1. Thursday, April 17, 2014

    Getting Fit: Week 2 Update

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    So last week, after an incident in Target, I began Jillian Michael’s 30 Days to Shred. The first week went pretty well. It’s great that I can easily do them at home while the baby is napping or playing nearby. There was only one day where she got fussy in the middle of my workout and I had to stop and finish it later. The main struggle was that my ankles were really achy & sore from a run I went on the week before. So some of the moves were challenging and I felt like an 80 year old. The first workout was definitely the hardest. Even though I exercised throughout most of my pregnancy, I still felt so out of shape. I struggled to finish, but when I did, it felt really good. As the week went on the workouts became easier & easier and I felt my endurance lengthening. I think in a few days I will move up to level two of the program. 

    It’s been a struggle to eat healthier. I’m breastfeeding and so I am just so hungry. All. The. Time. Being so ravenous sometimes, just want something quick & easy. Also, coming up with healthy meals has proven to be more challenging than before. All of my go-to foods (veggies, salads, etc) make the baby a little gassy & uncomfortable. So I have to get a little more creative. But I am trying! 

    I’m also making sure to keep my motivations in check. While I do want to lose a few lingering pounds and fit better into my cloths, that’s not what it’s all about. The most important thing is to be healthy. I want to exercise and eat well so I have the energy & stamina to make it through long days. So I can feel my best to give my best each day. 

  2. Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Lake Arrowhead Family Trip

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    A few weeks ago Ryan’s family came out to visit us and meet Eveleigh. We rented a cabin in Lake Arrowhead where we could all stay and relax and enjoy time together as a family. It was our first little getaway with the baby, and it was really wonderful. It was so beautiful there, and the weather was perfect. We played games, watched old movies, relaxed, and enjoyed each other’s company. And I even got some time to relax and read on the balcony while there. Not easy to find time to read with a newborn, so I soaked it up!

    One day we all ventured out for a little hike. It was our first hike with E, and she did great! She loved being snuggled up with her daddy in the moby wrap. It was so nice to hike for the first time in forever. Oh, how I’ve missed it.

    The landscape in Lake Arrowhead is just breathtaking. It feels like I’m in an entirely different state. It’s one of my favorite things about California, that I can live by the beach and yet be in the mountains in two hours! 

    After our stay in Lake Arrowhead, we came down the mountain and spent the remainder of their stay at our place in Orange County… but I’ll share more about that in another post :)

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  3. Saturday, April 12, 2014

    Let It Go.

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    Thursday Ryan left town to go on a men’s retreat with our church. Which meant that Thursday night I did not sleep. I tossed and turned and just could not get my brain to shut off. I finally dozed off around 2 a.m., and only slept a few hours before waking up to feed Eveleigh. I was exhausted, but had Eveleigh’s two month doctors appointment scheduled for that morning.

    I power through, making my way downstairs to make some much needed coffee. I remember that I needed to call our health insurance company to update Eveleigh’s primary care physician. Half awake, I wait on hold for twenty minutes until I get through. I update everything and confirm that we are good to go for the appointment. Me and E get ready and head out the door, running our usual 10 minutes behind. (No matter how hard I try, how early I get up, or how quickly I get ready… we are just always at least 10 minutes late everywhere. I’ve accepted it.). 

    We arrive to the doctors office and Eveleigh is beginning to get fussy because it is just about her nap time. I sign in, and they have me fill out a few forms confirming Eveleigh has been added to our health insurance. Then they proceed to tell me that her primary care physician has not been updated. I tell them I just updated it that morning and it should be fine. They say it is not updated yet. I say to call Aetna to verify and that it shouldn’t be a problem. They say they won’t do that. They say it needs to be updated in their system. I ask them to try. They tell me no. I ask them to reschedule the appointment for next week. They tell me no. They will not reschedule until the information has been confirmed. At this point my exhaustion coupled with my frustration is making me on the verge of tears. I think I’ve got to get out of here. I quickly tell them it’s fine and I will call in next week. Though it was not fine, and their rudeness stung.

    I walk out of the office defeated, fighting back tears. How embarrassing to cry over something so stupid. But I couldn’t help it. I get in the elevator and luckily I’m alone. Just hold it in a little longer. Just get to the car. Just get to the car. 

    A minute later I’m in the car and I finally exhale and let the tears come. I give myself the moments needed. I know that crying is not a sign of weakness, and sometimes it just feels good to let it out. Then, I breathe deeply. I put on some feel good music and I drive home with my daughter. I take in the beautiful mountains and California sunshine and I’m thankful to be alive. 

  4. Friday, April 11, 2014

    Scary Things Happen in Target Dressing Rooms

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    Set the scene: It’s a pleasant Sunday afternoon when Ryan sweetly suggests I take some “me” time while he stays with the baby for a bit. I cheerfully accept, and look forward to heading to Target for an iced hazelnut macchiato (my fave) and a little browsing. After getting my coffee, I innocently stroll towards the clothing section. I have a gift card, after all, and my post baby wardrobe could use some sprucing up. I don’t know what terror awaits me, but I’m soon to find out. I pick out a few dresses, a couple tops, and even a swimsuit. I’ve been on the lookout for a cute one-piece (I know, I know. Official mom status). I slowly make my way towards the dressing rooms and begin trying on my finds. 

    This is when it happens. My post-baby, stretched, untoned body, meets horrible dressing-room lighting and clothes designed for prepubescent girls. Surely, these are fun house mirrors because that can’t be what my body looks like. Gasp! The Horror! I contemplate crying but instead take a big sip of my 300 calorie, sugar-filled coffee. (Oh, the irony).

    I make a decision. I put back all of the clothes and me & my muffin top march on over to the exercise section where I purchase Jillian Michael’s “30 Days to Shred.” I’ve lost all my baby weight except for 10 lingering, stubborn pounds. I decided it was time to officially kick them to the curb, and start getting fit, toned, & healthy again. 

    I’ve been doing the workouts all week, and I’m enjoying them. They are perfect for a new mom, because they are only 20 minutes. Going to the gym isn’t feasible right now, so a quick but intense workout I can do at home is perfect. It feels so good to exercise, and I’ve missed the feeling of sore muscles after a good workout. 

    I’ve decided I won’t be doing any clothing shopping for a while, but I assure you, the next time I do… I will look & feel much better. 

    PS: Anyone want to get fit together? Wouldn’t mind a few ladies to encourage one another and hold each other accountable! You can pick up the DVD at Target (or Walmart) for less then $10! :)

  5. Thursday, April 10, 2014

    Our Birth Story

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    I’ve debated for some time now whether or not to share my birth story. It is so deeply personal that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share it on the internet. But I thought about how much I love when bloggers & friends are open and transparent, and so I decided to go ahead and share the story of how little Eveleigh came into this world.

    Let me first say that if you are pregnant with your first, maybe it’s best not to read… Because I believe it’s best to stay optimistic and not worry yourself with all of the things that can go wrong. And if you’ve never had kids… I would go through all of this again and again and again because our little angel is so worth it all. 

    Our Birth Story

    It’s no secret that our little Eveleigh was late to the party. She was comfy & cozy in my womb and wasn’t ready to come out and play. I was eager to meet her, but was ok with waiting and did not want to induce. We planned for an all natural birth, hoping for no pain medications and few interventions. I knew that an induction would need to be scheduled if we went two weeks overdue, so we did everything in our power to start labor. Unfortunately, nothing worked. We went in for our 41 week appointment on a Monday, and everything was looking good. They were going to have me come back on Tuesday morning though for a non-stress test and ultrasound to check my water level. We had this done at the 40 week mark as well, and everything was fine. So we didn’t think much of it. But the ultrasound revealed that my water level dropped too low, and I would need to be induced that night. I was nervous about the induction, about whether I could handle the pain as I know Pitocin makes labor a lot stronger/harder. But I stayed positive and trusted that I would push through.

    They put in a foley bulb on Tuesday afternoon, which helps you to dilate before beginning Pitocin. I prayed the foley bulb would kickstart labor naturally, and we walked the hospital halls all night trying to no avail. I had strong contractions, but they were inconsistent. Wednesday morning at 5:45 a.m. they came in and began the Pitocin, but nothing happened. We walked and walked, trying to move things along. Still nothing. The doctor came in around 7:30 a.m. and asked to break my water. We were hoping not to have to do this, but considered it as just a part of the induction, and hoped it would help speed things along. I was hoping to have that baby out by mid afternoon! (Haha, how delusional and painfully optimistic). I was in good spirits all day, despite no sleep the previous night. I was giddy, I thought “today’s the day! I’m finally going to meet my little girl!” I was cracking jokes all morning & afternoon, even in the midst of my painful contractions. The nurses had a good laugh. I think they were making bets on how long I would go before begging for an epidural, and I desperately hoped to prove them wrong.

    My labor throughout the day was beautiful. It was just Ryan, my doula Tonya, and me. Oh, and can’t forget about my sister-in-love Lindsey on FaceTime (she stayed with us throughout the entire day. Love her.) They took such good care of me, massaging my back, rubbing my head, and encouraging me. I definitely would not have survived without them there. As the contractions grew stronger, it was getting harder to stay relaxed. By this time I was almost 8 cm dilated. I thought, “Anytime now! We’re getting so close!” though the labor just kept on going. And Going. And Going. Ryan put on some worship music to help create a peaceful atmosphere in the room. And it really helped. I began singing through my contractions, and it helped me to stay calm and focused. This was when things got very emotional, Ryan and I both holding each other dearly and crying. We shared so many beautiful moments, and had such an incredibly deep connection. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it. I love that man so much. Anyways, I digress.

    Hours passed, and I still wasn’t fully dilated. Complications began. The baby was not in the right position, she was “sunny-side up” and we could not get her to turn. This caused me excruciating back labor, which got progressively worse, until it felt like someone had doused me in gasoline and lit me on fire. The pain was so strong, I began to hyperventilate. I tried desperately to relax and breathe, but I couldn’t. There was also a “lip” in my cervix, where one side was not dilating fully. So even though I was almost fully dilated, I couldn’t begin pushing until the lip was gone. But I had to be able to relax in order to help get rid of the lip… I tried to relax and change positions. But it was just too much. I was exhausted from being in labor for two days. Not to mention I was weak because they do not let you eat. How, I ask, am I supposed to have the energy to survive two days of painful labor with no food?

    So my condition got worse: I couldn’t stop shaking and I couldn’t breathe, which was affecting the baby. So they had to stop my contractions to calm me down. It was already around midnight, and at this time I knew it would still be hours until I had my baby, even though I was dilated to a 9. I was completely wrecked, and didn’t know how much more I could take. I asked the doctor about an epidural, and she recommended that I get one in order to help me calm down and regain my strength before pushing. They called in the anesthesiologist. I had so many questions and concerns. I have a crooked spine, and so I was very concerned that the needle would not go into the right spot, and I would end up paralyzed or something (I can be a bit dramatic, but still). This is one (among many) of the reasons I was planning a natural birth to begin with. The anesthesiologist assured me it would be fine, and my spine would not be an issue. Your spine isn’t crooked! Your spine is fine, this will be NO problem at all! Well, he was wrong. He couldn’t get the needle into the right spot, and ended up sticking me five times. He finally conceded and agreed that my spine, was, in fact, very crooked. Thanks doc! 

    He finally got the epidural to work, and I waited for the relief that was promised, but none came. Instead, I began itching, uncontrollably, everywhere. I got the epidural to help me rest, but I couldn’t rest because I was so uncomfortable and itchy. Ryan was devastated at this point. He was so furious with the anesthesiologist, who had no bedside manner, and made promises he couldn’t keep. It was so hard for Ryan to see me in so much pain.  He thought the epidural would be our saving grace and that I would immediately feel great. So when this didn’t happen, it just became too much. He wept. I wept. And then finally… we both slept (can’t resist a good rhyme!). 

    An hour or two passed by (I’m really not too sure how long as I was a little delirious), and I awoke to the worried sounds and discussion of the doctors & nurses all standing in front of the fetal heart rate  monitor. Little Eveleigh was having a lot of heart decelerations, and the doctor was getting concerned. I was fully dilated by this point, but with the baby’s heart rate dropping so low, she didn’t think it would be safe to push. The baby wasn’t handling the stress of labor well, and it would most likely be a few hours of pushing since this was my first. She regretfully told us we would need to move forward with a c-section. She knew we hoped for a vaginal birth, and really tried to make it happen for us, but, of course, wanted to do what was best for the baby’s health.

    After hearing that Eveleigh wasn’t doing well and hearing I would need a c-section, I began to have a panic attack. I struggled with the news, not because things weren’t going as planned, but because I was worried about my sweet girl. Why is her heart rate dropping? Will she be ok? Is she healthy? Is she going to make it? A million thoughts and concerns flooded my mind. I just wanted her to be here and be healthy. Ryan held my hand and told me it would be ok. That the c-section would be quick and we would be holding our baby girl so soon. His words comforted me, but I was still panicking. Crying. Gasping for air. They prepped for surgery and wheeled me to the operating room. As they wheeled me there, all I could do was look at the ceiling, and think of all the movies and TV shows that showed this exact moment.

    Once they began operating, my panic worsened, as I could still feel my legs and could feel the doctors inside me. I thought I would be completely numb, but I felt more then I expected, and it was terrifying. After a few minutes, at 4:39 a.m. on Thursday morning, little Eveleigh was out! They pulled the curtain back and let me see her. She was so beautiful, and it was hard to believe that this little human had just come out of my belly!

    Meanwhile, I was still shaking and couldn’t calm down. They tried to give me an anti-anxiety pill, but I vehemently refused. I have a strong distaste for mood altering medicine (and most medicine for that matter). The awesome (sarcasm) anesthesiologist tried to convince me, and almost gave it to me despite my wishes. I told him I would try to calm down and slow my breathing on my own. I wasn’t doing a good job. Finally, Ryan (who was there with me the whole time), suggested bringing Eveleigh over to me to calm me down. They came over and held her up close to my face. I saw her. I saw that she was ok. I saw that she was healthy. And finally, my heart rate slowed, and I began to relax.

    After surgery we went back to my hospital room, where I was allowed to recover with Ryan and with Eveleigh (some hospitals have separate recovery rooms, so I was so thankful we got to stay together). I held my baby for the first time and was able to nurse her for the first time. I was so in love and so grateful and so amazed at God’s creation.

    I struggled for several weeks with how everything went. I really thought I would have an easy, natural labor & delivery. I felt like I did everything right: I exercised, I ate healthy, took birthing classes, practiced my birthing exercises, practiced relaxation & breathing techniques, etc. I prayed and prayed for an easy, intervention free birth. And I never thought it would go this way, so the shock of it all stayed with me. I was so happy that she was here & healthy, and though I knew that was all that mattered, I couldn’t help but feel emotional about it.

    I’m at peace with it all now, and am just so grateful to even get to experience birth and being a mom. I love my sweet girl so much and would go through it all a million times over if it meant having her here with us.

    With Love,

    Monika 

  6. Tuesday, April 8, 2014

    Two Months.

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    My sweet little sugar is two months old and I can hardly believe it! It’s going by so fast, and yet at the same time it is as if she has always been a part of our little family. She is such a happy, smiley, little baby who brings so much love and joy into our lives. We truly feel blessed to be her parents, and love watching her grow and experience things for the first time. 

    She is a tall, chubby little thing. Those cheeks melt my heart. She sleeps 6-7 hour stretches at night, which I am so thankful for (this mama doesn’t function well without sleep).  She holds her head up like a champ, and loves to look around and observe her surroundings. She is starting to mimic us, our expressions &  sounds. Daddy thinks she may be a singer, like him, because she even matches his pitch. I just pray she gets his pitch & voice, and not mine! Her favorite pastime is laying on the floor with us and playing. When we sing & dance she does this little chuckle/smile thing which makes us think she will be laughing soon (which we can’t wait for). She loves going for walks around the park, and taking naps in her stroller. She loves bath time & snuggling. She’s not such a fan of tummy time yet, but she tries. She wakes up every morning with a big smile on her face, and a big diaper filled with poo (haha). Oh, how we love her. We’re so happy she is ours. ♥ 

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  7. Monday, April 7, 2014

    The San Diego Zoo

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    Last month Ryan’s youngest brother, Josh, came out to visit us and meet little Eveleigh. His family was planning a trip in late March, but Josh couldn’t make it due to finals. But he still really wanted to come visit, so he booked a solo trip and came out! It really meant a lot to us that he still came, even though he couldn’t make the family trip. And it actually was perfect, because we got a lot of one on one time with him - which we rarely get. I feel like I got to know him so much better. He has grown & matured so much over the years!

    While he was here we went and spent a day at the San Diego Zoo. None of us had ever been before but we heard it was amazing. It definitely did not disappoint. Little Eveleigh was so well behaved and slept in her stroller most of the day. Can’t wait to take her back to the zoo when she is a bit older and can really experience it. 

    It was such a fun day and I’m so glad we had the chance to go. It is definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the Southern California area. :) 

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  8. Friday, March 21, 2014

    Daddy’s girl.

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    I love these two so much. Seeing them together brings me so much joy. I always knew Ryan would make a great father, and now actually getting to see it is amazing. Eveleigh is already a little daddy’s girl and no one makes her smile quite like he does. 

    We’re loving this sweet newborn stage so much. Of course there are hard, exhausting days, but overall it’s been heavenly. I’m just trying to soak it all in and be present in every moment because it’s already going by too fast! 

  9. Tuesday, March 11, 2014

    One Month Old!

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    Eveleigh turned 1 month last week (hard to believe!), so we did a little 1 month photoshoot of her. I am loving taking her pictures, and it’s definitely sparked my interest in newborn photography. Can’t get enough of her sweet smiles! Love this little girl of mine!

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  10. Monday, March 10, 2014

    A little visit from Auntie Lu & Uncle Justin

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    One of the wonderful bonuses of having a baby is that your out-of-town family comes to visit you & meet your new little one. A week after Eveleigh was born my brother & sister-in-law came out to stay with us for a few days. We always have the best time hanging out with them. Tons of laughter, little adventures, and great conversations. Since they were here on Valentines day we took them to our favorite spot in Laguna Beach for a sunset picnic. It was so beautiful, loved getting to share that with them.

    Eveleigh already misses her Auntie & Uncle so much. She misses her nice long naps on Auntie Lu’s chest every morning…  Just so sweet. So glad they got to see her during her sleepy snuggly newborn stage.

    After that we had Ryan’s brother Josh come and visit (post of our zoo adventure soon to come). And in a few weeks we have the rest of Ryan’s family coming out! Then little Eveleigh just needs to start meeting my side of the family! 

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