Monday, December 29
"Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul."
~Henry Ward Beecher
I'm so grateful for such a wonderful 2008!
The delivery of our healthy, happy and beautiful daughter born in May was the biggest blessing received this year, but there have been so many others as well. In fact, too many to count! Thank you God for a blessed 2008 and an even more prosperous and glorious 2009.
Right: Brijin Joy at 6 months.
Wednesday, December 17
But then, (sh)it happens. I get derailed and have a day where everything seems to be going wrong. I just keep focusing and rehashing it and telling the horrible details to everyone who will listen, or perhaps who I force to hear my sad tale. Well, I'm completely guilty of acting in this manner the other day. No matter what I tried, I couldn't let the problem go. It even woke me up at 2 a.m., and considering I have a six-month old who has been waking us up for the past few weeks at 3 a.m., this was even that much more annoying! Yet, I couldn't seem to put the brakes on spewing and stewing about it.
In the middle of all this "static in my attic", as Baron Baptiste likes to say in his yoga practices, I've been reading a book called "Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the path of Yoga." For every day of the year, it has a quote and blurb while it progressively moves through the eight limbs of yoga. I'm on the sixth limb, dharana, which is concentration. The thought I read today was so powerful for me, especially considering all my "barking" - this will seem funnier once you read more. ;) Promise.
So consider your own good and bad dogs today. Being aware of which one you're feeding is a huge first step on the road to a peaceful and joyous life.
Friday, November 14
My breastfeeding days are numbered, and it saddens me more than I ever thought it would. For some reason, I already had it in my head to stop nursing at six months. Well, first it was let's just make the first month. Then it was three months and once I made this goal I thought, what the heck, let's make it to six months!
Now six months is almost here and coincidentally my hubby and I are going on our first trip around the same time frame. This will be our first vacation without baby, which I know will be a little trying, but it's also my first time to New York City! I'm so excited not only due to it being my first time in the Big Apple, but we're also attending the You Can Heal Your Life Conference ~ New York City. A ton of Hay House authors will be there, including the founder of the publishing house, Louise L. Hay! Going to this one-day conference was my "push present" (get it?) from the hub because he knows how important this area of learning is to me. Plus he is somewhat open to the idea of affirmations and using your thoughts to create your life so it will be a great learning experience for both of us. Attending this event will bring such a huge lift!
But back to nursing!
Since I don't want to bring my huge, pump bag with me on our trip to NYC, and I was already planning on stopping nursing around the same time, it makes sense to stop breastfeeding. I'm more saddened by this than I realized, and maybe it's because nursing definitely didn't start out easy for either one of us. In fact the lactation consultant at the hospital said Brijin was the "worst kid on the block" in terms of her catching onto the whole thing. The kid just wouldn't suck, and it was so frustrating!! For some reason though, I wanted to persevere, so we tried every trick in the book. Once we arrived home, my husband assisted me in using the tricks - think syringe, tubes and nipple shields. Not easy stuff, but we persisted and within two weeks, Brijin and I finally figured out the "choreography" of nursing.
For her first three months, we only nursed or used expressed breastmilk. Even though we've been slowly moving to supplementing more and more to formula due to my supply, I know it's not going to be easy to not nurse her in the middle of the night when she wakes up. Or not do so first thing in the morning. Nursing has been our alone time together: our time to cuddle, to provide security in the middle of the night, and our time to bond. Let alone all the nutritional value.
Change is inevitable, I know, but I think it's good to acknowledge that I will miss this time with my daughter.
Tuesday, October 7
As a woman who was nine months pregnant and jonesing to nest (pregnancy is 10 months long, remember!), I couldn't do much with the porch but buy accessories and clean it out. This did help tremendously, but it definitely needed some true revitalizing of its bones.
In comes an affordable handyman who arrived at our house for the first time when baby girl was about a month old. Hired to fix a few other items in the house, he noticed what dire straits our screen porch was in and made some suggestions on what he could tackle.
I was so excited - my dream porch could finally come to fruition! He fixed the rotted pieces and put in some new screens and a new door. I ended up repainting the wood inside and painting the cement floor a dark green, which really made an enormous difference! Now my porch is a "livable" space that I can enjoy, especially with the beautiful autumn that's beginning in KC.
So a few Sundays ago, Brijin went down for her first nap very easily around 8 a.m. and the hub was still in bed... Why not try some yoga on the screened porch? There was just enough space on the side to roll out my mat without having to move any furniture - perfect! I began doing sun salutations, which felt so perfect in the early morning with the chorus of birds chirping in the background. We live in a house built in the 1940s and consequently there are enormous trees everywhere. Every time I looked up, I saw the canopy of leaves while also catching a passing cloud or two. Simply gorgeous and exhilarating combo - yoga au naturale!
Isn't it amazing how awesome doing something for the first time feels, even when you've been doing it for years? Making a small tweak is the trick to revitalizing anything, whether it's your yoga practice or your backyard-screened porch. Bouncing back after baby is tough so finding a new perspective to my yoga practice made all the difference.
If you're feeling like you're in a rut, make a small tweak to an everyday occurrence. Take a different route to work. Eat lunch outdoors instead of inside or at your desk. Listen to your loved ones wholeheartedly when they are telling you about their day.
Taking my mat outdoors gave me a whole new outlook, not only for my yoga practice but for my life. Seeing your everyday life at a new angle is what brings new joy to your world.
Monday, September 22
I can't believe she will turn four months this Friday. When people say, "Enjoy your baby while you can because it goes so fast," I didn't even fathom how quickly it would fly. I do believe we are truly enjoying each moment of our time with her; although my hubby would probably disagree with this statement had he been asked at 5:15 a.m. today. Seriously though, it's fairly simple cherishing the now with Brijin since she's such a happy, little soul!
Guess names do help shape a person. ;) I definitely see Faith or Hope as a future middle name, if Brijin has a little sister. I've heard of Noble for a boy - bet my parents will love that one!
I'll try to be better about posting weekly from now on. Until the next time, namaste!
Thursday, September 11
He talks about how we need health care for all, but how we also must take it into our own hands. I began doing this with yoga five years ago, and it's the best prescription I've ever tried. No, it might not be as easy as popping a pill into your mouth, but it's not hard either. Plus, you might actually learn to love it, like I do. Ten to 20 minutes of yoga a day, five to seven days per week is all you need - really even one day a week can do miracles. Trust me, it hasn't been around for thousands of years because it's a fluke - it truly works!
Friday, August 29
The only major event of historical quantity on Aug. 28 - my birthday - before yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech, "I have a Dream." A monumental event to say the least. Yesterday, 45 years to the day when MLK so eloquently spoke to our nation about the value of ALL people coexisting in harmony, spoke the United States' first African American candidate for president who has the ability to unite this country in the same way.
I'll tell you, in the last eight years, I've lost hope. It amazes me the audacity of the current administration to strip Americans of civil liberties and constitutional rights, let alone lead us more deeply into a war that is only for greed and not freedom. While consequently the disparity between the poor (those who have less than one million dollars) and the uber rich grows farther and farther apart.
But I digress ... God gave me a wink. A wink that Obama is the leader we need right now, and the leader we WILL elect. America has a way of correcting its course. After Nixon and Ford came Carter... After Reagan and Bush came Clinton. We as Americans will reposition our country on a better course. We will elect this inspirational, intelligent and inspiring man President of the United States of America.
If you're on the fence, please do your research. Did you know John McCain's plan for health care was to tax your health benefits like it's income?? Did you know McCain's goal is to reverse Roe v. Wade? Just a few "minor" issues that will probably affect you in some way or another. But I digress again.
Law of attraction says to focus on what you DO want. Unfortunately if we focus too much on what we don't want, that's what we're going to get as well... So I want a president who will stand up for the majority of America. I want a president who cares about making things better, not only in the short term, but in the long haul, and I'm talking about the environment. I want a president who will forge relationships with other countries in the world instead of shunning them.
I want Barack Obama for president, and I hope you do too.
"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."
"To ignore evil is to be an accomplice to it."
"Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal."
- Martin Luther King Jr.
Monday, August 25
I think the best thing I have going is I returned to teaching yoga a few weeks ago. Not that it's for my own workout, but I obviously benefit physically from demonstrating while teaching. Also walking the dog is a great excuse and something we have to do. If only I could figure out the Baby Bjorn so I could bring baby girl along - I tried the stroller while walking Charlie, our lab, and it was just a little too much to handle!
Speaking of shortage of time, I must run! Have a great week.
Tuesday, August 19
My hubby tells me I've been blog-fading. Well, I'm a little busy these days with my 12-week old, going back to work AND teaching yoga 2 1/2 times per week. (I don't have time to explain the half!).
To get myself back into blogging, I'm posting this commercial MoveOn.org is trying to air on MTV. If you like it and want to support Obama, I encourage you to donate to help get it on the air - I'm freaking SICK of McCain's Britney/Paris ad, but I digress.
Don't we all need HOPE?
Monday, August 11
` Norman Vincent Peale
So I'm trying to get back to my Meditation Monday posts. We'll see how well I stick to it! HA!
The quote above by Norman Vincent Peale is a great one to utilize during your meditation practice. About six or seven years ago, I discovered Peale when I was looking for a motivational quote to scribe onto an internal premium giveaway my workplace at the time was going to give away to employees. I can't remember the specific quote (different from the one above that I received the other morning through my daily quote e-mail), but it led me to Peale's book "The Power of Positive Thinking." It really helped me believe in myself when I worked in sales, and I saw how my thoughts shaped my life. It's been a while since I dusted off that book - may be a good time to reread it!
Let's use Peale's wisdom during our next meditation break. It's as simple as focusing on the word joy or happiness for a few minutes or thinking of a happy moment and allowing it to bring you to a better vibration. This photo of my baby girl might help you get into a better frame of mind.
Saturday, August 9
Thursday, August 7
So of course I went to dictionary.com and looked it up.
grace [greys] - noun
1. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action. 8. Theology.
b. the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to
regenerate or strengthen them.
c. a virtue or excellence of divine origin: the Christian graces.
d. Also called state of grace. the condition of being in God's favor or one of the elect.
These are the meanings of grace that resonate most with the theme of Richardson's book. When I first started reading it, I really didn't know if I'd really connect with the book or not because I've never read any of her books before. Yet the more I concentrated on receiving signs of grace in my everyday life, the more they began happening. Or perhaps they were always happening, but I wasn't AWARE of the signs.
Check it out - Grace be with you. ;)
Friday, August 1
I received this via e-mail from one of my best friends - a questionnaire about one's first pregnancy. Thought it might be interesting to share on my blog.
Here you go mommies - a different kind of survey for a change - it's
all about you and your first baby.
1. Were you married at the time? Yes
2. What were your reactions when you found out you were pregnant? shocked, surprised, scared, nervous BUT excited
3. How old were you? 30
4. How did you find out you were pregnant? I ate breakfast and felt like I was going to throw up all day so I thought, hmmm, when was my last period?
5. Who did you tell first? the hub
6. Did you want to find out the sex? I did, but then my hubby and several friends who kept it a secret convinced me to wait until the delivery. It was amazing, although I thought for sure she was a he!
7. Due date? May 25
8. Did you deliver early or late? late by one day
9. Did you have morning sickness? I think I threw up only once, but I did feel quesy a lot that first trimester
10. What did you crave? spicy foods but what's new?
11. Who irritated you the most? no one in particular; just people who acted like I was MUCH farther along than I was
12. What was your first child's sex? girl
13. How many pounds did you gain throughout the pregn ancy? 35
14. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy? I actually became preeclampsic either right before I went into labor or thereafter! Felt really weird the first few weeks after birth.
15. Where did you give birth? Overland Park Medical Regional Center
16. How many hours were you in labor? I started feeling the contractions at 8 a.m. at home, left for the hospital around 1 p.m. and delivered minutes after 9 p.m.
17. Who drove you to the hospital? Brady
18. Who watched? Brady, my midwife, a midwife in training and a cheerleader nurse.
19. Was it natural or c-section? natural
20. Did you take medicine to ease the pain? epidural - it's my new best friend
21. How much did your child weigh? 7 lbs .01 oz
22. Did your child have any complications? no, thank GOD!
23. What did you name him/her? Brijin Joy
24. How old is your first born today? almost 10 weeks old so that's why I remember all this stuff
25. What was your baby's first word? can't wait to hear it!
Tuesday, July 29
Seeing this outfit almost made me cry because it immediately brought to mind my many trips to the local duck pond with my Grandpa Caughlin. Not that I ever had an outfit as cute as this to wear to the pond; probably was wearing my big brother's hand-me-down clothes, which was probably smart considering how dirty I typically was as a kid. And I guess my brother was with us at the pond, but I remember really enjoying hanging out with my grandpa and feeding the ducks.
I can totally see my little girl Brijin Joy walking to the duck pond with her Grandpa Muehlig and God-willing, her great grandpa to feed the ducks. Now I will admit she is too teeny weeny to wear this outfit for a few years, but I can definitely see the memories that will be made while wearing it - just hanging out at the pond and feeding the ducks with Grandpa.
Monday, July 28
Six weeks seems to be the magic number doctors and midwives give for returning to exercise post baby; ever since hitting this milestone three weeks ago, I've been trying to do more power yoga to get ready to go back to teaching at the YMCA, which I will return to in a week! I really wanted more time off to be more physically ready, but unfortunately my subs couldn't extend their coverage of my two and a half classes. So when I hit the six-week mark, I tried a 20-minute, power yoga routine of Baron Baptiste's I did all the time before having Brijin and even while I was pregnant. Well three weeks ago, I could barely make it through, let alone attempt chatarunga. I felt like crying because my body was so different from before and even during my pregnancy.
My frustration of not being able to do chatarunga and several other postures reminded me of something I've told my yoga students time and time again. Listen to your body. Yoga is a journey and not a destination. Every day is a unique day; no matter if you've just had a baby or not, your body is going to feel differently every day. Some days you can accomplish amazing feats and other days it's just enough to get your mat rolled out and do child's pose. Once I accepted my hypocrisy and stopped beating myself up, I let it go and enjoyed what I could do. Yesterday, nine weeks after having our baby, I was able to do chatarunga, and what a pleasure it was! Now I may only be able to do ONE chatarunga a practice, but I will celebrate that one posture like it's the first time I accomplished it. And if I can't even do one on another day, I need to accept it and thank my body for all the other asanas it could do. As Yoga Sutra 2:46 says, "The posture should be steady and comfortable."
If you're a new mom like me, make sure to give your body time to recooperate and enjoy your journey back into yoga. Check out this article: Postpartum Yoga for New Moms.
Friday, July 25
Thursday, July 24
Luckily my manager is allowing me to work from home part of the mornings for the first three weeks I'm back, which has really helped. Plus Brijin continues to sleep through the night, and I began Tuesday so it's been a short week. Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday because even with Brijin sleeping, I'm still exhausted. Took a "nap" at 7:30 p.m. last night when baby did, and Daddy had to shake me awake to feed her. I think all I'll do this weekend is sleep and play with Brijin!
How do working moms do it? Tell me your secrets. My yoga practice is definitely taking a backseat, although I've been trying to take advantage of breast pump time at work by meditating. I must be a mom - I'm multitasking! Supposed to resume teaching yoga in about a week. Not sure if I'm ready, but I can't find a substitute. I'd hate to give it up, but I don't want to be away from my daughter from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at night two days per week. Guess I'll have to just see how it goes; I do miss my students and they seem to miss me so I should at least give it a try.
Well, I better go check and make sure baby girl is still sleeping. Almost time for her last feeding and then night night.
Friday, July 18
True. True. Now that I have my own baby, this quote resonates so deeply. Ironically, I have been receiving in my daily quote e-mail a ton of ones centered around children and how they affect us. Thank you God for our beautiful baby girl! She's exactly what we needed in our lives and in our family.
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, July 17
a.) Veg out
Maybe not all in that order but you get the point. Usually I end up cleaning or doing other household chores and by the time little missy wakes up, I haven't really had time to relax. Guess I'm not following my own advice to sleep when baby sleeps.
So I'm returning to my corporate day-job next week and have been nervous about leaving Brijin. However, I'm also concerned about being AWAKE during the day and being on top of my game. My manager was very fair in allowing me to work from home a few hours so I can transition a little more easily back to the job so I'm very grateful for that. Yet, I still began thinking I needed to get Brijin on a better schedule if that's possible for a seven to eight week old baby.
Lo and behold, GRACE happened. (I just finished reading Cheryl Richardson's book My best friend from college Gretchen called me up two days ago. We hadn't spoken for a few weeks (and really we keep up more on e-mail than telephone typically). For some reason after a few minutes of speaking, I asked my friends with two small children if she ever got her babies on a schedule. First words out of her mouth, "Baby Wise. You need to get this book." Apparently it helped get her kids plus both of her sister-in-laws' children on a sleep schedule where they slept seven to nine hours nonstop at night.
Tell me more, my dear!
I ended up reserving the book at the library, which would take at least a few days to receive. Since at the time I was returning to work in exactly one week, I began to think if this method really works, I need to buy it ASAP!
Thus the hubby went out and bought the book that evening and we devoured it. Not that it's been THAT rough. However, sleeping through the night sounded so great for our family. And that's the point of the book. It's more about melding the baby's schedule to the family's schedule PLUS it's healthy for the baby since she'll be getting better sleep.
The key to the baby's schedule is to get her to FEED / WAKE / SLEEP. Most parents seem to switch the order of waking and sleeping and allow their newborn to sleep right after feeding. In this book, that's a big NO NO. I actually had read this somewhere else to try to keep baby up for at least 15 minutes after feeding during the day just so she'll get used to being awake during the day. The part I was missing was making her take a nap. I had read you shouldn't let the baby cry, but this book says it's okay for a baby to cry. Not the easiest thing in the world to get used to, but it doesn't seem to hurt her. What also makes me feel better is the book quotes the American Academy of Pediatrics saying it's okay for a baby to cry for even 15 to 20 minutes.
Guess how long she slept last night? Seven FREAKING hours. Actually fed her a little more often during the day because she was waking up after 45 minutes of naptime, which apparently happens about this age due to growth spurt and being more hungry. (Called the 45-minute intruder in the book.)
If you're a new mom and desire having your baby on a sleep schedule, I highly recommend "On Becoming Baby Wise" by Ezzo and Bucknam (an M.D.). So far so good for this family, minus much more crying than we were used to. Plus the book speaks about how much calmer and happier it makes the baby so it's good for EVERYONE.
Has anyone else ever tried this method? If so, what are your thoughts, experiences, etc? Love to hear them.
Monday, July 7
As a big Obama fan and a yogini, I was drawn to this post, although I totally disagree that she has a negative image. She's a strong, intelligent and vibrant woman... isn't this what we want in a First Lady? My husband and I (and baby in belly) actually had the opportunity last November to see him speak in my hometown in Iowa right before the state's caucus, which he ended up winning and helped put him on the path to being the Democratic party's nominee. At the time I was a Hillary fan (and still am), but he impressed me immensely and made the decision much more difficult than I thought. I can't believe people who loved Hillary will vote for McCain because they are bitter - that's just PLAIN IDIOTIC! What the United States right now needs is a change agent and someone who cares about the common man; not just the billionaires like W. This is what Barack Obama is - please Lord allow Barack to win. He is what our nation, and the world, needs.
I digress ... this isn't a political blog, yet I am definitely rooting for Obama, and I'm greatly impressed by his wife. These days, I don't have much time to read things, but in my scan of the post, it doesn't actually sound very complimentary of her, which I totally disagree. However, I thought it was a clever way to tie in a yoga sequence.
Speaking of patriotism, the Fourth of July was baby's first big outing to the local zoo. KC had a gorgeous day - it was wonderful to walk around, but my dogs were barking towards the end. Today is my first official day that I can exercise (can't believe it's been six weeks) so I didn't think it would be too much.
Posted are a few shots from the day. Mommy and baby survived, thank goodness. We had our first public changing and during it a line formed of two other mommies and babies. Although the audience didn't deter us! Thank goodness.
Back to Brijin.
Thursday, July 3
Wednesday, July 2
Better take a nap while the little booger is sleeping.
BTW, she's starting to smile at me, and no it wasn't gas! I kind of captured a few photos of the Kodak moment.
Tuesday, July 1
Today marks five weeks since our baby was born, and I definitely have at least 10 pounds to shed before I'll be back to an okweight - 15 would be ideal. I've been trying to walk at least every other day for 30-40 minutes, but I can tell sometimes it's still too much for my body. (My midwife did tell me full exercise shouldn't begin until six weeks but at four weeks I could start doing more, like walking.) I've also been practicing a little bit of yoga, namely a DVD called Postnatal Yoga, which I've been enjoying, especially for my back. It's frustrating because I just want the weight to fall off, but I guess I'll just have to be patient.
This online article, Star moms share their weight loss secrets, has some relevant points to consider for any new mom trying to bounce back to their normal weight after baby.
- Figure out what motivates you and choose a regimen you'll be able to continue once your weight loss goal is met.
- "Breastfeeding can help women burn an extra 500 to 600 calories a day. In fact, breastfeeding mothers tend to lose more weight when their babies are three to six months old than formula-feeding moms who consume fewer calories, according to the La Leche League, a Schaumburg, Ill.- based not-for-profit that encourages women to nurse."
- It helps to begin your pregnancy at a fit weight and continue to exercise while expecting - and this helps me now how? Actually, I was in pretty good shape before conception - thank goodness!
Saturday, June 28
I grew up singing in the church choir and am so glad I did now so I have songs to sing to my baby as she falls asleep or when she's fussy.
I believe this is a kyrie that our pastor used to sing at the end of the service - I really love the lyrics. I even said this one day at the end of my yoga class, although I totally spaced out on the words for a moment because I spoke the words instead of singing them.
I'll share more lullabies in future posts.
As you go on your way, may God go with you
May God go before you to show you the way
May He go behind you to encourage you
beside you to befriend you
above you to watch over
within you to give you peace
Tuesday, June 24
I'm a big fan of Shiva as well. She is a wonderful instructor; I really enjoyed her prenatal yoga DVD too. In fact, I rented it for a while through Netflix and eventually bought it since my husband was annoyed it was tying up one of our three Netflix DVDs. Her low-key and specific instruction are always helpful and calming. I highly recommend anything with her name on it.
Thursday, June 19
Speaking of which, here's my biggest advice to a new mother: SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS. This is not easy to do because you feel like you have so much to do or even just downtime to enjoy. However, you pay for it later when the little booger won't go to sleep for four hours, and it's usually during key sleep hours like 1 - 4 a.m. Ah the joys of a newborn, but it really is all worth it.
If you've been reading my blog, I had been having contractions for a few weeks off and on before the delivery date, which was May 26. On May 25, the baby's due date, I began having contractions at 2 p.m., but more consistently and stronger than before. I pondered, could this baby have impeccable timing and arrive on the predicted date, a feat only a small percentage of newborns accomplish? She's already an overachiever!
The contractions continued to vary the entire day she was due - between 10-15 minutes and about 30-45 seconds a piece. However, they never sped up. By 10 p.m., I was a little perturbed and decided to just head to bed. In my many trips to the restroom that night, I believe I felt a few contractions as well, but I figured if I was really in labor it would wake me up, right? (And this is a VERY true statement!).
I woke up on Memorial Day at 8 a.m. and about 10 minutes after rising, I had a contraction that felt stronger than the previous day's. Then I had another one about eight minutes later and another after seven minutes. Hmmm, could this be going somewhere?
I began to keep track of the time between contractions and how long each one lasted. I left my hubby to sleep since I didn't want it to be another false alarm. By about 10 a.m. when he still was peacefully sleeping, I informed him I had been having more contractions, and they were averaging about six minutes apart for about 45 seconds to a minute. The contractions sailed on, and I continued breathing through them with ujjayi breath and doing cat/dog and other various pelvic tilts. Child's pose was also very comforting during the contractions for me during this time, but these contractions really weren't that painful. Slightly uncomfortable is a better description for them.
Towards the end of an hour-long bath, I seemed to have three contractions within two minutes for about 45 seconds. Once I climbed out of the tub, I told my hub I thought it was time to phone the on-call midwife. Once she called me back, which was only about five or 10 minutes later, she asked me if I was dilated or effaced at all. I said at my last appointment a few days before, I was dilated to a three and effaced about 80 percent. She said, "Honey, if you're dilated to a three and feel it's time to go to the hospital, GO TO THE HOSPITAL." So that's what we did. However my husband reminded me I wouldn't be able to eat once we arrived at the hospital so I ended up shoving a few pieces of pizza from last night's takeout into my mouth.
During the 20-minute drive, I called my mom and said, "It's baby time!" She had been asking me this for the last several weeks before my due date so she was a little hesitant to believe it was the real thing. Once I confirmed I was telling the truth, she was very excited (first grandchild!). I continued having contractions about every four to five minutes along the way and became more excited that I was going to finally meet our baby.
Once we arrived at the hospital, a nurse gave me a room and a gown to change into and hooked me up to a monitor. Of course, once she finally got me hooked up, my contractions suddenly slowed down to every 10-15 minutes. I SWEAR I'M IN LABOR MISS NURSE!
So she sent me and hubby to walk the halls for 45 minutes - the most exercise I had had in at least a month. Good thing I wore my sporty sandals. By the end of the walk, my contractions had picked up again but still weren't close enough together so we were sent on yet ANOTHER 45 minute walk. This time the contractions were much stronger. Hubby and I did various labor positions, like the slow dance. I also did half-down dog along the wall - I'm sure the visitors on the floor thought I was NUTS - which really helped because I was having back labor horribly! Apparently this happens when the baby's face is "sunny-side up" or facing up towards your stomach versus facing your spine. The baby's spine is against your spine causing the back labor.
About 30 minutes into this walk, I couldn't take it anymore, and we trekked back to our room. The nurse and midwife seemed please that I was in more agony this time around and decided to see how I had progressed. My midwife said I was now at five centimeters and was officially in labor. I wasn't truly admitted until this point, which was about three to four hours after we arrived. Now it was about 4:30 or 5 p.m.
This was when I truly understood what the pain of labor feels like. For the next hour until my epidural was administered, I never knew such pain. Granted it did come in waves and spurts, but during the contraction, I felt like the core of my body was exploding. I described it to my friend as maybe being how God felt when he was giving birth to the universe - who knows, maybe I'm right!
Fortunately I never called my husband names or swore him out. Mainly I threw out random cuss words at no particular person. The hubby was great though; he really stepped up as my partner during the labor and put my needs first. Whenever he thought I was in pain and didn't know what to do, he would go grab a cool washcloth and pat my face - it was very cute. I think he got that tip from the book "Don't just Stand There" that's all about how the father can help out during delivery. I thought it really helped my husband feel more informed and helpful through the process.
My midwife had been out of town all weekend but fortunately made it back in when we had originally arrived at the hospital. The on-call midwife told her to take her time while I was walking the halls but by the time the epidural had kicked in, I was in the third stage of labor and my midwife had not yet arrived. The midwife in training who was hanging out with me even called her on her cell phone because the baby was ready to come out.
Once the epidural was in, which by the way wasn't nearly as painful or scary as I had imagined, LIFE WAS GOOD! I was feeling no pain but still feeling the contractions. When my midwife arrived, we began pushing with my contractions, three times for ten seconds. Basically you bear down like you're taking the biggest crap of your life. Apparently I was a rock star at pushing and it really wasn't hard or tiring - not sure if my yoga practice had prepared me or what. My husband was truly impressed by my strength and tenacity. He thought it was so funny how chill I was between pushes - even chatted it up about KFC and the bowl meals the chain now serves. In fact, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law were standing outside the door and heard the conversation as well and thought it was hilarious how normal I was.
After pushing for a little over an hour, Brijin Joy was born at 9:04 pm. on Memorial Day! We had kept her gender a surprise so it was very exciting to hear my husband announce "It's a girl!" Actually at first my husband said, I can't tell, which made me a little nervous. But a moment later he said "It's a girl" as I held my new baby girl on my chest and noticed her lovely, big lips. I'll never forget that moment... feel like crying now as I remember it.
First insight: stay home as long as you can in the early stage of labor.
Most books and my midwife said not to call until contractions are at least five minutes apart for over an hour at a duration of one minute. Staying home also allows you to eat whatever you want (and eat anything at all) and you may roam free without being hooked to monitor. Also, I was able to do various yoga postures and positions to aid me in the pain management and move the baby along the birth canal in the comforts of my own home. An hour before I made the call to the on-call midwife to see if it was time, I even took a nice, long bath. If you're a bath lover like me, try to do this because after labor, no more baths for six weeks.
Second insight: take the epidural!
It's a beautiful thing. From the research I've done, there's really nothing to fear in terms of it affecting the baby. Apparently because it is administered directly to the spine, there is a chance the mother may become paralyzed, but it's a 1% chance (Don't quote me or take my word! Ask your doctor!).
Third insight: pushing is a breeze with an epidural; at least it was for me.
Maybe this was due to my yoga practice, but the pushing was a piece of pie with the aid of my BFF, the epidural. My hubby was so impressed by how strong and laid back I was during the hour of pushing - major admiration points scored! ;)
Fourth and MOST IMPORTANT insight: prenatal yoga works
I really attribute my low-key pregnancy and relatively easy labor to my yoga practice. It provided me strength, relaxation, stamina, peace and so much more. Even doing five minutes whenever you can squeeze it in can do miracles. Trust me, I'm holding my miracle now.
Monday, June 16
I'm too lazy to look for the camera to post new photos of Brijin, but here's one from last week I thought was cute of her and Daddy, in honor of Father's Day. Still working on my labor post - I've written a lot, but it's not quite ready yet.
By the way, we had a lot of issues breastfeeding at first. However after Brijin turned two weeks, we're old pros. I can't believe today is her three-week birthday.
I also dedicate this post to Tim Russert, one of my favorite journalists. He will be sorely missed by our nation because he asked the tough and necessary questions of our public servants. Watching people talk about his life this weekend also made me realize what a wonderful father, husband and human being he was as well. Watch Meet the Press's tribute posted on YouTube below.
Tuesday, June 10
My labor story is coming along and is definitely not as bad as this singer is painting it. In fact, it was really amazing how well it all went, minus the hour where I REALLY wanted that anestheologist to arrive. Hopefully I'll have the post written by tomorrow.
BTW, labor is doable, with the help of a beautiful epidural!
Monday, June 9
The Cycle of life continues...
Thought I'd try to put a little something up between feedings.
This weekend my hubby's family came over to visit with Brijin.
Here I am with my niece and daughter; in the next shot with my sister-in-law and mother-in-law.
Pretty cool. Back to bed if Brijin lets us...
Saturday, June 7
A postpartum woman should not exercise for the first four to six weeks after giving birth (make sure to ask your doctor!). I haven't done any yoga myself, although I have thought about doing a few stretches but lack of sleep seems to derail those plans.
Once able to do asanas or the postures of yoga, the article recommends the following:
- Focusing on the abdominals with belly backbends like cobra and locust, which can't be done during pregnancy so I'm very excited to do those again!
- Do "poses that help bring awareness to the torso and engage the muscles include a variety of seated twists" like easy sitting pose with a twist.
- Extended Side Angle and Warrior I Pose are also recommended.
- Once you feel comfortable with the abs, practicing Navasana or boat and plank should be doable and beneficial, according to the article.
Friday, June 6
Thought you all might like to see a few photos of Brijin's room. It's still a work in progress, but I think it turned out well. Since we didn't know if she was a boy or a girl until delivery, we went with the gender-neutral, animal theme.
My mom, or I guess I better say GRANDMA, bought some cute animal pictures at Target and hung them when she and GRANDPA were up last week to help with Brijin once we returned home from the hospital. Found the bedding on Ebay (Pottery Barn Kids!) and the other room accessories at Babies R' Us - the window treatments, hamper and diaper stacker. Also scored big time at garage sales with a glider chair/ ottoman and a diaper changing table that my hubby painted red to jazz up - I wasn't even intending on going to garage sales. However I randomly drove by two separate ones on different day with items I'd been wanting practically sitting on the side of the road just waiting for me! ASK AND IT IS GIVEN!
Still planning to fill you all in on the big day of delivering Brijin and all the other topics I referred to in the post last week when I finally returned back online from my hospital stay. But there just aren't enough hours in the day nor in my sleep pattern to do so quite yet.
Here's some more photos of Brijin, just because she's so darn cute! Also happy birthday Dad, or shall I say Grandpa!
Thursday, June 5
My lab work ended up coming back with elevated levels of liver functioning; coupled with high blood pressure, signaled I had become preeclampsic. I still don't really understand it, but worst case scenario it could lead to seizures and poor organ function of both mother and baby (if she hasn't been delivered yet.)
So I'm taking it easy, at least as easy as Brijin Joy will allow!
UPDATE (6/6): By the way, Brijin did gain weight at her doctor's visit on 6/4. Went from 6.5 to 6.13 in 48 hours. Guess you shouldn't let sleeping babies lie! ;)
Wednesday, June 4
Brijin's umbilical cord dropped off! Yippee! Now I don't have to worry about getting that thing wet anymore. YAY! Plus it kind of grossed me out. She is now completely untethered and on her own! Well, in theory, that is. ;) As her grandma still says to me to this day - and I'm 30-years old - she'll always be my baby girl. I guess she can take a real bath now versus a sponge bath, but I'll check with the doctor today at her weigh in.
Please pray she's put on weight. WARNING - about to talk about breastfeeding for those few men I have reading my blog... :)
At her last appointment on Monday, she had lost another 3/10 of a pound from Friday (I think that's right but math is not my forte!). The nurse said feed her often and until she practically pukes. So that's what I've been doing. Breastfeeding and pumping so that I can bottlefeed her my "juice" when she gets all fussy on the boob. We'll see if all the hard work paid off. Otherwise we may have to supplement with - gasp! - formula.
I know I have quite a few breastfeeding experts out there, so if you have any suggestions, PLEASE COMMENT. Our main issue is she just won't continue to suck. She gets a great latch and sucks for a while, but then either falls asleep or pushes off (she's a strong week-old chica). So I have to constantly relatch her, which she can do for about 10-13 minutes on the first side on a good day (maybe six or seven on an iffy one) before she gets all lazy with her latch. So then I burp and switch her. I'm lucky to get another good time on the other side - average is probably six minutes. And then I usually have to give her at least an ounce of pumped breast milk in a bottle.
Which brings me to another question. Does anyone have recommendations for good bottles/nipples if you're trying to continue breastfeeding while supplementing? I've been using Avent Naturally and nipples for 0+ since that was the only brand with nipples specified for newborns at Target.
Tuesday, June 3
Monday, June 2
I started to cry when the hub shared this with me... that's exactly what I want this little girl to do, not only for others but for herself because that's how she will achieve her dreams. Check out the following quotes from Abraham-Hicks Web site about joy, and you'll see what I mean.
It's not your work to make anything happen. It's your work to dream it and let it happen. Law of Attraction will make it happen. In your joy, you create something, and then you maintain your vibrational harmony with it, and the Universe must find a way to bring it about. That's the promise of Law of Attraction. --- Abraham
Excerpted from the workshop in Larkspur, CA on Sunday, August 16th, 1998
Here's some more from Abraham-Hicks teachings about using your joy to create the life of your dreams, which is exactly my hope for our little Brijin Joy:
You are here in this body because you chose to be here. You wanted the opportunity to experience this delicious contrast in time and space, and with great anticipation you came to co-create with other joy-seeking beings, to fine-tune the process of deliberate thought. (What, where, when and with whom are your choices, too.)
The basis of your life is Freedom; the purpose of your life is Joy. You are free to choose to discover new avenues for your joy. In your joy you will grow; and in your growth you will add to the growth of All-That-Is. (However, you are also free to choose bondage or pain... but everything anyone chooses is only because they believe it will help them feel better.)
You are a creator of thoughtways on your unique path of joy. No one can limit where you can direct your thought. There are no limits to your joyous journeys to experience. On the path to your happiness you will discover all that you want to be or do or have. (Allowing others their experiences allows you yours.)
Actions to be taken and money to be exchanged are by-products of your focus on joy. On your deliberately joyous journey your actions will be inspired, your resources will be abundant and you will know by the way you feel that you are fulfilling your reason for life. (Most have this one backwards, therefore most feel little joy in their actions or their possessions.)
Saturday, May 31
We returned home from a family of two to three from hospital with our new, baby girl Brijin Joy Wednesday night and have been tending to her needs since. I finally feel like I have a moment where I will choose five minutes of blogging over five minutes of sleep... Amazing.
She arrived at 9:04 p.m. on Memorial Day at a long and skinny 7.0 lbs and 20.5 in.
The first thing I noticed were her big lips. :) Later, with help from our friends and family who visited, we awed at her long fingers and gigantic feet! Not long after, my husband and I realized just how precious and scary taking care of this delicate, little life is and will be.
I have so much to catch you up on. I'd like to document so many things from the past week, if Brijin will let me sleep enough to think through it and have the time to type it out! LOL!
I want to share the following:
- My birth plan compared to my labor story - how meditation and presence helped me through it
- Naming our baby - Brijin is pronounced like Bridget but with a "jin" at the end (it's the Swedish version ... will tell you more about it later.
- My hospital stay
- My breastfeeding journey - boy, is it one! definitely a LEARNED experience and your first team effort with your child
- Bringing home baby
- Adapting our dog Charlie to our new bundle of Brijin Joy
- Continuing to learn and feel confident taking care of our daughter
I've truly enjoyed sharing my pregnancy through my blog and plan to continue Yoga Mama as I journey through motherhood. My yoga practice will have to focus on meditation and breath for several weeks as my body returns back to normal, and I will try to incorporate yoga into my posts. However I'll have to admit I may be very baby focused for a while. :) And particularly on one special lady.
Monday, May 26
This morning, they began again and we're much more intense and have been between 2 minutes to eight minutes. It's been about five hours since they first started and I just called the on-call doc. She said go to the hospital - I hope this is it! I don't want to be crying wolf again.
So baby's may arrive one day late... I'll keep you posted!
Friday, May 23
Can you believe that - only five percent of women give birth on their due date??? Why does the medical field dangle a date in front of an expectant mother that has such low odds??? GRRRR!!! Especially when we're super hormonal, carrying an extra 30-plus pounds and just plain want to meet our new son or daughter. You know what the answer is - MEN! It's because men still dominant the medical field and have no CLUE how torturous this wait is on women. Okay, I better digress before I start alienating the few male readers I may have... hee hee.
Since late Tuesday night, I've been feeling what apparently are prelabor contractions. They feel like PMS cramps - that dull aching in your belly. I told my midwife about this on Thursday when I saw her for the second time this week (the first was on Monday). Due to the long, holiday weekend and since my due date is Sunday, she thought it'd be best to not wait longer than a week. She now puts me at 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced! I have another appointment set up for next Wednesday (post-due date), but she said she'd be surprised with all my body's progress if I would need it. She did give me light at the end of the tunnel that if the baby wasn't here by next Wednesday, we could probably schedule an induction next Thursday or Friday since my body is so ready to go. THANK GOODNESS! One woman at work told me she was two weeks over due before her doctor induced, and I almost let out a scream of horror!
Last night I had fairly clear-cut contractions for about three hours every 10 minutes for 30-45 seconds, and I really thought, THIS IS IT! but then they started leveling off to 15 minutes and I just went up to bed by 10 p.m. ... This kid is already toying with me! ;) lol
No baby yet, but I'm hoping this Memorial Day weekend will bring us our little bundle of joy!
Wednesday, May 21
Our current baby is Charlie, who will soon become our dog once our baby girl or boy arrives. He's a lab-border collie mix so he's a big boy at 80 pounds and is very sweet and lovable. Our neighbors adore him because he never barks. He's also pretty good with our nine-month old niece, but he is a bit oafish. Loves to step on our toes so I'm a wee bit nervous about him being around our newborn. Thought I'd make him the subject of today's post since I found a good online article called "Preparing Pets for the New Arrival."
Here's a few tidbits from the article I thought were the most helpful:
Before baby arrives
- Make the nursery off-limits. Paws on or in a crib can waken baby.
- Get your pet used to the baby’s belongings and furniture.
- Have the pet-sitter repeat your newborn’s name to your pet, showing the pet where the baby will sleep.
- Have someone bring home a clothing item your baby has worn and let your pet get used to the baby’s scent.
- Introduce your pet to the baby. Tell your pet the baby’s name and watch your pet’s reaction closely.
Tuesday, May 20
I'm hoping all this forward progress prior to labor means the baby will shoot right out... but not too fast. My mother's favorite story (or at least the one I remember hearing the most) about me as a baby is that I shot out like a cannon during delivery and consequently had a mean-looking conehead for the first few days of my life. My grandpa even said to put me back in! Not nice Wilbur, especially for a doctor! Apparently my husband was a cone-headed newborn as well. The odds don't look so good for this baby. Note to self - make sure to pack a hat! LOL! ;)
Come on kid! We're all so eager to meet you, and selfishly I would like to be able to stop waddling and wear cute summery shoes. Not to mention the chore of getting up and down, especially from a supine position. And I won't even broach the topic of losing my ENORMOUS belly - see post from Sunday for latest photo.
Monday, May 19
In your next meditation practice, try to meditate on the word "yoga" or the definition of yoga, which is "union." Continually repeat it in your mind. What thoughts or associations do you conjure up as you do this?
Now concentrate on the word yoga or union and allow your thoughts to dissipate. If you notice your mind going elsewhere, bring it gently back to the word without any judgment. As the e-mail stated, "You are moving into a direct experience of what union truly means."
Sunday, May 18
Okay, I am! I'm going nuts waiting for this kid to arrive. Especially after our false alarm last Tuesday. It became so much more apparent the baby could show up ANY time now, and I'm definitely ready for it. Perhaps not ready in the terms of I know how to do everything, but the fear of actually taking care of the baby has been overshadowed by my discomfort of late pregnancy coupled with my impatience.
Since Tuesday, I haven't really experienced any contractions, at least nothing like I did the other day. If those weren't "real" contractions, I'm more fearful than ever what the true ones feel like. Breathe, breathe, breathe! OMMMMMMMMMMMMMM! (There's my yoga tip for the day. Actually I did a little yoga this morning. Mainly half sun salutes, hip rolls and pelvic tilts.)
I think I'm in full-on nesting mode. Friday evening I got a wild hair to research various recipes that freeze well so I could make a bunch of meals to save for after baby's arrival. My friend Libby inspired me because she made three freezer meals for us earlier this week in preparation for baby to be.
After finding some cool Web sites on the subject (am I lame or what?), I realized OAMC is the acronym a lot of these folks use for making freezer meals - Once A Month Cooking. I ended up following "the plan" method for freezer cooking, which means I made a bunch of food based on one type of meat - I chose chicken. Also seems more efficient to me to make two or three of the same meal so I ended up creating four different recipes and twice the quantity of each for eight meals.
I don't know how people cook for an entire month in one day. It took me a half a day to cook the eight meals, and I am now spent. In fact, my feet are all swollen, and I even made sure to sit and take breaks. Now I'm blogging with my feet propped up higher than my heart. I'll probably do legs up the wall pose a little later and maybe even take an epsom salt bath to help... usually works.
All the various Web sites (check out the ones I saved on my del.icio.us) stressed to shop one day and cook the next. Yet I was so excited about doing it (yes, I'm a dork!), I really wanted to cook after I grocery shopped. Luckily my husband encouraged me to stick to the instructions and am so glad I waited. It's definitely tiring cooking that much stuff, especially when 39 weeks pregnant, but I have to admit it was kind of fun. My hubby was smart and decided to go pursue one of his interests outside the house while I cooked (i.e., poker at the boats). So I turned up my tunes, sang and cooked away!
Perhaps I could've done some prep work (cut some veggies and cooked the chicken up) the night before, but all in all, I'm so glad I did it. Now we have eight meals I made plus Libby's three for a total of 11 meals! I think some of it might actually be more than one meal, at least for the two of us, so it may end up being about 15 meals, give or take.
So no baby yet, but at least this future mom and dad will have more time to take care of him or her instead of spending time cooking.
Thursday, May 15
~ Rabbi Harold Kushner
"Illness or pain is just an extension of negative emotion. When you are no longer feeling any resistance to it, it's a non-issue."
~ Abraham Hicks
I received both of these quotes the same day in my inbox, which seemed a little bit like fate to me. I've known what it's like to be in pain and feel like I have no control over it. About five years ago I was in a car accident that really messed up my lower back that propelled me into a tailspin of anxiety and depression. Probably the lowest point of my life, and I now know it all had a ton do with my own negativity towards certain areas in my life, which I let spiral out of control.
Yoga is the reason why I'm still not in this funk. Yoga was my bridge over troubled water when I didn't think I had any hope. Yoga allowed me to realize my physical and mental pain could be cured without drugs. Yoga has allowed me to discard negative thoughts and habits and to focus on how to make my life the best it can be right now. Yoga beckoned me to explore how the power of my thoughts affect my life. I now have control over my happiness and don't allow life's ups and downs to drag me with their peaks and valleys (well, at least not as much!). With my husband's job loss at the end of last year coupled with expecting our first baby, I could have allowed myself to fall back into a hole. However, my hubby and I have tried to stay on the positive side of things and continue to focus on our gratitude of what we do have in our lives. Now he's growing his own business and will be able to take care of the baby part time, which is a better scenario than we could have imagined before the "bad" news. We now seem to have more abundance in so many areas than we've ever had before, and I truly credit our prosperity towards focusing on it and being thankful for it.
Thank you God! Thank you life!