Two moms on embracing the mess, madness, and mundane beauty of motherhood
By Cradlewise Staff
Two moms on embracing the mess, madness, and mundane beauty of motherhood
By Cradlewise Staff
Sometimes, the journey to parenthood is just as bumpy as parenthood itself. A couple that knows this well are Melanie and Jordana (a.k.a @theequeensofqueens on Instagram) whose son, Niccolo, is just six weeks old.
Q: How did your parenthood journey begin?
Melanie: We both knew that we always wanted children and it was a conversation we had very early on in our relationship. We were able to get appointments for fertility treatments. Working with a clinic, we started three different IUI cycles.
Only one of them actually ended up leading to an IUI. And that was in the summer of 2021. It unfortunately did not work.
We changed jobs, we moved, we had a lot of life changes happen. And with that, we changed insurance and needed to get referrals and a new doctor. Just a little over a year ago now, we found our clinic that we ended up staying with, and we did IVF.
And with the IVF journey, we did one round of IVF and one retrieval, and one transfer, and our little baby came to us.
Q: Let’s go back to when Niccolo was born. What was that experience like for you?
Melanie: I felt very prepared, I was not nervous, I said, “Everything’s gonna be fine. It’s all going to be good. I’m not worried about it.” Then my water broke at one o’clock in the morning in bed, and right away, I said, okay, now I’m scared.
It all hit at once, we went to the hospital, and he did not make his way here until about 27 hours later. When we got to the hospital, I had not actually dilated yet. So even though my water already broke, they did end up inducing labor with Pitocin.
I stayed dilated at three and a half centimeters for hours and hours before the doctor came in and said, “Oh, you’re at nine, we’re going to start pushing.” Then I was scared all over again.
“ It turned into actually a very beautiful experience. From the moment that I started pushing until he came into this world, was a total of 16 minutes, so I did not push for long at all. Just calm breathing, nothing like you see in the movies with the screaming and cursing everybody out and sweat dripping down your body. ”
I was laughing and smiling and made a joke when he came out. He was placed on my chest right away. We did skin-to-skin, and he was there for I would say probably about an hour, then Jordana took him and did skin-to-skin with him as well.
Q: What was the recovery and postpartum period like?
Melanie: Overall, it was okay. The main thing that I faced when I came home was my chronic migraines. I did not have them at all throughout the pregnancy. As soon as he was born, they came right back.
So that whole first week I had a migraine that would not go away on top of having a newborn at home screaming and keeping us up. I was not able to take any medication because I’m breastfeeding. So that was the hardest part of it all.
With the hormones in the first two and a half to three weeks, I was crying for no reason. Jordana would look at me and say, “Why are you crying? Are you okay? What’s wrong? What’s bothering you?” I didn’t have an answer. The reason was the hormones.
Q: Now that you’ve made it through the first six weeks, is there anything you would go back and tell yourself during that first week home?
Melanie: Probably just that we will get through it, we will get there. The hardest thing was the overnights because we need sleep too. I went from sleeping very well every night to not sleeping pretty much at all.
But these last few weeks have flown by and we are sleeping, we are well-adjusted. So I guess just knowing that we will get there, that those first couple of weeks are not what it’s going to look like for the next few months.
Q: How do you embrace the messy parts of motherhood?
Melanie: The mess is both us and our apartment right now. I think for me, I tend to try to ignore the mess as much as possible and say this is a time period that’s gonna go by very quickly.
He comes first and we have to focus and have these moments together and just show up for ourselves and for him and the mess can wait and be taken care of later.
For Jordana you know, she’s out of the house [at work] when she comes home, she’s very overwhelmed by the fact that there is a mess. I think I almost don’t notice it as much because I’m here in it all day long.
I would say a very important thing is also having a community, having friends that have been amazing that have come here and cooked for us and cleaned for us and just stepped in. I think that’s a big help overall.
And making sure we’re helping each other. We are taking care of ourselves because that self-care is a big part of mental health as well. In order to be able to take care of him we need to be able to take care of ourselves, that’s a big focus for us.
“ You cannot give love to somebody else if you don’t have love for yourself. It’s like a cup, and it should be full to share. So, we have a love for ourselves and give love to him, but the apartment is still a mess.”
Q: Are there any strategies or tips you can share for maintaining a strong partnership while raising a child?
Jordana: I need to say: You’re gonna examine your relationships and wonder if they’re gonna last and you’re gonna think that you can’t do it, you’re gonna think that it’s impossible…
It’s going to be fun, and you’re going to be very happy. But sometimes—you’re gonna feel sad. That doesn’t mean that you don’t like your child, it doesn’t mean that you don’t like your partner, it doesn’t mean that you don’t love them. It’s just exhaustion.
Melanie: I would say, as difficult as it is, one of the most important things is trying to remember everything is going to be different once a baby comes into the picture. That means that there’s very little time for yourself and little time for each other. But we’re trying to find moments together.
Getting him into bed at a normal hour, getting him into the cradle, and getting him settled, it’s given us a chance to have more of those opportunities to have some sense of normalcy. Find those times for each other as much as possible and hear each other’s concerns.
Q: Is there anything that really surprised you along the way or any advice that you have for other couples on their family-building journey?
Melanie: I think something that we’ve realized just in terms of being part of this TTC or ‘they’re trying to conceive’ community, not just for LGBT couples, but for people dealing with infertility in general, is just how tough it can be and how, for some people, that journey will continue for years and years. It was not an easy thing to go through by any means.
Lots of needles, lots of medication, lots of appointments, emotions all over the place. It’s a lot mentally, it’s a lot physically. The only thing is that for us, we were blessed in the fact that although we had the IUIs first and they didn’t work, IVF went relatively smoothly.
We had one retrieval and one transfer and everything was successful. We’re very aware of the fact that that’s not common.
I think that that’s something that a lot of people don’t realize going into this — that it’s not 1, 2, 3, and you’re done. People deal with a lot of loss and a lot of difficult challenges along the way.
Q: What was the inspiration behind Niccolo’s nursery?
Melanie: The main theme in his nursery is the safari and baby animals. We both love nature. I’m a big, big animal lover. We love that natural environment. To be honest, a lot of it was also centered around the cradle.
I knew that we were going to get the Cradlewise. And we love that it has this modern but natural kind of feel to it, and we wanted something that would go along with that. Then there are kind of smaller touches in his nursery that are travel related.
So he has his little wooden camera, his wooden airplane, and his globe. The globe is from his baby shower that everybody signed as a guest book, so that’s something that’s in there special for him.
Q: What made you decide on Cradlewise?
Melanie: We had actually seen Cradlewise through an Instagram advertisement before we were even pregnant. We knew immediately that Cradlewise was what we wanted for our baby because of all of the features.
Jordana: Basically, it’s a very compact mini crib. And we are living in New York City, and even though it’s an apartment with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, it’s a New York apartment, so you don’t have much space.
Melanie: And compared to others out there, we especially loved that it is something that can last with him. It’s not something that we’re going to use for a few months and pass on but something that can grow with him over the next couple of years.
Q: Can you tell us about your sleep journey with Niccolo?
Melanie: He’s only waking up about once a night now. He goes down more easily in the daytime than he does at night. His first night home, he ended up not sleeping because we did not have the Cradlewise in our bedroom yet. He was in a travel bassinet, and he did not sleep at all.
For the second night, we made sure that we had the cradle in the bedroom and he slept better. He still has had some sleep challenges but the white noise helps.
I love that the bouncing has the super gentle option because he was only five pounds when we brought him home. It was nice to have something that could move but still be calm and gentle for him.
During the day Niccolo does not use the white noise feature. He uses the speaker through Spotify and he gets to listen to jazz music while he sleeps.
We’ve made some custom tracks on the Cradlewise to make the heartbeat sound a little more prominent. When I was in the labor and delivery room for 26 and a half hours before he was born, we heard his heartbeat for most of that.
So I feel like it’s nice to have the heartbeat sound going. As comforting as it is for him, it’s also comforting for us. So it’s nice to be able to not just choose from the list, but also make them personalized.
Q: What Cradlewise settings do you use?
Melanie: We have it set to auto so it responds when he starts to move, but we have it on the super gentle bounce. As I said, he was very tiny when he was born.
He’s already gained three pounds in six weeks, if not more at this point. So we’ve kind of kept it on the gentle bounce for now. We love that we have the option as he gets older to be able to change it and increase it as needed.
Q: What would you tell other couples who are considering buying Cradlewise?
We loved that it’s everything in one. We didn’t need to buy a crib, a bassinet, a monitor and a noise machine, it’s all together. Not only will it help to keep the baby asleep, soothed and calm, but it’s also that peace of mind of being able to have that monitor to look in on him and know that he’s safe.
Jordana goes to work, and I do need to shower, and I do need to eat, and not be sitting there staring at him.
So it helps to be able to just turn on the monitor and turn on the app and be able to see him. Also for her, she can see him while she’s at work. So when he’s in the cradle, she’s able to watch him as well.
More posts you might like: