Pararescue Wife

I started this blog with the intent of talking about my experiences as a military spouse and more specifically as the wife of a PJ. It turned into a whole lot of random with not many details about being a military spouse and since we had our daughter I haven't posted much of anything. But I'm going to leave the blog up because of the wonderful emails I receive from girlfriends, wives-to-be, and wives of men who are interested in becoming Pararescuemen.

I am still more than happy to answer questions, offer advice, and to just talk to anyone about being a Pararescue wife.

So keep the emails coming!



Evy: The Last Few Months!

It's been several months since I've last blogged, I've been focusing on my little girl. Kudos to those mommas who keep blogging right after a new baby!

Evy is now 6 months old, she's such a happy sweet little girl I couldn't ask for anything else. I'm really enjoying motherhood.

Here are some pictures of her the last few months!


Newborn Essentials: For Mom

Here are some of the things that have gotten me through the first 6 weeks of being a new mom.

1. Motherhood Maternity Nursing Tanks: These are awesome. They have built in cups that unhook for easy access, they're slimming to hold in that extra baby jiggle, and they're comfy. I wear them all the time.

2. Korres Lip Butter Glaze: My makeup routine these days is very minimal, I guess that tends to happen when you're running on fumes. I love this moisturizing lip glaze that adds a pop of color to make a huge difference in brightening up my face. I feel slightly more put together when I wear this.

3. Milkmakers Lactation Cookies: I was skeptical if these would make a difference in my milk supply but they have. I have a recipe to make them on my own so I won't have shell out a fortune on them every month.

4. May Designs Baby Diary:  Used to keep track of feedings, diaper changes, and sleep. Its personalized, cute, and fits in the diaper bag. We used this for the first three weeks to make sure Evy was getting enough to eat and all that good stuff. It was very helpful to show the pediatrician.

5. Thermos Insulated Hydration Bottle: It's crazy how thirsty nursing makes you. I keep this water bottle with me 24/7 and it keeps my water icy cold.

6. Kindle Paperwhite:  I've been reading tons of books while I nurse, that or watching supernatural reruns. My new kindle paperwhite has LED lights built in so I can read in the middle of the night without waking up my husband.

7. The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter: After growing a baby for nine months your skin is a tad bit tired and stretched out that coupled with the fact that we live in the desert I'm constantly in the need for some serious skin hydration. I love the body shop's thick body butters, and coconut is definitely the best.

8. JJ Cole Diaper Bag: I'm super happy with this diaper bag, its got plenty of pockets inside and out, and it doesn't really look like a diaper bag.


Newborn Essentials: For Baby

Here are Evy's "essentials". Things that we love and get used daily!

1. Fisher-Price Newborn Rock 'n' Play Sleeper: This thing is amazing. She's slept in it every single night since we brought her home, it sits at the perfect level beside our bed and keeps her nice and snuggly. Now we're starting to transition into taking naps in her crib.

2. Boppy Noggin Nest Head Support: We use this in conjunction with the Rock 'n' Play Sleeper to keep her little head nice a round.

3. Aden and Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets:  We have received countless baby blankets since Evy has been born, I guess they are a favorite baby gift to give. But these are our favorite by a landslide. They are soft, lightweight, and big. Perfect for swaddling, using to cover the carseat, and keeping little baby nice and comfy. They come in lots of cute patterns. We also have matching crib sheets.

4. Chicco Keyfit30 Infant Carseat: This is one of the top safety rated carseats, thank goodness for that since we got rear-ended when she was 5 days old and already had to replace it. Its especially great for little babies since it has a handy little insert. Also it is super easy to get in and out of the car.

5. Pampers Swaddlers Newborn Diapers:  These were the diapers provided at the hospital, they work like a charm. They are super-absorbant, fit perfectly, and have that handy wetness indicator. We also tried out Huggies Little Snugglers which we hated, had an almost immediate blow out. I also recently tried out The Honest Company's diapers, which are non-toxic hypoallergenic etc. etc. We didn't care for them, they weren't as absorbent and felt stiff and papery.

6. Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier:  Evy only tolerates a pacifier sometimes and for just a little bit before she spits it out. But this one is her favorite, it buys us some silence every once in while.

7. First Year's Infant to Toddler Bath Tub:  You can put it in the bathtub or in the kitchen sink, the removable sling keeps little babies from falling down into the water. Evy LOVES bath time, this bath tub works great for us and will continue to as she gets bigger.

8. The Honest Company Shampoo & Body Wash:  I just discovered this in a trial kit it's amazing. Smells like an orange creamsicle and doesn't dry Evy's hair or body. It's natural and organic and I love it just as much for my own use. I know it'll be a staple of ours for a long time.

9. Carter's 4 Piece Set: Our absolute favorite clothes, adorable, soft, and comes in convenient sets. She wears the little sleepers at night and the onesies during the day. Easy Peasy.


Evelyn's Birth Story

DISCLAIMER: This is a birth story. Uncensored, true to how it happened (well how I remember it). Pregnancy has been an amazing journey and meeting our baby girl was the best day of my life. I want remember it always and share it here so that other momma's-to-be will have another story to read and prepare themselves.

Last pregnant picture. Smiling in between contractions.

To those who have been following along you know that this will have been the third (fourth?) time in Labor and Delivery Triage. We had our first pre-term labor scare around 30 weeks and our second trip into the hospital at 32 weeks. It was scary stuff and we did everything our doctor told us to prevent her from showing up too early. But luckily things slowed down and she stayed put.

Fast forward to 38 weeks, I was still having almost constant contractions but never to the point that I was making significant cervical change. It was the second week that my doctor had stripped my membranes. I was miserable, I wanted to go to the hospital and NOT be sent home, I was ready to meet my daughter. After tons of research and checking with my doctor I decided I wanted to try taking castor oil. I know, I know there is TONS of controversy around it. On Wednesday, March 13th I texted my husband to stop by CVS to pick some up, he obliged. Around 6 pm I tried it in Orange Juice and it came right back up. Poor Jon, he immediately tried to talk me out of trying to get it down. I tried it in a milkshake, still absolutely disgusting but I managed to drink it. I stayed hydrated the whole time and didn't experience any side effects.

So next I took a shower, blow dried my hair, checked all of our hospital bags (which had been packed since 32 weeks), walked laps around our house, cleaned out the pantry, and then sat down on my stability ball to time contractions. At that point I was a pro at timing contractions and breathing through them, or so I thought. Let me tell you when I say that real labor contractions are no joke, when it happens you just know that they are the real deal. Every contraction I had up until that point seemed like mild cramps. At this point (about 4 am) I told my hubby I wanted to go to the hospital, that it was time to pack up the car. I know at that point he was thinking that it would be another trip like the previous ones, because we had already been in multiple times and sent home.

Our hospital is about 30-40 minutes away, luckily at 4:30 am there is little to no traffic. As we walked from the car I realized I was at the point that I couldn't walk through contractions any longer. We checked in at the front desk and were sent back to triage. The triage nurse promptly told me I hadn't made any cervical change since my doctors appointment two days prior, I was still at about 2.5 cm and 80 percent effaced. They asked me if I wanted to walk for 2 hours or go home. I opted to walk around. I made it out of the unit before I was bent over hanging onto my husband for dear life, you feel that pain all over your body. I was determined though, I was going to walk until it was physically impossible. I made it about 30 minutes before it got to the point that I was bawling and squatting down in the hallways during each contraction. Jon offered to get a wheel chair to get me back to triage but I didn't want him out of my sight. After getting back to the room the nurse checked again and told us that we still hadn't made any change. I cried. I told her that it hurt to bad to leave, so she told me they'd call our doctor and just keep monitoring me. My doctor ordered me some morphine in the mean time. But guess what, that just made me sleepy in between contractions. Because there was no stopping that pain, I was gripping the bed for dear life and doing my breathing through each one while Jon sat beside me and asked me what he could do. I kept tearfully asking him if they were going to send us home, and then would tell him that they couldn't send me home because it hurt so badly. From 5 am until almost 8 we were left alone, then my doctor arrived. My wonderful doctor who knew about our whole pregnancy. She checked my cervix and guess what? We were at 5 cm, she told us congratulations that we were going to get to stay and have our baby today.

That was the most emotional moment of the whole ordeal, being told that we were going to finally get to meet our baby girl.

We moved to our delivery room and compared to the triage rooms it was like moving from a motel to a fancy hotel. Spacious and amazing. Going into everything I previously had it in my mind that I wanted to try and deliver naturally. After all of the ups and downs of not knowing if I was in labor or not as well as being given morphine by the time we got to the room I asked my nurse for an epidural as soon as possible. Not even 10 minutes later the anesthesiologist came in and placed it. It was ah-mazing, I could finally take a breath and relax. I don't regret getting it one bit. My doctor came in and broke my water shortly after that.

By 10:30 am I was at 7 cm, still making progress without having any other interventions. At 1:30 pm I was at 9.5 cm. From then until it came time to push around 2:40 pm I slept. You heard that right, I slept right through all of those contractions. Jon also got to nap some.

Then my doctor came in and they told me it was time to push. I could feel the pressure, Jon held one leg my nurse held the other and I pushed. They asked if we wanted a mirror to watch, and we did. It is pretty amazing what your body goes through. I remember seeing the top of her head with all of her dark hair for the first time. That was the best motivation to push harder so that we could meet her.

At 3:13 pm on Thursday, March 14th, 2013 Evelyn Christine Lewis was born. She was 6 pounds 10 ounces and 19 inches long. She was bright purple but starting to cry almost immediately. They put her right on my chest and I loved her more than anything.

She is our whole world now. 

I'd do all of it over again in a heartbeat.


Newborn Essentials: Feeding

Here are my feeding essentials that have gotten me through the first 6 weeks of Evelyn's life! I'm primarily nursing and then pumping a few times a day. Evy is a pro at going from breast to bottle and has been since she was born. At the hospital we found out she had a shallow latch and was a biter (gum-er?) she tore up my nipples in her first few hours, so by the time we went home I was crying at every feeding. So I began pumping to give myself a break to heal and ever since I've been loving being able to give her bottles as well as the bonding and convenience of nursing.

1.  Boppy Nursing Pillow: This has been amazing, you'd be surprised how tired your arms get holding that little baby up. I am so glad I lugged it to the hospital with us! Every time I'm nursing somewhere else without it I definitely miss it. 

2. Medela Contact Nipple Shield: A huge thank you to whoever created this, without it I may have given up nursing completely and exclusively pumped. It has helped correct Evy's latch as well as protect my nipples. We are starting to wean off of it, yay!

3. Bravado Seamless Nursing Bra: Comfiest nursing bra by a landslide. I have several, I wear them all day including to sleep. 

4. Motherlove Nipple Cream: I have several nipple creams that I liked but this was my favorite. It's an all natural salve that is safe for mommy and baby and actually works. Also it's very easy to apply, which is a big deal with you have cracked sore nipples.

5. JJ Cole Pacifier Pod: I keep my nipple shields in these strategically placed around the house and attached to my diaper bag. Without them I would have lost the little clear plastic nipple shields.

6. Playtex Drop-Ins Newborn Nurser Gift Set:  We tried out 5 or 6 different bottles and these were our favorite. I love the drop-ins, the slow flow nipples work great, and Evy doesn't take in too much air. The set also comes with pump adapters so you can pump directly into the drop-ins, so that's one less bottle that gets dirty.

7. Bebe Au Lait Nursing Cover:  Discrete, functional, and pretty. All you could ask for in a nursing cover. I especially love the fact that it has a rigid neckline so you can look down and see your baby. 

8. Medela Swing Breast Pump: I picked out this pump the day after we came home from the hospital. I thought I'd only be pumping occasionally so I got an electric single pump, its small and portable with decent suction. I will probably be upgrading to a double electric pump sooner than later. 

9. Boon Grass Drying Rack: It's a drying rack that looks like grass. Not much else to say about it other than it works. I like that I can fit all of the funny shaped pump parts on it.


Evy: One Month Old

I'm only a little tiny bit sorry that it's been so long since I've posted anything. But my husband and I have been wrapped up in getting to know our sweet little girl. I can't believe she's a month old, its only the beginning of the lifetime of love we will have for her. Mommyhood has been both easier and tougher than I had imagined. Learning how to nurse was hard (and painful), spending the majority of the day enjoying every little sound and expression coming from this tiny person is easy. Those are just the tip of the things that come along with being in the new mommy club.

I feel so unbelievably blessed to have such a sweet healthy baby and to have as much support as I have had from my husband. I can't imagine having to do all of this without him.