Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Positive Change Begins With Us

I usually don't post my opinion on highly controversial topics-- especially on social media-- but I just have to say something. Here's the skinny: I've never really been comfortable with breastfeeding. Perhaps it stems from the fact that nursing hasn't been part of my life, like, ever. I don't have a big family, I don't have nieces or nephews on my side, so it's just not something I was around very much.

When my oldest son was born, it didn't take long for me to discover that I didn't enjoy nursing at all. My breasts weren't cooperative and, quite frankly, I felt weird doing it. I can't explain why I felt this way (because we're told that nursing is supposed to be/feel natural and a bonding experience) but I just felt extremely uncomfortable. After 6 weeks of an honest attempt, along with a horrible experience and a lot of maternal guilt, I found the courage to quit and it turned out to be the best decision for me, my baby, and my family at the time. 7 years later, in preparation for Baby Julian to get here, I went through the exact same guilt and found hardly any supportive information for mother's who choose to formula feed from the get-go. Because of what I had read and the "breast is best only" approach at the classes I had attended, I was overwhelmed with feelings that I must be a selfish mother with something seriously wrong with me because I'm not choosing to nurse-- and even worse, because I don't WANT to nurse. However, with Seth's total support, I stuck to my decision and bottle-fed Baby Julian from the moment he was born. I didn't try nursing once, nor did I pump an ounce. Again, this was the best decision for me, my baby and my family at the time.

I give you that background because a few weeks ago, we went on a date to Smash Burger and there was a woman sitting across from me nursing her (probably) 10 month old baby. Her spaghetti strap tank top was pulled completely down off her shoulder, and her entire breast but the nipple itself was exposed. Her baby would suckle, then stop and look around and the feeding probably lasted 45 minutes. The mother seemed so comfortable while I, on the other hand, was not 100% comfortable with an exposed breast in my peripheral. But I didn't mention it to anyone and went about our date. I asked Seth on the drive home if he noticed it and what he thought about it. We then started talking about how we would have approached this sort of situation had our 7 year old son been there (which I wish he would have been). We had good conversation of the importance of being honest with our children and not shaming them, or anyone else.

Fast forward to today. An article popped up about how nursing women should cover up while feeding in public. I usually don't get involved because I don't nurse, I'm not against breastfeeding in public, and I don't like to read these types of articles because they are written with intent to create a stir... but I was a little interested this time because of my recent experience at Smash Burger. So I read the article… and then I made the mistake of reading the comments. This is what I gathered from it all: nursing mothers are gross, rude and disrespectful if they don't cover up and anyone who may be uncomfortable with uncovered nursing must have deeper issues, are perverted idiots, and are too stupid to understand basic human anatomy.

And now I'm sitting here, totally FLABBERGASTED, thinking "What in the good hell are we doing to each other? And WHY? What. Is. The. Point?"

It's clear that our motive in all of this is to prove to ourselves, to our friends on FB, to the world, to anyone who will listen to us, that OUR way is the RIGHT way. We so desperately want to be "RIGHT" that we will do whatever it takes to get people on our side, to force them to understand why we think the way we do and all the reasons why they're foolish for thinking the way they do. This whole mentality sends shivers down my spine because with 7 billion people walking on Planet Earth, there simply cannot be one right way to live... Right?

Just because I wasn't entirely comfortable in Smash Burger doesn't mean that I am over sexualizing anything, or that I must have "deeper issues", or that I am perverted idiot who clearly doesn't understand the purpose of breasts. It just means that I wasn't raised in that environment and so, it's not something that comes as naturally for me… I didn't feel comfortable even nursing my own babies…. and you know what? That's okay! I'm not a bad, dumb person for feeling that way. And it also doesn't mean that the nursing mother without a coverall is gross, rude or disrespectful for nourishing her baby the way that works for the two of them. It's okay! She's not a bad, inconsiderate person. Just like I have my reasons for feeling the way I do, and doing things the way I do, so does she. And I'm willing to bet my left arm that if someone sat down and genuinely got to know me and the reasons why I didn't nurse, and her about why she was nursing uncovered, they would get reasonable answers that would probably make sense. Maybe not the kind of sense to do it the exact same way, but enough for people to stop and think before making harsh assumptions and trying to prove to everyone that OUR way is the RIGHT way.

The real tragedy here is not if nursing mothers use a cover up, or if Billy voted democrat, or if your neighbor wears yoga pants in public every single day of the year…. it's that in effort to be right about everything all the time, we're losing sight of what really matters: basic human-kindness. We're spending so much time and energy believing that once everyone around us changes, everything will magically be better and we will all get along. And in the mean time, we're ditching dignity and class and we're becoming downright attacking and mean.

But the truth is… it has always and will always start with us. If we switch the focus from others being wrong to how we can be better human beings, and actually WORK ON THAT, we will notice a positive difference in our daily lives, in our relationship with others, in how we view others, and in how we feel about ourselves.

I believe that positive change begins with us.

(And as you can see, this post really isn't about breastfeeding- covered or not… so let's not even go there :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Piece that Binds Us Together

I am simply in love with these photos.

Thanks to Shannon Worley Photography for capturing such a special time in our lives. Baby Jules was just 10 days old here.

We are overly tired, extemely happy, totally in love, super giddy and sometimes really overwhelmed all at once… but every bit of it is worth it and it seems like we're figuring this whole thing out :)

We love this little guy so much!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Baby Julian's Birth Story

Our little guy is here and is 15 days old today!

He was born on April 2nd, 2015 and weighed 6 lbs 15 oz and was 21 inches long.

Isn't he DREAMY!?

My due date was/is April 19th. Crazy to think I could still be pregnant! Holy moly, I am so glad he is here and am so excited to write in words his magnificent entrance into the world!

So here goes… this is Baby Julian's birth story:

Somewhere around my 32 week appointment, I mentioned to my midwife that preggi whoopi is what started my labor 2 weeks early with Little Dude. Because I had been cramping a little bit, she advised me to hold off on anything of the sort until we hit the 36 week mark.

Okey, dokey.

Well I made it to my 36 week appointment and during the internal exam, my midwife thought baby might be breech. Yikes! I was dilated to a 1 and was told my cervix was still really thick. So we scheduled an ultrasound for the following week to see if he was breech, and then my midwife told me to go home and have preggie whoopi to soften things up a bit.

I asked her, "Are you sure I'll make it to my next appointment? Remember it caused my labor 2 weeks early last time…"  She confidently said yes.

Okey, dokey.

Well my in laws were in town and staying at our house, we had a co-ed baby shower/party that weekend, and I wasn't quite ready for baby to come yet… so Seth and I decided to hold off on the whoopi for a few days because I just knew… I knew my body… I knew that the minute we did it, baby would come. My gut said so. So, we waited until our party was over, our company left, and the final purchases were made in preparation for his arrival.

By Wednesday, April 1st, I had everything ready for baby.

Our hospital bags were packed.

The nursery was all set up.

I had downloaded over 5,000 photos from my phone to my computer to free up some space (WOW!).

And I had a gut feeling to snap a photo of my pregnant belly that very night-- just in case (double WOW!).

Then we decided we should give 'er a go before our ultrasound the next morning. After all, I didn't want my midwife to ask how it went and have nothing to report :) So, whoopi it was and we said nighty night at about midnight.

At 1:30 am, I was dreaming about something or other when I felt a slight gush of water. Not a ton, but definitely enough to wake me up.

Um… that is NOT urine, I thought as my eyes popped open.

I ran into the bathroom, sat on the potty and the water just began to drain.

I was shaking… It was surreal… I couldn't believe it!


I hollered for Seth but he had earplugs in and the white noise on full blast.

"Seth! SETH!" I yelled in a elevated whisper.

No response.

I stood up to go get him and more water gushed out all over the bathroom floor. I grabbed a towel nearby and ran to the side of the bed. I shook his shoulder and said,

"Babe, babe, BABE! My water broke!"

And like the typical scene you see in the movies, he shot up in bed and said,

"What!? Are you serious!?"

He hopped out of bed and I bolted back to the potty.

I frantically asked,

"Do we go to the hospital?" 

"What did we learn in the birth class again?"

"I remember they said something about water breaking… and that it only happens in 10% of women before labor/contractions… what do we do now? Do we go now? Or am I suppose to labor here at home for a while? I can't remember what they said about water breaking!"

I asked Seth to run downstairs and get our birthing book to see if we could find the answers in there… Ha! Looking back this cracks me up because it's like, DUH!


He came back upstairs with our birthing guide and I read the chapter on when to go the hospital. As I was reading, the contractions started coming… and so, we decided we'd go right then.

I called my momma, who awesomely answered the phone with a "Yo!" at 1:45am in the morning (I think she was pretty excited!) and while we waited for her to get to our house to watch Little Dude, we gathered all of our stuff and my stomach was literally shrinking by the minute… it was so crazy to see how much fluid there really was in there! No wonder I was measuring SO BIG!

Once my momma made it to our house, it was go time!

The drive to the hospital was surreal… 9 months had passed and I had been dreaming of this moment... it was finally time!

We checked in through the Emergency Room at about 2:15 am and were immediately seen by triage. There, I changed into my gown, my water was still gushing like CRAZY, and we had an ultrasound to see baby's position (he was NOT breech- thank heavens!).

By the time we got admitted to Labor and Delivery and moved to our room, it was about 3:00 am.

The contractions were coming on strong and they were pretty painful. My midwife officially checked me and said I was already dilated to a 5-6. Holy moly! This was going quick! So I asked for the epidural right away. The sooner the better :)

Frustratingly, it took about an hour for them to get the results back from the blood test to even get the epidural. At about 4:00am the anesthesiologist FINALLY came in to administer the drug. Awesome! I was in lots of pain and my contractions were close together and intense!

So he puts the needle in my back and gets the catheter all set up when a nurse pokes her head in the door and says something about a "CRASH" in the room 301 and he is needed "NOW!" My heart sank for the laboring mother down the hall from me… SCARY! I hoped she was okay! But I was very happy to have my drug before he left :) So the anesthesiologist bolts out of my room and I think I'm on my way to pain free labor…


You see, he inserted the catheter in my back but did not press the button for the medicine to begin dripping. Instead, he only had time to use a "starter drug" (meant to work for the 15-30 minute while the epidural kicks in) before running down to the other room.

So there I was, contracting like crazy, with an epidural catheter all ready to go in my back, yet NO medicine dripping to it! The left side of my uterus was "sort of" numb from whatever drug they gave me but it only lasted 30 minutes max. So I sat there for nearly 2 HOURS waiting for him to come back to finish the job… apparently there was another emergency c-section right after the "crash" c-section, putting my wimpy self very last on the list of priorities (which I understand of course, but the situation was so frustrating!). Even our nurse said in 16 years of doing this, she'd never had this happen before and she felt so terrible because no one else but the anesthesiologist himself could press the button.

So we waited. And waited.

Finally, FINALLY, at about 6:00am he made it back into our room and pressed the damn button-- and at this point, I was dilated to an 8. I was pretty grumpy by this point. Before he left, he asked if he could offer a prayer with us… We gladly said yes… and it was a very beautiful prayer!

By 6:30am I felt relief from the contractions. Woohoo!

By 7:35am I was complete and the midwife said it was time.

The moment I heard her say that, I began to tremble. My legs began to shake. There's something so miraculous about childbirth… I was excited and nervous… and hoping that baby would be healthy given he was coming almost 3 weeks early.

As my midwife prepped, I asked Seth to open the blinds. I love the sunlight so much and I love mornings so much, too. I felt a surge of energy with the sunlight :)

I started getting in position to begin pushing when I realized that while I couldn't feel the contractions anymore, I could still feel and move my legs and entire lower body. They weren't numb. At all. I could lift my bum and shift and move however they needed me to. With Little Dude, my legs were like bricks. I felt nothing whatsoever. I was so so so dead. Heck, even my chin and shoulder went numb and my eye drooped. No pain. Anywhere.

But not this time… I could move my legs… I could lift my lower half… I could feel her examining me.

 I knew what this meant… 

I would feel baby come out!

I pushed for only about 35 minutes but it was intense. A LOT harder and more intense than when I pushed with Little Dude. He just popped right out. But this time baby's head was cock-eyed in there, making it hard for him to make his way through the birth canal. Once we got his head turned into the right position, shiz got real really fast! Then the crowning. Oh, the CROWNING!

Hello ring of fire!

Very, very, slowly he inched his way out, which meant I was yelping in pain! I tell you, I think I felt it all! I had to have! I said "shit" in the middle of it… ha! And if I didn't feel it all, then holy hells bells all you natural momma's are TROOPERS! Tears streamed down my cheeks in those final minutes because it hurt so terribly!

Gratefully I had Seth by my side, encouraging me the entire time. And I knew the prize was going to be more than I ever imagined!

The nurse took my gown off of my chest as I was pushing through those final contractions and just like that, in an instant, Baby Julian was pulled from my body and laid on my bare chest at 8:20am. I bawled and looked up at Seth-- the look on his face was so priceless. The feeling in the room was amazing. We had created the most beautiful little boy!

With the nurses help, we rubbed our little guy and finally got a little cry from him.

Moments after he was born- I had tears streaming down my cheeks here
Then we got to experience what may have been my favorite part-- what the hospital calls "The Golden Hour". They recommend that for at least 1-2 hours before doing any tests on baby, or taking his weight, or cleaning him up, or allowing any visitors, we use this special time to bond with baby. And we did just that.

Baby Julian laid on my chest, exactly as he did when he came out, our skin touching, for an hour. And then it was Seth's turn. No one else was in the room but just the three of us, the beautiful sunshine of an early April morning, and the soft whimpers of the life we had created.

Seth took his shirt off for skin to skin right after I snapped this :)

It was heavenly.

The whole experience was just heavenly.

This picture melts my heart and says so much!

I did not tear or have an episiotomy.

I was able to walk to my recovery room after he was born and I felt wonderfully!

Recovery was actually a breeze this time.

I think it's partly because the birth was so quick and easy… but Little Dude's was, too. The difference this time was that we were very low key in the hospital. The only visitors we had were my parents and Little Dude-- and they only stayed for an hour. (Seth's parents are in CA and are coming in a few weeks :) The rest of the time, it was just me, Seth and the baby… and we were able to relax and relish the special time and focus on learning everything we needed to know. And it was so neat being just us that we were giddy almost… we didn't have to entertain anyone, we got to rest a little, and we got to actually hold our baby (when Little Dude was born it felt like we had so many visitors, I never got to hold him really-- everyone else did). This time it was about US-- just us-- and it made all the difference I think. 

It was truly spectacular!

I loved the experience of having a midwife… I loved the experience of The Golden Hour… I loved it being just Seth and I… I loved EVERYTHING about the whole experience… Infact, I loved it so much I am ready to do it again!

Okay, kidding, not for a while :)

Bottom line: we are so so so in love with our sweet baby boy!

Baby Julian is the miraculous piece that binds us all together.

Five years ago you couldn't have paid me to believe I'd be here, doing this all over again. I had lost faith in love and families and second chances. It's so amazing how much can change… how much can be healed… how much can bloom… it might be different than I initially imagined, but by trusting myself and letting goodness in again, it has manifested itself in the most beautiful ways.

Baby "Jules" has made our world so much brighter!


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Baby Boyack's Nursery

This has been SUCH a fun project to slowly pluck away at these last 3 months or so.

Because I had absolutely nothing left over from when Little Dude was a bambino, I got to start completely over :)

I wanted bright and simple and fun... and I think it turned out SO cute!

I'm still torn about keeping the bumpers in the crib. They are darling…and they totally complete the room... but after reading that you shouldn't have bumpers anymore, and after hearing a BIG "No No No!" at our Baby Your Baby Class a few weeks ago, I may take them out. Although, I do worry about baby getting wedged in the crib slats at some point so… we'll see. For now, I'm just going to bask in their cuteness :)

p.s. I think it's important to note that I hung the pictures all by myself… it took me about an hour and a half to measure and get it right, but I DID IT! And I only made one boo boo hole in the wall. Not too shabby :)

I especially LOVE how the changing area turned out. It was cheap and easy, which is always a plus! We already had the Ikea shelf and it fits a changing pad perfectly. So I bought the little baskets for $6 a pop at Home Depot, I found the little wooden bins at TJ Maxx on clearance, and I made the felt ball mobile myself!

Isn't it DARLING?! All it took was some wood pieces, some felt balls from Etsy (I didn't want to make them), and some string. I am obsessed! In a perfect world, I would have it hanging lower, but because Seth is so tall, the felt balls would be dangling right in his face during poopy diaper changes… ha!

I'm really digging book shelves lately :) 

And I am SO lucky that a twin bed FITS in the room! YAY! No baby in our bedroom… no walking down the long hall during the middle of the night. Instead, I'm going to be hunkering with little guy, in his room, for the first little while. I think Seth is especially thrilled about this… lol :)

And then there's the most comfy chair on planet earth. This was totally worth it! I have found myself sitting in it just to sit in it :)

Overall, I think it's cute… but I can't wait to put it to use! I'm hoping it's functional and comfortable for the both of us.

And just because, here is a picture of our Little Guy at our 36 week appointment. I wept happy tears as I saw his little face. This 3-D stuff wasn't offered to me 7 years ago, so it was a really neat experience for Seth and I. We cannot wait to meet HIM! 

I mean, look at those cheeks and lips! 

2 weeks to go! Ahhhhh! :) Scared and excited! 


Monday, March 16, 2015


Much has been going on and time is just FLYING!

Can you believe that we get to meet our newest little fella in less than 5 weeks? Isn't that just CRAZY?!  I am nervous and terrified and ecstatic and everything in between.  And I have a bunch of things I'm going to be blogging about once life settles a little bit. But tonight, Seth and I are heading to a 3 hour crash course in how to care for a newborn… HA! It's called Baby Your Baby and we are both really looking forward to it. I have NO IDEA what I'm doing. No clue. I'm hoping tonight refreshes my memory a bit :)

So here is a glimpse of me at 35 weeks. I didn't take many pictures with Little Dude, nor have I with this one… so I am trying to snap a few before it's all over :) Everywhere I go, people say

"WOW! You must be due any day!"

 "Ummmmm, no… I'm just really large and in charge right now. Thank you though :)"

I've totally surpassed my delivery weight with Little Dude and seriously have no idea how much more I can grow… but the doctors keep telling me there is definitely room and I am right on track.


But I DO LOVE feeling this little human inside of me. It's unlike anything in the world. Miraculous and tender and surreal all at the same time. I feel blessed.

Another fun thing was that in the latter part of January I was able to fly to Utah and see some of my favorite family and friends ever! And I was super spoiled to have 3 BABY SHOWERS in just one weekend! To say I felt totally loved and supported is an understatement.

I don't know, after going through what I have, it's sometimes easy to feel like a failure or to be a little embarrassed because my life fell apart and many of these people have seen me in my darkest of moments, trying to pick the pieces back up. It's like I wonder if they're tired of me yet? Or tired of all the change in my life? But incredibly enough… all of the same people are still in my life and for that, I feel so so so fortunate.

In fact, I think I cried at each gathering because I absolutely LOVE all of the people in my life.

And I must say that Baby Boy was SUPER spoiled :)

This first photo was a super quaint and special Friday evening with some of the strongest ladies I know. I met them when my life turned upside down and they helped me get back up. It's amazing what our hardest of trials bring us.

Then on Saturday I got to see my family and many of my oldest friends. It was SOOOO wonderful… I feel so honored to have so many loyal and beautiful women in my life. 3 hours went by in a hurry and my only regret was not being able to talk to everyone A LOT longer!

And then later that evening I was surprised with the most delicate and delicious shower I've ever seen! My dear friend Rachel (a therapist from Addo Recovery) spent hours and hours and hours and HOURS baking and creating this GORGEOUS SET UP! Everything was handmade, from scratch, and was to DIE FOR!

She had:

Fresh Peaches and Cream Cake

Citrus Cake

Lemon Cheesecake

White Chocolate Raspberry Cake

and Salted Chocolate Fudge Cake

After 5 HOURS of visiting and giggling with some of the most brave and loving women on the planet, my heart was so full it almost BURST… annnnnd my belly almost burst too :) It was definitely a night to remember!

Other than that goodness, I have spent the rest of my time planning and preparing for TOGETHERNESS which is THIS WEEKEND! I cannot believe the time is already here! It's going to be a smaller group-- just like last year-- but there is something really special about it.

I'm also teaching a class which for some reason or another, I am TERRIFIED to do so. You'd think it would be a breeze compared to hosting the conferences… but no, not this one. I hope I can give someone something they needed to hear. Eeeek! My class is "The D-WORD: Finding Happiness through and After Divorce". Wish me luck!

I do have exciting news that I haven't shared here, or anywhere, yet! Last June I embarked on a really life-changing and AMAZING journey… something that totally transformed my life… and I can't wait to share it with all of you! But it'll take more than just a blip in a post, so it'll have to wait… but NEAT things are on the horizon and I'm excited to share them with you!

All my love, my friends.

I'll be back soon!

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