Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Giveaway with Sakura Bloom!!

What a great way to end the week with an amazing giveaway from my favorite baby wearing company Sakura Bloom


Im a huge supporter of this company. I just love their fabrics, color choices and style, and the fact that wearing the sling doesn't ruin my outfit but actually accentuate it.
When Niko was little- weeks old until I got pregnant again I would use the ring sling throughout the day and night. Sometimes its the only way he would/could actually fall asleep. It allowed me to get things done during the day such as eating, doing bottles or juts alleviate the weight and pressure of always holding him. It was also perfect in London as it wasn't always convenient to take a stroller when we went out. Even my husband Alki was able to wear it and loved having Niko close to him.
Here in London, Niko was only a few weeks old in our Sakura Bloom ring sling.

Here in CA with our Essential silk Sakura Bloom ring sling. 

Out at the Grove in LA in the Essential Silk Sakura Bloom Ring Sling.

Sweet Success. Sleeping using our Sakura Bloom Ring Sling

In Greece a few months old



Im so excited to be able to baby wear again once I give birth to Tino. Just today I purchased a new color to add to my growing collection of 6 Sakura Bloom ring slings <----- Obsessed.




















I purchased the essential silk in Sandstone/ Pebble. I think the color is so beautiful and will go with anything. I also have the Essential Silk in Shadow / Smoke , in solid Jade and another from the Shabd Collection, along with 2 from their Linen collection. I love them ALL. They are truly so beautiful.

So with that said, Sakura Bloom was kind enough to offer 4 of my readers and followers an Essential Silk ring sling of your choice for FREE!!! How amazing is that !!!

So today will be day 1 of 4 chances to win. The next Giceaway days will be announced on my Instagram account so make sure you're following!!!

To enter- go to my Instagram - @jenniferstano and find my most recent picture post of the Sakura Bloom Ring Sling.
Comment with your name, click on their Instagram Account @lovesakurabloom and Follow them.
Then REPOST the image (below) that I posted onto your account and tag both myself and @lovesakurabloom !
Together- Sakura Bloom and I will choose a random person and announce the next day.
Deadline for entries is tonight at 8pm est. Good luck!
Repost this picture and follow & tag both @lovesakurabloom and myself to win!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Where has the Time Gone?!?!

Picture by Lori Dorman Photography

Its been MONTHS… close to a year now since I last posted on my blog. I feel horrible for neglecting it and all of the people who enjoy reading my blog.. I guess I've been using Instagram as a visual blog showing my life through video and pictures. Its just so much easier to snap a pic or quick 15sec video and write a short description.. Either way, Ive gotten the "itch" to start blogging again. My son Niko just turned 1 year old in June. I truly cannot believe how fast time has gone by and as most of you now know,  Im expecting my second child due October 16th. With so many things I want to say and share I guess Ill just start writing and see were it goes. It may be a mess of a post, but what else is new lol.
Photo by Lori Dorman Photography


Im PREGNANT AGAIN!!!
Expecting number 2

Baby Tino
I stopped breastfeeding at 5 months pp. It was a hard struggle from the beginning being that I had 4 breast augmentations (my theory); I was happy to have lasted that long let alone breastfeed at all. I enjoyed the experience and plan to breastfeed my second son Tino. Hopefully it will not be as difficult this time around.  One month after I stopped BF I got my first "monthly friend" (at 6 months pp). My god it was nice not having a period every month LOL..

How I found Out I was expecting again-
Photo by Lori Dorman Photography
Being that I had trouble getting pregnant with Niko, I never imagined I would have gotten pregnant so quickly.. One random day in Feb I noticed I was a few days late with my period. I had some pregnancy tests left over and thought it would be funny to take one  "just to see". I took the test, placed it down on my vanity, and began to brush my teeth expecting of course for it to be negative. I glanced down at the test, looked in the mirror and then glanced down again- 2 RED LINES as clear as  day. I don't even know if I spit my tooth paste out or what, but I grabbed the test, walked into the doorway and stood there facing Alki who was still laying in bed. "Alki….. Im f*cking pregnant" (said with a very serious face I might add).  He sat up with eyes as big as could be. He was in shock yet had this amazing grin on his face. "Thats amazing" he said. I walked over and as I sat on the bed I began to cry. Its not that I wasn't happy or that I didn't want to be pregnant, but  I think for the first time in my life I was in complete shock and utter surprise.  I sat and balled my eyes out feeling guilty for Niko.  What was going through my head was - Niko is only 6 months old, I hadn't spent enough time with just him. I just started feeling like myself again, I still had 20 lbs to lose to be back to my pre baby weight, I had been working out like crazy and not eating great- did I hurt the baby by wearing my corsets?!?!?!??!?! I mean a FLOOD of emotions and fear went through my head. We definitely wanted to have more children, but we thought we would begin trying at the end of this year (2014), not JANUARY!!!! I called my mom right away and told her the news, she was soooooo excited that my kids would be close in age, I could almost hear her jumping for joy.
It took me about 2 hours to get over the shock, tell my family and closest friends and realize that whats meant to be, is meant to be.  I should be so grateful I became pregnant naturally, on our own without help of Dr's this time around.

Once it actually hit me that Im pregnant again, away went all the products, cancelled all my facial appointments and nail appointments and got back into "pregnancy mode" … again.  It was just so weird because I just got back to the States from living in London for the last year on January 6th and literally only had 1 month of "normalcy" before abandoning it all again; but for good reason of course. I had to read my own blog to remember the things I had done and used etc. Its funny how you can forget certain things.
Now 7 months along I can't believe in just 2 more months we will be welcoming our new baby boy Konstantino aka Tino. Traditionally, you name your sons after their grandfathers, and in our case- Alki's first son is named after his father Andrew, and our first son together is named after my father- Nicholas but we spelt it is bit more European, Nikola. So now that this is Alki's 4th boy (LOL) and our second together we wanted a name that fit well with Niko and had an easy and cute nickname. Im a sucker for European names, as you can tell.  I love Italian names (obviously as Im Italian) and Greek as well (thank god my husband is one of the 2)!  After going through lists online and apps on my phone we decided we wanted a strong Greek name and chose Konstantino using a K instead of a C to match Nikola. In Europe Konstantino is pronounced Con-stan-Deeno , so we weren't sure at first if his nickname should be Dino or Tino, but we decided we loved Tino more and I love saying my boys names- Niko and Tino lol. <--------- dork.

So far I have gained 20lbs in 7 months. I wish I was meant to be one of those girls who stayed super skinny their entire pregnancy and was back in their "skinny" jeans in weeks after having their baby… But Im not. No matter how naturally skinny I am when Im not pregnant- these pregnancy hormones bring out my Italian genes… All ass and thighs LOL. Its not a bad thing but Im just so over the weight. Being pregnant back to back is wonderful. IM so so excited to have 2 boys close in age, and I mean close as in under a year and a half apart. They will be best friends.. Ive always said I wanted children around 2 years apart. 3 years to me seemed way too much...I got my wish alright, but I miss my body, and feeling like myself. I feel like its been 2 years since I've been "missing".  We all have a comfort zone, and a vision of where we feel we are perfect.. To me, I was perfect right before I got pregnant with Niko. At about 115lbs at 5'6 is my favorite.. Ok , I understand your body changes after a baby, and I'm sure even more so after 2 back to back, but Im determined to get back to MY comfort zone and I think Im more determined than ever to achieve my goals the second time around.


Im not done having babies yet. I Turned 29 in February  (1985 baby) and am not ready for this to be my last pregnancy. The thought of that makes me really sad and I so badly want to give my husband a little girl or 2.  We have talked about the possibility of "spinning" the sperm or doing some sort of implantation ensuring the next will be a girl. With 4 boys under his belt statistics would show his next will probably be a boy, so the discussion has definitely come up and Im completely open to it.  I think this time I would like to wait 2 years before becoming pregnant again- although I will not be going on Birth Control, we will have to be very careful this time around. We talked about twins as well. 4 seems better than 3 especially if there is going to be a gap larger than 2 years apart, and I wouldn't want one to be singled out. So we'll see in the future.
Photo by Lori Dorman Photography

A lot of people asked if I was going to try VBAC (vaginal birth after c section) this time around and the answer is No. No for several reasons but mainly because I asked my Dr who I trust very much what he thought.  He was completely open to be doing a natural birth using all kinds of birthing balls, chairs even a birthing pool… but because Niko was breech all of that went out the door. Normally you can try to deliver vaginally after having a c section, but because I was only 6 months PP that I became pregnant again,  my uterus and body did not have enough time to heal fully and I would be a great risk of rupturing during labor. Sure, I would LOVE to have my original birth plan and deliver naturally, even my dream to have a water birth, but Im not so stubborn to risk my or my baby's health god forbid something went wrong during labor. So after speaking with him he said its completely up to me, but if it was his wife- he would want her to deliver by c section… and that was enough for me.
So on Oct 16th, I will deliver via C section again in London. Ive heard the recovery the 2nd time is not as hard as the first, so Im staying optimistic as I worry how things will be with my Niko. Him wanting to hug me and hold me and for me to carry and lift him. He's my whole world… I literally tear up at the though of him being upset that "mama" can't hold him… I hope things will be fine
Photo by Lori Dorman
So now I'm currently in Greece and it is beyond HOT! With Niko I was pregnant during the winter and delivered in June, but June summers in London is really mild so it wasn't bad. Now being pregnant in the summer but in Greece where is above 100 degrees - its brutal. Its hot for me and Hot for the baby. I so badly want to take him to the beach and do all of these out door activities but its getting harder and harder for me and its getting hotter and hotter outside. End of August and Sept will be much more pleasant so Im looking forward to it.


On Instagram I have a page called "Nikosfavoriteproducts" where I post all of my favorite mommy and baby products, recipes, etc. Lately Ive been having this itch to start a new project. The swimwear line has taken a backseat this past year with both Lilly and I but we are taking this entire summer to catch up on designs and production and do a new site Launch at the end of the year! Its very exciting as designing, sewing and the line have always been my passion. But now with 2 babies Im itching to do something I believe in baby related.. I had started a company with a friend of mine where we were going to do baby blankets. That went nowhere and is just sitting there. We may do it in the future but for now Im looking to do something else. Ive been talking to a few companies about collaborating and designing a line for them of a few different things so Im really excited to see where they go.



I think for now this is it.. Please leave in comments any questions you have or ideas for my next post. Ill have a bit more time before Tino arrives to blog so Ill try my best to get in a bunch more posts.

xx
Jennifer




Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A little late.. But I had my Baby!!!!!


Finding the time to work on a blog post has been hard, to say the least. Between breastfeeding, sleeping, eating exercising  I barely find time to even get dressed sometimes. With 3 months passed I have so much I want to share with you. From my must haves for the baby and reviews on things I bought for him, to life as a new mom and my diet / work out plan.  So lets start from the beginning.

On our way to the hospital to have our baby

Meet Niko:




I gave birth on June 12th 2013 to a beautiful baby boy weighing 6lbs 8oz and 20" long via C section due to him being frank breech. Frank breech means his legs are up by his head and his butt is down near my "area". When he was pulled out ( butt first ) his poor little legs didnt know what to do from being bent upwards in the womb all this time so they just flopped everywhere.
At 6 weeks we had to go have an ultrasound done on his hips to make sure they were in their place and growing correctly from being breech. The good news is they are in their sockets but the sockets are shallow. I was told to keep him in 2 diapers / nappies and NOT to swaddle. I must say my mama instincts were right on in this situation because I never really swaddled him from the start anyway even when everyone told me I should [ trust your instincts]! At his 2 month check up the Dr told us he looks fine- but I still keep him in 2 diapers just to be sure ;)

Where I gave birth:


I gave birth at the famous St. Marys Lindo Wing in London where Princess Diana gave birth and most recently Kate Middleton just had her baby boy. When I moved to London from California I had no idea what Dr's to use or what hospital to go to. I got referred to a Dr from one of my husbands friends and the Dr just so happened to deliver at both Portland and St. Marys. At the time I had no idea the Lindo Wing was so famous. The staff was amazing and our suite was huge. The Lindo Wing is very small and private, and their are only 2 suites in their newly refurbished quarters. Yes, Princess Kate Middleton did stay in the same suite I stayed in after delivering. She took out both suites which are separated from the rest and one is bigger than the other ( I got a tour before delivering myself and booked our suite ). I must say I was super excited when I found out she was delivering there as well. I didnt get to take a picture on the famous Lindo Wing steps as we came out with baby Niko because it was raining the day we went home, but I do plan on going back and getting one- for Niko to have for when he is older. My Dr was Dr. TG Teoh and he was amazing. My scar is as tiny as it can be for a breech baby and super super low! Luckily I can still wear my tiny Have Faith Bikinis lol! Dr Teoh was so helpful and understanding my entire pregnancy I HIGHLY recommend him to anyone delivering privately in London.
Delivery room at the Lindo Wing at St. Marys Hopsital

My Birthing Experience:


Having a C section was not bad at all. As most of you know I originally wanted to deliver completely natural but I had no other choice in this situation. Niko was breech for months and hadnt changed his position, and at 38.5 weeks I dont think turning was in his plans.
 I was terrified of the epidural which turned out not to be so bad. When I got to the hospital they checked us into one of the delivery rooms where they strap you up to a heart monitor to monitor the baby and your contractions or in my case braxton hicks , which at this point I was having regularly.

They then put these super tight socks on you so you dont get blood clots and to help with the water retention that comes after delivering a baby via c section and or natural but with an epidural. When it was finally time to deliver they walked me down to the "thearte" where they will preform the surgery.
When I got to the surgery room they sat me down on the table and put the IV into my hand. Then they quickly began to start putting in my epidural. Everything was moving so quickly I had no time to freak out and panic. I made my husband stand in front of me while they were inserting the needle into my back. I have a tendency to pass out so I was afraid I would just fall off the table. It was really comforting having him there and helped me keep super still. Once the epidural kicked in my entire lower half went completely numb. I started to panic once they made me lie down on my back as my belly was so heavy plus the strange foreign feeling of NOT feeling your legs. But I calmed myself down knowing this was all normal and finally just relaxed. I just kept thinking " soon I will meet my baby, soon I will be a mom, I need to be strong". Once they got me into place they put up the curtain so I couldnt see all the gory stuff. They then inserted a catheter into my "hoohaa" since I wouldn't be able to get up and pee for the next day or so as they keep the epidural in for 24-48 hours. All the pain meds make you constipated anyway so nothing happens in that region. When in place they them used Iodine all over my belly- my Dr joked it was Soy Sauce lol and shortly after I heard him say "knife please". I couldnt believe this was all going so fast. I swear in a matter or 10-20 minutes he was out. I felt NOTHING. Maybe some tugging and pressure but no pain at all. After the cut I heard all kinds of suction. Having watched C section videos on youtube I knew what was going on and then all of a sudden I heard either my husband or the DR say "theres the water" which I knew meant they had entered my amniotic sack and the baby would shortly be here. MY husband then said "theres the placenta" which really was Niko's ass LOL. The Dr corrected him with "bum" as he was pulling Niko out. The anesthesiologist who was standing right by me asked if I wanted her to lower the curtain to see the baby and I told her yes. Within seconds I heard my husband getting excited and then squealing that to me sounded like a piglet LOL. I looked up and saw my baby for the first time. All his hair, his little mouth and body, hands and legs flailing all around- it was the most surreal feeling ever, total disbelief  and yet complete infatuation at that moment. I became a mom and this baby was mine. I made him, he lived in me for 9 months and now he is here. The midwife took him to the side where she would let my husband cut his cord, clamp it and then bring him to me without cleaning him off as I requested ( its better for bonding and finding the nipple if they are not cleaned off first). She then brought him to me for skin to skin and for the first time I got to hold my baby.  I never grew up around small children, so this was the first tiny baby I held as an adult. Once he was placed on my chest I didnt know what to do. He felt so small and fragile I didnt want to move him. As soon as they placed him on my chest he stopped crying, peed on me and then placed his hand on my mouth. It was one of the most beautiful moments in my life. Since I was being sewn up and still couldnt feel my lower half I couldnt see much of him since I couldnt move. All i could see was that he had a lot of hair LOL. Shortly after the midwife came back and took him to get cleaned off and warmed up, weighted measured etc. All I could do was lay there and watch. I made a few phone calls to my mom in NY who was anxiously awaiting "the call" at 4 am her time. I then was able to snap a quick pic and post the first picture of Niko to my Instagram Family.
Jennifer Stano -  Niko's first picture
Once done being sewn up, they sat me up, gave Niko to me and wheeled me back to the delivery room that I started out in where I would stay for a few hours before going to the recovery suite. Once we got to the room I unwrapped Niko and the midwife was prepared to help the baby latch on to feed but he latched on before we could even assist him. Apparently he read all of the same books I did lol. He nursed for a while and I swear I held him in my arms for 12 hours straight. I didnt want to put him down.


Once settled down Paula Gallardo from the IPEN network in the UK met us in my room. There she prepared my raw placenta smoothie which both Alki and I drank. After she was done she then took my Placenta to my house and started a 16hr process of dehydrating my placenta to make raw pills that I would then take for 6 weeks 3x a day. If your curious about this process and why I chose to do this please see my previous blogs. I will say that I am SO happy I did this and I hope some of you get inspired as well.
Alki waiting for the placenta smoothie to be ready.

After all the excitement and commotion, my husband fell asleep next to me, the midwives here gone and I was left in bed with my newborn baby where I was and am completely in love. He was the tiniest most beautiful creature I ever laid eyes on, and he was half of me half of my husband and ours forever.
Niko's first day of Life
Recovery was slow- definitely not like having your boobs done lol. But I was up and walking around the next day in the hospital. I was able to move around with the epidural still in my back. As soon as I got my feet on the floor and stood up I felt this unbelievable weight on my pelvis. I still had a stomach (which was kind of depressing as I thought it would be gone LOL) and it was really hard to move around feeling so much pressure on my incision BUT everyone I spoke to told me to push through the pain and walk, that it will help with recovery and so I did.  I was in the hospital for 3 days.

Going Home


When I got into the car I started to cry. I think it was all a bit overwhelming and  felt like I had lost control of my baby. Its hard to explain and put into words what I was feeling. It wasn't  depression but I guess I wanted the baby all to my self... Im not sure. It was all just going so fast. I dont know if it was my husband being overly excited and everything just going so quickly but I felt like I wanted everything to just slow down. I wanted all of the moments you see on TV and it didnt happen that way due to the weather being crap and raining. When we got home I was better but it was hard carrying him for 9 months and having him all to my self and now having to share everything.. I hope Im explaining this right and that it kind of makes sense.  Its not that I didnt want my husband to hold him or have moments with him bc that made me happier than anything seeing them together- it's just really hard to explain.

Getting Niko into his nursery was so exciting. I had his nursery prepared for a couple of months before he arrived ( and I highly recommend not waiting for the last minute because the smallest chores becomes the hardest) and now seeing him using everything I made and bought and had ready for him was an amazing feeling.


Nikos London Nursery

The day I arrived home my mom and brother had flown in from NY to stay for 5 days to help and see the baby. It was nice having them around but also a bit stressful as I wanted to breastfeed all the time but felt I had to entertain and didnt want them to get bored. I had a maternity nurse since Im living in London and didn't  have any friends of family around to help me, I haven't even changed a diaper in my life at this point LOL. Niko's diaper was my first one.... a lot with Niko was my first ever when it comes to babies so having a MN was really helpful especially having had a c section.
My brother and I for a walk with Niko in London

It's one thing to be fat when pregnant BUT another to still be fat when you're no longer pregnant.

 I understand its a slow process being that I had a C section for my stomach to go back down but i just feel so self conscious and slightly depressed about it ( being honest ). I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy... A LOT! I didnt pig out (except my first trimester bc I was so under weight), I didnt eat sweets. I ate a lot of fruit and drank a ton of Milk... healthy foods I would say, but my body just retained so much water towards the end that I packed on the pounds. I have already lost 40lbs but still have another 30lbs to go.. Yes, thats right! I gained 70lbs in my pregnancy.... 70! Thats 30lbs shy of my best friend Lilly LOL..I know it doesnt really look like it- I didnt gain a ton of weight in my face, mainly my belly, ass and thighs.
Here at 36 weeks pregnant.
 I never appreciated my pre baby body so much as I do right now. All those times I thought I was "fat" or "not good enough"... I laugh at myself now... I was good! And Im determined to get back to my pre baby body but safely and in a timely manner since Im breastfeeding. I have not gone on some crazy strict diet, I waited the full 6 weeks until I started to SLOWLY workout... Like my pregnancy, Im doing everything the best I can. At 8 weeks postpartum  I started doing pilates on mats with a private instructor here in Greece and I began swimming laps in our pool. At 145lbs and not much ab control (yet!) a simple beginners Pilates workout beat my ass! But it feels good to start getting back on track as its been 10 months since I really "worked out". 3 months PP ( 14 weeks) my belly has gone done substantially thank god and Im starting to get more muscle tone back throughout my body. Ive never had to work so hard in my life to have a good body- I'm definitely putting in the sweat and tears these days.
ON the left- 1 week PP and on the right 3 weeks PP.
5 weeks PP


Nanny?

A lot of people have asked me on Instagram if I have a nanny.. The answer is yes. I do have a nanny because I am living in London without any family or friends and as a first time mom I needed help. I must say at first having a nanny or maternity nurse was not on my list of things I needed or wanted for that matter. Im a very hands on person- especially when it comes to my own baby. I waited a long time to become pregnant and then a long time to finally meet my baby- I wanted to be 100% involved in everything. And I must say that in the beginning I got really frustrated having someone else handling my baby. I was really emotional and felt like I had no control over my baby. Everyone was doing things for him when I wanted to do them myself.  I wanted to make sure that he knew I was the MOM and that he recognized my voice. Still to this day it's not always easy- IM grateful and thankful to have a nanny but theres times I dont want to share him. I guess thats normal. It is nice because it gives me some time to be with my husband and make sure he gets attention too. If I was home and had family and friends Im not sure I would need a nanny- I really love being a mom and even with a Nanny I spend so many hours with him... Im lucky I found someone that I really like and we get along and she genuinely cares for Niko so much. I had to remember that this is all for him. If Niko feels loved 24/7 and is cared for 24/7 he will grow up to be a very secure person.
Many people have different views on how to raise their baby. I never was the person who said " oh, Ill just let them cry themselves to sleep and self soothe". I dont believe in that. They have their entire lives to learn to deal with issue and problems on their own. This is a new born baby and all is needs is love, attention, affection and security. I never let Niko cry himself to sleep and when he does start crying I pick him up right away. There is a book my nanny told me about called " Kiss Me, how to raise your child with love" and its about just that. Co-sleeping, not letting your child cry themselves to sleep or self sooth and studies behind his beliefs. Its very interesting and I believe Niko is such a good baby and very calm because I am very calm and loving. Do what you feel is right when raising your child. If you are into self soothing then good for you- if you're not thats fine too. Do what works for you.



Some of the items I cannot live without for Niko.
As with my pregnancy, everything I am using is all natural. I really believe it made such a difference with Niko and still does. The products below are ones I use and love- I do not get paid for any of this and I am not endorsed by any of these companies. PLease share the products you use and love in the comment section :)

-Bambo Diapers-
The diapers I and using and LOVE are by Bambo ! I buy them off of amazon and they are my absolute favorite. They are natural, free of harsh chemicals and Niko has not had 1 rash with them. They are soft and thick - My #1 choice
http://www.bambo-nature.com/bambo-nature-mini-4.html

- Honest Company Diapers
I love the designs of the Honest Company diapers and they fact that they too are all natural but the Bambo diapers are much softer.. But I use both


-Honest Company Wipes-
They are free of harsh chemicals and are really soft.


www.honest.com

-Nappy Balm- by " The Little Green Sheep - best diaper balm ever. Not 1 rash!
http://www.thelittlegreensheep.co.uk

-Weleda products- Sold at Whole foods- I use the whole baby range on him , lotion, shampoo, oil etc
http://www.weleda.com

-Snuza Hero
This is a life saver... Literally. Its a portable breathing monitor that clips onto the babys diaper and detects when the baby stops breathing. Niko does not go a night without this on him. After 10 seconds if the baby hasnt moved it vibrates ot remind them to breath. If they still dont begin to move it sets off an alarm so you know something is wrong. I sleep very well knowing this is on him.
www.snuza.com

-Cocoonababy
I discovered this at Harrods and am so obsessed with it I bought 2. I keep one in his nursery and one in my room. Niko didnt like sleeping flat on his back as he always felt like he was falling. But int he cocoon he sleeps so well. It also prevents flat head... Must have!
http://www.redcastle.fr/shop_product_cocoonababy-nest-_62-en.html

-A Fan
I have a portable fan that clips onto anything. I clip it on to his crib, his stroller, my head bored while breastfeeding just to circulate the air. I read it helps in preventing SIDS and also is a consistant calming noise that helps him sleep.
http://www.toysrus.com/buy/strollers/stroller-accessories/babies-r-us-stroller-fan-1934047-18166336


-Prince Lionheart Wipe Warmer POP
I love the POP wipe warmer and so does Niko. ONly problem is every week you need to remember to wet the sponge that sits at the bottom to keep everything moist.
http://www.princelionheart.com



-Primo Euro Bath- best bath for infant and toddlers. I bought the stand as well which makes bath time way easier!
http://www.primobaby.com/PRIMO-Euro-Bath

-Stokke Stroller- Love this stroller. Great quality, easy to manuver and set up. A little hard to close but I need more practice. I never close mine lol.
http://www.primobaby.com/PRIMO-Euro-Bath


-Motorola Camera System 3.2 screen
http://www.toysrus.com/buy/babies-r-us-exclusives/health-safety/motorola-digital-video-baby-monitor-with-3.5-color-screen-and-two-wireless-cameras-with-pan-tilt-zoom-mbp36-2-mbp36-2-12610135

-Gripe Water-
By Mommys Bliss.  Whenever Niko is fussy or has gas I give him some of this Gripe Water and it works instantly.
http://www.mommysbliss.com/store/products/gripe-water/

-Badger sunscreen - all natural sunscreen
http://www.badgerbalm.com/c-32-organic-baby-products.aspx

-Bug spray- 
http://www.amazon.com/BabyGanics-Natural-Insect-Repellent-Ounce/dp/B00AN4ASBO/ref=sr_1_11?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1379510952&sr=1-11&keywords=natural+bug+spray+baby

- Anti pressure pillow- Prevents flat head. I use this in his stroller for walks.
www.aperfectpillow.com

Binkies-  His favorite ones
http://www.usa.philips.com/c/avent-baby-pacifier/0-3m-green-green-scf190_01/prd/


Teething-  Hylands teething Gel ( so far). We just started teething now. Update to come.

-Favorite clothing for infants
Magnolia Baby
Kissy Kissy
Absorba
Mayoral
Petit Bateau
Next

-Favorite online store
Alex and Alexa
Childs Play CLothing
Next
John Lewis
Amazon.com



My Birth Video

Im so happy Alki took such amazing footage of our experience. I took the footage and edited a video and we are so happy to be able to share the birth of our son with you. PLease click the video or the link below to watch.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. If you have questions or comments please leave below.

My Birth Video - http://www.filmon.com/tv/jennifer-stano

Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood - finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

Nikos London Nursery.


Hi Blogger fam.

So I am officially full term- 38 weeks and 1 day to be exact. I could technically go into labor at anytime and Niko would be just fine.



I wrote a few weeks ago about my birth plan. I want(ed) completely natural, no pain relief, no inducing drugs, being able to labor in water, delaying the clamping of the cord... You get the picture- NATURAL!!!  Well, all that seems to rapidly be going out the window as Niko is still in a breech position and has been for some time. Theres numerous reason as to why he could be breech other than that he's just comfortable.  If you read my story on my Journey to becoming pregnant you may remember me mentioning that my Uterus is the shape of a Heart. Well, this could play a big part in why Niko cant turn head down.  I also have Scoliosis- which is a curvature of the spine- this could be another reason since my spine in the shape of an S and may have effected my pelvic area also causing him to stay Breech. Whatever the reason is- it is.

Now, there are a number of ways that you can try to turn the baby while he's still in the womb. One is known as ECV- External Cephalic Version

             "External cephalic version, or version, is a procedure used to turn a fetus from a breech position or side-lying (transverse) position into a head-down (vertex) position before labor begins. When successful, version makes it possible for you to try a vaginal birth.
Version is done most often before labor begins, typically around 36 to 37 weeks. Version is sometimes used during labor before the amniotic sac has ruptured. This can be a good time to use version, when labor is constantly monitored and a cesarean delivery (C-section) can be done right away if needed. But the chance to do the version can be lost if labor speeds up or the amniotic sac ruptures.
A scheduled cesarean is used to deliver most breech births if a version doesn't work."

After watching some videos of ECV being done with my husband and reading up about it, we decided against trying to manipulate him to move. The risks just didn't seem worth it to me.

Ive read that theres other natural ways such as acupuncture and chiropractors and even a website called spinningbabies.com - which I have tried some of there exercises and suggestions but still no luck.  I am a big believer in "Whats meant to be will be", and at this point Im letting nature take its course.

Now, I am no new comer to surgeries however having a C section is MAJOR surgery- one of which I have never had before and the thought of it does scare me. Being that I have scoliosis the thought of a needle going into my spine FREAKS the crap out of me. Also the fact that they are cutting into a major organ... Im just scared.

After having my 38 week check up and speaking to my Dr after confirming that Niko is indeed still Breech he told me my options.
1- Trying Versions to try to get him to turn head down
2. Wait till he comes on his own and hope by then he has turned
3. Schedule a C section at a time where we are both mutually happy and hope better for the next time.

Since Versions is out- completely, my other option was to just wait it out and hope he turns.
The only issue I'm having with that is how much water my body is retaining and the fact that there is no guarantee he's going to turn and if I do go into labor naturally and he is still breech Ill need to have an emergency C section. Sure its normal to retain water and swell up at this point of pregnancy, but my body is extreme for whatever reason. I have developed carpal tunnel in my knuckles and what feels like my feet as well- if thats even possible. My ankles = NON existent. My feet are so swollen even my uggs wont go on. My face is swelling, my thighs get so inflamed sometimes that I cant even walk. I have tried compression stockings, elevating my feet- nothing is helping. My Dr said I'm one of the 30% of woman who experience extreme swelling of their extremities without developing Preeclampsia- but the excessive swelling is often an indication of just that. And I also have pitting edema- where my ankles and feet will keep my finger prints like a temper pedic mattress if I push on them. So needless to say, my dr , Alki and myself all felt comfortable with planning a C section due to Niko being breech and having a relaxed experience rather than having it be a rushed emergency. 

What is Preeclampsia- "Pre-eclampsia or preeclampsia is a medical condition characterized by high blood pressure and significant amounts of protein in the urine of a pregnant woman. If left untreated, it can develop into eclampsia, the life-threatening occurrence of seizures during pregnancy.
There are many different causes for the condition. It appears likely that there are substances from the placenta that can causeendothelial dysfunction in the maternal blood vessels of susceptible women.[1] While blood pressure elevation is the most visible sign of the disease, it involves generalised damage to the maternal endotheliumkidneys, and liver, with the release ofvasoconstrictive factors being a consequence of the original damage.
Pre-eclampsia may develop from 20 weeks' gestation (it is considered early onset before 32 weeks, which is associated with an increased morbidity). Its progress differs among patients; most cases are diagnosed before labor typically would begin. Pre-eclampsia may also occur up to six weeks after delivery. Apart from Caesarean section and induction of labor (and therefore delivery of the placenta), there is no known cure. It is the most common of the dangerous pregnancy complications; it may affect both the mother and fetus"

So that leaves me with having to get a C section even though Im completely terrified (selfishly) of a possible horrible scar and having to wait even longer to get back into the gym. My dr said his scars are usually really small at about the hair line but because NIko is breech he needs to make the incision a bit bigger so the baby's head does not get stuck :(
At this point Niko is just fine, and I go for weekly check ups with my Dr. But as of last week Alki and I decided that we would schedule a C section for June 12th at 11am unless Niko decided to come sooner- which of course if still breech would mean a c section anyway. He's been monitored bi weekly for months and his position has not changed.

So there you have it - Ill be having my baby June 12th at 11am London time due to a breech baby and excessive swelling and avoiding an emergency c section. Ill be 38.5 weeks.

Am I disappointed???? So, So.  Im not really disappointed, Ive kept an open mind about the whole process the entire time and this is life- and thats why having a birth PLAN is just that... a plan. But I worried that I would be missing out on "that moment". I worried I wouldn't be able to breast-feed , I worried Id miss out on the bonding of skin to skin, and that made me really sad. BUT- I did some research and spoke to my Dr and theres hope for my worries!!!

My C Section Birth Plan-

My concern- Can my husband still cut the umbilical cord? 
Docs answer- In theory, yes. Since everything is sterile over and around my body the Dr has to do the initial cut. But he will leave enough room that the midwife can take the baby over to Alki and Alki can cut in between the clamps.

My concern- Can I still have the bonding time and skin to skin right after he is born.
Docs answer- Yes, after the baby is taken and semi cleaned they will bring Niko to me and place him on my chest covered with a blanket since the surgery room is quite cold. I will need to tell the midwives the plan and not to wipe down his hands at the small and "gunk" on his hands will help guide him to my breast for breastfeeding (I've read)

My concern- Will I still be able to breastfeed?
Docs Answer- every person is different but just bc you have a c section vs a natural birth does not mean your milk will not come in- so essentially yes.

My concern- Theres  no way to delay the cord clamping
Docs Answer- NO- in a c section you cannot delay the clamping of the cord. So I have chosen to bank his cord blood and stem cells instead.

So with all of that being said I dont feel like I'm Missing out as much as I did before.

My Placenta Pills !!!!

I am still having my placenta turned into pills that I will take after Niko is born and I am even going as far as to having a shake made then and there in the hospital with a piece of my placenta RAW- a placenta smoothie. Please  see my older post about cord clamping and placenta pills to read more about my decision to do this.

In the UK I found the IPEN network and chose a placenta specialist from there - http://placentanetwork.com


What I used to prevent stretch marks.
Many will argue that it comes down to genetics, and while I agree I do still think that it is important to use lotions and keep your skin moisturized and that it does help in preventing dry itchy skin, and possibly stretch marks as well.. So here is what I did.
I went on amazon and ordered a bunch of all natural and raw butters.
-Raw cocoa butter
-Coconut oil
-Mango Butter
-Aloe Butter
-Shea Butter
I put some of the hard butters in a bowl and melted first in the microwave to soften it up first. Then I added everything into a pot on my stove and heated it up until they all became oil. I mixed them all together and then poured the mix back into containers and popped them in the fridge. When cold the natural butter will harden but when warm it becomes soft and sometimes even back into an oil form. I used an old glass Jam jar and kept it by my bedside and applied day and night. I truly believe that this did help in preventing stretch marks from appearing on my body. From a 23" waist to a 45"+ waist I have not 1 stretch mark. I do have a few on my butt and I believe its because I forgot to lotion my butt while doing my belly, boobs and hips in the 1st and 2nd trimester. Who knows- but there it is. I have so much left over Im actually going to buy glass jars and give some away to my friends who are expecting.
If you're pregnant and would like a jar please leave a comment and if I have enough I will gladly send you one :) IT even smells yummy from the raw cocoa *thumbs up*.



Recent Preggo Pics

37 weeks rocking my Have Faith Swimgerie bikini. www.havefaith.com
Look how swollen my hands are!



London <3


My Stokke Xplory stroller. Obsessed. Thanks mom

Hand made goodies by me for Niko <3

Mineral Fusion nail polish ! All natural vegan and clear of all toxic chemicals!! Great for during your pregnancy and after



My Hospital bag is from http://bfflco.com . I bought alki a simple Nike bag. I will be doing a video of whats in our hospital bags soon :)

Last but not least, Ive been asked repeatedly how much weight I have gained. I know I dont really look like I gained a lot - BUT I HAVE!!!!! Much much MUCH more than I ever thought I would. I have no pigged out during my pregnancy, I didnt eat junk food or candy, no sweets.... I didnt work out either though. With the move from California to London in the mid of a horrible winter here, not knowing anyone here in London, not knowing my way around and being pregnant I just wasnt motivated. I did light cardio at a gym near my house , light weights but barely enough to really say " I worked out" and I did stairs- since our home in London is 5 floors. But my entire pregnancy I always felt swollen in my hands, and once the 3rd trimester hit my body just went crazy with water retention.  Alki and I would like to have 3 kids together so I hope to god that my next pregnancies wont be like this. I do believe that if I was home in California, in my element with my friends and family things would have been different. BUT, I wont regret anything bc Niko has been healthy and has had no problems this entire pregnancy and for that Im so grateful. SO anyway- I am going to post my weight the day I go into the hospital. I started at about 115lbs give or take.

I have also been asked if I have nannies and help. Since Im living in London and do not have any of my friends or family to help alki and I have hired a Maternity nurse who will be with us for 8 weeks and then turn into a nanny until we go back to California after the holidays. She is vegetarian- and so up my alley. Into all natural remedies, products and clean eating lifestyle. Im very lucky to have found her.

My mom and brother will be coming out soon after Im out of the hospital since everyone has to take off from work to be here it would be a waste if they came while I was still admitted, although I would have loved to have "that experience" with all my family and friends in the waiting room... Theres always next time

Sorry if this post is all over the place. Im trying to get as much as I can in here as fast as I can because I rapidly feel my feet and hands swelling and I can't type on the computer while laying on my back with my feet up lol.


I am also going to post and document my postnatal recovery, weight loss and body.

Wish me luck <3
xoxo
Jennifer

I post little videos regularly in Keek, Socialcam and Vine so look me up @Jenniferstano





My California Nursery
Having houses in different places means numerous places to furnish. Our London home is completely different from our California or our home in Greece , all of which need to be furnished for the baby and future babies, so I wanted to share with you my Nursery Set/ inspiration for California. This will be his main nursery which my mom treated Alki, Niko and myself to. Thank you ma, I love you. Niko is such a lucky little boy.

All of the furniture is from Restoration Hardware. They have the cutest sets and I just love the new distressed grey color of this set. They also have the best stuffed animals !!!





































To create a life with the person I love more than anything will be my greatest achievement.
I love you forever moro mou