the c-section elephant in the room.

where my heart resides-1

Dearest blog readers,

I feel obligated to tell you that I have decided to have another c-section.

Say whaaaaaaaat?

It’s true. In case you’re relatively new to this blog, here’s the short version of my first birth:

I found out at 36 weeks pregnant that Everett was breech. I did everything in my human power to flip him around (picture me lying upside down on an ironing board with frozen fried rice on the top of my stomach and headphones in my underwear). Nothing worked. I even had a painful procedure done where a doctor stood over me and manually tried to turn the baby with her hands. That didn’t work either. So, my casual laid-back birth plan of maybe-I’ll-use-a-birthing-tub/maybe-I’ll-use-a-doula/maybe-I’ll-use drugs turned into C-SECTION OR BUST. I had no choice.

And Everett was born healthy as could be and we were all fine.

This past January when I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I had a decision to make: VBAC or repeat c-section. That decision haunted me almost immediately, but I was grateful to have the choice.

And here’s where I am going to be totally, perfectly, 100% honest with you. The truth is: I had no desire to do a VBAC.

And nobody was shocked by this more than me.

I remember during my c-section, I explicitly asked the doctor to check out my insides and make sure there was nothing wrong with me. I remember asking that same doctor during my postpartum checkup if I would be a good candidate for a VBAC and feeling a sense of relief when she said yes.

So, what changed?

I have no idea. Time and perspective, I suppose. Looking back, I actually had a wonderful c-section experience. There were a lot of pros. It’s nice to know exactly when your baby will be born. It’s nice to show up at the hospital showered with clean hair and shaved legs. It’s nice to get the baby out of you in 15 minutes while you feel no pain whatsoever, and it’s nice to enjoy your first moments with your baby protected by a blue sheet bubble.

(Also, real talk: it’s nice to keep your lady parts in tact and not pee every time you sneeze.)

When I think back to my c-section with Everett, I remember it as a magical, wonderful, life-changing experience. I do not feel like I missed out on anything because I didn’t go into labor or feel contractions or tear certain things that were not meant to be torn. It was not the birth I had planned on, but it was the birth that I had. And because of that, the bright operating room and sterile environment that once terrified me is now my comfort zone. Meanwhile, the thought of doing a VBAC completely terrifies me. It feels foreign, and strange, and anxiety-inducing. I have a million fears about doing a VBAC, most of which are related to Everett’s 95th percentile head size and the possibility of ending up in a c-section anyways. I don’t feel confident about it, I don’t feel connected to it, and most importantly: I feel no burning desire to do it. 

So that, friends, is where I have landed. I have done the research. I have talked to the doctors and midwives. I have read the stats and gone over the risk factors with both options. There are risk factors with both options. And ultimately, I have chosen the path I believe will be best for my baby and my body and my mind and my soul, and that is to have another scheduled c-section.

Our sweet baby boy will be born on Monday, October 27th. Barring no complications, we should be home in time for Halloween so Everett can go trick-or-treating while I stuff my face with well-earned candy bars.

Here’s to all of our birth stories, whether they involve water tubs or hospital beds or the backseats of cars (!) or operating tables. Let us all remember we are blessed to bring babies into this world, no matter how they get here.

Posted in be, love | Tagged , , , , | 56 Comments

10 ways to treat yo-self.

WMHR-1

“Self-care” has been a bit of a buzz phrase in 2014. I remember rolling my eyes at a bunch of blog posts back in January talking about the importance of self-care and self-love and resolutions to “spend more time on me.” 

And then the month of August happened and I found myself in a state of total and complete burnout. Physically. Mentally. Socially. Emotionally.

(Go ahead. Roll your eyes.)

All of a sudden those blog posts I had read didn’t sound half bad. Why shouldn’t I explore some self-care? Why shouldn’t I spend some time taking care of myself and not feeling guilty about it? Why shouldn’t I…..treat myself?

So, I did. I started finding tiny ways to treat myself throughout the week. I didn’t have a newsworthy epiphany or grand transformation, but I started to realize that allowing myself small indulgences throughout our daily routine made me a happier, better functioning person.

In case you have also found yourself in a recent state of burnout, allow me to present….

10 Ways To Treat Yo-self:

1. PASTRIES. When I work from a coffee shop, I get a scone. Always. Sometimes I’ll go for a muffin, but I’m really more of a scone girl. Let’s be honest: coffee is just better with a pastry on the side.

2. TARGET BY YOURSELF. When I go to Target alone (happens once in a blue moon), I get a small bag of popcorn and a cherry Icee. And then I stroll down all the aisles slowly. I smell all the candles. I touch all the pillows. I examine all the lipstick colors. I really don’t think you have experienced self-care until you you have spent one hour, uninterrupted, at Target with popcorn and an icee. Seriously, TRY IT.

3. SUNDAY NIGHT FACE. Earlier this summer I started a tradition I like to call Sunday Night Face. Basically, every Sunday night I treat myself to a clay face mask, followed by two Biore strips. And then I wash all of my makeup brushes. It makes me feel fancy.

4. GIANT LUNCH. I know a lot of my self-care has to do with food, but I’m 34 weeks pregnant, so I can’t help it. Every day I make a monster lunch: turkey sandwich, cheetos or chips, grapes or apple slices, and chocolate chip cookies. I make the lunch while Everett is awake, and then I eat it when he is asleep. I don’t know why, but this makes everything better. I usually turn on Bravo for the four minutes it takes me to inhale said monster lunch and for four whole minutes, I am SO HAPPY.

5. BINGE WATCHING. Truth: I can barely remember life before Netflix. Nothing says self-care quite like watching six episodes of good television in a row. I’m currently binge watching The Good Wife (via Amazon Prime), based on Diana’s recommendation. Also, in case you haven’t heard, Gilmore Girls is coming to Netflix so you know what I’ll be watching this fall.

6. PEDICURES. Pregnant or not pregnant, I put $25 in the monthly budget for a pedicure. I save my Real Simple magazine for such an occasion, and reset the massage chair approximately four times while I’m there. The. Best.

7. FLOWERS. A few times a month I treat myself to a $5 bouquet of fresh flowers from Trader Joes. Even if the rest of my house is a total disaster, a jar of flowers on the kitchen table makes me feel like it’s not that bad.

8. THE GYM. Ev and I go to the gym almost every afternoon with my sister wife Christina and her son Benjamin. The boys have a great time playing in the ball pit while we waddle next to each other on the treadmill swapping awkward pregnancy stories and emotional rants. I’m not a gym buff by any means, but waddling on the treadmill with a girlfriend for 45 minutes every afternoon seems to be good for my soul. And hey, it makes me feel better about the ice cream I eat every night, so there’s that too.

9. NEW UNDERWEAR. This might be a pregnancy thing, or maybe it’s just a me thing (awkward!), but I kinda think buying new underwear is the ultimate in self-care. Like, what is better than brand new underwear? Nothing. Seriously nothing.

10. BREAKFAST FOR DINNER. Breakfast is, by far, my favorite meal of the day. I love cereal. I love scrambled eggs. I love hash browns and french toast and waffles and yogurt. Whenever I don’t feel like cooking something fancy (and by fancy, I mean tacos), I simply make breakfast for dinner and call it a day. Yum.

And that’s my list. How do you treat yo-self?

p.s. That adorable tote bag was a gift from my friend Kristen. Get it here.

Posted in be | Tagged , | 31 Comments

stop trying to make it perfect.

Where My Heart Resides-1

“I tell him about the weight, the burden of representing something as beautiful and hard and messy and glorious as motherhood—this thing I believe in with all my heart, this thing I am dedicated to, this thing that feels like a 60-pound backpack on my shoulders. I confess my need to control, my struggle to delegate, my longing for every single post to be perfect.

I tell him about my fears, my insecurities, my anxiety that all of my hard work will fall apart while I’m drowning in newborn-land again, breastfeeding all day long while trying to entertain a toddler with one free hand.

How will I do this? 

He wraps his arms around me while I cry and reminds me of the familiar mantra I have spewed at him anytime he was overworked and overwhelmed: “You need to stop trying to make it perfect, and make it good enough.”

Touché.

Good enough. Good enough. Good enough.

I don’t know how to be good enough.”

…..read the rest over at Coffee + Crumbs today.

Posted in be | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

third trimester faves.

Thirdtrimesterfavorites2

1. Jellyfish leather t-bar flats - Last month, ASOS was having a huuuuge sale, and I decided to treat myself to something that would surely fit at this point in pregnancy: shoes. At 8.5 months pregnant, I’m pretty much wearing flats exclusively, and these just so happen to look great with everything.

2. Split shoulder tee - You know where I’m not gaining weight these days? My shoulders. Might as well show those bad boys off. (Seriously though, this shirt is super flattering and one of my faves this month.)

3. ASOS shapewear leggings - We went to Santa Cruz a couple weekends ago—you know, where it’s not 103 degrees—and I was finally able to bust out my favorite maternity leggings. These fit like a dream, and I plan to wear them all winter long while my body slowly shrinks back to normal.

4. Dr. Jart BB cream - I have terrible skin when I’m pregnant. Terrible. My skin gets super oily and I break out a lot more than usual. This is my go-to “face base” and I cannot recommend it enough. I got a sample of this in my Birchbox a year ago, and have been hooked ever since. Some days I add a light layer of foundation on top, but most of the time I just apply concealer under my eyes and I’m good to go!

5. Unisom - Real talk: I am addicted to sleeping pills. Okay, not really, but kind of. I have legit insomnia when I am pregnant. As in—I will wake up at 3am and watch TV for two hours on the couch, eating bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios like it’s my job. And then I’ll work on my laptop until everyone else wakes up, at which point I’ll be a walking zombie for the rest of the day. It’s not cute. After complaining to my midwife, she suggested I try Unisom and it has been a LIFESAVER this pregnancy. I take half a tablet almost every night and have been sleeping like a dream. This is probably my #1 pregnancy staple this time around.

6. MAMA skinny jeans - Confession: this was an impulse buy last week. I don’t know, I got caught up in the Pumpkin Spice Latte hype or something. It’s still way too hot to wear jeans but I tried these on in the fitting room and couldn’t believe how well they fit. I couldn’t justify buying a “real” new pair of jeans this fall/winter since I know my body will be changing so much, but $35 for skinny jeans with a stretchy waistband seemed like a reasonable purchase. Happy sweater weather to me.

7. Floral nightgown - Last month I went shopping with my friend Christina who is due one week before me. We treated ourselves to new nursing bras, new sweatpants, and pretty new nightgowns to bring to the hospital. I wear this every single night and basically want to live in it. Plus! It has nursing straps, which is perfect for middle-of-the-night feedings.

This officially concludes the roundups of pregnancy faves, but in case you missed em, I am still enjoying all of these as well: first trimester faves // second trimester faves

Posted in get | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

on making room.

Where my heart resides

I’ll be the first to admit: I always knew I was going to be the type of momma to go a little overboard on the nursery. I knew there would be a well-developed Pinterest board, a neutral color scheme, and plenty of non-baby decor items neatly arranged on top of the dresser. I knew people were going to roll their eyes at me.

Some of you are probably rolling your eyes right now.

That’s okay.

Because halfway through decorating Everett’s nursery, I realized something about the process. I realized that my attention to detail and obsessive compulsive tendencies were less about making a Pinterest-perfect room and more about simply making room

There I was—six months pregnant—folding and re-folding neat stacks of freshly washed burp cloths, having the epiphany of a lifetime.

I was making room
In my heart. In the dresser. In the closet. In my marriage. In my home. In my life.

In my everything. 

That nursery became a sanctuary for me—a place where I could let my mind wander and spend intentional time focusing on the tiny life growing inside of me. I spent hours upon hours in that room, arranging globes and hanging maps, folding onesies and stocking the diaper drawer with unopened creams and lotions. As I moved around the room shifting items on the bookcase, I wondered what our baby would look like, sound like, be like. I wondered if he would love to read like his mom and if he would be good at basketball like his dad.

With every folded onesie and pinwheel tacked to the wall, I felt a little more ready, a little more connected, a little more prepared. It was therapeutic. Cathartic. Peaceful. I found myself drawn to that room every afternoon, straightening books on the shelves and fluffing the pillow on the rocking chair. I moved the teddy bear to the left of the crib, then back to the right, then back to the left again. I carefully analyzed every item in that room, every sock, every piece of art on the walls. I could have described every last detail in a police report if I needed to.

That nursery was more than a nursery. It was the room where I made room—for him, for us, for all of it.

***

As I approach the ninth month of my second pregnancy, I have found myself spending more and more time in this baby’s room. I feel guilty admitting that his nursery has been more of an afterthought, but that’s the truth. I have only just now started putting the room together, with seven weeks of pregnancy left to go.

It has been hard to focus, to be intentional, to feel connected to this life growing inside of me while the first life that grew inside of me is running around the house like a monkey jumping off the couch and asking for more crackers. If it wasn’t for the fact that none of my clothes fit and I have to pee every sixteen minutes, I might occasionally forget that I’m pregnant altogether.

And I really, really hate that. 

So, for the next seven weeks, I’m giving myself permission to turn back into that crazy, eye-roll-inducing momma. I’m giving myself permission to fold and re-fold the onesies, to meticulously arrange feather decals on the wall, to sort the books alphabetically if I feel like it. I’m going to find room in the budget for a new rug, and I’m going to order that $26 print off Etsy that compliments our theme so perfectly. I apologize in advance for the instagrams that will surely follow.

But I hope at least now you see—this nursery is not about the elephant crib sheets or the adorable giraffe lamp or the dream catchers hanging on the wall. And those other mommas over there? It might not be about their birdcages and twig wreaths and vintage dresser knobs.

For some of us, it’s simply about making room.
In our hearts. In our dressers. In our closets. In our everything.

***

Everett’s nursery tour + Baby #2′s Pinterest board

p.s. I’m back on HuffPo today (!!!) defending two-year-olds

Posted in love | Tagged , , | 16 Comments