Monday, July 21, 2014

First family of four trip to Chincoteague 2014

We just arrived at the beach house!

First time on the beach!

Hitting the beach for the first time after driving in the car for 5 hours with 2 little ones.

Victory! Isabelle fell asleep on the beach. I love how I can bounce her to sleep in the stroller. Side note-it doesn't always work.  

Our campsite on the beach with sleeping Isabelle. 

The temperature at the beach was great it wasn't too hot to carry her around in the k'tan wrap while we took a walk on the beach. She fell asleep pretty quickly once I put her in the wrap but unfortunately woke up when I tried to lay her down when we got back from our walk. :/

Sophia led us on our walk on the beach and was too tired to walk back so she got to ride on Pat's shoulders.

I wanted a picture of the 3 of us...this is what I got. 
Sophia found this headband in our bag and put it on-yes she is wearing a headband on the beach but if you know her you wouldn't be surprised. 

Pat was tired of taking pictures but I insisted one more picture to remember that Isabelle was only two months old when we went to the beach for the first time with her.

The many faces of Isabelle...

Happy Birthday, Mimi!

Successful walk on the beach = sleeping baby

Another message in the sand for Mimi

We love ice cream!!

Sophia loved the horse that lives next to where we stayed. The first thing she'd ask for in the morning was-"Horse!"
Last night on the beach!

I love how Isabelle watches cute!

She loved playing with daddy!

Sharing ice cream with daddy

Hanging out on the beach the last night we were there.

We had a great time at the beach and I'm so glad we were able to go. 

We were packing up Tuesday night when the power went out because of a thunderstorm. We were hoping to leave early the next morning but our packing was delayed with the power being out. We ordered a roof bag for our CR-V, but it wasn't going to arrive until Wednesday afternoon. Not only that, but the hardware we needed to attach the roof bag to the car wasn't going to arrive at the Honda dealership until Wednesday also. So things were not looking optimisitc for us to leave in the morning like we had planned. I was convinced we'd have to drive two cars to bring everything we needed for our trip. Surprisingly and thankfully our power came back on at 11pm and that morning we started to pack all our gear into one car. I brought everything that needed to be packed into the car outside and Pat packed the car like a game of Tetris. It's pretty amazing the amount of things we got packed in so snugly. A big thanks to my husband! 

We hit the road at 9:15am which was pretty impressive considering all our delays. Then...we hit traffic on 70. The whole road was closed because of a big accident and we had to detour onto some back roads. This delayed us about forty-five minutes, but then we had a pretty smooth drive for a few hours. With only about 30 minutes until we arrived in Chincoteague, Sophia started melting down -- she was done and so was I! 

We finally arrived at the beach at about 3pm. We ate a quick dinner at Woodys and then hit the BEACH!! We only stayed for about an hour before a storm rolled in, thankfully we left before it really started to rain.

The next morning we hit the beach. I tell you things have changed a lot since Pat and I first started dating 10 years ago. Our first beach trip was to Hawaii and then the Outerbanks. Gone are the days when we only brought 2 towels and small beach bag filled with 1 bottle of sunscreen and 2 bottles of water. Check out what we have to bring now:
A tent at the beach is necessary with little ones. Since Isabelle can't wear sunscreen we had to keep her in the shade. A big thank you to our friends the Remmerts for letting us borrow their tent. 

It took us two trips back to the car to pack everything up and about 25 minutes just to leave the beach! Leaving the beach wasn’t fun for anyone especially the little ones because we stayed as long as we could until right before meltdowns! Woo - I have to hand it to parents with multiple children - you amaze me! 

Sophia was not a fan of the waves like she was last year but she really enjoyed playing in the sand. It's amazing how little ones are sand magnets. I totally forgot how much I used to be covered in sand when I went to the beach.  She also made up a game where she would chase Pat's shadow by the water and Pat would lure her into the water that way. 

Here are some great places we enjoyed:

We stayed at Steve's cottages, nothing fancy but it was a 2 bedroom place with a small kitchen and living room which is all we needed. We went out to dinner one night and had the best crabcakes at Etta's. Island Creamery was a daily place to visit to enjoy some delicious homemade ice cream. One day we had lunch at Poseidon's Pantry. Pat picked up lunch here with Sophia while I stayed back with Isabelle, and he came back and said how the store was "so me". The store was stocked with healthy, organic, all natural products. He couldn't believe all the things that were in the store are things that we have in our kitchen at home. 

Until next year, Chincoteague :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Resources that helped during my pregnancy

I love it when people share about products they use or things that helped them so I thought I should write about things that really helped me during my pregnancy:

1.       Books
I really enjoyed reading these books because they educated me and also encouraged me to pursue natural childbirth.

My doula (Shawna) and a friend recommended this book. I found it very encouraging and there was even a chapter on vaginal birth after caesarean which of course I had to read first. The first chapter of the book was filled with other people’s birth stories. I don’t know about you but I love hearing other people’s birth stories. I appreciated how the book was dedicated to speaking positively about birth. Many people fear birth, but the book made the point that our bodies are meant to give birth and how it doesn’t have to be so painful. These were just the words I needed to hear!

This is the book that is part of the Hypnobirthing class. If you’re interested in Hypnobirthing then search for a class near you! This book really inspired me that natural childbirth was achievable. I watched several YouTube videos of people sharing their personal experiences with hypnobirthing. I also listened to the relaxation CD that was included in the book that helped me remain calm during the birth. I would often listen to the CD before bedtime to help me unwind and fall asleep better.

2.       Doula
My doula, Shawna was awesome! I loved using her as a resource because she was so knowledgeable. I valued her opinion and trusted her. I felt sao peaceful every time we met, which made me feel great! 

3.       Chiropractor  
I first visited the chiropractor when I was 20 weeks pregnant because I injured my tailbone and was in a lot of pain. My tailbone injury got better over time. As my pregnancy progressed I continued to go to the chiropractor to make sure the baby was in good alignment for delivery. It was nice that I could take Sophia to my appointments because they had toys in the room where I was adjusted and the appointment always went quickly.

4.       Husband
I’m very thankful for my husband!  I thank God that He brought him into my life. He was and is so supportive of me. Don’t tell Pat I listed him as #4, these items are not in any particular order!

5.       Exercise
I exercised throughout my entire pregnancy for many reasons. First, I was accustomed to working out and it made me feel “normal” because exercise is a part of my everyday life. It was good for my mind and body. I really just modified my exercise routine as my pregnancy progressed. I was very active when I became pregnant which helped me maintain many of my work-outs.

My exercise routine consisted of: spin classes, stroller strides, kickboxing, and running -- but not on the same day!  <@:-). When I was 20 weeks pregnant I stopped taking kickboxing but continued with everything else. I just modified my intensity with all of my work-outs. I also was not working out as many days a week. I basically listened to my body and if something didn’t feel right I stopped doing it.

I’ll admit I got some funny looks at the gym when I was running on the treadmill at 30 weeks pregnant and still taking spin until two days before I went into labor. I even got some crazy comments like, “you’re still pregnant?”  I say this because I want to encourage you:  don’t worry about what people say or the looks people give you. If you know you’re doing the right thing for you, the baby, and your body then do it!

I started taking yoga when I was about 22 weeks pregnant and continued until about 35 weeks. Yoga was so energizing! I always left class in a better mood. It always amazes me how the poses get harder to do as you get bigger – haha. It also helped me slow down and just breathe!

6.       Stay positive!

This is so important!! Both of the books I read stressed the importance of staying positive and not listening to negativity. Carrying a baby is hard work and unfortunately people don’t always realize that. People often forget that pregnant women are very sensitive and it’s good to speak positive and uplifting words. I was so thankful for people that were supportive and gave me positive words of encouragement. Thank you!

Father's Day!

We had a great time celebrating Father's Day "splashing" around at Catoctin Creek. We haven't been to the creek since this past fall and it was Sophia's first time putting her feet in the water since last summer. She was a little apprehensive at first (you can tell by her face in some of the pictures) but then had a blast walking around in the water. This trip made daddy very happy. He loves outdoor "adventures".

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Isabelle's birth story

Moments after she was born

I was inspired to write this blog when I was still in the hospital. I cried when I felt the confirmation to share our story. I hope our story encourages others.

Let me just give a little background by briefly sharing about Sophia’s birth: I did not have a great experience with Sophia’s birth. I was in labor for many hours, pushed for three hours and then ended up with a caesarean (c-section) because she was sunny side up – also known as posterior – and not coming out. It was a really rough experience and there were some complications for me but thank God Sophia was healthy and that was all that mattered. Needless to say my recovery was hard physically and emotionally.

When I became pregnant with Isabelle my doctors said I could try to have a vaginal birth after caesarean (v-bac). I was so excited to hear this. I started to pray for Isabelle’s birth. I accepted that we could have a regular birth or a c-section but I was determined not to go through both again. Early in my pregnancy I met some wonderful people that used an amazing doula. My one friend had a v-bac and she really encouraged and inspired me to pursue natural childbirth. Thank you, friend!

I got in touch with this amazing doula that two of my friends used. (If anyone wants to have a doula I can get you in touch with a wonderful person!) I had heard awesome things about her through multiple people. As my pregnancy progressed I started doing some of my own research on natural childbirth. I read a few books:

1.     Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
2.    Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie Mongan

Both of these books really solidified the fact to me that childbirth doesn’t have to be so scary and that natural childbirth can be achievable.

 I also watched numerous YouTube videos of natural childbirths. I noticed how all of the women in labor remained calm. I also visited the chiropractor to make sure the baby was in good alignment to help with the birth.  I took pre-natal yoga with both pregnancies, which I highly recommend. I felt so great after class and it really helped me with the breathing for childbirth. It’s also a great way to meet other mommies having a baby around the same time you are expecting.

I prayed throughout my pregnancy but just days before I went into labor I surrendered to God. As I prayed I told him that this was His child, His delivery and that I hoped He could use me to encourage others to try for a v-bac. I told Him I trusted Him. I felt at peace and I knew if I went into labor I was going to pursue natural childbirth. If I went past 41 weeks I knew the doctor’s wanted me to have a c-section and I was prepared for that as well. In my heart though, my hope for a natural v-bac was very strong and persistent.

On Thursday, April 10th I had some contractions in the evening and Friday April 11th I had more contractions but they went away after a while and I totally dismissed it as Braxton hicks. Then on Saturday, I had more contractions as the day went on. Finally, at about 5pm in the evening I thought I should start writing these contractions down to see how far apart they were. At about 6:30 pm that evening I couldn’t believe that I might actually be in labor. I was still in total disbelief because I wasn’t due for another 3 weeks. I was only 37 weeks pregnant!  Sophia was a week late and I had to be induced with her so I never thought this baby would come early.

We contacted my doctor and my doula (Shawna). My doula advised me to stay home as long as possible and to try and get some rest. I laid in bed and listened to my hypnobirthing CD to help relax me. At around 12am the contractions were between 3-5 minutes apart and I knew it was time to go to the hospital. When I arrived at the hospital I was 4.5-5 cm dilated. Shawna met me at the hospital and my mom arrived later. The doctor soon came in and tried to persuade me to have an epidural because I had a c-section before but I insisted that I did not want one. I basically laid in bed and switched sides and listened to the hypnobirthing CD. Pat and Shawna remained calm which really encouraged me. They really helped me through the contractions by massaging me to distract me from the pain. Pretty soon I was 7 cm dilated and at around 4:30am my water broke and I felt ready to have the baby, they checked me and sure enough I was 10 cm dilated!

I think I pushed for about 30 minutes (but it felt longer) and little Isabelle was born and the funny thing was she was sunny-side up just like her sister. The doctor said later that if she was a bigger baby she might not have been able to come out in that position.
They laid her on my chest. I couldn’t believe how warm she was. I was in utter shock and I had no idea I’d meet her so soon and here she was on my chest. It was a beautiful, surreal moment.

I had Shawna and my nurse by my side and my husband right behind me the whole the time. The nurses were amazing and really cheered me on to help with the birth and my mom even got to see little Isabelle be born.

Things quickly turned from joyful to a little scary for me because I lost a lot of blood. I could see the look of concern on the doctor and nurses faces. I held on tight to my doula and nurse and kept asking if I was going to be alright. Some of my placenta was stuck and the doctor really had to work at getting it out.

I prayed out loud in the middle of it all asking God to get the placenta out in the name of Jesus. This was probably the most painful part of the whole ordeal. Soon, everything was out and I was relieved but still in shock. 

The good news is that everything turned out fine and little Isabelle was a healthy 5 lb. 14 oz 19 inches long beautiful baby girl.

It was an amazing ride and for days after her birth I just couldn’t believe little Isabelle was in my arms and no longer in my belly. I could not have done it without God leading me the whole way and supplying just the right people to be there throughout her birth. I’m so thankful He supplied the right nurses and doctor at the hospital.

If you are considering a natural childbirth or a v-bac please feel free to contact me. I’d love to encourage you. I know when you are pregnant you need lots of positive encouragement. You can do it, momma!

Through it all I know God carried me with each step…

This is a favorite verse of mine:

Phillipians 4:13

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. Phillipians 4:13

I love how God can put a verse on your heart and then that verse comes up in conversation or you randomly hear it on the radio. After thinking about the beginning of the pregnancy through childbirth and even now raising a two year old and newborn I see God’s hands all over our lives. I know I cannot do anything without Him. I ask for His help every day. There is nothing too big for Him. He delights in us asking for help because His loves us. So, why not ask for his help? He loves you!

Thanks for reading!

****In the next post I will share some resources that really helped me throughout my pregnancy and delivery.

Stay tuned…

Mimi holding her for the first time

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sophia's first kayaking adventure

Pat and I bought kayaks the summer of 2010. We used to go kayaking pretty regularly before we had Sophia in 2012. However, the past two years I think we have gone kayaking maybe two times.

Pat wanted to go kayaking several times last summer but I just didn't feel comfortable taking Sophia on the boat because she was still so little. Recently, since the weather has been nice Pat has been mentioning kayaking again and wanting to take Sophia. I thought, why not? 

We talked to Sophia about going kayaking and practicing how she would sit in the kayak. 

I honestly didn't think she'd like sitting in the kayak much but she proved me wrong. She had a blast! I guess she's like her parents - she loves the water!

Ready to go!

Peek-a-boo little Isabelle
Can you see her? She's 6 weeks old now!

Hope you all are out enjoying the beautiful weather!