Mandi and her spouse, Casey, homestead on a farm called Wild Oak Farms in northern Missouri. They raise a herd of dairy goats, hand-milk them, and produce goat milk body butter and soap that they ship all across the world. Mandi is a Registered Veterinary Nurse and Casey is an ICU RN and Nurse Manager. They love being outdoors and sharing their farm with their newborn baby, Sawyer Lea.
Sawyer was born a few weeks early, and Mandi was in labor for 27 hours.
“My water broke at 11 pm on a Sunday. Just one day after we finally had some maternity pictures taken. Better late than almost never, right? I took a little nap at home and we finally got up and headed to the hospital as the sun was rising on a Monday morning. There was a lot of commotion initially since my water broke pre-term, but we were able to settle in our room and hang out with family as they trickled in to see us. My only regret? Not eating a snack on the way to the hospital!
The daytime hours turned into nighttime hours and I was actually able to get a little cat nap around midnight, about 24 hours later. But quickly waking up, knowing we were very close to meeting our daughter. I won't bore you all with the "details" but it was a quick check, and three minutes later she was on my chest. We are incredibly thankful for the entire team that took care of us during the early hours of the night…or was it morning? She was finally here!”
Due to some complications and her early arrival, Sawyer spent nine days in the NICU.
“Sawyer had some in-utero complications, and then like I shared, she decided to join the world early, so she needed a little help upon her arrival. It took her a few days to figure out life on the outside, and she did have to have a plethora of check-ups while we were still in the hospital, but once she figured things out it was smooth sailing for us. We spent 9 days in the NICU away from home and the farm.”
When asked about the days that Sawyer spent in the hospital, Mandi shared what it felt like to become a NICU parent.
“It was terribly hard."
You become a different person after delivering a baby. I believe you become a different person again when you become a NICU parent.
"It was a balance of knowing she needed to be there and wanting to be home so badly. We are forever grateful; the experience as a whole forever changed us.”
Mandi and Casey practiced skin-to-skin contact all the time while their daughter was in the NICU and still make this special bonding time a priority today.
“It was deeply encouraged by all of her medical teams and we soaked up every second we both could practicing skin-to-skin. We still do it now at home!”
Since Sawyer’s birth, Mandi shared that her biggest challenge has been time management, and her biggest surprise has been the “shifting in priorities and outlook on the world.”
Mandi’s favorite part of bringing Sawyer into the world:
“Waking up each morning and seeing her stretch and smile, knowing I get to love her unconditionally for the rest of my life.”
Learn more about Mandi and Wild Oak Farms on their instagram page @WildOakFarms.