Friday, December 11, 2015

The Last Day

Ever since I got over being sick during my last pregnancy, my life has been a series of discomforts. I had almost constant headaches during my last pregnancy, which meant daily doses of tylenol and caffeine to stave off the migraines that would sometimes come. I thought things would improve once he was born, but in the almost six weeks since giving birth, things have actually stayed the same of gotten worse. I have terrible brain fog. I can't concentrate very well. I am irritable. My joints ache all the time. I have a hard time digesting my food properly. I have very low energy levels and walking up the stairs nearly wipes me out. If I do a lot during the day, I go to bed with horrible shin splints and back aches. I rely on sugar to help me feel good and I almost always subsist on bread to get me through the day of nursing hunger.

Today will be the last day I feel all of those things at once. My body can heal itself. That starts tomorrow. Today will be the last day. Stay posted for updates.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Second Birth Story

I wanted to write down the Jonas' birth story before I forget the details.

I had been having "real" contractions for weeks, but they were never regular and would never get stronger. November is a busy month for us, especially Clark, and I was worried about going into the labor during one of the times he would be away at the National Guard or in Des Moines for his new job training. I asked my doctor about *maybe* inducing me once I was 39 weeks. I was concerned about this baby being big, as I was measuring big, and I knew I didn't want to do labor without Clark there. 

But, I was still on the fence with induction. My last labor started naturally and I just wasn't sure I was ready to commit to doing it. But, Monday, Nov 2, my doctor called me and said the only day he could do it would be that day, starting in the afternoon. So I had to make a decision quickly. I had already been having contractions Sunday night and Monday morning, so I though, meh, it probably won't take much to get things going.

So I checked into the hospital at 4 PM Monday afternoon. They placed the prostaglandin to help my cervix along (I was already dilated to a 2), and left me there. Clark was still at work and would be until about 1 AM Tuesday morning, so I was there by myself. Tennyson stayed with Clark's mom. 

My friend Carie, who goes to my church, lives just down the street from the hospital, so she came to spend time with me while we waited for Clark to get there. We mostly just talked, hoping for the contractions to get stronger, and we watched an episode of Chuck. I watched some gilmore girls too. Around midnight things were stronger and Carie helped put pressure on my back during contractions. Clark brought me a muffin when he got there, and he slept for a couple hours while I kept on keeping on. 

My contractions from earlier that day got progressively stronger throughout the night, but they were nothing I couldn't handle, easy to breathe through, but strong enough that I didn't sleep at all. I was getting really sleepy by the next morning.

The nurse came at five AM to check to see how I was doing. They removed the prostaglandin, she spent some time monitoring my contractions and the baby's heartbeat. She checked me and said I hadn't really progressed much last night, which was fine. However, right after she checked me, my water broke on its own, so she started me on a low dose of pitocin to hopefully help things progress more quickly-- it was about 6 by this time. 

The contractions were immediately more painful, especially now that my water had broken. After only about thirty minutes, I told Clark I would need pain medicine because I knew they were going to get worse and I thought the dilation process would take hours and I wanted to sleep. However, the nurse checked me again at 7:20 ish and told me I had gotten to a 3, but she couldn't order anesthesia until I was a five. It's a small hospital and they offer single dose spinal anesthesia that lasts 5-6 hours, so they wait to administer it because it takes most moms a long time to progress to a ten, and they like the moms to have the pain meds for the most painful part of the labor. If they give it too early, it wears off before delivery.

So I kept pushing through. Things were getting bad, so they gave me a numbing medicine in my IV that helped my body to relax a little bit more. That helped me for a little while, but by 8:20 it was wearing off/contractions were getting stronger and it wasn't enough for the pain level. She checked me again and I was a four. I begged for anesthesia at that point, because I literally thought I was going to die. I kept asking Clark and the nurse for help, and I was yelling through each contraction because they were HORRIBLE. Clark kept trying to be supportive and telling me to breathe, but I eventually was so overcome that I told him that breathing wasn't helping anymore and he needed to stop telling me to breathe. I kept thinking I couldn't do this and that I needed help. In an attempt to calm me down, the nurse put me in the shower and that did help a little bit-- enough to get my panic under control. But, I was also scared because I knew I wouldn't be able to handle four or five more hours like this hour. 

The nurse checked me again around 9:05, and I was like, "Please tell me I am a five."

"Um, you're an eight..."

Then I panicked. "Wait, I can still get the spinal right?"

She nodded and called the anesthesiologist, who got there maybe five minutes later. I was on my hand on knees on the bed, and I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. I kept saying to everyone there, "I told you I needed this earlier. Why didn't anyone believe me." I was kind of angry they made me wait so long when I was probably ready 10 mins after they checked me the last time. 

The nurse wanted to check me again before they placed the needle, so she did, and told the anesthesiologist to go away, because I was a ten. They called my doctor, who was working in the clinic, because I was saying I felt like I needed to push. They helped me to get into position, my doctor got there, and then all of a sudden everybody was like okay, don't push, but I needed to, and I was confused by how quickly everything was happening and kind of in shock/denial still that this was happening, so I just did what i felt like doing at that point. 

Then, I pushed three or so times, and his head came out, but I had to push harder the next time because his shoulders were wide-- he had his arms crossed in front of himself, making him wider. Then after like two more pushes, he was out. 

He came at 9:20, just one hour after I had only been progressed to a four. Clark was happy-- he cried, and he never cries-- I was mostly in shock. They put him up on my tummy. He had a knot in his cord, like a pretzel-- not tight, but they said it was cool to see. Then came they after birth. Jonas was 10 lbs 7 ounces, just like his older brother, and I didn't tear at all during the delivery, which was awesome. 

As a caveat, I am not sure what natural birth is like without pitocin, and I do think that some (lucky, well prepared) women can experience some relatively low levels of pain during childbirth, but I have done the breathing and visualizing-- those help some. But, if anybody says childbirth isn't supposed to be painful or doesn't really hurt, they are lying. However, the benefits are there-- the recovery was lot easier with this delivery, and pushing was lot easier-- if more painful-- too. It's still too fresh in my mind to know thought if I will ever do it again. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Eat To Live Week 2

This week was interesting. We went to a wedding over the weekend, which meant that the Eat To Live lifestyle was out for a day. I also fractured my elbow on Monday (riding a bike in the Canyon, braked too fast, wiped out...) so I haven't been feeling the greatest. But, I still kept up my daily large salad, and stayed away from meat, dairy, and sugar (for the most part, a couple bites of this and that here and there).

The stats: I was more bloated this week because I wasn't as strict with what I was eating, but I still felt better than I did before.

Weigh in: 154.8

Friday, August 22, 2014

Eat To Live Week 1: Going Nutritarian

So, when I started Dr. Fuhrman's Eat To Live lifestyle, I scoured the internet daily for success stories to keep me motivated. I've decided I will post weekly as my health improves to help motivate other's to change.

What is it?

Well, it's a 90% vegetarian diet, where you eat at least of pound of fresh veggies, a pound of cooked veggies, and a cup of lentils or beans daily, with four (or more) servings of fruit. You can also have one serving of grains or starchy veggies like corn or potatoes.

The point is to eat the most nutrient dense foods on the planet to ensure having good health. I like to focus on the wide variety of things I can eat, than focusing on the things I can't, which are:

  • salt
  • sugar (in any form)
  • oils (avocado is fine)
  • refined flours, white pasta, bread
  • anything processed
  • dairy
  • most meats
What Happened This Week

I read that the first few days were the hardest, but they weren't for me. I felt so good to finally be eating in the best way possible that I was on this "Go Me!" high for a long time (read: few days).

About four days in, I got stressed out, and felt the familiar pull toward foods that were comforting. I wanted breads-- donuts, garlic toast, homemade rolls. I was surprised, because I thought my main craving would be sugar.

I didn't ADD salt to my dishes, but I also didn't follow the low sodium requirements as stringently because flavor and because I workout daily and have no heart problems so I am not super worried about my sodium being too high.

The foods I cheated with:

  1. I would eat an egg on the days I lifted weights.
  2. I ate a cup of corn chex one day as a starch.
  3. We went to dinner at a friend's house, and she served chicken enchiladas, salad, and homemade ice-cream for dessert. I just had a modest portion of everything, because I don't want to be one of those people who is rude about those things, especially when others go to such an effort to cook for me.
The Results:

Starting Weight: 160.4
Week 1 End Weight: 156.6

I sleep deeper at night, I have more energy, and my sugar cravings are gone. Also, my face has cleared up a little bit.

I enjoy my vegetables, but my favorite thing that I ate this week was a ripe peach. It was candy.

I would encourage anyone to try ETL, and to read the book. It's already making a difference.
See you next week.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Six Months and Counting

Today Tennyson is half a year old. He has definitely changed our lives, and we are so excited to see him grow and learn things each day. He has his own little personality. Here are some things that make him him:

  1. He likes to suck on his index finger.
  2. He does planks by raising himself up on his hands and toes, instead of his hands and knees. 
  3. He loves all kinds of stuffed animals, and thinks they are the best chew toys.
  4. He loves pears.
  5. He likes to go swimming and finds endless entertainment with being in the water.
  6. He likes to jump up and down, and sometimes will launch himself right into my face when he is on my lap.
  7. He is a morning person, and is always fiercely happy when I get him out of his crib, at around 5:30 AM.
  8. He is already in his toddler car seat.
  9. He blows raspberries when he is frustrated or when he wants attention.
  10. He loves to grab my hair.
  11. He think it is hilarious to be on top of my head and laughs super hard when he is.
  12. He has really big feet that are perfect for eating. 
  13. He gets a really big pouty face when he thinks no one is paying attention to him, and when he is crying because he is afraid. 
  14. He frequently gets stuck under the shelf in our living room. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

First World Problems: Thin Privilege

Honestly, I don't know how I had never heard of this terminology until today. I stumbled across "thin privilege" on a My Fitness Pal thread, and googled it. The first hit took me to this.

As I read a handful of posts, I became more and more dismayed.

I am not a very thin person, but I can also say I am not a very large one either. I have always been uncomfortable with my weight and appearance, and recently took steps to lose weight, work out consistently, and eat healthy. I was tired all the time, and I wanted to be able to wear the clothes that I liked, and I wanted to feel beautiful and young and energetic.

While I think bullying people for being fat is wrong, and while I recognize that more and more people are obese, I wanted to point out some things that the "thin privilege" mentality promotes.

1. Entitlement. If you are obese, and find that the world is not designed to meet your specific needs, this is NOT thin privilege. Unless you are one of the two percent of people on this planet who have medical reasons for being a size 28, YOU can do something about it. I am not saying that you have to be a size zero. But, you can make a difference for yourself, instead of expecting the world to make it for you. The airplane doesn't need to provide a special seat for you. Clothing stores don't have to make sizes of clothes to fit you.

2. It's okay to be unhealthy. Your doctor telling you your weight is unhealthy and that you need to exercise more is NOT thin privilege. Generally, thin people are healthier, and experience less health problems. Obesity contributes a myriad of health problems, and it is not the job of society to solve those health problems. It is YOUR job to solve them. Unlike mental and physical handicaps, most weight problems can be solved by lifestyle choice.

3. Hating on Thin-ness. Eating disorders and hating on fat people are problems, but so is hating on thin people. The mentality that thin people have it easy because they are thin is destructive as well. Making people feel bad for losing weight and getting healthy is not okay. Some thin people work very hard to active and fit, and are very careful about what they eat. It is okay for people to LIKE being thin. And it is okay for people to work toward that goal, and if they are working toward it, they aren't shaming you with their success.

4. Unwillingness to change. If you like yourself the way you are, more power to you. But to constantly tell other people that they are fine promotes a damaging mentality that people can't change, or that they shouldn't. You can worry about your weight, and it might be wrong to nag other people about how they eat or how little they exercise. But the more that people become comfortable with severe obesity, the more health problems and weight related struggles they will face.

5. Expectation of change from others. One of the complaints of "thin privilege" is that people only find thin people attractive, or that they stereotype fat people to have specific needs. While I agree that everyone should be more accepting of people with different body types, the "take me the way I am, or get out" mentality is also extremely selfish. People are attracted to what they are attracted to, and complaining about it won't change anything.

I am all for loving yourself, but there is a happy medium. Too much weight is UNHEALTHY, as is too little. For those who struggle with weight loss, I have been where you are. But to throw up your hands and say, "I can't change. I'm fat. World, change to make me feel better about it, instead," is not the way to solve it. We can promote images of normal, healthy women and men. We can encourage exercise and healthy eating. We can campaign against bullying. But we can also do ourselves a favor, and accept that the world might not accommodate us. The end.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Materialistic Ventures

It's the hard part of being a yound-married, young-mom, with husband still in school. Money is tight. Deep down, with faith in God and a willingness to pay the tithing, you know that everything will be okay. In the long-run. In the big picture. And then you wonder how much worry you should put toward the small picture at all. Because, in the moment, the small picture matters a lot. You worry about your husband, and much work he should be balancing with his studies. You worry about your ability to bring in money, or your ability not to.

On the other hand, you are rewarded for diligently striving to be a good full-time-mom. My baby knows I am there for him. I get to play with him and feed him whenever he needs it, and be there for him when he is sick or tired or having a growth spurt. And those things are worth being strapped for cash. How can these be reconciled at all? I know there is a solution, and I am hoping that I am on the path to finding it.

However, at least with one kid at home, I have time. I have talents. Why not put them together?

It is these three basic reasons why I decided to open up an etsy shop for quilts, and baby blankets. I hope to add things like baby carriers in the near future as well. The reasons: money, staying a full-time mom, and using my talents in a fulfilling way.

The blankets on my etsy shop are comfort blankets. I will be honest, I would not have thought of making them at all if I hadn't seen my sister, Brittany, make them first. She has given me a lot of advice, and I am grateful for her wonderful example and help. The blankets are made to order from minky, plush, and satin ribbons. Babies love these blankets because they are super soft, and they never get tired of holding them, rubbing their faces in them, and even chewing on the satin binding as they get the feel of the world around them. They are not ordinary blankets, but blankets designed for a pleasurable sensory experience, security, and (obviously) cuteness. I can make them any color, any print from an ample variety of choices. Here is an example of the most recent blanket I made, currently on sale in the etsy store.

The quilts are my secret love. I love quilting. And I love babies. So why not put them together? The crib quilts are made from high-quality cotton prints, with super soft minky on the bottom. I can even make crib sheets to match the quilt! Obviously, to make it worth my time, the designs are simple. I just recently recieved an order to make one for a sailor/sailing themed room, with anchors and navy blue and white and red. It (so far) is adorable.

I have no idea if this small business venture will work. I hope it will, for the sake of my own personal fulfillment, even more than the sake of my family's financial security.

So, if you are wondering what to bring to the next baby shower, come check out my etsy shop: LittleHeroMinky and put in an order! As a thanks to people who read my blog, and are willing to support my shop, use code BLOG10 to get ten dollars off your order. :)

Wish me luck in my new venture.