Archive for April 2015

The Selection

April 30, 2015

If you really knew me, you'd know I love a good young adult novel. When I love a book, I can't put it down. This was the case with The Selection by Kiera Cass. Oh. My. Word. I loved it so much! It's kind of like a royal version of The Bachelor set in a dystopian world. And I couldn't put it down. Actually, I don't think I did. Give me some snacks, iced tea, and a good book and I am a happy girl!

In a world where everything is determined by your social "caste" a teenage girl named America Singer is chosen to be one of 35 girls to go to the palace and Bachelor-style date the young prince, Maxon. The girl Maxon chooses will become the next princess, and ultimately Queen. So....kind of a big deal, right? America comes from a lower-middle class "caste" and is uncomfortable and basically down right miserable "fighting" to be the prince's bride....but the benefits of being part of The Selection for her family are too good for her to turn down. She's also in love with someone else, so how could she possibly fall for the stuck up, sheltered prince? But of course there are twists and turns and America starts to have feelings for Prince Maxon, because duh, he's cute and sweet and an actually really nice nothing at all like she imagined he would be. America is strong willed, smart, and a red-head, so obviously I totally loved her! I'm a sucker for young love and drama and this book fit the bill perfectly!

“True love is usually the most inconvenient kind.” - The Selection

The Selection was such a quick read and I was sad when it was sad that I went out and got the other books in the series because I couldn't wait to know what happened next! The Elite (book 2) and The One (book 3, and probably my favorite!) were great reads too. The next book in the series, The Heir, is going to be released on May 5! Only a few more days to go!

It was so nice to take a little "me" time and relax with a good, light-hearted, and romantic book. Have you read The Selection? Did you love it as much as I did? What books are on your must read list?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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The Breastfeeding Diaries: Stephanie's Story

April 29, 2015

Hi there! I'm Stephanie and I'm a wife, sister, daughter, mormon, nurse, dog and cat mama, and the lucky mommy to the amazing Reagan! I'm also a regular follower of The Girl in the Red Shoes and especially the Breastfeeding Diaries. I gained so much from reading fellow moms stories and feel blessed to share a bit of my own experience.

 I had a pretty easy pregnancy until the last few months when my sweet baby would not/could not turn out of her breech position which resulted in a scheduled c-section. It wasn't part of my "plan" but it was what was safest for both of us and turned out to be a very positive experience for my husband and me. I was lucky to have a great physician and nurse who worked with me to have the most natural c-section possible. We had a mirror in the OR so I could watch her birth which was followed by skin to skin within 1 minute of her birth right there on the OR table! She rode back to the recovery room right there on my chest.

Like many other moms I didn't do any formal preparation for breastfeeding but knew that I wanted to do it and knew that I had a very supportive family to help me. I didn't really think about it but figured we would both just know what to do. Well thank goodness for my angel labor and delivery nurse who was my first coach and teacher as soon as we got out of the OR. What would I have done without her?! She got me started and then I was lucky to have a lactation consultant visit me each day after. She provided so much reassurance and direction in those first days. Yes it toe curling while she latched hurt but I knew it was worth it and was pretty sure it would be temporary. And it was!

But thank goodness for lanolin!

I'm so grateful for the family support we had in those first few weeks. Breastfeeding advice from my mom and sister was essential and my husband was so supportive to whatever we needed.

In those first weeks and months of uncertainty as a new mom I was certain about one thing. This girl loved to nurse! Sure it was for nourishment but it was also many times for comfort. I remember feeling like we were attached 75% of the day and at times it could get exhausting but now that I look back I wish I would have cherished every moment just a little more because those babies grow SO quickly!

But all that time together did teach me how to multitask...

Outside of a few bouts of thrush which required treatment for both of us, my biggest struggle while breastfeeding was a low supply. I had no idea this was coming and had no idea who much of a mental struggle this would be for me. I started pumping about a month before returning to work and quickly realized that my supply would not be enough. So we began supplementing with formula. And you know what? It wasn't horrible! In fact we could not have fed our baby without it. But I still tried "everything" the internet, other moms, and the lactation specialist could suggest (outside of beer since I don't drink alcohol). I tried extra water, extra calories, oatmeal, lactation cookies (ughh), fenurgreek, prescription domperidone, extra pumping sessions, etc. But ultimately nothing helped. I'm sure that my return to work played a big part in the low supply but there wasn't much I could do about it. I had amazing coworkers who watched my patients so I could get away to pump twice every 12 hour shift (ideally it would have been 3 times but in the hospital world that's not gonna happen). But I kept at it. I pumped twice a shift, EVERY shift for almost a year even though I saw my supply dwindle down as the months went on.

When I got down to bringing home 1 oz after a whole shift I knew my pumping time was coming to a close. But I wanted to continue nursing her as long as SHE wanted. Sadly, that time came at about 14 months old. She had been showing declining interest for many weeks and I remember one morning specifically when I was trying to get her to nurse and she looked up at me with a "what are you doing mom? I'm done" kind of look and I knew. That was one of the last nursing sessions we shared. I was sad to be done but knew that it had happened as naturally as possible and on HER timeline. But oh how I LOVED nursing my baby! I cherished that time with her and was sad to see it end but not devastated as I was worried I would be. It was an amazing time to reflect back on those early days of nursing a brand new baby that I could hold in one arm and to watch her grow into this big toddler who's legs hung over the arm of the nursery chair that we spent so much time in.

I think the biggest pieces of advice I could offer to other moms would be...
First, seek out the help that is available. Whether you think you need it or not. Especially in those first few days after birth as you are getting started on this journey.

Second, as a mom who spent plenty of time pumping, I cannot say enough good things about the hands free pumping bra! I honestly can't imagine pumping without it. 

Third, the best thing I did for my mental health while combating a low supply was to just "let go" of the stress and anxiety about the amount of milk I was or wasn't producing. The stress certainly wasn't helping the low supply. One day after months of struggle I just came to grips with the fact that I was doing all that I could and giving my best to my baby. That's all she asked of me and it's all I should ask of myself. My world really changed after that.

And last, ENJOY these times together! Because they will be over so quickly.

I'm grateful for this chance to share my story and hope that it will help even one mom. I look forward to reading your stories and look forward to the blessing of nursing another precious baby of mine in the future!

Be sure to catch up with the rest of the Breastfeeding Diaries at the top of my navigation bar.

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Why I'm choosing to have a VBAC

April 28, 2015

Let me start by saying this: There's no fun way to have a baby. Natural, medicated, c-section, vaginal birth, home birth, they all have their pros and cons and it's important to discuss your medical history and preferences with your doctor. This post is about my experience and my decision. After a lot of thought and research I've decided that I would like to try for a VBAC: vaginal birth after cesarean

I think a lot of people assume that once you've had a cesarean (c-section) that you have to continue to have them for your next pregnancies...but that is simply not the case for a lot of people. 

With my first child I did't have a choice in the matter. I had to have a c-section because he was breech. And I did EVERYTHING I could to try and get him to flip to head down before my due date. Needless to say he never flipped and I was devastated. I remember crying in my doctor's office when we realized baby wasn't going to budge. I had to mourn the birth that I thought I would have. I wanted that experience with my husband. I wanted to work as a team to get the baby out. I wanted him to coach me and stand by my side. I felt confident and strong and wanted to have a vaginal birth...and it was all taken from me so fast. It took me several weeks to process everything and discuss c-sections with my doctor without crying (I know, hello hormones!).

This time around I have my fingers crossed for a non-breech baby so that I can try for a vaginal birth.  Currently in the United States more than 90% of women who had a prior cesarean have a repeat operation that they probably didn't need to have, but were not educated about the VBAC option from their doctor. VBACs are associated with fewer complications, decreased maternal death, and a decreased risk of complications in future pregnancies. It is also major abdominal surgery that puts the mother and her baby at an increased risk of infection, hemorrhage, injury to other organs, anesthesia complications, and a maternal mortality two to four times greater than that for a vaginal birth (source).

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Even though I got to pick my c-section date and I knew exactly when I would be having a baby, nothing could mentally prepare me for what it was really like. My c-section with Hudson went perfectly.....except I was in a lot of pain afterwards. Being sliced open was not in my original plan and let me tell you is no fun. It is not the "easy way out" that a lot of people think it is. A c-section is major surgery. I remember feeling extremely itchy all over thanks to the medication they gave me. I also couldn't walk until the next day and had to have compressors on my legs that went off every minute. I didn't sleep at all that first night and was basically miserable. I was in a lot of pain, had a lot of swelling, and I was itchy. To top it off I had a brand new baby to take care of! I couldn't get out of bed so my husband changed all the diapers and brought our baby to me. It was a lot for him to take on as a first time dad too.

After my c-section it has hard for me to walk without the fear of ripping open my scar. Going up and down the stairs was torture. I was sent home with a ton of pain medications that helped manage the pain but they put me in a fog for those first few weeks. I think it took me about 10 months to feel "normal" again, and to not constantly feel my incision.

I've discussed my wishes with my doctor and he is 100% supportive of my decision to have a VBAC. Several factors make  me a good candidate for a vaginal birth:

1. My previous c-section was due to a breech baby, not failure to progress or baby getting stuck.
2. My incision is low transverse.
 3. I'm healthy and of normal weight and height.  
4. I didn't have complications from my previous c-section. 
5. My baby was average size (7 pounds 9 oz).

There are risks associated with a VBAC, and I will be closely monitored when I am in labor to make sure I am safe and so is my baby. I feel confident in my decision. And I hope I at least get to try for a vaginal birth. But if I don't, I'm not going to beat myself up about it. What matters in the end is that I have a healthy baby to love on.

Any VBAC moms out there? I would love to hear your experience!

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Oh Hey Friday!

April 24, 2015

Happy Friday! Let's do this!

{one} Hudson's Citrus Lane box arrived this week and again it was perfect timing! Citrus Lane is a monthly subscription service for little ones. I age Hudson up in the system by 6 months and we've always loved the little surprises inside...and Hudson LOVES getting a box in the mail! This month we go these Mini Fastbacks from Green Toys. We love all things Green Toys so Hudson was thrilled to see these little cars! We also got Wonderful Words book by Barefoot Books. All of our Barefoot Books have come from Citrus Lane and we love them all! Another big hit in our box was the Dino Lacing Cards by Stephen Joseph. These are great because Hudson is obsessed with dinosaurs and he thought lacing them was so fun! Finally, we got some Whole Grain Cookies from My Super Cookies. Hudson gobbled them up before I could try one, so I take it he liked them! Click here for 50% off your first box AND free shipping. You can cancel at any time!

{two} I have to share a funny story about Hudson this week. I picked him up from daycare on Tuesday and his teacher told me he had asked who had made a mess in the sandbox, and she said "the babies did it" meaning the younger kids who had just been outside playing. And Hudson replied "baby in mommy's tummy!" and she said "yes, that's right, there's a baby in your mommy's tummy" and then without skipping a beat Hudson said "daddy did it." And she about died laughing. Oh my word. This boy KILLS ME. (and yes, he is correct, daddy did it!)

{three} Thank you so much for loving and sharing this post. I'm a working mom so obviously that is my perspective....and I don't want to start a debate. I think both staying at home and working outside of the home are hard. Different but hard. A male co-worker of mine said something about my post that I thought really hit home. He said that although being a full-time stay at home parent is hard work there is another layer to choosing to work or needing to work while raising kids that can lead to a different kind of guilt and pain. So true. 

{four} It's been a long week for me. On Sunday night my back started hurting whenever I would walk and by Monday morning I couldn't walk without severe pain. I've been the the chiropractor and go back again today but it looks like relief may be a long way away. Please pray that I don't have this pain for the rest of my pregnancy. I have no idea how women survive on bedrest....I'm going crazy not being able to walk comfortably and it's only been a week!

{five} Thanks to my back and hip pain, I've been rocking this sexy belt. Don't be jealous.

And now the link ups....

Oh Hey Friday with September Farm and The Farmer's Wife!


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