Happy Friday, everyone!! I know I say this every month, but where did April go?! Honestly, time is FLYING and I really need it to slow down. I mean we’re almost halfway through 2021 already! Crazy! But in true end of the month fashion, I rounded up some of the most asked questions and answered them all here for you girls. Lots of good ones this month so grab a coffee or maybe some wine [five o’clock somewhere!] and let’s dive in!
Questions About Me
Q: Is your name Alyson or Haley?
A: Alyson Haley Shepherd
I’ve always gone by my middle name, Haley.
Q: Do you regret moving when you did? (right before Covid) Or no because there was no way of knowing?
A: No way! That would have meant John would have been alone this whole time. I would never want that!
This year has been HARD for me because of the move and Covid happening at the same time. I’m going through a bit of an identity..not crisis..but shift, I guess. My life is so different and it can make it hard to wrap my mind around myself when so much of who I am no longer exists here for one reason or another. But, I believe in God’s timing too much to question anything. And, despite that, I love how my life has unfolded since my move.
Q: Will you return to YouTube this year?
A: I hope so! We’ll see… probably not until later this year! Going to enjoy this new season and slowly get back to work without putting too much pressure on myself. If you haven’t checked out my YouTube channel yet, head here!
Q: Are you eligible for a vaccine in the UK? I know they have been behind in the US in the rollout.
A: John just told me that they are opening up the vaccine to 30 and under starting next week so hope to be contacted soon.
Q: Have you ever felt nervous walking alone in London?
A: Honestly, no. However, that’s not to say there aren’t areas you shouldn’t be more vigilant whilst walking through. By and large, most areas that visitors find themselves in are safe but, anytime you’re walking in a big city, it’s a good idea to stay aware and not allow yourself to look/be distracted.
Q: Have y’all found your new home to move to?
A: I’m honestly shocked we already found a place especially when we don’t move until the end of June. We are moving to south London to a 4-bedroom townhouse with a garden for the boys. Slightly more space than we have now but not much so rooms are small but we are excited!
All Things Louie
Q: How is Louie’s name pronounced?
We wanted there to be no confusion on how to pronounce it, which is why we went with Louie versus Louis (which can be pronounced two different ways).
Q: How did you find out he had a tongue tie?
A: One of the midwives at the hospital suspected it on a quick assessment of him so we had the midwife who did his pediatric discharge assessment confirm.
Q: Is he able to nurse at all or are you pumping?
A: Started out breastfeeding but have hit some snags in that journey due to his tongue tie. My nipple integrity is not great at the moment and we were also concerned about his weight and him getting what/ the amount he needs.
So, for now, I am pumping and, from a nutritional standpoint, it’s been the best decision for him. I was concerned that, due to his latch, he wasn’t getting as much from the breast that he needed and, ever since pumping and seeing exactly how much milk he’s getting, we are seeing improvements in areas he was struggling in before.
Everyone said breastfeeding is tough and it is! I think showing yourself and your baby grace in your journey is so important and that’s where we’re at right now.
[NOTE: I answered this question on Stories before I made the decision to stop pumping/breastfeeding altogether.]
Q: What is your daily routine looking like at the moment?
A: No routine yet and not rushing into one either- just doing lots of skin to skin, feeding, and changing diapers. I am loving these slow days just fully focusing on him.
Q: Were there any books you liked during pregnancy?
A: Yes I did a whole blog post on this here.
Q: How’d you come up with the name Louie?
A: It’s a baby name app, called KINDER – similar to tinder lol. You can swipe left or right on the name. We had already decided on Jude for his middle name & when John said Louie, I was like, actually I really like that (I was kind of surprised because it was never a name on my radar). We just really liked that they both were names we don’t hear very often and liked how well it flowed together.
Q: Does Louie sleep in is snuggle me at night as well?
A: No, he doesn’t. He sleeps in his bassinet in a swaddle without anything else.
Q: LOVE seeing the honesty and the sweetness of this first month with Louie!
A: Thanks! I have been nervous about being too honest. Pregnancy, postpartum and birth are all topics that women tie fear to and I never want to share anything that perpetuates that fear. In the same breath, these three experiences leave women feeling isolated because what is shared about these experiences is only what is seemingly the most acceptable to share. I think the more honest we are about these experiences with each other, the less we will feel alone or more valid our feelings will feel.
However, doing that in this space… I realize I’m not JUST talking to women who have been through pregnancy, birth and postpartum so I feel compelled to tread lightly but am not the best judge on if I’m doing that well. So thank you!
Q: Are you pumping and BF?
A: No, I’m not doing both. I never did both at the same time so I can’t offer tons of advice or insight.
I feel like with pumping and BF, everyone’s experience is sooo different so I’d follow some pumping accounts like pump_momma_pump & mybrestfriend for advice and see how it goes for you! I found their accounts to offer some helpful insight!
Q: When do you think your dad and stepmom may be able to meet Louie? Any plans?
A: They’ll be coming over in June for two weeks! I cannot wait to see them and can’t wait to introduce them to Louie!
Labor, Delivery & Postpartum
Q: Did you end up needing to be induced?
A: Yes, I did. I was so hopeful that I wouldn’t have to being that I had had contractions all night the night before but they stopped at 10:00am that next morning so I ended up going to my induction appointment at 4:00pm.
Q: Will you be sharing your birth story?
A: Yes absolutely. I think it’ll be emotional for me to write so it may take me a while but yes, I will at some point. Not rushing it at the moment. Honestly, I will need to take time to process certain aspects of it before I can properly share.
Q: How was your birth experience? Was it everything you thought it would be?
A: Ooph… I have so much to say…
And yet… I’m somewhat hesitant, nervous and afraid to share. I need time to process it all a little more, I think.
FIRST: I’m thankful that there were positive aspects to my birth experience like I wanted, and for those, I’m truly thankful & thankful to the medical staff at the hospital that made those experiences possible. Obviously the fact that Louie made a safe and healthy entrance was the most important thing so I’m very thankful for that, as well.
But, I’d be lying if I didn’t also acknowledge that there were some not-so-positive aspects that really blindsided me and left me feelings dumbfounded, surprised, dismissed, ignored, and unsupported. Women should NOT feel ANY of those things during their birth experience. It shouldn’t be a negative experience and I think I’m just angry that it is for so many women and that there are so many things that could EASILY change to make it more positive but are simply not implemented for one reason or another.
Q: Since you were induced, were you still able to have an unmedicated delivery?
A: Nope! That was actually the disappointing news I found out a couple days prior to my induction – no matter which induction method chosen, it would disqualify me from a birthing center birth that I wanted, and, as you may be able to tell from this photo, literally everything that WASN’T on my birth plan ended up happening, lol.
Q: How are you recovering?
A: Okay I think! Recovering from a c-section is no joke. I’m taking it slow and easy. Still have my belly. Still wear a diaper, the same pajamas and no makeup most days… lol but feeling a little less sore now… so thankful for that!
Q: Do you miss the belly?
A: I probably will at some point but, being that I went to 42 weeks, I am VERY happy little Louie is finally in my arms and not in my belly. I WAS READY!
Q: Postpartum high-waisted underwear, please!
A: I will say…I did not love these for c-section recovery because my stomach was so sore afterward. I couldn’t handle anything hugging my stomach.
But I bought these before giving birth after hearing they’re amazing for post vaginal delivery recovery.
Q: Useful gift recommendations for a friend with an unplanned c-section birth?
A: Personally, I didn’t need any physical gifts so I can’t really think of what to suggest. I just needed someone to listen to how I felt and NOT respond with ‘well at least he’s here and he’s okay..that’s all that matters.’ That does matter, absolutely. But what if I’m not okay?
Throughout pregnancy, everyone cares so much about how you’re doing and then after the baby’s born, wants to minimize how you’re doing because they’re so focused on baby.
Maternal mental health is very important for these babies so check on your friends whose birth was a bit of a rollercoaster. Ask them if they’re okay and lend a listening ear. Validate their feelings.
That, for me, was the best gift!
Adding on to this one…
In addition to asking how she is doing and offering to listen…
• Bring over a prepared meal. This was sooo nice and helpful to us after we got home from the hospital.
• Ask her when her significant other goes back to work and see if you can spend the day with her ( I know this might not be possible but, if you have a flex job or availability) on a day her SO won’t be there. C-section recovery is no joke. She needs to take it easy. You can be the person to help her get up out of bed or out of a chair. You can bring the baby to her. You can get the door when the doorbell rings.
So those are a couple of other ideas.
Q: Underwear for c-section recovery?
A: Linked here! Also did a full blogpost on my C-section recovery & postpartum essentials!
Style & Beauty Questions
Q: What clothes have you been living in that are comfy postpartum and goof for breastfeeding?
A: This is one of the pajama sets I’ve been wearing non-stop. It is so soft & so easy to nurse in!
Q: Is there a product that keeps makeup from ‘caking’ under the eyes?
A: I use this banana powder under my eyes to brighten and prevent creasing. I’ve used this contour palette for years. I love it.
Q: Did you get a push present? Need recommendations for my BIL looking for his wife!
A: Yes – John surprised me with a Goyard St. Louis tote in white!
Q: Will you do a try on of your H&M haul? I’m excited to see what it all looks like on!
A: I did one last week (a small one) and saved it to my highlights! I also did a blog post on it with pictures of me in some of the outfits as well!
Q: Can you add a link to the brown cardigan?
A: Linked in this post (it’s pictured in gray in the product photo) but, it’s old and may not be available in this color anymore.
Q: CBD stuff, this mama of 2 under 2 needs it!
A: Yes! Equilibria is running their Mother’s Day sale which offers 30% off your first month on a subscription.
If you’re a new customer, you can enjoy an additional 15% off your purchase with code ALYSONHALEY.
Q: How is the vaccine rollout in the UK going?
A: I think it’s going well. To be honest, I’ve been a little checked out. I hear it’s going much better in the States than it was initially and I think (could be wrong so do not take this as fact) we’re a little behind the States, but, doing well enough for our lockdown plan to still be on track, which I am so thankful for. 8+ months in lockdown over the course of a year has been… a lot.
I can’t wait to eat at a restaurant, get my nails done and my eyebrows waxed, lol, and really just see the hustle and bustle of LIFE happening around me.
And that wraps up questions from April! See you back here next month! xo.
It was lovely getting to know you a little more!
Danielle | thereluctantblogger.co.uk