Thursday, December 29, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Well, 2011 is officially coming to a close.  It's hard to believe, as it feels like the year just started (with me awaiting the birth of my youngest).  In less than a week we will celebrate my babe's first birthday, and a few weeks later the fourth birthday of my middle son.  Amazing.

As for me, I've been AWOL due to end-of-term followed by a week-long trip to the in-laws followed by some time off with the family for the holidays.  I return to work on Monday.  *sniff*  I wish I could just stay home.

I've been off Whole30 since Christmas and have not been running regularly for a couple of weeks, again due to holidays and trying to get things done while I'm home.  I can't WAIT to go back to Whole30 on the January 1st! 

I have a couple of resolutions for this year.  The first is to do two Whole30's back-to-back for a total of 60 days.  I can't think of any way to start the year out better health-wise than to eliminate junk from my diet again.  Although I've been staying off of dairy and (for the most part) grains, I've had sweets and forbidden foods off and on over the last few weeks.  C'mon, green eggs and ham and french toast for Christmas breakfast/brunch is a tradition!  (as are peanut butter balls and ginger-pecan biscotti).  In spite of all of the above, I haven't gained an ounce and have continued to eat well between treats.  The second is to complete C25K and Ease into 10K.  I'm going to go back to week 3 and start from there to get back into the groove next week.  Then my third resolution is to run my first half-marathon (the Two Cities half-marathon) in November of 2012.  I know I can do it.  And I can't wait to cross that finish line and hang my medal on my board of inspiration!

I'm trying to get organized for the coming term (which starts in a week and a half).  In the process of this, I decided to steal an idea from a fellow student and post my program of study on here.  You'll find it in the left-hand column.  I am exactly two years away from being done with school, if I finish on their timeline.  That's two years away from boards.  Two years is NOT long!  I'd actually like to finish a little sooner if possible.  I have a minimum of 675 clinical hours to complete.  If I gauge it just right and end up having to do just that many or slightly more, I'll need about 4.5 months to finish all clinicals at the rate of 40 hours per week (full time).  I don't know yet where I'll be doing clinicals or the work circumstances I'll have going on when I'm doing them, but  if I could do more hours I could get done sooner.  I don't know.  We'll see. 

Anyhoo, back to cooking and organizing! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'm Baaaaaaack!

Well, I'm in Phoenix, Arizona for the next couple of days.  My boss sent me and two coworkers to the 30th Annual Barrow Neuroscience Symposium.  Today was the first day, and it promises to be really good!  So far the speakers have been engaging and the topics have been excellent.  I've also gotten to know the newest member of our team better.  She came from Michigan a couple of months ago to fill the Manager position for the unit.  She's literally old enough to be my mother, but we have SO much in common!  It's been really awesome to find out that she loves so many of the same things that I do, and we actually think a lot alike.  She is a very strong personality which I know some people might misconstrue, but I really think she has the well-being of the unit in mind.

So, I started running again today.  Week 2 Day 3 of C25K after a 2-week hiatus due to runner's knee.  I'll tell you what, that was no stinkin' fun.  Since I'm in Phoenix and don't know my way around or the degree of safety around here, I just ran on the treadmill in the fitness room at the hotel.  I wore my new shoes and compressive braces on both knees.  It went very well!  I still have a tiny hint of residual soreness from time to time on my right knee, but otherwise I feel 100%.  My right ankle has been on the weak side ever since my accident and I feel like I land a little harder on that foot than I do my left.  I don't know how to fix that, but I am trying to be aware of it and step lighter.

I'm going back to hard-core Whole30 eating when I get back home.  The bloating and gut issues have been really uncomfortable and it's just not worth it to eat those foods.  Well, the blueberry bread pudding at Switch last night was worth it.  Very worth it.  I DO make good choices though...for dinner I had lettuce wraps with fresh veggies and lamb, and they were super tasty!  I've been eating good food as a whole, with a little wheat here or a little dairy there, etc.  Ick.  Just not good for my body.  So this time the family is going to gradually join me, whether they like it or not.  Ha.  I'll splurge a little at Thanksgiving and Christmas and during our week with the in-laws, but that's all.  Need to eat clean.  Wheat and dairy hate me.

My milk supply has been good so far.  I don't think I brought enough bottles for my expressed milk.  Oops.  I'm going to have to buy some bags.

Well, it's time to study.  Got stuff due this week and I need to make good use of all of this quiet, uninterrupted time.  I miss my crazy family, though.  Really.  A lot.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Long story short, I developed a very painful case of runner's knee and some additional pain on the inside of my knee because of my weak-ish thighs.  Nice.  Nothing like a reminder that you're out of shape.  Anyhoo, when the knee pain progressed to the point of near excruciating, I stopped.  I figured it had moved from just pain to injury, and needed a break.  I got some supports for my knees and went to Sierra Running Company for gait analysis and new shoes.  They hooked me up with a pair of shoes that should help to correct the slight overpronation in my ankles, and hence help my knee pain.  I'll tell you, taking those short runs on the treadmill and around the store were misery.

So, nearly two weeks later, with the help of Aleve, knee supports, and ice, I'm back to 100% and ready to start running again next week!  Although I haven't run during this timeframe, I do not feel as if I have let anything go or quit anything.  I'm really looking forward to running again!  I have found something that I actually enjoy, and I have goals that I'm reaching toward.

Today is the Two Cities Marathon, Half-Marathon, and Relay.  I have several friends running (or "wogging" as one friend put it!) and it's really inspiring to me.  I WANT to reach that goal for next year.  I WANT to join them!

I went out with a couple of friends Friday night and had some of my favorite food at a favorite restaurant, Rousseau.  Part of this meal was the bruschetta with fresh mozzarella, the goat cheese with roasted garlic and crostini, and the pot de creme, a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate worth-every-bite dessert.  I paid for it the next day, but it was sure yummy!  Again it was confirmed that I don't miss bread, but I LOVE my cheese!  I'm learning that lactose and I don't really get along so hot anymore though.  I weighed myself yesterday, and although I had some candy and a funnel cake at Halloween and the afore-mentioned meal, I haven't gained any weight.  I haven't lost, but I haven't gained.  That's a good thing I guess.  I need to be stricter in my diet (my daily food is Whole 30-compliant, but I have some cheats here and there) and start working out again.  Family pictures are in 20 days and I'd love to lose a little more weight!

My bonding leave starts December 5th.  It'll be nice to have a month off.

I'm flying out to Phoenix tomorrow for a conference.  It'll be the first time I'll have been away from my whole family, including the baby.  I'm bringing my pump, but I'm concerned about my milk supply.  I guess I should bring my More Milk Plus tincture just in case.  It'll just be Monday evening through Thursday evening, but that seems like an eternity.  I plan on getting a lot of school done during the nights, though.  I have some catching up to do.

Anyhoo, that's it, by way of updates.  I hope my re-introduction to running goes smoothly!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

When I'm a midwife, please remind me...

1.  Not to be judgmental of other's choices (Explanation:  When I had my well-woman visit yesterday with an NP who I didn't know, I was talking about birth control preferences, etc.  She said "And you don't have any children, correct?"  I said "Oh, no...I have three." She came back with "So the WHY do you want more children?"  Really, lady?  Rude.)

2.  Be understanding of other's preferences (Explanation:  At afore-mentioned visit, when I stated that I preferred non-hormonal birth control for various reasons, all I got was plug after plug for hormonal birth control in the form of pills and IUDs because that's what they carried and that was the NPs preference.  I already said I'd like to avoid them, thank you, and gave you the reasons why.  I'm a nurse.  I'm educated.  I know my meds and my side effects and risk vs. benefit.  I didn't come to be preached at about what YOU think is best for me, I came to discuss options within my comfort zone.  Thank you.)

3.  Not preach my preferences at other people.  Present the information as appropriate, then let my client decide based on the information and her preferences.  (Explanation:  See #2)

4.  Have office personnel with personality.  (Explanation:  The medical assistant at yesterday's visit barely made eye contact, barely spoke to me, didn't tell me my weight or blood pressure but simply wrote them down and walked away.  Weird.)

Those little tidbits are just from one office visit.  I should keep a running log of these comments and situations...I run into them on a regular basis and always tell my husband "When I'm a midwife, please remind me..."

Theories and cultures and midwifery, oh my!

It's my homework!  I have assignments due in my Theories class and my Health Promotion class this weekend, plus work on a Power Point and a lot of reading for my Role of Midwifery class.  The assignment for Health Promotion was to read a book from the list they provided about a culture different than my own and then write a "cultural desire" essay about it (this is basically a reflection on their culture and mine and an examination of my feelings toward other cultures, etc.).  I went back and forth between a few books, to be honest.  "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" was really appealing because I deal with that type of situation often...I live miles away from the town where the book was based out of, I know the Hmong people because we have a large population of them here, and I'm a neuro nurse so seizures are right up my alley.  But then I realized that kind of defeats the purpose of this assignment...I needed to pick something TOTALLY different.  So I read this book, "A Midwife's Story", about midwifery and the Amish.

Can I just say right now that I would be totally happy to be a midwife in an Amish community?  They're a fascinating group, really!  My husband and I drove through Intercourse, PA on our way to our honeymoon spot years ago.  I bought some beautiful little things from the shops, ate some great homecooked food, and passed on through.  I was surprised at how withdrawn the Amish seemed.  The girl behind the register at one of the shops had downcast eyes and did not speak to even to me, a girl close to her age (I was 20 at the time).  I brushed it off but it always stayed with me, that although I know that their behavior is linked to their beliefs, the women seemed on the oppressed side.

This book was not only very enjoyable, but a real eye-opener.  The midwife in the story (a true story, by the way) was not Amish, wore pants, and wasn't religious...and yet she was accepted into their fold with open arms because of the work she did and the respect she had for their ways.  It's a very good, light read (I read it in less than a day) if you have the time or the want-to.  It'll bring tears, so keep your handkerchief close.

For Theories my group is exploring the middle-range theory of Comfort as it relates to a broad scope of health situations.  I'm stoked about the journal articles we chose, and my work on that is almost done for this module.

Speaking of my Health Promotion class, I have to journal this week on my self-management plan, which was starting jogging three days per week.  Like my Whole30, I'm really proud that I've stuck with this.  I find that C25K has been very helpful in keeping me on track with my goals.  I bump up the intensity today, going from running in 60 second increments to 90 second increments.  My knees are still a little sore, nothing bad, but from the people I've talked to and the stuff I've found on the web, it sounds like I need to be fitted for some new shoes.  I hear it can make all the difference in knee pain.  The pair of shoes I have now are nearly new, but I can save those for walking to the park with the kids or whatever.  Seems like I need some real running shoes to haul my big self around with less pain.

The weather is lovely this morning...partly cloudy, somewhere in the high 60's to low 70's...I'm going to get a bite of breakfast and run while it's cool.

P.S.  I'm going through a certain blog/site called The Clothes Make the Girl...she has a ton of clean recipes and I'm feeling the need for something out of my ordinary.  I found this recipe for her Paleo Pad Thai, and I'm nearly giddy with the excitement of trying it!!  Hello, comfort food!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Whole30 - Day 31

That's right!  So I jumped on the scale this morning, and the final damage was 19 lbs lost!  :)  I can't believe I went from 214 lb to 195 lb in just 30 days!  In this last week it REALLY tapered down, but I'm sure that's normal.  I've continued on my way though, thrilled at the change the folks over at Whole9 promised I'd have...the life-changing experience of learning to view your food in a whole new way.

For example, my hubby swung us by Wendy's on the way home from work/school.  Once upon a time I'd get a sour cream and chives baked potato (loaded with butter and sour cream, of course), a small chili, and a small frostie.  Instead, when we drove up all I smelled was chemicals.  I picked up the baggy of pistachios that I had stashed away and started noshing.

At work, people are saying "You're done!  Now let's go to Starbucks and celebrate!"  I happily tell them that I'm off sugar and dairy and am staying off because it does weird things to my body.

I am SO grateful for this experience.  It has completely turned the way I view my food, a turn for the better.

I have to say that I celebrated a little bit by frying up a pan of organic uncured bacon...bacon is really less than ideal and this particular one had a little bit of sugar in it.  But it was DELISH.  I am saving all but the couple of pieces that I ate for the soup that I'm making tonight.  And I saved the fat so I can use it to cook eggs again.  I love poached eggs, but dude.  You get a little tired of them day after day.  It would figure that mere days before I was to be done they decided that grass-fed organic butter is fine if it's been clarified.  Wish I had known that 30 days ago!  But it will make the following months a little easier.  Cooking eggs with olive oil is only slightly less gross than cooking them in coconut oil.  Blech.

Time to run.  Week 1 Day 3 of C25K today.  I'm going to try to start improving my time/distance a little bit.  I just need to push myself.  Next run after this starts the next "notch up"...longer runs, shorter walks.  Bring it on.  I'm ready for this!

P.S.  This is post-run Jessica speaking.  My knees are feeling it a little bit today, not so much during my run but after.  I improved both my time (by about 30 sec/mile) and my distance (2.18 mi) today.  I have to admit that I had my first encounter with vanity while running.  I was plugging along on my run segment when two very decent looking men came running toward me.  Just as I was almost to them, my app told me to switch to a walk interval.  They looked at me and cheered me on (must have been looking a little haggard) and told me I could do I kept running...hahaha!  I switched to a walk about 60 feet after we crossed paths, but I must admit I laughed at myself later...and told Trav and he laughed at me too.  It's amazing what a little vanity will do for you!  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Today I learned...

1.  That swallowing and/or inhaling gnats and/or other small flying creatures isn't really that bad.
2.  That swallowing and/or inhaling them is far preferable to getting them in your eye.
3.  There is a camaraderie among runners/joggers when they see each other on the road or sidewalk.  It's like the biker mini-wave, except all they can muster is a glance and a nod.
4.  I really CAN go a month without sugar (and grains and legumes and dairy).
5.  I'm not the most physically fit person, but I surprise myself sometimes.
6.  Being outside in the heat in Fresno is a bummer.  It's even worse if you're exerting energy or breaking a sweat.
7.  Those nifty little iPhone holder arm-strap dealios are pretty cool...and useful.
8.  Bruises inflicted by my chiropractor feel much better than the IT band craziness I had before I saw her.

Well folks, I'm on day 29 of my Whole30.  Tomorrow is the last "official" day.  I haven't weighed myself for several days and I will not until Thursday morning.  And I'll have to take an "after" picture too.  I still have a LONG way to go, but every day I'm encouraged by positive comments and the support of others around me.

Week 1 day 2 of C25K today.  Nearly killed me in the heat.  I was slower than last time, but dang it was hot!  As soon as I stepped outside my house I decided to go on a different route, a big circle around our development instead of to the park and around the track several times.  I did this mostly because I knew if I did, then I couldn't just go home early.  I had to keep going to get home.  It wasn't the funnest thing ever, but I really didn't feel that bad after.  It was just the "during" that was the killer.

I have gotten a lot of inspiration in the last few days from a blog that my mom sent me called One Twenty Five.  It's written by a chica who was obese, albeit 10 lbs lighter than I was when I started.  Her goal is to get to 125 lbs.  She has had a tremendous journey, and she started running as well.  She's done MARATHONS, dude.  Whole marathons, not halves.  Crazy.  She's not to her goal yet, but looks fab.  I love her blog.

Headache and homework so off I go.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The big picture (and the short view)

This week should be a good one.  I hope.  The Neuroscience Symposium that I've been planning and working on for about 6 months is done now.  HUGE deep sigh of relief here.  Until about February, that is, when I'll begin planning all over again!

I need to catch up on school.  That crazy Symposium was a huge time-suck, and I'm a little behind now.  Time to get Dropbox up and rolling and take At Your Cervix' advice and print out notecard-sized notes.  Brilliant.

I also come to day 30 of my Whole30 on Wednesday.  I can't believe I've actually stuck with it.  It's a huge thing, you know.  I'm the ultimate procrastinator and never-finisher.  But like I keep saying, this is my year.  It's time to get my stuff together.

I officially started my C25K program today.  Holy crap that was brutal.  I'm WAY out of shape!  I ended up going a little over 2 miles with 1 minute of running followed by 1.5 minutes of walking.  I'm going to do this three times, then up the ante, as described in the C25K program.  I got a handy-dandy app on my iPhone that lets you play your own music (iPod, Pandora, whatever) but there's a voiceover every however-many seconds/minutes that tells you to run, walk, or cooldown.  It even tells you when you're halfway done!  So, 9 weeks to 5k.  Then I'll bump it to 10k, then a half-marathon.  Yep, it's officially my goal.  I want to run in the Two Cities marathon/half marathon next year.  I also want to be able to run for various groups (for instance, the American Heart Association and Susan G. Komen for the Cure have 5k's in my area every year).  I've joined gyms and not gone, I've tried working out at home and not sticking with it.  Dang it, I'm going to run.

Being that Trav wants to stop at 4 babies, I may only have one more pregnancy and birth ahead of me.  I want to go into that (whenever it is) healthy and fit.  I want to experience labor not as a huffing, puffing, out-of-shape momma.  I want to labor strong.

Breath of life

I think it's safe to say that any birthy folk who read my blog probably also follow Rixa Freeze's blog, Stand and Deliver.  She is a brilliant lady, and I started following her blog before I had one of my own.  I have to say that hers is much more interesting than mine.  Ha.

Well, I really got caught up in life for the past, work, new baby, family...and I kinda dropped out of the blogosphere.  I came on occasionally to post, and even less frequently to read.  So before I took my blogging vacation, I saw that Rixa was pregnant with her third baby.  I JUST NOW finally went back to read the birth story of her third baby (who is somewhere around 6 months old now...bad me).  It was truly touching.

They had a midwife, but birthed unassisted.  After three births, I have to say that this is my dream for my next (and likely last) pregnancy and birth.  But the most moving part is in the third video clip in her "Inga's Birth Story Part 1" post.  We get the honor of viewing her laboring, first out of and then in the tub.    When her baby is born and doesn't begin breathing after a while, she gives her baby a few of her own breaths...calmly, in the tub, placenta still in, cord still attached...

Her baby perked up (and toned up and pinked up) and let out a raucous cry.  As I viewed this, that swell of a mother's love and intuition swept over me like a wave.  Thank you, Rixa, for letting us into your life for such an intimate moment.  And thank you for showing us that even when things don't go exactly as planned, they can often be addressed and helped in a calm, trusting manner.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Of birth and insulin

I read a post this morning by Navelgazing Midwife about diabetes (DM), insulin/insulin resistance, and gestational diabetes (GDM) that was thought-provoking and made me reflect back on my own past.  Especially considering how my body reacted in the smoothie incident.

I was about 180 at Deklan's conception, and about 200 at both Gavin's and Connor's conceptions.  I gained modestly with all of my kids, with about 35 lbs being my highest gain.  I've never had GDM or sugar in my urine during pregnancy.  My kids were 8 lbs 6 oz, 10 lbs 1 oz, and 9 lbs 10 oz at birth.

Between her blog post and my knowledge as a nurse, I can guarantee that, while I may not have had GDM, insulin resistance played a big part in my kid's birthweight.  I was never even aware of the affect that sugar and insulin resistance was having on my body.  I knew it was probably happening, and when I started my Whole30 I knew I'd go through sugar withdraw and that I wouldn't miss it after a while.  But the smoothie incident really sealed the deal for me.  It wasn't that I went and binged on candy bars, or had a 4-pump latte at Starbucks.  I had a smoothie, made of fruits and vegetable juice.  "Health food" caused such a tremendous spike that I'm still flabbergasted.  Now that my body has had a chance to regain some sensitivity to glucose, I can see how much of an impact it was having on me...and my babies.

I have some Type II DM on my mom's side, and she had GDM with her last baby.  These are risk factors for me developing GDM with my babies or DM in the future.  This is one fact that scared me straight as far as my health, activity, and weight go.  I don't want diabetes.  I've seen diabetes in action for years as a nurse.  I've seen the patients on dialysis, blind, needing amputations, having heart attacks and strokes...their common diagnosis in probably 90% of cases?  Diabetes.  I don't want that to happen to me. I don't want that to happen to my family.

Back to the birth side of's pretty amazing to see how the weights of my babies corresponded to my weight at the time.  With Connor I really made a conscious effort to eat well, much better than I did with Gavin.  As a result I didn't gain as much weight during my pregnancy and he weighed (slightly) less than Gavin did.  My goal was just for a baby under 10 lbs.  Oh, and did I mention that I had a hard time conceiving Connor?  I had to chart, temp, and take herbs just to get my luteal phase long enough to enable me to get pregnant (infertility is another complication of DM/insulin resistance...PCOS is also much more prevalent in overweight women and women with DM).

As I work toward better health...toward diet changes, weight loss, and physical fitness, I'm interested to see how my next pregnancy will play out.  Will I conceive easily?  Will my baby be more toward the 8-9 lb range than the 9-10 lb range?

By the by, I'm almost to Day 30 of my Whole 30.  I shopped yesterday, buying the same healthy food, another half-dozen cans of coconut milk, etc.  I don't plan on stopping.  This works for me.  I know it seems restrictive from the outside, but I feel more liberated than I ever have as far as eating habits.  When insulin-spiking and inflammation-causing foods are just plain GONE from my diet, there's no worry about moderation or "just one bite".  It's so much easier to just say "No, thank you" and eat a green pepper instead.  Sweet potatoes are like dessert, and apples have never tasted so sweet.  I love the food that I eat now, because I know that it's not just filling my body, but truly nourishing it in an amazing way.  It's not full of junk or preservatives or chemicals.  It's just good, tasty, real food.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Anyone out there done it?  It sounds appealing...the CoolRunning guys say than almost anyone can go from "Couch to 5K" in 9 weeks by following their plan of gradual activity increase.  I figure it sounds pretty good.  The weather is nice which certainly helps.  I had my jogging goal as part of my Health Promotion class, and I think the C25K just gives it a little more structure.

My sister is a marathon runner, very slim and naturally athletic...pretty much my polar opposite in that regard.  She weighs less than 100 lbs soaking wet.  Anyhoo, we were talking tonight and I was telling her about my goals, asking how long it might take to train for a half-marathon...did she think I could do it in a year?  She felt that a year was enough time, but that I should start smaller.  Try starting with a 5K, then work my way up to a 10K, then a half-marathon.  I thought that was good advice.  So I think I'm going to do it.

I've been a casual runner in the past.  I mean, the only equipment you need is a good pair of shoes.  The rest is icing on the cake.

I have to say that I'm really excited about this!  I'm losing weight, roping in my eating habits, starting to exercise...this really CAN be my year!  I'm the time I turn 31 I want to be looking nice and feeling great.  If I can manage to keep this up then I can be successful!

Whole30 - Day 25

Another day down, 5 more to go.

I have to admit that I'm still shocked about the smoothie incident.  Seriously.  A small Mega Mango (pineapple juice substituted with carrot juice) all-fruit smoothie from Jamba Juice sent me running for the cookies.  I'm glad that I had the willpower to fight back and win, but it's becoming more and more obvious why I find myself overweight today.  Sugar (natural or otherwise) perpetuates a vicious circle in my body.  Prior to now I could have easily had a large smoothie, felt fine, and never realized what was really happening inside of me.

I just got a CSA bin in yesterday and I'm about to go shopping and load the fridge with good food.  Baked okra is the bomb and satisfies my desire for crunch (this curbs my desire for nuts...I like crunchy).  It's so nice to see a fridge full of good, clean food!

I think I almost have Trav convinced to give it a go.  He moans and cries about his nightly bowl of cereal.  NOW I think "holy cow!!  Tons of wheat mixed with dairy...what on earth was I doing to myself?!?"  I have been trying to convince him that he won't even miss it after a few days.  I know I don't, and I could put down some cereal.

We have a family photo shoot at the end of November for our Christmas cards.  I wonder how I'll look and feel then?

Whole30 - Day 24

Well, I guess it's day 24.  It's 2-something am so I guess it's day 25.  Anyhoo, just a short post to discuss a crazy revelation.

I have some CRAAAAZY sugar addictions!  My body reacts to sugar like I'd imagine people react on drugs.  I have a little, then every craving you could imagine is triggered.  Then I feel like crap.  Then I wonder why, and realize what's happening.

This is a good thing...well, a good thing to find out about myself anyway.  I'm going to have to really be careful with sugar.

"SUGAR?!?" you say!  "I thought you weren't eating sugar on your Whole30!"  I'm not.  I just had fruit.  Too much fruit.  Crazy.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

An addendum...

I was poking around and noticed that someone hit my blog by searching for "whole30 bad experience nursing". So I figured that I'd answer their search question, assuming that they're meaning "nursing" in the sense of "breastfeeding".

My milk supply has been just fine. My routine is that I pump at work, twice per day during chill days and once per day during crazy days (I work an average of 8 hours per day). I drink water to thirst and do not take any herbs to increase my supply. I have used More Milk Plus in the past, but since it's tinctured in alcohol I haven't used it during my Whole30. I've always had an abundant supply though, so it shouldn't shock me that I still make enough to feed my babe and have enough leftover to milkshare with a friend who is having lactation difficulty.

Anyhoo, I nurse as soon as I get home, then for nourishment and comfort throughout the evening and night. We bedshare and I love it. True, my babe isn't sleeping through the night, but it doesn't really bother me, keeps my milk supply up, and helps us stay close even though I'm gone every day. I roll over with him to switch sides and judging from an approximate number of roll-overs (approximate because I never fully wake I'm a little hazy) he nurses an average of 3-4 times per night.

My nursling doesn't seem to mind my particular issues with gas or upset tummy. He's as chubby and happy as he could be, so I'm assuming he's properly nourished.

That's about it. Hope that helps if you're wondering if doing Whole30 affects milk supply/nursing relationship.

Whole30 - Day 20

Wow. Day 20. Only 10 more days! Well, I say only 10 more days, but I have every intention of eating this way for a while. I may have a break day at 31 days, have my Pumpkin Spice Latte...but then back to business.

Speaking of Pumpkin Spice Latte, I've found a couple of happy little tricks in the java department. To make my own "Pumpkin Spice Latte", I get a double doppio espresso, then take it home and add about 1/2 cup of coconut milk and fill with water to about a Grande size, then add a few shakes of pumpkin spice seasoning from my cupboard. Awesome. Totally scratches the itch for a good ol' PSL. It's also nice to add a little dash of vanilla extract to my coffee...not that I don't like a mild coconut flavor, but it does get a little every-day. The vanilla complements the coconut taste to the point of masking it. Nice.

I've become a regular at Whole Foods in the Meats and Seafoods departments. They have a clean spicy Italian turkey sausage that makes me very happy. My standard quickie meals have become a link of that over romaine and arugula salad with some olives and olive oil and vinegar. Very satisfying. My salads are huge. I use an entire heart of romaine and a solid handful of arugula in each one. One, and they also have a very nice clean apple and chicken sausage that pairs wonderfully with a few sliced strawberries in the same romaine-arugula-olive oil-balsamic vinegar salad. I try not go crazy with the sausage, though, and make fish, chicken, and meat my staples. You know, come to think of it, every protein I've tried rocks my socks off in the afore mentioned salad. I like salad. Always have.

While I'm staying very true to the eating plan for Whole30, I have to admit that I've weighed myself...which is a no-no. But I find it SO encouraging!! It gives me the willpower to spit out coffee prepared with cream and sugar that my husband so lovingly (and forgetfully) brought to me. It helps me to turn down the pastry at work, and reminds me that I'm doing this for ME. It's MY body that's changing. I am getting healthier. I'm nourishing MYSELF well. So do you want to know my dirty little secret? I've lost 18 pounds in 20 days. Seriously. I'm now 196, down from 214. And all of that while eating plenty of food (see giant salads above)'s just good, healthy, clean food! No junk, no chemicals...meats/seafood/chicken/eggs are always organic/grass-fed (or wild-caught), produce is about 80% organic at this point. Nothing on labels that I can't read. Nothing is highly processed. I've started getting comments from coworkers and hubby. My clothes are fitting size 20 work pants (which fit a little loosely to begin with) now fall off of me, and my size 18 work pants (which were a little snug) are almost to the point of needing a belt. My tummy is much less out there, and my tush is shrinking.

I have some recent pictures of me from my last trip to Kentucky...admittedly NOT the most flattering pics. However, I'm relishing the thought of dressing in the same clothes and taking some "after" pictures!

Speaking of Kentucky (and school), one of my classes this term, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, has us making a Self-Management Plan (and a journal to go along with it) for 4 weeks. My goal is to jog 3 times per week. As much as I'm stoked about losing weight and eating better, I really need to be exercising. And by exercising I don't mean a leisurely stroll to the park with the kiddos. So this class came at a good time...I can go out for a jog without the kids and tell Travis it's for school!! Hahaha! And hopefully this assignment will set the stage for good long-term habits. Oh, and my "reward" to myself for meeting my goals (which I WILL do, by the way) is buying a pair of Vibram Five Fingers shoes for myself. The only thing better than toe socks? Toe shoes!!

Nursling calling. Oh, my cutie pie is 9 months. He's crawling and is SO cute. And still nursing like a champ, even through the night. It's a fair trade-off, no? No period for disturbed sleep? It's no so bad since we co-sleep...I don't even fully wake up. Yahoo!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Whole30 - Day 12

Day 12? You mean I'm almost halfway there? That just doesn't seem right...time has flown!

So here's my reflection at the almost-halfway point: This is not hard. This is totally possible, even when you're a busy working and schooling mom.

The first few days were a little rough. But from then on? Smooooooth sailing! I don't crave sugar...I don't crave bread...I don't crave anything. The only things that I really miss and will be happy when I can have them again is butter for cooking and my Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. But that's just because I want them and miss them.

So how have I been coping with Whole30 when my family isn't doing it with me? The dinners I make are Whole30, with the addition of a starch (potatoes and rice are the faves around here), and I just don't eat the starch but have double portions of the veggie. When Trav goes to Starbucks I just ask him for an iced black coffee, and when he brings it home I pour in some coconut milk. I keep snacks around for myself...nuts, olives, Larabars, etc. for when I'm feeling like a little nosh. The Halloween candy doesn't interest me. As in I don't even take a second (longing) look. And I don't feel like I'm depriving myself of anything.

It has also been easier with MamaG doing it with me. Even though she's thousands of miles away, it's encouraging to know that someone else is right there with you. Everyone at work also knows that I'm eating clean, and it's been amazing to see them make some healthier choices because of me! For instance, instead of getting pizza on my birthday, they went to a mediterranean restaurant and got a salad sans feta topped with chicken for me, and salads with feta and chicken for themselves. It was awesome, and so thoughtful of them to surround me with support.

I'm looking at this and thinking that I could do it for much longer than 30 days. Really this should be my standard way of eating and then just have a treat from time to time. I've lost inches, I'm sure. Clothes are noticeably looser around the waist. But I'm still a heavy chick. I have a long way to go. Speaking of which...I said I'd declare my goals in this post. I think that if I throw in some regular exercise in addition to eating this way, I could actually attain these goals within a year. But I'm not putting a time frame on myself because I don't want to feel like I failed or something. As long as I'm moving forward and losing weight, I'm succeeding. So here goes nothing.

I have three levels of goals in my weight loss journey. Looking at the big picture and seeing that I need to lose over 80 lbs is just really big…huge and daunting. So I am breaking it down by BMI like this:

214 (prior to starting Whole30) – BMI = 36.7 Obese is BMI of 30 or higher. So to get into the “Overweight” category, I need to be...

174 – BMI = 29.9 Overweight is BMI 25-29.9. So to get into the “Normal” category, I need to be...

145 – BMI = 24.9 Normal is BMI 18.5-24.9. So to get into a comfortable spot in Normal, I WANT to be...

130 – BMI = 22.3

So, in pounds that translates to:
214 to 174 = 40 lbs lost
174 to 145 = 29 lbs lost
145 to 130 = 15 lbs lost
Grand total of 84 lbs lost

Again, I’m not setting a time frame on these, as time frames just seem to be discouraging. As long as I’m making progress and not regressing, I’m happy, even if that means plateauing for a while. I just have to get this right in my head.
Having said that, I do have a loose goal to be in the “Normal” range somewhere by my 31st birthday. That gives me just over a year to lose about 70 lbs.
I don’t put a lot of stock in BMI as an indicator of overall health, but it seemed like a good point of reference, with ranges and all.

So, in light of all of this, I confessed in my last post that I was going to weigh myself for my birthday, even though we're not supposed to weigh during Whole30. Guess what? I'm down to 202. That's 12 lbs gone so far!! Of course, I don't expect to shed weight at that rate for the duration of the fact I'm pretty sure I have lost little if any weight since then. But my body is looking and feeling different, which is highly encouraging!

Whew. Long post. I'm done though.

P.S. It's awesome to think that, as I move toward my goals, the fact that I'm losing weight and getting healthy is not only a benefit to me, but it's good for my family, and will allow me to be more effective in my career as a midwife. Let's just face it...those ladies are part contortionists the way they maneuver sometimes to accommodate a birthing momma! Much easier to do this without 84 extra lbs hanging on extra pounds. Squeeeee! :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Whole30 - Day 6

I am really glad that I went back on this. I felt like such a failure for ditching it the first time. It's just that I did NOT have the time to do all of the cooking and food prep that goes into eating clean with everything that was going on. But we'll suffice it to say that I didn't eat real well from that point, added to the stressors (read: stress eating) of another term of grad school, a trip to Kentucky with a baby, etc. Not a good excuse, but there you have it. The bottom line: when I started Whole30 this time I was a whopping 214.

Yeah. Wow. Discouraging. I vowed that I would not be going into my 30's fat, yet here I am. I guess that the bottom line was that I knew what I had to do, I just didn't want to do it. And I covered that up by saying that I didn't have TIME to exercise, to eat right, etc.

Enter my Community Health project on diabetes. Scared the pants off of me. I'm a nurse, and I know the risk factors for diabetes. But something clicked when I did this project. I realized that I had to shape up the way I eat now or else I'm going to be eating like a diabetic and giving myself insulin for the rest of my life! Add in a little exercise, then the weight begins to come off, lessening my risk factors. Makes sense. So I was talking with MamaG one day and asked if we were going to just do it. So we did. The very next morning we started.

The first days this time when very much the same as last time. Starving. Ravenous. Measuring out the snack because I know I'll eat handful after handful of almonds if I don't. Tempted to quit. But this time I had resolve. By day 3 I wasn't starving all day every day anymore. Two eggs and some fruits/veggies filled me up in the morning instead of three. Basically my system is getting used to eating less volume, but more nutrition. It's an amazing thought!

I think last time I was discouraged because it seemed like (in my silly mind) that I was pigeon-holed into eating broiled chicken breasts and steamed veggies. While there is nothing wrong with this, food on Whole30 can be so much more interesting!! I made a curry chicken salad yesterday that was to die for. The only things I did differently than my usual chicken salad? Added curry powder and replaced mayo with mashed avocado and coconut milk. As I was mixing it I was actually saying out loud "I can't WAIT to taste this!"

Which brings me to another lightbulb moment...yes, food is for nourishment and fuel, but it can also be SO enjoyable! I don't have to let go of my love of food to get healthy. I just have to eat clean, healthy food and prepare that awesome, tasty ways. Then not only am I reaching my goal, but I'm doing it with a sense of satisfaction that my food tastes fab AND it's good for me. I've told myself in the past while fad- or crash-dieting "Food is for fuel, not for comfort." Why can't food be comforting? I love food. I love variety. I love all kinds of cuisines. I find a nice, hot, tasty meal very comforting. It fills my belly and gives me a sense of contentment. The catch here is that I just need to make sure that the food that's giving me the comfort is in the appropriate amount (i.e. not gorging myself, but just eating until I'm satisfied) and is the right food (i.e. clean food, fruits and veggies, organic/grass-fed/pastured meats, chicken, and eggs, nuts and seeds, etc.).

Now, for the challenges. I've had to break myself of the habit of licking peanut butter off of my fingers after making sandwiches for the boys, or licking some frosting off after giving them a cupcake at a birthday party. These little sneaky moments that once happened without thinking require thought and intention. I've also been stuffed up since day 3...not sure if this is a detox-ish reaction or that I'm trying to fight a bug and my body is just doing a really good job of fighting it. I've had some headaches, which I'm sure are in part because of diet changes, but also because I've cut my coffee consumption in half. I still drink a boatload of coffee...average of about 3-4 cups per day. Yes, I really was drinking 6-8 cups of java every day prior to this. Yup. Really. And then of course, it takes a little more effort to eat clean. But it's starting to feel routine now, and I have my go-to snacks to tide me over until I have time to make a meal.

I've found that I eat a decent breakfast (usually 2 eggs, either poached or scrambled with some sauteed veggies, fruit like blueberries or cantaloupe, and veggies if I didn't already have them with my eggs), a big lunch (usually a salad of some sort topped with a protein), and a very light supper (leftovers, chicken salad, a soup, or something along those lines). Sometimes no supper. That might be bad, I don't know, but sometimes I'll have just snacked a little bit on some veggies and olives, have started getting some food ready for myself, then Connor needs to be fed. I lay in the bed with him to feed him, then end up falling asleep for the night. The weird part? I don't wake up starving. Just regular ol' hungry. Nice.

I've been taking the kids to the park and power-walking around the track a few times when we go. All in all, that's about 2 miles every time. I'd like to get into jogging or running...I'm just going to have to make the time for myself. Walking with the kids has a more leisurely pace than I'd like. We live in a safer neighborhood now, and with the park and track only 0.37 miles away, it's very convenient, lighted, and safe. The track is 0.25 miles around. Anyhoo, my activity level is gradually going up. Good thing.

Along with eating clean and increasing my activity, my energy level is going up. Thing is, when I finally get tired, I CRASH. I mean, so tired I can't keep my eyes open. Not sure if this is a god thing or a bad thing.

Time to run and get us ready for church.

Oh, and for the record, I'm going to break a Whole30 rule tomorrow. It's my birthday, and I'm going to weigh myself. I want to know what I weigh going into my 30's. That's the only reason why. I know Whole30 isn't all about weight loss, but let's just face it...when you're as heavy as I am and you go Whole30, you're going to lose weight. I think it might be encouraging to help me stick with it, and a reality check as I go into my 30's.

This is my year. I'm going to do it, and I'm going to do it right. I'm going to eat well, get active, and become healthy. I made goals for myself (without timelines) which I'll declare next post.

Later tater.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Busy days!

Well then.  To pick up where I left off...

For starters, turns out that I got an A and B for that one term, not two Bs.  Yay!

Another term has come and gone since, which included my time back in Kentucky for "Crossing the Bridge".  I did a presentation on diabetes, got to see all of my Frontier sisters, and got to meet a friend face-to-face for the first time!  We've been friends for years online, and she watched Connor for me while I was in classes.  I got As in both classes this term...yay!  The term that starts in 2 days brings my very first MIDWIFERY class!  Woooooooohoooooooooooo!

We moved into a really nice house, much more updated and a little bit bigger, a 3/2 instead of a 2/1.  Smaller yard, though.  I'll post pics sometime.  We're using the move as a catalyst for our decluttering project and minimizing our possessions.  What an incredible task this is!

I turn 30 in 2 days.  'Nuff said.

Back on the Whole 30, day 5 (I think) and sailing along merrily.  I'm in on it with another person, and it's nice for accountability.

Enough for now...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Forced march...

So the owner of the house we were renting decided to sell it and give us 30 days to move. This happened the day after the prior post. So suddenly here I was with my whole family sick or recovering, trying to work full-time, wrap up this semester (writing papers and studying for finals), now adding house-hunting and moving to the list. Needless to say I went off of the Whole 30. Will be starting again soon, though!

I got B's last term, which was great considering all that was going on. I was just happy to pass.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Whole30 - Days 4 and 5...

...have been a blur of sickness. I don't know what it was...stomach bug, food poisoning, whatever, but it had me in bed with a 102 degree fever, headache, severe muscle and joint aches, and (to put it nicely) GI distress. I was feeling kinda' bad before I went to bed Tuesday night, but thought maybe I just overdid the fats a little that day. Then on Wednesday morning I realized that something was very wrong. I tried to get ready for work and didn't get past brushing my teeth and hair...I had to lay down. Long story short, it was a VERY bad day.

Eventually, though, I felt like I needed something in my system. I tried a banana, and only got a couple of bites in before I decided that was a bad idea. Drank lots of water, still needed a little something. Had 1/4 cup of 100% juice...helped pep me up a little, but still wasn't what I needed. Had a handful of blueberries...they were wonderful, and they stayed down! Seriously, I would have given my right arm for some Ritz crackers and a bottle of Reed's Ginger Brew. It was so hard not to cave. I know juice isn't technically on Whole30, but I think I had a small enough amount for it to be legal.

I got up this morning with a low grade fever, feeling a little better, but still generally like crap. I putzed around, drank water, and rested in the recliner. Around noon, I decided that I needed some chicken soup. I have to say that it sucked to not be able to grab a can of soup out of the pantry and heat it up. I had to make it from scratch. So I got a bag of homemade chicken broth out of the freezer and thawed it. Chopped up a bunch veggies and sauteed...onions, garlic, carrots, celery...very veggie-rich...then tossed in all that was left of the chicken that I made the other night. Simmered for a few minutes, salt and pepper, then into the bowl and into my belly. And it was SO good. My fever broke late this morning, and the muscle and joint aches are slowly fading. Hurray for feeling better.

My husband and a friend suggested that this might have been a result of "detoxing". I wasn't sure about that...would I get a fever and everything? Maybe my immune system was just low, so I got sick easily. I do seem to see a common thread of illness in the first week of Whole30 in blogged experiences that I've read.

That's it. I need to get horizontal again. I'm starting to get a little woozy.

Oh, and yesterday was our 9th wedding anniversary. :) Too bad I spent it sick! It's amazing to me that we've been married for that doesn't seem like 9 years! Through all of the ups and downs, there's not a single person alive that I'd have rather plowed through them with than my hubby. I love you, babe!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Whole30 - Day 3

Not the best day today, gotta tell ya. No, I didn't cheat, but it was a top-speed-from-start-to-finish kind of day and it was kinda' rough to fit good food into it. It would have been SO much easier to just run out and pick up a Subway sandwich! But stick to it I did, and at the end of the day I'm proud of myself. I had 3 fried eggs (in just the tiniest bit of coconut oil) and fruit for breakfast (strawberries and blueberries) with a cuppa joe (with coconut milk). That was the easy part of my day. Thankfully I had the presence of mind to fill my vente-sized travel mug with coffee and coconut milk at the house, because I heated it up in the afternoon and was eternally grateful for it!

I packed leftover chicken for lunch, a half of an English cucumber with salt, pepper, and garlic. Brought dried flaked (unsweetened) coconut and almonds for munchies, and tossed a handful of Larabars into my desk drawer for emergency purposes.

Let it be known...if you're a 3-square-meals-per-day person, you're going to have to adjust that on the Whole30. I eat and two hours later I'm hungry again! All of this REAL food is excellent fuel, gives me energy, but doesn't last long! So lunch, the coconut/almonds and coffee were soon gone...and I pulled a late day at work and suddenly had no food. Thank God for Larabars! My saving grace was the Apple Pie one that I pulled from my drawer...savored every bite of that puppy! Finally got home, and then had to clean up, feed the baby, etc. Grabbed a bag of baby carrots and munched to get my tummy to stop growling. Now finally, at 9:57 pm, I just polished off a half an avocado and I'm about to have garlic-sauteed spinach and shrimp.

I wish I had a chef to cook and feed me. That would make this so much easier. I'm not whining, I'm just thinking how nice it would be. Working all day then coming home and being wife and mommy doesn't leave much time for me...and it's nearly 10 pm and I still need to cram in a little studying. *le sigh*

I will survive.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Whole30 - Day 2

Yesterday I roasted two of our chickens...they've been in the freezer for a while so I'm glad to be getting them eaten! Whole30 stresses the importance of eating "clean", grass-fed, pastured...that sort of thing. Hurray for having about 10 chickens left that fit the bill! Then of course I have my eggs from my egg lady. Those chickens that I roasted, my, were they good! I made a rub with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and fresh sage and rosemary from my herb garden out front. It was SO GOOD. I had some for lunch with a salad and then again for dinner. I know it's probably too soon to be really having any weight loss, but the bloating is sure decreased! Nice to be feeling better.

Nuts, berries, and dried shredded coconut have been my snacks. Had a Cherry Pie Larabar yesterday (it's dates, nuts, and unsweetened cherries) and thought I died and went to heaven. Now it's time for breakfast. I wish I had some mushrooms in the fridge...then I'd do a modified Denver omelet type of thing. But alas, no shrooms. I'll have to get some.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Whole30 - Day 1

So the last half of yesterday was just a warm-up for get my mind in the right place. Today starts the real deal.

Just for the sake of comparison, I weighed myself this morning. I might step on a scale every month or two, so I wasn't sure what I weighed. For the record, I'm 208. I know it's not a weight loss program, but if I lose weight I want to know about it! :) And they do say that, while you may not lose weight, your body composition will change. So even if I don't lose weight, I'll be totally stoked if my clothes fit better and I look a little leaner. My goal has never been to be's to be healthy. Now the scale is put up in the cabinet, not to be touched again until next month.

I'm already seeing how, since you eat better, you need to eat more. This food moves right on through my system and I find myself hungry after a few hours. Like hungry...not just bored or thirsty. :) So I got up, fed the dogs, got the kids situated, changed the baby, etc. and noticed that I was starving! So as I prepared my breakfast, I grabbed a handful of blueberries out of the fridge to nosh on. I pre-washed most of my produce last night so that it's easy to prepping, no washing, just grab and go. I sauteed broccoli, shredded carrots, and green onions in coconut oil, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic. Then added three eggs and scrambled. It was delish! Drinking my coffee now with coconut milk. I don't miss the sugar. The coconut milk has a very subtil sweetness and flavor that I enjoy.

As I moved through my morning, I paid attention to labels. I would say that 80-90% of what's in my fridge has sugar or soy of some type. It's amazing! The lunch meat, the breakfast sausage, it really necessary? I love the fact that the food I've eaten thus far today has been minimal processed (it was cooked, so it was processed). I wonder if I'm going to get sick of coconut.

Whole30 and me!

So I've decided to do the Whole30 thing. If you haven't heard of Whole30 before, here's the skinny: dairy is out, grains are out, legumes are out, sugar is out, highly processed food is out. Time to reset your body and your mindset toward food. Eat plenty of good-quality proteins, veggies, fruits, and fats. Don't weigh yourself, because it's not a weight-loss's about changing the way you look at food and the relationship you have with food. They have you ask yourself a series of questions, which I'll post and answer now.

1. When I'm bored, over-tired, frustrated or angry, I find myself craving salty things, granola bars, cereal.

2. Sometimes I think I'm hungry, but I'm just bored or thirsty.

3. When I'm craving sugar, I used to eat the kids' fruit snacks, cookies, or cereal, but during my Whole30 I'm going to reach for nuts, olives, protein instead.

4. Planning ahead is going to be the key to me staying on track.

The rest of the questions are for after you've already started. So today I stocked up on fresh fruits and veggies, mostly organic, nuts, olives, coconut, and good protein sources. I have purposed to buy less, eat everything that I buy, not to waste, and buy as sustainably as possible. I joined a CSA, Farmer and the Dale. I chose this particular CSA because the majority of what they have is organic, you get to choose what comes in your box, and they deliver to your doorstep. That's easier than fast food, so I have NO excuse!

I'm not forcing Trav or the boys to do it because I've already gotten resistance...better to ease them in. Deklan would go his entire life without eating a fruit or vegetable (well, maybe bananas...but that's about it) if I let him. Gavin is a little garbage disposal, so I'm not worried about him. Trav just isn't convinced that he wants to give all of that up, even though he'd still be able to eat a plethora of other yummy stuff! So I'm going to prepare food for myself, let them finish off the stuff in the cabinets gradually, and gradually replace all of that with good stuff. Deklan is going to be my hardest.

So here sit I, having my nightly tea without cream or sugar...only coconut milk. And you know what? It's darn good. I have to say that I don't really miss either. I'm going to start exercising again...nothing radical, but just get moving and be active 2-3 days per week to start. I think it would really help my energy levels, my sleep, and my aches and pains. I'm REALLY looking forward to this next month!

Connor rolled over today for the first time! (and the second and the third...) Now that he's got it down, he's unstoppable! Go baby, go!

I have a friend who recently gave birth to her third baby. Every birth is very special in its own right, but this one holds a special place in my heart. I met this friend when I was pregnant with Gavin and she was pregnant with her bloggings at that time are the very first posts on this blog. I wasn't all crazy birth hippie or anything, but I was learning about natural birth and LOVING what I was learning. I didn't shout it from the rooftop, but when topics came up I gently gave my two cents. Anyway, my friend ended up having a c-section. It was totally avoidable, but the doctors made it sound like she had no other option and she agreed. When I read her birth story, my heart broke a little for her...not only for the birth experience lost, but also the fact that it was just so normal to have a c-section. Fast forward a couple of years...she's pregnant again. This pregnancy ended with surgery as well, another avoidable one (had her doctors listened to her). I started finding that as we discussed our kids, she started to become open to my crazy birth hippie ways. Hahaha! And again, long story short, she became pregnant again at the same time I was pregnant with Connor. This time would be different, she vowed. This time she was pushing her baby out. And push her baby out she did! After fiasco upon fiasco, switching of midwifery practices, stopping concurrent care with an OB, and numerous other speed bumps, she had her baby in the water at home unassisted, a VBA2C. Her midwives arrived a few minutes after the baby was born. She did it! Not only did she push her baby out, but she did it without cords and wires and tubing, continuous monitoring, vaginal exams, or pain medication. She not drugged up, bonded with her baby right away, established breastfeeding, and had energy to spare. And my heart was and is so full of love and pride and respect and joy for her that it nearly bursts every time I think of her lovely birth! Congrats, my dear friend. I always knew you could do it.

Still considering minimalist living...Trav is on board, we just have to start. The task seems SO DAUNTING. And I am struggling just to keep my head above water in school and keeping the laundry from piling up too high. I need a clone.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The little things I couldn't live without...

...regarding pregnancy, birth, postpartum, breastfeeding, and child care, that is. There are quite a few things that are on my list.

* my chiropractor
* Cloth diapering supplies
* A variety of slings and wraps
* Amber necklace for teething

Some sites that I couldn't live without:

* Pin Stripes and Polka Dots

Just thought I'd share.  You're welcome.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Boy, life has a way of sneaking up on you, doesn't it? I'm now in my third of four semesters to finish my Master's degree, then a couple of years more after that to get my certification in midwifery. I passed Statistics! Woohoo! It was the second time I've taken that class, once in nursing school and again over 10 years later as I work through this program...and I dreaded it both times. And somehow I passed both times. And not only did I pass, but I got an A. Imagine that. This term is Theory and Research and Community Health. Theory and Research has my tummy in knots. It is an area that I'm passionate about, but this course just seems daunting. But I know I'll get through it with the help of my Frontier sisters, just as I have the last two semesters.

Connor is growing so fast...I can't believe he's already over 13 weeks! He is such a charmer, always smiling and chuckling. His brothers love him to pieces, as do we. I look around at my three precious boys and just can't understand why God has blessed me as He has. Three gorgeous, smart, healthy boys...

I'm looking at minimalist living these days. As busy as we are, we just have no patience for clutter. So we're looking very seriously at this concept of intentional simplicity. I'm really enjoying the website Becoming Minimalist as the author is a believer and ties in an individuals spiritual life with minimalist living. I'm not talking about anything extreme like each person having only 100 belongings or anything like that, but just not having anything around that isn't essential to living. I have a feeling that this is going to be a long journey. From what I read on blogs written by those who have taken a minimalist approach, it is often done in layers, starting first with the things that you are not using, that are broken, etc. Then after that, start addressing what you can live without. As I look around my house, the idea sounds more and more appealing. We move frequently, and are a busy family, so paring things down a bit sounds just fabulous.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Connor's Birth Story

My official "due date", for what it's worth, was December 26th. I didn't go on maternity leave until I was 37 weeks because I figured that I'd go around a week past my due date, as I had in the past. The end of the school term came and went. Christmas came and went. New Year's came and went. Friends and family were speculating as to when he would be sister's birthday was January 3rd...maybe that day? Both of my boys before him were born on a Tuesday. I commented to my doula that I thought he would be born the Tuesday after Christmas, since it was after my due date and, of course, a Tuesday. But he didn't come on anyone's schedule or particular day! He did, however, come on a Tuesday. On Jan. 2nd, my midwife came by the house to talk about post-date issues. She discussed large babies (potentially over 10 lbs) and the possibility of me having polyhydramnios. I'm not the professional (yet!), but I felt confident that, although I was huge, I didn't have either. I was measuring smaller than I was with Gavin, who was over 10 lbs, and I had only gained a total of 20 lbs the entire pregnancy. Despite my gut feeling that all was well, I let my mind get the better of me, wondering if everything was alright in there, hoping that my baby was healthy, etc. It's stressful to go not only past your due date, but then past the latest point that you've ever given birth! That night I had a breakdown, crying and stressed. I woke up the next morning, and just had the feeling nothing was going to happen that day. I prayed and asked God to please keep my baby and my body healthy, and to let me deliver safely at home as planned. And I had peace. I knew He would let it happen in His time. I went to bed that night and told Travis "It'll be tomorrow. It's Tuesday!" Despite my feeling that it would be the next day, I stayed up and watched "Inception" with Travis, then went to bed at around 11:30pm.

I woke up at 3:30am on Jan. 4th at 41 weeks, 2 days with a crampy uterus. I had been having prodromal stuff for a couple of days, so initially I didn't think anything of it. Then I felt wetness. I had to pee, though, so I wondered if I hadn't peed. Then more wetness, rapidly growing. I rolled out of bed faster than I had in months, trying not to get the sheets wet...success! I wobbled to the bathroom as fast as I could, and by the time I got there my pj pants were soaked. I checked the fluid...clear. Yay! It WOULD be today! I changed and went and woke Travis up. "Babe, my water broke!" "Is this a dream?" "Nope, it's for real. He's coming today!" I was having mild, achy contractions every so often, but nothing really laborish. I called my midwife, Detrah, at about 3:45 to let her know my water had broken, and let her know I'd call when things kicked up a notch. Then I called my doula, Melanie, to let her know the same. Travis and I double-made the bed with a plastic sheet in between, then he laid on the sofa and I sat in the recliner to try to rest. I dozed off and on between contractions, and eventually fell asleep.

At around 7:00, a contraction woke me up. They were getting stronger. Travis was still asleep. I got up and drank some water and made coffee for Travis. I woke him up, and the first thing he said was that he felt sick to his stomach. I asked if I should make him some tea and toast, and he said "No". I told him to speak now or forever hold his peace, because pretty soon I won't be giving a hoot how he feels! I made him some tea. Detrah sent me a text asking how things were, and I told her. She said she'd be over shortly. Melanie arrived at about 8:00 as I was starting to make my Groaning Cake. I had a cup of yogurt for breakfast. We talked and I contracted from time to time, stopping to lean on the counter as Mel rubbed my back. Then it was back to cooking and chatting. Travis, however, was having a miserable time. He actually vomited, then went back to bed for a little while. Detrah arrived at about 8:30 just as the boys were getting up. When I got the cake in the oven, she took my vitals and listened to the baby. All was well. Only thing was that things weren't really intensifying. In fact, they seemed to be slowing a bit. Despite all of my attempts to get him to turn, he had remained posterior for the last couple of months...a fact that really influenced the course of this birth.

Travis and I walked around the block, briskly as I had only one or two contractions the entire time. I sat and rocked on my birth ball. I was given blue cohosh and acupressure. "Holy cow, is that stuff tinctured in vodka?? That burned all the way down!" I drank and ate some cake (which was fabulous!), but didn't feel much like eating. I took some Goldenseal. I took on several contractions with my foot up on a chair in a modified lunge. I joked that I felt like the guys in those Captain Morgan commercials. :) Detrah lifted my belly with a rebozo with contractions. THAT made a difference, as it had with Gavin's birth. He didn't turn, but things began to feel different. We walked around the block again. I commented when we got back "Yeah, there was NO power-walking this time!" I had several really decent contractions during the walk. Detrah went home for lunch, as my contractions were still on the slow side. She recommended that I do some positional things to help him turn, like elbows and knees with contractions and/or with a leg up a la Captain Morgan. She also measured out some black and blue cohosh and left it, with the instructions to take it if I felt the need. I took the tinctures shortly after she left and did the positions during contractions, and noticed more changes. Things were definitely starting to pick up. The boys mostly played quietly or watched cartoons, and occasionally came out into the main room to see what was going on. Trav and Mel took turns catering to them...they were bottomless pits that day!! They ate CONSTANTLY. It seemed that they were less interested in the fact that their brother was being born than what they were going to eat next! :) Lord help my grocery budget when they're teenagers...

When Detrah got back, she checked me and the baby again...and again, all was well. I was really glad that my labor was picking up, but it was really uncomfortable. As soon as contractions started intensifying, I noticed a big difference in these contractions and the ones that I had with Gavin. With Gavin's birth, being vocal was distracting to me. I was very "in myself", and quiet. This time I felt the need to be vocal. Mel was right there all the time, reminding me to relax my jaw and relax my mouth, and make low sounds. It helped. Trav and I decided to go for another walk. This time I was contracting every 2-3 houses! I had to stop walking and "slow dance" with Travis with contractions...there was no walking thru them. Trav explained to our 2-doors-down neighbor that I was in labor, as she laughed and said that she figured. She asked if we would be going to the hospital soon. No, we're having him at home. That was her next question, she said, then wished us luck as we waddled along. Our mail lady saw us on the next street over. When she reached our house, I was sitting at the desk with my head in my hands...she rang the doorbell and talked to Travis for a minute, then also wished us luck and headed on her way. My favorite place to be was sitting in this very chair at the desk in front of the computer. When I had a contraction, I stood and leaned on the nearest person or the desk in front of me, rocking and moaning away. Lots of drinking water, tried a graham cracker and almost vomited. Food = bad idea. They got me a barf bucket. I labored on. Detrah asked if I felt ready to get in the water. Not yet, I said. I didn't want to get too relaxed like with Gavin's birth. I was on a roll, and didn't want it to slow down again!

At around 4:30, I had a couple of really rough contractions, accompanied by more dry heaving. As I stood and leaned on a person, my legs were actually shaking with the intensity of the contractions. During one, I heard the door open but didn't think anything of it. When I looked up after that contraction was done, I saw Alex looking at me, the other midwife who works with Detrah. "Oh, hi!" was my only greeting, as I sat down and resumed my position at the desk with my head in my hands. After the next one, I announced that I was ready for the water. I had asked Travis a couple of weeks ago to get a hose ready for attaching to the sink to fill the birth pool. He said after the fact that he didn't know what got into him, but he went out the front door and brought in the hose attached to the outside spigot! He got three blank stares from three bewildered women, then Detrah said "We need HOT water." Travis said "I knew that!" and went and got the other hose from the backyard and brought it in. For the record, the high was in the 50's that day! By about 4:45, the La Bassine was filled and I got in. It felt SO good! I remember saying "Oh, Lord have mercy!" with a huge sigh of relief. But OH, did labor pick up! Sitting in the tub felt miserable, so I leaned over the side of the tub instead, which felt only slightly less miserable. I just cannot get over how different this labor bone on bone, not necessarily more painful, just more intense. As I leaned over the side, Trav and Mel were right there, reminding me to relax, to breathe, to make low sounds...all things that I needed reminding of.

Since my water had broken, I hadn't had my cervix checked at all. But somewhere around 5 pm, I said something along the lines of "Against all reason and practicality, do you think you could check me? I said I didn't want to know, but I'm not sure how much longer that I can do this." I got a couple of chuckles, and a check. I was 9 with a lip. I was given some arnica to help with any possible swelling. A little while later, another doppler check of the baby, who was still doing great. Around 5:35, another contraction came, and what started as a low moan ended up as me yelling "PUSHING!!!" Now, I don't know if it was because of his positioning, or because of a cumulative effect of herbs or what, but WOW. I had one pushing contraction, a brief break, then what seemed like the longest contraction ever. Voices around me told me not to push unless I was having a contraction and to bring the energy down, but it felt like one never-ending contraction, and I told them so. I'd push and breathe and push and breathe, yelling while pushing, Trav telling me in a slightly panicked voice to breathe...I wanted to tell him that if I was making sound then I had oxygen, so don't worry, but I couldn't talk...just breathe, then push and yell. I could feel him moving down, but it seemed like it was taking forever. I asked if his head was out yet...he was crowning. There was no "ring of fire" or anything like that. It all seemed to be happening so slowly yet so quickly and I didn't want to tear but it felt like back-to-back contractions and the only thing that made sense to do was to keep vocalizing to keep from holding my breath and pushing with all I had...that might slow things down. About 10 minutes into pushing, his head was out and I had a break in the contractions. Hallelujah! Then one more contraction...a quick move to my hands and knees...I thought one push would do it, but nope. Without even thinking, I went to a half-crouch like kneeling a la Captain Morgan (left leg up felt totally wrong, but right leg up felt right, so I stayed that way), a push, a yell, and at 5:48pm voila!! Baby! I reached down and pulled him up out of the water, then sat leaning against the side of the tub. We did it! And he was beautiful! A full head of hair, Apgar of 10 right off the bat, gave couple of little cries, but then just looked at me. Love at first sight? Absolutely. Travis was a bit teary, the boys came in and checked out their brother and pronounced him "really cool". Gavin kept saying "Connor came out of your tummy?!" over and over again. A couple of minutes later my placenta separated, but it was a little stubborn in coming out. I took some herbs to help it come, then when the bleeding got to the point of making Detrah a little concerned, I got up and out of the water and headed to the bed. A lot of uterus massaging, a shot of pitocin in the leg, and about 15 minutes after Connor was born, our placenta came as well. After the family checked him out, Trav cut the cord and he snuggled up and started nursing. After he nursed on both sides, Detrah checked me and the bleeding status. Not a tear in sight!! I couldn't believe it!

Shortly thereafter, I took a shower and used the bathroom and then headed back to bed. I remember that strange, empty feeling and how weird it felt to just breathe without a baby in there. After I was settled in, Detrah did the newborn exam, which checked out just fine. He came in at 9 lbs, 10 oz and 20.5 inches long! Thank God for a baby under 10 lbs! While he was getting checked out, Mel heated up some shepherd's pie that I had made and made sure that I was eating and drinking and the rest of the family was fed. Then Connor came and laid on my chest to get warm while everyone finished cleaning the house. Before everyone left at around 8:30, Detrah came and sat on the bed and prayed with us, thanking God for a safe birth. So far, this has been my fastest and easiest recovery. Connor took right to nursing and we haven't had a single problem.

Looking back on this birth, it taught me a lot. Occasionally I get comments and questions asking why I choose to birth at home as long as the pregnancy is healthy. When I give my answer as to why we feel that it's the right choice for us, I almost always end my comment with the fact that each birth is as individual as the baby and the mom involved (and hence what works for me might not work for someone else). That really hit home to me this time. I think that I had sort of assumed that this birth would be even "better" than Gavin's...that I could tweak this and change that from last time and have a "perfect" birth. Well, it turned out to be just a totally different birth, individual in it's own right. Different baby, different position, different time in my life, different birth. With Gavin, I was in hard, active labor for what seemed like an eternity (only about 10 hours in reality). With Connor, labor was very stop-and-go for a majority of the time, and I was really in hard, active labor for only about 4 hours. I had practiced up on my Hypnobirthing, and it just wasn't feeling right this time. The bottom just can't predict birth! I love the fact that his birth was different, though. I can't even compare it to my others, each one is very different. And I love the fact that I just trusted my body and did what felt right, be it vocalizing or position changes during pushing. Detrah said after the fact that he was a little "sticky" coming out, and I have no doubt in my mind that my feeling the need to change positions quickly was just my body telling me what to do to get him out safely. It's a good thing when you know that you can trust your baby, trust your body, and trust birth.