Boo is a week old today and I am finally able to get on here while he’s asleep. Getting him adjusted to a breastfeeding schedule has been a little off but he’s adjusting well. He sleeps well through the night, which I could not be happier about.
Breastfeeding has been going well now that my milk has come in. He’s latching and I’m also pumping in order to prepare for when I go back to work in August.
He is the definition of perfection and I’m totally completely in love and obsessed. He has the sweetest face and now smiles at me when he decides to open his eyes and look at me.
But, I know you’re not here for that. I’ll do a post later on the first week post partum. Now on to my birth story.
April 20, 2018
I started having contractions about 9:30 that morning. At first I thought I was just cramping or that they were false contractions. They were about 40 min apart st that point.
I called my midwife at that point and she said to go on about my day. And that’s just what I did. My mom and I went to Hobby Lobby, grocery shopping and to another store I can’t remember.
We then went to happy hour at Los Cucos (clearly I didn’t drink), and my contractions had jumped to 5-8 minutes apart. When we got home, they were pretty intense so I called my midwife again. She had me to come in.
On the way there, the contractions were pretty damn intense but not as intense as they later would get. She examined me and I was only 1 cm dilated, so she sent me home.
Over the next few hours the contractions got closer together and became even more intense. Around 11:30 ish that night, I felt something pop in my lower abdomen. Contractions at this point were unbearable but not yet as unbearable as they soon would get.
I got up and I was leaking. I made it to the bathroom and my mucus plug came out. At that point, I just knew it was time to go see my midwife. I called her and she had me come in. I told my parents (they were the ones taking me and I’m also currently staying with them until I recover). By the time they got to my room, I was on hands and knees in pain. Soon as the contraction let up, I beelined to the car before the next one came.
Let’s pause for a second and talk about these damn contractions. Contractions feel like stomach cramps, but the closer they get, the more painful they become. The pain is on a whole other level.
So we get to the birthing center, and I am only 4 cm dilated. My midwife didn’t want to send me home so she had me and two doulas (along with my mother) walk 3 mi to get boo to move down. Now this 3 mi trek was devastatingly and excruciatingly painful and uncomfortable.
April 21, 2018
Every contraction, they either had me to walk through it or squat. I was beyond tired within the first 10 min. As the walk went on, the contractions got worse and closer together to the point where every step I took, I had a contraction. I was miserable. About two blocks from the birthing center, I had given up. I ended up sitting on a curb. I was exhausted, in excruciating pain and walking just wasn’t going to happen. My midwife ended up coming to get me in her car.
Once back to the center, I laid down and tried to sleep but those contractions were in full force. I eventually got undressed and got in the birthing pool. The warmth of the water was relaxing and helped ease the pain of the contractions, ever so slightly. I think I was in there for about an hour. I then started experiencing involuntary pushing. I really needed to lay down.
I ended up getting out of the pool and on to the bed. About 20 min later, it was time to push my baby out. They began to see the head during one of my involuntary pushes and told me to push with each contraction.
Pushing him out was honestly the easy part and the least painful. I don’t even think it was painful since I was full of adrenaline. At 5:52 am, I felt his head then the rest of his body. It was an emotional experience.
I remember the first thing I said after he was born was, “I want my baby! Give me my baby!” They laid him on my chest and he immediately stopped crying. It was an experience to remember. I will never forget all I went through to have my Malakhai but I swear it was all worth it. The journey, the labor, everything was worth it to deliver my sweet baby.
At one point during the walk, I wanted to just quit and go to the hospital to make the pain go away, but I couldn’t do that to my baby. I didn’t want any drugs or anything to hinder this experience. I had him in a positive, loving environment and I will forever be grateful for the midwives and doulas that assisted me in my birth (LaMonica, Althea, TiTi).
Afua Hassan is the best midwife and she has made this journey so calming and reassuring. She eased a lot of my fears and made this birthing experience what it was: beautiful, peaceful, and loving. Without her, I don’t think I would’ve gone through with it. Without her being who she is, I think I would’ve ended up having him in the hospital.
I didn’t experience any tearing or anything severe. My pregnancy was healthy, easy, and for the most part enjoyable, but I’m overjoyed that my baby boy is here.
If I could do it over would I change anything? Nope. Not a single thing. It could not have been a more perfect experience.
As today is boo’s due date (yet he has not arrived), I think about what I will miss and not miss about being pregnant. Don’t worry, this will be a short post (maybe).
What I Will Miss
1. The special treatmeant that women get for being pregnant by family, friends, and strangers.
2. Parking in the “expecting mother’s” parking spot (though I can park in the “customer with small children” spot)
3. Feeling boo kick. I think that is the best part of being pregnant. Laying in bed and feeling him kick and move around with my hand.
What I Won’t Miss
1. People touching my belly without asking.
2. Constantly being asked if I’ve had the baby.
4. Being asked everyday by the same people when my due date is.
5. People telling me I’m getting bigger as if I don’t stand and look in the mirror everyday, or look down and can’t see my feet, or am not able to bend down to pick something up off the floor.
6. The constant, constant, constant, never ending trips to the bathroom.
7. Not being able to sleep on my stomach or back.
8. Eating every 30 min (maybe I’m exaggerating, more like every hour or two).
9. Snacking in the middle of the night due to severe hunger pains and kicks from boo.
10. Not being able to do intense exercises like HIIT or kickboxing, like I used to (how I truly miss kickboxing).
11. Being asked am I ready for my baby to be here. I mean I don’t have a choice now do I?
12. Being asked every single day by the same people if I have everything ready at my home. If not, then clearly I’m not on my shit.
13. Being asked by the same people is this my first child.
14. Basically being asked by the same damn people, the same damn questions, every damn day.
15. The way my body smells. Being pregnant has a whole different kind of sweaty, stinky smell.
16. The discharge.
17. The anxious waiting of boo’s arrival.
18. Being told what I can and can’t do, or what I should and shouldn’t do.
19. Being pressed about my diet (though I know I’ll be pressed about boo being vegan).
20. The horrid first trimester. It was just awful.
21. The unwarranted horror birth stories of others.
22. Being asked am I sure I want to give birth without drugs and in the water, and how that’s a brave thing to do. Being pregnant is a brave thing to do with all we have to endure. Getting pregnant was natural so why wouldn’t I have the baby natural?
What are some things that you miss or don’t miss about being pregnant?
Here we are again with Trap Yoga, only this time I’m pregnant!! It’s always fun going to her classes and I wasn’t going to let boo stop me. In fact, I went just to try to move him down. Needless to say, no such luck, but I still enjoyed myself. I can’t believe these pics are almost two years apart.
I love the photos that were shot and shout out to @ShotbySham on IG for these.
I haven’t been to a nail salon in years, so with boo arriving soon, I figured why not pamper myself today? I washed my hair and touched up my roots. Then I went to the nail salon and got a much needed pedicure, manicure, and eyebrow waxing. Since there will be photos and video footage of my water birth, I definitely have to be camera ready. Call it vanity, but I call it preparing for the future and having something beautiful to look back on.
It’s almost that time for boo’s arrival. Yesterday I had some cramping which was basically my uterus prepping for real contractions to begin. It’s funny because I am not the least bit nervous. I am more anxious than anything. As a first time mom, I am anxious and ready to meet my little mini. I have been growing him for 9 (in reality 10) months. I think it’s amazing to finally see what your body has done that is so amazing, beautiful and instinctual.
I think it’s beyond incredible that our bodies know what to do. They just know. I find it fascinating that our bodies know how to grow and nurture a baby, expand as baby grows bigger, create an embryonic sac and placenta, create an umbilical cord. How can anyone not think of how amazing that is. Not only that, but after all of those changes, our vaginas can then expand to push out something the size of a watermelon, though more cute, soft and cuddly.
I feel like women are the strongest creature on earth, especially with being able to withstand the pain of labor and childbirth. I think there is no greater pain than that. When it’s all said and done, our bodies miraculously heals itself and everything goes back to normal, well most of the time.
As baby grows, our milk changes to fit baby’s needs. Now that baby is on the outside, our bodies are still responding to this child that is no longer physically attached. Our bodies produce this milk that has protiens, nutrients and antibodies to help nourish and protect our baby, and then changes constantly. It literally blows my mind.
I learned something new today through the Ovia app (tells how baby os doing each day and also gives information as you get closer to birthing): let-down reflex. This is when your breasts leak milk anytime you hear a baby cry, and it doesn’t have to be your baby that is crying.
I know so many women who have had babies and I have seen the process, but to be experiencing it myself is overwhelming. I feel boo move often. He kicks, stretches, turns around, nestles, presses against my stomach with his butt, feet, or hands, and I just think to myself, “I grew him. This life inside me, I did that.”
I have been so conscious about what I consume because my body breaks down the food and gives boo his essential needs first and the rest is left to me. I have this internal pathway to get food to my child. Sometimes I think about what this process actually looks like. Call me weird, but I am just baffled and awestruck.
Do/did any of you mamas have/had the same thoughts about this? Let me know in the comments below.
As a mommy-to-be, stretch marks are inevitable. For me, it’s been the dryness. As my belly expands, the dryer it gets and this moisturizer is life. Not only is it vegan, black owned and cruelty free (y’all know how important that combo is to me), it smells absolutely amazing.
I am the type who is prone to dry skin and I’m also conscious about products I use so close to my baby. Anything you put on your skin, your skin absorbs. That’s why I go for natural products by the likes of @lovesmootiepie.
I have to say this is moisturizer did take me by surprise. I immediately thought it was hard, kind of like coconut oil. To my astonishment, I dipped my finger in and it went straight through. It’s almost like a creamy butter that melts into this enriching oil. *
Needless to say, this mommy approves and I will definitely be using this on my baby love, Khai, once he is born.
Now this stuff right here my ninjas (because I don’t use that derogatory word) is the truth. I am absolutely picky when it comes to products for my vagina. She doesn’t like fragrances (she gets straight ignant with the yeast infections from fragranted products). This feminine wash is for mommies-to-be (but I’m sure any woman can use it). It’s fragrance free, vegan, cruelty free and black owned. Not only that, but it works like a charm. All my pregnant mommas and those who have had children, know this discharge is something else. This wash keeps me fresh and leaves me feeling clean.
Another mommy approved product for you mamas to try!
Most people have the definition of a single parent misconstrued. If you ask anyone, 9 times out of 10, they will say a single parent is someone who is single and a parent. That is actually not the case. A single parent is a person who is taking care of their child(ren) by themselves, without the help of the other parent.
Most single women who have a child(ren) are single mothers because the father is not around. For example, my mother was a single mother with me because once she and my father divorced, he was not around and found ways to get out of paying child support.
I currently am single and I’m a mother, but I’m not a single mother. My son’s father is involved as of right now (things can always change, but I pray that they don’t). There are even single fathers and I know of some personally: men who have kids and the mother is nowhere in sight, which is awful because how can a woman abandon a child she carried for 10 months?
The abandonment of a child by either parent is detrimental to their mental and emotional growth as they grow older.
All in all, their is a difference between a single parent and someone who is single and also happens to be a parent.
Insomnia is a major symptom of being in your third trimester. Some nights I sleep 8-10 hours, while others, I’m up at 2 and can’t go back to sleep until after 3. That’s a terrible thing when you’re a teacher.
Granted, once my son is born, almost all sleep will go out the window. Sleep won’t live here anymore. I’m hoping and praying my son will sleep through the night, however, he doesn’t sleep through the night in the womb. He’s active and kicking right now.
Another thing that I deal with is the numerous escapades to the bathroom during the night. I’m telling you, your third trimester bladder is weaker than a twig and it doesn’t help that you have a tiny human laying on it as well as kicking it. Don’t get me started on the toilet visits that happen throughout the day.
Many times I’ll also wake up in the middle of the night to eat. With fatigue vastly ensuing, I go to bed relatively early (I’m talking 7-7:30). Now my alarm is set to 5, but you know that is a long time to not eat. It is especially gapping when you have a little person inside you that needs to eat as well. Late night munchies are real.
I will admit that I still do get more sleep than I’ve ever gotten before. A woman’s body transforms tremendously while growing a baby and it does cause stress on the body. With hormone changes, a growing belly, and extra blood flowing, you can’t help but feel the tiredness that your body feels.
Now that I’m in the homestretch, I think my anxiety also plays a part in why I wake up and can’t got back to sleep. The closer I get to my due date, the more anxious I am to hold my son.
Did you have insomnia late in your pregnancy, or was it a constant thing?
This organization brings the community together for one big thrift sale. Families bring their baby and kid stuff to one place for sale for super cheap and when I say super cheap, I mean super, dirt cheap. Everything I bought cost $120 and many of the items have not been used, while some still had their original store tags attached. Talk about a steal. Most items were for Malakhai but I did buy some for me. My mom and I cleaned up big time.
January 13. 2018 was my gender reveal. Even though I already knew my baby was going to be a boy, my family and friends didn’t. I wasn’t excited at first about having a gender reveal, but as it came closer to the day, I got really excited. My mom did a phenomenal job and I am anxious to see what she does for the shower. I was happy that it was a small gathering and that everyone that was there was someone that I knew.
Introducing, Malakhai Lee!
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was devastated. During that time, I was set to move to China and start a new life and career. I had my visa documents and everything. All I was waiting on was my plane ticket. Then I found out I was pregnant. That brought everything to a screeching halt.
I was getting medical checks regularly because you have to be in good health. The doctor kept saying my blood pressure was high and I have never had high blood pressure. I thought maybe because I was stressed and I also didn’t like her. Unbeknownst to me, I was pregnant.
I found out I was pregnant on August 13, 2017. My period was late by a day or two and I just knew I was pregnant. I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive. I laughed it off and took another. It came back positive too. I immediately stopped breathing. I literally felt my heart stop. I wasn’t ready to be a mom nor did I want to be one. I didn’t want kids.
My first stop was to my mother’s house because I was going painting with her and my grandmother that day. I told my mom through my tears and trying to catch my breath. If you know my mom, you know she was hella excited, this being her first grandbaby and all. I also told my brother and stepdad who were there. They were all supportive. Then I told my baby’s father and that’s when things changed.
We agreed upon me getting an abortion because I had life plans and so did he. I was going to fucking China!!! So, I called the abortion clinic and went the next day. I just knew I was doing the right thing until I got there. I won’t mention the clinic but it was small and not very attractive. I waited in the waiting room for what felt like hours.
Once I was called back, I sat in this hallway with a bunch of other women. The woman sitting next to me was telling a woman who was crying that she’ll be fine. She had had several abortions with her boyfriend and she turns out fine every time. That’s when reality set in. Women actually do this to fix what they consider a “mistake”. Some even do it repeatedly with no remorse. At that point I wanted to leave, but I stayed. Something told me to stay.
I looked a few seats down and there was this room I kept seeing women come out of with a nurse. These women were in a daze and could barely walk. That’s when I realized we were by the operating room. We were also by the back door where the women went out of once the abortion was done.
I started to really panic. By that point a nurse called me in to get an ultrasound. They couldn’t find the baby on the screen. I began to breathe hoping that meant those pregnancy tests were wrong. Then they made me take a pre test and blood test. The pee test came back as a light positive and I had to wait 24 hours for the blood test.
After that I went and saw a counselor and she explained to my how the operation worked and how the pill worked. Both options sounded horrific. I was mortified. I made my appointment for two days later, on a Wednesday. I came out and passed this room that was dark and I saw all these women in there. Some curled up, some crying and some sleeping. These women were waiting for their rides to come pick them up. They had already had their procedure. I quickly left the building.
I cried all the rest of that day and that night, into the next morning. I was scared and didn’t know what to do. One thing was for sure. I can’t remember at which moment it was: the woman telling about her numerous abortions, the operating room, the counselor or the room full of post-op women, but I knew I was going to keep my baby. I knew for certain I was not going to go through with the abortion. That morning the clinic called me back to confirm my blood test came back positive for being pregnant.
The morning of when I was supposed to get my procedure, I got a phone call from a school to come and have me interview for a teaching position. I ended up getting an interview and hired the same day. I realize now that had I gone through with the abortion, I wouldn’t have gotten this job. I would also be in China right now. This job was a job I had been wanting: it was a writing position. I was going to be teaching writing and I was happier than anyone could ever know.
I share this story because I know women contemplate abortions every second of every day and I know women who actually go through with them. Either way, both are difficult decisions: either keep or get rid of your baby. Ultimately, my decision to keep my baby was that there are no mistakes. I knew the outcomes of having unprotected sex with no birth control. This baby is not at fault and therefore, having an abortion, was not a solution because being pregnant wasn’t a problem. This was an unplanned planned pregnancy, meaning it wasn’t intentional but I also didn’t try to prevent it.
Now, almost 7 months later, I am in a better, happier place. I have an amazing job, a new car (not fancy though), a new apartment and a bundle of joy who will arrive in April. My child’s father is now on board and excited about having a child. This is a first for the both of us so we will be learning as we go. We have the support of family and friends. Even though I am single mom, the relationship I have with my child’s father is going to make for an awesome coparenting relationship.
Every time I feel my baby kick, I get more and more excited. I’m at the stage in my pregnancy where the baby is moving around a lot and making their little presence known. I know as I get into my third trimester, I will feel the baby kick and move even more. I keep thinking what if I had gone through with the abortion, what my life would be like now. Then I think about how my life is now and I’m happy. I can’t keep living in the what if’s or the past.
Granted, I could’ve still gone to China with my baby, but being a single, FTM in a country that I’ve never been to, that just didn’t seem logical. Plus, here, I have the help of family and friends.
It’s interesting to look back on how I started at the beginning of my pregnancy and how I felt, to now. I feel like I’m a completely different person. I’m already in mommy mode and my baby isn’t even here yet.
If you have a story to share, share it below or feel free to contact me if you want it to be private.
I want to let women know that they are not alone in whatever decisions they make. There is always someone who has been through or is going through the same thing. It may seem scary right now and like it’s not the right time, but everything happens for a reason. I think me getting pregnant and deciding to keep my baby, is going to make me a better woman, someone whom I never thought I could or would be.
So this is my story and I hope that it helps someone else.
Since I’ve been pregnant, you have been projecting your opinions and oppositions at me. It’s like once women have had children, they always feel like experts, but that’s not the case. Not every woman is the same, nor is every birth or pregnancy. Just because I choose to have a different birthing experience than you, does not mean that I don’t know what I’m talking about, or that I’m young and dumb.
I made a post on Instagram about hospital births and one bitter mom said that us “young moms think (we) know it all.” She went in to say that she’s been a mom for 15 years and that “medications are in place for a reason.” Well, that’s how you feel but not how I feel. It’s almost as if it’s wrong to have a difference in opinion.
I feel like FTM are always getting attacked because we want something different for our experience. To be honest I don’t plan on having more kids, so I want this experience to be memorable. My age has nothing to do with my knowledge and I think that’s where you “bitter moms” get things twisted. Just because your birthing experience with medications and what not was great, that is not the case for everyone else.
Now before you get your panties in a twist and let your fingers pull the angrily typing trigger, I’m not saying that having babies in a hospital is bad, or makes you a bad parent, or that I’m better than you. What I’m saying is, not everyone wants that. If that’s what you felt was right for you, then by all means it was right for you. It’s just not right for me.
People tend to go along with what they’ve been taught, have always known/seen, or just with what society says. If you follow me on social media, you know I go against the so-called “norm”, especially in the black community. It’s not normal to be black and vegan, non-religious, having a midwife and water birth, and practicing natural remedies for healing.
Why should I conform to black societal norms when I can live my life the way I see fit for me and my baby?
In closing, to all you “bitter moms”, keep your opinions to yourself. Just because you have had experience being a mom and giving birth, does not mean shit to me. We are nothing alike; we aren’t even on the same damn frequency.
A fed up FTM
Many things change when a woman becomes pregnant. Hormones, skin, physical features, mentality, etc. one of the biggest changes for me was food.
As a vegan, I already eat pretty healthy (in my mind anyway). However, when I am making food choices now, it’s no longer about me; it’s about the baby. I’m always wondering if what I’m eating has a high nutritional value: fiber, iron, folic acid, protein, vitamins and minerals. I’m always thinking of how what I’m eating is going to be beneficial for my tiny human that’s growing inside me.
Most pregnant women have cravings, many of astronomical absurdity. For me, my only craving has been kale. At first I thought maybe I was low on iron, but because I eat a lot of grains, I take an iron supplement, and the doctor says my levels are in the normal range, I exed that off the list. Then I thought about protein, but as much as I eat pumpkin seeds (everyday, don’t judge) and other protein rich plants, I knew that couldn’t be it either. Finally, I just settled on the fact that maybe that’s just my pregnancy craving, which to most, is pretty weird.
Before becoming pregnant, I would eat for taste. If it tastes good, I’m eating it. Even when I cooked I would go heavy on the herbs and spices. Now, taste is not even a thought in my mind when I cook or eat out.
What were some of your pregnancy cravings? Did your attitude about food change when you became pregnant?
You read that right. There’s a vegan bun in the oven and I couldn’t be more excited. As I finish up my first trimester, here’s how things went.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was numb. I did not want kids and finding out you’re pregnant and not married or in a relationship, pretty damn scary. I took two pregnancy tests (yes two because I thought the first one was lying), and then immediately went to my mom’s house. I cried as I told her and she jumped for joy (not because I was crying but because this is her first grandchild). As the days and weeks went on, I came to terms with it.
At my first ultrasound, the doctor said that my baby was measuring rather small, that the heartbeat was on the low side of normal, and that there were several reasons it could be happening.
- My last period dates were wrong.
- My ovulation was late.
- It could be a slow pregnancy, which meant the baby could possibly not make it.
Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I was on edge thinking the worst. I didn’t want it to be the third reason and was so scared. Apparently my mom and grandmother were too, they just didn’t want to stress me even more. Fast forward to my second prenatal appointment, the baby’s heart rate was in the normal range, it had grown tremendously, it was kicking its little foot and waving its hand. I felt so much joy and excitement. I had felt flutters since the last appointment but paid them no mind. Little did I know, that was the baby moving.
My doctor said everything was normal, the baby looked fine and was growing as it should. Turns out, my ovulation was a week late and I do remember not feeling myself ovulate (I have severely painful ovulations but the month of July, I didn’t feel it at all). I am so glad that my baby is doing well.
I really didn’t have anything to notify me I was pregnant other than the fact that I missed my period. I keep track of my period like a professional watchdog and when it didn’t come (like a few days past) I took the tests. Now at about 4 weeks I experienced cramping, really sore breasts and outrageous avocado and kale cravings. It was on a whole other level. The sore breasts is what bothered me the most.
I did start taking prenatal vitamins, but my doctor didn’t like the ones I had, so she prescribed me another vegan prenatal . They are horse pills (meaning that they are huge), but for the sake of my baby, I’ll do whatever I have to do.
My eating has been all over the place. I have not cooked much if at all. All I want to eat are samosas, fries, donuts, ice cream, and everything not healthy (but still vegan). Sometimes I have no appetite and sometimes I can’t stop eating. It’s really weird and fluctuates often. I have gained weight since my first prenatal appointment, which is a good thing.
I was told come the second trimester, my eating will go back to normal, and I cannot wait for that to happen. I can’t stand leafy greens right now and I miss them, yet I have no appetite for them.
I will say that my attitude is not the best right now and absolutely everything and everyone annoys me (sorry y’all, but it’s true). I feel more sensitive to things that people say and I hate that. Everything just gets on my last nerves and I feel so annoyed at that. Usually I can let things slide, but not so much now.
So I do not yet know the baby’s gender. I will find out on October 16, a week after my birthday. I don’t have a preference of the sex, just as long as the baby is healthy and has 5 toes, 5 or 6 fingers (6 fingers on each hand runs in my family), and has all the right body parts in the right place. My mom wants a gender reveal party, however, I am not keen on the idea because a gender reveal party just sounds stupid. Like no one can bring gifts if they don’t know, so then I have to have a baby shower on top of that. I am that odd child in the family where “normal societal behaviors” don’t interest nor impress me.
I am excited to be a mom. Though I will be a single mom, that is how I envisioned if I ever had kids. Do I want a husband and family? Of course, but I just never saw that when I saw myself having my first child. I know that’s really odd because most women envision being married and having a home and career when they have kids. For me, as long as I had my own place, my own car, and 2 careers, I’m set (yes, I have two careers: I’m a blogger and educator). As long as I could take care of myself and my baby financially (which is why I have been working my ass off to pay debts), then whether or not I was married or in a relationship, just didn’t matter. Did I plan to get pregnant? Not at all, but the universe doesn’t adhere to plans. The universe knows what you can and can’t handle and I guess this whole time I have been preparing myself to be a mother and I could not be more happier.
xoxo The Black Vegan Author