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A Dinner Prayer

12 month family photo

Thank You for the food before us, and the company beside us. We pray for those who are not as fortunate to have a meal. We pray for our family’s good health. We thank You for the loved ones that are present here, and thank You for the time granted to us with those who are not. Thank You for our family and friends. May their hearts be filled with peace and remain open to many blessings to come. We love You. Amen.


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My First Mother’s Day. A Letter To My Daughter.

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The day before my first Mother’s Day, I write this letter to my daughter.

Dear Holly,

Mommy loves you. I will always love you nomatter what. My love is unconditional. I thank God everyday for the gift of you. If a day comes and I am no longer on this earth, I hope that you know that I will be here to listen and guide you. My hope for you will be that you live your life for you. That you take time to help others, and give back, and not expect anything in return. I hope that in those moments when you fall down, you are able to brush yourself off and pick yourself up. My wish for you is that you are able to not dwell on your past mistakes, but learn from them,and become a better person through each of your experiences. I hope that you know that you are a beautiful person, and that I am so proud of you.

Here are some words of wisdom and lessons that I haved learned in my life, that I wish to pass to you:

Little girls can be mean. You deserve friends that will be kind to you, ones that you can laugh with, and that will be there.

If someone is hurting you, tell atleast two adults. If they do not listen, keep telling adults until they do listen. It is not your fault.

Less makeup is best. You are beautiful. Only use makeup to accentuate your beauty, because please realize that you do not need makeup.

ALWAYS say NO to drugs. Please respect the body that God gave you.

In High School, boys only want one thing. You may believe you are in love, however you do not need to give your body away. Save yourself for as long as you can, because once you give away your virginity, you cannot get it back.
However, ALWAYS use protection-there is no excuse not to.

Do not SEXT. You do not need to use your body to get someone’s attention. You are beautiful.

Love the body that you are given. Every woman comes in different shapes and sizes. Embrace who you are. You are beautiful.

Do not be judgemental. Be kind

Do not hold back. Just dance.

Have passion and drive.

Get AAA. Learn how to change a tire, and jump a car.

Take a self defense class.

Learn to play an instrument.

Respect nature.

Pursue your education. Reach for the stars. It is okay if you do not know what you want to be when you are 18.
Choose something that you ENJOY, something that you can make money at, with the least amount of school loans.
Recognize the difference between good school debt and bad school debt. Do not spend hundreds of thousands of
dollars to get a degree in something that will not pay back. You will end up living at home for a long time.

Know the difference between wants and needs. Enjoy life, be creative.

Stay away from credit cards. Only have one in case of emergency card with a low credit line.

Always go with your gut instincts.

When choosing someone to marry, choose the nice guy not the bad boy. Choose someone who is motivated, has a career,
and whose mood is stable. Choose someone who will cherish you, not hold things against you, and who will respect you, and love you. Do not lose yourself in someone else. Do what you love, learn to be self sufficient, have that hidden bank account, just in case of emergency.

Help others. Do not let others take advantage of your kindness, and do not feel bad if you have to say no to focus on you once in a while.

Love with all of your heart.

Say your prayers.

When you are a mother, enjoy each moment. Someday you are going to miss those moments of crying babies, and messy diapers. Plan well for your child’s future, starting the day they are born.

There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.

You are worth a heck of a lot. Always choose happiness.

Just live.

And NEVER forget, that Mommy loves you always and forever.


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Pre-Baby vs. Post Baby

Pre-Baby: Taking a 30 minute shower
Post Baby: Shower only out of necessity. ie: poop in your hair.

Pre-Baby: Shaving your legs.
Post Baby: Shave just your feet, in case you get in a car accident and have to go to the hospital.

Pre-Baby: Sleeping through the night.
Post Baby: I knew I shouldn’t have put that musical toy at the bottom of the toybox-I hope those friggin’ batteries run out soon…baby crying, while husband is snoring like a train.

Pre-Baby: Having a clean house.
Post Baby: Clutter%*#& and who gives a shit!

Pre-Baby: Night out on the town with the girls, whenever, wherever.
Post Baby: Netflix, a warm blanket and ice cream……and you look forward to those nights.

Pre-Baby: Head turner.
Post Baby: Pajama jeans. Nope, I lied- still wearing maternity pants. OH FORGET IT!… my bathrobe is easiest.

Pre-Baby: Date night=Dinner and a movie.
Post Baby: Takeout-Pizza by candlelight. He eats, while you feed the baby…………………………in your bathrobe.

Pre-Baby: Luscious, flowing, styled hair.
Post Baby: You chop it all off and get a mommy doo, because you only have 30 seconds to style it.

Pre-Baby: Working 8a-5p. 2 weeks off per year.
Post Baby: 24 hour/day, 7days/week- secretary, safety monitor, nurse, teacher, friend, boo boo kisser, vomit picker upper, wife, maid, cook, shrink, referee, human snot rag, etc………….all while in your bathrobe.


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Granny Panties, Sexy Neon Pasties, and Chocolate

High HeelThe Doctor’s Appointment: I had a routine doctor’s appointment status post baby. Sitting on the examination table in my johnny, the doctor stated, “I am going to examine you now.” As she lifted a portion of my gown to palpate my abdomen, I said, “Forgive my undergarments, I usually don’t dress this skanky. It’s laundry day.” Then it hit me…Did I really just say that?! Why am I apologizing for my sexy underwear, and when did granny panties become the norm?

They made sense to wear them when I was nine months pregnant when I felt like shamu and they were comfortable, but what is my excuse now? Welcome to motherhood. Wasn’t it the sexy underwear that got me in this position in the first place?

Yup, and there it is. Welcome to motherhood and all it’s irony.

· There was also the time that I decided to be creative and make my own money saving breast pads so I didn’t have to purchase them. We were at home depot and I bought a batch of neon green microfiber hand towels for approx $4.99. I cut many circles out of them and used them as absorbant breast pads, or as my husband likes to call them- my neon green pasties. Well, sure enough we went out in public, and I had to wear a white shirt. No you couldn’t see them through the shirt, UNTIL…I started to leak, and my white shirt was stained neon green in the most ridiculous areas. I have no clue how long I was walking around like that.

To make things worse, my husband only pointed it out when we got home. To be expected, I was upset at him for not telling me sooner. He withheld pertinent information. So when he walked out the door the next day in his work attire, me and my hormonal self withheld pertinent information from him-one of my sexy green pasties was stuck to his @$$.

· Speaking of sexy green pasties. Cannot repress the memory of when I had company over and hadn’t had a chance to bring the last trip of clean laundry from the kitchen table upstairs. I turn my head for one second and my company was using one of my sexy green pasties as a coaster. Would you tell them, or no?

· Then there was the chocolate bunny: There I was, sitting in front of the tv eating a chocolate bunny when the baby started to cry. I grabbed the diaper bag and changed her diaper, multitasking and distracted. I threw out the diaper, still playing with the baby, watching the news, and talking to my husband. Then it happened- I licked the brown spot off my hand. I froze, my eyes got wide, and I said to my husband, “Gosh, I hope that was chocolate.”

· Can’t forget my morning coffee: Picture not sleeping for more than 1 ½ hours for weeks, post new baby. There is nothing better at that moment than the smell of freshly made coffee. There is nothing worse than realizing there is no milk or cream. Hrm..this is where you just have to get creative.

Sometimes you just have to laugh at the ridiculous, because it is what will keep you sane. Again, welcome to motherhood and all it’s irony….and I wouldn’t change a thing.


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Our Waterbirth Story

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Day before Due Date:
Called to see if I could come in to see Nurse Midwives. They took me right in. “I can’t describe it. I just don’t feel good-exhausted, malaise, nausea. My body hurts, can’t sleep at night. I just feel miserable, started to cry. Isn’t there something you can do to get labor started, I am ready.”

Was told:
“This is normal. Your body is getting ready. The baby will come when it’s ready.”

Birthplan:
All Natural Waterbirth

That night I had a talk with the baby. Please come soon.

Baby Due Today
12am: I can’t sleep, my back is sore, tossing and turning. Frustrated because I have been uncomfortable all week. Exhausted, unable to sleep.

Called Birth Cottage this am to report back pain.

10am: First Contractions. Back pain, all of a sudden, coming in waves, 5 minutes apart, 30 seconds long x 3, then 15 minutes apart.

Called husband at work.

Called Birthing Cottage:
“Your body is just getting ready. This is probably not early labor because contractions typically do not get further apart. Write them down. Call us if they get longer and closer together. We will check in with you this afternoon.”

Contractions continued as is all morning.

Went to Chemo appointment with Mom.

Lunch at a restaurant with Dad and step-mother. No parking. Parked 2 blocks down in a parking garage. Walked to the restaurant in the rain. Contractions continued-uncomfortable, but laughed and had a good time at lunch.

Called and updated husband at work. “No need to worry, you don’t have to come home.”

Called Photography Studio to let them know that I (and step-mother) were coming to pick up professional maternity pics. “We will be there in a couple minutes.”
Had a meltdown when I arrived a couple minutes later-sign was up- ‘Gone to Lunch’. Asked stepmother to drop me off at car, because I was going to go home and get some rest. (Found out later that apparantly husband had picked up pics.)

Called Birth Cottage again with update in late afternoon. Contractions still the same. Was told the same thing:
“You are probably not in early labor. Call if they are 1 minute long,
5 minutes apart consistently for 30-45 minutes, or if your water breaks.”

Approx. 4pm called husband-“I’m ok, but come home.”

Had to get in bath, back is really hurting me. Back contractions still the same, but pain is worse- 5 mins. apart, 30 seconds long x 3, then 15 minutes apart. No hot water. I felt my eyes well up.

Tried to get into shower-No Hot Water-started crying.

Husband Home.

I laid on bed, trying to get relief, found none. Got on all fours, trying to find relief-none. Told husband to call the Birth Cottage and tell them that I didn’t care-we were coming.

Husband called. Asked-Is she talking during contractions? No.
I told him to call my sister, and told her to hurry.

I am calm, but know we have to leave. Told Husband to find the Cord Blood paperwork-couldn’t find all of it.

I vomited. Had to change my outfit.

Sister arrived. Sister said, “You look like shit.”
I went to get into our car with sister to follow. Vomited again in driveway.
Husband kept finding things to go back in the house for-Engineer thought process.
Yelled at Husband to get into car. Not so calm anymore.

45 minute drive to Birth Cottage. Contractions 3 minutes apart. Back pain in waves-like an elephant slowly stepping on my back. Jumping around in car out of pain.

Husband said: “Tell me if you need me to pull over.”
My reply: “YOU ARE NOT DELIVERING THIS BABY IN THE CAR! SPEED UP!”
Hit every red light.

Arrived at Birth Cottage– 6pm. Was told we can sit and relax, this is going to be a while. I begged for a room a couple times-contraction coming!

Got into room, changed into nightgown, sister in waiting room, husband hungry. Midwives said eat, we are going to be a while. Then was checked-6 cm dialated-could barely sit still for exam. 3 mins apart- vomited. 3 mins. apart. I said, “How long is this going to take? If this is going to take 6 hours, I am going to the hospital”. Back pain coming in heavy waves, I feel my bones in back crunching. Can’t sit or lay down-pacing. Counter pressure on back from midwife. Midwife felt baby kick through my back. So this is back labor. Is the baby going to break my back?

Filled up tub. Changed, pizza arrived-no one got to eat. Got in tub. Back pain! “I have to get this thing out. Just get it out. Can you break my water?” I was thinking, I am going to push and get this done and over with. I just want this over. Determined. Pushed. Pushed. I felt baby drop down in my stomach-Told midwives the head is close. “Really?”, they said. Looked with mirror.

Sister says: “Aren’t you glad you took Lamaze?”…I didn’t.
I told her I was going to punch her in the face.

Contractions are 15 seconds apart and peaking out. Husband has washcloth over my head, sister is giving me sips of water between contractions.
I can’t sit still in tub-my back, my back! The back contractions are knocking the wind out of me, I can’t breath.

I continued to push: There is the head-sac intact.
Midwife: Wanna see again with mirror?
Me: No, no. (I could feel it, and I thought I would freak out at that point).

Push: shoulders.
Have to change position, now! Almost jumped out of tub. “It’s ok, I’m not going anywhere, I’m gonna push it out.”

Push!!!!: Baby has arrived. 7:23p 8lbs. 2ou. Born in the caul. The midwife pierced sac on the way out.

Baby, eyes open, looked stunned. Baby handed to me. “Oh baby”, I said, and rubbed baby’s back. Everyone stunned and quiet. Baby started to cry.
“What is it?”, I said.
“Look,” said the midwife. I held the baby up-“It’s a girl!” We celebrated.

Sister cut the cord, but had to make numerous cuts. She gagged and almost vomited, and almost came close to cutting baby’s leg as husband is against the wall almost passing out. Placenta delivered with much assistance. Cord blood and tissue obtained. Baby’s footprints put on the wall. Grandparents called and notified.

Another mother came in to deliver at the Birth Cottage. We heard her push, then heard baby cry. I celebrated in my heart for them.

Prior to leaving I asked:
“Do you think I could take some Tylenol when I get home?” LOL.

We were back home, around 12:30am. No longer a couple, we are a family.


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The Basics, Three Simple Steps

treesMy 12-Month Path to Help Ease Financial Anxiety

This year I have created a realistic plan for myself in an effort to make positive changes and ease the burden of my financial anxiety. I am in no way a financial expert, and I am not giving advice. This is my own personal journey to establish a feeling of preparedness while decreasing my financial stress. I hope to take steps to make life simpler and more full-filling, pay off some bills, create goals, and take steps to offer my family some security.

Month 1
The Basics in Just Three Steps

Step 1: Direct Deposit
Set up Direct Deposit so that your paychecks go directly into your account. It saves you gas money. You do not have to drive to the bank. If you work 8a-5p M-F, it saves you from scrambling to get to the bank on time. With Direct Deposit, you receive your money in your account FASTER, and you do not have to worry about a check being lost in the mail, or misplaced. Have you ever had a check lost in the mail? I have. You have to contact payroll, have them stop and re-issue your check, and this process could take 2 weeks or more for your new check to come in and it always happens at the worst times. This is an avoidable headache. You can make the choice to decrease your stress in this area.

Step 2: Pay all your bills automatically
There are different types ways to set up and pay your bills online. You may use online bill pay through your bank, or you may set up online bill pay through the different billing companies. You can pay one time, each month, or make monthly/recurrent payments. I like the idea of maintaining control with a click and giving my bank permission to release the money from my account each month, verses giving the companies permission pull money from my account. Choose whatever works best for you.

You can walk into many banks with a copy of your bill, and they can help you set up bill pay online and answer any questions you have about the process. It is that easy.

Step 3: Track Your Finances
Track your finances this month. I placed an envelope in my car for receipts. If you cannot do it for a month, do it for a week. I am talking about rent, utilities, car, insurances, food, gum, cat food, tolls, gas,…EVERYTHING. It’s the little things may surprise you.


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Behind the Family Picture

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The photographer was scheduled to meet us at our house for baby’s first professional photo (2 weeks old) at 8:30am. The photographer was a friend of a friend who was just starting out and building her portfolio so we got a discount. We rolled out of bed late, at 8am, due to the gift of complete lack of sleep From: Newborn.

I answered the door with a toothbrush in my mouth. The photographer had arrived.

The first picture was a nude picture of the baby on the couch with everything but the face and hands fuzzed because of the angle. I had placed my favorite quilt over the couch for a pastel background. I then picked up the baby to put a ruffle butt diaper cover on her and realized she had peed on the quilt, as well as the couch.

The next picture was a tasteful nursing picture, for my own personal pics. During this session, the baby drooled all over my blue shirt.

The last pics were family pictures to be taken on the couch. Some pics were taken sitting on the quilt, and some on the couch without the quilt. Now keep in mind, the quilt is urine soaked, as well as the couch. The photographer asked my husband to sit right in the spot where the urine was stating “You won’t know when you are looking at the picture.” I laughed so hard. My husband resisted. The photographer stated “Welcome to fatherhood.” My husband paused, resisted again, and then finally sat in the large spot of urine. Insert belly laugh here. HA! HA! HA!

The final family pic was without the quilt, so the quilt was moved to a nearby chair. My shirt was covered in baby drool from the previous nursing picture being taken. The baby started to cry, so a pacifier was popped in her mouth. We had run so far behind this morning, that I was still in bare feet, and my husband had only socks on. The photographer then went to snap a pic of us, and sat in the chair.-herself getting soaked in urine. I felt my husband next to me chuckle, and in that moment of blissful chaos, the first family picture was taken.