Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Life 5 Years From Now

In 5 years I hope to be...
Growing my family. One, maybe two more babies.
Working outside of the home. A flexible, maybe part time job that would allow me to contribute financially, use my education, and still be home with my kids most of the time would be ideal.

A better wife. I couldn't even begin to tell you how much room there is for growth in this aspect of my life. It's something I'm always aware of and working on.
A homeowner. I dream of buying a fixer-upper and DIYing the whole thing.

Financially stable. We're out of the poor student, living on loans phase and into the employed, real-world phase of our lives. I'm excited to start paying off student loans, saving, resume contributing to our 401k's, etc.

A good mom with my own identity. 95% of my time, effort and energy is put into making sure that Noah gets the best. These last 7 months, I've made it a point to take time for myself by doing things like working out or going shopping after he goes to bed at night. I hope that as our family grows I continue to recognize the importance of taking care of myself, having hobbies totally unrelated to motherhood, and pursuing my own goals.
Having a blast. Because, otherwise, what's the point?

Linking up with Becky of From Mrs. to Mama!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tips for Achieving an Unmedicated Birth: Preparing Your Mind (Part 1)

When I was pregnant with Noah, I spent a lot of time reading about natural childbirth. What could I do to prepare my body for birth? What about my mind? What could I do to ensure that labor and delivery were quick and as complication-free as possible? Preparing yourself for something you've never experienced is as challenging as it sounds, so I'd like to share what I learned from my natural birth in hopes that it will help others in achieving their goal of having an unmedicated childbirth. Because there's so much information I'd like to share, I'm going to divide this into 3 separate posts. Part 1: Preparing Your Mind, Part 2: Preparing Your Body, Part 3: Strategies for Labor and Delivery

Let me just say, pregnancy and birth are a BFD no matter how they happen. This isn't meant to make anyone feel like there's one right way and that everything else is inferior. The "right thing" is different for different people. This is simply information about what I found helpful in the process of preparing for birth.

The psychology major in me knows how much power your brain has over your body, which is why I decided to make this the first part of the series. Take phantom pregnancy, for example. Despite the fact that a woman is not carrying a child, her periods stops, her abdomen swells, and she begins lactating. Her brain is so convinced that she's pregnant that her body starts acting like it is. Another example of the power of the mind is a study from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation that found that just visualizing a specific muscle being strengthened (without even working the muscle) actually makes it stronger. Bottom line? Your mind controls your body. This concept is crucial for achieving an unmedicated birth. So, what helped me prepare my mind for a natural birth?

Read every (positive) thing you can about birth. I think that learning about the process of birth and everything it entails makes it less scary. It also empowers you to make informed decisions throughout your pregnancy and birth.  Too frequently in obstetrics, common practice is not research-based. Act like becoming informed about evidence-based practice is your job. If you read only one thing to help prepare you for birth, let it be What to Reject When You're Expecting: 10 Procedures to Think Twice About During Your Pregnancy from Consumer Reports. It discusses in great detail how overuse of unnecessary procedures and regular use of practices not rooted in research have caused the US to have one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the industrialized world.  Many doctors will still induce (without medical reason) between 37 and 39 weeks, even though research shows us that a baby is still experiencing significant development during this time period. Artificial rupture of membranes is also common practice, despite the fact that research tells us that, on average, breaking a woman's water doesn't decrease the length of labor. You and your baby deserve to recieve medical care based on sound research. Be informed.

If you have time, check out 'More Business of Being Born'. I particularly enjoyed the interview with Ina May Gaskin in the segment entitled 'Down on the Farm' and the birth stories in 'Special Deliveries'. Watching these segments provided me with useful, interesting information that solidified my decision to have a natural birth. It's also interesting to hear about other women's birth stories and what worked for them. 

This method appealed to me because, like I said, my education taught me the power of the mind. Hypnobirthing consists of guided relaxation, visualization, and positive affirmations. The classes and book were full of useful information, but one concept that really resonated with me was the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle. It's the idea that fear (of birth or pain associated with birth) causes physical tension in your body, which leads to additional pain. If you can eliminate fear and tension, it will help to minimize pain. Believing that birth is a natural process that your body was built for and understanding exactly what is happening during the process can help to eliminate fear. The guided relaxation component of Hypnobirthing also helped me to learn how to relax my body and mind, which is an integral part of mastering the Fear-Tension-Pain Cycle.

I think that so much of birth (and life generally, really) is a confidence game. You need to believe in your body's ability to give birth. Part of the Hypnobirthing program was listening to and repeating positive affirmations like, 'I am focused on a smooth, easy birth', 'My mind is relaxed, my body is relaxed', 'I trust my body and follow its lead', and 'My baby's birth will be easy because I am so relaxed'. Believe that you are capable. Have faith that it will go well.

For the sake of your confidence, I would also recommend keeping your plans for a natural birth to yourself unless you're being asked or you know that the person you're talking to will be supportive. Josh and I followed this piece of advice, and I'm so glad we did. Comments I got from the people who asked what our birth plan was: "Ha! Good luck with that!" "I said I'd have a natural birth too. You'll change your mind when the contractions start", and "You think you're going to have a natural birth?! I bet you'll be begging for the epidural at 4 cm". Equally as important as avoiding/ignoring negativity is sharing your plans with people who will encourage and support you. Giving birth without pain meds is a crazy hard thing, but you're totally capable and you don't need people telling you otherwise!

Check out Part 2: Preparing Your Body, and Part 3: Strategies for Labor and Delivery

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Noah's 7 Month Update

Noah is at the age where he's more fun every day. He's constantly laughing, smiling and babbling. Prior to this month, we could only really get him to laugh by tickling him, but now he laughs at things we do.
He's wearing 6-9 month clothes (some 3-6 in pants) and size 3 diapers.
He's so curious about what's going on around him and wants to touch everything. I left him in his bumbo for probably 20 seconds and and came back to this:
He had pulled down his whole playmat (which, by the way, I didn't even think he could reach because of how far away it was).

He's started to prefer sleeping with us. Before, if he was upset, laying down in bed with us didn't help to calm him down. I'm not sure what's changed, but that's definitely not the case anymore.  He's such a little snuggle bug.
He's started sleeping on his side with his top leg crossed over his bottom leg. So cute!
He finally rolled from his back to his belly on May 21, and now he's rolling all over the place! He's also sitting up unassisted for brief periods of time.
He started making consonant sounds when he babbles.
And he sat in a swing for the first time this month.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

AF Canyon Half Marathon

Went to bed at 11 PM. Woke up at 3 AM. Bus took us to the top of the canyon. Race started at 6. Mile 10 sucked and then I got a second wind. Finished in 2:13:07(chip time's different from clock time at finish). I'm happy with how it went considering 1)it was harder to find time and energy to train this time around and 2)I had a baby 7 months ago.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day

My dad is one of the funniest people I've ever met and he's the type of person that everyone loves to be around. No matter what we're doing, his sense of humor keeps the mood light. He's made so many sacrifices for our family that I couldn't even begin to list them. He works so hard. We grew up being able to take vacations and participate in whatever sports or activities we wanted to because of him.  He works from home and my entire childhood, and even now when we visit, he wakes up super early and goes to bed late to work so that he can spend time doing things with us during the day. Growing up, when he wasn't working, he was doing stuff with us.  My childhood was filled with family soccer and football games, time at the park, trips to amusement parks and the beach, and lots of time playing board games. I seriously think I have the best dad in the world.
The way Josh is with Noah amazes me every day. He loves spending time with him and is so patient with him. Despite being busy with school and studying for the bar, he changes diapers, gives baths, reads books...he'll do anything. These two are little buddies and so cute together. I knew Josh would be a good dad, but he's far exceeded my expectations and I know I'm so lucky to have a husband that is such a fantastic father.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Four Years

Four years ago today we were doing this:
Happy anniversary baby. I love you!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

More Half Marathon Training Songs

I can't believe that the AF Canyon Half Marathon is a week from today! I've added songs since I posted my half marathon training playlist a couple of months ago and I thought I'd share. 

Sprints (7.0 MPH +)
Rockafellar Skank- Fatboy Slim

Running (6.0-7.0)
Chris Cox Megamix- Britney Spears
Chicago is So Two Years Ago-Fallout Boy
You Really Got Me- Van Halen
Please Don't Go- Mike Posner
Feel This Moment- Pitbull ft. Christina Aguilera
Ocean Avenue- Yellowcard
Harder to Breathe- Maroon 5
Don't You Want Me- Glee
The Queen and I- Gym Class Heroes

Slower Jog (5.0-6.0)
Next to Me- Emeli Sande
Just Give Me a Reason- Pink
Teenage Dream- Katy Perry
Boyfriend- Justin Bieber
Hold it Against Me- Britney Spears
Beautiful- Mariah Carey ft. Miguel
Learn to Fly- Foo Fighters
Slide- The Goo Goo Dolls
Swing Swing- All-American Rejects

Cool-Down and Stretching
Crash Into Me- Dave Matthews Band
A Real Hero- College
Yellow- Coldplay

Friday, June 7, 2013

Duck Pond

Last week we took Noah to a duck pond for the first time. He loved it, but I think it had more to do with the fact that we were outside than the actual ducks. Noah loves being outside and in addition to our daily walks, I'm making it a goal to take him to do something outside (swimming, the park, zoo, etc.) a couple days a week. Anyway, here are a few photos of our afternoon:

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

The grandma's
At the cabin with grandma and great grandpa
First time seeing a horse

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