A little about me…
Hi! My name is Sarina and I am a first time mama to a beautiful baby girl. She will be a year old in August. I am married to an amazing man and we will be celebrating our second wedding anniversary this July. We also have a golden retriever pup named Thor and he will be two in August too. My husband is surrounded by a bunch of Leos- myself, our daughter and our pup! A house full of “stubborn love”, always seeing the best, wanting the best and supporting each other in any way possible.
I love being outside—the beach, hiking, adventuring, walking with our pup. I enjoy a good movie on a rainy day and we often throw on a Harry Potter film to help pass the time. Odd note— our daughter was born during a Harry Potter weekend and it was perfect- being that we are such Potterheads ourselves.
LOVE LOVE LOVE my family. Definitely very close to my parents and siblings of which I have two- a twin brother (yes, it’s awesome and we always had a really good relationship, no I cannot read his mind or feel how he’s feeling) and a younger sister…a self-established Professional Wedding Photographer…she’s incredible. They both are.
What you did before pregnancy?
Before our daughter was born, I was a Special Education teacher & Board Certified Behavior Analyst. I worked 6 years as a preschool special education teacher and then switched over to a public elementary school. At the Elementary school I taught student’s who’s behaviors impacted their ability to be full-time in a mainstream classroom. I was teaching in this environment when COVID hit and we all moved to remote teaching. The following September (2020), I resumed teaching full time in person for our kids, got pregnant in November 2020 and continued the year, masked, sanitizing regularly and surrounded by an amazing team of assistants and consultants who helped to keep not only me safe but our baby girl too.
At the end of the school year I packed up my classroom and all my content and curriculum is sitting boxed up in our garage…until next time.
Did you go back to work?
I did not go back to work after our daughter was born. Although, while pregnant, I did say I would while my husband silently nodded and said “Sure babe, no problem, whatever you say”. He knew better and knew I would want to be home and financially, we could swing it. I am still maintaining my BCBA CEUs and professional learning so that if/when the time is right for us, I could jump back in and start again.
How long did it take you?
We were surprised at how quickly I got pregnant as it was really hard to track my cycle. My period had never been regular and I had been on birth control for a short stint to help regulate it way back when. When we first started trying, I remember saying to my husband that this could take some time…we’re in it together, however this plays out.
One month in I wasn’t pregnant and my husband had a very strong emotional reaction. He felt like we should have had a positive test already and felt as if he had already failed as father.
One week later, our pregnancy test was positive.
How did you find out you were pregnant? What signs/instances told you, you may have been?
Our pup, Thor, 4 months at the time started to become very snuggly, smelling my legs, laying on my lap. We thought well, maybe he knew something we didn’t and sure enough, he was right. I was pregnant and probably 4 weeks at the time.
Since then he’s been more of a mama’s boy, at times getting both of us in a sticky situation…more on that later.
Unforeseen hiccups or difficulties while pregnant?
I had a very smooth pregnancy, felt great…definitely gained close to 50lbs and it showed. Healthy, active and despite being in a school environment with kids…never once got sick. So thankful.
Two oddly difficult parts of being pregnant— my sister got married in June. I was 32 weeks pregnant. When I had to pick a dress size (months earlier), that was a little tricky and a little unnerving right up until her wedding day. Luckily, it fit perfectly and had plenty of room to dance in! The other side of being pregnant, postpartum, my brother got married September 2021— our little was 8 weeks old and naturally, in order to get that bridesmaid dress in time, I had to pick it while I was about 30 weeks pregnant….who knew what I was going to look like or what size I would be once our baby girl was born. #funtimes
Not really… two odd cravings, Oreos and pizza. Pizza I swear was my husband’s fault. Laying in bed one night, 10:30pm and he goes, “Wow, pizza would be really good right now”. UMM HELLO! Pregnant and yes pizza sounds amazingly delicious…let’s get some. Not proud of it and we got 7-11 pizza and it wasn’t half bad. Wouldn’t do it again and yet, in a pinch, it worked.
Family response to pregnancy? Husband/partner response?
After seeing a positive pregnancy test, I tried to calmly walk back to where my husband was waiting…instead I ran, skipped, jumped and he knew before even seeing my face. He was ecstatic, especially after having a difficult emotional response the week prior.
My family…overjoyed. Excited. We recorded the moment we shared the news and it’s a video I still watch to this day, still tear up at the same part and they have been amazing every step of our journey since the moment they found out.
Our little one helped us through some really difficult moments and she truly has so many angels watching over her…I’m thankful every day.
What was your experience like in the hospital?
Honestly, I loved the hospital we chose for our delivery. I had heard amazing things about the nursing staff and they truly did not disappoint. We had such an incredible nurse, nurse Laura and she stayed overtime to be with us when our little one made her debut. Then, as if that wasn’t kind enough, she came to check on us the following day when we were out of Labor and Delivery. I told her (half jokingly) that the next time we give birth, we are personally requesting her to be working that day.
How did you feel the first time you held your baby?
I was exhausted and overjoyed. Emotional; teared up and just swore right then and there to continue to protect, love and be there for her however and whenever she needed me to be. She felt so small in my arms, on my chest and I was just so happy to be holding her.
How did you feel coming home?
I was a mixture of emotions when we came home. I remember being hesitant about how we were going to introduce our pup (at the time, he had just turned one) and wondered how he would respond to our little one and how he would react to sharing us with her instead of getting all of our attention. I remember wondering how our relationship would change with our family, our friends and how we would go about doing things, as infection rates for COVID were still pretty high and scary. So much to think about!
How was your first night home with baby?
Haha, our first night home with our baby girl…I don’t know who slept less. Me, my husband or our pup. Our little one managed to sleep just fine. Thankfully! I got up every couple of hours to feed her and tried to go back to sleep, probably triple-checking to see if she was breathing before I closed my eyes.
I do remember, our pup being a little confused because my husband and I both slept backwards on our bed…with our feet by our headboard and our face close to the end of the bed where our baby girl’s bassinet was and generally, the area at the bottom of the bed was reserved for our pup. He adjusted pretty quickly and managed to find a new cozy spot next to her bassinet on the floor.
Can you share a little about how you and your husband have shared the responsibility of being parents?
This is an area that is ever changing. We get into a groove and then something changes; our schedule, our needs, our little one’s needs and we have to readjust. And with that, there are some growing pains and lots of communication and we resettle into a new swing.
We both had different ideas about what we would be like as parents, good and bad. We also really settled into me, as mama, carrying a lot of the mental load for baby girl, for the house, for our lives while he carried the load of working outside the home for a stable income.
There’s been a lot to digest and we keep growing. Open communication, respect, acknowledging what each other does well & showing our appreciation has been really instrumental in keeping our relationship afloat.
What did you learn about your mom being a mom yourself?
She’s a big part of why I had a great childhood. The creative, imaginative, kind, play that we had grown up with and the type of schedule she had for us, really helped us grow up in a happy, loving home.
What did you learn about you as a mom?
I want to give our daughter what I had growing up; a loving, happy, stable home. I want to instill in her that she can do anything she sets her mind too. In a round about way, I learned that I set the stage for her life and my actions, behaviors and communications (to others, to myself, to her) are the foundation for how she sees and interacts with the world as she grows older.
What is the hardest part of being a mom?
Realizing how scary and cruel the world can be.
What is your favorite part of being a mom?
Seeing the world through her eyes…her intentional actions learning to interact and move the world around her, the way she communicates, the steps she’s learning to take…seeing everything as if it was the first time, through her.
And I’d be remiss if I left out how amazing it feels to see her whole face light up when I come into the room.
What is your advice to new or expecting mama’s?
Enjoy each moment. Celebrate each kick, each time you hear their heartbeat, each time they fall asleep on their own or on you…whatever means the most to you. Soak it up. Time goes very quickly. Take the videos. Pictures are great and trust me, you will want the recordings. They’re only little for so long. Celebrate.