Former beauty director of Cosmopolitan, beauty influencer, and wife to founding member of GlamSquad, is as real as they come with a sparkling personality to match. Accustomed to saying it like it is, here she shares all things birth & recovery, adjusting to life with two and raising good humans.
Path to pregnancy?
Gio always wanted five kids – he’s a dreamer in that sense – but we were planning to wait a bit longer to have more. However, when the pandemic hit and the world started shutting down, our daughter had just turned one, and we decided why not try to make good use of the time and go for it! So, that’s what we did.
With both pregnancies, I was sick, not super sick, but just enough to make me annoying and unpleasant to be around. With Sandro, I was diagnosed with UGR (Uterine Growth Restriction) in the third trimester, which meant he wasn’t growing as well as he should be and as a result, I had to be induced at 38 weeks. Similarly, Delfina came 3 weeks early so I’ve never known what it’s like to go full term to 40 weeks.
On Friday morning, March 19, I went in at 9 am, and they started inducing me by 11 am. I had been induced with Delfina, so I knew the drill. They gave me an epidural at four centimeters and at that point, I wasn’t feeling the contractions so I was able to take a nap. Then at 6:30 pm, the nurse came in to check and I was fully dilated! I did three rounds of 10-second pushes, and he was out by 7 pm fully healthy and we got right to breastfeeding and skin on skin. Of course, I was starving afterward since I was not allowed to eat before being induced and all I could think of post-birth was Italian food.
Bringing the baby home?
We made an effort to prepare our daughter really well for her brother to come into the world. Our feeling was that it must be jarring to wonder where this new person came from and then realize they’re staying. In fact we took a $95 course with Dr. Becky Kennedy called How To Introduce A Sibling To Your Newborn. A psychologist and graduate from Columbia University, she provides sound methods on how to do this with care. For example, something as minor as not calling her a “big sister” removes the stigma and pressure of having to fill the role of being a “big sister” and the sudden need to “know everything.” Instead, she’s just a “sister,” and being older is not what defines her. Plus, we asked that family and friends make a point of engaging with her and not just her brother when they come over so as not to make her feel suddenly left out. Dr. Becky Kennedy gave an example of imagining if your husband or partner suddenly said they were going to bring home a new wife, you’re going to be split everything and she’s going to stay forever. I found that was relatable because you would be like, “Yeah, I don’t want this wife around; I thought I was the number one.” Therefore, the conversation we kept having with Delfina was that she was getting a brother, she would have just as much love and that she would still be getting her own special time with us. Many people told me that when they brought a new baby home, the older child would say, “Take this baby away; I hate it,” and she hasn’t done anything jealous like that. Honestly, I have that course to thank for her behavior. I would recommend it to anybody who is introducing a sibling into their family.
I breastfed from the beginning, but started pumping earlier with Sandro than I had with Delfina. I used The Haakaa, which is genius. It’s a silicone bottle that suctions to the non-feeding boob while breastfeeding and initiates the other side to start leaking, so as not to waste the other boob’s milk. It’s not motorized and pulls out the equal amount of milk he ate from the feeding breast. It’s brilliant because it allowed me to gauge how much milk he was getting, plus I wasn’t wasting. Then with all that fresh milk, Gio would feed him the other half which freed up so much of my time instead of having to nurse on both sides. I can’t express how helpful this was and something I wish I would have done with Delphina. I was not worried about nipple confusion and totally comfortable with giving him a bottle. Plus, I chose a bottle with an orthodontic-approved nipple from MAM, that simulates a woman’s nipple.
I was hoping my recovery with Sandro would be similar to Delfina’s and it was. Early on, a friend recommended Always Discreet postpartum underwear instead of the hospital ones for recovery. They are excellent if you have a vaginal birth, but I believe you can wear them if you have a C-section as well. They’re pink and very “fashionable,” but mostly, they’re tight, unlike the hospital underwear, which are loose and your pad sags. I was bleeding for a month and those saved me. Plus, I cleansed with the Frida Mom peri bottle filled with warm water every time I went to the restroom which helped with healing. And, lastly, I used the ice packs in the hospital and then Frida Mom’s at home. I don’t think you need the ice packs too long after you leave the hospital, and instead I lined my pos-birth underwear with Tucks pads. With the Always Discreet underwear being so tight they hug the pads up against your vagina and is such a relief. More or less, I healed within a month, and feel like that combo helped me.
Mother of two?
Having another baby and adjusting to a whole new human again has been wild. I’ve learned that you cannot compare anything. You can’t compare pregnancies or births or how much your baby eats to the one before. They are different humans, and the experience is entirely different. But, as a mom, I’ve also learned that I need to have moments to myself for my sanity in order to show up as the best version of myself for my babies.
On raising good humans?
Gio and I talk about this a lot. We want to raise well-rounded humans who can have conversations with adults and be respectful of other people, regardless of what they look like or where they come from. We are humble ourselves and want them to be humble. It’s hard being a kid raised in the city, and it’s hard being a kid raised in a privileged neighborhood; either way, we want them to understand they’re blessed, we are all blessed, and we can’t take that for granted.
I recently read this book called The Collapse of Parenting, and it talks about how important family is when raising children as family is the primary influence in children’s lives. When you’re not around family, friends become the direct influence which is an unknown variable. Therefore, it’s important for us to be our children’s significant influence and foster healthy relationships with them.