Friday, July 28, 2017

Finding Art Inspiration in an ASOS Sequin Dress

Hi there! If you have been following my blog for a while, some of you may remember that last summer I found the dress of my dreams...

But sadly, it was over $200 dollars and I had no reason to justify buying it...and lets be honest, I currently have a closet full of sequin dresses that I never wear.
I hold on to the hope that one day my life will suddenly become more glamorous than it is, and I will have lots of reasons to wear them.
Anyway, I also bought a canvas letter E last summer to paint and hang up in my house, and I was having trouble figuring out what to paint on it when I remembered this dress.
So drew out the sketch while I was pregnant, and I finally just got around to painting it. It has taken me about a week because I've been trying to squeeze it in between during baby naps and also take care of house work and shower and get a nap myself, but I finally finished it yesterday. 
I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.
Maybe I can't have the dress of my dreams, but I can have a little bit of it with this artwork to hang up on my wall now.
I hope this inspires you to be creative today!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Book Review: Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

Hey everyone, I hope your week is going well!
 I just finished this book, "Uninvited" by Lysa Terkeurst and I wanted to take the time to share it with you.
Probably since about the time I hit high school I have struggled with feelings of loneliness and rejection, and I still do from time to time. I never felt like a was someone's first choice of friend, and I've never really had a best friend. I recognize this is partially my fault. You see, I am what they call an "extroverted-introvert". I am social and like to have friends and go and do things, but I also really just like being at home with my family or by myself, and I suppose sometimes I choose that over doing things with friends which has probably led to them just quitting of thinking to invite me to things anymore. 
I have struggled with feelings of being slighted or overlooked in an areas I am passionate about. 
Whether it was being overlooked for a solo in a dance piece, or a scholarship, or being rejected time and time again in the job interview process, or even feeling like an outsider in my career. The fear of rejection and loneliness never goes away.
I recognize that I have held onto hurts and allowed myself to become bitter over past rejections, and while I have "moved on" and I haven't entirely let it go.
Lysa TerKeurst addresses these issues in this book, and it makes the reader feel validated by sharing her own heartaches and rejections. She is a successful writer and woman of ministry, and yet, she also has felt the sting of rejection and embarrassment and self doubt.
As I am sharing this book with you I am kicking myself for not highlighting areas of the book that really resonated with me, but I think the quote from the book that best describes how we should view our hurts and rejections is this:
"The more fully we invite God in, the less we will feel uninvited by others."
If you relate to me in these thoughts and feelings then I highly recommend you read this book!
The message spoke to my heart and inspired me to shift my frame of mind when dealing with rejection.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted 
and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18

Friday, July 14, 2017

1 Samuel 1-- Hannah: A Faithful Mom

I don't journal very diligently, but last week I had time and I was inspired from my bible reading, so I did while Landon was sleeping. Right now he's out on a walk with Dad so I thought I might share my journal entry with you all instead of taking a shower, because, priorities right? 

Wednesday, July 12th

After a semi-difficult night with Landon, he is now asleep in the swing. Joel went out to run some errands and I am having some quiet time. I haven't showered in 2 days (*note from the editor; I'm sensing a theme here, I promise I am not an unhygienic person!)  and now would probably be a good time to do that, except I am too paranoid to leave Landon asleep, alone, in the swing even if only for 10 minutes. In desperation I gave in a suggested we try putting Landon to sleep in the swing at 5 am this morning. It worked, he's still alive and Joel and I were able to get a couple more hours of sleep.

My bible readings this week are from 1 Samuel and it starts with the story of Hannah. She could not conceive and she wanted a child so badly that she promised to give him up to the Lord if he granted her prayers. He did, and she followed through by giving him over to be raised by the priest, Eli, after having weaned him; his name Samuel. What a faithful woman. I cannot fathom wanting a child so badly only to give him away after a year, even knowing that it was for a higher purpose.

I can see that, right now, I am holding my child back from the Lord by holding on to earthly worries, fears and anxieties. I feel guilty at times for bringing a life into this world that has so many evils and horrible travesties. I worry about being able to protect my baby. Did I make the right choice by having a child?

I am such an anxious person, one of my sin struggles. How can I even imagine having another child in the future when I worry so much over this one? I think of Hannah. God is not asking me to physically give my son to him, but to raise him up in faith. I need to trust the Lord's plans for our lives and for Landon. I need to stop worrying and seek the Lord with prayer and petition and trust that God will provide and protect our family. 

Dear Lord, please bless and protect our family. Please give Joel and I wisdom to parent. I lift Landon up to you that he would grow to become a great man of faith. Strengthen him and bless him with wisdom, that he will do great things for you in this world. Amen!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

C-Section Experience From a First Time Mom

Hi there! It's been over a month since the last time I posted, and when I left you guys, I had gone in for a version to flip baby boy, which didn't work-so you may have figured by now, I have been MIA because I am not the Mom of a 1 month old! So here's a short recap of my birthing experience. Warning: this is a long post so I chunked up into sections for easier reading.

First of all: don't expect your experience to be the same as anyone else!
Perhaps, though, maybe my story might help someone to be a little more prepared going into it.

As soon as I found out I was going to be having a C-section, I started looking up information on Pinterest. Some of it was helpful, some of it was not. 

I had a scheduled C-section because my baby was breech, and I had it at 38 weeks and 1 day because my blood pressure was dangerously high. I only found out when I was going to have the C-section, 2 days before because my doctor decided it we needed to get the baby out ASAP in order to keep us both safe.

I was very nervous and had a range of emotions leading up to the surgery.
I've never had a surgery before, I didn't go to any birthing classes, and I was feeling anxious/sad about the fact that in 2 days, I would no longer be pregnant, but I would be a mom!

Having a scheduled C-section is much different than having an emergency C-section.
I have had heard horror stories about other women's C-section experiences, but for me the experience was not that bad--don't get me wrong, it's by no means an easy thing to go through, but it was not the worst pain I've ever been in, and at 4 weeks postpartum, I am really starting to feel relatively normal.

I was not allowed to eat or drink anything for 8 hours before my surgery. Lucky for me, my doctor scheduled it as early as she could so I just had an early dinner and then slept through the non eating portion. The hardest about that was not being able to drink anything during that time, because during my 2nd & 3rd trimester I was extremely thirsty all the time!
I had to take a shower before I went to bed & when I woke up in the morning using a special antiseptic wash. I also had to make sure I slept in freshly laundered clothing and bedding. This is all to help prevent any infection. I also did my makeup in the morning before I went because I did want to feel pretty in our first family pictures (I made sure to wear waterproof mascara!)

We had to be at the hospital at 5 am, my parents kept us company while I was being prepped and before we went in. My surgery was scheduled for 7 am. They took me in by myself to prepare the final stages before bringing in my husband. They put up a curtain over the incision point so we couldn't see the procedure.The worst part about the whole procedure was before hand I had uncontrollable shivers, and the epidural made me nauseous for about 1 minute, but right when I got to the point where I thought I was going to throw up, the anti-nausea medication kicked in. 
Then they brought in my husband to hold my hand through the procedure and started the surgery at 7:30 and our baby was delivered at 8 am. I could feel my doctor and nurses working on my stomach, but not enough to be able to tell what they were doing-- I didn't even realize that they had started the incision and then I heard someone say "I see a leg!" Joel asked if he could go look and he got to see out baby being delivered!

They cut the cord, and then took him to be weighed and get the liquid out of his lungs. Joel then cut the excess cord off (they leave a stub on that falls off at about 2 weeks). C-section babies don't cry right away, but before I got to see my baby, I heard him squealing--he sounded like a little baby piglet!

Then they brought him to me, uncleaned, as soon as they could so we could have skin to skin time right away. Because I was still laying on my back while they were stitching me up I couldn't really get a good look at him for a while. I was pretty overwhelmed and a little out of it, I teared up when I first heard him squeal, but I didn't cry when I saw him. My husband did though :) Don't tell him I told! All the nurses, my anesthesiologist and my doctor were awesome and made me feel comforted and at ease the whole way through. The whole thing from preparation to finish only took about an hour. One thing about a c-section that felt a little strange for me is a disconnect from the laboring process. I was pregnant and then I wasn't. I didn't see or feel my baby being delivered, so sometimes I have a hard time comprehending that he was inside of me for 9 months!

We stayed in the hospital for 3 nights. The first night I had to have a catheter and an IV in. 
Also, I had a male nurse my first night, which for me was a little awkward, but I got over it pretty quick because I was so exhausted and my husband was there with me the whole time so it wasn't too awkward. 

We had quite a few visitors in the hospital, and it didn't bother me. Joel and I invited people and wanted people to come--but first time mom's possible reading this: don't feel bad if you don't want visitors! None of my visitors over stayed, and all of the hospital staff was very kind, but I have to admit, by the second night I was feeling very overwhelmed. I had so many different nurses, and lactation specialists and pediatricians come in to talk to us and check up on us that the introvert in me got to a point where I just wanted an hour alone! Sometimes it was even hard to find time to eat dinner! But then our last night/day no one really came to check in on us at all and it made me a little anxious.

One of the most overwhelming things after delivering is trying to breastfeed. So many people had different trips and tricks for me, and so many different people saw and touched my breasts in order to help I was just kind of emotionally over it after a while. I was still very swollen everywhere after the surgery, and my nipples inverted so my baby couldn't latch. I ended up using a nipple shield (still am) and our baby was able to latch on easily after that. I honestly think I would have given up on breastfeeding if it wasn't for my husband. I jokingly nicknamed him the "breastfeeding nazi" because he was always on me to pump and helping me get set up and helping wake up me and the baby to feed. I had really lost motivation because it was so hard, but he kept on me!

I had spent quite a bit of time beforehand researching what to pack in my hospital bag--and I totally over-packed. I don't know who these women are who get dressed and do their makeup everyday in the hospital after a c-section, but I am not one of them. I spent the first 2 days in the ugly hospital robe and I flat out was too exhausted to care about what I looked like. The 3rd day I took a shower and put on my own clothes, and the last day I took a shower, didn't wash my hair, put on comfy clothes to go home in and very minimal makeup just to look nice for a family picture. Really all you need is a couple of comfy tops and bottoms, high-waisted underwear, slippers, robe, minimal makeup, and showering/grooming toiletries and a going home outfit for the baby, plus whatever documents you are supposed to bring. Oh and of course your phone and charger. I didn't bring gifts for the labor and deliver nurses like other bloggers on Pinterest said to (sorry, but I had quite a few while I was there) and I didn't bring snacks. You can order meals and snacks from the kitchen.

After getting home, I realized I had some questions about my surgery that I wished I had asked my doctor. The hospital sends you home with a lot of information on how to care for your baby, not anything on how to care for yourself after your c-section; that was mostly just told to me and I got told so much stuff over the course of my stay that I didn't remember a lot of it. The main thing I remembered was no lifting anything heavier than the baby in a carrier or driving for 10 days and no intercourse for 6 weeks. Here are a few questions I wish I would have asked:
-How soon can I take a bath?
-How soon can I go swimming (it's summer!)
-Is the tape on my incision supposed to come off on its own?
-When do I remove the tape if it's not coming off on its own before my 6 week postpartum appointment?

Getting in the car to go home was the most relieving feeling ever!! I was very nervous to leave the hospital, but I didn't realize how exhausting it was to be there until we got in the car to go home. 
We were very fortunate to have a lot of support when we got home. My mom stayed with us for a few days, and then Joel's mom stayed with us for a few days and friends and family brought us meals.
I feel I am healing very well. I started weaning myself off of the pain pills before I even left the hospital. I didn't take them every day when I got home, and I now I am completely off of them. I haven't taken any in over a week. Again, it's not the worst pain I've ever had, but there were days where the pain pills did really help. I am fortunate that I haven't had any hemorrhoids or infections throughout my whole process. I have just started getting back into light activity the last couple of weeks, going on neighborhood walks in the evening. This week I am going to start some light activity on the elliptical. It has been difficult for me the last month, at times, to just take it easy. I often felt guilty or anxious that I should be more active and start trying to get back into the habit of exercising or that I shouldn't be relying so much on other people to do things for me, or worrying when my body was still aching. I actually did get a low grade fever and was extremely exhausted toward the end of my second week and I had to take a step back and tell myself "you had a major surgery and you have a newborn baby: it's OK that you are not physically and emotionally back to normal yet!"

One thing that I have seen come up a lot since giving birth, is the amount of people that compare birth stories, like somehow having an extremely tough labor makes you more important or superior to other moms. I have not personally had anyone make comments to me about a c-section being the easy way out, but I have friends who have. I don't understand the comparisons at all. I always assumed that I would give birth vaginally, but I was not in anyway disappointed that I did not. The only reason why we even tried the version to flip the baby was because I had heard that a c-section took longer to recover from than a vaginal birth. My c-section experience was great, and I am glad that I had one. I am recovering just fine and I don't feel like I am any "less of a woman" because I didn't deliver my baby vaginally. I guess some people negatively claim that having a c-section is an "easy way out". I can honestly say that FOR ME, having a c-section was a lot easier than I think a vaginal birth would have been, but guess what? I don't really care! A scheduled c-section was what was safest for my baby and I and that's all that matters to me!

Our First Family Picture
So there it is! Our birth story. I hope that anyone who is having a c-section for the first time and happens to read this post, that it helps you in some way!
P.S. I am a lazy blogger and I don't do this professionally, so I hardly ever go back and edit my posts. So, sorry not sorry for any typos and/or grammatical errors. I may go back and edit it someday ;)