Birth Story // July 2, 2019

The day my son was born.. and the backstory.

I’ll start from the beginning…

When you’re pregnant you have this weird intuition about everything. I knew my baby was a boy, although my heart sank a little when it was confirmed - what in the world would I do with a boy? Literally my WHOLE family is female dominant on both sides, and none of the boys play sports.. do I really have to live my life at the ball field? I hate fishing, golfing, sports… I also could never imagine my life without this boy. I would spend my every day watching him golf or fish. There’s nothing greater in this world than that little boy.

I refused to have a birth plan. When it came time the nurse practitioner asked “What’s your birth plan?” and I replied “Drugs'“. She then replied (as she was writing in my chart) “Alright, pain management”. I thought to my self maybe pain management would have been a better answer than “drugs”. I was obsessed (and still am) with asking everyone their birth stories so I could be mentally prepared for any outcome. I specifically refused to do any classes, read any books, watch any videos.. I wanted to go into this absolutely blind. And absolutely blind I was for what the outcome would be. This was the best decision I could have made. I was so unprepared I was in bliss through what could have been an extremely traumatic situation..

Around 32 weeks my husband had been asking “How much does the baby weigh?” So, I decided to ask because I didn’t care I knew we were all healthy. Why he wanted to know his weight, I don’t know.. but Thank God he did. Because of this question the nurse practitioner looked at my chart and said “Ummm, looks like he’s in the 15th percentile. So he’s small. This could mean your placenta is calcifying as it’s aging.” Now, if you know me you know I NEVER slow down. I worked out throughout my whole pregnancy, I was very modified, but worked out. I worked 10 hour+ days. I never stopped.. My placenta WAS small we found out after birth, and my cord was super small. I think they call it a two-vessel cord. AKA, that daily Chickfila was going to my hips and not fattening up that baby. Anyway, back to being intuitive I thought “I REALLY don’t want to stop working out, but I should.” I had this feeling I should rest… I don’t think it mattered, but by that time I was exhausted. At 34 weeks I asked my doctor If I could be induced. My sister lived in Texas and I wanted her to be in town, she wanted to be in town. I wanted to have a plan for the dogs so they were taken care of and Tyler could stay with me as long as he could. I was terrified of my water breaking and being alone. I literally had moments walking Target panicking like “OH NO! What if it happened right now?” The doctor told me we would decide to schedule that closer to time but it was definitely a possibility and I could also risk a c-section. In my unplanned, but very made up mind, I wasn’t going to have a c-section. Are you kidding me? My hips are naturally wide, my baby is small - he’s going to slip out and I’ll be watching Southern Charm cracking jokes while being relaxed with an epidural. I mean, especially being induced I would surely have an epidural immediately because I’ll be asking for it when I walk into that room and I’ll be put on the schedule. Hello, I used to schedule anesthesia for the Cath lab.. I know how this goes. Because L&D is so similar to a planned ablation. (I’M AN IDIOT, but it was a coping mechanism.) After this I made myself prepare mentally IF a c-section were to happen I needed to focus on the pros… the one pro - I would be torn, or have trouble wetting my pants from jumping or laughing in the future. Great, a c-section doesn’t sound that bad.. but I still don’t want one. However, I made it very clear I do not make the decisions and anything my doctor says goes. I wanted her to tell me what was happening and take all control. We ended up scheduling our induction date a week before his due date - Oh, Yeah… we also wanted him to be born on 4th of July so we had a greater chance of this happening.. dumb. I was progressing, and then haulted. I was 50% effaced one appointment and the next not at all… how this happens I don’t know but it’s like my body was like “HE’S NOT FAT ENOUGH YET, CLOSE IT UP”. Because of this they required me (the Thursday before our Monday induction) we would be going in Monday night July 1 to have a pill called cytotek placed as a suppository as close to my cervix as possible to help me efface. I went in 12 hours before so that I could have up to 4 doses to help progress labor. I was to start at 4pm.. 4pm what?

So we roll up to the hospital at 3:30pm to prep for my unplanned (yet forced) labor. 5:40pm I have the first suppository placed, they said after 20 minutes they would tell me if I was able to eat due to how the baby was taking the contractions. These contractions were nothing… uncomfortable but I mean, I’m a champ. I have a high pain tolerance, I’m getting through this and surely once they get bad I’m getting an epidural. They literally have it written on the board EPIDURAL. Im golden, the IV is already placed, I’m just playing a waiting game. Baby did great… (easy contractions) I called my mom and requested Salsaritas burrito bowl. My parents show up around 6:30/6:45pm. The nurse comes running in “I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but, you can’t eat. I know I said you could but baby’s heart rate is dropping and not handling contractions well so we have to be careful you might end up in a c-section. Oh, great.. I’m just hungry. My whole goal is to have this baby here by dinner tomorrow so my husband can go home to the dogs, the baby in the nursery and me asleep after I’ve eaten my whole large Papa John’s pizza by myself.. Let me eat, I’m not having a c-section, but fine. I’ll obey. So, my parents end up leaving and Tyler’s parents come to hang out and my contractions are picking up. So strongly that I can’t look at anyone or really talk comfortably but they’re still not that bad, just strong. It’s closer to 8pm at this time. They end up leaving and we are left to waiting. The nurses come in because Lachlan’s heart rate is continuously dropping at every big contraction. i’m pretty sure I laid awkwardly on my side for like 2 hours with oxygen wrapped around me for most of the night. I had to pee like every 15 mins and his heart rate was still dropping. I had to be unhooked from the monitor every time too. After the second time they told me I wasn’t allowed to get up any more and I had to use a bed pan. GREAT!! My nurse is pregnant, with a baby at home and working night shift placing a bed pan underneath my 220 lb body that I can barely lift and I’m probably peeing gallons and gallons at a time. My poor nurse was stuck with me. I don’t remember what time exactly, it’s all such a blur - but my contractions start picking up 60 seconds on, 60 seconds off. Oh yeah, I’m also NOT effaced at all - even after my 2nd suppository is placed and not dilating past 1cm. My cervix is shut, closed down for business, not re-opening ever. I literally begged about 3 times very kindly and very annoyingly with an awkward laugh “Im a wimp, I’m in pain. Can I have an epidural? Heeheehee” The doctor said let’s try pain medicine first.. which made since because if I were going to be in labor all day the next day the epidural would wear off before everything happened. I really wanted that epidural for the catheter aspect of never using a bed pan again. I debated peeing on myself multiple times just to get out of a bed pan, but figured that would never be comfortable to lay in if I needed to rest.

4am the pain meds hit, THANK YOU JESUS! I am resting between contractions. I can’t sleep, but I can chill out. I’m almost t the point of zen and zoned out and I hear a woman screaming next to me for 2 hours giving birth. The wimpiest screams ever. (Later on my breakfast, after baby, was late one day because some diva requested A VEGAN MEAL with DARK GREEN LETTUCE… Sunspot is around the corner, order your own food. I bet that diva was the wimpy screamer.) I wanted to march in there and tell her “That baby would have been here 2 hours ago if you put some grit behind that scream.” I was so mad I literally text my mom at 4:30am “DOES SHE NOT REALIZE THERE ARE OTHER PREGNANT B**CHES HERE TRYING TO SLEEP?” I was not very happy and I was very blunt and in pain. But it was also in that moment I realized “Oh no. I haven’t eaten, I haven’t slept. I am so exhausted with no energy.. I can’t push a baby out. I can’t physically work for this baby to come. My body is already tired and I’m not even dilating.” I decided in that moment a c-section was going to be a God send and if he wasn’t here by noon I was requesting one because at 4am I already mentally tapped out before the fight began. I’m done.. I want my large pizza.

7:30am rolls around.. I’ve been in (forced) labor for 14 hours .. I asked my sweet pregnant nurse if I could go to the restroom and get up and walk there and no more bed pans. I didn’t have to pee and I’m NOT using a bed pan for that in front of a nurse.. I needed a moment alone. (THANK GOD I had the pregnant nurse, She had real pity..) She looked at me and looked at the monitor, then looked at me and said “Okay” and stayed and waited. I walked back to the bed after I had my moment and 2 nurses came rushing in and said “You cannot get out of bed again” Oh, Okay, great. 8:00am rolls around shift changed happened. I’m getting hooked up to prepare for pitocin - which will really get this party started. The pain meds were given to me at 4am. The nurse said “Dr Saunders will be in shortly around 8:30a, to check you and get you set up on pitocin, Do you have any questions?” I said “Can you tell me why I feel high?” She looked at my like I was crazy. I was SO euphoric in this moment. I don’t know if it was the pain meds, delusion, the fact I stood up and hadn’t in 14 hours.. I have NO clue, but I was on cloud 9 and nothing was bringing me down.

8:38am the doctor walks in - I was watching the clock. Still in my head, I’m getting that epidural once this pitocin starts. She checks me “still not dilating” and continues to tell me about pitocin and it can be stopped at any time and once again I hear “This could be a c-section”. I immediately said excitedly “OKAY! Whatever you say, if you want to do a c-section let’s just go ahead and do one.” I am DONE. I was basically begging for a c-section… I want a nap. (A nap was what I was getting, for sure.) She says “We are going to break your water and start pitocin and watch you from there.” She breaks me water and IMMEDIATELY jumped back and stood up as if Hurricane Harvey was about to drown her and said “Okay, Claudia. Do you know what meconium is?” I said “Oh Yeah”, confidently, “My mom’s water broke with my sister and it was pea green.” (I’m SO educated.) She replies “Okay, well your’s is very thick and dark.. this means it just happened when your water broke. You’re having a c-section.” Cool. My wish has been granted, that phone number is 690-6464, large extra cheese, 45 mins, have mom pick it up - I’ll be ready for it when baby arrives. His heart rate drops drastically. Next thing I know I’m being shoved on my side to get a better read and a scalp monitor shoved up me so she can get a reading. Nothing. Heart rate : 0. … 20 people come rushing in. My husband is on his phone texting the family. I’m laying with my hospital gown basically completely off and I don’t even know what I was thinking. She said “you’re going back now”, with urgency. I’m assuming Tyler will be scrubbed up but the only thing I ask was “Does he get to go back?” Why? I don’t know. She said “We will try our best” I knew he wasn’t going back. I had no worries, I was 100% carefree and I don’t think I’ve ever been as confident or as close to God as I was in that moment. I knew everything was okay. I had worried faces rushing me back to the O.R. I mean nurses looked terrified. I had people shoving things on me and up me and around me so quickly I didn’t even know what to think but I wanted to say “we are okay, don’t be scared.” Why would I say that? I should be scared, but I wasn’t in any way. I knew my baby was okay. I’m rolled back to the O.R. and they say get up on this table. I literally feel like Violet Beauregard rolling my big blueberry self up on a table and laughing because I feel so awkward. I lat flat with my arms at my side and say “Oh, where do I put my arms?” They say on this wood plank out on the side. At this time I hear “Does she have an epidural?” “No" “Is anesthesia on the way?” “No time for that” “It’s a splash and slash” I heard that and thought I’m going to go through this awake with no pain meds and I’m going to get through it. I’m going to endure this pain and I’m going to be sliced open awake and I will make it. Then I sat up and said “HOLD UP, I’m not going to feel any pain am I?” They said “No, you’re being put to sleep,” I said “Okay, great” and lay back down. I get gas shoved on my face and the next thing I know a nurse comes over, grabs my hand and says “Claudia, I’m here for you". And that was the single best moment of my life, I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t scared, I had no reason to be scared, she was there for me. The doctor got in my face and said “Claudia, I’m Dr. Saunders and you’re going to be okay.” And I said “ Okay, Thank you.” Done. Out like a light. Tyler said by the time he could process what was happening (because he wasn’t allowed in surgery) there was a nurse at the door with a baby and he said “You have the wrong room” and she said “No, this is your baby. Sit down , where’s your phone?” And he was the first to hold the baby, his first baby he’s ever held and I think that’s the most precious thing ever.

I come to at 10:00am. I hear Tyler and the nurses talking but I can’t see anything and I feel like someone has lit a samurai sword on fire and slashed me from end to end and I said “Tyler, I’m in pain.” The nurse said, “you’re going to be in pain.” I said, “No, I am in PAIN.” I had 2 doses of Morphine at this point and felt like I had just been in a gang fight. I felt every ounce of that cut deeeeep down. Like I was some magician’s failed act and the woman actually got cut in 2. I had to fully awake before I could get more pain meds or else I would slip back under. It took a minute and although the pain meds eased the pain the hormonal shift took over and I was so tense and shaking I couldn’t control my body. My baby had been born at 8:53am. I was rushed back at 8:45am. I woke up at 10:00am. They wheeled my baby in and I was so drugged up and In pain I didn’t want to hold him. The nurse said “HOLD YOUR BABY” And I finally caved when I realized if I don’t hold him someone else will first and I wasn’t having that. I already was the last to see him because I was out. The doctor came in after a bit saying “I cussed your son out. He was born crying and perfect” THANK GOD! I am so thankful I had no control or say so over what happened. It was the most perfect way he could have ever arrived and I’m so thankful we were induced because who knows what would have happened if he weren’t able to tolerate contractions at home. He was born 5.2 lbs, 21 3/4 long on July 2, 2019 with such a dramatic entrance with no issues at all. He’s a healthy 12 lbs at 3 months now and the absolute best baby I could ever imagine. I am hear to tell you c-sections are no joke, but I couldn’t have done it any other way, I am so fascinated by birth now.. especially surgically birthing a child. It’s so crazy and cool and my ONE requirement of an epidural didn’t even happen. I thought I was so easy going and simple I surely would have that - nope. Not even a spinal in surgery, I was put under coming out of it with no numbness. It makes me laugh.. I was so unplanned but it was for the best in his situation.

Favorite Facials

Um, Hi. I am way overdue on any kind of blog post, and I apologize for a ridiculously long delay. I have been so busy I can't believe it's already mid-April. Lord, help us all. Tax day was today and it's only fitting I forget about the negative and focus on the positive and share all good things with you - like spa days :)

If you follow me on Instagram you know I am OBSESSED with skincare and facials. I have so many friends, family and clients ask me about all things skin because well, I literally will and have tried it all. 

The beginning of the year I did a chemical peel for the first time ever and Oh My Gosh... I loved and hated it. It was a very uncomfortable process in the fact it felt like I had an extreme sunburn. The reason why is because it is a very potent Skinceuticals Advanced Corrective chemical peel filled with 3 major acids: 14% salicylic acid, 14% lactic acid, and 10% phenyl ethyl resorcinol. This peel is meant to retexture, diminish underlying pigment/discoloration and smooth pores. Basically in this process Susan, (my WONDERFUL friend and trusted aesthetician), swiped a textured cotton pad doused in these acids across my face "aggressively" 4 times. I say aggressively in quotes because she didn't do it meanly, but in order to see results you can't be gentle. It didn't hurt at all. It really felt and smelled like if you rubbed nail polish remover on your skin - not bad, just dry and smelly. After you feel like super sunburn, but it's okay. It goes away within a couple hours and your skin feels really tight. The next morning my skin was so blotchy due to the acids lifting so much underlying pigment from my good ol' sun worshipping days. After about 2 days my skin started lifting - all that old pigment and discoloration had lifted to the surface of my skin and started flaking off. People had told me it would happen in big strips of skin flaking, but that wasn't my case. I just had it slough off gradually. All in all, it probably took a full week to go back to normal from start to finish... So, I tell you all the gross and "bad" stuff to now tell you how amazing it was. My skin has never been changed so much like it did with this peel. It truly has lasted so long. Today is April 17th - I got the peel done January 3.. I still see results like no other. Now, I did do a series of laser treatments last year - which I will get into next - but, the peel is life changing. If you're interested at all in doing a clinical treatment DO THE PEEL. Get through the worst part and you will literally love your skin. I did break out a bit after, but I expected that because it literally purges your skin of all things bad. Seriously, I have a continuous glow and I swear it seals your pores perfectly. Actually, now that I've written this post I want to contact Susan right now and book another before Summer. 

Okay, laser treatments. Last year I saved up for my 28 birthday (I'm 29 now) and bought myself a series of 3 Clear & Brilliant laser treatments. If you receive one.. ehhh, okay. But 3 is the magic number. The laser treatments are my most favorite correcting treatment. Why? Because before I had a laser treatment I considered myself oily, after 3 sessions I now consider my skin normal. I don't overproduce oil and I don't have texture like I used to. The Clear & Brilliant also is amazing at removing pigment and discoloration, however I have to say the peel amazed me at this - probably because you physically see the dark spots flake off. The C&B made my skin sooooo smooth and radiant. I asked Susan one day "How do I get JLO skin" and she replied with the solution which was this series of laser treatments and I got just that. (I'm also low-key obsessed with JLO.. I have been since she was a fly girl... another story, for another day.) Your skin with the C&B will become grainy feeling and bumpy and within 2-3 days completely slough off and renew into beautiful radiant skin. No one will see your graininess, it's only you who will know - so you don't look like a monster face falling off quite like the peel. I did one laser treatment, post peel, in February and I will tell you I didn't see the biggest difference the last time ONLY because I see Susan regularly for dermaplaning treatments and she has truly changed my skin for the better, I think I'm finally at a place where I have completely redefined my skin and made it brand new. It's recommended to do the C&B 1-2x a year.. but she takes such good care of me, I seriously use everything she says and my skin is the best it's ever been - She is the reason I have such great skin and a perfect glow. However, that will not stop me from getting them, because since I have done so many treatments and she has rid me of all the repercussions of my old bad habits, I am now on the road of maintenance after reversing all my sun damage completely. But, because I'm an addict - I won't stop doing these treatments basically, is what I'm saying. Especially post Summer - OMG! You have no idea how a teensy bit of sun can completely change your skin, texture and all.. long term too. 

Dermaplaning is MY FAVORITE THING OF ALL TIME. I started doing derma planing when my husband and I were first married and lived in Richmond, VA. I was really poor and saved up $85 every 8 weeks and treated myself to this one thing. I have been obsessed ever since. It wasn't until I met Susan that I realized just how amazing the dermaplane treatment could be. I loved it before, but she added the cherry on top by introducing me to the dermaplane trio. The trio is the dermaplane service itself, which is basically taking a blade to your face and exfoliating very precisely any dead skin and hair and it's the greatest facial treatment of all time. After the dermaplane Susan does a light peel, usually lactic acid - which isn't harsh or uncomfortable, but an extra bit of exfoliation and then she seals your skin with the cryogen ball. THE BEST PART. Basically a little ball similar to dry ice wrapped in gauze and rolled over your skin and it feels sooo amazing. It also will zap any bacteria on your skin or any blemishes you may have or soon to come up will completely vanish after using this. It's SO incredible. Dermaplaning is the easiest and least uncomfortable out of the 3, but hands down my most favorite service to get. Probably because it's instant results with no down time. 

I think that's it, other than the typical relaxing facial. I do want to try a hydra facial some time... and I am doing cool sculpting next week - can't wait! I have done one session on my stomach in August and HOLY COW, that treatment is phenomenal. I will write a whole post on that because I was very skeptical but cool sculpting is such a great treatment. 

If you're in the Knoxville area call my friend Susan Buchanan of Aesthetic Skin Solutions. She is so knowledgable and so sweet I love spending time with her. I know this seemed like such a biased post, but it's not. Like I said, I've always been obsessed with skin care but it wasn't until I met my sweet friend Susan that I really understood and got to know what exactly my skin needed. I tell everyone who asks to text/call her and just set up a consultation because she is just incredible and can definitely help you change whatever you want with your skin. Her instagram handle is @aeskinsolutions , her number is listed in her bio.. send her a message/text/call and tell her I sent you and she will take care of you 100%! Let me know if you see her too, I want to know all about your skin journey! It's sooo important to take care of your skin and it's so much cheaper and low maintenance than a full face of makeup. I typically only do cc cream, blush and mascara daily and within 5 minutes I'm out the door and I never worry if I have to run out barefaced because healthy skin is more beautiful than any foundation!

2018 Skincare Regimen

HELLO! And, Happy 2018! I have been wanting to share this post for awhile now, but I am so glad I waited because I just came across a few gems I am absolutely in love with! I'll breakdown and explain each product I use and why .. Note: I am a diva when it comes to skincare, so you do not have to be as "extra" as me. 


My Daily Skincare Routine:

This product right here is an absolute game-changer. It's an exfoliating clay-based mask that will give you the most radiant complexion ever! I am obsessed with it. I had an Aveda esthetician tell me I should use this no more than twice a week and once it dries to remove it with oil and scrub it on your face for a deeper exfoliation before rinsing. My skin is so radiant after I use this and it feels sooo soft and plump. I don't know what magic this has in it, but I LOVE it. 


Now, this product is great - as well. If I use the skin refiner this is the oil I use to remove and scrub it in with. If I'm not exfoliating, I use that teeny little brush to dry brush. This is a new "ritual" Aveda has out right now - to take 10-15 mins in the morning for yourself. So, you dry brush your skin to lightly exfoliate and then massage in the oil and let it sit. When I was reading reviews on this many people said they let the oils sit on for a few minutes while they did yoga, or drink hot tea, or do your daily devotional.. whatever you choose! I usually wash these oils off because I use other oils throughout my routine that I keep on all day! 


THIS. This cleanser is my ALL-TIME FAVORITE cleanser I have ever used, ever! I am not kidding. I found this in Sephora on a whim one day and bought a travel sized trial pack. OH MY GOSH! I love this so much. It's so cleansing, but also soon hydrating and doesn't make me feel like I've over cleansed any natural oils away. AMAZING! I am not kidding, I love this cleanser. It's suuuuper reasonably priced as well. Jumping on that Korean beauty trend with this one. Plus, a little bit of this foams perfectly so you just feel so fresh afterward. 


Okay, I am a HUGE believer in everyone needs Vitamin C. This is my 2nd container of the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day serum. I love it, its pretty pricey but I also feel like you get a lot of product in this container though. Vitamin C helps even out skin tone and texture. I do love this serum, however I literally used my last drop this morning before photographing this - so I am going to try out the Dr. Dennis Gross version of his vitamin c serum ... which leads me to my next product. 


Dr. Dennis Gross Eye Creams! Okay, I am 100% being dramatic when I use both of these.. but... I recently listened to a podcast where Dr. Dennis Gross spoke on his background in the industry and how he created his own products and his why. I loved every second of it. I immediately went out and bought his peel pads - which I also use, but I will include that in another post (Night Routine). I also bought the C+Collagen Brighten and Firm eye serum (Orange) but it is somewhat drying - Vitamin C usually is - and days after I purchased this he released the Hyaluronic Marine Dew It All eye serum. Soooo, it was Christmas time and I was really all about the "Treat Yo'self" slogan.. aka I justified everything I wanted. But, I just used a drop of each and mix together to be super dramatic and I have to say, I love both equally. It's the first eye cream I have ever used that I truly feel makes a difference. The C+Collagen Brighten and Firm helps strengthen your skin and rebuild that collagan, as well as brighten and the Hyaluronic Marine Dew It All also does the same BUT is truly, truly hydrating. * I also bring this product down on my laugh lines as well.. you can never be too careful. 

SHOP HERE - C+Collagen Brighten and Firm

SHOP HERE - Hyaluronic Marine Dew it all

This is something new I just started incorporating in. I love oils, so much. I've also heard so many great benefits of Rosehip Seed Oil. It's great for moisturizing, brightening, fading pigmentation or any scars and treating wrinkles. I can't tell you if this product has made a huge difference, but what I can tell you is it's so moisturizing and hydrating but also soaks into your skin so nicely. I found this on amazon and it's only $12. So, I thought - why not? I have an oil addiction as well, and this is my go-to lately. 


Another Aveda product that I swear by. I love this cream. I use it every morning before applying makeup and it's wonderful. It's so lightweight but so hydrating and I love the way Aveda products smell - not all - but all the earthy smells are my favorite. It is perfect over my rosehip seed oil and I love how glowy they make my skin look all day long, without being oily. 

This is my skin without any makeup - but when I had lash extentions, which I miss so badly! I will be getting those put back on. Also, I don't know why my neck looks so red in this picture, but disregard that. I love my skincare routine right now and I feel like I finally have products that each one makes a difference and make me feel beautiful all day long. I'm huge on I would rather go without makeup and have beautiful skin than covering it up. I actually rarely wear makeup anymore because I don't have much time in the mornings and I love being 100% naturally me... just a bit glowy. I did a poll on instagram @claudianicole_hair and 52% beat out 48% for this post to go up - sooo, I'll be doing my hair care regimen next since the poll was so close. Happy New Year and I hope you have a wonderful 2018!