Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Motherhood right now

Oh hello again ol' blog!  It's been a while.  Who knew having two kids would take up so much time?! Hah.  Especially having one who never sleeps.  [cough, cough, Greer]

I have really liked looking back through old posts and reading about what we were doing, where we were going, and what motherhood was like at that point in time.  So, I'm going to continue it!  If only to have a journal for myself to look back on and smile.

We have had a busy October!  It's Brooks' birthday month, the weather has finally cooled down, and there are so many fun fall activities to do!  We've been apple picking, to the pumpkin patch, to the farm, and have been able to get out to the park without sweating our butts off.

Brooks is really loving school, which I am so glad about- not one single day of crying or being upset at drop off!  He loves his teacher and his friends, and still says his favorite part of going is the playground.  He had the best time at his birthday parties but then asked "Is my birthday over now?" on the way home from our family party.  I think he was done being the center of attention, haha!

Greer is almost 10 months old and never sleeping for longer than an hour at a time.  She's a super fast crawler, pulls up on everything, and is just starting to cruise along furniture and let go while she's standing!  She loves her brother (and wants all his toys), people whispering in her ear, and must never be contained.

In non - kid related news, I got bangs (daddy hates them), I love them, and am currently obsessed with trying to keep everyone healthy over here.  Vitamins, Emergen-C, apple cider vinegar, probiotics, On Guard oil (I keep it in the car now!) .  I am crossing my fingers we'll stay healthy this winter!

I am so looking forward to the holidays with two kiddos this year!  I can't believe it's almost time to start listening to Christmas music.  I'm so excited!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Preparing for a Natural Birth

I've now had two very different birth experiences.  One was not easier than the other...just different.  I thought I'd take a minute to write down what I did to prepare myself for my unmedicated delivery so I remember it!

One of the main things I think helped my body prepare for birth was going to the chiropractor.  I started going around 8 weeks pregnant with Greer, and went once a month up until 36 weeks, then once a week.  My last adjustment was Monday January 4th, and I was in labor 48 hours after that!

Another thing I did in preparation was read.  Pat and I took a childbirth education class at the hospital in Reston when I was pregnant with Brooks, and I had [obviously] had a baby before so I didn't feel like it was necessary for us to take another child birth class.  I did want to make sure I familiarized myself with what happens when you're in labor, as well as fill my mind with positive birth stories. Some books I read were...

Ina May's Guide To Childbirth 

The Bradley Method 


I also downloaded some of the hypnobirthing relaxation tracks. I played those at night before I went to bed. Relaxing was key for me this time. I knew that I dilated quickly with Brooks once I got the epidural because my body relaxed, so a lot of my preparation was focused on the things I'd need to feel relaxed while in labor.  

Additionally, I wrote down some quotes from Ina May's book and put them up in my house where I could see them during the last few weeks. They were - 

"Most women need support and encouragement during labor more than they need drugs. "

" Remember this, for it is as true as it gets: your body is not a lemon.  You are not a machine.  The Creator is not a careless mechanic.  Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth as well as aardvarks, lions, and elephants.  Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you begin to think positively about your body."

As well as a mantra from a friend of mine...

"I am strong.  I am safe.  I am calm."

My sister had my friends and family that came to my sprinkle write down encouraging words for me during my last few weeks of pregnancy.  In addition to reading those, I also put up some cards from the "push pack"...

On the Wednesday morning that I was in labor, I opened the last card that I had gotten from my sprinkle.  It [of course] made me cry, but it was just the encouragement I needed to focus and push through the pain to meet my baby girl.

Lastly, one of the things I did that I think really helped me physically was going to prenatal yoga class and doing a prenatal barre workout DVD.  I only did it for about 20-30 minutes every day, but it helped strengthen my body as well as improve my self esteem!  I felt much better about myself when I was working out.  I have the Suzanne Bowen Slim & Toned prenatal and the Barre Amped prenatal workouts.  I'm looking forward to getting back into them soon!

Of course, deciding to have Greer at the birth center played a huge part in my successful unmedicated delivery. Drugs were not an option at all so I didn't have anyone asking me if I wanted them, and it never even crossed my mind.  I did have other tools available to me such as: essential oils, the birth ball, shower, tub, DVD player for relaxing music or movie, chiropractor, and the list goes on. Not to mention the incomparable support from my family, doula, and midwives. 

Preparing yourself adequately for giving birth is an important part of having the experience you want, whatever that may be.  Every birth is unique and every birth is special. I hope, if you're pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you'll take some time to think about and prepare for your birth ! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Greer's Birth Story

I want to preface Greer's birth story with the fact that I did a lot of research on where I wanted to have our second baby.  After having Brooks at the hospital near us three years ago, I knew I didn't want to go back there for many reasons.  I also knew I wanted to have an unmedicated, natural birth.  I have a bit of [what my midwife likes to call] "white coat" syndrome...I don't like hospitals, needles, medical equipment, blood, etc.  Who does? I suppose some tolerate it better than others.

Anyways, I first looked into the home birth midwives in our area.  A home birth made me a bit nervous [and my husband too].  I wasn't sure if this was the right option for us so I continued to look for something in between- a birth center was what I really wanted.  In my search for the closest one I found the new "birth center" that was attached to the hospital in Leesburg, VA.  I went to my first appointment [at 8 weeks] there and knew it wasn't for me.  I kept thinking I didn't want to go too far away, so when my search on a birth center website turned up NOVA Natural Birth Center in Chantilly, I was hesitant.  However, I hadn't found the right fit for me my sister and I decided to go to an information session there one evening in June.  I knew immediately this was where I wanted to have my baby.  [Coincidentally, the midwife who did the info session that night is the same one who caught Greer!]  It takes right around 1 hour to get from our house to the BC and the drive never bothered me once! I could not be happier with my experience at Nova...I know I felt great the whole pregnancy due to my low stress levels and I had the birth experience I wanted largely in part to this setting.

So, on to the story!

On Tuesday evening, January 5th I had a few more light contractions than usual.  I told Pat and added that maybe we should go to bed a little early- so we did.

Around 5am on January 6th I woke up with some pain in my back- it felt good to stay lying down in bed and rock my pelvis back and forth as I slept.  At 6am I got up because I was hungry and wanted to make sure I kept these contractions going- I was sure that was what they were at this point!  Pat got up with me and then Brooks woke around 6:30am.  It was a school day for him.  I got in touch with my dad to pick him up and let him know that they'd need to keep him after that.

After Pat dropped Brooks at school my sister came over to help.  At this point I had been texting my doula and midwife to let them know what was going on- between 9 and 10am I was having strong contractions that I could no longer talk through about every 2-5 minutes.  I had taken a shower (and shaved my legs!) so around 10am my midwife said to make the drive to the birth center.

The hour long ride to the birth center was surprisingly pleasant- with the heated seat on high it felt awesome on my back, and we played my ocean relaxation CD the whole way.  I know I peeked at the clock every time I contracted to makes sure I was still keeping up with every 5 minutes and I was!

We got there and I came in the back door (it was 11am and I wasn't sure how many other patients would be there!) my room (the Aspen room) was all prepped and ready for me, tub filling up.

  My doula asked how I was feeling and I told her I was excited! Everything was happening quickly- just like I had described in my "dream birth" situation on my birth plan...except faster!  My midwife timed contractions right after I got there [they were 2-3 minutes apart] and I answered a couple questions...she asked if I wanted her to check to see how dilated I was and I told her I'd think about it for a little bit.  I tried every position I could to get comfortable- all the contractions I had were in my back.  I was most comfortable standing and supporting myself on a wall with my hands over my head and swaying back and forth.  I knew my feet were going to get tired if I did that for too long so I also tried lying on the bed and sitting on the birth ball.

Since I was eating and drinking, I soon had to go to the bathroom.  I noticed some blood in my underwear at this point ["that's good, right?!" I said to everyone] and when I was done I felt like I wanted to get in the tub.  Pat got in with me [in his bathing suit] and the hot water felt so good.

  We turned the jets on too which was awesome!  I'm not sure exactly how long I was in there [maybe 30 minutes or so?] - taking sips of coconut water and smelling the DoTerra Breathe oil to keep me calm.  Suddenly my body started to push.  I remember opening my eyes and seeing my midwife with her gloves on and I knew it was happening...I was going to meet my baby so soon! This was the hardest part...holding the baby down in the birth canal and not going too fast.  I pushed about 4 times and out she came! I could not believe I had done it.

Greer Mae was born at 1:30pm on January 6, 2016...about 8 hours after labor began [with absolutely no internal checks to see how dilated or effaced I was, I might add]!  8 pounds, 6 ounces and 20 inches long. I am so unbelievably happy with how my labor and delivery went.  It was the hardest thing I've ever done physically and I could not be more proud.

Greer is the most perfect baby girl, and Brooks is the best big brother!  We've all adjusted to our new life as a family of four and are loving every minute of it.

If you're pregnant and want to know more about the birth center please message me or send me an email! I'd love to chat about it. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

(almost) 40 weeks

How far along? Currently 39 weeks, 3 days
Total weight gain/loss: 37 lbs
Maternity clothes? yeps
Stretch marks? nope!
Sleep: still sleeping great! Hope that can continue until she gets here :)
Best moment this week: Got to go out for one last dinner with my hubby for his birthday on Saturday.  Might be the last for a little while!

Miss Anything? Getting sooo close to being able to have a nice glass of wine.

Movement: Always! She's still head down on the left side, been there for months- just waiting to come out!
Food cravings: All sugar, naturally. Trying to limit myself.  I haven't wanted to eat very large meals lately- or make anything in general because I'm tired and can't decide what I want to eat!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope, just can't eat a whole lot in one sitting without it feeling like it wants to come back up.
Have you started to show yet: Massive belly
Gender prediction: Still a girl.  
Labor Signs: A few contractions per day but nothing noteworthy yet!
Belly Button in or out? Flat/out.  My belly is itchy again this week like it was about a month ago.  She's getting even bigger!
Wedding rings on or off? I'm still wearing my wedding and anniversary band but have taken off my engagement ring.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Mostly moody, but getting very happy and excited to meet this girl!
Looking forward to: Can't wait to see what she looks like! I'm thinking white blonde like my nephew :)  Brooks says brown hair and brown eyes like daddy !

37 weeks

How far along? 37 weeks (actually almost 38 as I write this)
Total weight gain/loss: 33 pounds
Maternity clothes? Yep.  I just want to be comfortable these days!
Stretch marks? nope
Sleep:  Doing good, getting up once a night to pee.
Best moment this week:  It's Christmas week!  We're baking up a storm, listening to Christmas music and watching lots of holiday specials.
Miss Anything? Can not WAIT to have a glass of cold white wine.  
Movement: Oh yes.  She likes to do these big stretches around 11pm.  I don't remember Brooks ever doing's like she is trying to push her little feet/elbows/knees out of my belly.  Ouch!
Food cravings: I want ALL THE SWEETS.  Trying really hard to restrain myself!  Still loving quiche and kale chips, as well as chicken caesar salads [power kale chicken caesar from Panera is my current fave]
Anything making you queasy or sick: No
Have you started to show yet: I can no longer bend over.  Brooks has heard me say this so much that now his excuse to not put his own shoes on is that he "can't bend over to do it"  HA.
Gender prediction: Girl :)
Labor Signs: I've had a few pains here and there but no contractions, I don't think!
Belly Button in or out? It's pretty much flat.
Wedding rings on or off? Still on! I can't believe it.  Making sure to drink lots of water to stay hydrated and keep swelling down.  
Happy or Moody most of the time: Pretty moody, per usual.
Looking forward to:  Christmas this week and then baby time!  I can't wait to see what she looks like.  I'm thinking she'll be a blonde :)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

32 weeks

This little cheeser decided to jump in my picture this month!

How far along?  32 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: I'm up 27 lbs.  
Maternity clothes? Always.
Stretch marks? Nope!
Sleep: I got a cold this week so sleep has not been the best.  But now that I am starting to be able to breathe through my nose, It's been getting better!  Of course, baby girl still likes to have a dance party around 11pm.  
Best moment this week:  Last week we went to a "birthday planning meeting" at the birth center where Daddy learned how to catch the baby if he needs to :)  Ha!  
Miss Anything? I really, really, wish I could go do a wine tasting at a winery.  Wine and cheese sound so perfect after a long day of toddler meltdowns!
Movement: All. day. long.
Food cravings:  Currently loving Pioneer Woman's pumpkin smoothie -  [do yourself a favor and freeze the pumpkin pie mix in a muffin tray so you can make single servings!] quiche (any kind!) and kale chips!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Not anymore!
Have you started to show yet: [cue sassy face]
Gender prediction: It's a little lady in there!  I've put away all the clothes we currently have and set up the coral rag banner and gold polka dots in her room.  It's looking like a girl's room now!  
Labor Signs: Nope, not yet.
Belly Button in or out? Flat but visible in some shirts!
Wedding rings on or off? On!
Happy or Moody most of the time: Still suuuuper moody.  
Looking forward to:  Can't believe Thanksgiving is this month and then Christmas and then baby!  Need to start ordering Christmas presents and thinking about decorating!  

Friday, October 16, 2015

28 weeks

For some reason my black shirt makes it difficult to see my bump in this pic.  It's very deceptive because....

it's hard to miss these days!

How far along? 28 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: You know, I keep thinking I should take this question out for my own good, but then I remember talking to some other mamas who were feeling so down/embarrassed about their weight gain so I'm just going to keep it in here. Gaining weight is normal and an important part of pregnancy (though it is quite difficult to keep seeing those numbers on the scale go up!)  I'm up at least 23 pounds. Its all in my face and butt.  
Maternity clothes? YUP
Stretch marks? not on my belly! I have to make sure I use a really thick lotion or salve though so my skin doesn't get itchy.  
Sleep: Still doing great- only getting up to pee once or twice a night! 
Best moment this week: Brooks turned 3 on Tuesday! My sweetheart is getting so big. And so, so sassy.  
Miss Anything? Still missing a cold glass of wine.  Also it's starting to get harder to put on my shoes. Wah.
Movement:  All. the. time.  11pm dance parties in my belly. 
Food cravings: Currently obsessed with homemade pie crust and quiche.  So far I've made broccoli cheddar and spinach mushroom & parmesan.  Next up I think is bacon and cheddar.  YUM.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope
Have you started to show yet: ....see pictures above :)
Gender prediction: It's a GIRL
Labor Signs: Not yet
Belly Button in or out? It's flat but popping a little bit!
Wedding rings on or off? Still on!
Happy or Moody most of the time: Still moody!
Looking forward to: Seeing friends at the end of the month, Halloween, maybe a little less whining in November? Maybe? Also I ordered a couple things for baby girl's room.  Can't wait to get that put together!

Also, I'm now obsessed with highlighting and contouring make up.  Do you do this? What products do you use? I bought the Maskcara IIID foundation and I LOVE it.  Seriously feels like I'm wearing nothing on my face but looks so nice.  I'm still learning the best techniques by watching videos and practicing but I'm pretty sure I'll have it down to a nice 5 minute routine in no time!