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Sunday, February 2, 2014

A word to live by in 2014

At the beginning of 2013 I chose a a word to live by for the year. The word I chose was courage and I don't think I could have chosen a better word for the year.

There were many times when it resonated with me and saw me through.

I had courage to race my first half marathon.

I had courage to get pregnant with our second baby.

I had courage to say "yes" to another C-Section with it became clear that was the best choice.

I had courage to sit at the bed side to say goodbye to my dying aunt.

I had courage to give her eulogy and honor her life.

The list could go on and on. But when I think about 2013 I really don't think there was a more perfect word for me to live by for the year.

We are one month into 2014 and I have been thinking a lot about choosing another word to live by. This year looks so different for me already. I'm a stay-at-home mom for the year. I have a little man who is in his very trying three's. I have a newborn. I have two kids at home, not just one. 

I am an anxious person by nature. I am pretty high-strung if I'm being honest. I plan. I obsess. I tidy. I have a hard time "relaxing" or "going with the flow". But with two kids and a year at home, I need to relax a bit more. I need to ignore the dishes and tend to my baby or play with my little mister. 

I need to be a little more calm

So that is the word that I've chosen: calm

When my 3-year-old is throwing a temper tantrum or demanding my attention over and over, I need to stay calm.

When my baby is crying in the middle of the night and I can't figure out why or how to help her, I need to stay calm.

If I'm too exhausted to get my workout in for the day, rather then obsessing and stressing, I need to stay calm.

If there are days and moments when the laundry is piled and there are dishes in the sink, rather then letting it overwhelm me I need to stay calm.

This is going to be challenging for me, but I know it will be the best word for me for 2014.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year, New Goals!

2014 is here. I always love the start of a New Year. While I don't ever set specific "resolutions", I do like to set myself some goals for the New Year going forward. I've been thinking a lot about this next year and how different it's going to be for me having a newborn, 2 kids, and not working for the year. So I've been trying to keep all of that in mind and be really realistic with my goals this year - while trying to stretch myself a little bit.

Here goes.

My first goal is to run 1000 km's this year. Really, when you break it down, it's not a lot. But I decided I need to not set myself a goal race for 2014 (but watch out 2015 - hubs and I have our eye set on a great half marathon for our 10th wedding anniversary!) I want to focus on running just for the love of running. Running to get back in shape and build up strength and feel post-baby-confidence. In saying that, I knew that if I didn't have some sort of goal, I may not hold myself as accountable. 

Next - get back to pre-baby weight. Hubs said I can't really count this one because in his words, "that's a given". But it's top of mind going into 2014, so it's obviously a goal.

Try a new fitness routine. 2013 was all about run-run-running. With a little pre-natal yoga in there at the end. I really want to stretch myself to try something completely new-to-me.

Eat Clean!! This time last year, we were rocking our clean-eating diet. Riiiight up until I got pregnant. Then I got into the lovely stage of "I'm starving, but nothing looks good except...(fill in the blank with some sort of unclean junkfood)." So while we tried to maintain as clean-as-possible of a diet throughout my pregnancy, we were by no means strict about it. Now with two kids in my world, I'm extra conscious of wanting to make good, healthy, eating and lifestyle decisions for our family to help them grown to be healthy and fit kids. I'm excited to get back to our better eating routines with this one!

Unplug - at least once a week. I have our "Family Rules" on the wall in our house and one of them says "Be Present - Be Patient". This comes to mind a lot when I'm playing with Gabe, or snuggling with Addy, or talking with hubs and catch myself checking my phone. I need to be more "present" to me, this means not looking at my phone or trying to multi-task when I'm with my family. My goal is to unplug every Sunday (Sunday, because I know the whole family is always together on that day). 

I have some family goals in mind, some goals for the home, etc. But for today, these are just my personal goals. What about you?

Monday, December 30, 2013

When a birth story isn't what you "planned"

When I was pregnant with Gabe, I wrote up a birth plan just like you are told to do in your pre-natal classes. However, it all got thrown to the waste-side when I ended up having an unplanned C-Section due to fetal distress.

Never once was I disappointed that I had to have a C-Section. I never felt the need to have a "natural" birth. But I'm not going to lie, the recovery was horrific. So when I learned I was pregnant this time I was determined to have more control over the birth story of this baby. I opted for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and got right to work preparing for a successful one. 

It wasn't that I felt the need to experience childbirth, or was opposed to medical intervention through another C-Section. It was really just the recovery that concerned me. There was no way I could have the recovery that I did when I had Gabe - except this time I would have not only a newborn, but a 3-year-old in tow to recovery with. So I did research on VBAC's, I talked to doula's on how to be successful, I went to pre-natal Yoga and prepared mentally for labour. 

Then at 37 weeks I learned my baby was fully breach. Since I didn't want to deliver breach or do an external rotation, we looked to schedule a C-Section. Our baby suprised both us and our Dr when she flipped into head down position at 39 1/2 weeks. We were faced with the decision to have the C-Section as planned (which we were very mentally prepared for, since it was only 3 days away) or go ahead and wait and try for a VBAC as originally planned. After much thought we decided to wait. And wait. And wait...until finally 41 1/2 weeks came and I wasn't progressing, at all. 

At this point my options were a foley cathetar to try and force progression, or a C-Section. Since I've had a C-Section before my options were somewhat limited when it comes to trying to induce labour and the Dr really wouldn't let me go past 42 weeks. We decided that we had tried enough for a VBAC and it was time to go with the C-Section and met our baby already. That was Thursday morning. Our Dr told us she would call us later that day after she found some OR time.

We waited. 4 o'clock and no call.

5 o'clock and no call. 

We finally decided that Dr probably wasn't going to call today. And since she wasn't in the office on Friday that likely meant we were going to go another weekend without our baby. 

Then 6 o'clock the phone rang. Dr wanted us to come down to the hospital and she was going to get us in tonight. I freaked out a little bit. That was so...soon. I had to say goodbye to my sweet baby boy who, after tonight, would no longer be my only baby. I was nervous for what lay ahead and heartbroken to leave Gabe.

Once we got admitted to the hospital we were so fortunate and blessed to have a friend as our L&D nurse. She brought me more encouragement and comfort then I think she realized. And by 1:35AM Addilyn made her appearance into the world.

I thought I would be disappointed by her birth story. But the moment that sweet girl was laid on my chest during her first few breaths of life, it just didn't matter anymore. The wait was over. The decisions were over. She was finally here. I was so overjoyed.

I thought that I would struggle to multiply my love between my two babies. But with Addy, my love grew instantaneously. I was so overwhelmed with love for my sweet girl that with her first heartbeat it was as though I could barely remember my life our life as a family before her.

The thing is, when Gabe entered the world he made Jason and I into a family and that was the sweetest gift he could have ever given us. When Addy entered the world she completed our family. It felt like we were finally a whole unit. The way we were always meant to be. A perfect family of four. And that's the best gift she could have ever given us.

I am beyond grateful for my two babes, even though neither of their birth stories were what I would have planned or expected - it doesn't even matter anymore. I have more love then my heart can hold. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Everybody lies (and other simple truths) : Pregnancy lasts for 9 months

More then once I have complained to my husband that my least favorite month of pregnancy was the 10th month. More then once I have been met with a blank stare.

I have news for you my friends...pregnancy goes beyond 9 months. I could make a good case for it lasting for 11 months. Once your body releases your beautiful bundle of joy into the world, it is still not your own (your body that is). The changes that I went through over the next month of post-partum recovery almost seemed greater then the changes I went through when I actually had Gabe still inside of me. It was unexpected. It was overwhelming. And as I think about having another baby in the very near future, it is not the anxiety of bringing home a newborn again. No, it is the postpartum anxiety because I now know what to expect. I know there's a 10th month to this pregnancy.

And here, for your reading pleasure (and so that I may enlighten a few moms-to-be or someday-moms-to-be) is a list of some things you may or may not experience once you give birth. Some ways in which, after you have baby, your body is still changing and adapting. I remember looking at my husband one day asking him it was it was ever going to end. It seemed like one change or discomfort, etc. after another.

I will spare you all the details, and I am just going to touch on my top 5 "highlights".

1. Let me start with probably my very least favorite. The milk coming in. Seriously, nobody pre-warned me how severely painful this can be. I didn't nurse Gabe (for a whole slew of reasons that I will get into at a later date), so when my milk came in I had to just wait for it to dry up. That took about a week. A week of carrying around leaking bowling balls on my chest (ow!!). A week of stuffing my bra with nursing pads (leaking was probably an understatement). A week of my poor father cutting up cabbage leaves to stuff into my bra to soothe the pain. Seriously...because you aren't feeling attractive enough...

2. The hormones. Oh...those post-partum hormones are something else. I feel as though I was pretty good hormonally wise (during my first pregnancy)...although my dear hubs may beg to differ. But then came post-partum hormones. I remember very distinctly when it hit me. It was day 3 in the hospital, I was sitting in the rocking chair waiting to go home and laughing at something my father and hubs had just said. Next thing I knew...I wasn't laughing anymore. I was sobbing. My mom looks at me "I knew this was going to happen" and sent the boys out of the room for a cry fest. I think that pattern (of crying out of nowhere) continued for the next little bit every night when it got dark. Rarely was it over anything in particular, just an overwhelming flood of emotions and need to cry it out.

3. Your body is just as awkward as it was in the initial months of pregnancy. Maternity clothes are suddenly too big (whoo hoo!!). But your "normal" clothes are nowhere close to fitting you. So there you are...stuck in this very strange in-between phase as you loose the baby-belly and baby-weight. I lived (and I mean lived) in these over-sized blue and white pajama pants for at least a week pulled up to my chin I swear. (They had to be large enough to fit over top of my very uncomfortable C-section incision).  When I was feeling extra-fancy I donned a pair of yoga pants. Look out world. I remember when I finally had the nerves to try on a pair of "normal" jeans a few weeks into post-partum and they was a squeeze but I didn't care. It wasn't PJ or yoga pants and I was so excited I cried. (see above).

4. Swelling can be pretty bad, especially right after baby. I look at pictures of myself when I first had Gabe and my face was the size of a balloon!! I can't say for sure why, but I think it's all the fluids and drugs they were pumping into my during and after my C-section. I have known some women who's swelling was worse a few days after delivery then during the pregnancy itself. Not just in their face, but their legs, arms, hands, everywhere. You thought you had kankles now!!

5. Gas...gas...gas...and more gas. Am I alone on this one? I am very gassy when pregnant (TMI??). And it seemed to continue post-partum forever. I won't get into the lovely details...but seriously.

Oh, it was tough. And I envy those women who look fabulous and are out and about after having a baby as though nothing is happening with their hormones and bodies.

And I'm nervous to experience it all again (although I know it could very well be completely different).

But I look at Gabe and I am so overwhelmed with my love for him that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt it was worth it. And so short-lived in the grand scheme of things. And I have no doubt that I will end up feeling the exact same way about this new baby to come.

Despite the dreaded 10th month of pregnancy.

I wasn't the only one trying to adapt to the newness of Gabe. Poor Rory.

The joy that he brings to my life now is so worth every cabbage leaf that I so desperately used. 


Monday, October 21, 2013

Gabe`s birthday interview

My baby boy isn't so much a baby anymore. Tomorrow he turns the big 3! While I can't believe that he's already getting to be so little a baby and so much a boy, it feels as though this is just the way life has always been. And I love it.
Gabe cracks me up and warms my heart everyday. He is the most loving, animated and fun boy I have ever known. There is absolutely nobody in the world that makes me feel as good about myself as my little man. He just has a way of encouraging so genuinely and making you laugh so freely.
I could go on and on about the quirks of Gabe, but instead I thought I would share a little insight into his little mind. So, inspired by my friend Laura at Mommy Miracles I decided to interview Gabe for his 3rd birthday.
Sunday, October 20th
Interview with Gabe and Mommy
How old are you: Almost three!!
Who is your best friend: Ummmm....Kianna!
What is your favorite toy to play with: This toy mommy! (Holds up his firetruck that he picked out because it "looked like Grampies firetruck")
What is your favorite thing to eat: Hot dogs!
What is your favorite color: Purple! Aaaaand...BLACK!
Where is your favorite place to play: At Aplaydia!
What is your favorite game to play: My racecars!
What is your favorite TV show to watch: Strawberry Shortcake!
What is your favorite song: Oh, oh song! (Jason and him listen to this in the car; The Cost by Rend Collective)
What do you want for your birthday: CUPCAKES!! Aaand balloon! And a lollipop!



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Counting my blessings!

I have so, so much to be thankful for this thanksgiving. Here's but a few:

Friendships, new & old.

Being home with family...finally.
My boys, who love me so unconditionally
And motherhood. What I currently have to love and enjoy, and what is yet to come.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Trading in the running shoes for a yoga mat

If you knew me well, you would know this about me : I need to be in control. Seriously, I thrive on being in control. Whether it's in my family, in organizing events, in being on time, in the workplace. Sometimes this can be a huge also is one of my biggest weaknesses however.
Something else you might know about me is that I don't love being pregnant. I didn't enjoy my first pregnancy, and to be honest, I haven't been enjoying this one either.
One more tidbit - now this one is a bit more personal. And something you may or may not know about me - I struggle with self-image. Specifically body-image. Whether it's my pre-pregnancy normal size (which may seem ridiculas to most, as I'm not exactly huge...) or it's my pregnant body, I have a hard time accepting my body for how it is.
What I've recently uncovered, is how all three of those facts about me are so deeply intertwined. Let me explain.
I run.Prior to this pregnancy I had just completed my first half-marathon and it was amazing. I had many lofty goals of half-marathons I would be completing in the near future and was excited for my fitness level and how good I was feeling. Well, that didn't last long. Not even a month after finishing my first half did I discover (surprise!!) I'm pregnant!! I was determined to run as long into my pregnancy as I could - I had the goal of running up to my 30 week mark. Well, here I am...30 weeks pregnant and probably haven't gone for a run since early July. I struggled with my last pregnancy, and as well as this pregnancy with a lot of hip pain, and a lot of somewhat intense cramping. This cramping would get worse the more active I am. To my Dr's advice both times, I was forced to slow down. This meant cutting out my running. Mentally, this was very challenging for me. I run because I like it...and I like it because it helps me maintain control. Control of my body, my fitness level, my mental stamina and at times, anxiety. Not running made me feel like I was losing control of all of the above.

So this pregnancy I decided to try something different. I traded in my running shoes for a Yoga mat. While it doesn't give me the sense of control that running does - it's created something else for me. Mental clarity. Yes, I get that when I run, but it's in a completely different way. Yoga gives me time to feel my strength that I didn't know I had, to build my confidence, but really to process why I am feeling certain ways about myself or my pregnancy (is this getting too touchy feely yet?)
In my times of yoga pushing my pregnant body in ways that I didn't know I could, strictly by focusing on the strength I didn't know I had. I've discovered this:
I don't like being pregnant, because I completely lose control of my body.
Is it just me? Has anyone else felt this way? It seems to me that mom's I know "love" being pregnant. They bask in their pregnancy glow and the joy of birthing new life. Obviously, it's amazing and it's a miracle. But I just feel...well...pregnant. Big, uncomfortable, limited and extraordinarily self-conscious in my own skin.
I'm about to have a baby...a baby girl. I want to raise a girl that can feel strong and beautiful and confident while battling the pressures and images in the world around her that can make a girl feel so awful about herself. I want my girl to feel nothing like how I struggle with feeling about myself. I need to gain control of my view of myself, so my beautiful girl can seem her mommy's confidence and acceptance of herself, and in return, be able to fully accept herself. I'm not sure where to start, and I certainly know gaining mental control isn't an overnight process. But I do think I've started making steps in the right direction.
Am I going to turn into a post-pregnant Yogi? I don't think so. I'm pretty anxious to lace up my running shoes again. But I think my journey is going to look a little different now and I'm thankful for the time away to try something different...and get clarity on myself.



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