What I’ve Learned…8 Weeks Postpartum

Tomorrow I will be returning to work after being on maternity leave and thought I should spend some time reflecting.  The past eight weeks with our son have been an amazing adventure on many levels and trying to put it into words is impossible.  It’s incredible what a newborn can teach you about yourself.

What I learned (or reminded of again)…

  1. Children grow in the blink of an eye, so cherishing the time is important! 
    I realized the most important role in my life right now is to be the best mother to the kids, and girlfriend to Craig. We are a solid unit and need to focus our energy on being the best for them. Cole is almost 16 and thinking about him moving out and on blows my mind…(and insert tears here).  It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that he was a baby and I realize I have been wrapped up in other issues and concerns at times and may have not cherished the moments as much as I could have.  The same for Autumn and McKinley.
  2. It’s ok to cry.  
    I’ve had quite the emotional awakening since Lincoln has been born.  My heart has been softened and sometimes I cry just looking at him…and it’s ok!
  3. Don’t worry about the small things because children don’t care about them. 
    Children don’t care if you have spit up on your shirt, don’t have make-up on, and your hair is a mess.  They will remember how you made them feel…so hold them a little longer, kiss them more, play that board game, watch the show they pick, listen when they are telling you their stories…
  4. Don’t worry about what you can’t control.  
    This can mean not becoming wrapped up in the family or friends who don’t act how you think they should.  People will disappoint you all through life and instead of wasting the time on what a terrible person they are just focus on bettering yourself.
  5. One of the most powerful emotions is evoked when a baby smiles at you…or stares into your soul while holding him.
  6. Just how much happiness a baby can bring to a family!
    We were already happy, but he has added so much more joy to our lives.  Autumn was able to see his birth and was immediately bonded to him (even when he’s spitting up on her).  Cole enjoys playing music for him when he’s fussy and needs calming.  McKinley is never hesitant to pick him up and try to soothe him, and she loves giving him a bath, picking out his clothes, and dressing him (as long as I will put his diaper on).  I’m one blessed momma!
  7. Breastfeeding is not as easy as many assume or how the media portrays, but it is extremely rewarding.  
    With breastfeeding comes moments of painful latching, cluster feeding, engorgement, doubts if your baby is receiving enough, painful clogged milk ducts, the discomfort of the let down, the need for larger shirts, and handling people who have a negative reaction when your child needs to eat.  The look your child gives you while breastfeeding or when he falls asleep at the breast is rewarding…knowing that you overcame all the difficult obstacles to give him the best.  It is a beautiful gift from God not only to create a baby, but to nourish one too—-a woman’s body is beyond amazing!
  8. Giving Lincoln formula is ok.  I have been so focused on exclusively breastfeeding because that is what I have done in the past, but I had to come to realize that feeding him some formula is ok.
  9. Not all babies are the same. 
    Lincoln is different than Autumn, Cole, and McKinley…and I shouldn’t have expected him to be the same as I’m not even the same.  He loves sleeping in his crib, loves laying on his changing table, pees and/or poops after you take his diaper off (be warned), his favorite place to be is eating in mommy and daddy’s bed, and loves taking baths!
  10. How blessed I am!
    I have an amazing man who has supported and encouraged not only me, but my children as well.  Watching him become a father has been a wonderful experience.

Tomorrow will be a bitter-sweet day for sure, but one thing is for sure…the past eight weeks have been pure happiness!

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❤ Crystal

Post slightly inspired by The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: “Story”

Lincoln’s Birth and First Week

A week ago, our son, Lincoln Joseph was born!

My due date was January 14th and I was ready long before he was due to give birth.  The end of my pregnancy brought terrible prodromal labor, a sore, swollen body, heartburn that ended in throwing up, groin pain, shortness of breath,  rolling over in bed was almost impossible, and every time he moved it hurt—I was ready to give birth and tried everything to spark labor naturally.  I drank the red raspberry tea, walked, squatted, washed all my hardwood floors and baseboards on my hands and knees, stair walked, vacuumed the entire house…several times, had sex, walked some more, took baths, and nothing seemed to work.  I even packed my classroom up because we are moving to another school in a week thinking that might push me into labor, but that didn’t work either.

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3 days before he was born

The night of my due date I cracked and just cried because I was so uncomfortable and told Craig that I was trying to deal as best as I could, but I wasn’t sure how much longer I could do it.  The prodromal labor is what was really driving me over the edge because I was having contractions for three weeks!  He was supportive as possible with trying to make me comfortable, but I was at my breaking point.

About an hour later I sat on the couch and began to feel strong pains.  I dismissed it thinking it was the way I was sitting.  The pains became stronger, but I dismissed it as prodromal labor.  What made me realize I was in actual labor was when I went to the bathroom and I was bleeding…I knew my son would come soon!

I was not rushing to the hospital after being sent home twice already, so we decided to wait a little before calling the doctor.  Craig dried some laundry he was in the middle of doing and I made sure all the last minute items were added to my hospital bag.  We laid down in bed and decided to watch some TV, but the contractions were stronger—stronger than I had felt in my previous pregnancies.  I decided to call the doctor and I was told to go to the hospital.

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I was 5cm when we arrived at 1am…I swear I would be farther along, but nope.  We were admitted and the contractions were more painful.  My doctor was not on call, but I did know the doctor who was.  I wanted to try the water bath to manage the pain, but he wouldn’t allow it because he was afraid I would then be giving birth in the water.  With few natural options to manage my pain I discussed an epidural with him—he said that it would not mean that I would end up delivering in a c-section and that the baby was not at risk.  He said I needed to decide asap because if I waited it would be too late.  I decided to have the epidural and be more comfortable.

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While waiting for the epidural I decided it was time to give Craig his surprise I packed in my hospital bag—a dad shirt!

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Being administered the epidural is a painful process itself, but I’m glad I decided to have it!  I did slow down my dilating, so needed Pitocin to speed things up again.  At one point I felt out of it and light headed because my blood pressure went down, but laying down helped that and all was good after that.  I dilated pretty quickly after that and we decided to break my water to further the progress.

We sent a few texts to let certain family and friends know that our little one would be here soon!  At this point my father and his girlfriend were in the waiting room, my oldest daughter, Autumn was in the room, and Craig’s cousin, Kayla was in the room.

Then we received some great news!  A shift change was about to happen which the doctor on call would be leaving, and because the doctor coming in had an operation scheduled my doctor would be coming in.  This is the same doctor who delivered Autumn and Cole, so it was nice!

The doctor walked in, I was fully dilated and ready to push.  He changed his clothes and I knew it wasn’t going to be long now.  He put some soapy water down below and I made the comment that cold water would feel good right about now.  He thought I meant a cup of water to drink, but I explained how some cold water poured down below would feel amazing…he said whatever I want and poured some cold water down there, but it didn’t feel as cold as I hoped.  I knew the ring of fire was coming…

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I pushed for a little while and then I knew one more push and he would be here…the ring of fire was next and I knew if I could get through that then the majority of the pain would be over.  Listening to everyone encouraging me while Craig held my right leg and my doctor with my left I gave another push and he was here.  I only cursed once through it all…haha!  Craig cut the cord and he was put on my chest.  He immediately began to breastfeed—amazing that he knew what to do so quickly!  We all knew he was a large baby by looking at him—-I felt my entire pregnancy that he was going to be a big baby.

While he was on my chest and we were all checking him out the doctor pushed on my stomach to deliver the placenta and stitched me up.  I sure did grab his hand when he pushed on my stomach…a reflex I just can’t help!

I had about an hour of skin to skin contact with him until they took him to take his weight and do all of the tests they do.

Everything was perfect!

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Candid Shot by Kayla

Lincoln Joseph

January 15th @8:45am

9lb. 13 1/4oz. 21″long

Lincoln’s 1st Week

Day 1:  He cluster fed all night, so we did not sleep at all…was a rough night!  The hospital shower is not hot enough and has minimal pressure.  I just want a nice, long, hot, shower!

Day 2:  I wanted to be home asap and my doctor approved, but we needed to stay the minimum of 36 hours—when that 36 hour mark hit we were out of there and home we were!  I wanted my own bed and my own shower!  If the pediatrician saw how we slept we would have been given a scolding…much better night of sleep than the night before.  I have a new found appreciation for the comfort of my own bed!

Day 3:  His first doctor’s visit—all is healthy!  Doc said his eyes are blue with a slight chance to change to hazel (looks like my blue eye gene is pretty dominant…haha).  More cluster feeding…in particular at night.  His siblings are loving him up!

Day 4:  First trip out of the house (other than for the doctor’s appointment).  I made sure to feed him right before we left to be prepared!  We were in the store for about 10 minutes when I heard him begin to fill his diaper…then he began to fuss which turned into us leaving to the car to change him and feed again.  We eventually went back in, but did rush through looking around because he was restless and we didn’t want to be those parents with a screaming child in the store.  As soon as we were walking out the door he passed right out though…haha!  We didn’t even need anything, but just wanted some fresh air and to walk around a bit.

Day 5:  I have been having some pains in my hip which were at their worst, but I’m going to see how it goes over the next week or so until I call the doctor.  Other than that I feel great and have been up and active–maybe I need to slow down a little and give my body time to relax!  Breastfeeding is coming along…he has an insatiable appetite, but he is a big baby.

Today was his big brother’s debut in the musical School of Rock, so Aunt Shannon watched him for a couple hours while we attended (I sure did cry when we dropped him off).  The play was amazing (I also cried watching Cole perform)!  By the end I was feeling the skipped feeding and was quite sore—my sister fed him baby formula because I didn’t have time to pump any milk for her to feed him (insert guilty feeling here).  All was good though and as soon as we were home I latched him on to relieve the pain.

Day 6:  Easiest day so far even if he had his most wardrobe changes today than any other day—he loves peeing and/or pooping all over when his diaper is changed. He does it EVERY diaper change!

Day 7:  Loves to snuggle, eat, and surprise you when you change his diaper.  We are ready with a wash cloth to cover him, so he doesn’t pee all over the blinds again.

We are incredibly happy and in love with him…ready for this next adventure…

❤ Crystal

post slightly inspired by The Daily Post, one word prompt “dominant”

Lesson Learned: Pack a Hospital Bag!

hospital bag blog

Wednesday we had a little scare…I thought I might be in labor…

Craig had his basketball game, and when he left, he gave me a kiss goodbye.  My stomach began feeling very tight, hard, and I kept feeling a sharp pain.  I thought maybe I needed to use the bathroom, so tried that with no luck.  I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and changed into my comfy bed clothes and that is when the pains started to really intensify.

I could barely search google to see if this was normal or what was going on…yes, I google just about everything before calling my doctor.  The pain hurt so bad I started to sweat and couldn’t even look at my phone.  I didn’t want to interrupt Craig’s game because it’s his one time a week he has to enjoy himself, so I decided I would wait.  I knew even if I did call he wouldn’t be able to hear it because he was running down the court…I did send a text for him to call me when he finished.

Maybe the baby is just in a certain position that is causing the pain?

I tried moving around to see if that would alleviate the pain, but that didn’t work.

My daughter looked concerned and asked what she could do…

“Mom, call the doctor or something”

My son began to google reasons for sharp pains, but I eventually told him put the phone down….

“Mom, it might be your cervix” is not something you expect to hear from your fifteen year old.

“Mom, I can drive you to the hospital…”

“Mom, call the doctor, I can talk to him”

Hahaha…what parent thinks they will hear their child say that?

I waited, and my stomach remained rock hard and the pains came and went.  I’ve felt contractions before and these were not what I experienced before.  I gave Craig a call, but knew he wouldn’t hear the ring.  I could wait a little longer!

I don’t even have a bag packed!  This was supposed to be the one time I had a bag ready to go!  I just washed my face and have comfy clothes on!  I don’t want to go to the hospital like this!  Noooo…I don’t want him to be born in November!  This just can’t be!

Fast forward an hour…

…the pains went away and I was able to move around without any discomfort.

Craig called in frantic mode because I sent him a text and called him which is out of the ordinary while he is playing basketball.  When I told him what was going on he said he would be home as fast as he could.

Lesson learned:  we need to write thank you cards, finish up the nursery, pack a hospital bag, and pick a baby name!

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Share in a comment:  What are the must pack items for a hospital bag?

❤ Crystal

Seven Habits for a More Productive Commute

How many of us commute to work and don’t use that time productively?  It is so easy to begin the day by complaining about the weather, the traffic, the line at the coffee shop, or countless other trivial distractions.

It’s time to change!  To begin to train your mind to start the day off strong, be mindful when that negative thought creeps in when you realize way too many people missed the lesson on how to merge in traffic, use a signal, or that the left lane is for the speedier drivers…no need to honk every time someone upsets you on the road!  When you begin to have those thoughts tell yourself “nope, not today” and refocus on a positive thought.

There are more productive ways to spend your time on that commute which will benefit you and those around you.

I challenge you to try at least one of these for a week and see how your day improves!

positiveSeven Habits for a More Productive Commute

What are you listening to?: Is it adding anything beneficial to your life?  Gossip radio?  What type of music?  Be mindful of what you put on—in what way is it helping you be a better person?  Try motivational speeches, sermons, TED Talks, educational podcasts, or music that is going to place you in the right mindset for the day.

Conversations with God: On my way to work is when I have some of the best conversations with God.  If I need to vent, ask for advice, pray, or just say thank you I use this time to do that.  Give it a try!  I was struggling with a choice I made that was not popular among others, so I asked God to take it and show me if I needed to approach the situation a different way—he was loud and clear that the choice I made was the right one.  It’s amazing when God speaks to you!

Think up blog topics: For us bloggers there are times when we go through a bit of bloggers block…this time spent in our car driving while our mind wanders is a great way to think up possible topic ideas to write about.  I came up with this topic while on my drive to work.

Pray: On your way to work pray for God to use you that day.  Pray for your family, friends, co-workers, students, patients…

Eat a healthy snack: Pack some grapes, carrots, celery, almonds, or healthy snack of your choice to munch on while driving…an easy way to start making sure you are eating right!

Think of something kind to do for someone that day:  Do you know who has a birthday coming up?  Who might need some encouragement?  Everyone can use kindness, so take that commuting time to think of someone and what is something special you can do for that person.  Maybe it’s sending them a card, bringing them in a plant to work to say welcome to the company, paying for the person behind you at coffee shop, or just simply think of a compliment you can give someone that day!

Affirmations:  What do you tell yourself before you even arrive to work?  It can have a huge impact on your day?  Are you already complaining that today is Monday and thinking about that annoying co-worker?  Stop that immediately and change what you say to yourself!  Try saying to yourself that you are excited for this Monday, excited for what the day will bring!  Never say negative things about yourself!  Tell yourself, “I am talented”, “I am creative”, “I am successful”, “I am positive”…

Share in a comment:  Like I mentioned above, I challenge you to try at least one of these for a week while on your commute to work.  I guarantee that you will notice a difference.  What one will you try?  What other habits are we able to do while on our commute to work? 

Crystal

Post inspired by The Daily Post, Daily Prompt: Honk

When in Rome…Have a Baby Shower!

This past Saturday we were thrown a baby shower by Craig’s family in Rome, New York.  It could not have been more perfect!  A huge thank you to his cousin, Kayla for organizing and planning it all with the help from his Aunt Mary, Uncle Curtis, and cousin Jaimie!  Without a doubt I am a lucky woman to have such an amazing man, and with the added bonus of his wonderful family it just makes everything so much more of a blessing!

Rome Baby Shower

 ❤ Our Favorite Moments ❤

  1. Craig’s Grandmother gave us baby pictures of Craig and photos of his mother and father.  Seeing the photos along with the candle set up to honor them immediately made the tears begin to flow.

 

2. How beautifully everything was set up…the photos do not do them any justice!  The basketball to have guests sign, the candle to light as an honor to Craig’s parents, the mimosa bar, balloons, beer mugs for the men to take as favors, and the candles the ladies received to burn when baby arrives were all just incredible!

 

3. The food!  The food was never ending and delicious—it was brought out in waves starting with breakfast which included eggs, breakfast potatoes, and french toast.  Then salad, along with chicken French, alfredo pasta, and grilled veggies.  Delta Lake Inn definitely has amazing food!

 

4. The games…everyone enjoyed the games and I was able to be the one to de-whistle Uncle Curtis because he said the word “baby”…love that shower game!

 

5. The desserts!!!  Creampuffs, cupcakes, and cannolis, Ohhh…My!  even though I couldn’t technically enjoy them as much as I would have liked they are delicious (I’ve had one here and there for a treat as I closely monitor my sugar).  The best part was the blue faces if they ate one of the blue frosted cupcakes!

 

6. The thoughtful gifts!  From the little red wagon, the sporty bathrobe, the basketball hoop, the million different balls in a box, the adorable suits, the tiny little outfits, and the dresser to put them all in we truely loved everything!  Driving home was quite eventful…haha!

 

7. The people!  It’s always a fun time when we are able to travel to Rome and spend time with Craig’s family, but this time was a little more special because he was able to see some people he hadn’t seen in a long time.  His aunt even drove from Michigan to be there!

 

8. The unplanned balloon release!  Craig wrote a little note on one of the balloons and we decided to release them…emotional moment to end it all, and another way to include his parents into the celebration.

 

As you can see from this post our little MVP is loved so much already!  We are blessed to be surrounded by such supportive, wonderful people.  Thank you all who came to shower us with love!

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❤ Crystal

Photo Credit to Cole and McKinley
The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Temporary

I Have Been Diagnosed With…

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After taking my one hour glucose test and my number coming back slightly high (147) I was sent for the three hour test.  This past Saturday I went in to take my three hour glucose test and received the results Monday…

20171029_223341I have gestational diabetes!  Ugggg…months prior to beginning to try and conceive we stepped up our healthy eating, meal planning, started taking vitamins, and being mindful of the foods we eat.  I am beyond disappointed, but know God is trying to teach me something from it all.  Only two of my numbers were slightly high, so that makes me feel better than if they were off the charts.

Next step is to go to the Endocrinologist to see what they say.

I have read just about every article online to gather more information and I just don’t understand why this happened.  I don’t have any of the symptoms.  I want a natural birth…no induction, no cesarean section…I just want to go in labor, without any complications and have a healthy baby!

Is it because I ate too many sweets?  The cupcakes?  The Andy’s Candies?  Chico-Sticks?  I’m not obese!  It’s all a mystery!  Maybe because I have been skipping out on the gym?  I am on my feet most of the day though…that has to count for something?  Does this mean I’ll have diabetes later in life?  What about my son?  Are my other children at risk?  Is it hereditary?  Why have I never been diagnosed with it before?  I worked at a candy store with my first pregnancy and ate pounds of chocolate, but managed to be fine!  So many questions…

I know this is just a small obstacle compared to some that could be thrown my way, so I’m grateful that at least we can make a few more changes to our lifestyle and hopefully finish this pregnancy with everyone in good health!

Comment:  Do you or have you had gestational diabetes?  Any advice you have for me?  Snack ideas? 

Crystal

The Daily Post, One Word Prompt: Mystery

Motivational Monday: Inky Johnson “It’s Not Only About You”


Do your students need motivation?  Do you?  We can all use a bit more of a push once in a while!

Since I teach students who are considered a bit more challenging than most I’m always trying to improve relationships, motivate, inspire, and provide strategies they can use to keep motivated to continue to pursue their goals.

A few weeks ago we started to begin our week off with a motivational mini-lesson to bring more positivity to our week.  This isn’t some lesson to fluff off, but it will improve the environment in your classroom…and ripple outward.

Here is a free handout you can use with your own class to try this out.  I would love feedback from anyone who gives it a try.  My students are highly engaged, ask for more, and when I shared that I watch these types of videos when I’m in a bit of an off mood one student said she was going to start doing the same thing.

Inky Johnson Its not just about you

Watch Inky Johnson Video Here

Follow me to receive more motivational mini-lessons you can use in your classroom…and your own life.  More to come…

Crystal