Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Child Birth: The Natural Way

The miracle of child birth. It's a pretty amazing and spectacular thing. 

It's also one of those topics like breast feeding vs bottle feeding, cloth diapers vs disposables, natural vs epidural/c-section, etc. It tends to stir up a lot of opinions and stories.

I had both my children the natural way. Well, I was induced with the first one and opted for no pain meds. The second one, I went into labor naturally and had her with no pain meds.

I struggled, when I was pregnant, to find anyone who was a real person, that could tell me how to go through it. I wanted some honest stories about what to expect and what they used to cope.
I don't have any photos of me doing it. These guys look way better than me anyway!

Most people couldn't really tell me anything. I found some solace with Ina May Gaskin's Guide To Child Birth. She's delivered lots of babies. I mean LOTS! She was also very honest. I found that there were a few pieces of information in this book that really sped up my labor process and helped to change my frame of mind. 

I have several people in my life who are currently pregnant. A few I know, are planning to have a natural labor and delivery. I've tried to be honest with them about what to expect. As I was telling my story for the second time, in about a week, I thought it might be nice to share with all of you. So, here it goes. My honest, true, story!

First off, it does hurt. Everyone has different degrees of pain, so to answer how much, is kind of hard and difficult. Also, every one's labor is different. With my son, I had all back labor (this is the kind you don't want!). With my daughter, it was just regular contractions. Also remember, God designed us to do this. He'll help you through this!

I had two, six-hour labors, with the deliveries of both my children. Like I stated before, with my son, I was induced. My water broke at noon and six hours later, he arrived safely.

With my son's delivery, I felt that I had missed out on something. I didn't get to experience the exciting rush of, "Honey, it's time to go to the hospital, we're having the baby!" I guess I've seen too many movies, and I felt, well, cheated out of that birth experience. I know that other mothers have felt the same way in regards to having an unplanned c-section. Some where along the lines, they felt they just missed out on the child birth experience. And, it's understandable, and totally normal.

With my daughter, however, I was bound and determined  not get induced. With her, I had, had contractions on and off for a full day. Because I had missed out on this with my first one, I felt like a new mom. I had contractions four minutes apart, but they didn't really hurt. I didn't want to go to the hospital to be sent home (I've heard a few mom stories about that too, and I didn't want to be embarrassed by being sent home either!).

I was lucky enough to be around two, off-duty doctors who basically told me that if I could easily walk through and talk through my contractions, because they weren't really causing discomfort, that I was fine not heading to the Labor and Delivery ward right then. I needed to go when I couldn't easily talk or walk through the discomfort or pain. (We live 5 minutes away from our hospital, and I totally understand that there are towns with people, who have to drive an hour or more to get to their hospital for delivery.)

With my daughter, I hopped into the shower, and it instantly kicked my contractions into hyper drive! I was having some intense, cramping pain, that I no longer could talk through so I knew it was time to go.

Upon my arrival with her at the hospital, I was at 5 cm dilated. Whoo hoo-half way done!

With both kids, I used the hot tub method to deal with the pain and discomfort. Also, squatting like a little frog, helped a lot as well!

I didn't have a birth plan, other than to just get through it without meds. If music would have been playing in the back ground I could have honestly told you I wouldn't have heard it. 

With each contraction, your natural instinct is to almost tense up and "fight through it." It hurts. Imagine the worst menstrual cramps ever-then magnify it. By A LOT!

However, the tensing up, counteracts the whole thing. The best things I got out of Ina's book, was that you need to mentally tell yourself that this needs to happen, and that you're "opening up," and that you're not fighting it! Pretty much need to keep that taped to your head and have your coaching partner repeat that to you. Your cervix needs to open! Period. Try and work with it as much as you can and when it's over, rest. Try not to focus too much on the last contraction.

I'm going to say that this was 99% mental. Women have been having natural child birth for centuries. (Your mother probably had you this way-you'll have a new respect for her after your children are born.) We were blessed/cursed at the same time with this. You see, we are strong enough to endure this (and forget all about it!), and repeat it!

The contractions get more intense after your water breaks. With my son, I actually heard a little 'Pop!' After that, I felt a gush, like I had accidentally peed my pants! Thank goodness I was in the hospital gown (which by the way--don't waste money buying a cute fancy gown, because birth is MESSY!!!!!!).

With my daughter, I was sitting in the hot tub and kind of a felt an extra surge of water, and looked down and saw I definitely had my water break. (It's not just clear water that comes out, it comes with either red blood, or can look kind of greenish. If it's greenish, the baby has had a bowl movement inside you at this point. You can learn more about that later.)

At that point, you're headed toward the final stretch.

During the time between 7 cm and 10 cm, for me, was the most intense. I started to shake with adrenaline and get really hot. I also started to throw up and go potty, because it was my body's way of getting ready for the final push (pun intended!). This was also where the contractions were coming really fast and hard. With that, also meant, they were intense in pain. I would sway my hips, I would try the ball, I would try just about everything to get through each one. I even stopped talking for a period of time (which, for anyone that knows me, is pretty much a miracle!).

I should also mention, that at this point, if you're modest about being naked, in front of anyone, you won't be. I was literally naked with both children, from that 7cm point on and I didn't care who saw me. My focus was directed entirely on something else. I also had my children during shift change, so there was literally, about 12 people in my room.

If you can imagine, 12 people (adults) in a room, with me naked, and they are all staring at your bottom, waiting for your little miracle to arrive. That sounds weird, but you don't even notice they are there and you don't CARE!

Pushing went pretty fast for me. About 15 minutes for each kid. I have that personality that when I'm done, I'M DONE! When I was told it was time to push (and trust me you'll know, your body will start to do it for you), I was like a sumo wrestler taking a stance. I HAD, HAD ENOUGH OF THE PAIN. I put my game face on and I was ready to go!

If you need tips about pushing or are interested in knowing what that is like, ask around. Or send me a private message. I'm always honest and willing to share.

In the end, once that little awesome, amazing, miracle's head and shoulder's pop out, the pain is gone. Seriously. It's instant. You don't really have to worry about the placenta either. That will pretty much just slide right out and you don't have to worry about that, and you don't even notice, because you have a baby in your arms. Or he/she is being passed around the room being checked by nurses and doctors. What an amazing distraction, huh?

Basically, what you need to know is this. YOU CAN DO IT! Don't focus on the pain, focus on the part that you've been building up too-your baby! Keep the mental part about trying to not counteract the contractions fore front! Read Ina's book. She has so much to share on it. Really, can you ever be overly, mentally prepared? I don't think so!

Hope you've found this helpful. If it's a friend, or a sister that is about to go through this, be a champ and have something waiting for her at the end. Champagne, her favorite candy, a gift certificate for a mani/pedi! She's a hero-even though she doesn't get a badge, she's just done an unbelievable, amazing job, bring a life into this world. She should be celebrated too!

Need more ideas or tips on that upcoming arrival of a baby? Check out my post here

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He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Isaiah 40:29

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My 30th Birthday

This day has finally arrived. I'm 30. It's an age that when I was about 13, I thought was old. Like, REALLY old. An age that seemed so far away, but was the start of the downhill of life.

I'm so glad I'm not 13 anymore. This birthday, means nothing even remotely close to what I thought it did back then.

This birthday, is the celebration of life. It's the acknowledgment that throughout some of the stupidest things I've ever done in my youthful life, I've managed to live to tell the tales to another generation. That I've grown in all areas and ways of life. That I've taken paths that have never been traveled, and that I've shared my means with others.

This birthday was the realization that I have SO FAR to go yet. That at this point in my life, I could never be done doing, what needs to be done. 

I'm so grateful for the opportunities that I've been given. I've been incredibly blessed with all the people I've met in my life. Those who have been around to help give me guidance and perspective. To share their errors and triumphs with me, in hopes that I'll be able to have an even better life. 

I'm even grateful for those challenging and difficult people I know/have in my life. It's because of these people and their daily challenges for me, that I get to experience what it truly means to love. These people also show me that out of each difficult situation, there is a lesson to be learned and shared. If we didn't learn from them, life would be pretty uneventful and probably hopeless.

But nonetheless, I'm 30! What a fabulous thing! 

As I've been mentioning and doing in some of my posts, I wanted to be a giver and a sharer of this moment. (Not just this moment, I've realized but in EVERY moment!)

I kicked off my 30th with doing 30 Random Acts of Kindness.
Taken from Here! Love this!
I just want to encourage each and every one of you, to try this at some point in your life. You don't necessarily need to do thirty things, or even ten different things. But this journey was amazing!

I took about a month and half to sit down and plan this. I needed to save a little money and some of these things required a lot of time.

I made a list of things I wanted/thought I could do. I had planned to do them all in one day, but after I started acquiring all this 'stuff' I realized, my car was too SMALL to hold everything in one shot. Plus, my husband pointed out that taking my two little kids with me every where I went to do this, would make this a miraculous feat to get it all done in one full day.
My Collection of Items!

I broke it up into a few things each day. My kids could take doing this stuff for about an hour or two max. He was right. Yes, I said it. My husband, was RIGHT! 

Here is what I did, and how it went! Enjoy!

 Act #1. Donated Valentine's to the homeless shelter for the kids to make and take to school.

 Act #2. Took puzzles and coloring books and crayons and dropped them off at the hospital for the kids.
 Act #3. Donated coffee to the homeless shelter.
 Act #4. Sent a Yiftee to a lucky Reader!
 Act #5. Picked up garbage around the neighborhood.
Act #6. Donated expired coupons to the Red Cross for the troops.
 Act #7. Sent cards to friends and family with lots of love
 Act #8. Put coupons out at the store for people to use.
 Act #9. Left diapers at the diaper stations.
 Act #10. Handed out Blessing Bags to the people in need.
 Act #11. Handed out waters to people we saw, like the mail lady, homeless, the kids holding signs and billboards by the street.
Act #12. Retrieved rogue shopping carts throughout the store parking lots, and placed them in the carousels.
 Act #13. Helped a gentleman with his groceries and put his cart away. (He was really surprised I offered to help, and even more so when he found out I didn't work for the store.)
Act #14. Smile all day at people. (This seems easy, but try it! Actually focus on walking through the store with a smile on your face. You have to make an effort to keep doing it....all day long...all the time! But, it works. Everyone can't help but smile back.)
Act #15. Bought flowers and cards and gave them to a gas station attendant. (There were two of them.) As I drove away, I saw them smile.
 Act #16. Woke up Monday morning to snow! Got out REALLY early and shoveled my neighbors side walks and tried to brush the snow off their windshields.
Act #17. Used my cute Treat Holders (how to make post HERE) and gave the librarians some milk and donuts! They thought the treat holder was cute and the thought was very nice!
Act #18. Gave a homeless, smiling, helpful man, who was outside the post office, a coupon for chicken nuggets at Burger King with the money to cover it, plus tax and I threw some extra money. Also gave him a blessing bag with dry socks, and a water. He was so happy.
Act #19. Made Red Velvet Cupcakes for the nurses at our local hospital. (Heads up on this one--you may need to call ahead and find out if they will take them! I actually have a few neighbors who are nurses, who brought them, because our hospital will only take pre-packaged food to hand out from a stranger. Makes sense when you think about it.) Included a thank you note for them always being awesome!
 Act #20. Gave the crossing guard at the local school some milk and donuts in my cute Treat Carrier!
 Act #21. Bought the person's coffee behind me in line at Starbucks.
Act #22. Brought back old vases to a local mom and pop floral shop! They were really grateful!
Act #23. Put up notes with the change for a soda, on the soda machines. (Pop machines, if you're from the Midwest!)
Act #24 & #25. Gave donuts and thank you cards to both the local fire station and sheriff's office!
Act #26. Made 89 homemade Valentine's for the local assisted living/nursing home. (Are you always finding fun projects to make with your kids and not sure what to do with them all, bring them there! They really appreciate it!)

Act #27. Wrote out positive, encouraging and loving notes and left them on cars.
Act #28. Donated a bag of dog food to the local animal shelter.
Act #29. Donated some medical supplies to the local free clinic. (Nothing major, just small things.) They are always grateful and they take care of so many in our local areas!  
Act #30. Recycle plastic garbage bags. 
Act #31. Tell my family and friends how much I love them! 
Act #32. Leave a big tip! Even if they don't deserve it. You never know what's going on in their life, and perhaps your note and tip will be the reason their night turns around and others will get great service that night too! 
 Act #33. Mail treats to an unsuspecting friend! Surprise!
Act #34. Gave away a diamond candle on the blog to a lucky reader! (See, I give good stuff here!) 
Act #35. Bought Milk & Cookies for all the kids at Story Hour. Mom's totally appreciate this!

Act #36. Place stamps on envelopes at the card store.
Act #37. Donate blood.
Act #38. Leave $1 bills at the Dollar Store for people to find.
Act #39. Buy a grocery store gift card and give it to someone in the store to use.
Act #40. Hand out balloons to people.
Act #41. Pay for someone's hair cut (Done by friends!)
Act #42. Pay for someone's gas. (Done by friends!)

Ok, so I did more than 30, but once you get started you realize how awesome and incredibly fun it is, to be the blessing in someone's life.

The flowers, and the grocery carts, the coffee and cookies were some of my favorites, because I actually got to see some of the reactions.

You know how you always HEAR about people doing good things, and you think, "I can do that?" Go do it! Be a DOER! 

I have to tell you, when I first started this, I had serious doubts. I thought people would think I'm crazy and that it feels weird. But you have to fight PAST that! Because, wouldn't you want any of these nice things to happen to you?!?! I know I would. So what are you waiting for? 


All these are just small seeds. People that mock small seeds, fail to realize that all great things come from something small. The biggest trees started from a tiny seed. Even we, as people, started from something even smaller than a seed! Look how we've grown! Go and be amazing! Go and DO!

After realizing how easy it is to do these things, I plan to keep going. There is no reason that I should just do these once in my life or once a year. I can't wait to keep doing all these things.

I'd love to hear what you've done-or ideas you have! Tell me how it felt to do some random acts of kindness! Or how it felt when one happened to you!

Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without
 realizing it.
Hebrews 13:2

Want more ideas on how to spread some fun love and cheer? Check out these posts!

Giving Gifts To Those Who Don't Care For You
Giving in Secret

Recalls story of getting gifts, and giving back

Coffee Dates
Donate Breast Milk
Library Fines
Flying With Thanks!
Sending Cheer!

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cute Valentine's (Or Anytime) Treat Holders

I've been kind of quiet on my blog lately. It isn't that I don't love all of you, it's just that I've been really busy getting some items together, or made, for my big upcoming event! (Here's a Hint-it has to do with a big milestone birthday! Want to take part it in and win some really cool things? Go HERE and HERE! Two separate giveaways for you, my readers!)

Anyhoo-I saw this post on Pinterest from The Macs, and I pinned it a long time ago.

I drink Izze as a splurge once in awhile and I started saving these boxes, because I really thought I could use them and hand out some goodies! It's pretty simple to make and it's just so darn cute to have a carrier!!!!

I started to save a few of these little boxes, but any kind would work.  Even a six-pack would work, if you drink root beer, or beer. This just means you have more pockets to fill! 

I took some scrap book paper and just traced around the outsides of each side and used good ole, regular Elmer's School Glue. (I know what you're thinking-fancy, huh!?)

One side filled with donuts!

One side filled with milks! Perfect for kids and adults alike!

Ready to be filled!
I am thinking of filling the other two with coffees and cupcakes! What a fun little treat carrier to deliver to some one on Valentine's Day, their birthday, or any day! Easy to hand off, and fun to decorate and make your own!

I'd love to see your creations! Head on over to my Facebook page and share your creations there!

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"He who is generous, is blessed..."
Proverbs 22:9

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