Saturday, December 27, 2014

Natural Hair Puff and Bun!

So, another thing you'll find out about me besides being a wife, mother and baker is that I am also a naturalista (a.k.a.) a black woman who stopped using chemical relaxers in her hair and has decided to wear her hair in it's natural state. I've been natural since 2010 and it definitely is a process. Waiting for your hair to grow the length that you want or trying out a style only to find out it didn't work out or your hair wasn't dry enough....soooo many issues but nonetheless, I love my hair! My hair is a little past my shoulders now and I am okay with this length but I of course want it longer.

I like to refer to myself as a lazy naturalista. I never feel like washing, conditioning or co-washing my hair. I don't style my hair often because two strand twisting or braiding takes too long. Or it's really uncomfortable to sleep with rods/flexi-rods/curlformers in your hair. I know that I have some issues and I promise to work on Since I am so lazy you can often catch me wearing a variation of three styles; afro puff/bun, jumbo twist or braid out or two braids. This is a picture tutorial for my Afro Puff/Hair Bun.

1. I usually start off with an old twist out (about 3 days) but you can do this on freshly washed hair as well.
2. Apply a moisturizer (not too much to avoid residue in your hair) and gel (my favorite is ECO Styler).
3. Use a very stretchy headband. I wrap mine around my head twice to ensure tightness.
4. Pull headband up towards the middle of your head and pin it. This is where you stop if you want to wear       an Afro Puff.
5. Flatten your puff on all sides.
6. Take another stretchy headband and apply it over your flattened hair.
7. Pin any loose hairs into your bun and there you have it, a nice and neat bun! Doing this on stretched hair         (braided, twisted or straightened hair) will make your bun look fuller but it all depends on what you like.

And those are 2 of my favorite EASY natural hairstyles! I'll definitely make sure to post more picture tutorials! Toodles

Christmas 2014 - Baby's First Christmas!

The most wonderful time of the Year! It truly is. I just love Christmas. And I was even more excited this year because it was my daughter's 1st Christmas. I am going to admit now that we went totally nuts with her gifts! We couldn't help it. I gave very nice gifts to everyone, including some expensive sneakers for my other little sister whose birthday falls on Christmas Day!

I prepped my house for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, I play no games when it comes to decorating for Christmas. The tree was up, the stocking hung and my window display complete! We let Nylah add the finishing touch to the tree, the giant bow on top. I don't do real trees. You can't keep them up as long, they have a weird shape and they leave behind too many pine She loved the tree; touching the lights, branches and ornaments. I got some great shots of her under the tree. We also made sure to watch Christmas movies together; Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, Home Alone 1 & 2 and The Polar Express.

Now I'm going to spill the beans on the gifts that "Santa" bought Nylah. We watch the Sprout channel everyday in our house (Astroblast is Nylah's fav.) so we've had our feel of toy commercials for the holiday season. Aaron and I discussed early on what toys we thought would be great for Nylah and we came up with 3; Laugh and Learn Smart Stages Chair (she's a little to young for this one right now), Laugh and Learn Magical Musical Mirror and 3-in-1 Bounce, Stride and Ride Elephant. I'm a bit frugal so I started looking early for deals and ended up snagging all three toys from both a combination of Wal-Mart and Target at a discounted price. 

Nylah is a small little lady but she's finally grown out of 0-3 months at 8 months! So we knew that she needed a lot of new clothes. Her daddy is what I would like to call a I look okay but I don;t really care about fashion. My hubby likes to look good and keeps up with what's in and what's not (I sound like an old lady). Anyways, we got her some pretty cute outfits from H&M, Gymboree, Old Navy, Carter's and OshKosh B'Gosh! She also got outfits from other family members so she has a whole new wardrobe which I am so happy about!! Reading is also important so she got two new books; Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Five Little Monkeys Jumping On the Bed (which she LOVES)!! She got other gifts but I just don't feel like explaining it all. She had a great 1st Christmas and it was awesome watching her reaction to her gifts on Christmas morning!

Christmas Eve at her grandparents - Santa's Little Helper

She's such a happy baby! Posing here with some of her gifts on Christmas morning.

Hosting My First Thanksgiving

Okay, last year we had Thanksgiving at our house but I didn't prepare it. I was supposed to so my mom stayed over night and was supposed to help me along the way but she ended up doing everything because I was pregnant, tired and sick last year. So this year I wanted to do everything and I must say that everything turned out great! I was super nervous because I didn't think I was domesticated enough to prepare such a meal (I know, it's silly) but I was totally fine. It was also Nylah's first Thanksgiving so I thought it would be better if everyone came over instead of us taking her out and making rounds, Here is my menu;
Baked Mac and Cheese
Homemade Mashed Potatoes
Collared Greens
String Beans
Cranberry Sauce
Dinner Rolls
Sweet Potato Pie

I was off the day before Thanksgiving so I had a good amount of time to prep. My mother-in-law gave us what I thought was a chicken months ago that I had stored in the freezer (I discovered that it was a turkey some time before Thanksgiving). I was nervous about making the turkey but I followed all instructions and it turned out great. I seasoned it and rubbed it all over with butter, put it in a bag and it came out juicy and tender! I purchased a ham and so did my mother-in-law so I let her make her ham and decided to save mine for Christmas (I just love keeping giant animals in my freezer...not really). My mac and cheese was prepared the day of and took not much effort to make. I peeled and chopped potatoes the night before and left them in cold water overnight. I threw them in my crockpot the next day for 4 hours. They softened and then I put them in my mixer to cream them down. I made fresh collard greens; chopped them up the night before and cleaned them. Left them in some water overnight (in the fridge) and cooked them the next day. My string beans and cranberry sauce were canned so that was easy! And we had yummy Hawaiian rolls!! I'm a baker so I of course had no issues with my pie and cheesecake. My mom also brought a homemade sweet potato pie as well. We just had some close family over; laughed, talked, watched football and watched my little sister perform songs from the movie "Frozen". It was a pretty awesome day!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Halloween 2014 - Nylah's 1st Halloween

This year was the first year that I got to dress up my own kid, Awesome!! Nylah had a pretty busy Halloween! The weekend before Halloween she had 2 events to attend. The Saturday before, we threw a small Halloween Party and the next day she attended her first NICU reunion. I purchased 1 1/2 costumes for her. For the party and reunion she went as Minnie Mouse. And on Halloween day, she dressed as Thing 3, along with Thing 1 and 2 (Daddy and Mommy).

Now, I am such a planner that I decided to throw together a little Halloween party (I always want to plan and decorate for I of course wanted to keep it small (mostly family members, and a few friends).My mother and 3 year old sister was there along with some of Aaron and my cousins and some friends of ours brought their young son and daughter. I planned on a couple more children being there but they weren't able to make it. Here's some pictures and details from the party. All of the little ones were in costume and they all looked so cute. We had some bumble bees, a minnie mouse, Spiderman, a Sassy kitten and an owl at the party.
Decorate your own pumpkin station (sytrofoam pumpkins
from Dollar Tree)
My Nylah and her auntie (my little sis) Aleah

Cute banner from Dollar Tree

Pin the hat on the Witch game, Dollar Tree
Yummy treat table with a Ghost cupcake cake (made by me).

Mommy and Nylah as Minnie Mouse, Daddy didn't want
to dress up.

More decor from Dollar tree and gift bags full of candy.

Guests in a heated round of monster match game!

Playing Catch Up!

Wow, it's been 3+ months since my last post! I am so horrible at this but I'm getting back into it. Some goods things have happened in our little family in this amount of time that has passed. Aaron started a new job, I accepted a long term subbing position in an early intervention classroom and Nylah had the chance to celebrate her first Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas! I have so much to update and so many pictures to share!! I want to get everything important in before the New Year and start off fresh in 2015 (I can't believe that it's here already)! I definitely wanted to share this Christmas picture that I took of Nylah during our DIY Christmas photo shoot (Galaxy S4 camera, cute baby, covered boppy and Christmas tree). She is so cute and this was an awesome shot! We didn't want to take her to see Santa this year (GERMS) and I was going back and forth about taking her to a studio so I tried this out and it totally worked for her Christmas pictures!

Merry Christmas from My Family to Yours!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Update on Nylah (from May 25th - September 11th)

I am super late but my little one has kept me busy! As of today, Nylah is now 5 months old! It was a very long and pretty much uneventful NICU stay (which is a good thing)and on Sunday, June 8, 2014, we were able to bring our little Nylah home!!! Once she was taken off of all of the machines her main concerns were eating and growing. She was gaining weight slowly but steadily but the hardest part for her was drinking from a bottle. She had to drink 100% of her bottles for 24 hours before her feeding tube was removed and discharge was even thought of! After weeks of trying and coaxing the doctors her tube was removed and a few days later she was discharged.

Adjusting to home life with her wasn't so bad! She woke for a bottle every few hours and was generally a happy baby. We visited the doctors it seemed at least once a week for almost two months; weight checks, acid reflux (she has a bad case), well check up....blah blah!

Boy has she grown fast. At 5 months, she's finally fitting into 0-3 month clothes (she's a preemie so she's a little small), talking up a storm, rolling over, holding her head up great and sitting pretty good with support! She just started etaing rice cereal inside of her bottle yesterday! We are so excited for what she will do next! She was evaluated and no developmental delay has been found!!! She's a smart and sassy little lady and we love her to pieces! I will be posting more updates on her and family life much more! I promise

Nylah on her way home from the NICU!!!
Little Nylah at 5 months sitting in her crib like a big girl!

Recovering from my C-section

The c word that so many women fret about! I had to have an emergency c-section dur to my uncontrollable blood pressure levels. And I honestly do not see the big deal. I am not one of those women who absolutely had to have a natural child birth. I honestly was hoping to have a c-section, just not as early of course. There was no way I could see myself pushing a baby out of me with no mess and I was so afraid of the recovery process of a vaginal birth. I was actually afraid of recovery,  period! But nothing in the process was as bad as I thought it would be. Women have been doing it since forever so I could handle it! Here's a few things that I learned from my experience that may help.

1. There Will be Pain - There will definitely be pain and there is no way of getting around that! Cesarean sections are abdominal surgeries. Your abdomen is cut open in order for your baby to be removed and stapled back up so you will feel it. Specifically when getting up, standing while showering (which they allowed me to do on the 2nd day, yay!), adjusting yourself in the bed, and anything else that requires you to use your stomach muscles. Walking is hell if you do it on the same day as your surgery. But the sooner you begin to walk, the better the healing process will be. Even walking around the room or down the maternity ward hallway will be good (wheelchairs will be available if you do need There will also be meds that you can ask for at anytime. I was sent home with ibuprofen and percocet. Most of the pain subsided after a week when my staples were removed. And I stuck to the Ibuprofen after about day 3 of being home (I was discharged 4 days after birth).

2. There Will be Blood -  well duh, but I wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I was immediately given a catheter which I did not feel at all so I did not get up for the entire day until it was out. I was nervous about having a nurse come and check my bleeding and changing me but once it was being done who cared! Bleeding is very heavy and clotty for the first 2-3 days but it then becomes lighter and lighter. The hospital gives pads, which I used, and they worked great! They also gave me disposable underwear which worked great. Some women complain and say bring your own but i had NOTHING prepared at 29 weeks so i had no choice and it all worked out fine. The bleeding stopped completely after 2 weeks for me and it was definitely manageable.

3. Your Bowels will be Funky - this is what I hated the most! The doctor will send you home with a stool softener and you must take it or you will be in trouble! Before you are discharged, the nurses will make sure that you are passing gas and able to have a bowel movement (which was pretty easy for me in the hospital). Now when I was home, the struggle began. I was going days without a bowel movement and getting them out was terrible!  The stool softer helps if you continuously take them which I didn't because I didn't think I needed to. Boy did I learn!

4. The Incision Site - everyone has a different experience with their incision. Mine was closed very neatly and healed very well. It was rather itchy especially once the staples were removed. I had no drainage, which some people do. The bandage covering it is removed on the second day and the incision is left uncovered to heal. It hurt really bad to cough, sneeze or laugh but putting a pillow up to the site may ease some pain when doing any of these. Once the staples are removed,  usually a few days later it will feel 1000 times better. My incision was very numb and still is a little now 8 weeks later. But I was overall good after around week 5.

5. Listen to your Body! This is the most important advice that I can give. We all have different bodies which means we will heal differently. Over exertion is very harmful and your body will tell you if you're doing to much. When I was up, moving around too much I would be in pain the next day. And I know it's difficult to just sit around and heal but doing too much can prolong your healing process.

I am 8 weeks post c-section now and doing great. My incision is looking really good, my stomach muscles are getting stronger, no more pain or pain meds, and I am back to my usual activities!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Purple Birdie Baby Shower for Nylah

Being the mama-to-be left me out of hosting the shower, we'll not really. My original baby shower was planned for May 17th and was being put together by my mom and mother in law (MIL) but since Nylah came early things changed. We weren't sure if she'd be home by May 17th (she wasn't) and we didn't want her to be present at the shower because we know everyone would have wanted to hold her. So we pushed the date up to May 3rd. I wanted to get gifts and still have time to shop for whatever else we needed.

With Nylah being in the NICU and going through so many different emotions on a daily basis I thought it would be best to have the shower at home and totally down scale. My mom and MIL were going to rent a hall and all if that jazz but Aaron and I both thought it was unnecessary,  I don't think MIL liked that too And I decided to help out with decorations and making my own cake! I wanted EVERYTHING purple but my MIL insisted on having a "baby" theme and I settled for a pink mommy and baby bird theme,  but I made sure that purple was really incorporated. I was pretty busy that day so I didn't get many pictures but here is what I got and some details.

Date: May 3rd
Time: 3:00-7:00pm
Location: Our Home
Number of Guests: 35
Games Played: Baby Word Search & Scramble, Ball Toss, Guess Baby's Birth Weight, My Water Broke
Menu: Meatballs, Chicken Fingers, Seafood Salad, Tuna Salad, Deviled Eggs, Cake, Cookies, Chips, Candy, Soda, Juice, Water

Baby Shower cake made by me!!!
Guests signed and wrote messages to Aaron, Nylah and me. 
Guest's favors; custom made cookies and a cupcake candle. 
Decor; Nylah's name
Our chips table
Mommy's Special Chair
Sweet Table; Cookies, Mini purple cupcakes, Nerds, Jolly Ranchers, Sweet Tarts,  Tootsie Rolls, Laffy Taffys and Gobstoppers. EVERYTHING was gone at the end. 
The Guests of Honor, Aaron & Me

Nylah, My 29 Week Baby

It takes 40 weeks from conception for a baby to be completely developed and ready to enter this world. A baby born at 37 weeks is considered full term and ready to enter the world as well but there is no way that a baby born at 29 weeks is ready to enter the world and can thrive on their own.

My little Nylah was born at 29 weeks weighing 2lbs 6.8oz and having trouble breathing on her own. I was in the hospital a few days before my emergency c-section and was given steroid shots to enhance the development of my baby's lungs and brain in case she needed to be born early, sooo happy that I was able to get those shots. She was immediately taken to the NICU after birth with issues breathing on her own and was placed on a C-PAP machine to help her. She stayed on this machine for a few hours and was then able to breathe on her own.
There she is with the ventilator,  Artery and Vein lines in her umbilical cord. 
She was also jaundiced and had to receive phototherapy, a light treatment that helps to lower her levels of bilirubin. She was jaundice free after about a week.  She also had an artery line and vein line through her umbilical cord for drawing blood and giving fluids, these only remained in for the first week and a half. She also had a feeding tube placed in her mouth,  down her throat and into her belly and 24 hours sensors monitoring her heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen percentage.
Nylah with the CPAP machine on and her Photography glasses on the side there.
After having her Artery line removed we were able to hold her for the first time, on the second day! It can be very overwhelming holding a tiny little baby, she lost water weight from her birth so she was even smaller. I was able to do Kangaroo care with her; holding her skin to skin on my chest to keep her warm and establishing a bond with her. She was such a feisty baby,  sucking and moving her head all around! She came off of all of the support machines within 2 weeks and spent most of her journey focusing on growing and eating. This is just the beginning of her journey! I have so much more to share. 

She's sucking her hand during one of our kangaroo sessions.

My Birth Story

So, we always here that you should expect the unexpected. I know exactly what that phrase means but you never expect it until you have to and on March 30, 2014 the unexpected hit me right in the face. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl at only 29 weeks gestation! My daughter,  Nylah Amerie Dogan was born at 3:34am on March 30, 2014 due to my severe pre eclampsia.

I was hospitalized 3 days prior to her birth with no intentions of giving birth. I was already having issues with high blood pressure throughout the 1st and 2nd trimesters but was not diagnosed with pre eclampsia. I was on 2 medications and would visit the doctors (OBGYN & Cardiologist) for BP checks biweekly. I was not feeling well one night (high BP, nausea and headache at 28 weeks) and my mother persuaded me to call my doctor who insisted that I come in to the hospital. When Aaron and I got there I was given a room on the labor and delivery floor and put on Magnesium Sulfate (which makes you feel crazy and insanely HOT). My Doc came to see me the next day and told me that I had protein in my urine and which meant that I had mild pre eclampsia. She said that I would be delivering the baby between now and 34 weeks, 34 weeks being the time frame that we were very sure of. But nonetheless,  she had a NICU doc meet with us to discuss what it would be like to have a baby this early. Aaron and I listened but we did not take it seriously because we knew that I would be pregnant a bit longer!

My doc wanted me to stay under observation over the weekend and early Sunday morning my pre eclampsia took a turn for the worst, 29 weeks into my pregnancy. My BP skyrocketed to extremely dangerous levels and was uncontrollable. Doctors tried giving me 2 different medications and neither worked. My baby was not under any distress but I was informed that she needed to be delivered immediately at around 3 am. I was pumped with more Magnesium Sulfate (Ugh!) and quickly prepped for an emergency c-section. I was scared but had no time to think about anything!!! Everything went fine in the OR, including my spinal tap, and my baby was delivered at 3:34am. Aaron was able to snap a quick pic of her before she was rushed to the NICU with issues breathing on her own. I was not able to see her until about 4 hours later in which she was stabilized and breathing with the help of a machine. She is doing great now and I'll be posting more on her!
Newborn, Nylah Amerie Dogan! 

I Am Back!!!

I am back and I have so much to update you on. I have not posted since the end of January and many things have happened. I am now a MOMMY! I was not supposed to be until June but my little baby girl arrived more than 2 months early, that entire experience will be so many posts! She is of course in the NICU so the past 2 months have been an emotional roller coaster for Aaron and me. So please check back for my posts and I hope that my experience is one that can help other s, especially new moms of preemie babies.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Short Cervix....Ahhhhh!

At my 19 week anatomy ultrasound I found out that I was having a little girl but my doctor also discovered that my cervix was short. Now if you don't know what that means it pretty much means that I am at risk for preterm labor. If my cervix continues to shrink then it will eventually open (dilate) and my little one will be on the way. Whew, talk about overwhelming!! We're not sure if my cervix has always been short or if it has started to shrink. I'm only 20 weeks, at the halfway mark, and little Nylah needs to stay in for at least another 17 weeks to ensure that she is completely healthy.

The high risk doctor is the doctor who discovered all of this. This was my first meeting with him. I was originally meeting him because of high blood pressure during my first trimester (which is pretty much under control with the aid of medication). Now I am taking a progesterone suppository in which I have to insert every night. I have not been put on bed rest yet but hubby and I have a feeling that it may be coming much sooner than we anticipated. From all of my research, I have read that progesterone is pretty effective so I hope it works! I'll be back at the DO in a week for him to check my cervix again. I'll be praying, taking my meds and resting as much as I possibly can in hopes that my cervix doesn't get any shorter. I'll keep you posted.       

We Found Out Baby's Sex!

Well at 19 weeks, the time finally arrived to find out our little one's sex! Hubby, expecting a boy, and I, with no preference were very excited for our Thursday afternoon anatomy appointment. I felt like there was a little girl growing, inside of my tummy and I was absolutely right!! We got a chance to get a good look at her, her brain, heart and all of her little body parts and it's amazing how much she has grown already. I can feel her little movements and seeing her just made me even more excited, Daddy is with out a doubt excited too!

After my appointment I had to share the news with family and friends. I really wanted to have a gender reveal party but I knew that my mother could not wait, she can't wait to find out most So, for very close family and friends I took a picture of her ultrasound and added the words it's a girl and texted it to everyone. For everyone else, I decided to make a gender reveal cake and post the pictures on facebook and twitter (the easiest way to spread the word).

 "Bowtie or Bow? Who Knows?" Designed with a handmade bowtie and bow made by by me!
And here is the inside of the cake with pink icing and a picture of our baby girl "Nylah"! So excited to meet her!!! 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

We're Expecting!!!

Here Ye, Here Ye there is great news to share. The Dogan kingdom will be filled with even more greatness. In about 5 more months, the King & Queen will be welcoming a little prince or princess!
Yes, my hubby and I are expecting now and our precious bundle of joy is supposed to arrive on June 14, 2014! And we are beyond excited! I have not blogged in a very long time because I have a hard time multitasking these days. Mama-to-be is just too I haven't done any baking lately, just eating, sleeping, working, searching pinterest for baby stuff and being pregnant.
I am currently in my 17th week and I will be blogging about all of my pregnancy ups and downs right here!!! So stick around with me ans hubby and I embark on this awesome journey.