Postpartum: What No One Told Me

There are a bunch of wonderful… but mostly awful things people tell you about what happens after delivery; I’m sure I don’t need to get into all the gory details… I would like to make a point to mention though, just like everything else with pregnancy, those icky, horrible things don’t necessarily happen to everyone so I wouldn’t spend time fretting over them until you’re actually experiencing them! No painful peeing, hemorrhoids, or that unspeakable “second delivery” when you go #2 for me. Ha and I swear I was pretty worried about that last one after the things I’d read. Like more scared of that then actually delivering my baby. Now there are some other things that I did experience that I didn’t even realize we’re a thing. 


  1. Immediately after delivery my legs were SO shakey, like convulsing! Apparently it’s called “Labor Shakes” and is perfectly normal.  
  2. The first few times I stood up I felt like I was in an episode of The Walking Dead and all my organs were falling out of my abdomen. Makes sense though, they all had been smushed up in my ribs due to the 8lb baby who had taken over residency. (I swear my stomach used to growl in between my boobs ha.) Once he was gone they could finally retake their normal positions and they wasted no time (literally) falling into place ha
  3. Two words: night sweats. I’m not even someone who really sweats but OH MY GOSH did I have night sweats the first couple of weeks. 
  4. Dry Eye Syndrome. Luckily I don’t wear contacts which could make this an even more annoying issue but my eyes are SO dry. They constantly feel as if I have no tears at all and are quickly shriveling up to nothing.
  5. Postpartum Depression in dads. So this is totally a thing. Chappy was WAY more emotional after Waylen was born. Luckily it was all happy tears at commercials and puppies but one night I teased him that I thought I was supposed to be the depressed one which then peaked my interest so I googled and guess what? Postpartum depression in fathers is a real thing! 
  6. The Linea Nigra does not just go away. I always figured it would start fading immediately after delivery and be gone within a few weeks. Nope. This bad boy is here to stay… at least for a while. Apparently they can last for months or years (or in rare cases– forever) after delivery. Breastfeeding also keeps them longer so I guess I should get used to my swiggly little friend. 
  7. Speaking of weird things on your stomach, it may be abnormally tan compared to the rest of your body. Luckily this doesn’t last as long and will start fading a few weeks after delivery.
  8. Itchy skin and/or armpits while breastfeeding. My neck and collar bone area would seriously get SO itchy when breastfeeding in the beginning but luckily it only lasted the first few weeks. Apparently it has something to do with the hormones released during letdown or something, who knows!
  9. Boulders as boobs. Yes, I expected my boobs to get bigger what I didn’t expect was to get what I can only describe as porn star boobs. You know what I’m talking about.. like huge, fake, hard as rocks, abnormally perky… HA I swear. They eventually went down but I guess I now know what I’d look like with implants anddd that’s never going to happen 
  10. Breastfeeding can be messy. While you’re waiting until your milk supply to even out you can really soak your baby. Like a milk shower… I’m telling you … it can REALLY spray ha who knew?! 
  11. The thirst is real while breastfeeding. I could have just drank a gallon of water before nursing yet as soon as I started it would be as if I had spent the last 24 hrs. stranded on a desert island.
  12. Hair loss. Basically you haven’t been losing hair the last 9-10 months so when your hormones get back to normal you shed like crazy. This hasn’t happen to me yet (it usually occurs around the 4 month mark) but I am currently still stuck in the “my hair doesn’t grow phase” which is very convenient for the whole shaving my legs deal. 
  13. Phantom kicks. Remember those little flutters you felt in the beginning, well they can come back! Which then just makes you question if you were even feeling your baby to begin with, right?!

These are just a few of the many, MANY weird things that can happen post baby. Basically anything goes postpartum ha. Sometimes you swell, get acne, cramps, migraines, dry skin, hemorrhoids, body aches, and not to mention the fact that you literally are blessed with the longest period of your life. Seriously though I think you could go to your doctor with any crazy postpartum symptom and they’ll say it’s normal. Pregnancy and the aftermath can we awkward, uncomfortable, and just plain annoying. Trust me, it is not a glamorous situation but in the end you get an adorable tiny human that you LITERALLY MADE so it’s totally worth it! I promise! 


He’s Here! 

Welp, our little bambino decided to make a surprise entrance into this world a few weeks early! 

At only 37 weeks, 5 days pregnant we really had no idea he was about to make his entrance when we woke up Tuesday morning. This is how it all went down.. 

I woke up at 3am Tuesday morning thinking I’d legit peed my pants ha. Everyone’s always taking about how when you’re really pregnant you pee yourself so nothing else even crossed my mind. I changed, went back to bed, then laughed about it with Chappy in the morning. The only issue was that when morning came I was still slightly “peeing” myself every once and a while! (Isn’t pregnancy wonderful???) Again I didn’t even consider anything else besides that I had clearly lost all my dignity and bladder control ha. Bambino had dropped some so I figured the increase in pelvic pressure I also started to feel that morning just had something to do with that as well. So of course, I went to work like normal. Haha oops!

By 10 am I was pretty sure I actually wasn’t peeing myself and that instead I was leaking amniotic fluid and that “pressure” I mentioned earlier was actually coming pretty consistently every 6-8 minutes so I guessed it was probably early labor contractions. I called the doctor and they told me to go into triage at the hospital to get checked out. 

At around 11am we got to triage and I was 2 cm dialated. (Which wasn’t a big change from my 36 week appointment.) They weren’t sure whether I was leaking or not so they made me walk around for an hour with a test strip to find out. 

(Last pregnant picture!!)

By 12 I was having pretty strong and consistent contractions and had increased to 3cms. After some further monitoring they decided to admit me to labor and delivery. 

Let me tell you, the contractions were a serious BITCH! I was sure I wouldn’t survive hours of that pain without any medicine but then things basically went from 0-100 within minutes. In the 5+ minutes it took them to transfer me into a room down the hall I went from discomfort to seriously struggling. The new nurse checked me and somehow I had jumped to 8cm in the short time the transfer took. Now is when the panic erupted around me ha. They wanted to get an IV in ASAP and get the team ready but if anyone knows me they’ll tell you touching me when I’m in pain is a big no no. The doctor came by and luckily agreed to just get me comfortable and ready to push without the IV or any bloodwork. I literally ended up filling out all the consent forms and paperwork after he was born because it all happened so fast.

At 2:56 Waylen Tripp Garner finally arrived!  

Now I know everyone’s labor and delivery is different but for me the contractions during the “transition phase” were by far the most painful part of the entire process. Pushing the baby out was seriously nothing in comparison. And remember I went all natural because everything went so fast so I felt it ALL and was, no-joke,  PLEASANTLY surprised. Now you may also be thinking I might have had a small baby since I was early and that’s why it wasn’t as bad, but nope. He was a whopping 8 pounds 2.5 ounces and according to the doctor had a “head size that would do damage on anyone” (I blame Chappy for this ha) so I think I was just lucky! Unfortunately I did have to get some stitches but again, I’m telling you, the worst part was by far the contractions. The rest really wasn’t bad at all for me in comparison.

The next few days we’re basically a blur but here are some things I do remember. 

  • The pads they give you to wear are bigger then your baby. Like no joke, 16 x 7 inches I swear
  • Mesh panties are a fabulous invention and are pretty sexy too I might add 
  • The first time you stand up after delivery it will feel like your organs are falling out. Don’t worry though, they’re not! 
  • The  baby’s “black tar” first poop really lives up to its name 
  • You pretty much won’t sleep for the first 24+ hours. I think  I got a total of 4 hours of sleep during my three day, two night stay but don’t worry, I never really felt tired (even if this picture says otherwise ha) 
  • Dad instincts kick in right away! (I haven’t even changed one diaper yet!!) 
  • Always get the hummus (This was Chappy’s addition ha — our hospital offered room service for the moms and the hummus was actually delicious) 

So that’s pretty much it! Everything went by so quick and now I’m a new mommy! It has already been filled with so much excitement and joy I cannot wait for what’s to come!! Here are a few more pictures from the last few days: 

New Year || New (mini) Me 

It’s finally 2017 which means I officially get 4 extra weeks paid leave if this baby comes! Whoop Whoop! Ha anyways, with a New Year comes new resolutions and there are so many things I want to try and set as goals for this next year. But then I realize I have no idea what 2017 has in store for me with this little bambino on the way so it’s a little hard to plan for attainable resolutions I can actually stick to. Instead I have made a list of things I would like to do as a new mom.


Kidding… (Kind of) ha. 

Okay… now I’m being serious I promise: 

  • Make time for myself

With a newborn in the house it’s going to be hard to focus on anything except the baby for a while but I need to make sure to take time out for myself as well. Getting a haircut, manicure, or even simply taking a long bubble bath can go a long ways. In my opinion the baby can’t be happy if mom’s not happy! (And same goes for Dad!!)

  • Make time for my husband

Obviously date nights are going to come to a halt for a few weeks while we try to get into a rhythm of keeping a tiny human alive but after that I need to make sure to carve out some alone time for the hubby and I.

  •  Make time for my pets

I’m not the only one who has to adjust to this new life so I need to make sure I take time out to still love on my puppies. A simple game of fetch and some night time cuddles can go a long way to keep my pups from feeling left out.

  • Embrace the Mom- Bod

Obviously my body is not going to be back to normal right away, (if I even remember what “normal” is.) But seriously I’ve lived with a basketball for a stomach for the last 6 months so it’s not like I’m used to by old body anyways! Ha. (I swear looking at old pictures weirds me out!! Is that normal??) Basically though I just want to go into the New Year with no body expectations and just let things adjust with time.

  • Relax

Taking a newborn home can be scary. I swear I’m just going to stay up all night staring at him the first few weeks but I also need to remember to just RELAX! I’ve had experience with babies before, taken classes, and prepped the nursery so at this point I just need to let my instincts kick in and stop worrying.

  • Don’t become a Google Whore

The great thing about Google is that you can pretty much get any question answered at any time of the day. The bad thing about Google is that a lot of the time the person answering the question isn’t necessarily qualified. Google can be your friend or worst enemy so I want to limit my exposure to all of that craziness.

Although these things may not be the typical “save money,” “lose weight” resolutions, they still are going to be ones I need to focus on to keep. Obviously with a new money drain in the family aka Mr. Bambino we will still want to save more money but I believe the above goals should be my main focus. I’m probably going to be a little tired, no, unfocused.. no… DELIRIOUS for the first few weeks so I need to focus all my attention on goals that will really reap the most benefit for my family. I think these goals will help to keep me out of survival mode and help with adjusting much more than just saving a buck or two.

Now the countdown is officially on!!! This bambino could seriously arrive any day now and our lives will never be the same! Wish us luck and good luck to all the other new and expecting parents out there! I’m sure we’re all going to do great! 


HELLO NESTING. Designing the nursery has been by far one of my favorite things to do this pregnancy. My main goals were 1) to not break the bank and 2) to not have the nursery look like it threw up baby if that makes sense.. haha. Basically I am not really into anything that screams baby or is too “baby’y.” For example, I could really care less for pastels and don’t get me started on baby blue. HELLO, we are a DUKE household here; we can’t bring that color into our home! Kind of kidding but still serious because neither Chappy nor I are really fans of baby blue anyways.

I think one of the funniest/annoying things people would tell me is how they knew I was having a boy because of how my nursery looked and what I put on my registry. I hate to break it to everyone but EVERYTHING—literally EVERYTHING on my registry was picked out before we knew the gender and about 99.9 % of our nursery items were not only picked out but also purchased before that too. So if we were having a girl, I promise you, literally nothing would be different. Ha. I really just prefer neutrals and don’t even own one pink article of clothing for myself so I wouldn’t have bought any if I was having a daughter either.

Alright now back to the nursery. I pretty much wanted the room to feel cool, relaxed and a little modern. I seriously scoured the internet looking for the perfect rocking chair. I really wanted something that could easily fit into the décor of our home if we wanted to use it after bambino was grown and didn’t scream NURSERY ROCKER. I ultimately fell in love with this chair from The Land of Nod.

At $1095 plus tax and shipping though I think Chappy would have divorced me if I came home with that. So the internet search continued and lucky for me (and Chappy) I found this  beauty from Interior Express for only $352.00. Plus they were offering 20% at the time so compared to the one from The Land of Nod I was getting a steal.

Here is the overall finished product:

I could not be happier with how everything turned out. I love all the neutral tones throughout the room and I even more importantly I love how it matches the rest of our house while still looking like a kids room! Here’s a list of the bigger furniture and decor items we purchased for the nursery:

  1. Crib: I had been wanting this crib for what seemed like forever but didn’t want to pull the trigger until I could get a good deal. In the end I found it on sale at for under $200 including tax and shipping whereas it normally retails for $279.00. 
  2. Side Table: Just a warning, this so called “black” table was actually more of a midnight blue so we ended up spray painting it a true black. I loved the design (and the price) so it seemed easy enough to just change the color ourselves.   We also ended up painting the wooden part of the legs to match our name letters we made. I would LOVE to show you those but I can’t because we’re keeping the name a secret for now!   Sorry guys!                                                   
  3. Bookcase:  This was probably the easiest piece of Ikea furniture I have ever built. I think it took us under 5 minutes to get the entire piece up. Since the white color of the bookcase was actually more yellowy compared to our crib and dresser we decided to paint it grey to match the bottom trim on our crib.   
  4. Dresser:  Ten hours later we finally finished building this piece… Okay so that’s a total exaggeration but whatever.  
  5. Dresser Nobs: Chappy wanted to add a few more pops of color to the room so I found these nobs on Etsy and they were the perfect addition. I went with the larger size because I felt like it would look more like a kids room then.  
  6. Area Rug: This is Ramone’s favorite thing we have ever purchased. He’ll spend 2o minutes rolling around in it every day and I can’t really blame him because it is SO soft.                                                                      
  7. Pouf: The first pouf I purchased was too high for our rocker but luckily this one worked perfect at 16″ tall!                       
  8. Storage Bins:   We got these cute bins to store all the extra baby blankets, stuffed animals and toys we received. Seriously, we were gifted SO MANY BLANKETS so these bins definitely have come in handy.                         


Now I can’t really talk about my nursery without mentioning my favorite items. Realistically these are probably more for me then the baby but who cares they were adorable and I couldn’t help myself.

  1. Sheepish Throw Pillow: I mean… who doesn’t want an adorable black sheet throw pillow in their nursery.           
  2. Animal Prints: I seriously LOVE these! They were so cheap and really add a lot to the space. I purchased the downloads, got them professionally printed, and then stuck them in some cheap $3.00 IKEA frames.             
  3. Terrier Bookend: The only way I could justify purchasing this is because of… hormones??? And getting 30% off but still, please don’t tell my husband! ha.               
  4. Keekaroo Changing Pad: First, there was no way I was going to spend money on an actual changing table. Second, the idea of buying a foam changing pad that you had to buy sheet like covers for seemed a little weird to me. Why would I want to change my baby’s diaper on some fabric object that I would potentially have to change and wash every day. I do NOT want to add anything extra to the crazy amounts of laundry I’m bound to do once this baby arrives. Plus I’m having a boy, which I heard pretty much means I’m going to get peed on a thousand times.                                         

The only downside to creating my dream nursery is that I won’t actually use it for months! Little bambino will be staying the night in our room the first 6-12 months so I’ll just have to bring him in there during the day to actually enjoy the space. Now if there are any items I didn’t identify that you have questions about feel free to ask! Less then four weeks until my due date! Eek!! 

Bumpdate – 36 Weeks

Guys, I’m not sure what happened but this morning I woke up and am 9 months pregnant! These last few months are seriously FLYING by and I’m sure the next 4 +/- weeks will be just as quick. As of today I am officially up 19.2 lbs since losing 3 in the first trimester and still feeling pretty good. I have had some heartburn here and there but nothing too dramatic and really only one more swelling incident, but I have been getting tons of Braxton Hicks contractions and do get pretty uncomfortable sitting at a desk all day.  My back is not a fan of the chair and would definitely prefer to sit/lay on a couch instead. Hopefully I can just start working from home soon!  Also I pretty much only have 5 shirts left that currently fit me ha but buying more seems pointless so late in the game so I’ll make due.

In the last few weeks we have pretty much got everything ready for this little bambino! We washed all his newborn and 0-3 month clothes, blankets, sheets, towels, socks, hats, etc. etc. etc. OMG SO MUCH BABY STUFF ha. We also officially finished getting his nursery done and finally set up a mini portable crib in our bedroom which we are going to use for the first 6+ months.


(This actually makes me just a little sad because I LOVE his nursery so much and just want to sit in it alllll day. BUT I also want my baby in the safest place so if they say to keep him in my room then that’s where he’ll be.)

Lastly we have semi packed a bag for the hospital; that’s when you know shit’s getting real! I say semi- packed because obviously there are things I am going to bring that can’t really be packed away for the next month because I use them ha. Here is a list of everything I put in our bag:

For Mom:

  • 2 black leggings
  • 2 tank tops
  • 1 athletic shorts
  • 1 button up flannel
  • 1 nursing sleep bra
  • 1 sports bra
  • 1 sweat pants
  • 1 oversized t-shirt
  • Undies ( just in case the mesh ones are too big)
  • Fuzzy socks
  • Button up sweater
  • Phone
  • Charger
  • ID/Insurance cards
  • 2 pillows
  • Face cleanser
  • Mascara
  • Hair ties
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Hair brush
  • chapstick

For Dad:

  • Basketball shorts
  • Sweatpants
  • Button down shirt (for easy skin to skin time!)
  • Undies
  • Socks
  • Bathing suit (In case I make him he wants to labor in the tub with me)
  • Sweatshirt
  • 2 tshirts
  • 1 pair of pants
  • Phone
  • Phone charger
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Ipad
  • Snacks

For Baby:

  • 1 newborn outfit
  • 1 0-3 mo outfit
  • Receiving blanket for the ride home
  • Car seat

There are a few things that I am intentionally not bringing. For starters, my breast pump. Some people recommended bringing your own in so you could try it out with the experts but at our hospital they only recommend pumping if there are complications with the baby and you will use the hospital grade pumps in that situation because they are stronger and help bring a bigger supply in. Also we won’t be bringing in the so called “birth plan.” Honestly I find it a little hard to plan for something I’ve never experienced before. Would I like to go natural? Yes. Have I ever been in any serious pain before in my life, let alone labor? No. So it’s hard for me to write a plan to stick to when I’m not sure what exactly I’ll want when the time comes. For me I think it is better to just keep everything open and go with the flow! Lastly, I won’t be bringing my own robe or gown to wear during labor. Basically my reasoning for this is that spending money on something that is going to get destroyed with blood and baby juices seemed wasteful. Ha.  I’d much rather spend that money on my new post-baby wardrobe!

Now we’ve pretty much done all we can do to prepare for our little guy so it’s just a waiting game at this point. While I’ve been pretty relaxed about the whole birth experience, I am definitely more anxious about bringing him home for the first time! I mean, don’t get me wrong I am SURE this so called labor thing is going to be a serious BITCH but at this point there’s nothing I can really do about it. He’s got to come out one way or another so I feel like there’s no need to waste energy stressing over it. Parenting though, that’s an entirely different story ha. Chappy literally held his first baby this year so I think I have the right to be a little nervous but in reality I’m sure it will all come natural anyways. Though I did make Chappy take a few baby classes our hospital offered so he could feel a little more prepared.

Thank goodness that creepy baby doll didn’t scare him away. ha.


Here are my weekly photo updates from the last month:

Flying While Pregnant

After flying back and forth across the country at 30 & 32 weeks plus back and forth to Oregon in-between I feel like I am pretty much the pregnant flying expert. Ha okay not really but I think I can still offer some words of advice! Here are some things I would definitely recommend:

               Compression Hosiery

First off if you are traveling late in your pregnancy your doctor will probably recommend getting some type of compression hosiery. Socks, tights, leggings, stockings, etc. After reading way too many online reviews I decided to go with a pair of Sigviras Compression Tights from A Pea in a Pod. And for reference I purchased a size A and they fit perfect. Plus I didn’t even have to have Chappy help me get them on. Haha. I decided to go with tights because I heard socks could get uncomfortable where they hit along your calf. I also went with a lower mmhg because up to that point I hadn’t had any swelling so I figured the lower compression should be enough to keep my circulation up. Also… lets be real, they were on sale and I STILL paid $46.11 with tax and shipping… for one pair of tights… not really what I wanted to spend my money on. But I guess they were worth it (maybe?) because I didn’t swell on any of the flights! And I know you might be thinking I shouldn’t have been worried since I hadn’t swelled at all yet but just a little fun fact… Once while traveling back from Las Vegas on a red eye pre-pregnancy my feet randomly swelled, so I legitimately thought it was a possibility.

Aisle Seat

Everyone says how important it is to get an aisle seat. If you are peeing every 5 minutes having an aisle seat would be critical. I didn’t actually get up to use the restroom once on any of the flights I took though. Ha I’m really not sure how that miracle happened but it did. The only “close call” was on my short flight to Oregon. We had already landed and were stuck in our seats waiting for our gate to be ready. I could have REALLY used a restroom then, but in the end I survived without one.

Also since I was taking a red eye flight back to NC I was worried about the recommendations around getting up and walking during a longer flight. Hello I would much rather just sleep the entire time then make sure I got up to walk. Without me even asking my doctor brought it up and let me know that as long as I had compression hosiery I should be find sans walk. And guess what? I was! Even though I didn’t actually need an aisle seat I still would recommend getting one though because seriously during pregnancy you never know how you’re going to feel so it’s better just to be prepared!


This was especially important for me because I hadn’t been able to eat big meals up to this point. I pretty much just continuously snacked throughout the day so I had to make sure I had ample snacks for my cross country trip. Also make sure you have a good variety because we all know how pregnancy cravings go… you may love something one moment and hate it the next. I brought popcorn, granola bars, leftover Halloween candy, etc. etc. and drank LOTS of water.

               Lumbar Support

If you’ve been having any type of back pain I would recommend bringing some sort of support for the trip. For me sitting upright in a chair isn’t the most comfortable so the idea of sitting on a plane for 5 hours wasn’t ideal. Now no need to get fancy though. I just brought along and extra sweatshirt that I could ball up to help support my back. Worked like a charm!

Comfy Clothes

Black leggings, a t-shirt, and a flannel were basically my go-to travel clothes. I wanted to make sure I was able to move around to get comfortable without the restrictions of a dress or skinny jeans. I’m weird and will sit Indian-style or with one leg up on my seat sometimes so leggings were a serious must. Also I pretty much immediately removed my shoes once on the plane basically just making myself completely at home and let me tell you, it was totally worth any weird looks I received ha.


That’s pretty much all the advice I have to offer.  If you are still having morning sickness or nausea I would also recommend getting one of those sea sickness pressure point bracelets. That was probably the only thing that helped me through the early months (aka half my pregnancy ha.) And lastly if you feel uncomfortable going through the new x-ray scanners, then don’t! I opted out and instead received a quick pat down. It was easy peasy! Now go and enjoy your vacation!!

Bumpdate: 32 weeks

Guys, we’re officially at 8 months! Wahoo! This last month has seriously flown by and I can only hope the next two months go the same. I’ve seriously been feeling a lot better which makes me almost forget how miserable the first half was… almost ha.

The only pregnancy symptoms I’ve had these days are heartburn and getting out of breath. I swear I feel like I’m in great shape and then I walk up a hill and start panting ha. Oh well! I’ll take that over nausea any day. I’ve also started having a few Braxton hicks contractions lately which are pretty weird. I don’t really notice them unless I’m physically feeling my belly or looking at it. Everything just tightens up for a few seconds and then goes away so nothing painful.

I did also have my first stint of swelling while on vacation in California. I had stood all day in heels on Saturday and then sat all Sunday in the heat at the Charger game but I was still shocked when I got home that night and my left ankle had transformed into a donut.

It was minor though. Nothing a little ice and elevation couldn’t fix which was lucky because we flew off to Oregon the next morning for our anniversary trip/ babymoon/ maternity photos.

📸 : Dawn Charles
Besides that everything has been going great! I’m officially up 12.8 lbs. since loosing 3 in the first trimester. I’m sure my two weeks of binge eating .. I mean vacation.. helped me pack on some pounds!

Here are some of the pictures from the last 4 weeks: