.

So, if you haven’t had your own wedding yet, I hate to be the one to break this to you… but weddings are stressful.

Which is a sad irony, because it’s supposed to be a very blissful time in your life!

So, squeezing all the stress and tension of a wedding in a meer 17 days can be EXTREMELY hazardous to your mental health… and maybe even your relationship.

That being said, my husband and I had to remind ourselves WHY we were doing this. Getting married is about celebrating and honoring the special devotion that Dakota and I have for one another.

We were about to stand in front of our loved ones and promise our undying love to each other- to support each other, to be true to each other, and to enter a sacred commitment to one another.

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I get that dresses and appetizers and table cloth colors are a part of the deal, but the reason we were doing ANY of this, was to make those incredible vows to each other.

Dakota kept me grounded in the wedding prep, and reminded me of this. So even when things went wrong (Because, SURPRISE, they always do!) it didn’t matter!

And after going through it all, our ceremony was the most amazing experience. We both talked later about it, and decided we really didn’t care about the reception once we said our vows! We were content! The floor could have caved in, and we still would have been floating on that “just-married” feeling.

It doesn’t matter if you plan your wedding in two days or two years- don’t forget the reason you are having a wedding after all.

Because the flowers will eventually die, and people will forget what our cake tasted like, but our marriage is forever.

XOXO,

Ruth Lee

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The Ruth Lee Diary: STAY GOLD GIVEAWAY!

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hello!

Welcome back to my blog!

I am SO SO SO excited to launch my first giveaway for you guys!

I am dubbing this my “Stay Gold Giveaway”; and there are a few meanings behind this!

More than anything, I am so grateful to each and every one of you who has supported my crazy journey- especially the last year through pregnancy and motherhood. Every comment, like, share, and personal message has meant the world to me!

Social Media amazes me at the ability we now have to connect to people all across the world- I hold dear every amazing person I have “met”, and every incredible story that has been shared with me.

YOU ARE ALL WORTH MORE THAN GOLD!

I want to give back to you, so I put together a super fun STAY GOLD prize pack for one SPECIAL winner!

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It includes:

1 Miss Spa 24K Gold Creme Mask (RV: $6.99)

1 JOICO K-Pak Color Therapy Luster Lock (RV: $4.99)

1 Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in “Gilded” (RV: $16.00)

1 Tarte Tartiest Metallic Shadow in “Hussy” (RV: $14.00)

1 Makeup Revolution Strobe Highlighter in “Gold Addict” (RV: $6.00)*

These products are SO amazing! ❤ THE WINNER will also be announced on my multiple platforms, which is exposure to over 40k individuals! (woo hoo!)

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY,

you must comply with these simple steps:

1. Subscribe to the Ruth Lee YouTube Channel HERE!

2. Like the Ruth Lee Diary Facebook Page HERE!

3. Follow me on Instagram HERE!

after you are finished, you MUST comment “Done!” on THIS Instagram post!

***YOU ALSO can receive 1 additional entry for EVERY person you tag on the Instagram post- each in their own comment!***

GOOD LUCK! ❤

Contest will end AUGUST 7TH!

Winner will be selected through a random generator and will be announced by August 9th! ❤

disclaimer:Per Social Media rules, I must mention this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube. By entering, entrants confirm they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s term of use, and must live in North America. These products were purchased with my own money.

*= Ulta.com delivered this product to me broken (sad face), SO, I am in the process of filing a return with them. The winner will receive the same product or of equal or greater value.

 

Summer Glow Face Routine (& Free Foundation Brush!)

In case you missed it…

I started a new YouTube channel for the Ruth Lee Diary!

You can check out my first video HERE!

In this blog post, I am going to go a little more into detail on this video!

And if you’re ready to get your FREE Mieoko Kabuki Brush (A $24 value! Just pay shipping!) Click HERE!

Step One: Fresh Face

It makes sense, right? You want to have the best possible canvas for your make-up. There is no sense in spending money on quality make-up products, if you abuse your skin! This year, one of my goals was to really focus on baby-ing my skin.

I really recommend the brand OleHenriksen for skin products! If you’re not sure where to start, look into the Three Little Wonders set here.

It includes:

– 1 oz/ 30 mL Truth Serum
– 1 oz/ 30 mL Sheer Transformation Perfecting Moisturizer
– 1 oz/ 30 mL Invigorating Night Transformation Gel

Together, I noticed a HUGE difference in my skin’s brightness, firmness, and smoothness! I also adore the Power Peel system from OleHenriksen if you are looking for an at-home facial with impressive results!

And, the obvious but often forgotten: don’t sleep in your make-up.

Listen, I hear you. I used to be, unfortunately, notorious at breaking this rule. I try and keep a pack of facial wipes near my nightstand in case of emergencies! In worst case scenarios, this is by far better than nothing!

OK, now that we have the basics down, let’s continue!

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Step Two: Foundation

In this particular video, I am using Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation.

TIP: If you notice, the color is quite a bit different than my face’s skin color in the video. That is because… I spray tan. When you spray tan, your face is often the first place that your tan fades from! I like to keep several shades on hand, because honestly, I never know what color is going to match best! This shade is really tan, but it best matched my freshly-sprayed body. And even for people who naturally get more tan in the Summer, your foundation shade will change!

As I say in the video, I like to apply the foundation on my face in five spots- on my forehead, on my chin, on each cheek, and on my nose. A little goes a long way; especially if you have a quality foundation AND foundation brush. I always like to find cheaper make-up products when I can, however, foundation is one that I think is OK to splurge on.

Make-up brushes- now those can get expensive! In my personal collection, I have a varying degree of costs for my brushes! If you’ve looked, then you know. It can get ridiculous! So, I am here to ease the burden of the insanity!

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I saw an ad for a Free Kabuki brush (just pay shipping) and I figured it was worth a shot! I paid a few dollars, and to my great surprise, I received my brush a couple of days later!

It’s called the Mieoko Kabuki Brush, and at the time I am writing this blog, you can get yours for FREE as well, click here!!

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I am not sure how long this will go on, so I would probably recommend doing this sooner than later!

Anyways, I was really surprised by the quality of this brush. It is a flat-top brush with really high density bristles. This is perfect for medium to heavy coverage- and with the right application, you will get really pretty, flawless and EVEN coverage!

In the video you will be able to see how I “buff” the foundation- these means using really precise and circular motions of the brush to blend the foundation into my skin.

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Step Three: Cream Contour

For the past few months, I have been falling in love with the Graftobian HD Glamour Creme Super Palette in Cool. This has a pretty hefty price tag, but for good reason. I have yet to encounter another creme palette that has such an incredible combination of blendability and pigmentation. If you are a MUA, you need this! I actually found out they use this exact palette on TV and Movie sets, and I can see why. If you can’t fork out the money for the whole palette, they also have smaller palettes on their website! Again, I really love to find drugstore products, but if you are looking for a quality and lasting product for your make-up kit, here you go!

In the video, I showed you where I put my light shades for the contour (I use the lightest shade in my kit, buff)- Under my eyes, on my forehead, on my chin, the bridge of my nose, and a little on my upper lip.

To apply this particular formula, I prefer to use my fingers. It is just really precise, and the warmth of your fingertips will allow a really smooth transition from palette to face. Then, I blend it with the Mieoko Kabuki Brush. (I love this brush for blending my contour!)

For the dark shades, I use a combination of Butterscotch and Auburn. I apply this on the outside of my forehead, my cheek bones, on each side of the bridge of my nose, and a little to accent my chin.

LOCK that contour in with some of favorite magic powder- Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder. You can’t go wrong with this stuff, folks! It leaves your skin matte and perfected. By the way, this formula is flashback free, which means your selfies will not suffer!

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Step Four: DRAMA

To amp up the contour, and also assist in a more seamless look, I have a few tips. I apply bronzer as you normally would- accenting the places on your face where the sun would naturally shine on you. Your cheeks, nose, forehead. I use Urban Decay’s Beached Bronzer. This is a really nice shade, and doesn’t have any glitter or shine to it.

I also like to touch up with a little powder contour. Que one of my favorite drugstore products- e.l.f. contour palette. I love this because we are just accenting the creme contour, so you really don’t need to over-do it with an expensive powder palette. This one works beautifully for me! Just lightly go over the dark contour that you did previously with the creme palette!

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Step Five: HIGHLIGHT, YASSSS!

I can’t even begin to express how the act of highlighting my face has genuinely changed my life. For real! I go from tired, flat, yaaaawn momma to unicorn-fairy-princess momma!

The beauty of highlight is that you are allowed to go as natural or as YAS-QUEEN as you want! So, don’t be afraid!

I show you my love of Marc Jacob’s Coconut Dew Drops Gel Highlight in my video. I have also swatched this on my Instagram if you need to see how dreamy it is! You can achieve the most natural of glows with this product, or build it up for more glow! It is a breeze to blend! Oh, and yes, it smells like heavenly coconut. Need I say more?

Also, where you choose to highlight is totally up to you! The tops of your cheeks are pretty key! I also like to dust the bridge of my nose, a little on my forehead, and again, a little on my upper lip!

OK and real talk, if I was left on a deserted island and had only one make-up item with me, I would choose Diorskin Nude Air Luminizing Powder.

I am 100% in love with this product. I can’t express how passionately I feel about this. It is the epitome of perfection. If words like: radiant, luminous, iridescent, and glowing are how you want to describe your face- BUY THIS. NOW. I top off my highlight with this and that’s it. There’s nothing else you could add to your face to top this. You’re done!

This is definitely not my “every-day” face routine, but if you want a really pretty, glowy, and contoured look for the Summer- this is it.

If you pretties have any questions, ASK ME!

Thank you so much for supporting me and my blog and NOW my YouTube Channel! ❤

xoxox,

Ruth Lee

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I Was Robbed.

I was robbed.

Money was not taken, nor materialistic things. And it was not a human that stole from me.

But, I was robbed.

My happiness, my motivation, the early days with my new baby, my relationship, my energy, my feelings of safety.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11-20% of women who give birth each year have postpartum depression. That means, in the United States alone, there are about 600,000 new women each year who struggle with this.

In fact, more women will suffer from postpartum depression and related illnesses in a year than the COMBINED new cases for men and women of tuberculosis, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, lupus, and epilepsy.

Oh, and by the way, these statistics are based purely on reported cases, and we all know there are far more unreported.

And yet, there is still such a heavy stigma of shame and unacceptable. WHY?

And what’s worse, only about 15% of women with postpartum depression ever receive professional help.

Here’s why this matters. Research shows that women who remain untreated for PPD are less able to bond with their children, let alone care for themselves. They are prone to “self-medicate” with alcohol or drugs. And, they may end up with lifelong chronic depression or anxiety. And by the way, this isn’t just affecting these women. It’s affecting their families, too.

Here’s the reality. When I found out I was pregnant, the absolute furthest thing from my mind was learning about PPD. No one I personally knew had ever talked about this with me. I never knew anyone who experienced this (or so I thought).

I know it’s a broken record, but for those who may not know, I will give you a little background. My pregnancy was a complete surprise. And although the situation wasn’t “ideal”, I was very, VERY blessed to have been surrounded with love and support. I also had an incredible man by my side, and easily our daughter is the best thing that could have happened to us.

I loved my pregnancy. People often talk about their love of the 2nd Trimester, and I fully support that. I felt so beautiful! I loved having a bump, and feeling my baby move. I was also mentally AMAZING. My relationship with my husband had never been stronger. I worked THREE jobs, and completed a semester of University. I created a nursery, kept a clean house, and read baby books constantly. I also got engaged, planned a wedding, and got married when I was 8.5 months pregnant! I love the person I was when I was pregnant. Of course, it wasn’t all easy, and the last few weeks of my pregnancy seemed like a lifetime, but it’s true what they say. You blink, and it’s over.

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Going in to my labor, I really had worked on trusting my body. Saying and thinking positive mantras. Believing that I could bring my baby here safely. I researched a lot of information, dragged my husband to classes, and using natural supplements to “prime” my body for labor. I was young and healthy, my baby was healthy, I felt empowered. I felt strong.

That all shattered when the nurses told me that my baby’s heart rate was dropping when we arrived at the hospital. I felt betrayed by my own body. I honestly felt that the baby I loved and had cared for these past nine months could now die while entrapped inside me; I was terrified. I was sent into L&D and placed on Pitocin immediately.

You’ve probably heard this story from me already, so I’ll skip to the end. After almost laboring for close to 24 hours, I ended up with a C-Section. I believe that I never dilated past a seven and a half, and my baby was essentially in the pushing position, so she was stuck. And my body failed me. Well, that’s how I saw it, anyways.

Unless you’ve been through it yourself, I think a lot of people are unable to truly sympathize with the feelings surrounding this circumstance. But, a lot of women go through it. A lot of women face a C-Section and have difficult feelings towards it. And that’s why I talk about it. Because, when you are going through it, you feel very, very alone. It’s hard to end up with a perfect baby and somehow have feelings of trauma and sadness. There are plenty of women who lose their babies, so how ungrateful of you to feel this way. In all honesty, you are allowed to feel however you feel. And those around you should learn to accept that and understand. But, also, you need to understand that it is hard for your loved ones to know what to say or do. I’ll touch on that a bit later.

My husband got a new job right before the birth of our daughter, which was a great opportunity, and I was so proud of him. However, it required a lot of hours and he essentially had one day off of work after I had my daughter. I was in the hospital for four days.

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Most probably aren’t super familiar with what happens during a C-Section, so I’ll brief you on it. Your arms are stretched out on boards so that your veins are easily accessible. They stretch a blue cloth up right past your shoulders. The operating room is purposely kept extremely cold- to keep the doctors and nurses from sweating and reduce the risk of sweat contaminating the operative field. I remember being insanely cold during my operation. They piled layers of blankets on me, but it didn’t really do anything. I shook the entire time.

Once an incision is made into the first layer of your skin, the doctor cuts through all the layers of fat and then through a thick layer called the fascia. Then, another layer is cut called the peritoneum, this is the sac that holds all your organs. Your bladder sits right on top of the uterus, and has to be moved so that the doctor can cut into the uterus. Once the doctor has a clear view of the uterus, it is cut into and the amniotic sac is ruptured. From here, the baby can be pulled out and is officially born! At this time, most moms are able to hold and meet their baby, and get to be carried away together after Mom gets stitched up. Because my baby and labor had so many complications, she was immediately taken into the NICU before I got to hold her. She had to get her lungs sucked out, and checked out by the specialist team. Again, this was really hard for me to process later on.

The reason I am telling you all this, is really to educate others. Cesareans are a major surgery, as you can probably comprehend by how many internal incision are made and later sewn up. In my case, my recovery was particularly difficult because my body had labored for so long before my surgery. The first few days were really, really hard. Even with the best medicine in the world, I was in immense amounts of pain. I remained in bed the majority of my stay in the hospital. Even sitting up literally made me feel like my incision would burst open in searing pain. Anytime I wanted to hold my baby, I had to ask someone to help me. I couldn’t stand up and change her diapers. There were 24 hours in which she had to remain in an incubator for Jaundice. And on top of that, my husband did have to leave us for work. I hope with me sharing this, maybe you can understand where my feelings stand.

Coming home was hard, too. Like I said, my husband had to work, so I was left alone sometimes for 12 hours or more a day. It took me AT LEAST six weeks to feel somewhat normal again- as in being able to walk or sit up without pain. I also couldn’t drive during this time. So, I developed a lot of emotions during this period. My baby, in all honesty, was perfect. She was such a good baby. And I definitely developed a bond with her. However, it was a lot different than I imagined. It was a lot harder than I imagined. A lot of days, the most I could do was simply keep us two alive. I think probably the first week I survived on nothing more than protein shakes. It was tough.

One of the biggest points I want to make here, is that I didn’t know how to ask for help. And from here, my PPD really developed. And I knew it was bad because it got worse even after I physically healed. I remember previously just wishing for the day that I could walk and take care of my baby. And then, oddly enough, I was physically healed, but my mentality was broken.

A lot of people think PPD, or depression in general, is just someone crying a lot or feeling sad. I honestly never really knew what it was… Until it was happening to me.

The biggest emotions I experienced were an utter lack of motivation for anything. I woke up, took care of the baby, and when she slept, I laid in bed. (But rarely slept). I didn’t take care of myself. Most days I didn’t shower and my eating was really, really rare. I had a lot of postpartum bleeding, and had to stay in diapers for over four weeks. People would call me or text me and I would ignore it.  Our house was a disaster. My husband would come home from a long, long day at work, and we would have no food. I developed a serious anxiety about leaving the house. I was terrified of even going to the grocery store. It was really hard on my husband to see me like this, and he really couldn’t understand why it was happening. And I, I couldn’t explain it.

I mean, it sounds so simple. I would sit there often and be so confused about why I felt this way. I mean, I could just snap out of it? Force my way through this? And I tried, I tried to “bring myself out of it”, but you guys, what I didn’t know, is that you can’t. Because I sought a lot of answers on this, I have spent a lot of time researching this topic. I want to share something with you. And I wish, I wish SO bad that someone would have shared this with me.

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You guys, I have researched and found many, many images similar to the one above. And they all share the same thing. Depression, true, prolonged depression (also referred to as MDD or major depressive disorder) is an actual brain disease. And please note, this is different than being upset about something in your day or feeling disappointed about something.

Depression affects three major areas of the brain- the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. I won’t go in-depth here, but essentially issues here lead to disturbed sleep and activities, irregular hormones and chemicals in your body, negative effects on your emotional responses, decision making issues, memory problems… it goes on.

I hear so many moms realize they may be dealing with PPD (or anyone with depression), and still be so afraid to say anything to their doctors or even talk about it with their loved ones. It is the equivalent (literally) of having a brain disorder, and feeling that it’s your fault, and that you can just “snap out of it”.

And that adds to the difficulty of living with a mental disorder. You don’t understand it. You can’t fix it on your own. It’s hard to explain it to those around you. You feel immense amounts of guilt about it. It is constant. You can’t call your boss and say, “Hey, my depression and anxiety are really bad today and I can’t make it into work.”

If you’re dealing with depression, or someone you love is, or you simply want to understand, I highly recommend watching the TED talk by Kevin Breel. He. Is. Amazing. Check this out. I will quote this part because he expresses this idea so perfectly,

 “That’s the stigma, because, unfortunately, we live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast, but if you tell people you’re depressed, everyone runs the other way. That’s the stigma. We are so, so, so accepting of any body part breaking down, other than our brains. And that’s ignorance. That’s pure ignorance. And that ignorance has created a world that doesn’t understand depression, that doesn’t understand mental health. And that’s ironic to me because depression is one of the best-documented problems we have in the world, yet it’s one of the least discussed.”

You guys, I was robbed.

I wasted a lot of days in the beginning of my baby’s life not truly being the woman and mother that I can be. I spent a lot of time just wasting hours in bed. I spent a lot of time living in fear. I spent a lot of time avoiding others. And I also spent a lot of time blaming myself, or avoiding treatment. I have spent a lot of time feeling hopelessly alone, and not understanding why.

And if you personally have never gone through this, I am tremendously happy for you. Seriously. Because it is incredibly terrible and life-wrecking, and hard on you and those around you. But I beg, if you haven’t gone through it, please be sensitive to those that have/are.

I saw this on Pinterest, and knew that I needed to add it to this blog post. It is so, SO important.

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It’s a cruel injustice that when you are suffering, you feel alone, and overall this resorts to those around you avoiding you even more. If you think someone around you is dealing with this, be accepting of their feelings and give them gentle opportunities to open up to you.

PPD is not a choice. So, do not talk to someone as if it is. As if someone would choose to endure the misery that is depression. It’s all too often that we may hear, “You have so many great things in life! Why would you be depressed?” And that certainly does more harm than good. It creates blame and increases guilt on this individual, which, you guessed it, is not going to help ANYONE with depression.

Someone with depression doesn’t need shame or to be told that they are weak. No one really understands what someone else is going through. Two individuals could go through very similar events, and end up with very different mentalities or life changes. Because you were able to conquer life’s challenges without developing a serious form of depression (again, seriously, that is amazing and we are all happy for you) does not give you permission to put down anyone who is different.

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I personally felt a lot of shame and guilt once I had taken my SSRI’s for a few months. I mean, I was 6 months PP. I’m sure I should be “over” it, right? I didn’t really talk about it with anyone, because, again, #Stigma. So, I just decided one day that I wouldn’t continue my SSRI treatment. I was “fine”.

Please, please, please don’t do what I did. What followed, unknowingly, easily led to one of the most difficult times in my Postpartum journey. My relationship struggled. My energy was entirely gone. My motivation to do most things had zeroed out. I retreated to ignoring people once again, and wishing I could just lock the door in my room and never come out. My relationship with my child suffered. Again, I was robbed. But this time, I should have known better.

I am seven and a half months postpartum and I am still seeking treatment for my depression and anxiety. That may make some of you embarrassed for me or make you feel uncomfortable, but, it’s the truth. Postpartum depression does not have an expiration date. I also know many women who don’t really develop it until several months or even a year after they gave birth. Pay attention to your body. And not only that, but be accepting if you know that you need help.

Being aware and educated in my own struggles has brought me a great amount of peace and also sympathy towards others. I really, truly wish that this article helps even one person. If that’s with seeking treatment for yourself, helping someone you love, or simply being aware.

J.K. Rowling said it best, “I have never been remotely ashamed of having been depressed. Never. What’s there to be ashamed of? I went through a really hard tough time and I’m quite proud I got out of that.”

Thanks for reading this novel. If you have any questions or need someone to listen, you can always DM me on my Instagram @baybayruth (I try my best to read everything!) If you are suffering with this, please, please know that you absolutely not alone.

Much love,

Ruth

Southern Utah Staycation

It’s fun to tell people that we live in Utah when we are traveling, because they always ask questions about snow. They immediately picture beautiful snow-capped mountains, and ask us how often we ski.

Then, we get to explain that we live in Southern Utah, where it is quite different than they might imagine.

We love living in Saint George, and even after living here for close to seven years, I am still amazed at how much I have yet to discover. It’s a place of natural beauty and adventure, with a plethora of exciting outdoor activities. If you’re curious on what there is to do where I live, click Here.

And while we do truly enjoy where we live, my husband and I also have a love of travel. However, now that we are parents of a six-month old baby, there is a lot more work to be done in regards to what to bring, where to go, and how far we can go!

This, of course, spurred the idea of a staycation- to take a vacation in the exact city that we already love and live in.

And although we have traveled to many diverse and beautiful places, I think this trip was one of the most relaxing, carefree, and still extremely memorable trips we have taken. However, if you don’t live in Saint George, I highly recommend looking into visiting! I also recommend the idea of a staycation; especially those with young children. It can be time spent within your own city, or even time just spent at your house! Here is a great article with tips on vacationing right in your own home.

That being said, the best decision that we made, was to stay at The Inn At Entrada.

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The Inn is very different than any resort I have stayed at before. Instead of imagining a hotel resort with rooms stacked right on top of one another, this beautiful place boasts a variety of private suites and casitas spread out next to the allusive Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club. As a guest of the Inn, you are allowed access to the private facilities, including their gorgeous golf course, restaurant, fitness center, and pool.

(Yes, the famous pool. You know, the one featured on High School Musical 2? Yep, the film was shot here and the actors did indeed stay at the Inn during filming!)

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We had the pleasure of staying in what is called an Anasazi 2-Bedroom Suite. If you’re interested in more details or on booking it for yourself, click Here.

It is a two bedroom, two bathroom luxurious suite, that features ample living space.

The full-size kitchen is absolutely gorgeous- and fully stocked with kitchen supplies- you don’t need to (and won’t want to) get your morning coffee elsewhere. The Inn provides you with a great selection to brew right in your own kitchen.

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I love that there is such incredible natural light throughout the suite. You can see the large windows and skylights in the kitchen! *sigh*

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We wanted to give my readers an accurate feel to how large the kitchen actually is, so here you have it! More than enough to dance in! 🙂

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If you make it out of this dream kitchen, surely it will largely be due to the inviting fireplace in the living room. Above that is a large TV, if you feel obliged to look at anything other than the amazing scenery outside.

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I am telling you, you will feel at home in this suite. In fact, my little fam decided we liked it here better than our own home, and tried to come up with schemes in hopes to never leave The Inn.

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There was something so sweet about being able to read to our baby in total comfort and quiet during our stay. It is one of our favorite things to do, and the Inn provided a perfect space to do it in!

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Traveling with a baby can be nerve-wrecking for multiple reasons, as you want your baby to be as comfortable as possible. We had more than enough room for her toys and books. There even was a closet with a full-size washer and dryer! Which, as all new parents know, is an absolute dream while traveling.

As someone who enjoys hotels and travelling, I have endured my fair-share of bad hotel beds. Who hasn’t? Even a lot of the higher-end resorts have led me to disappointment in this category.  I think some of the time, we as guests just cross our fingers and hope for the best. I am happy and confident to report that the beds at Entrada were beyond luxurious and comfortable. You can tell the linens are high-quality and well looked after. And, as you might expect, the room was beautiful. I haven’t mentioned yet, but the Inn features “Smart House” technology. As in, you click a button on a remote and your blinds descend from the ceiling. We decided that this is a “must” in our future home… One day! 🙂

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The bathroom connected to our Master bedroom couldn’t have been any better. It was immaculately clean and bright. There was: a large, walk-in closet, a large, walk-in shower, a beautiful vanity with two sinks, and my favorite- a whirlpool tub.

I think that may have been Presley’s favorite as well.

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Yes, she absolutely adores her otteroo! You can get one for your little one, here.

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So, yes, the suite absolutely was incredible. And this trip, we craved relaxation more than adventure. So, while Saint George is the perfect place for exploring nature and pushing your physical limits, we decided to take it easy and enjoy what the Inn at Entrada had for us.

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There is plenty to enjoy just within the grounds of the resort. We love walks as a family, and there was quite a lot to look at! The Inn has beautiful ponds, basketball courts, volleyball courts, pickleball courts, waterfalls, bridges, etc. It is such a pretty area!

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There are also a few little friends that live here! We saw a bunch of ducks, bunnies, and frogs!

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We relaxed by the pool, and I succesfully managed to refrain belting High School Musical songs aloud, which I am very proud of. We also participated in a friendly game of pool-side ping-pong.

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There a few dining options on location, as well as Downtown St. George being fairly close by.

We ordered pizza to our room one night, grabbed some take out another. However for lunch, my husband ran by the “Snack bar” at Entrada, which is the most casual dining option that is offered there.

Normally, I wouldn’t report on this.

And to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. However, to this day, those are still the absolute best chicken strips and fries that I have ever had. I still dream about them. That’s all I have to say on that.

To burn some of those delicious calories off, we could have hit the Entrada Fitness Center, which again we had free access to. However, we decided to switch gears, literally, and go for a bike ride.

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Biking through Entrada was so much fun! It is such a beautiful community! We absolutely loved it!

As a guest of the Inn, you also have access to the private golf course at Entrada.The Johnny Miller Signature Design 18-hole championship private golf course weaves through ancient black lava flows and meandering streams, stretching across 7,085 yards.  Entrada distinguishes itself year after year as Utah’s premier golf experience. Entrada is ranked as the number one year-round golf course in the state by Golf Digest Magazine.

We weren’t able to golf this time around, but it is on our list!

With so many amazing options just within Entrada, we didn’t even have to leave the gated community to have an amazing time.

The Inn at Entrada is much more than a place to stay. They take a step above in everything that they offer there. The accomodations were so incredible!

I am not kidding when I say that we were sad to leave.

I highly recommend the Inn to anyone and everyone, as they have accomodations for just one person, up to a 5-bedroom Suite!

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions, or if you know of any other hidden gem resorts that we need to see next!

The gorgeous lifestyle photography was done by Ashley Meagan Photography

The Truth Behind My C-Section: The Presley Autumn Lee Birth Story

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When I was six months pregnant, my husband and I took a birthing class at our hospital. It was a strenuous course, and I commend my husband for taking it with me. They discussed the different types of births, and gave us a tour of the different birthing rooms and suites. I squeezed my husband’s hand when we went into a room with a birthing tub. I admired the beauty of the room. I envisioned the birth I dreamed of; the magical moment I would meet my baby. I honestly was fighting back tears imagining what beautiful story would unfold within these walls.

The tour ended with a brief stop at the operating room. A woman in our group was pregnant with twins, and one of them was breech. So, she announced to the group that she was planning to have a scheduled C-Section. My heart dropped for her as I stared into the operating room. It was so sterile and cold-looking. After admiring the warmth that was the traditional rooms, I shivered at the idea of having my baby cut out of me. No, that wouldn’t happen to me… We left the hospital that day, with the ‘perfect’ birth plan still dancing in my head.

At the end of my pregnancy, I had been having braxton-hicks on and off for a few weeks. Nothing too serious. Presley being my first baby, I had no idea what to expect. But, I knew I didn’t want to go to the hospital only to be sent home. The night before I went into labor, I was having light contractions again. I was 39 weeks and 5 days at this point. I felt HUGE! I began dilating earlier in my pregnancy, and baby was measuring pretty big. I thought I would have my baby early… But here we were. Sleep was non-existent at this point. My heartburn was insane, my body was constantly uncomfortable, and every contraction made my heart skip. “THIS COULD BE IT.”

I was ready to have this baby! I remember the quiet moments that night. I sat on the couch in the wee hours of the night. I would poke at Presley and talk to her- mostly about how Mommy was ready to meet her and it was time for a Birthday! She would kick and punch me in return- I knew she was strong! The contractions didn’t stop, but they were light and far apart. I eventually got a little sleep. I woke up at five AM, and was still having contractions. I started timing them.

I woke Dakota up and told him to call his boss and let them know he wouldn’t make it to work. “You think this is it?” He asked. “I think this is it!” I went and took a bath, because I heard sometimes it can make the contractions stop if it isn’t the real deal. Well, my contractions stayed! At this point, I started to get excited. I ate a tiny bit of oatmeal, which I absolutely regret not eating more! It would end up to be my only real food for over 36 hours. We grabbed our bags (which had been packed for weeks!) and went to the hospital.

We walked up to the check-in and the lady asks what we are here for. I stared down at my huge belly. “I think I’m in labor.” I reply nervously. They take me into a small monitoring room first. I am instructed to put on a gown and they start hooking me up to machines. The nurse shows me where my contractions were being displayed- Yep! I was having them! Dakota and I started to get excited. She left the monitor on me and left us alone. This was it! I was mentally preparing to enter my glorious birthing room and let Mother Nature guide me to my baby. I was thinking of the tub, the birthing ball, the massages and breathing we had learned.

After a while, the Nurse came back in. But, the way she started talking, I immediately became disappointed. She let us know that my contractions had slowed down. I was still having them, but they were getting farther apart instead of closer together. She let me know it was perfectly normal for first time Mom’s to come in multiple times. She said we could go walk around a while and it might start them up again, and we could potentially come back even that same day. I was crushed. She left the monitors on me and said she would send my reports to my doctor before they discharged me.

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We were just absorbing the idea of leaving, when the Nurse came back in. She looked at us and exclaimed, “Well, you’re having a baby today!”

I was so surprised! Had my body finally kicked into baby-gear? Had I started dilating significantly more? And then my bliss turned sour. She started pointing to the monitors and explained how with every contraction I was having, our baby’s heartrate was decreasing. She explained that happened for a few reasons- it could be simply that she was in a position that she was squeezing her umbilical cord with the pressure of the contractions. Or, the cord was around her neck. Or, the placenta was beginning to fail. No matter what was going on, they weren’t going to let us leave until she was out.

It was not instantly an emergency situation- I did not need a C-Section right away. I was still intending to have a vaginal birth. However, everything I ‘wanted’ for this delivery went out the window. I was worried about my baby. My mental process was simply to get her out. I couldn’t see her, I couldn’t help her while she was still in me. I wanted her to be out so that I knew she was OK. I was panicking on the inside, but I tried to remain calm. The nurse took us to a delivery room- I did not ask for a room with a tub. I did not ask for a birthing ball. My idea of a slow and peaceful labor was gone.

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They let me know that they wanted to help the labor and contractions as much as we could, so they would be starting me on pitocin. Pitocin- a thing I planned on avoiding. And now, I saw it as an aid to help get her here sooner. They hooked my IV up immediately. Shortly after the pitocin was doing it’s job, my contractions’ intensity sky-rocketted. I had been having contractions for hours, but now my pitocin contractions were unreal. I can’t describe the pain, because there is nothing to compare it to. I looked at Dakota and told him, “I don’t think I can go through another contraction.” I gripped the side of the hospital bed with tears in my eyes. I felt like I was being ripped apart!

The epidural, the thing I was so afraid of ever getting, was such a welcomed idea. My anesthesiologist was incredible. He was so nice and made the experience so great. It was honestly the easiest part of my labor. Dakota held me as it was placed. I didn’t budge, I didn’t cry, I held still. I did receive instant relief. However, I eventually had issues with my epidural. I won’t spend too much time focusing on it, however I was still able to feel pain. I had issues with my catheter. They placed one, and then took that out and placed another. It was causing so much pain that I begged them to just take it out. These circumstances are very abnormal, and with the epidural I should have not felt anything. So, I have no idea why I had that happen, and my doctors don’t know either.

I was hooked on pitocin for hours. They had broken my water early in my labor to also help my labor progress. Unfortunately, there was meconium in the water- meaning my baby had passed feces in the womb. This put her at a risk of aspiration. Essentially, she could suffocate on her own feces. More panic.

After hours, and hours, my body was not progressing. I was stuck at a 7.5. They had me switch positions as much as I could. The contractions got intense, no matter how much medication they pumped through my epidural, I still had pain. It got so bad again, the point it had earlier when I begged for an epidural. Ripping pain. Yet, I had the epidural. The doctors told me they couldn’t give me any more medication- I was at my maximum. My epidural medication was so strong that it greatly impacted my blood pressure, I felt as if I would lose consciousness a few times. Luckily, the monitors they had on me read this, and they were able to give me stabilizing medication for my blood pressure. How could this be happening? I never planned on any of this.

After nineteen hours of labor, I was still stuck at a 7.5. No progression in hours- not even a little bit. My baby’s heartrate was still dipping with every contraction- the entire labor. After this much time, they were concerned for baby. I was trying so hard. I was fighting so hard. This whole time I was so concerned about my little bean. The precious baby I had felt and loved the past nine months. I just needed her to be OK. I was so incredibly exhausted, but I needed to keep strong for her.

My doctor eventually came in and somberly said, “I think it’s time we start to consider a C-Section…”

I tried to be brave but I felt the tears building in my eyes. Everyone left the room and it was just my husband and I. He came to my bedside and held me as I cried. I felt my body had failed. I couldn’t get this baby out on my own anymore. And she was in danger. We had been fighting together, I know the labor was tough on her too. I just needed her to be out so that she could be ok.

Dakota got dressed in scrubs. They wheeled me away first. No one was allowed with me while they prepped me for the surgery. They transferred me to the operating table. I remember looking around at this room- the room I so feared and never desired to be in.

The nurses and doctors were great, but they were at work. This was their every day. I was simply just another name on the board. They assembled the tools and made casual chit chat. What their plans for Thanksgiving were. Someone put on a radio. I remember thinking how odd this was. How perfectly ordinary for them. But, it was the strangest, scariest, most emotional day of my life.

I had a new anesthesiologist now, and he was much more procedural and less personable than my first. He administered the proper medication for the surgery. I remember feeling so cold. I was shaking so hard, involuntarily.

They had to re-administer a catheter at this point, and again, I could feel it and I had pain when I should have been entirely numb. However, the medication was working for my stomach area properly. Dakota was now allowed into the room. I remember being so happy to see him. It had felt like I was alone for so long while they had prepped me. He sat close to me, grabbed my hand, and it began. There was a huge, blue screen blocking our view of what was happening. I was mostly numb, but again, for some reason, part of my body would not accept the epidural. There was nothing we could do. So I had some feeling during the surgery. I kept apologizing to the nurses and the doctors, it was so painful and I was trying to just remain calm and happy. It was finally time to meet my baby! But nothing was going right, I was so exhausted, and I was frustrated that I was still hurting despite the epidural.

But then, they pulled her out. I could tell. And we heard her! The doctor lifted her up.

THAT WAS MY BABY. MY BABY.

Joy, pure joy. She was here. My beautiful, beautiful daughter. She was breathing. I was so happy. But then, she had to be immediately whisked away by the NICU team to get her lungs sucked out. I only saw her for a second. They told my husband to go follow the NICU team. And just like that, I was alone again.

This was the worst part for me. I didn’t know what was happening with my baby. The doctor was sewing me up and that was where the pain was the worst. The tugging of my skin and incision- not just pressure, but searing pain. Again, you’re not supposed to feel this and most women don’t experience this, so don’t let this scare you.

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I was crying and shaking again, laying on the table. My shakes were uncontrollable. I remember hearing my teeth chatter HARD, nonstop. They layered several blankets on top of me.

I didn’t get skin to skin with my baby. I wasn’t the first person to hold her. My husband didn’t get to cut the cord. Small, minuscule details in the scheme of things. But, moments I had dreamed of. And here I was. A nurse that I didn’t even know stayed behind with me and held my hand as I bawled and got stitched up. I was so scared something was wrong with my baby. I saw my baby for just a moment, and she was out of sight. I didn’t hold her. I didn’t get to look into her eyes. I didn’t get to study her cute, little features yet.

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And then, the glorious moment. My husband returned with her into the operating room and had tears streaming down his face. I remember his first words to me were “she’s perfect”. I finally got to look at her. She was so strong. She was perfect! She was breathing fine. She was alert. I couldn’t wait to hold her. I was wheeled back into the delivery room, my husband carrying Presley in his arms. I remember that feeling so well. I did it! She was OK. We were a family. We were finally a family. And as tough as it was, it was so worth it just to finally have her here. I would have done anything.

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November 17th, 2016 my life began. No, it was not what I expected. But she, she is beyond my wildest dreams. Presley Autumn Lee came into this world a little tornado. 8 lbs and 9 oz of the sweetest babe you have ever met. She is the greatest soul. My purpose, my heart.

I still have bad days. I have encountered issues postpartum that I never planned on. But when I wake up each day and see her eyes light up, I am happy. She is happiness.

I love her so much, because she taught me what that really means.

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April is C-Section Awareness Month. I haven’t typed out her birth story before because I did struggle with it. I didn’t realize it could happen to me. But, today, you have about a 1 in 3 chance of ending up with a C-Section. Yes, even if you are healthy. Even if you are young. Be aware, be informed. And if you do have a C-Section, that is still birth. You are still empowered. You are scarred, but not broken. ❤

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Put your oxygen mask on first, momma.

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I have sat down to write this post several times.

And each time, for some reason, I never follow through.

I do struggle with what happened when Presley was born, and how I felt after- and there are many people out there that won’t understand that. I did end up with a beautiful, healthy baby. So, that in itself, should eliminate any negative feelings, right? It’s one of the most insensitive and judgmental comments that I hear far too often… I don’t owe anyone an explanation of my feelings. They are my feelings. And if you think I am not insanely grateful every single day that my baby is here and she is ok- you must not know me. There were multiple times in pregnancy and labor that the thought crept in my mind that our baby might not make it. I bargained and pleaded with God many times. Please, please let our baby be OK. I am immensely thankful that she is here- but I am allowed to have feelings, too.

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I recently had a few articles written about me.

Cosmo’s Here

US Weekly’s Here

Huffington Post’s Here

I google myself and am in awe with how many articles there are… I did end up on a personal journey of struggle (and also acceptance) after I gave birth. It is certainly something I did not expect. I had such a beautiful pregnancy- for the most part. I loved being pregnant. I had such a connection with Presley. My husband and I grew incredibly close. Don’t get me wrong, pregnancy certainly had its low points. However, overall, it was such an amazing time in my life.

Women tend to be pretty vocal about the pains of pregnancy- the food cravings, the pain, the waddling, the heartburn, the swollen feet, the morning sickness. However, after the baby is born, it’s almost as if we aren’t allowed to talk about it. We have to pretend that we have everything together. Again, I think that it’s because we don’t want to portray any slight perceptions of ingratitude for our babies. I never realized how much judgement is out there aimed at moms until I became one.

Oh, you have stretch marks and you don’t like them? There is a woman out there that would love to have stretch marks but is infertile- so don’t complain.

You’re literally weak from exhaustion because you haven’t slept since your baby was born? This woman has been trying to get pregnant for years and would love to switch places with you- so don’t complain.

Let me be clear- I do have all the sympathy in the world for those who struggle with infertility. We went through a few concerning medical events, and came to the conclusion that “when the right time comes” I would most likely have a hard time getting pregnant. In fact, I was planning and researching the right doctor to discuss and do further testing in the weeks right before I found out I was already pregnant! Life is funny, isn’t it?

What I am trying to say, is that it’s not up to you to decide how someone should feel. It isn’t your place to judge someone for what they struggle with. If you are a new mom and you’re having a hard time- you are ALLOWED to feel. You can have a beautiful baby and still have bad days. You are allowed to have an opinion of your labor. It is OK to talk about your postpartum depression. This world needs support and love instead of judgement and criticism.

I was so mentally conflicted after I had my daughter. I was filled with the most genuine, selfless love that I didn’t even know existed. It is the highest, happiest, most pure feeling that exists. And then, out of no where, I am thrown waves of sadness. And also, more surprisingly, a grip of anxiety. I am someone who has never had true anxiety attacks until after I gave birth. I didn’t want to leave the house at all. I was afraid of driving. I didn’t even want to answer my phone. I would burst into tears in public, not knowing why. I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t eat. My thoughts raced constantly. I can’t justify or explain or tell you why I felt this way. I didn’t understand it myself. I had anticipated a period of baby blues. But, after a couple of months had passed, I knew that I needed help. My baby deserved the best mom in the world- I wanted to be that mom.

I needed to put my oxygen mask on.

It’s always been such a fascinating idea to me. I’ve been taught to help others. You sacrifice for the ones you love. You put other people before yourself.

So, the first time I took a flight, and heard the instructions of what to do in an emergency, I was taken aback.

“…Place the oxygen mask on yourself first, before helping others who need assistance.”

When I made the appointment with my doctor to discuss what I was going through, I was terrified. I ended up canceling the initial appointment. I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to be strong. I wanted to be grateful for what I had. I thought, if I tried hard enough, I could just overcome this. But then, I got worse. The more I obsessed about being OK, the deeper I fell into my symptoms.

To most people this may be a surprise. It is certainly not something I advertised. Again, there is a lot of judgement here. I loved my baby, I truly, madly, insanely did. I didn’t understand my depression. So, I knew it would be nearly impossible to find true support and understanding around me. I eventually opened up to someone very close to me. She told me she went through a very similar experience- even down to the feelings of failure in regards to a C-Section. She told me that she now realizes she struggled immensely with PPD. She confided that the first year after her baby’s birth, she doesn’t really remember. She wasn’t really “there”. She told me, “I wish that I would have gotten help.” That day, I rescheduled with my doctor.

Mommas, you need to put your oxygen mask on first. It is so hard to fully accept this concept considering it is in our nature to do the opposite. During pregnancy, you literally sacrifice your body and mind for someone else. Your needs and wants completely 360. Your baby gets fed and cleaned and loved- and you’re sitting there with an empty stomach, in the same clothes as yesterday, with layers of dry shampoo on your scalp. How often is this the case? It’s what we do. But, there is balance. You need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your children.

It’s ok to ask for help.

Whether its your doctor or your family or your friends or your significant other. I don’t know why we feel that we have to do it all, but that’s how I felt; initially. I know so many moms who know that something is not right with their mentality. But, they are too afraid to talk about it. Did you know that:

  • In pregnancy, reproductive hormone levels in a woman’s body are 20-30 times greater than normal. At delivery, hormone levels drop abruptly, along with changes in amino acids, neurotransmitters, and thyroid hormones.
  • The sudden drop in estrogen, progesterone, endorphins, and other hormones may trigger depression the same way moodiness may be triggered by premenstrual changes in these hormones.
  • Thyroid levels may also drop sharply after birth. A new mother may develop a thyroid deficiency that can produce symptoms that mimic depression.

I am not saying that medication is the ideal answer for everyone. Yes, it did work for me. Yes, I took many measures and alternative methods first to avoid it. Yes, it changed my life and I am so glad that I did seek treatment. Yes, it took time for it to work; and yes I had to adjust my medication to find the right dose. It is a work in progress. And yes, my doctor and my plan includes eventually not being on them.

How else can we put our oxygen masks on?

  • Try to shower & dress everyday. It might sound silly to those who don’t understand. But, new moms know how much this can lift your spirits.
  • Give yourself permission to do less. Your house does not need to be spotless. Sometimes, the dishes can wait. Allow others to help you with housework. I had many people offer to help us in the beginning, and I turned them down because “I felt bad”. Don’t feel bad. Take help when it is offered to you.
  • Join a mother’s group or postpartum group. but be careful! There are good and bad ones out there. Find the one that works for you- that offers support instead of criticism.
  • Get out of the house. This one was hard for me, for some reason I had a lot of anxiety leaving the house. But everytime I forced myself to, I did feel better and glad that I got out.
  • EAT. One of the best things I did for myself is meal prep. When the baby is sleeping or you have help with watching your baby- see if you can make your meals in advance. It is a life saver. I used to seriously not eat or eat very poorly in the beginning. Changing how I ate greatly increased how I felt.
  • Be gentle to yourself. Becoming a mother is a life-altering event. It takes time to understand it and adjust to it. You’re doing a great job.
  • Little things. It’s amazing how the little things can affect you. It sounds so dumb, but when I painted my nails, it made me happy. Taking a walk. Go to the gym. Handing the baby to my husband and proclaiming, “I am taking a bath.” Going on a date with my husband. It took a while to accept that I am allowed “me time”. I used to think that being away from my baby for even a small amount of time made me “a bad mom”. If she was out of my sight, I felt insanely upset and distraught. I learned, that allowing myself a “break” didn’t make me a bad mom. It made me a better mom. I was more refreshed and happy. I have noticed that when I am happy, Presley knows it. She builds off of it. Momma, you are allowed to be happy.

 

 

 

Newlie Louise Backpack Diaper Bag

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I will be the first to admit it…

I used to not be a purse kind of girl.

My husband would make fun of me when I carried around a beat up coin purse with all of my cards and cash the entire duration of our dating phase. Hey, it wasn’t pretty. But, it worked.

Well, it turns out that once you become responsible for a teeny, tiny human, they require a LOT of stuff. And, a little coin purse isn’t going to cut.

And in comes Newlie to save the day!

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This gorgeous bag right here is the Newlie Louise Backpack Diaper Bag.

Here’s why I love it!

  • Made of water resistant nylon accented with high quality faux leather
  • Water resistant light colored lining makes finding things easy
  • 3 exterior organizational pockets
  • 6 interior organizational pockets including our signature insulated pocket for both baby bottles and toddler snacks
  • Matching water resistant nylon changing pad with foam cushioning

And, you guessed it, it is functional and cute as both a shoulder bag…

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AND a back pack!

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Newlie also offers Stroller Straps that match, so you can hook your bag right onto your stroller!

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*Swoon*

This bag is so durable and so gorgeous! There is plenty of room for EVERYTHING baby needs! And, Momma can stay on trend!

I LOVE THIS BAG!

It is currently available in two shades online  Here

Oh, and this dress from Indigo and Sage is AMAZING! So soft and comfy! Just throw it on and you’re feeling cute! (AND IT HAS POCKETS! NEED I SAY MORE) Get it Here

Check out @newlieco and @indigoandsage on Instagram!

Buff Boxx: The Ultimate Fitness Subscription Box

image1(1)How is your fitness going?

If you’re anything like me, motivation certainly comes in waves. One day I am eating kale and doing yoga, and the next I wake up from a taco-induced coma on my couch, surrounded by a sea of beefy-5-layer wrappers.

It’s called balance!

One of my favorite new ways to stay motivated (fitness-wise) are subscription boxes!

And I have found the best one ever!

Buff Boxx!

Buff boxx has male and female versions of their boxes! Inside you will find Reebox Athletic Apparel, Fitness Accesories, Workout & Meal Plans, Healthy Snacks, Premium Supplements, and Discounts for Fitness Brands! All for $49.99!

(They also have a “lite” version for $29.99)

What I REALLY love about Buff Boxx, is that a portion of all proceeds goes to a charity of your choosing! (The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Animal Welfare Institute, and Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, just to name a few.) Seriously, how great is that?

Your Buff Boxx is also custom to your size, and if you have any allergies or dietary restrictions, they will handle it! 🙂 Not to mention Free Shipping AND Free Exchanges!

Ok, now to the fun part!

This is the un-boxing of my Buff Boxx that I received in March 2017!

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I received all of this in my box! I was surprised at the quality AND the quantity that I received. The tanks are SO cute! The reebox tank is super flattering and bright, and the branded Buff Boxx tank is super comfy and soft!

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I was not expecting wireless earbuds, so this was a wonderful surprise!

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I am SO excited about this Protein Energy! My box came with three packets of this! It has 120mg of Caffeine & 20g of Protein per serving! It’s a beautiful solution to replace a coffee & protein shake routine in the mornings- Now you only need one product! (or, you can even add it to your coffee! or oatmeal or pancake mixes…) 🙂

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My box included FOUR different flavors of the Syntha-6 Protein Crisp bars! 20g of protein and only 2g of sugar per bar! It’s great to switch it up from the mundane texture and flavors traditionally associated with protein bars for this crispy little number!

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I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the meal plan and workouts included with my Buff Boxx. Perfect for the person who works out all the time- and needs new inspiration! And even great for the newbie- who needs help in getting started! Seriously, Buff Boxx knocked it out of the park with these!

Now get yours!

Use Promo Code: BAYBAYRUTH for $5 off your first boxx!!!

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Ellie Box

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Hello babes!

Today I will be telling you all about one of my favorite subscription boxes EVER!

Every month, Ellie will put together 5 amazing items for your active lifestyle!

For $49.95 you will receive a sports bra, a top, leggings or capris, some type of accesory and a piece of equipment! (AND THEY ARE ALWAYS SO CUTE!)

Sometimes, they even offer discounts- so make sure you follow them on Insta to stay in the loop! @ellieactivewear

Oh, and it’s commitment free! You can opt out risk-free of any month if you’re just not feeling it, or you’re saving money for tacos!

This is March 2017’s Ellie Box!

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Okay, I am OBSESSED with this shade of blue! It is so flattering on every skin tone!

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The details on this tank are to die for! You can tie it in the back or leave it open. The material is super breathable and it feels durable yet, still soft & comfy. ❤

The leggings fit EXTREMELY well, which is something I was really worried about. Mom bods are sometimes a challenge to dress. The rise was so flattering and perfect, and the material is the right amount of stretchy!

The Yoga Mat Towel is such a fun idea, and I can’t wait to use it!

And how cute is that water bottle? You know drinking water is good for you, and having a pretty bottle to drink it out of sure makes it a lot easier!

I absolutely needed some motivation for the gym, and this box brought it!

The power of a new gym outfit, am I right?

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All in all, this was a home run for me! My expectations were outrageously exceeded! I loved every item in this month’s box! I think this is my new favorite outfit! What do you all think?

Thank you, Ellie Activewear! ❤