Friday, April 12, 2019



Some are hard. Some come easy. Some end. Some grow.

As I’m getting older I am learning the importance of quality over quantity in this area. That may seem like common sense, but honestly, relationship building takes time and sometimes I just don’t want to devote time to it. Certain relationships you need to (ie spouse, children, family) take the time to build on them, help them evolve, and maybe put healthy boundaries in place. The others (ie friendships or outside the box: body image, food, social media) take up brain space and energy I don’t always have to give.

Let’s take a step back. Why am I even talking about this? I just went to conference that spoke on community and the importance of community and building on that community. An interchangeable word I believe for community is relationship. That's what your community is, people around you that you build relationships with that hopefully fuel your life and you fuel theirs. Having gone through some changes this past year or so (having Neiko) I am learning the importance of having a community of moms around me. Even more so, like minded moms. Having other friendships are also important, don’t get me wrong, because surrounding yourself with people who can speak truth to you in all situations is very important. Learning that we continually need to be expanding our community got me thinking. Am I doing this? And honestly how much time am I spending on this?

With my new role of being a mom I noticeable saw a shift in my relationships. I was drawn to other moms. Moms who have children currently my child's age and moms who have older children. I didn’t consciously do this either, it just naturally happened. First I had to get out of my home bubble, which was a struggle itself, then I saw this. (And lots of thanks to the friends who helped me do this, who reached out and started this new network of friendships I needed and didn’t even know.) I was being drawn to moms who are similar to my way of thinking. Meaning a little bit more holistic and open about speaking and sharing within our families (the definition of family here is that immediate mom, dad, and child[ren] one). Seeking out these type of relationships will help me develop as a mom and wife. These are the ones I want to devote time to.

Please don’t get me wrong friends reading this who aren’t in that category, I’m not done yet.

I am still the person that began those friendships before becoming a wife or mom and I don’t want to lose them. I just don’t have a lot of extra time these days to devote to these relationships. That doesn’t not mean I won’t. I am learning to balance my life (which I think will be an ongoing learning type of thing). I genuinely appreciate these people and still get fueled by them, but as life evolves so will these relationships.

Learning about evolving a relationship is important. Circumstances change and some of these friendships are going to end. Some may take a break and pick up, as if time hadn’t passed, in the future. Others are going to have healthy boundaries put on them because that is what is necessary to help the relationship continue.

Okay, now those outside the box relationships: body image, food, social media, etc. Some of these are maybe things you didn’t perhaps think of in a relationship sort of lens, but they are. They too evolve, grow, end, and need boundaries put on them. These are areas in my life I have and still struggle with. Being a mom, the before and after baby body. With food, eating it and having a healthy relationship is something I strive to do each day. Social media, not letting it impact me the way it does sometimes but rather using it as a motivational tool it is meant to be. Facing these relationships can sometimes be tougher than we think. Owning up to them, stopping those bad thoughts we may have towards them, and letting healthy new perspectives grow, is important. I’ll let you know any tips and tricks I learn as time goes on in these areas.

The most important relationship I need to really focus more time on is my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I honestly struggle with this. It again is one that takes time and devotion. I know there is no guilt in this relationship, but when I fall short I tend to recoil away even further. When instead I need to dive in closer. He will help me with all the above relationships if only I work on mine with him first. This relationship should be my point of reference for all the others.

Maybe that is something you needed to be reminded of today. It surely was once I wrote it. Because, in all honesty, I didn’t even see that coming as I began writing this. Crazy right. Usually one would have a plan for writing, I did but my relationship with God wasn’t even on my mind until the words starting coming out. Talk about convicting.

As we continue to develop our communities, develop our relationships (I think I just won the award for how many times one writes relationship haha), and lean not on our own understanding, we will see change happen. Hopefully good change that will benefit in your life. Change towards healthier relationships that grow you as a person. It is a learning process that we need to be open too. I am doing it alongside you, because if you are reading this, you are someone I care about and appreciate in my life. I wish all the best in the area of relationships for you and that you have a community around you that supports you and lifts you up.

Thank you again for reading this and partaking in my journey of life. Until the next idea pops into my head...

Monday, December 31, 2018

And Just Like That

When did I blink and seem to miss everything?

Yes that is such a cliche thing to say at this time of year, but I really mean it.

How did Christmas come and go and 2019 is around the corner? I just gave birth to the human that was growing inside of me for a majority of 2017. Then blink, it's been a year. And what a year it has been.

It doesn’t feel like that long ago Neiko was born but when I look back at all that happened and how big he is now, I get how parents say it goes by fast. And that saying, the nights are long but the years are short, has way more power. Those first few months I would wake up and just think of how many hours until I could drink coffee in the morning. That was how I got through those nights. And now, while he still is waking up, I’ve gotten more use to it and use to sleep deprivation. My hormones haven’t but I feel like most days I have.

The ups and downs of this first year were filled with health scares, good news, and a personality developing. Neiko has an innocent heart murmur, the same blood disorder his father and his father’s family have (spherocytosis), and then the fun when we had to get skull x-rays and MRI’s for a scare about his developing brain/skull. We were looking into getting him a helmet for the flat part of the back of his skull, but then found out it was absolutely nothing (the results of he xray and MRI) and never got the helmet. His head is fine and round now. And man on man is he a jokester. He loves to give kisses, bang on any and everything (wonder why and that includes his head, on purpose), and boy does he love big. His naughty side is coming out too. “Like I’m too cute mom, why can’t I touch the garbage can?”

This Christmas I felt like a mom-failure for not really getting him much. Both Nick and I got him a book. And we aren’t planning a big first birthday. We know we don’t have to explain why to people, but the truth is we rather save the money. He isn’t going to remember these days except through pictures and honestly neither are we. So why not wait to give the big things when memories can be really made.

Mom life isn’t something anyone can really prepare for. Neither is being a dad. We are thankful to be living with my parents and younger brother because they help us out when they can. Just helping distract him with baby shark for the uptenth time so I can finish a workout or take a shower or eat is appreciated way more than I can express. I don’t know how we would have gotten through this year without them being right there. Yes, we would have had to figure it out but I’m glad we didn’t have to. Plus, Neiko has a special bond with each of them. Nanny, Pop-pop, and Uncle Mikey can make him light up when they come home from work or come out of their bedroom in the morning. Its really cute to watch.

Learning to accept help was hard but something I definitely gave into more recently. I’m still breastfeeding so Neiko is still very dependant on me. When that changes I know there is going to be a bit of a shift in that dependency. He’s going to shift to wanting to be his own person with only kinda sort of relying on me for things. I’m selfishly ready to be done breastfeeding. No more leaks, I get to wear a dress, it will be nice. And hopefully no more night time feeding.

That issues is a whole other thing. Neiko is in our room, pretty much right next to our bed. There is no space for a separator and there isn’t really a different room to put him in. So once we/I go to bed, he wakes up and wants to join us in bed. Some nights I can get him to sleep a few extra hours in his crib, but he usually ends up with us at some point. Co-sleeping isn’t something I ever really thought about before it sort of happened. (Actually a lot of this parenting stuff I never thought of until I had to.) And to be honest I like it. Sure I sleep in weird positions now but to cuddle up with Neiko (while he still lets me) is pure love.

Speaking about sleep. I have a fitbit and it typically averages to about 6 ½ -7 hours a night. When I was younger I could live off of that just fine. Now, not so much. I have noticed my digestion gets off if I wake up too early, my hormones are out of whack, and the bags under my eyes are just growing. The real thing is the hormones. I feel off lately. My drive to do things is low, like really, really low. Writing this post was in my head for months now but the effort was just too much for me to do. So when does postpartum turn into real depression? I think I’m getting to the cusp of that line. But it has taken me this long to truly admit to myself that this was the real issue. I blamed it on sleep, resorting to old thinking habits/patterns, seasonal depression in the winter, but the truth is I’m sad. (Ps Nick I’m not mad at you at all, although I think you think that a lot of the time.) Sure I have a lot of great things happening. Nick and Neiko are the loves of my life. I have a supportive family. My health is good (besides my mental state). I can’t complain about work. I’m still working on my masters degree. I have big dreams about my career and what I should be doing/focusing on. But deep down I’m just happy to get through another day. Then I feel like I failed because I didn’t work on any of the things off the long list in my head.

I try really hard to be present with Neiko and life right now. Some days I am. Others I’m there but not there. Things are happening around me and I feel stuck in my head.

I don’t mind getting help, speaking to a therapist, I’ve done it before and will do it again. I just want other moms out there to know they are not alone. Being a mom is hard work. Being a parent is hard work. Kids are demanding, they suck the life out of you but they have this crazy way of giving it back to you too. So let’s support one another on this journey. Lets share our ups and downs together. The goods and the bads. I’m not trying to make anyone worry about me, I have steps in place to take care of myself, but I want to let people know why I’ve seemed distant or why I’ve disappeared lately, this is why. I need to do what is best for me right now. Adding extra things to overwhelm me further isn’t the best idea. Give me some time, reach out if you want (don’t expect an immediate response but I will appreciate you if you do reach out), and when I get over this I hope to me a better version of me.

Thank you for your continued love and support. I really do have some big plans for 2019 so watch out for (hopefully) some new things in the year to come.

Monday, August 6, 2018

National Breastfeeding Week

"Why are we normalizing something that is already normal?"

I saw those words while scrolling through posts on Instagram for National Breastfeeding Week. Which is August 1st through 7th. So I wanted to write a bit more about my experience. 

How true are those words though.  It is a natural, normal thing the female body does. Why is it so frowned upon in society. I don't feed Neiko under a blanket while out or a scarf, I just use my shirt to cover us up to be modest, but I want it to be normal. So when he's hungry, he eats. 

Breastfeeding is what a woman's breast is meant to do. Think about how fascinating it is. The female body knows how to make food, perfectly for their baby. The milk will change depending on what the baby needs. It just knows how to do all of that. Amazing. 

This post is just to give a little more insight in what happens and then a few items I found helpful in my journey. 

I am not a specialist in any way!!!!! I am just speaking from what I experienced. Please go to a breastfeeding class!! It really helped me learn a lot about this new thing I was about to try and do. Also, while in the hospital ASK to see the lactation consultant. It is free, that is what they are there for. Even if you don't have trouble latching at first, still have them come. The lady who came to see me gave me awesome advise that helped me out.

So you just had your baby. Congratulations! One thing my dula friend told me to give a go was to let my baby find my nipple and feed for the first time. It's called the "breast crawl" and it is amazing to watch the little one just know and navigate and then find the nipple and start sucking. If you can, do it (and try to get it on video because you will want that, I unfortunately didn't.) You will learn in a class all the different feeding positions, so give them a try and see what works best for you and your baby. Each situation is so unique, you really just have to try them and see what is comfortable for both of you. Neiko had difficulty latching to my right side, so I would do the football hold on that side and it would help. Taking him to the chiropractor, we learned that he had a tight neck and that was making it hard for him to turn his head to latch properly. 

Those first feedings hurt. But only at first.  There is pain in your nipple as it toughens up to do this new job. There is pain as your uterus as it starts to contract and go back to its normal size. And there could be pain in a struggle. But you are not alone if you go through a struggle with breastfeeding. The pain in the nipple goes away within a week or so. Your nipples will crack, scab, and could bleed. Use a cream or ointment that your pediatrician or midwife recommends. I never did. I would just let my nipple air dry a bit before putting my bra back on. And the uterus pain goes away. I actually really liked it because it was just another one of those fascinating things the female body does. I'm a little strange though.

So pain- yes- but goes away. Next I want to talk about when the milk comes in. Your breast will get HUGE. I mean HUGE. And hurt - yes again some pain. You can take a warm shower and try to hand express some milk- let me know if that works for you- it didn't for me but I gave it a try. I just had to nurse Neiko and empty out a bit for me to feel comfortable again. But that pain too passes as your body gets use to the routine. It is not recommended to pump just yet because you want your body to find that routine of how much milk to produce, but you know your body best- do what you need to.

Feeding, latching, and the routine starts to get easier as time goes on. Just try and stick with it. But if it is not for you, don't do it. It can be messy. Like literally messy. I joked during those first few months that my new purfume was "ode de booby milk." While Neiko ate on one breast my other with start to leak, so I wore those pads in my bra to help. But eventually it stops. Only on a rare occasion does it happen now. While eating sometimes Neiko gets distracted and pulls away. Then I just drip and milk gets in his hair, his clothes, my clothes and then he latches and continues. Part of mommyhood now I guess. I stopped caring about those messes though. You just get accustomed to it, even the spit up. 

Speaking of clothes, here are some items I like: Nursing bras that unlatch and flop down are good. I have sports bras like that and "real" bras like that (bought mainly from Target). For home I love nursing tanks. I bought some that do the unlatch down thing but my favorite are ones you just kind of pull to the side. I love these actually! Now I just wear those with a deep neck bralette at home (and I wish for when I go out too but its too much booby for me to be showing off).  I found the boopy to be helpful the first month. Once Neiko got too big for it I switched to using pillows to support my arms. OrI tend to curl up and feed him on the couch. I've seen those nursing pillows that you put your arm though, never tried it, but I'd imagine it would be great but also might put the babies head at a strange angle to try and feed. Let me know if you tried it and how it worked! The boopy now get used to support Neiko while he sits because he doesn't have it down just yet, he still leans and falls over. 

My journey now- I am still breastfeeding. Neiko has started his solids but still loves the boob. I found my supply lowering so I tried fenugreek and it worked for me. I also started a routine of pumping each morning to help rebuild my storage supply of milk for just in case situations and when I work. Neiko so far has had carrots (loved), butternut squash (ok), peas (nope), green beans (liked), sweet potato (loved), apples (liked but bound him too much), and prunes (loves). He will be trying pears and pumpkin this week. 

And just to follow up with my previous post- it gets frustrating. Having to pump at work, making sure there is enough milk to give to who is watching Neiko, planning life around his eating schedule, it gets tiring. But I know I will miss it all once he moves on to eating just solids. And I love a good booby nap. He would fall asleep with my nipple still in his mouth, so cute. Noticed I said would. It doesn't happen very often anymore. I am blessed that my body is still able to breastfeed. 

So moms keep up what you are doing! Find what works for you! And let's gather together to support all those moms who breastfeed in public. No more shame. Instead let's love the beautiful act. 

Until next time.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Living That Postpartum Life

How in the world is he 6 months already? (really next Wednesday he will be 6 months, but close enough)

Neiko can almost sit up all on his own. He loves to bounce around now, as in using his legs to jump, all the time, even while laying, haha. Some teeth might be coming in any day now because everything and I mean everything goes in his mouth and he bites, like really bites. He laughs, smiles, recognizes people and voices, can roll over from back to front and front to back, and is such a happy little butt (one of his many nicknames). We will be starting solids this week!!

I have an idea of how I will be introducing solid foods. I am probably starting with green beans. I wanted to do avocado, but maybe will make that food #2, then introducing other 4-6 month foods.  I want to wait a little bit until I introduce sweet foods just cause he's probably going to love those more than peas and green beans and then I will move on too 6-8 month food including meats (chicken, turkey and protein sources like tofu and beans). Yes, I said meats. I will not make Neiko be a vegan. I want him to make the choice when and if he wants too. But I want to give vegetables and fruits first over grains because I want him to get a wider variety of vitamins and minerals and to get use to these foods before he gets grains.

Okay so that's my Neiko update. Now for my mommy update.

Where to begin... how about this, I have made my first mommy mistakes. There have been head bumps, almost falls, and falls. He fell off my bed the other morning. It was traumatic for me more than him probably. He did a belly/face landing on the ground, cried, but after eating he was acting like himself. There will definitely be more mommy fails to come, that's for sure.

Now I want to talk about the ups and downs of being a new mom. Somethings we never talk about but really need to.

Some typical things we know like hair loss- this was such a thing for me. I jokingly texted a friend saying I think I could have a wig of my own hair. Yes, it was that much coming out. Handfuls in the shower, brushing, and just running my hands through my hair clumps would come out. Being a women, hair is kind of a big thing, it's part of our identity. I've been told it stops around 6 months. Mine might have slowed down, but its still falling out. I take extra biotin to help mine grow but honestly have been thinking of taking collagen to boost it even more. I will let you know if I do decide to do so. It will be a tough decision because it's not vegan.

I love breastfeeding, it is a wonderful thing the female body does. WE PRODUCE FOOD FOR OUR BABIES! God you are truly amazing the way you created the female body. But after a while it becomes a bit frustrating. The society we live in still isn't fully use to it, the logistics of it can be messy, and the clothes- nope! Society tells us breastfeeding is best, yet not all people are open to it. I mean I'm not flashing my boobs in public, but I don't want to feed him in the bathroom, covered up completely (you do need to see what you and the little one are doing while they eat), but not everywhere makes it easy for us to feed our babies. This really, really needs to change. The logistics of feeding a baby who gets distracted, makes you leak, and then sometimes just doesn't want to eat but your body is ready, is all frustrating. Once you get the hang of the latching and the rhythm of feeding, it gets easier, but still sometimes you just want to wear a cute dress. But you can't. I never bought nursing clothes (only a few tanks for home wear) because they are super expensive. And some are really ugly. So I've just made it work, but summer and feeding, its hot and not all that appealing. But I plan to keep at it. And yes, I do pump, but I work 2 days a week to be able to be a stay at home mom and feed in the comfort of my home most of the time. I'm not going to lie, I do look forward to the day we wean, but I know once that day comes I'm going to be feeling differently.

Something I want to touch on is maybe going to make some people look at me differently, but I hope not. I want to touch on those first few days and weeks. Don't be alarmed if you don't instantly fall in love with this new human. Just because they came out of you doesn't mean anything. Honestly it took me probably 3 weeks to really fall in love with Neiko. But once I did, I fell hard. Those first weeks are truly survival mode. You are still figuring out life, this new life you are now living, hopefully as a family. You are sleep deprived. You don't know what he wants. You are trying to get the hang of breastfeeding or putting a bottle together. You are trying to learn his cues. Its rough. Really, really rough. I feel like Nick was WAY better at those first few weeks than I because I just didn't love him the way he did. I didn't play with him the way he did. I compared and I compared hard. I got the logistics down during that time. Like how to change a diaper, how to feed, when to feed, what to pack in the diaper bag, how to clean, etc. But I didn't get that mushy feeling. Not until one day when things just became a bit easier, my normal was falling into place, that's when it happened. Don't get me wrong, I felt for my child, but I didn't feel the way I thought I was suppose to. How everyone tells you you should feel with a baby. It just kind of happened one day. I'm not sure of the exact moment, but one day that little face, those little eyes, they just penetrated my heart and I fell. My message is that it is normal however you feel those first postpartum days, weeks, and months. You are doing great, you did great. You will go at your own pace, but that old saying of when it's your child you will feel differently, I think it's true. Once that baby is yours and in this world, something chemically changes inside of a woman (and a man, fathers don't have it easy either, but that's a whole other post) and your maternal instincts come out. Yes, it may not be true for all women but for most I believe it is.

I'm going to throw a few different but very related themes into this paragraph to hopefully not make this post too long. Postpartum anxiety, figuring out this new You, mommy guilt, and selfishness. Postpartum depression is talked about all the time, but we rarely discuss anxiety and postpartum. If you have anxiety without being a mom, just be prepared that it could worsen. Things are very overwhelming for all moms, but especially so being a new mom. Most of the time you second guess yourself and then feel that others are judging you (well because in our society most of the time they are and they tell you they are). You have your good days but you also have your bad days. When I am  alone, I find those days to be worse. Sometimes you just want to get 1 thing done (like eat), but it never happens. Being trapped inside can worsen feelings of anxiety. Neiko was born in the winter, it wasn't like I could just go out for a walk those first few months, but even the logistics of that can be overwhelming. So take things slow and once you get good at one task, you work on another. But babies grow and need more attention, so just give yourself some slack. I know those words mean well, but don't always apply to every situation. So make sure you talk about it. Talk to someone about how you feel and when you need a break. It is okay to do so. That's when mommy guilt sets in. Yay (cue sarcasm). You feel guilty when ever you do something for yourself. That first time I left the house without him I felt amazing, at first. I didn't miss him, until the thoughts came flooding in: how is he doing, does he miss me, is he hungry, will I get back and be able to pee before I have to feed him. Yup those are all true thoughts. I've learned that I need to take time to be myself and he will be fine with another person for a little bit. Actually, it is very healthy for him to be with other people, but that will be a different post. Now this new you, the you are you but you're not you. Your going to have to discover you. You are a mom. I am Neiko's mom. People care about Neiko before they do me. (They don't mean too, but it happens.) You still love the things you use to love, but now you have less time to spend on them. You are not you because you feel all sorts of new feelings now. Your body is you, but it's not you. Its changed. It's different. You are different. You just need to take time to discover this new you. And that is okay. You will have times of selfishness where you just want to be that old you, but you can't always be her. You want to just sleep in a little longer. You just want to go out without having to triple think if you are missing anything. You just want to go to the grocery store and make it an easy trip. You just want to shower in peace. You can't. There is someone depending on you now. These feelings all come and go, they are kind of your new normal too. You are going to have to feel them out, learn new coping skills, and rely on others to help and allow them to help. Trust me for your sanity you need to let others help.

And not my last topic I want to talk about is sometimes you just want to workout without feeling that anxiety of a baby cry and to get your body back. Postpartum body image. This is also part of the new you. The learning to love every stretch mark, every change, and reshape your image of you. Thankfully I worked out during my pregnancy (if you read the previous post you know I did a workout even the day of). That was my lifestyle choice and luckily I was able to, not everyone is medically able to do so. I listened to my body both during pregnancy and I am postpartum too. I think those first few weeks were the longest time frame I didn't workout in the past oh 8 years or so. I think my first workout was 3 or 4 weeks postpartum. I took it easy at first, but boy did it feel good to move again. It also felt great to take a few moments for myself. I was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight about 2 weeks postpartum, I contribute that too the lifestyle I live, but I still had that post baby belly. I'm not sharing that to brag, but to tell you all I went through. I did lose muscle mass and strength during pregnancy, so my new fitness goal is to regain that strength, rebuild my core, and build up my endurance again. Goals I am still working on 6 months postpartum. I am getting use to my new body. I am in awe of what it did, where it has come from, and it continues to amaze me in these postpartum months.

Females are strong. We go through a lot during pregnancy and afterwards. We need to talk about it. About it ALL. We need to share our stories. Women need to know that how they feel is normal. Becoming a mom takes time. It's all a learning experience. If we all talk about every aspect, women will know what to expect more realistically.

Well, if you stuck with me until now, thank you. If you have any areas you want me to elaborate on, please let me know. I would love to chat or write more about any topic here or if you have a question on an area that I didn't touch on, please ask away. I would love to get deeper here on my blog, so help me do so.

Up next is my process of making baby food for Neiko! So, until then. <3

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Story of Neiko's Birth

For those of you interested, and for myself so that I never forget this story, I want to write down how Neiko came into this world.

First off you are probably wondering where the name Neiko even came from. Well, it was a nickname of Nick's growing up. His mom would call him Nico. One morning Nick mentioned he no longer liked the name Bruce, yes he was going to be Bruce at one time, and then mentioned the name Nico. I looked it up and really liked it. Then me being me choose an interesting way to spell it. Sort of combining the Nico and Neko. And that was that. If you are wondering if we had a girl what the name would have been, it would have been Madelin, after my grandma's middle name. I have always loved that name and always wanted to name a daughter that.

So now the story:

As normal I woke up and worked out, not really thinking about what could be ahead of me that day. It wasn't a crazy workout but did have a lot of squats and wall sits in it, so my legs got a pretty good workout that morning. I had just hit 41 weeks (January 17th) and was scheduled to go for a non-stress test for baby and an ultrasound to check my amniotic fluid levels. The results showed baby's heart rate was low at its times of rest, but increased in a normal range at the time of movement. My heart rate is low and so is Nick's, so this didn't really raise too much of a concern to us or the midwife. She did want me to schedule another non-stress test for the next day to make sure everything was fine and that baby's heart rate really is that low. Then I had an internal exam done. The midwife stated I was 1 cm dilated, 50% effaced, and baby was in a -1 position in my pelvis. This way I knew if anyone asked me where I started from I could tell them. She then did a cervical sweep- that is what it sounds like. She took her finger and did a circle to separate the water sac from my cervix. And this is sort of a natural from of induction.

The car ride home was uncomfortable. I was starting to get cramps and Nick could tell I wasn't myself after that exam. I made the phone call to schedule my appointment for the next day and noticed my cramps were getting a bit intense. So I got home and asked my doula friend if cramps after an internal was normal, she reassured me that yes and gave me some advice to help continue the process along. I laid down to rest a bit and then got hungry. So I made myself some food, this is now about 6pm and the cramps were increasing in pain. I made Nick read me this meditation that the midwives gave me from a class I took with them, while I sat and did hip circles on my ball. We watched the recorded episode of Ink Masters and it was about 9pm at this point and I wanted to go lay down some more. So I tried. The pain was getting more and more. I realized these really are contractions and not just cramps. So we started to time them. The contractions were first 8 minutes apart and lasting 1-2 minutes long. I couldn't lay down anymore so I told Nick to rest while he could and went upstairs to labor a bit. I started out on the toilet- which is actually highly recommended. My mom set up the couch for me to labor on by layering blankets and towels because my water still had not broken. We piled up pillows for me to lean my upper body on and I would get on my knees and rock my hips back and forth when a contraction would hit. I went downstairs to grab a few things and Nick wasn't asleep so he came up to be with me while I labored. It was now about 11/11:30 at this point. I remember just wanting to throw up during this entire time, so there was a garbage pail by me at all times.

I had Nick call the midwife who was on call for advice because my contractions were about 5 minutes apart lasting 2 minutes or so. She recommended that I get in the tub for a bit, so I tried that and didn't really like it. My tub isn't that comfortable. That lasted for maybe 15 minutes and then I didn't want to be wet any more. I went back to the couch and would do my kneeling labor while Nick massaged my lower back during a contraction, that helped a lot. He would then massagem y head between contractions, which was wonderful. I would have walked around, as suggested by all for helping labor be more bearable, but my legs/body would shake uncontrollably between contractions, so all I could do was lay down. It was about 2am now and I was in a lot of pain and the contractions were just about the same in time/duration so we called the midwife again and told her I wanted to come now. We live about 40 minutes from Madison/Morristown- where the office/hospital is located, so I wanted to go. Putting on clothes was a challenge. I threw on a crappy workout bra, a fold over sweater, capri pants, socks, and my coat (belly all sorts of hanging out because I was hot and sweating). I made Nick freeze in the car ride there because I was so hot but shivering because of the hormones I guess. We beat the midwife to the office. She came about 10 minutes later. It was around 2:40am at this point.

I slowly walked up to the office, not really wanting to but rather just wanting to be at the hospital at this point. She had me use the bathroom before she examined me. I had my bloody show while in the car ride there. I told her that and she then examined me. I was 6 cm at this point and we were ready to go to the hospital. We all jumped back into our cars and drove the not even 10 minutes down the road to the hospital. On the way I had some very close together contractions. We got there, it's about 3am now, I waddled my way down the hall stopping at random chairs to get through a contraction. We got to the doors to get into labor and delivery. Buzzed and the front desk woman asked why we were there- um to have a baby?? We get up to the desk, the midwife arrived right behind us, and the lady asked me to check this bracelet, not to mention I was bent over having a contraction giving her the hold on a minute pointer finger. (Like hey lady can you see what I am going through- you may see this everyday but no I can't even think right now.) The midwife asked if Nick could check it, he did. The room wasn't ready yet, so we sat a minute while they checked the tubs. I had another contraction- intense. We walked to the room.

I was put on the monitor and they were checking my blood pressure. They had some questions for me and I would whisper my response to Nick. I had a few more contractions while on the monitor and then I was ready- ready to push. I had 2 of those sensations while on the monitor. My midwife checked me again and I was 10 cm. It was time. They asked if I wanted to get into the tub and I didn't just yet, so I pushed on the bed for a bit. I tired 3 different positions while on the bed. I turned around and pushed on my knees with my arms on the back of the bed and squatted down while I pushed. My body was still shaking between pushes so this position was too painful to stay in. I turned back around. I tried to push while on my side, sitting up, bringing my leg up and holding it. I did this on both sides and then wanted to get into the tub. While in the tub I tried squatting during a pushing sensation, turned around and would bring a knee to my armpit, then the other armpit, and then my midwife had me lay the short way in the tub. I would then bring my legs up and she held my feet, pushing them towards me, while I pushed. And that was the position that made the difference. I pushed a few more times that way and could see the little head coming out more and more with each push. Really I saw hair and wasn't sure what was going on, but I trusted my midwife and she said I was progressing nicely. I remember thinking how much longer of this at one point but never actually asked it. There was a phone call to my room. My mom had come and they wanted to know if she could join us in the room. I was so confused and said no at first then comprehended what I was asked and said yes. My water finally broke. My mom came in. I pushed 3 or 4 more times and the head came out fully. Nick was on my left side, my mom behind me. I pushed again, out came the body. I/the midwife pulled up the baby. We put the baby on my chest and the cries came. I was in such shock. I looked at the little face, beautiful, then turned my child around to see what the sex was- a boy. We all cried. It was such a moment of awe. He was here, finally here. So real, so tiny, so wonderful, so blessed. It was 4:44 am and my little Neiko was born.

We did a delayed clamping of the umbilical cord to allow for all blood flow from the placenta into the baby could happen. We weren't caving the cord blood or my placenta. Nick got to cut it after it was clamped. He then did skin on skin with his child. It was beautiful. I pushed out the placenta, it came out easily- 2 pushes. The water turned red once the blood was let loose in it. I got out of the tub and was slowly moved back to the bed. I was stitched up (only 4) and then put back to have my blood pressure monitored. Neiko was cleaned up a bit and then placed on me. We did skin to skin and we watched him move his way down to feed. He was so tiny. Actually 6.6 lbs. That was all we knew at that time. I breastfeed him for a little while being monitored. Then it was time to move to my recovery room.

After watching a video Nick took later, the midwife did say that when I first started pushing that was the earliest she had seen the head, I think it was all those squats haha. I still wanted to throw up while laboring/pushing. And they would monitor my and the baby's heart rate after each push. But the entire natural thing was worth it. Natural childbirth is painful, I'm not going to lie. I do remember saying to my mom while at home drugs I want drugs but deep down I really didn't. I know my body was made for this, able to bare this, and God was helping me through it. I just needed to focus. I was able to calm down and breathe deep during contractions. Pushing, that was a whole different story. I didn't breathe well while I pushed, I was just so focused on pushing. It was so different and foreign. You don't know exactly where/how to but you do at the same time. It is hard to explain. I also made a lot of nose while pushing. It hurt, so I was vocal about it. Just yells and grunts more than actual words. My midwife did say try to focus that power into the push instead of voicing it because you will go horse the next day (I did). She also told me to get 2-3 pushes or longer pushes with each push contraction. I tried but it didn't always happen. I still got my little Neiko out and it was about an hour of pushing, give or take.

Neiko stayed in my room the entire time we were in the hospital. That first night was an experience. Nurses constantly in and out, taking blood (from my baby), checking in, it was exhausting. Neiko also had bad gas, so I was learning how to comfort him and relieve that for him. I was by myself that first night. Nick was exhausted, he never got the rest I wished him too the night before. Trying to sleep in a hospital is a joke, so I told him to go home. I was fine and had the help of the nurses if need be. He felt guilty but I needed him to be the sane one for once. I had my little man on my chest a lot that night trying to comfort him, his head full of hair rubbing under my chin was heaven. Even though it was not allowed, he and I would dose off a little together, then someone would come in and awake me. We learned a lot together that first night, my little boy and I. Also, I sang "Happy Birthday" to him. Nick and I have our own version, so now the tradition shall be passed on to little man.

Finally Saturday hit and we were able to go home. Neiko had his circumcision that morning (we wanted to be out by Friday, I was totally up for it, but we had to wait on the surgeon to come). By 1 pm we were home at last with our little love. And now the true fun, learning, and forever firsts have begun.

My little Neiko, I am so happy to have you here. I do miss you moving around in me, but holding you, seeing you, smelling you, and hearing you makes it all worth it. I love you my little fox and I thank God each day for blessing your dad and I with you and the responsibility of raising you.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Oh What a New Chapter I am In

That's for sure.

With my past, all the harm an eating disorder does on your body (even if it was "good" intentions that started it, harm is still done), I had come to terms with the possibility of not conceiving. Even Nick was open to the idea of adoption (not saying that door has closed) and my mom was getting use to grand-beardies.

But God is great and can use any situation for His good. And He sure is using my broken body for His good and showing me His redeeming power. We are expecting. It brings tears, even weeks later, to my eyes to write those words down. I am going to be a mom to a little person I am making inside my body. I get to feel every kick, every hiccup, every ache and pain along the way, and then I get to hold that little one in my arms and welcome it to this world. Then with Nick's and our families help along with God's guidance, we get to raise that little person to be whatever God has in store for them.


Motherhood is sure going to be one of the hardest, most challenging chapters of my life, but I have a wonderful husband who I get to parent with, and he is going to be an amazing father. So, I look forward to it. But there are sure a lot of things going on now that I need to get use to first.

How about a changing body. Like every day changing body. Watching your belly, the one spot you don't really want to get big, get big is a huge struggle. Yes I understand the beauty in it all, but coming from the eating disorder, body disorder perspective, its a struggle at times. Then having people say what they mean to be nice words but actually sting just a little to you is even harder.

What I mean is, in the beginning (cause I am definitely showing now) was being told repeatedly of how I don't look pregnant, Which, yes, is meant as a compliment, but deep down it would sting. My body was not (is not) the body I am use to. Coming from wedding body, the fittest and proudest I had been about my body in a while, to an expanding waistline is hard. Looking in the mirror and not seeing what you use to is hard. Not fitting in clothes like you use to is hard. And yes, I get it. Other people struggle with this but in a different way, ie gaining weight, working hard to lose weight, and having their own struggles of the sort. I am not in any way downplaying those emotions. I am trying to explain how I felt each time someone told me I was not allowed to feel uncomfortable in my own changing body. Even though I know that is not what they meant, it was how I took it.

We all need to remember that each individual has their own bag of struggles and thoughts, and we need to respect them. Watching what and how we say something. And those of us taking in those words need to remember that the person is not attacking you, they probably have no idea what is going on inside your head and your body. So let's love one another in every step we take. There's enough hate and damage going on in the world without our words adding to it.

Take a step back today, hug someone you love, tell them how beautiful they are, how great they are doing, and remind them they are loved for just the way they are.

Thanks for taking the time to read this today. It was hard during those first few months getting use to my changing body, fitting hard to not let old thoughts take over, and coming to terms with this new body I am going to have. Each day there is something new, a back pain, knee pain, elbow pain?- yea just today this one started, then went- strange, and a little bit bigger of a belly. I'm coming up to 23 weeks this Wednesday.  Just 4 more weeks to be in that third and final trimester, and then seeing the crazy evolution of those weeks. Then before I know it little one will be here.

We are not finding out the gender, so it going to be even more of a surprising day.

Until next time. <3

And I would like to send a prayer out to all those who are remembering the events of today. My heart breaks for the loved ones lost. The world was never the same after those events. And we continue to fight forward each day but never forgetting. September 11, 2001.

Saturday, March 4, 2017


As many of you, just as I, may be unaware that this past week (today is the last day) of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. The theme of this years week is "It's time to TALK ABOUT IT."

I wanted to add a little bit more of my story to this week. In the past I have opened up about my eating disorder, but now that was years ago and it isn't a thing that just goes away, rather it is something to choose not to do any more. You choose to fight it every single day.  And sometimes it wins and sometimes you win.

So lets talk more about it. What it is like in the mind of recovery...

Every morning I wake up and thank God for another day. I pray that it will be a good day. Good choices will be made and I honor myself and my body. Then I drink coffee and go about my day.

But what about breakfast- yea that is something I struggle with now and it has been for about 3 years. I very rarely eat breakfast. I was getting better for a bit there just last year and would have some nuts and an apple but it didn't last long. Why? I twisted this idea of intermiten fasting I heard on a podcast a few years ago and it stuck with me. Maybe not the "right" way to do it, but I developed it into my way of doing it. That means- drink coffee and go about your day until lunch time.

Lunch is my first meal and usually is what ever my heart desires, my budget allowed,  and what I cooked for that week. Roasted veggies and a salad, avocado toast, squash toast, tacos, you name it.  And it depends on when I eat this meal because for the past 8 months I have been in an internship to be a real dietitian and thank goodness because dietitians love to eat on a time schedule so it was usually around 12:30/1pm.

Then I go about the rest of my day. Sometimes fighting off hunger because I need to go home and workout. So I would and then I get meal #2. Shock again yes, I eat twice a day usually. (I'll go into it further in a minute.) This meal is usually more of a breakfast type meal of banana bread with almond butter and fruit, oh and chocolate chips, with a side of cashew milk. Then I call it a day. Maybe sometimes I grab some more almond butter, nuts, and chocolate or fruit and milk depending on my hunger level  (or what my mind wants) and then on most nights I go to bed feeling as though I failed another day because I didn't do what I really should have.

So is this really the mind of a person who recovered from an eating disorder? Maybe not so much anymore, but 3 years ago- yes. I just don't know her any more or how to get back to there. But maybe that is the point. I don't necessarily want to go back tot here but rather reach a new level of me with a balance of food.

Food is my tigger. Food will forever be my trigger. Food is what I want to make my life about. Help others with food, with their disorders, help them recover. So why can't I fix myself? I dream about eating like everyone else, not overthinking each bite, not beating my self up when I push too far, and then start the same cycle the next day with that last thought of tomorrow I will do better. Its horrible. It is no way to live. I'm too old for this. But you know is my pattern. When I get too stressed it is what my mind and body knows is "safe" for me to control again. So I do, without even realizing it until it is too late and I find myself right back here- in a relapse. And it sucks.

So I am choosing to talk about it. To be open and real about it. Because I know someone else out there is going through the same thing and needs to know they are not alone. None of us are. And we need that to be known. I am taking steps to make myself better, to help me go back down the path of recovery and not fear.

Make sure you talk about it too- what ever that thing is that eats away at you. If you don't it will start to control you and take a part of you away with it. It is time to TALK ABOUT IT.