That one time I gave online dating a second chance.

Well guys. It’s official.

I started the process of online dating again. This time will hopefully yield greater results than last time, but who knows what will actually happen.

You can read about my previous online dating experience Here. Trust me. You’ll want to read it.

I decided to join match.com a month ago and I recently joined Bumble a week ago. So far my approach has been very different than my last online dating venture, which I think we can all agree is probably a good thing. This time I’m only going to go on dates with guys who I actually think I’d be a good match with rather than serial dating everyone. That being said, I haven’t actually gone on a date yet 😂.

While browsing both Match.com and Bumble I’ve noticed a few things that are both hilarious and frustrating.

Here’s what I’ve noticed so far.

First, I’ve noticed Bumble has more guys that I would want to date, but after matching with them, our conversations die off very quickly. I can only assume this is because the next match is just a swipe away. It’s easy to be distracted on this site because it feels good knowing there’s someone else out there that finds you attractive. It’s like a little high you feel when you get a match, ya know? I’m guilty of this distraction as well, so I’m undecided on how I feel about bumble.

Second, match.com is completely different. I get “matched” with 12 guys a day and I’ll be honest. Not one of them have I been interested in. I have my age limit set to 37 and I get matched with 50 year olds…. i don’t get it. I just want match to be better and actual match me with guys that fit my criteria. But maybe I just haven’t explored enough.

Another thing I’ve personally noticed is I feel like a lot guys on these dating sites are doing their profiles all wrong. If I could give some advice to guys on how to better their own profile here’s what I’d say.

*disclaimer: These are MY personal thoughts. So you might disagree. Actually you’ll probably disagree.*

Guys, stop putting your height as a selling point.
Look. I get it man. Girls tend to prefer taller guys. I’m not an idiot! So I understand that your height might be a really good selling point to some, But if that’s all you’ve got going for you then that’s sad. Dazzle us. Show us your personality!! I mean, at least show me you know how to write sentences. Simply listing your Occupation and height is just not enough for me. When I see that you only wrote your height down I assume you have nothing else going on. Boring, I’m bored!

Stoooop with the Mirror selfies without your shirt on flexing in the bathroom. Just stop. I’ve asked a lot of girls their opinion and No one likes it. Want to post a photo of you shirtless flexing? Great. Go to a beach or pool and have a friend take a photo of you. Or take a photo of yourself at those places. Just don’t do it in your bathroom. Also if you INSIST on a bathroom selfie please remove the pink adult tooth brush next to the blue toothbrush from the photo, if I see this I’m going to assume you have a girlfriend.

You know what. No. Just stop with the bathroom mirror selfies all together. Shirtless or clothed they just don’t work for dating sites. Those types of photos are reserved for Instagram stories not dating profiles.

Also, no one wants to see Photos of random things that don’t include you in the photos. So photos of scenery, Movie posters you like, or photos of just your pets by themselves need to go. We want to see photos of you!! Youre like wasting my time with that stuff. I know I know You’re probably thinking, “Lauren it’s so hard, I don’t have any photos of me. I’m a dude. I don’t ever take photos when I’m doing fun cool stuff. And it’s weird to ask my friends to get a group photo.” To that I say Find a female friend, coworker, family member, or hire someone to take photos of you. Tell them privately you need decent photos of you for your dating profile. Most girls will love the idea of helping you and even give you the honest feed back that’ll help you look your best. In fact ask me. I’ll help you!

I feel like this should go without saying, but please don’t post photos of you at your wedding with your ex wife cropped out. Again. I get it. You don’t have many photos of yourself but at least find a wedding photo where we don’t see your ex wife’s wedding dress in the corner of the photo!

This one also seems obvious to me but apparently it needs to be said because of the frequency of profiles Ive seen with this..but for real…I really don’t want to see Photos of you holding a gun in every photo. EVERY. Photo. ?!?!? Don’t get me wrong. I personally don’t find gun ownership unattractive. But by the looks of your profile I’m going to assume you carry one everywhere you go and I personally wouldn’t feel safe going on a first date with you knowing you could at any point pull a gun on me. Don’t be a dummy. Think about what you’re portraying in these photos and how ladies will be interpreting them. Majority of girls already feel a little uneasy meeting up with someone on a dating site so please don’t give us another reason to not want meet up with you. Also. Don’t bring a gun to a first date.

The last thing that bothers me a little is the lack of engaging information in most guys “about me” sections.
Here’s what is listed in most guys profiles.
“Hey. I never know what to say here. I don’t really like talking about myself but I’m just a normal guy looking for an HONEST caring sweet spontaneous girl. Communication is huge for me. I don’t like games.
I love my family, friends, my dog and would do anything for them. 6’3″. ”

I don’t even know why I read half of the profiles I come across. There’s nothing wrong with them, they’re just all the same. And boring. So if I were to give advice to someone about their “About me” section I’d say: Stand out! Write something that showcases you, something clever, funny, authentic. It’ll go a long way!

Or don’t. Because What do I REALLY know! I’m the one who’s single!!

So now You’re probably wondering what I have for my about me section…and it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t share with you what I have written so to be fair and to charm you with my creativity here’s what I have:
(My profile picture)

Well hello there!
Online dating is exhausting isn’t it? It’s like a full time job looking through all of the people on here. So to make this less exhausting for you. I’ll let you know why you should date me!

Lauren’s resume:
Objective: To find love so we can build a future and family together.

Strengths:
First off I’m pretty entertaining. I love talking and connecting with people and it’s easy for me to find something in common with just about anyone.

Second, I’m very self sufficient and independent. I love working hard for everything that I have and find great joy in being able to do things myself. Most guys I’ve met find this trait unattractive since they don’t feel needed. But isn’t being WANTED better than being needed? I think so!

Third, I’m passionate about family. I know. I know…Everyone says they love their family so this isn’t what makes me unique, but it needs to be said! Family is HUGE for me. I’ve been fiercely loved by my family and I hope to show that same love to present and future family.

Skills and achievements:
I’m a kickass mom, I enjoy hosting get togethers, being adventurous and exploring new things, dining out, and I love a good bonfire. I also own my own house, car and business which I think is pretty darn cool.

References:
Matt (Gay best friend) says: “Lauren is Fun. loves to laugh and try new things. Goes above and beyond in everything she does and is creative and outgoing. Fierce smize. Bomb hair.”

Anonymous says: “Lauren is Beautiful, Confident, Fun”

Katie says: “Lauren is one of those people who can turn lemons into lemonade. Her strength is something I’ve always admired and think it is what makes her such a great friend.”

Katherine says: “Lauren loves to have fun and bring people together! She a hardworking dedicated mother to the cutest kid on Earth. All her friends love her gorgeous smile and caring nature. She’s creative, independent, and She’ll add a lot of fun to your life. But make sure you reward her with love because she deserves it more than anyone else I know.”

Reasons why you shouldn’t date me:
So as to not waste your time, here are few things that are deal breakers for me.
⁃ I have a son, so if you don’t want kids I’m not the right one for you. I also want to have more kids so if you are done with the baby stage in life I’m also not the girl for you.
⁃ I’m here to find love so if you’re just looking to date with no end objective then I am not the girl for you!
⁃ I believe in God and that is a big part of my life. If you don’t believe in religion, that’s totally fine, but we probably wouldn’t be a good match.

*End of profile *

Is it cheesy? Yep!
Is it something different? You betcha.
Will it work? Who the heck knows.
Should you show this to your single guy friend who would be perfect for me? Absolutely 😂😂

What are your pet peeves about online dating profiles? I’d love to hear what guys hate about girls profiles.

That’s it for now!
XoXo,
Lauren.

Happy New Ears!

May 19, 2017

The day James got his new ears.

It was a whirlwind of a day to be honest. I have thought about this day and how it would go in my head for months. I planned out his outfit, which was a custom onesie and super HEARo cape to match. I made sure James had his biggest fans there! Me, his dad, and both grandmas. I thought about what camera I would bring to record his first reactions to hearing our voices for the first time with the CI’s. I thought about how he react hearing these new sounds And I thought about how I would react seeing him hear things with his Cochlear Implants. I thought about EVERYTHING because this day has been on my mind since the moment I found out my son was permanently deaf.

We arrived to CHOP early and got settled in. James, being the social kid that he is, walked around and said hi to all the other kids there. Soon our audiologist, who shares the same name as the “King of Pop” came to get us. As we walked back he commented on James’ cape and let us know what the plans were for the day. First we would sit him down and attach the implants and send different types of beeps through them. Once the audiologist gained a threshold he would turn them on and we could talk to James. He let us know that sometimes kids cry during the computer part and sometimes they don’t react at all, and sometimes, but very rarely, they smile and laugh. So we were to prepare ourselves for any reaction.

During the computer part James was a mess. He didn’t like having the wires from the computer touching him, and he wasn’t a fan of us holding down his hands so he couldn’t touch the processors. Which is reasonable. I don’t like when I can’t move my hands either!! After doing one of ears with the computer it was time for him to take a quick snooze so we could learn all about the new technology that would be part of our lives forever. While he slept we learned about the processors and how to care for them. It was boring, but necessary.

After a brief kitty cat nap we woke James up and did the same thing to the other ear. Once the boring computer stuff was done it was time for him to hear our voices for the first time with the CI’s. I say “for the first time with CI’s” and not “for the first time” because James actually heard our voices with his hearing aids. I like to make that distinction because some kids have never heard sounds before they get activated!

BUUUT this moment was special because it was the first time James would be hearing our voices the way they will sound like now with processors.

James didn’t really have a positive or negative reaction, he cried for a couple seconds then settled down, then would cry again. I’m sure it was overwhelming to him to hear the new sounds that were coming in. But what shocked me the most was I didn’t cry or get emotional. like at all. I even texted my friends who also have kids who recently have had their implants activated and asked them if I was a bad mom for not crying when my baby heard my voice. They reassured me my reaction was natural, but I still wanted that emotion moment.

I mean, I dreamed about this moment. I would cry thinking about the moment, but I felt very little. I mean don’t bet me wrong I was happy and laughing and excited to see those cute processors on my baby’s head. (Seriously they look so cute on him!!) but it wasn’t the reaction I was dreaming I’d have.

To watch a video of James hearing with his Implants click HERE.

So! How is James doing now a few days later?

Well I’m so glad you asked. He is doing better than I could have ever imagined. The goal is to get him to wear the processors every single second he’s awake, but toddlers being toddlers usually makes that super difficult. Most kids pull them off the second you put them on their head, and they aren’t too coordinated yet, so they fall or bump their heads often which knock those implants right off. It’s usually a battle for months to keep them on.  I was warned to enjoy the time in-between the hearing aids and the implants because if I thought hearing aids were hard I was in for a rude awakening with the implants.

HOWEVER. James has got himself some magic ears that apparently want to keep the processors on. I don’t have to fight him to put them on, and I don’t have to attach them as often as I thought I would. I mean he’s still a toddler who bumps into things for crying out loud. He does wear them almost every second he’s awake….. however, this kid gets SUPER sleepy now. I assume it’s because he’s adjusting to this new sensation and it is simply exhausting using his brain that much. That being said Im pretty proud of his dad and me for being so diligent and patient with putting them back on whenever they do fall off. The more access to sound James get the better his outcome will be!

Today I decided I should let James listen to music with his implants. I would let him listen to music when he had his hearing aids, but he would cry when I played music, so I usually just let him listen to it every once in awhile because early intervention said I should. I didn’t have high hopes for today, but I wanted to try. So I put on “Malibu” by Miley Cyrus and waited to see what his reaction would be.

At first he looked confused, but then the corners of his mouth creeped up to form a big smile, which was followed by him jumping up and down dancing. He jumped, he giggled, he clapped. HE LOVED it! I work from home and one of my employees, Val, was there to witness this moment with me. She filmed him jumping up and down while I admired him with the biggest smile on my face. Later in the day when it was just me and James I decided to play the song again to see if he would have the same reaction. He did. and out of the blue I started sobbing. I mean hyperventilating, ugly girl, bawl your face off crying.

It broke my heart when James hated music with his hearing aids. Before he was born I would dream of us dancing together listening to all the different types of music that I loved. I loved music and I loved dancing and all that passion went away because he couldn’t hear it. My love for music was gone. But today. Today he danced. All the emotions I thought would come when he was first activated came in like a tidal wave when I saw him dance. So if you’re reading this, Miley Cyrus, Thank you for writing such a catchy song that my son and I can now dance to!

I’m sure there will be tons more things that get this momma’s heart bursting with pride and joy, and every victory deserves to be celebrated! But today I celebrate this moment!

To watch the sweet video of James dancing click HERE. And another fun video of him dancing HERE.

HAPPY NEW EARS JAMES!!!

18716746_10154714285767426_1244049059_n

Before Surgery!

18685269_10154714285837426_632469584_n

Such a brave Boy!!

18718279_10154714285807426_832572940_n

Not feeling the greatest, but still waved to all the nurses that came in to check on him.

18644458_10154714285712426_1294614475_n18679204_10154714285852426_819516485_n

So Sleepy on the way home!

18679021_10154714285857426_88952773_n

The next morning it was like nothing happened. hahah he was playing like normal!

18679107_10154714285922426_1685960673_n

Healing quite nicely!

18624816_10154714285902426_1917424484_n18685564_10154714286082426_702023537_n

I’ve never claimed to be an artist….Thankfully my friend matt can take my chicken scratch and turn it into this …….Print18679253_10154714285962426_1553707009_n

Activation day!!

18644488_10154714286042426_1603729130_n18679093_10154714285992426_1386332536_n

Super Hearo’s need their blankets sometimes.

XOXO

Lauren Fisher

 

 

We’ve Been Approved

It’s official guys!! James has officially been approved to receive cochlear implants in both ears!!! His surgery date April 25th which is only a month away!! AHHHH. This news is just such a weight lifted off of my shoulders since I’ve been waiting for this news for what seems like an eternity.

I know most of you don’t know much about cochlear implants because I didn’t know much about them before James’ diagnosis, so I thought I’d give you all quick run down on the very basics.

Cochlear Implants (CI’s for short) convert sound into electrical pulses which then stimulate the auditory nerve. The brain then interprets that as sound! Pretty incredible right?!?

How it works. (this is summarized from Cochlear’s booklet of information)

  • The outside part that we will see is called the Processor. This device houses the microphone where the sound is picked up and the audio processor which codes the sound into a digital information.

ci implant

  • From there that digital information is sent to the coil and is transmitted across the skin through a magnet to the implant.
  • The implant interprets the code and sends the pulses to the electrodes that are put in the cochlea.
  • The auditory nerve picks up that signal and sends it to the brain. Then the brain will  recognizes that as sound.

If you don’t quite understand all of that, don’t panic. I didn’t quite get it at first either. I honestly still don’t know if I really know whats happening! All you need to know is this.

  • There’s an outside part that hears the sound and looks like a bluetooth. It attaches to James’ head by magnets
  • There’s an inside part that receives that sound and somehow magically sends its to the brain bypassing the damaged part of the cochlea.I assume this is done by some sort of wizardry
  • The CI processors aren’t permanently on all the time. They are only attached to the head by magnets and hooked on to the ear.  They pop off oretty easily if you pull on them….so that should be interesting with a curious boy who loves exploring. 🙄
  • James will hear most sounds, but has to be taught how to understand what those sounds are. This takes time. Sometimes lots of time. He also won’t be able to hear from far distances but therapy will teach him ways to cope with that!
  • Implants don’t restore natural hearing. Think of them as a tool used to have access to sound. My friend Kelsey who has a daughter with cochlear implants around James’ age explains it perfectly on her recent blog post. you can read about her experience here! Kelsey’s blog

impalnt kid

(This is what an implant looks like when its on!…this is not James haha)

So at the end of April James will have his surgery and they will put in the implant part and then about three weeks after that they will program and put on his processors. Exciting stuff right??!?

BUT there’s even more news!!

What’s even more exciting is James signed his first word! Can you believe it? My 11 month old is signing!!  I woke up one morning with james and handed him his new dog stuffed animal and he signed “Dog” to me!! I don’t think I could have praised him enough!! I just kept cheering for him. James also knows “More” “Hi” “So big” and “hat”. Each day I feel like he’s learning more signs and that just makes my heart so happy.

One Last thing!

For those of you who pray I ask that you keep James and me in your prayers on April 25th. For those of you who don’t pray I ask that you keep James and me in your thoughts!

XOXO,

Lauren

IMG_0283

Squawk that way!!! 

A lot has happened since I have last posted. I thought I’d be more diligent with posting but it turns out free time limited and when it finally does present itself it is usually used for sleeping. #newmom

Now I know most of you follow and like most of my Facebook photos so you already know majority of this, but for those of you who aren’t as up to date let me fill you in, 6 weeks ago James turned 6 months old and within that week he cut two teeth, started eating real food, and started sitting up unassisted. My heart exploded with pride, but it also was a lot for this momma to handle! Like how am I supposed to be okay with how fast he is growing up? Seriously though… HOW IS THIS HAPPENING SOOOOOO FAST?!? I went through his photos from when he was first born and bawled my eyes out! He was so tiny and that felt like yesterday. Too fast. I may or may not push him down when he acts like he’s going to crawl. Too soon James. Too soon. 

*Side note I don’t think the hormones everyone talks about have affected me at all. 😜*
As most of you know James was diagnosed with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss at 3 months old, meaning he was born permanently deaf in both ears. His left ear is severely deaf and his right is profoundly deaf which means he can hear nothing out of his right ear and only very very loud noises out of his left ear or if you’re close enough to his left ear he can hear “shhhhh” or “sssss” sounds. If you see me get close to james’ left ear when we see you its because I’m “shushing” to get him to smile for you. He likes you, but he likes listening more. 
About 2 months ago James was fitted for his first pair of hearing aids. It was pretty cute/heart wrenching watching him hear stuff for the very first time! If you haven’t seen the video of his hearing aid activation do yourself a favor and go Here to watch it. Be prepared to cry though! It’s pretty stinking adorable.

With his hearing aids in he can hear better out of his left ear and still nothing out of his right ear. We go every three weeks to continue testing with his amazing audiologist but so far what we know is he can hear stuff better with the Hearing aids in but still not quite good enough for him to understand speech. So what that means is “bliss” “miss” “kiss” “diss” all sounds like “issss” to him. He can hear it, which is good, but it’s just not quite good enough. 

So now we’re definitely on the path to cochlear implants. With the implants he’ll be able to hear speech and sounds, but very differently than the way we hear sounds. It’ll take a lot of therapy, teaching, and hard work from both me and James for the next few years to train his brain to hear. The thing I want to stress to everyone is even with the CI’s (cochlear implants) James will still be deaf. This surgery doesn’t “cure” him. He will still rely on social cues, expressions, and lip reading to understand you. It’s not like he is vision impaired and then puts on glasses and can see normally. With his implant he will hear, just not the same way we do. You can google what CI’s sound like, but everyone processes the sounds differently so there’s no exact way to know what he’s hearing. (I think… I’m actually not a pro on this yet.) 

We aren’t technically approved yet to get the implants, but we have already passed the MRI scan and have shown consistent results in the audio gram proving he isn’t benefiting from hearing aids so the likelihood is high that we will be approved. And if he isn’t approved then we will move full force into sign language. Which is an eventual goal for him anyway so It’s not plan c it’s just a different route to start. I’d love for James to be bilingual! 

Thankfully we live in Pennsylvania and they have amazing early intervention services that come to the home and help teach James free of cost!! Since James isn’t hearing much he will likely fall behind on milestones. The goal of early intervention is to help make that not happen/do what we can to keep him on track with his listening peers. We meet with a teacher of the deaf every other week for now and we will be adding speech therapist weekly to our appointments as well. I love early intervention. They’re amazing. 

So far James is doing an amazing job at meeting milestones. We’re getting some more sounds out of him instead of just squawking, and he’s waving or grunting at people to get their attention. He’s a little behind on babbling but it’s hard to babble when you don’t know for sure what that even sounds like!! I’m constantly working with James to associate sounds with objects, signs with words, and practicing communicating back and forth. It’s exhausting, but worth it. HE is worth it. All of it. 
How can I help James!? I’m glad you asked!! 

– James and I would love if when you see him you wave to him hello and goodbye. We’re learning basic sign language right now and we want to reinforce that as much as possible! Also it’s super cute seeing him wave so you will want to see that. 

– Right now we also are working on the basics of communicating so if he squawks at you or blows raspberries, look at him and talk back to him or blow raspberries back to him. Then wait for a response, If he does respond praise him or keep going. But I warn you he can go on for awhile. So be prepared to hear some Loud noises. 

– We’re working on him recognizing his own name so If you call his name and he looks your way praise the crap out of him! He loves big facial expressions and hand movements as a reward. If he doesn’t look after three times. Tap on his shoulder and call his name at the same time so he can put the two together. 

– If you see a cat with him, point to it and then meow. If you see a dog, point to it and then bark. Bonus if you can sign those things to him too. Any sound association is appreciated. 

How am I doing? 

Being a full time single mom, working to provide for both James and myself, and keeping all therapy sessions and doctors appointments has proved to be quite challenging at times. There are days where I just sit in amazement that I’m doing it. Like I can’t actually believe it. And then there are days where I just sit and cry for hours. 

Doing it alone is hard. 

Harder than I actually imagined. 

Being alone is harder. 

I’ve got no one home with me to laugh with when James does the silliest things. He seriously does the cutest things and it’s just me who gets to see that. That’s hard. 

You always want what’s best for your child, and I feel guilty that I can’t always provide the best most normal life for him. 

Thankfully my mom has been there for me every step of the way. I don’t know how I’d ever thank her enough for all of her help. She really is incredible. I always feel bad that she is endlessly helping me with appointments, laundry (seriously he’s so little how does he create so much laundry!?!?) cleaning, decorating, landscaping and watching him so I can go work. She’s amazing. 

And my other family members are incredible too. My village is seriously perfect for me and James and I am so thankful that they’re ours !! 

So that’s our update for now!! 

Xoxo, Lauren and James 

7/25/16…… The day I found out my baby is deaf

The day started out like any other day. We woke up, I sang silly songs while I got James changed and dressed, we giggled and then had tummy time. It just seemed like an ordinary day. 
We had a 1:30 appointment at the audiologist that day because James failed his hospital hearing test. We were told that failing the test was not that uncommon, so I figured everything was going to be fine. I mean honestly, MY baby wasn’t actually going to have any issues. What are the odds that James would have any issues with no family history. 


However a couple hours later I received this news….

“Your baby has significant permanent hearing loss. His results didn’t show a consistent response to any of the tests we performed and for the one test showed no movement at all.”

Wait what? 
This can’t be right. My baby is the happiest baby in the world. He smiles and giggles whenever he sees me! 

This just can’t be true. 

“Okay”, I say with tears streaming down my face. “What does this mean? What do we need to do next.” 

“We will refer to you a ears nose and throat doctor at CHOP. There, they will run more tests to check the severity of the hearing loss and hopefully fit him for hearing aids or, if he qualifies, a cochlear implant. There is a chance there is fluid in there that would be blocking some noise but even if that is the case there is still significant impairment. So no matter what he will need some hearing assistance”

“Okay” I said. 

As I leave the doctors office in a complete haze I struggle to understand what was just said to me. Did the doctor just tell me my son is deaf?

Oh my gosh. My son is deaf. 

My mom and I drive home and Just before we get to my house I start to have a panic attack that left me lifeless on the floor of the car. How is it possible that my sweet sweet baby James can’t hear my voice? How has he not heard a single thing we’ve said to him? How has He not heard his own precious laugh? His own name? Ugh worst of all He hasn’t heard me say how much I love him? Why? Why my baby? Why can’t my baby hear me say, “I love you”?! 

Oh my heart. It feels so broken. 

After I pulled myself together, I got out of the car. I went inside and, like most mothers of this generation do, immediately went to google to do some research on hearing aids, cochlear implants, speech therapy, and sign language.
My research showed there’s a ton of options that have great success, especially for someone as young as James. This is good news. This is where I am keeping my heart right now. 

Also! To see the positive, this does explain why he hates riding in the car so much when I’m driving. The poor little guy can’t hear me when I say, “it’s okay sweetie. Mommy is just right up here”. 

In spite of this life changing news I’m trying to stay positive. Just like I always do. And the one thing that is keeping me strong is knowing one simple thing. 

James doesn’t need to hear the words “I love you” to know he is loved. He can see my love through our giggles, hugs, and gazes. 

So as we adjust to this new life change I ask for prayers for James that he will be able to respond well to the treatment the ETN doctor recommends. And for me. I ask that you help me stay positive. If any of you know someone else who has a child with permanent hearing loss I’d love to be connected. Or if you just have an encouraging word I’d really appreciate the positivity. 

Yesterday James was a happy perfect baby boy, and today, even with this news, James is a perfect happy baby boy. For that I am thankful. 


Love, Lauren & James 

Mini’s Birth Story


Four weeks have gone by since I gave birth to my perfect baby boy James. It’s been a crazy four weeks that feels like one long blurry day. From other moms I have spoken to I hear this is fairly common.

People have been asking me how motherhood is going and I usually give a vague quick answer to them because I’m too tired to formulate a sentence that actually describes how I feel. I usually just say “It’s amazing!” “It’s hard, but worth it” or “I can’t believe I’m a mom!! It’s such a fun adventure”

And those things ARE true, they just don’t articulate how I actually feel. Ill try to explain in this post, but I’m not sure I can even do it justice.

When he’s laying on my chest looking up at me with those perfect blueish gray eyes, I think about how lucky I am that I get to love this baby. My whole life I’ve waited to be a mom and every time I gaze into his eyes I am overcome with feelings of pride, fear, joy and love.I feel like I was created to love this child and that my life finally has purpose.  The life I lived before giving birth seems so irrelevant. It’s like the day he was born was also the first day of my life.

Four weeks ago my world was turned upside down and right now I’d love to be able to tell you all the story of how James came into this world!

Now I know most of you reading this may think I’m crazy but after the shock of the surprise pregnancy wore off I decided I wanted to give birth to my baby as naturally as possible. Which meant I wanted to steer clear of pain relieving drugs, and any other medical interventions.

Yes I knew that that meant I’d feel everything and yes I know that that sounds insane to most people.

To help you understand, let me tell you why I wanted to go this route.

First, to me, labor pains have purpose and should be experienced and not covered up. The pain isnt meant to hurt you. It’s there to get the baby out of you… So With each strong contraction I would feel, I knew I would be one step closer to holding and kissing my baby.

Second, I wanted a quicker labor and recovery for both me and my baby. Epidural’s are great but they can also make labor last longer resulting in a c-section and pitocin can speed things along but it can also put stress on the baby resulting in a c-section. And like most medicine there were chances of side effects that I just wanted to avoid. I had 4 weeks off before my first wedding… I didn’t have time for a c-section.
Third, I wanted to prove all of the naysayers wrong. A lot of people thought I was in over my head with this idea of a natural childbirth and that I’d cave and ask for an epidural. I wanted to prove them wrong. Lol. It sounds awful but doing it naturally was my way of giving everyone who didn’t think I was strong enough a metaphorical middle finger. I hear this is not a good reason to do it naturally, but it helped me 😂😂
Now my pregnancy wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t picture perfect either. I was diagnosed very early on with gestational diabetes which meant I was going to have to manage my sugar levels with diet and exercise to avoid having a super big baby.

I was also going to have to control the diabetes without medication because if I didn’t I would have to be induced at 38 weeks. An early delivery doesn’t sound so terrible, but The odds of delivering naturally with such an early induction weren’t so great. So to get the natural birth I wanted I was gonna have to work for it. Meaning eat right and exercise. Just what a pregnant woman wants to hear right??

“Hey you, pregnant woman who just got done throwing up from morning sickness. You’re gonna have to avoid everything you’re craving for the next 6 months”

“cool thanks doc. ”

You grow up picturing pregnancy to be the one time in your life where you can justify eating dessert and French fries at every single meal and it be okay because you’re pregnant! So this news was not my favorite news to hear.  But, With a lot of hard work I stayed Un medicated and was able to go full term.

On my due date I had a doctors appointment and my blood pressure was too high and they decided it was time for me to have this baby. I was surprised and a tad frustrated but then I realized both me and baby could be in danger so I agreed it was time to have this baby.

So my mom took me home and I got everything ready. It was a weird feeling knowing It was the last time I’d shower without having a baby, the last time I’d be in my house without my baby. The last time I’d fee him kick inside my belly. Obviously I was excited but I was also crazy nervous. It wasn’t until my birth team assembled that I finally got my game face on!
Birth team? Oh. I’m glad you asked. A birth team is what I called the people helping me push out this kid.

We head our head coach, Aftan Hoffer. She was in charge of helping me get through contractions through relaxation. Massage, counter pressure, positive affirmations, and if necessary she woud run defense should the doctors challenge my wishes at any point.

We then had two assistant coaches, Debbie fisher, alias Grammy, and Michael Sugar, also know as Sugar daddy. (Just to clarify we call him sugar daddy because of his last name not because he’s an old man who buys me loubotin shoes)

The assistant coaches were in charge of encouragement, timing contractions, driving to the hospital, and stepping in when the head coach needed a break. I also hired the amazing Val Stoltzfus to photograph the event. Her job was pretty self explanatory.
Once We all arrived at the hospital we checked in and got settled. The midwife came in eventually and after reading my birth plan decided because I was already 2 cm dilated and didn’t want pitocin a foley bulb would be the best way to induce.
Birth plan?? Yes! Let me explain.

So a birth plan is something you write up so the hospital staff knows in advance what you hope for when in labor. For instance they should know if you plan on having an epidural, if you want to use the jacuzzi tub, if you want to be free of any cords and monitoring during labor, and other fun things like that. It’s basically a list of things you do and do not want during labor and delivery.I loved how the nurses and midwives at woman and babies and may grant really listened to what I wanted and respected almost all of my wishes.

Obviously with a birth plan you can’t expect everything to go as you planned. That would lead to a ton of disappointment. But for me everything happened almost to plan.
Okay so back to the induction.

They inserted the balloon at 7:00 pm and all I had to do was wait until it fell out. I was told it would fall out around 4-5 cm and that it might take awhile. So to speed things along I went for a walk, visited my friend Carrie, who gave birth to her son naturally the day before and was in the same hospital.  At this point I was feeling waves of minor cramps which gave me good practice on how to relax during real contractions. I felt different, but nothing was painful.

At midnight I sent sugar daddy home to get a good nights sleep and the rest of us settled into bed. I figured nothing major was going to happen until late the next morning.

Around 3 am I started to feel a little uncomfortable so I got up to go to the bathroom again and while I was in there the balloon fell out!!

This obviously shocked me because I wasn’t really feeling anything painful. I had cramps but I figured that was normal since the balloon that was put in was there to create pressure. We called in the nurse and midwife so they could check me and to their surprise and mine I had dilated to 7 cm!

Now for those of you who don’t know the labor process this information was very exciting news to hear especially to a first time mom. First time mom’s bodies don’t always respond to labor quickly and to get to 7cm sometimes takes 30 hours of laboring. This is what I was planning on happening so to hear this news was music to my ears. I knew at this point I was actually going to do this without an epidural.

The midwife saw on my birth plan that I wanted to let my waters break naturally but we both decided that breaking my water would help my contractions take off and become stronger and more effective. So with a quick sweep I felt my water break! I started to panic because I needed to call Michael and Val to have them come back in! The nursing staff was also buzzing around prepping the room for delivery! The energy was so exciting and a rush of adrenaline overcame me. It was game time!!

From this point on most everything was a blur. I remember having a ton of back pain so my sister, bless her heart, had to use counter pressure for hours. Im pretty sure she sprained her wrist helping me get through my contractions.

I tried laboring in tons of positions that we practiced but the most effective one for me was straddling the toilet backwards with a pillow under my head to rest in between contractions. I also loved floating in the jacuzzi tub. After changing positions one too many times I threw up and started shaking, which I knew was a sign that I was close to the end. I actually remember smiling to myself because I knew pushing was coming soon.

Around 7:30am I got back into the tub to relax. The contractions at first were double peeking and then started spacing out to about 5 minutes apart and in between contractions I actually fell asleep. This was my transition. It was so peaceful.

The second time in the tub was the most peaceful I felt the entire labor. The contractions were strong but the rest was tranquil. Thankfully I had music playing during my whole labor that kept me focused and at peace. Jonathan and Melissa Helser’s album “long story short” created such a perfect environment for me.

While in the tub I started getting contractions that had my body pushing with them. I knew it was time to get out of the tub but I kept asking the midwife for more time in the peaceful water. After 4 more contractions I made my way to the bed and continued letting my body take control and when it would push I would also push. After 20 minutes the midwife asked if she could take a look to see if anything was blocking him from coming down. She found that part of my cervix was caught on his head and she asked if I wanted her to move it or if I wanted him to work through it. She explained that if she moved it, it would be super painful but he’d come faster, and if he moved it, it could take a lot longer. I decided I was already feeling the strength of the contractions what difference did it make plus I wanted to see my baby now!! I also wanted to be done! The quicker the better!

With the next contraction that came she pushed aside my cervix and at that exact moment I wanted to kick her straight in the face. She was right. This was painful. I didn’t regret my decision until she told me she had to do it again. When she was up there the second time the contraction was so powerful that I asked her politely to exit me immediately.

Jk I screamed “get out of there. Get out get out!!! I don’t like this”

But she was right. Once he was free to come down the birth canal things got real. Like really real.

I sat up. My eyes got huge and I screamed “ohhhhh shiiiit”.

This was the pain I was waiting for. This was the hard part I knew was coming. This was the surrendering that I was told I’d have to do.

This was the moment during labor where I actually thought to myself. “What the heck were you thinking Lauren. Why on earth did you want to feel this?!?!?!”

At this point I was making very loud noises that couldn’t be duplicated if I tried. I screamed during contractions and pushed with everything I had in me. In between contractions I kept saying I didn’t like this but never once did I ask for something to help with the pain. I knew I could do it. I just had to give into my body.

My nurse Lindsay brought over a mirror and positioned it so I could see my babys head coming out. This may sound gross to most of you but to me it helped me to see the whole process and helped me push even when I wanted to stop. The pain was overwhelmingly powerful and felt like I had a concrete block trying to make its way out of my bottom. I hated pushing. Seriously. It sucked so bad.

After 15 minutes his head made his way out and with one more push the rest of him came flying out! At 9:09 am The midwife literally had to catch him!! I immediately felt the relief of all pain. I did it.

My jaw dropped when he came. I couldn’t believe I did it. He was here!!!

Seconds after he came out they handed him to the n.i.c.u. Doctor who suctioned all the fluid out. The little stinker decided to take a poop inside of the uterus instead of waiting until he got out.

While he was over at the heater by my bed Michael trimmed up the umbilical cord and they cleaned him off and then placed him right on my chest. In that moment I felt his warmth on my chest and it felt just how I envisioned it would feel. My baby was finally in my arms and I could finally kiss his little face. I’ve waited for this exact moment since I was a little girl and to finally experience it was overwhelming. Tears filled my eyes and my heart felt like it could explode. I felt what every other mom was telling me id feel. After some cuddles I took a good hard look at him and decided that his dad was right and he did in fact look like a James.

After James nursed for 45 minutes I handed James over to his dad for some cuddles. We couldn’t believe we made such a perfect baby!!

My labor and delivery were as close to perfect as it could have been and I couldn’t have achieved that without my sister. She attended the Bradly method birth classes with me for 12 weeks straight and Knew exactly what I needed when I needed it and l helped me relax through the pain. Most of my labor was painless or close to it and it was because of her and the techniques we learned in our classes. She’s amazing and both James and I are so lucky to have her.

 

Here’s a video that shows photos from James’ birth.

 

xoxo, Lauren and James.

 

That one time I went on a blind date

It’s probably no big surprise to you that I decided to take a sabbatical from dating while I am pregnant. To be honest, It was hard enough trying to find someone to date when I wasn’t carrying around a human in my uterus, so I figured it would be next to impossible to find someone while sporting this baby bump. Although, as Jennifer Lopez proved in that one movie where she finds the hottest, sweetest man in the world who wants to date her no matter what, You CAN find love when you’re knocked up carrying someone elses baby. What was the movie called? “This isn’t real life”….. “Knight in shining armor rescues hot pregnant woman”…. “Lets give single pregnant woman false expectations”. Ah I just can’t remember the title…. Oh well!

Anyway, to a normal guy in his later 20’s early 30’s, nothing says “Red Flag” like a single pregnant girl looking for a date! So I hung up my dating heels and traded them for comfort slippers for the time being.

And to be honest, I’m not complaining about this time off. I’ve been given a lot of time to myself to think, process, and learn. But I’ve also been given a lot of time to be bored…. Very very bored. So since I’m not dating I figured I would tell you one of my more interesting  dating stories. Because one, it’s a fun story, and two, because I’m bored and I can’t sleep.  Writing this is giving me something to do.

Okay! So the Blind date!

It all started last summer when I wrote the blog about online dating. If you haven’t read it you can find it here. Online dating blog

I wrote that specific blog to share to the world how difficult I find online dating to be and how different the dating world is now because of tinder and bumble. I wrote about how longed for something different, something spontaneous, authentic, and meaningful. Something where you didn’t know their whole life story before the date, where you couldn’t stalk them on facebook to see if their ex-girlfriends new boyfriend’s sister is friends with your friend Sarah.   I just wanted to go back to the days where if your friends knew someone who, “you would be great with!” they’d set you up.

Someone heard my cry for this type of experience and sent me a message on facebook saying they had the most perfect guy that she wanted to set me up with, but she had a catch……

Dant dant dant!!!!!!

She would only set us up if it was a complete blind date for both of us. (So 1990’s right? She would only give me his first name, his job, and other very very basic facts about him. And same for him. He got my first name, and what I did for a living. She wanted to create the experience of an authentic blind date for both of us. 

My initial reaction was, “OMG this is amazing, of course I’ll agree to this!” But then I started actually thinking about it. Why did it HAVE to be a blind date…. Maybe she was setting me up on a blind date with him instead of a regular date because she thought he was ugly and thought no one would agree to date him if they saw his photo first. Did he have contagious warts all over his face?  OR mayyybe she was setting me up on a blind date with him because she didn’t want HIM to see MY photo because I was not his type physically and he wouldn’t have agreed if he saw me first! Or maybe it was someone I already knew and she wanted it to be a surprise! There were so many options running through my  head.

In the end I realized that even if all of those things were true it would still make for a great story and that I had to go on this date! If it was a flop I could get a good blog post out of it and if it worked out I’d be in a relationship! Win win! So, I told her to set it up and tell me where to meet him and what time.

She decided to keep the mystery alive by not giving either of us the others phone number until an hour before the date so that we wouldn’t start texting each other before hand. If we had questions she would play middle man and communicate for us!

On the day of the date I got super nervous….What do I wear?  What were we going to talk about? What if he doesn’t like girls that drink whiskey? What if he proposes to me right away because we fall in love immediately? would I say yes? lol.

Right on cue, an hour before the date, my friend texts me the mystery man’s number and says that he’ll meet me at Annie baileys at 6:30. At 6:29 I parked my car, and text the number, “Hey, It’s Lauren! I’m here” and elegantly got out of my car in case he was watching.  He responds to my text, “I’m out front.” So I anxiously walked to the door not knowing what my eyes were about to see and thankfully saw a very handsome man standing outside!

“Andrew?”

We awkwardly hugged and then immediately started joking about how weird blind dates are and how this was our first time on a blind date. Blah Blah Blah. You could tell we were both a little nervous, (he claimed he wasn’t nervous at all)  but to be honest it was the first time in awhile that it was the fun type of nervous and not the scary nervous.

I’ll spare you all the details of the date, because most first dates go the same. BUT I will say that this date was one of my favorite dates in a very long time because it was set up with purpose. My friend knew we’d get along and she was right! We really did get a long great! We had each other laughing for hours! The date was also so organic and we had so much to talk about because we knew NOTHING about each other before hand.

We did go on another date after that first blind date, which was equally enjoyable. In the end, though,it didn’t work out. But it did show me that being set up can be quite amazing if the person setting you up is actually good at setting people up. (Liz if you’re reading this, this isn’t you. You are amazing at a lot of things, but setting people up isn’t one of them lol.)

Would I go on a blind date again? Absolutely! But before you get too excited to set me up with your friends friends brothers college roommate, you should know that I don’t plan on putting on my dating heels for awhile. I’ve got a new little man coming into my  life that I want to be with!

For now I’m content wearing these comfort slippers for awhile.

XoXo,

Lauren