Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our Birth Plan & Thoughts on C-Section

I remember one of my pregnancy posts when a L&D nurse commented about birth plans. She said when a patient walks in with a birth plan, they all wink at each other and go ahead and get the OR ready! I remember feeling so offended (probably pregnancy hormones), but it ended up being true in my case. Still, I wanted to share my birth plan to remember for future pregnancies (we are praying about a VBAC) and in case anyone else wants some tips on verbiage. We worked with a Bradley instructor to develop ours & she gave us lots of great tips and feedback on the wording so that medical staff would be receptive to it. She said to keep it to a page, be as concise as possible, and avoid unnecessary and repetitive words.

I don’t have the document saved on my computer, but here is the typed version of our birth plan.

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I was nervous about what the doctors and nurses would think because I heard so many stories about how they pretty much make fun of birth plans, but my midwife and the doctors were pretty cool about it. They just wanted me to understand this was a “best case scenario” and what my ideal labor and delivery would look like. And they reminded me their ultimate goal was HEALTHY baby and HEALTHY mama. True dat!! We had a copy in our file and I brought a few printed copies to the hospital, but never gave them to the nurses. I don’t know why- I just felt really uncomfortable doing that for some reason. They knew I wanted to go natural, that we had prepared, and were super supportive! They let me do whatever I needed & totally had my back on anything I wanted to try. I still probably should have given a copy to them.

They were so right in our Bradley classes- one intervention totally leads to another. I ended up having pretty much every intervention possible by the time Baby Jase arrived!  It all started with breaking my water & was just a downward spiral once after the third rounf of pushing. (The plus side is that nothing was in my system for very long by the time he arrived.) I went through the whole labor process totally unmedicated (other than the antibiotics for GBS)…up until about 10 pm when we decided to do a caesarean section. We just COULDN’T get that cervical lip out of the way, his heart rate was dropping each time I pushed, and the contractions started becoming weaker. It was just not looking good & I didn’t like the idea of an emergency c-section.  I had been “relaxing through” contractions for about 2 days and I was exhausted at this point. Our last option was to try Pitocin without an epidural to get the contractions stronger, but after hearing the horror stories about Pitocin, I was scared to do that. Recently our midwife said she thought she remembered that he was facing the wrong direction when they opened me up (sunny side up), but that she’d have to look in my file. I didn’t remember that…but I think not knowing exactly “why” is part of my lesson in all of it.

If I had it all to do over again I would have definitely done a few things differently, but ultimately, I know God had a plan.

I will say, we worked VERY hard to prepare for childbirth. We weren’t just “hoping” to go natural & wingin’ it. We prepared a TON. And honestly, it all went well. I couldn’t have asked for the majority of the labor to go any smoother. I was dilated to 7 cm before I even made it to the hospital!! I was very much “in the zone” and relaxed, which made contractions bearable without meds. Still, childbirth is a serious deal, every single time, and you just never know how it’s going to turn out. We had so many people praying for us that I know it turned out exactly how God wanted it. Jonathan reminds me of that too. He prayed FERVENTLY for me and the baby and a healthy delivery EVERY day. Constantly. (I know him, and I know he did- and I am so thankful for all of the prayers.) We didn’t pray that everything would happen exactly like we wanted it to; we just prayed for health and safety. And God was faithful.

**I highly recommend these two books.

The c-section went well, I couldn’t have asked for a better recovery, and Baby Jase is the most perfect & healthy baby. Really. We are so BLESSED!! But I will admit I’ve mourned over having a c-section. I trust God, and I know that should be the end of it. But I’m still sad sometimes. Jonathan has to “remind” me often that God had our best interest at heart, even though of course I know that, I’ve had a few come-to-Jesus meetings with God about this. Sometimes I feel guilty because I almost feel like God had to use this to teach me that “HE is in control”….and not me. If I weren’t so prideful, maybe I wouldn’t have had to learn that lesson this way??

The biggest issue is that I want several children. I want as many children as the good Lord wants to bless us with, and that number might be affected because of a c-section. Our hospital/practice said they allow up to 5 and have had several women successfully have five, so that made me feel better. Plus, of course we always have the beautiful option of adoption.

The other issue is the amount of time I am waiting between pregnancies. Because we are considering a VBAC, they want us to wait at least 18 months before getting pregnant again so the internal incisions have plenty of time to heal and there is lesser chance of uterine rupture. Just going to be totally honest, I am ready for another baby NOW. I am enjoying every moment of my Baby Jase, but I am sad I have to wait so long for another.

Like I said, we are praying about VBAC, and if we do, we will definitely go for natural again. This time I will have less people in the room (distractions), I WILL get in the bath tub (I was progressing so quickly we didn’t think I would have time), & I will give the nurses a copy of the birth plan. Guess we will just see what the Lord has in store for us!

C-Section Tips:

  • Have some knowledge about c-sections. I just assumed I would have a vaginal delivery, so I knew absolutely NOTHING about them. No one in my fam has had one. None of my friends who just had babies had one. We went in blind.
  • Find HELP after the baby is born! Recruit your friends and fam. Jonathan went back to work quickly, so my mom came over daily for about 2-3 weeks to help during the day.
  • Begin walking as soon as possible so you don’t stiffen up.
  • Limit hospital visitors. (This was a personal preference for me.)
  • Only take the pain meds if you’re truly in pain. I only took the Motrin & never took anything stronger at all. After about a week or so, I quit taking anything because I didn’t NEED it.
  • FOLLOW the doctor’s directions. When they say don’t lift anything over a certain weight, don’t walk up stairs, don’t drive, etc., DON’T. Allow your body to heal.
  • Use your arms to pull yourself up and get in and out of bed- do NOT use your core. (I was so thankful I’d kept working out, doing pushups, lifting weights, etc. My arms were strong & that helped a lot.)
  • Make pillows your best friend (awesome for propping yourself up).
  • Leave the strips on as long as possible, pat dry & use a hair dryer after showers.
  • Stay hydrated & eat every few hours.
  • Take the Colace.
  • Don’t overdo anything- rest often. (I felt great so I was able to do more than expected, but I’m thankful I didn’t push it.)
  • Have your hubby check on your incision. Keep it clean & dry and let the doctor know about anything out of the ordinary.
  • It’s okay to be sad, to cry, and to be upset. Still, try to focus on the positives. Healthy baby & mama? Praise the Lord! What more could you really ask for?

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That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. Any other c-section moms have tips?

Healthy (CHEAPER) Chicken

We eat primarily organic, and lots of REAL, whole foods, so our grocery bill is pretty outrageous and I am all about saving any way I can. Our go-to meals pretty much all involve chicken, & I like to buy the BEST quality meat.  Seriously, you can taste the difference….and after watching a few documentaries, I always buy the “good” (AKA expensive) stuff. It’s just worth it. But like I said, that junk ain’t cheap- especially if you’re some serious business chicken consumers like we are. We LOVE this option and wanted to share with you guys. I’ve shared before, but they are coming back around so I wanted to share again because we just ordered more.

We order from Zaycon, pick it up when it comes to our area, & store it in our deep freezer. It’s healthy (100% natural chicken with no added hormones, additives or artificial ingredients), tastes great, eliminates nine million trips to Kroger, AND it’s WAY cheaper because they cut out the middle man. They sell other stuff besides chicken, but this is all we have tried so far. Check out the price difference.

National average prices for Boneless, Skinless Chicken:

  • Retail - $3.65 lb
  • Ad Price - $2.03 lb
  • Zaycon's Price -  $1.89 per pound!

Check it out or place your order HERE. (You can read all about it on the website.)

Homemade Healthy Taco Seasoning, Soy Sauce Alternative, & Pumpkin Protein Shake

I have worried for a while about the ingredients in pre-packaged taco seasoning. If you read the ingredient label, the first thing listed (which is also the highest concentration in that item) is Maltodextrin. What the heck IS that?

I don’t know, but I knew there had to be a way to make some that is homemade so it’s better for you & cheaper. We eat burritos/soft tacos fairly regularly (we use Ezekial wraps, organic ground turkey, spinach, black beans, & plan Greek yogurt as sour cream), so I was pumped when my friend Heather posted a recipe. I finally got around to making it tonight, & next time I will double the recipe. I mixed all of the following ingredients together, stored it in a mason jar, and sprinkled some in to our ground turkey (to taste- sorry, I don’t really measure stuff). Husband approved! Try it- you probably have all of these ingredients on hand too.

Homemade Taco Seasoning: (makes 1 cup)

  • 1/3 c chili powder
  • 3 TBS onion powder
  • 1 1/2 TBS cumin
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • 1 TBS paprika
  • 1 TBS salt

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For the pumpkin protein shake, this seriously couldn’t be ANY easier, & it’s PACKED with nutrition! It’s the perfect meal with 24 g of protein and 24 g of carbs. I know people like to mix it up, and by adding in this one simple ingredient, it doesn’t change that perfect protein to carb ratio. Super YUMMY!!

Pumpkin Protein Shake:

  • 1 packet vanilla meal replacement shake w/ water & ice
  • Sprinkle in Pumpkin Pie Spice to desired taste

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And finally, I am ALL about some Bragg’s! We use the Apple Cider Vinegar (drink 2 TBSP diluted with water) & the Nutritional Yeast Seasoning (sprinkled on veggies- especially yummy on kale chips) every day. My friend Melissa shared a new recipe with us & told me she used Bragg’s Liquid Aminos instead of soy sauce. Brilliant!! This will be perfect in our stir fry and the yummy Quinoa ‘Fried Rice’ recipe she shared! Yum!!

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Enjoy!!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Nowhere I’d Rather Be…

Than right here at home…staring out the window with my fellas….soaking up every sweet minute in our pjs.

I am so in love with my sweet little family & am so thankful for this restful time together.

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Hope you are having a blessed weekend, too!

Wisdom from George Carlin

An observation by George Carlin:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower vi...ewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.

-George Carlin

Friday, December 27, 2013

Jase’s First Christmas

Christmas has always been my favorite, and it is true that children truly make the holidays even more magical! We had such a blast with Jase’s first Christmas and know it will be even more fun as he gets older. We are so thankful for the precious gift of being his parents this year!

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I LOVE to give gifts & tend to go wayyyy overboard! It’s one of my love languages (how I SHOW love, anyway…), but being on a budget means that I really have to demonstrate some serious self control. Jonathan & I have stopped doing gifts for one another for birthdays and anniversaries, and instead DO something fun together & make a memory. I know there will be a time (when we are DEBT FREE) that we will be able to give as freely as we want, but for now, we are on a mission & that’s something we have both agreed on and feel strongly about. We do give gifts for Christmas because we are so frugal throughout the year, but still try to keep it in check and mostly buy things we need. (shampoo, new razors, tennis shoes, boxers, workout clothes- that kind of thing)

We also really wanted to set the pace for gift giving when it comes to Mr. Jase. It is seriously tough not to want to buy him EVERYTHING! But, I want to “start as we mean to go on” & that meant being reasonable with his gifts. I also knew his grandparents would spoil him with gifts, so we took it easy.

Meeting Santa was very….”uneventful.” He was sleepy & missing a nap for his doctor’s appointment to follow, so he just kinda stared. The beard didn’t scare him off at all…

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He also left the Christmas tree alone for the most part (except one ornament he liked to take off the tree to chew on) and there weren’t any presents till two days before Christmas. Yea, we were a little behind this year.

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Jase had a GREAT first Christmas!! We are truly so blessed!!

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Chelsi and Chad came to visit on Christmas Eve, and I LOVED seeing them!! Chels has been my longest running friendship (going strong since 6th grade), and I am SO beyond proud of the woman she has become. I mean SO proud! She is incredibly smart, successful, and a true friend. I love hearing her talk about cooking and healthy eating- she always inspires me to be healthier. I appreciate her friendship even more as we get older and am thankful she has put up with me for so long! We got to do some catching up and they got to spend some time with Jase now that he is bigger. (Big Jon didn’t get to see them because he was finishing our Christmas shopping- procrastinate much?) She baked us some delicious homemade treats from scratch that I look forward to every year, and she gave Jase two of the sweetest books! I was THRILLED and would love for anyone getting him gifts to give us books. We are all about some reading, and even though I’m not big on toys, somehow we have already acquired a ton…so that was the perfect gift. That was the very first gifts he opened, and I honestly didn’t think he would care much- but he had a blast tearing the paper and looking at the books with Aunt Chels! You can tell he loves her like his Mama does.

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Seriously, is this not the sweetest??

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We went to eat with Jonathan’s immediate family for Christmas Eve dinner, and they came back to our house to exchange gifts afterwards. I was so thankful for how his parents and sister handled his first Christmas. They are all crazy about him and he is the first baby on Jon’s side. I didn’t tell them any preferences or ask for anything, but they totally hit a home run! They got him the cutest little wooden tool set with his name on it- it is so precious and he LOVES it! Maybe he’ll be a carpenter like his Daddy? The hammer is his fave. They also got him a little mechanical tractor, and his “big gift” was money for us to put into a savings account for him. What an AWESOME idea! I was pumped and really want to work hard to teach him good money management skills from an early age. Plus, eventually we will give the toys away or donate or sell them in a yard sale…so it seems way smarter to put the money into something that will benefit him in the future.

We enjoyed exchanging gifts with his family- & we really like Jade’s boyfriend Dustin too. Great Christmas Eve with the Butler’s!

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Well that’s one way to get the presents open! (Started drooling like CRAZY on Christmas Eve- totally teething again!)

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Just hangin’ out like a big boy!!

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Jonathan’s sister is gorgeous. Good looks run in the Butler fam!

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LOVES his Grandma & Grandpa!

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Christmas morning we spent some time snuggling in the bed together before taking Jase to open his presents in the living room. I know one day he will be waking us up in the wee hours of the morning, so we enjoyed the sweet cuddle time. He loved opening his presents! (Well, tearing the paper anyway.) We decided to go with the whole “a need, a read, a want, and a wear” concept for Jase. Simple, thoughtful, and not excessive. We also sponsored a few families & plan to make him a bigger part of that in the future so he understands more about giving and grasps that it truly is more “blessed to give than to receive.” For his read we got him 3 new books…the touch and feel is his favorite. The need was a box of diapers (Costco is the best place for diapers) and one of those booster seats that attaches to a table for when you eat out. We wanted to get him a car seat because it won’t be long until he goes to the next size, but we hadn’t done our research yet so decided to hold off. The wear was some sweet Christmas jammies and a sweater vest. And since he’s too young to have a “want” and we knew he’d be getting toys from family, we skipped that one.

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Book worm like his Mama!!

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LOVE this lil cutie booty!!!

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After we ate breakfast, we headed to my parents for our family Christmas. Mom always does the BEST job making each holiday gathering a special & unique one full of memories. We had a delicious pancake/french toast bar, played White Elephant, and enjoyed some “Minute to Win It” games.We had a blast! Mom & Dad bought us a shredder & Baby Jase got a “mini piano.” He loves music! I tried my best to get him to nap while we were there- had the whole set up! But he refused (he’s teething) and finally slept in my mom’s arms for about an hour. He loves that Grammy!

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He finally slept for about an hour in the car as we drove to Dahlonega that evening to do our Butler family Christmas with his extended family at Jonathan’s parents. We brought his bumbo & tray and he ate with us everywhere we went. Turkey, oranges, peppers, green beans, etc. I am so thankful we stuck with the BLW because it means that we all get to enjoy dinner together, and he loves being a part of the meals!!  The food was DELISH, and after dinner & dessert (the red velvet cakes was Jon’s fave and I LOVE their sweet potato soufflĂ© and the chocolate chip cookies!) we exchanged gifts and he got some more fun gifts from family. So thankful for so many people loving on our little man! He slept more on the way home and nursed and went straight to sleep when we got home. Christmas wiped him out! (I totally forgot to get my camera out of the car….boo!)

We definitely want to focus on the true Reason for the season and teach Jase all about that as he gets bigger. We read him the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible and told him all about it!

So, so thankful and so blessed! Already counting down and looking forward to next Christmas!

Baby Jase- The holidays are even MORE special with you in our lives!! We love you so, so very much & are thankful for the JOY you bring to everyone!