Baby Kade’s Birth Story

(Nothing glamorous or blogger worthy here – just real life low quality pics on the best day of our lives! After a long 24 hours of labor & delivery we finally have our first born son!)

I would say I will try and keep this short and sweet but let’s be honest that wasn’t really how my first pregnancy birthing story went down. Going into labor as a first time mom you really have absolutely no idea what to expect and due to Covid there were not a lot of traditional ways you could prepare for it. With that being said, I have so many questions written down from you guys so let’s dive right in! Our due date for little man was August 27, 2020 and after my 39 week checkup we set up August 25, 2020 to get induced at 7:30 am. At my 39 week appt I was 1.90 cm dilated and 100% effaced and his head was super low in the birthing canal. With all of that being known everyone thought he would show up and be here in no time!

On Monday August 24th I woke up and decided to run a few errands before going by the grocery store and then home to finish packing and preparing for an exciting morning ahead. While I was on the phone with a friend walking around TJ Maxx (if you know me, this wouldn’t shock you one bit) I started having contractions. I’ve had contractions before about 10 minutes apart for an hour and a half and then they subsided and went away so I didn’t think much of it to be honest. I guess with it being so close to the induction I just didn’t think too much of it but after about 30 minutes walking around I figured I should go ahead and checkout because I was probably scaring other customers thinking I might be going into labor. I told my friend it’s fine I’m sure they’re not real – I wasn’t really paying attention but after checking out and driving home (luckily it’s only 5 minutes away from my house) I started timing them and they were 5 minutes apart. I decided to skip the grocery store and I figured Robert and I could run by there or Walgreens later if we needed to (of course never did – insert hand on head face). My contractions started around 12 and never let up so I ended up calling the doctor around 1:30 due to the 5-1-1 rule they tell you ( when contractions come every 5 minutes, each lasting a full minute, and have been that way for an hour.) They told me the doctor would be back around 2 so I could come in and get checked if I would like. That sounded like the best plan because once they close around 5 due to Covid if I were to go into labor after hours we would have to go in through the ER because it is the only part of the hospital open after hours. So we packed up and went in around 2:45 and the doctor on call gave me a cervical check and I was still 1.90 cm dilated so nothing had changed so she sent me home and said if they get closer together and more intense or if my water breaks give us a call back but if not we’ll see you tomorrow morning for induction.

So we went home, grabbed a little bit of food, but I was still having contractions so I didn’t really want to eat too much. By about 7:30 pm that night my contractions never subsided and honestly they were super painful. Every time they hit I would keel over and sometimes cry a little because they hurt that bad. I kind of felt like a pansy because just a few hours ago I was sent home, but I had a lot of momma friends telling me to call and go back again because labor can come on quick and things happen fast sometimes. So I did call back and the doctor told me to go ahead and come back in since they hadn’t subsided and have become more intense. We had to go through the ER this time and see the triage nurses to confirm that I was in active labor. We went in around 8:30 and I was 4.5 cm dilated so they omitted us and sent us up to a room in Labor & Delivery. I had a few questions about the hospital and birthing during Covid – I delivered at Lexington Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina so I can only speak for my experience here but overall it wasn’t too strict compared to most. Granted were at the later end of this pandemic so things are a lot less strict now than just a month or two ago. My husband was obviously allowed in with me and we had heard he wouldn’t be able to leave once we were omitted but that turned out to not be true. The nurses said as long as he kept his band on he could come and go as he pleased even outside of the hospital for food runs, etc. but he didn’t end up leaving at all while we were there. We were also allowed two visitors from the hours of 8am – 12pm each day but considering we had baby boy at 8:06 pm that really only left us with one full day the next day at the hospital and then we were discharged the next day around 11 am. They say usually if it’s a vaginal birth it’s a two night stay at the hospital if it’s cesarean section it’ll be around three nights (all depending on any other complications that may occur as well.) We had a long vaginal delivery but overall it went great – mom and baby were healthy after so we only stayed two nights. I did have a few recorded high blood pressure levels during and then a few after labor but the doctor just told the nurses to watch it for a few and if it didn’t go down by morning they would give me medicine for it but it did – I mean let’s be honest I just went through 24 hours of labor and 2.5 hours of pushing.

Once you’re in Labor & Delivery you’re not allowed to eat or really drink anything until after you give birth (this honestly was one of the hardest parts for me being in labor for 24 hours and pushing my heart out for 2.5 at the end with basically no fuel or energy.) You’re allowed ice chips or a popsicle and I asked if they had any candy (I was going to pack some hard candy like jolly ranchers etc. but as stated earlier didn’t have time to go get any before going into labor) so they brought me a few dum dum lollipops which helped. They do this because I promise you if you have anything in your stomach towards the end of delivery it will more than likely come back up – I vomited twice but it was really just water and a little stomach acid. There were a few things that could have gone a little differently that could have prevented the long labor which I will point out a little later on – it wasn’t anything on our end but their end that the LND (labor & delivery) nurses pointed out.

Once I got up to our Labor & Delivery room they asked if I wanted an epidural and I said YES PLEASE. I had a lot of DM’s and questions on this topic asking if it is it painful etc. so I will try and go as in depth as possible. With that being said before you can get the epidural they must test your blood platelets to make sure you have enough to coagulate since they are sticking a needle in your spine. Then they must also have the on call doctor there in the area and the anesthesiologist (who actually performs the epidural.) For some reason my blood test took a little longer than normal and then the doctor showed up about 5 minutes later but then the nurse came in and told me she’s so sorry but she just found out the anesthesiologist just went into a C-section so I would have to wait on him. She said he doesn’t have to stay for the whole c-section but she just wanted to let me know it would be a little longer – overall I waited about an hour and a half to get the epidural which was kind of unexpected and sucked but it is what it is. They make you sit on the edge of the bed and curl over as much as possible into the nurse while she rubbed my arms (Mrs. Cindy was absolutely amazing!) The anesthesiologist was fairly quick too and they talk you through it – honestly they only part you really feel is a small pinch needle in your back for the numbing medicine which you also feel go into your body but once they numb you up good you don’t actually feel them put the epidural in. I did have a contraction in the middle of it which really sucked too because you’re trying to breathe and stay still but the nurse and doctors are so use to it they’ll talk you through it. Once it’s in they tape you up very good so it won’t come out – like top of your back to bottom which sucks trying to get off after the fact but it’s worth it to keep that epidural in the whole time. After receiving the epidural around 11 pm we were good to go, it kicked in fairly quickly I’d say in about 15 minutes and I didn’t feel a thing all night or the next day! I would highly recommend it – considering I had 2-3 minute contractions all night beautifully they said and the next day – I couldn’t imagine feeling all of those for that long – I didn’t feel a thing after until the end stages of pushing. Also, I want to point out that if you get an epidural they also put a catheter in since you are completely numb from the epidural down. It is crazy that the epidural triggers all nerves below where it is placed in the body but not any above it.

The next morning at 7 am the same doctor came in and said I was 8 cm dilated and she went ahead and broke my water for me – I didn’t feel a thing due to the epidural. She was on call from 8-8 the previous day so she ended up leaving after breaking my water and we all assumed she thought after breaking my water he would come right out in about an hour or so (all signs pointed to it so I don’t blame her.) However, that was not the case and by the time the new doctor and nurses for the next day shift became acclimated with their patients for the day and came in and checked they said I was actually only 6 -7 cm dilated around 8:30 am. They chose to wait it out another hour or so since she had just broke my water to see if I would dilate more on my own (rule of thumb is 1 cm. per hour) but by 11:30 am I was still only 7 cm dilated so they decided to start Pitocin. The head nurse was a little aggravated the on call doctor that morning didn’t do it at 7 am but she figured she thought he would just come out on his own fairly quickly. I want to state to that I have had a LEEP procedure done before back in college which is where they find precancerous cells on your cervix and have to burn them off. Sometimes this can leave scar tissue and cause issues during pregnancy but mine was a very small section that was removed and all of the nurses and doctors said they felt no scar tissue and overall my body was doing great with the labor. This could have been a reason the end dilation took longer but theres really no way to tell. After Pitocin was administered I went from 7cm to 10 in about 3 hours and it really seemed to work. Once I was fully dilated the nurse came in to try and check baby out and unfortunately he was not face down. Do not get this confused with head down – he was head down very low in the canal but they say once baby’s pass below the pelvic bones they usually turn face down and this helps them better slide out. We had to wait about an hour and I had to roll on both of my sides in some crazy leg up positions to try and make sure baby boy did this or else they would have contemplated a C- section. By this time it was about 4:30 and I was beyond exhausted with no food or drink since 8 pm the night before but it was time to start pushing!

The on call doctor came in to double check behind the lead nurse and give us the okay to start pushing! Once we got the okay she would tell me when a contraction was coming and she told me to take a deep breath in and then hold it in tight and push out as hard as I could for 10 seconds. After the second time doing it she was like well he has hair! So crazy that she could feel and tell that and he was technically right there but it took 2.5 hours to actually push him out! We tried multiple positions of pushing – at one point they put a bar on top of the bed and I literally was squatting on top of the bed pushing him out which was hard because my legs were still partially numb from the epidural. The last hour I did not have an epidural so I could feel the contractions coming on before they could see them on the monitors. This allowed me to utilize the contractions better to help me push him out. The best method I found useful was putting my hands behind my thighs and pulling them as close to my face as possible – taking a deep breath in and push out pushing your chin as close to your chest as possible and holding it for at least 10 seconds. We did this 3 times per contraction back to back no rest until the contraction is over. It was the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done for that long and with no real energy in my body and I literally felt like at times my eyes were going to pop out of their sockets. Sorry this may seem graphic but hey thats labor for ya.

The nurse earlier on did feel so bad for me and asked the doctor if they should use a vacuum to help pull the baby out but the doctor had me push twice and was like no she’s got this. Which I commend him for but at the same time as exhausted as I was it was a little disheartening considering you’re the only one in the room working their ASS off to push this baby out (excuse my language.) Towards the end of pushing the doctor also mentioned an episiotomy which is when they make an incision between the vaginal opening and the anus to help baby’s head come out. The majority of women (up to 9 in every 10) will tear to some extent during childbirth and you have to get stitches to repair the tear so the episiotomy is no different – instead of tearing they just cut you. I ended up pushing my ass off and did not have to get an episiotomy but I did have a very slight second degree tear. Robert said it was about the size of the top part of your pinky and the doctor only had to do 3 stitches so overall that is really good and I’m lucky that’s all that happened. I also had a very small hemorrhoid which are sore, swollen veins that are found in your rectum. They are common after a vaginal delivery due to all of the pushing and straining. Symptoms include pain, rectal itching, bleeding after having a bowel movement, or a swollen area around the anus. But like I said mine was quite small and between that and the stitches I did have to nurse these things postpartum recovery. I will link some of the things that helped me recover at the bottom of this post.

Lastly, I want to talk about after baby has arrived! Time starts to fly by super fast after this and you’re in a state of disbelief and euphoria. Holding my baby for the first time and hearing his cry after carrying him for 9 months was the most surreal thing I’ve ever experienced. They quickly take them and clean them up, weigh and measure them for you while you lay there and get cleaned up (this being a nice term). It’s actually kind of crazy all of the fluid and things that come out of you along with baby. Robert cut the umbilical chord and I literally watched the doctor pull that and the placenta out of me and put it in a pail to be sent off for testing. He then quickly stitched me up and they had to basically “scrape” from the outside and push all of the unwanted extra fluid/blood etc. from your stomach so that it falls out. Yes it is just about as disgusting as it sounds. What I was not aware of is that afterwards they leave you on Pitocin for 2 hours so you continue contractions so they make sure your uterus contracts back down – this prevents bleeding and hemorrhaging. However, after all of that labor and delivery – finding out I had to go through more contractions for 2 hours with no epidural (hence you feel everything) after I did my job and pushed baby – I was not a happy camper to say the least. I was at least able to eat and drink right away which felt amazing. During those two hours of contractions my nurse also had to come back in every 15 minutes and scrape my stomach down (they call it massaging but it is far from a massage it wasn’t pleasant to say the least.) After all of that you are then transferred to your comfy postpartum room that you will be in for the next few nights. The next few days are a lot of nurses, lactation specialists, pediatricians, doctors, etc… popping in constantly to check on you and baby. Check your vitals, check your feeding, take blood, administer medicine etc. They taught me how to nurse my wounds for recovery and due to the epidural and catheter it took me a few times before I could go to the bathroom again. They gave me two Percocet the first night due to the long labor pains and they say that more intense meds help you relax more so they would probably help my bladder back to normal quicker. After that I just received Motrin and a stool softener which I highly recommend continuing once you get home just to help for comfort.

I hope a little bit of light into my birthing experience can help you in someway. Although, everyone’s experience is different and you never know what will happen until you’re there in the moment I hope this can put your mind at ease on a few topics. After reading it back I know this may all seem very scary and disturbing but honestly it wasn’t that bad at all even despite the long labor and delivery, holding my baby boy after made it totally worth it. I would do it 100 times again if I had to just to have him here with us. If there is anything I missed or if you have any other questions about my birthing experience please feel free to leave them in the comments below or DM me on instagram @ashleybeary

These are all of the items that I used postpartum for recovery – The hospital will provide you with everything you need but I preferred most of these once I got home for more comfort.

Ashley Beary X Dakotas Boutique

SURPRISE!!!

I have been keeping a big secret the past few weeks and I am so excited to finally tell you guys – I now partner own a clothing boutique!! This whole experience was completely unplanned and honestly came out of no where. I have always wanted to own my own clothing boutique, but I was not expecting something like this to happen for a very long time – if ever. When the founder of Dakota’s Boutique, Laurie Corwin, approached me with this opportunity it felt like such a dream come true. Although the timing didn’t seem quite right considering I was 7 months pregnant at the time, I knew God had a plan and I had to trust his timing! I had never actually met Laurie in person even though we had collaborated a few times before when I lived in Florida, but she had followed me for years and when she saw I moved back to SC for good she had an urge to reach out. Due to the fact she moved to California a few years back and with Covid hitting brick and mortar stores hard she knew she wanted to take Dakota’s to the next level, especially the e-commerce side. With my background in marketing she felt like I had a wealth of social media knowledge and content creation which was the ultimate piece of the puzzle Dakotas was needing.

Over the past few weeks we have both dove in head first and spent many days and nights working on what’s next for Dakota’s Boutique. She instantly booked a flight and flew in for a week so that we could finally meet and we could get the store inventory ready for all of you to shop! For all of my local SC babes if you want to visit our storefront we’re currently open from Wednesday – Saturday from 11 – 5. The store is located in the heart of 5 points at 745 Saluda Ave. Columbia, SC 29205. We will hopefully resume full time hours soon once Fall starts up and after baby Beary gets here. In the meantime, we have been working diligently to build up the online presence and get as much of our inventory on the website for you all to easily shop!

It has been so hard hiding this from you guys and not taking you with me to the store, behind the scenes all day everyday but I am so happy that I can now finally do that! You guys have been with me through, well basically almost everything it feels like here in 2020 with the move, and the new home renovation, and the baby, and now this! I feel so beyond blessed and thankful for this opportunity and I hope you guys are just as excited as I am. I can’t wait to show you guys all of the new collections we have been planning for the upcoming fall and holiday seasons. We’re 5 weeks out from Baby Beary’s due date and this mama can’t wait to dress up in all of the amazing pieces I love post baby bump! With that being said we are working on the new “Ashley Beary Collection” that will be featured monthly, and will consist of curated trendy must-have styles from yours truly. We already carry so many national brands that I love and incorporate into my everyday wardrobe like Free People, Show Me Your Mumu, Steve Madden, and more.

If you guys would like to know more about how you can help support me in this new venture please feel free to follow the store on social media channels -Instagram: @Shopdakotas, Pinterest, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter. Also, if you have shopped with us before or plan to order something now, we would graciously love a quick google or facebook review! Any and every little bit of support helps and I am so thankful for every single one of you guys and this platform.

Sweet Baby Beary Shower

This past weekend celebrating our sweet baby boy was an absolute dream! Due to covid we kept a small and intimate gathering at our new home and it was perfect! I had the most amazing group of ladies host my one and only baby shower and they brought my entire vision to life. Wanted to send a quick thank you to them all – Taylor, Stephanie, Erin, Sara Ann, Mary Beth, Cathy, Sheri, Bridget and Mom – you guys always go above and beyond to love and support me!

Now on to the good stuff. We tried to take as many photos as we could before everyone started to arrive so that I could share all of the fun details with you guys! I know I have a lot of expecting moms on here but even if you’re not and you’re just throwing a birthday or bridal party I hope this is helpful to you all.

Leave a comment below with your favorite part of the shower!

Let’s start with the invitations!

blue roses are from Saaya Rose, Baby shower nails by Kathryn Mcilwain

The main question I received on Instagram was about our balloon arch! It is a DIY balloon garland kit from Lushra and you can use my code ASHLEY10 for 10% off your order. I chose the colors Blush, White, Eucalyptus, Pastel Matte Blue and Pastel Matte Green. Shop both of our outfits below.

Our sweet neighbor made our cake, Cookie Shack, LLC made our adorable cookies. You can find links to everything else (our baby balloon boxes, honey bear cups etc.) along with some other party decor options I love below.

Want to see some of the gifts we received!? Check out OUR BABY REGISTRY here! or shop some below!

ENJOY & CELEBRATE WITH THE ONES YOU LOVE!

Baby Shower Style For Every Mom

Hey babes! I’ve been getting a lot of questions from you all for some baby shower dress options since a lot of you are also mamas to be. I can’t believe our baby shower is next weekend! It has been such a strange and crazy time to be pregnant during the pandemic but I am just glad that we are able to have an intimate baby shower at our home with close friends and family. I’m not exactly sure what I will be wearing yet but right now I think it will be this dress from Petal + Pup. (You can use my code: ASHLEYBEARY for a discount) Another website that I love to shop for special events from is Vici and you can use my code: Ashley20 for 20% off of their site. Or you can shop some of my favorite options below.

Enjoy!

THE GIRL MOM

THE BOY MOM

THE BOHO MOM

THE FANCY MOM

Memorial Day Sales Roundup

Pink Lily Boutique – 40% off with code summertime

Includes this adorable romper below!

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Target – BOGO Swim & Sandals

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Quay Sunglasses – BOGO

Abercrombie – 40-60% Off Throughout the Store + Extra 15% off select styles + free shipping on orders of $75+

Aerie – BOGO free All Bikinis + 50% off Shorts & Dresses

Express – 40 -50% off Sitewide

World Market – Up to 40% off storewide + additional 10% with curbside pickup

Revolve – Extra 20% off select sale styles

Ulta – Up to 50% off the season’s best!

Pink  Blush Maternity & Non Maternity – 30% off with code MEMORIALDAY

Forever 21 – 20% off $75+, 30% off $85+ and 40% off $150+ with code MEMORIALDAY2020

Front Door Facelift

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Happy Monday babes! I have received so many questions about our new front door decor so I figured I would do a quick little blog post recap. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of our front door before we gave it a nice new facelift… I know total #bloggerfail! Let’s just say it was a dingy old navy with paint all in the windows and an old dingy brass handle – which I did manage to take a picture of (as seen above). If you’ve been following me for a little while then you know that I love thrift shopping and T.J Maxx & Homegoods, which is where I bought a lot of my decor from and unfortunately can’t link. But I have rounded up a bunch of similar items for you all to shop to match my front porch! First and foremost, let’s get my outfit out of the way. My favorite little white dress is from Petal + Pup and you can use my code: ASHLEYBEARY for a discount on their entire website.

You can shop the rest of my look here:

Now on to the good stuff! My front door decor –

Our Wreath (from Homegoods on sale for $19)

Our Plant (Ensete Maurelii Red Abyssinian Banana Tree)

Our Plantern ( Purchased from Hobby Lobby for $40)

Our Last Name Mat: Click Here to purchase your custom mat

Our Black & White Underneath Rug (from Tuesday Morning for $10)

Our New Bronzed Front Door Handle: Click Here

Grey Aged Porch Lantern (from Homegoods for $20)

White High Gloss Paint Color I Went With: Click Here (this is also the paint color I’ve used for all of our trim, borders and window seals inside the home).

I’m so sorry that most of my exact pieces are not linkable! I’ve searched high and low for some other similar affordable options that I would purchase myself!

Wreath Options:

Black & White 2X3 Under Rug Options:

Planter Options:

Lantern Options: