Tiny Moments

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I love the tiny moments that Cora and I share throughout the day. I love the way she looks out the window during her baths. She could be screaming bloody murder but the minute she hears the water run, she perks right up and coos the entire time.  We bathe her in the kitchen sink and she spends her bath time looking out the window at the light coming in through the trees.

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I love the way she holds so tight onto my fingers whenever she eats. I love the sweet little smiles she gives us, (even if they’re actually gas-related and not because her mama is making funny faces at her). I love that she has started making sweet little noises already, like she is trying to talk to us.  It makes me so excited for the many conversations that she and I will share in the future.

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I love the snuggles that happen post bath even more – holding a clean, naked baby is one of the sweetest joys, I swear! Her skin is oh so soft, and oh so sensitive, so we always look for products that are designed to soothe and protect her skin.  Aveeno baby skin products are pediatrician recommended which gives us extra peace of mind. Plus, she smells baby sweet afterwards!!! You can check out their full line at Aveeno.com.

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These tiny moments with her are fleeting, so I want to take the time to appreciate each and every one of them.

Don’t forget to share your #TinyMoments on Instagram and tag @AveenoUS to show off your #AveenoBaby!!


ps – I partnered with AVEENO on this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Our Birth Story

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Cora Lorraine Brunotte was born Tuesday, April 19 at 6:32 PM. She weighed 6 lbs, 15 oz and was 20 inches long. I was 38 weeks and 5 days when I went into labor.  Because she had been breech for the majority of my pregnancy, I had a scheduled C-Section on Friday, April 22. But the little chick was ready to meet her family early!

Cora 4 21 16-P Cora B 4 21 16-0016 Cora 4 21 16-P Cora B 4 21 16-0052

Around my 26-week ultrasound, I knew that Cora was breech.  It was not a major shock because my sister and I were both breech with my mom, so in the back of my head, I always knew it was a possibility.  It wasn’t my first choice, but I wasn’t afraid to have the surgery either.  I found it odd that nearly every time I told someone that she was breech and I had a scheduled C-Section, people said, “Oh, I’m so sorry,” or “Gosh, that really sucks.”  First of all, even if you feel that way, why on Earth would you say that to a pregnant lady?! Second of all, if that is the safest way to get her out and into the world, then how can that be a bad thing? Third, I had a wonderful experience with my surgery and found the whole thing rather easy – but I’ll get to that later.

The morning of the 19th, I went to work, had a few meetings and was sipping on a cup of coffee when my stomach started to hurt.  There was a sharp and constant pain in my upper abdomen, so I assumed that I was having some heartburn or acid reflux from the coffee.  I grabbed a bottle of water and the pasta I had brought for lunch and started eating, hoping that that would help.

Cora 4 21 16-P Cora B 4 21 16-0042 View More: http://emmaparkersphotography.pass.us/cora-42116

Around noon the pain got more intense and it was nonstop.  I ended up closing the door to my office and basically laying down in my chair with my feet up on my desk to see if I could make it stop.  When it only got worse, I left work, drove the 8 minute drive to my parents house and laid down in their guest room.  On my way, I called Nick and told him.  He seemed to think I was going into labor and wanted to leave work, (he works 1.5 hours away from where we live). I told him not to leave because with how high the pain was and how unrelenting it was, that there was no way these were contractions.  But, I promised him that, if after half an hour the pain wasn’t better, I would go to the doctor.  Thirty minutes later, in tears from the pain, I drove myself down to my OB’s office.  Nick, incidentally, had left work even though I had told him not to, so he was headed to meet me there, (good call Nick!!)

At the doctor, the nurse checked Cora’s heartbeat, which was fine, and then she sent me across the street to the hospital because she was concerned about the severity of my pain and the location of the pain in my abdomen…she was worried that I was having a placental abruption – where the placenta becomes detached too early.  Nick met me there just in time and he drove me across the street to the hospital where we went to triage.

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Once in triage, they took blood to do tests and hooked me up to a few monitors.  They soon discovered that I was having contractions and was actually in labor.  However, the pain I felt was so extreme and so constant that I could not tell the difference between contractions – even when the monitor showed that the contraction has ceased, the pain was still exactly the same.  Thankfully my doctor was on call that day, and she came over to the hospital just in time. She told me that Cora had actually flipped, but she was also concerned that this intense pain meant I was having a placental abruption, so she asked me if I was still okay with having the C-Section.  She explained that if the placenta was indeed becoming detached this early, that it could cause some complications with my labor and it could cause me to have an emergency C-Section regardless. Since I had always thought I would have to have surgery anyways, I told her we could go ahead and do it.  From then on, everything happened so fast.  They took all this blood to run some tests, they started prepping me for surgery and within minutes they were whisking Nick off to get prepped as well.

As Nick was getting ready, they brought me into the operating room, which was crazy bright and full of people.  They sat me on the edge of the table and had me hunch over.  The nurse who had been helping me since we got to triage asked me to hunch over and told me I could hold on to her.  She started talking to me about something that kept me focused on her, and as the nurse anesthetist told me to hold still and warned me that I would feel a little pinch, I waited for the pain from the spinal tap while I listened to whatever story the nurse was telling me.  Next thing I knew, the nurse anesthetist and the anesthesiologist were telling me to lay back quickly because the spinal tap sets in so fast.  I had not felt a single thing! I didn’t even feel the “sting” from the initial shot meant to numb my back. (I was so worried about this part beforehand…).

I was laid out on my back on the operating table and I could feel my body starting to get numb.  It’s a surreal experience, laying there, not able to feel a portion of your body but being totally conscious.  Nurses came in and out of the operating room while I laid there, half-naked.  I was asked a few questions, the nurse put in my catheter and just as I started to feel nervous, my doctor came in and started talking to me. She was so calm and cheerful that it put me at ease. She did a few tests to see if I could feel my belly and once she was satisfied that I couldn’t, they brought Nick in wearing his scrubs.

Nick sat next to my head and held my hand. I couldn’t see anything past the curtain that they hung, and Nick did not stand up to look over until they brought Cora out.  I could feel them moving my body around and I could feel all this pressure.  It took about 15 minutes from when they started to when they held her up over the curtain.  Nick and I both started crying immediately.  Then Nick stood up and took some pictures and walked over to be with her as they cleaned her up.  I was not able to do skin to skin until after I was completely sewn up.  The rest of the surgery seemed to go by quickly – maybe 20 more minutes and then they transferred me to a gurney and took us to a recovery room where we had to stay for 2 hours while they kept an eye on me post surgery.  As soon as we got there, the nurse helped me get ready to do skin to skin and she laid Cora on my chest. Cora kind of did this little army crawl, found what she was looking for, and latched immediately.  I cried again.  It is amazing they babies are born with that great instinct.

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The rest of that first night is kind of a blur.  Once we left the recovery room, we were taken to our room – which was huge, had massive windows and a great view.  Nurses came in every hour to check on me, check on Cora, and take more blood from me…I swear I must have lost 10 pounds worth of blood that night haha. I really never had any intense pain from the surgery – and I never had to deal with a long and difficult labor. Having a C-Section really was great for us.

We stayed in the hospital for three nights. Once the nursing staff was satisfied that I could get up and walk around on my own and not be in too much pain, they let us leave. I have to say, we had the most incredible experience at Riverside Hospital, (Columbus, Ohio). We had phenomenal nurses, and I really felt like we were special patients, even though I know there were tons of other babies and new parents there.

Today is Cora’s 4-week birthday.  She has gained about a full pound since we left the hospital, I have lost 22 of my 30 pounds that I gained. I still have a little belly bump and the line on my belly is still dark.  My incision from the surgery is very low and surprisingly short. It has been healing so well that I can already barely see it.  I stopped taking the pain meds after two weeks and I feel basically no pain there anymore.

I have been struggling with breastfeeding ever since the night she was born.  Something happened that first night on the left side – maybe an infection or just the way that she was latching, but it got to the point that I would cry uncontrollably whenever I fed her on that side.  I went back to see the lactation consultant at the hospital and she told me to pump on that side until it healed. She also gave me a prescription for some miracle cream called Dr. Jack Newman’s that healed it in 24 hours, I swear.

Some days are easy and some are so hard that I cry all day.  I struggle with wanting to be the best mom and give her everything that she needs.  I get frustrated when she cries and I can’t seem to console her. But I finally know what it feels like to fall in love with your baby the moment you see her.  It changes you in an instant and it has been the most beautiful thing that has ever happened.

Please send me an email if you have any other questions about having a C-Section, being a new mom, or breastfeeding problems!! emily.brunotte@gmail.com – I’d love to hear from you!!!


all photos by Emma Parker Photography – thank you Emma for being such a wonderful friend to our little family!

Thank you to Xtreme Lashes and Bespoke Beauty Boutique for the eyelash extensions that meant this new mama didn’t have to wear anything other than chapstick for her first few weeks at home – a serious lifesaver!

The robe and nightgown that I wore in the hospital were both from Hatch and were part of their “From Hatch to Hospital” Bundle – everything mama needs to wear at the hospital! It was really nice to have someone pack that for me so that I didn’t have to worry about it.



What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag

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As an expectant, first-time mom, I have been reading everything I can get my hands on, asking all of my mom friends for advice and basically just bombarding myself with information. For some aspects of pregnancy, I wish I had not done this, because sometimes too much information can be a bad thing.  However, since this is my first time, and I have no personal experience to guide me through what to pack for our trip to the hospital, I have had to rely on friends, family and other outside sources for guidance.  Some things I have left off the list because I know that my hospital provides them, (i.e. diapers, diaper cream, breast pads, etc.), so be sure to check with your doctor before you start packing your bag.

After comparing all of the different tips and packing lists, I have curated my own list, packed my bag and finally feel prepared and ready to go. I mean, as ready as I’ll ever be – does a new mom ever really feel 100% ready for delivery?!

My theme for packing the hospital bag: Don’t Overpack!

For Me:

Robe, nightgown, and warm socks – I got mine from Hatch – this would make a GREAT baby shower gift!

One nursing bra, one sleeping bra, one nursing tank top, (all c/o Motherhood Maternity), and lots of full coverage, cotton underwear.

Going home outfit. I packed a pair of very soft sweatpants, flip flops and a v-neck tee shirt for nursing.

Toiletries. (chapstick, travel size mouthwash (since they won’t let you chew gum or mints apparently), toothbrush, toothpaste and floss, Pacifica shampoo and conditioner, face wash, moisturizer, makeup remover wipes (travel size pack), nipple cream, hair brush, travel size dry shampoo, deodorant, body lotion

Makeup. If I have a chance to grab it, I will bring my makeup bag, but I didn’t pre-pack any makeup because my husband can always run home if I really need it, and to be honest, I’m just not that concerned about wearing makeup at the hospital!

For My Husband:

A change of clothes and things for him to sleep in. Again, we live close to the hospital, so I figured one change of clothes was sufficient and he can run home if we end up staying in the hospital for a longer period of time.

Flip Flops for the shower/lounging.

Toiletries: see my list above but add: his toothbrush, his deodorant, his cologne.

For the Baby:

Coming home outfit.  Our hospital provides this as well, but we got so many adorable clothes at our baby showers that I wanted to bring another option for her anyways!

Swaddle blanket, hat and mittens. The hospital will provide a swaddle and a hat, but I have heard mixed reviews about how soft these are, and with baby blowouts an inevitability, it never hurts to have a back up! Plus this one is so crazy cute!

Car Seat.  The hospital won’t let you leave without one, so we have already loaded ours into my car.

Extra blanket. I have this sitting in the car in the car seat, just in case it is chilly the day we leave.

Odds and Ends:

Phone chargers. We both brought our extra chargers from work home to pack in the hospital bag.

Insurance documents/cards.

Patient records from your OB. My doctor gave me my records in a sealed envelope for me to bring to the hospital with me. Yours may not do this.

Short Term Disability application.  Since I work full time, I have a Short Term Disability Policy that will allow me to still be paid a portion of my salary while I’m on leave.  My company sent me the paperwork, I pre-filled as much as I could and it is in a folder in our hospital bag for my doctor to sign once the baby is born.

Information on how to the baby to our health insurance plan.  This is important.  Many health insurance companies only give you a short window of time to add your newborn to your health insurance policy.  If you forget and go past this window, any health conditions that may arise with your baby may not be covered. I have heard too many horror stories about this happening to families, so I have the instructions printed out and stored in the hospital bag as well.

Cliff Bars. Because one of us is bound to need a quick snack at some point, although check with your hospital ahead of time, many of them have cafeterias or other restaurants that remain open 24 hours.

Treats for the nurses. I am well aware that the nurses are going to be working hard to make sure baby and me are both comfortable and healthy while we’re at the hospital.  I figured that the smallest way to repay them would be to bring them some treats! We are planning on bringing some cupcakes from our favorite bakery!

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Things to Make Packing Easier:

Overnight Bag. My Mark & Graham Daily Leather Overnighter was the perfect option for our hospital bag.  It is currently in the trunk of my car, packed with all of the items that I listed above and it is not even full.  It was big enough to fill with the items I needed, but not too big that it would entice me to overpack. I don’t know about you, but if I have a bunch of empty space in a suitcase I tend to fill it!  It has two handles but also has a detachable shoulder strap which will be helpful if I have to go straight to the hospital from work and have to carry the bag myself.  It also looks extra cute with the monogrammed Daily Leather Tote Tag, plus I figured if it gets misplaced in the hospital somewhere, my initials will be on the bag and will make it easier to locate.

Toiletry Bag. Again, I wanted something sturdy that could fit everything I needed, but wouldn’t be so huge that it would encourage me to overpack. My Daily Leather Travel Pouch is perfect – it fit every single one of the toiletries I mentioned above, including the full size shampoo and conditioner that I packed.  (which I packed only because I already had new bottles – you could pack travel size bottles of each, of course).

Large Clutch for important items, i.e. jewelry or insurance documents/cards. I figured that I would go to the hospital wearing whatever jewelry I am wearing that day, so I would want a safe place to store it all after I get to the hospital.  I have this Needlepoint Initial Zip Pouch already packed in the hospital bag with our insurance information and the my medical records inside.  Since it is cushioned, I plan on storing my jewelry in here as well, including my new favorite piece of jewelry, this Dual Birthstone Ring that has my birthstone and the baby’s birthstone on it.  It is so sweet and delicate and is a wonderful little reminder of our mother-daughter bond – and with Mother’s Day fast approaching, this ring makes the sweetest gift!

mark and graham mothers day birthstone ring

UPDATE – This post went live on the morning of April 19, which was the day I ended up going into labor early with Cora!l!! Good thing I already had my hospital bag packed! I honestly used nearly every single thing that we brought with us to the hospital.  I had not packed my makeup bag, however Nick did end up going home to let the dog out the next morning, and I had him bring back my makeup with him.

The things that I did not end up using the entire time I was at the hospital were the pairs of underwear I brought.  The hospital gives you these mesh boy short things…and even though they are hideous, you just throw them away afterwards and I found they were so much more practical and comfortable to be honest with you! So there it is – a tested list of what to pack!


A HUGE thank you to Mark & Graham for sponsoring this post for Mothers’ Day!

photos by Emma Parker Photography