Friday, March 23, 2018

Johnny's Birth Story

Johnny, we had such a wonderful pregnancy! I had no morning sickness, I felt extremely peaceful, and felt a deep sense from God that you were destined for great things. We exercised HARD for most of the pregnancy, kept busy chasing Sis around, visited the chiropractor from January on, changed to Dr. Hirata and hired a doula (Bailey) which I knew was right for us. So, you can imagine my shock when I went to our 40 week appointment and you had turned transverse (just like your big sister)! Dr. Hirata and I decided that we would give it the weekend and get back together on the 5th to do an External Cephalic Version if you hadn’t turned on your own. I immediately called Bailey and we set a game plan for what to do. I ordered moxi, pulled the leaf out of the kitchen table to lay upside down on, and spent the weekend floating in Laynie and Pops’ pool. I also got together with Bailey to do an accupressure session. One of the best feelings, though, was when Leslie prayed over you and me. That was really special.

Johnny, the thing is, I spent a good part of the end of our pregnancy building my belief up in my body. I was afraid it didn’t “work” right and that I would never go into labor naturally. I armed us with the tools to do it all RIGHT, so when you flipped, it felt like my brain and my heart flipped, too! We set the appointment with Dr. Hirata for 3:00 the following Monday. Bailey offered to do another accupressure session earlier in the day because she’s so awesome, but I said no. I wanted to spend the day relaxing and loving on you. I finished up last minute pregnancy and nesting things, then Daddy and I headed to Dr. Hirata’s. The game plan was to check on you and if you hadn’t turned, we’d head straight to the hospital to do an ECV. If it was successful, we’d induce right away and get the party started to avoid a C-Section in case you flipped again. Well, Dr. Hirata was running way behind and they told us the chances of the version being done that day were slim-to-none. Daddy was MAD MAD MAD! I was SAD SAD SAD! It was well after 5:00 before we saw her, but boy was it worth the wait. I will never forget the look of happiness on her face when she felt your sweet little (BIG) head facing the right way! You’re such a clever boy! You had also done some work and we had progressed to 70% effaced and 3 cm dilated. I cried happy tears, she swept my membranes, gave me a recipe for a castor oil cocktail, and we scheduled an induction for 6:00 the next morning because we wanted you HERE! Everyone was so happy you had behaved!

We went to the store and got the castor oil, got Miss Eliza all straight with Laynie, and headed home to take it easy for the night. I can’t remember what we ate for dinner, but I made a not so delicious castor oil protein shake and made sure our bags were all set. I had been feeling crampy since the appointment, but the cramps never really went away. Eventually, they started increasing and I knew it was the real deal! I sent Daddy to sleep in another room and settled in with Southern Charm, a big bowl of watermelon, and some naps to ignore the labor pains as long as I could. When you decided to come, you were in a hurry! I called Bailey at 10:30 and told her it was true labor and that I would let her know when we needed her. I slept off and on until it was time to focus on working through the contractions. For some reason, I had a huge urge to sit on the toilet. I think it was helping you move down. I went from the bath, to the toilet, to the bed on repeat. I remember waking up to contractions and moaning through them and then falling right back to sleep. Finally, around 4:30, I knew I needed help. I took a shower and put some clothes on and came downstairs to get Daddy to help me labor. I’ll never forget he said, “OK, I have to go to the bathroom and get showered.” We called Bailey and she told us to call Dr. Hirata’s office to see if they still wanted us to come to the hospital at 6:00. By this time, the contractions had gotten pretty intense, but I could move around in between them. I was making a lot of really low grunts and moans. It felt GOOD to groan really loud and low during the contractions. I really visualized you moving down with each one. We were SO in sync, Buddy! When Bailey and Keisha got there, Daddy and I quickly decided to go to the hospital. I really wanted to try out some of the cool stuff St. Mary’s had to help moms! Bailey later told me she and Keisha weren’t sure it was a good idea to go, that they thought it was still really early because I seemed to be handling things well. As we were heading out the door, Bailey squeezed my hand and said, “You did it! You went into labor on your own!” I’ll never forget that moment of women supporting women. As we drove out of the neighborhood, I remember passing the Rifenburg’s house and seeing Abigail looking out her window. I swear we made eye contact!

 We got there at about 6:30 and had missed Dr. Hirata. They paged her to let her know we were there and in labor! Remember, she thought she was coming in to induce me. Johnny, she was so excited for us! When she checked me out, I was 8 cms and 90% effaced. We had done a lot of work together! I was so excited. We got in the tub around 7:30 and just settled in. We talked to Daddy and Bailey and I worked hard! Eventually, I remember I felt really RESTLESS. like I just wanted to move. Then, I felt very nauseous and like the pressure was too much. I stood up and felt an intense pressure and then my water broke! Bailey said I started sounding “grunty” while I was restless. I wanted to move to the bed and we did another cervical exam at 8:00. I was complete! Things then started getting really intense. I remember feeling HECTIC and like I wanted to RUN AWAY. Such classic signs of the end of the second stage of labor! We started pushing at 8:05 and I remember feeling a lot of butt pressure. We moved around a bit to get you aligned the right way (hands and knees on the back of the bed, laying on my left side). Bailey helped Ryan know what to do, my nurse, LB, held my hand and stayed close to my face encouraging me, and Keisha pressed on pressure points on my feet to help with my anxiety. Then, Dr. Hirata got there and we sat on the end of the bed and pushed! I remember making LOUD, PRIMAL sounds. It really helped me release that enenrgy. When your head started coming out, she grabbed my hand and let me feel you! Your head felt so wrinkly! Then, Daddy got really excited and told me to push hard (oh dear)! I was so ready to meet you. Dr. Hirata told me to reach down and get you and I did! I pulled you up to my chest and all was right with the world. 8:27 am on June 6th. You were absolutely perfect. I can still think hard and remember how you smelled at that moment. I remember looking at you and thinking how much you looked like Eliza! We spent a really long time like that. Daddy cut your cord, but no one tried to take you. We snuggled, nursed, gave thanks to God, and just fell in love. Everyone left us alone. Daddy was so amazing that day and it really bonded us together.

Do you know what was one of the best parts? At that point, everyone thought we were heading in for an induction and that you would be born much later that day or even the next. You were our little secret for several hours! We didn’t let anyone come see you until Eliza met you first, either! She came much later that afternoon so we had the whole day to ourselves. Then, it was just the four of us for a while until we let the grandparents come in. It was so wonderful!

Marshall part of four!
HELP! What do we do with this little thing!

Castor Oil Protein Shake...NOT new from Arbonne...

Mmm, love them oxytocin vibes!

The greatest people you'll ever know!

Be still my heart!

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Mother's Love

Happy Birthday, Laynie!

My beautiful mother has a birthday today. I could never explain how eternally grateful I am to have been blessed with such an amazing mother. In my thirty years, I've come across a lot of people who aren't as lucky as I am. She is certainly not someone I take for granted.

My mom is my mentor. I value her opinion on every single topic. She's a role model as a wife, mother, friend, daughter, and business woman.

She taught me that it's not all about me. There are a lot of times where you have to do things you don't want to do for the people you love. However, she also taught me to say no when your family needs to take priority or you're spread too thin.

She taught me to love your kids with all your heart, but never make them think the world revolves around them. I remember my mom running us all over the place and doing so many things for us, but I also remember her making time for her marriage and friends. They went away to soccer tournaments for us, but also went on trips for them. She's always been the queen of balance!

My mom showed me that friendships aren't calculated. Friendships should be easy and no person should make it hard on the other. True friends understand that life happens and that your interactions may ebb and flow, but that you'll always be able to pick back up.

She taught me that my spouse should be the person I WANT to spend my life with, not one I NEED to spend my life with. Plain and simple. She and my father both showed me to marry someone who saw me as their equal.

More than anything, my mom showed me how to raise a daughter who is independent. My mother always SHOWED me, she rarely did for me. I was responsible for getting my things done and she never bailed me out when I dropped the ball. I'm so thankful for that! My mom set out to ensure that I didn't rely on others to meet my basic responsibilities. I aspire to raise Eliza the same way.

Thank you, Momma, for being you and loving me! Happy Birthday.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Happy Birthday, Eliza!

I can't even believe a year has gone by. This time last year we were hunkered down in a delivery room with a long day ahead of us. You know how they say a woman forgets their labor? It's so true! When I think back, I remember a beautiful day of my body performing some pretty incredible miracles. I remember Ryan coaching me through pushing and giving me the motivation to push one more time and meet our incredible daughter. It was a truly amazing experience.

Then there has been motherhood. I could never have been prepared for the way my life would change. Those first few weeks/months were pretty scary. That I haven't forgotten. I have never been one to operate under such self-doubt, so this was a very new concept! But, Ryan and I linked arms and really powered through. Eliza has had such an uncanny way of cementing our relationship. Ryan is truly my partner and I'm so grateful for this beautiful girl who has joined us in a new way. We will ALWAYS be Eliza's parents.

Eliza, what an incredible little person you are. You're so very brave. You are never afraid of ANYTHING which gives your Mommy a lot of anxiety! You've never met a stranger and are so kind and warm to everyone you meet. You bring a lot of smiles to your friends and family, but also to a lot of people we don't know! You give sweet grins from the shopping cart seat in the grocery store, waves to people in the neighborhood from your stroller, and the sweetest little head tilts from your high chair in restaurants. You have a wonderful sense of humor and love to make people laugh. You know exactly what to do to crack everyone up. You mimic EVERYTHING and learn really fast. You figured out how to walk and haven't looked back! I'm pretty sure you'll be running any day now. 

More than anything, you're Daddy's little girl. You've softened my ESPN watching hubby and you melt his heart. You have your daddy wrapped right around your little finger and he would do anything for you. I love watching you together.

Eliza Ward, you're my best buddy and I've cherished every second of this life with you. You've turned our world upside down and we wouldn't change a thing about it! Stay brave, stay funny, and stay kind. The world is yours for the taking!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

An Amazing Summer

Here's to the last week of an AMAZING summer. I've truly cherished every moment of being with Eliza, working around the house, and putting a lot into my business.  I celebrated the Big 3-0 and enjoyed quiet moments with my little family.  We had two beach trips and a BIG trip to Punta Cana to watch Shawn and Katie tie the knot!  I spent time with family and friends, and we're wrapping up the summer with Eliza's First Birthday and a special visit from Liz! 

Here are some pics!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

I Did It!

I did it!  I stepped on the scale today and I'm officially .5 pounds LESS than my pre-pregnancy weight! It took a little over 2 months, thanks to Arbonne's 28 Day Detox and what it taught me.

The best part is knowing I did it the right way. I focused on healthy eating since I just don't have the same amount of time in the gym and I set a fitness goal with my half marathon. I've learned so much about myself and what I need to do to proceed with my healthy lifestyle.  I keep thinking about my new mantra:  "It's not self-control, it's self-respect."

My half marathon is next Sunday!  I'm so excited.  After that, I'm going to refocus on weight training with heavy weight. What everyone says about your body not looking the same after a baby is SO true.  Where in the world did my butt go?!  I think it flipped around to my front.  Ugh.  Time to train!

Just had to brag!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Eliza Ward - Six Months!

Hey Little Miss Thang...You're six months old!!

I cannot believe it. 

Your daddy and I talk about it all the time. It's flown by, but yet, it seems like it's been forever. It seems like we don't remember not knowing you.  How can something so young be so familiar? You're an extension of us.

You're truly part of us.

You're absolutely everything.

Here's what you've been up to lately...

You started rolling over on your three month day and you've never stopped.  We'll let you play on your playmat, turn around for a second, then find you to be facing the complete opposite direction. For a while I thought I was crazy until I witnessed it.  You're not crawling, but you don't really need any help getting what you need!

Going in your room in the morning is my favorite part of my day. You greet me with the biggest smile and it melts my heart.

When we get ready for the day, you scream at the top of your lungs.  It's as if you're getting out all the noise you were holding in while sleeping. I think you're going to be a chatterbox and I think we know which side that came from...

You're not the most patient child. I like to think of you as being strong willed. You know what you want and you're going to get it no matter what!

You have zero interest in holding your bottles. Shoot, if someone hand fed me all the time, I'm not sure I'd turn it down either!

We just started solids. You HATE peas and love oatmeal. I'm not giving up on the peas.  Sorry, chick.

Bunbun is your favorite thing.  She calms you down almost immediately.

You think your Cousin Drew is the funniest thing EVER. He thinks you're pretty special, too.  Your Uncle T, Aunt Weenie, Daddy and I are so grateful that you will grow up together. Drew will always look out for you.  You're his "Baby Yiza!"

You had your first snow. You weren't a fan. I think it was the suit.

You're so happy at Heather's while Mommy is at work. She loves you so much and you love her. I thought it would bother me, but it really doesn't. I'm eternally grateful for this woman who loves my child when I can't be there. I hope she knows that. Plus, you still light up when I come to get you. Please don't ever stop doing that.  Even when you're 30 and 6 months...please still do that.
You teach me so much every day. You're right, our hands are pretty cool the way we grab things and move our fingers. Our voices do amazing things, too. The pattern the fan makes on the ceiling really is fascinating. I like how you make me slow down and see things in a different way.  Thanks for that.
Eliza, keep being you. You're awesome and we love you with everything we are! 

Changing Inside and Out

This past December, I changed my life.

I was settling into my groove as a working Mom and learning to balance it all.  I was happy to be back at work, Eliza was thriving, and things were good. But, I just wasn't feeling like myself.

Jen and I had daydreamed for a while about being business partners in some capacity and she finally took the plunge with Arbonne. I'll post more about the business soon, but today I want to talk about the detox. I'm so grateful to Jennifer for bringing this into my life.

When Jen and began learning about the business, we discovered the 28 Day Detox. This plan is so incredible. Arbonne hasn't created something new, but they've made it beyond easy.

For the longest time, I knew that I wanted to change. I focused for a long time on eating as clean as possible, but found myself depriving myself and eating a lot of foods that weren't as healthy as I believed. My ultimate goal was to set in place habits around which I could raise my children. The fitness side was easy for me but I wasn't making progress. I just kept missing the mark because I was trying to out exercise my fork.

Starting the detox was a revelation for me. It finally made sense and was so simple.

For the longest time, I thought I was having trouble with self-control, when in actuality, I was having trouble with self-respect. I was an emotional eater. I ate when I was sad, I ate when I was happy, I ate to reward myself. I was such a mess! I actually put on weight and found myself weighing more than I did when I came home from the hospital. I needed to change.

We only get one body in this life and we need it to do a lot for us. What we eat matters. I learned so much through this detox. Unfortunately, in today's society we're fighting an uphill battle. It's cheaper to eat unhealthily. It's easier to eat that way. More than anything, it's addictive. Our foods are riddled with pesticides, artificial sugar, GMOs, and preservatives. THIS IS NOT FOOD!  Our bodies literally do not know what to do with them, so they just store them which leave our bodies in a toxic state.

Another goal of this detox is to show you if you have any sensitivities or intolerances to dairy, soy, or gluten.  This re-program is designed for success and I found it.  I truthfully feel better than I can remember in my life. I can run better than ever before; I have the energy to keep up with school, family, and friends; and I finally feel good about myself again which makes everything easier and better. I love accomplishing my goals and the detox got me there and has taught me how to stay there.

It's totally manageable. I've learned to love REAL FOOD and I've learned how full it makes you. I've learned that what I used to eat would spike my blood sugar and make me consistently hungry. I learned why I was holding on to that extra weight. I learned that my protein shakes were keeping me fat. I learned to see foods and quickly figure out what they'll do to my body and how it could set the tone to change the rest of my day. 

I'm just amazed.

I'm amazed and I'm proud and I love that I get to share it with others.

It's a commitment and it's worth it. I feel like myself again...possibly an even better version. I feel prepared to carry these habits along and to pass to them Eliza, which is the greatest gift.

I'm so excited to see what the future holds!

Do I Need to Detox?

My Arbonne Site