30 Day Writing Challenge!

30 Day Writing Challenge!

Let me start off by saying, yes, I’m well aware that it’s a tad odd to be starting a month-long challenge when we’re already almost a week into August. I have a tiny human, who takes up a good chunk of my time and is currently asleep on my lap. On that note, I’m going to try very hard to get through this challenge without skipping too many days.

See you soon!

-Shayna

Happy National Breastfeeding Week!

Happy National Breastfeeding Week!

This month marks five months breastfeeding my son, but I’ve got at least seven more months left in my journey. I’ve always wanted to breastfeed, ever since I started thinking about when I would have children.

When I was pregnant I read everything about breastfeeding that I could get my hands on, but the talk of low supply, mastitis, thrush and clogged ducts scared me, and I began to worry if I would be able to nurse. As some of you have read in my birth story part one and two, most of what I had planned regarding birthing my child had gone out the window. Luckily the hospital I chose to have my c-section at was very supportive about breastfeeding and I constantly had a nurse or lactation consultant in my room helping me and answering my many questions.

Honestly, the first three months of breast feeding are the hardest. You’re exhausted from just having a tiny person, and said tiny person is wanting constant attention around the clock, and on top of that you’re worried about your milk coming in, if it’s enough, if they’re hungry, or if they’re getting milk at all. There’s a reason why they call those first three months the fourth trimester.

I was constantly stressing and panicking about whether my son was eating enough since he was crying nonstop the first week; I called my midwife before my son was two weeks old and she said that he was gassy, so that put my mind at ease. And don’t get me started about the hunger! I swear I spent most nights with one arm pressing my baby to my chest and the other shoveling food into my mouth (oatmeal or pudding, normally). I was determined to exclusively breastfeed for a year, but when those late nights and cluster feedings started to take its toll I didn’t know if I could make it to the next week let alone nine more months. I kept repeating to myself, “I just have to get through this growth spurt, this week, and things will get easier.” Which is true, sort of; It either gets easier or you get stronger, whichever happens first. My son was around two and a half months when I started to get into a real rhythm. I didn’t need to be sitting in a certain position or need a ton of pillows or to even have on a nursing shirt.

But, as it always tends to go, as soon as I feel like I’ve got a grasp on things I get thrown a curve ball. For instance, not even two days after starting to feel like I’ve got this whole nursing thing down, he starts to teeth. I mean, really? Two months old and teething? Then once I started to get the hang of that, he got thrush!  It’s been a crazy ride, but I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. When I’m having a rough day and am nursing my son for what feels like the hundredth time that day, he unlatches, looks up and me with the biggest smile. Unfortunately most times that’s followed by a loud pooping noise or some spit up, but that’s beside the point.

 

Something I’ve never understood is how breastfeeding, something that’s been around as long as women have given birth, is still a taboo subject. With the way people talk and how they treat mom’s who feed their babies in public (be it covered or uncovered), I get the worst anxiety whenever my son gets fussy and I know he’s hungry when we’re out in public. I try to pump but it’s difficult considering when I sit down to do it, my son notices and freaks out because he thinks it’s stealing his milk. I’m trying to build up my confidence so I can withstand the glares and comments, but I’m not there yet. I have the utmost respect for those women that can confidently nurse in public, those strong mom’s that don’t need your opinions and couldn’t care less about your judgmental stares.

So whether you exclusively breastfeed, pump or have down their own science of formula and breast milk, you go mom!

 

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My milky baby and I

 

My Top Three Favorite Sweet Potato Recipes

My Top Three Favorite Sweet Potato Recipes

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like sweet potatoes are becoming more and more popular. I hope/ dream that they will steal the spotlight from those “fad foods” kale and avocados. I don’t care too much for kale, just a slight distaste for it, but avocados on the other hand… Maybe it’s the fact that they’re the ONE FOOD I’M ALLERGIC TO, or perhaps it’s because it tastes like fresh-cut grass, but I have a weird hatred for it. Cool it with the avocados, internet. My husband, along, with a good majority of the world apparently, has some weird obsession with avocados, but I just can’t bring myself to jump on the band wagon.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me tell start off by saying I used to actually hate sweet potatoes. I would try to help out at holiday dinners by skinnin’ the sweet potatoes but it would leave me with a weird itchy feeling all over, so I’m assuming I had a slight allergy to it. I was also really confused about who in their right mind puts mini marshmallows on POTATOES. But as I’ve gotten older, my taste buds have changed and now at Thanksgiving I have a huge plate of sweet potatoes and tiny portions of everything else.

I know there’s a lot of debate between whether these are sweet potatoes or yams, so I’m just going to clarify: Sweet potatoes have lighter skin, with tapered ends, and a light yellow to deep orange flesh, where as yams are dark and sometimes with rough skin, though the flesh is whiter and dry. I feel like this article from the Huffingtonpost explains it pretty well.

Now on to the recipes! For most of these, I follow instructions closely, but a few I modified for my own taste/ things I had available.

 

 

Sweet Potato Quiche

I’ll be honest, I’ve never made a quiche before. I’ve always wanted to, but I’ve never had the right recipe or a nice dish to serve it in. One day I was cleaning out my cupboard and I found a dish someone had given me that looked worthy of my first quiche, so I took to the internet and found this simple, yet tasty treat.

quiche

https://www.sweetashoney.co/healthy-sweet-potato-crust-spinach-quiche/

Obviously, I didn’t get mine super crispy, but it was still super good. I added a lot more cheese than the recipe called for because I have a serious cheese problem. My husbands a picky eater so he ate maybe one tiny sliver (he has trust issues with what I cook ever since I made a cauliflower crust pizza), so I ended up eating it for lunch for a few days. It was lightly flavorful but still filled me up enough that I didn’t need to snack throughout the day.

Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet

This has is my favorite! Seriously, you only dirty one pan, it takes minimal effort and it’s very filling. Also, you can make it all while pausing to deal with a baby that’s got their walker stuck in a corner.

turkey skillet

http://www.lifeloveliz.com/2017/05/15/ground-turkey-sweet-potato-skillet/#_a5y_p=6338506

I followed the recipe for the most part, but I changed up a few things because I either don’t normally have those things on hand or I’m the only one eating it. It’s so filling! I always add a bunch of mozzarella cheese to the top, sometimes I put sour cream on top but it honestly doesn’t need it

Sweet Potato Peanut Butter “Nice” Cream

Ok, so I was a little skeptical about this one. I’ve heard a lot about “nice” cream but have never had the opportunity or chance to try it. I mean ice cream that’s healthy? Yes, please!

nice cream

http://thevegan8.com/2015/09/10/5-ingredient-vegan-peanut-butter-sweet-potato-ice-cream/

I didn’t make the sauce, but honestly, it was still AMAZING. Seriously, it’s so good. The peanut butter is the main flavor, but it’s nice and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness without being too over powering. This honestly might be my new favorite dessert.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this little post; thank you for reading!

-Shayna

 

Smoothie Hack!

Smoothie Hack!

The weather has finally started to warm up here in the PNW so I thought I’d do a post on a fun little smoothie hack (Obviously, smoothies are my life). I’m probably not the first to think of this, but it’s still pretty cool!

So first of all, I bought a big thing of bananas, kiwis, and strawberries. I sliced them all up, laid them out on a  cookie sheet and stuck them in the freezer for a few hours (I left them in there for about two hours). They weren’t super frozen, but just enough that they weren’t smooshy. Next, I divided all my fruit into muffin tins!

IMG_0811I just layered everything in the tins (I love chia seeds so I added a half a tablespoon to each tin), topping off with my almond milk last before throwing them in the freezer overnight! You could use any liquid you want, I just prefer almond milk in my smoothies.

IMG_0808

In the morning they were nice and solid.

IMG_0812I used a spoon to pop them out, setting a few aside to make a smoothie and put the rest in a big freezer bag to use for another day.

To use for your smoothie, just drop two disks into your blender with about a half a cup of your preferred liquid and blend! This makes about 12oz.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post!

-Shayna

Postnatal Must Haves!

Postnatal Must Haves!

I know I’ve been talking a lot about my c-section lately, but I just wanted to do a short post and share some tips that really helped me through the first few weeks after having my little one!

**I’m not affiliated with any of the products mentioned below, I just love them and they made my new life a little easier**

First and foremost: Water. Water is to me what coconut oil is to most women. Especially if you’re breastfeeding! I shouldn’t have to tell you why water’s good for you, it just is.

Nipple cream! (If you’re breastfeeding) I used Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter. It went on a lot easier and didn’t leave that weird sticky feeling that Lanolin leaves behind, not to mention the Natural Nipple Butter’s main ingredient is olive oil whereas Lanolin is a wax secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals (seriously, google it). I don’t know, that just feels weird to me.

The Boppy! When I was pregnant I really didn’t buy the hype about the Boppy. Like, why couldn’t I just hold my baby the entire time I nursed him? Oh naïve Shayna, who didn’t know about cluster feeding or that I was going to end up having a c-section so using any of my abdominal muscles to hold him up while feeding was going to hurt. I’m two months postpartum now, so I don’t use it as religiously as I did when I first had my son, but now he’s big enough to lounge in it, or if I use it when I need to get some writing or eating, done and he wants to nurse.

Postpartum belt. It helps when your uterus is trying to shrink back down to its normal size, and you’ve had a c-section it helps hold your posture and take some of the pressure from your incision.

This is the one I got. even though the first handful of days home I ended up using my grandma’s back brace because my belt was a tad too small, I still wore it a lot the weeks following. It was a little difficult to get it smooth, and it made a crunchy noise from the velcro when I moved, it still did a pretty good job for the price.

Freezer meals or a food train. About a month before I had my son, I made my mom come over and we made about two weeks of mostly crock pot meals or meals that could easily be dropped in a pot on the stove for a few minutes. You’re going to be tired, cranky, dirty, and hungry so having a nice easy meal that’s really filling helps a lot.

Your favorite lotion. This one is just a nice indulgence! Whether you’re still at the hospital and feel gross, or you’re home and have had a stressful and sleepless night and have a loving husband that will use it when he rubs your feet/legs, it’s important to treat yourself!

(If you’re breastfeeding) Good, comfy, nursing bras and lots of nursing pads! I have a few of these sports bras from Cake that are my go to every day, but a stretchy shelf bra can be useful too (especially for sleeping!). I love these Lanolash nursing pads for sleeping because they have a sticky back and don’t move around all night, and these Evenflo ones are comfy for day time! Or you can make your own, which can be time-consuming if you don’t have a sewing machine and have a little one attached to you. (I’m currently making my own, this is where I found the instructions)

Granola bars with peanut butter. Perfect snack for late night feedings, or if your babe just won’t let you put them down. Really anything with lots of fiber and protein helped me.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post!

-Shayna

My Birth Story. Part Two: My Cesarean and Recovery

My Birth Story. Part Two: My Cesarean and Recovery

I left off in my last post explaining why I ended up going for a scheduled c-section, now it’s time to gab about everything that came along with that!

Honestly, I think I went through some grieving over the fact I was having that moment, and my ideal birth, taken away. I knew what I was doing was the mature, responsible thing, but I still mourned the loss of what could have been.

The doctor told me that IF my baby turned before the surgery date, then they would just cancel and I could continue with my homebirth. I had updated most of my family and friends on this drastic change of plans, and they all gave me advice on how to turn him, saying that they were praying for him to turn and that they just had a feeling he’ll turn. It was all sweet, and I knew they meant well, but deep down I knew he wasn’t going to turn.

I could feel the amount of space there was in my womb for him to move and I could even feel him trying to wiggle his way around so he could face down, but he was vacuum sealed in that position. I told this to a lot of people, and they acted like I was taking the easy way out, stressing too much, or they would just outright tell me I was wrong and that my baby was going to turn. It was kind of insulting being told that, apparently, people that aren’t me know my body better than I do.

By the time the day had arrived, I’d pushed my feelings aside and was just focusing on how excited I was that I was going to meet my little one.

Soon as my husband and I arrived at the hospital, they checked me in and hooked me up to my IV right away. I remember joking with the nurse about how I always hate IVs because I feel like I can’t move because I was always worried I’d pull it out and how I hated when the fluid got pushed through my veins because it tickled. The nurse made a weird noise and said, “Well, I don’t have the IV in yet…”

I whipped my head around to look at my arm (I was looking as far away from the needle as I could, because I’m a giant chicken), just to find that the nurse had attempted to draw blood and I guess she didn’t have the tube attached right because my vein was spraying blood all over the nurses chest and on the right side of the hospital bed. Not a great way to start. Don’t get me wrong, the nurses and doctors were great, but that wasn’t a positive start to my day.

I had arrived two hours early to my surgery so I could be properly prepped, but man did those two hours fly by. Nurses, doctors, and one anesthesiologist made their way into my room to properly introduce themselves and explain what’s going to happen and how long it will take. Before I knew it I was walking down the hall to my operating room.

For legal purposes (at least I think that’s what they told me) my husband had to wait in another room while they gave me my spinal. I’d spent months planning a un-medicated birth, and I’d never been a big fan of needles, so having someone with a huge needle pointed at my spine while they told me to relax was a kind of nerve-racking experience. Oddly enough, the shot was what hurt the most. It burned and took my breath away; the nurse I was leaning on rubbed my arms and told me it was normal.

After they laid me down and my nerves were dead from about my chest to my toes, they brought my husband in. Now, I’ve been told by other moms that even though you’re numbed up, you can still feel some slight pushing and tugging; the nurses warned me before hand too. It’s honestly a really weird feeling, knowing that on the other side of the curtain your belly’s cut open with people’s hands digging around inside.  The whole surgery took about an hour, but they got my little one out in about nineteen minutes, which would have been sooner but he was really cuddled up next to my rib cage.

From what I’ve heard, normally c-sections can hurt or delay the bonding between mom and baby, but luckily the hospital I was at was all about the skin to skin and breastfeeding, so I felt pretty blessed knowing we were all on the same page. As soon as they pulled him out, they plopped him on my chest on the other side of the curtain and let us get a good long look at him through the little window on the curtain, even take video! My doctor was kind enough to delay cord clamping and even left the cord a little long so my husband could cut it. Once they had him weighed and measured, they brought him back to me, so the rest of the surgery he sat snuggled against my chest.

                                                            Recovery.

I stayed three days in the hospital, which is about average. My incision healed up really fast, but I was still in a lot of pain and having some trouble getting my little one to latch properly or else I would have only spent two days there.

The pain was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. It was a sharp burning that would happen whenever I turned or tried to stand up. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, it takes a lot to make me cry, but just reaching my hand out to try to see my baby hurt. It makes total sense though, I just gave birth an eight pound human, lost blood, fluids, and everything else that comes with growing a small person on top of having major surgery. I remember the nurse having to talk me into taking a shower because walking those five feet to the bathroom felt like someone was ripping the skin off of my waist. But I gave in and took a shower, bent over in half and in a crouched position because I was afraid if I fully extended myself I would have started crying in pain again. Unfortunately, when the water ran down my incision, it felt like fire and I ended up crying anyway.

By the time I got home though, I was pretty mobile and more energetic. I had gone from serious pain killers, to maybe an ibuprofen every couple of hours. I had my mom stay with me for a few days, to help me at night. I couldn’t lift my baby, or bend over to set him down, it was really frustrating. The first week of my son’s life I couldn’t go and cradle him when he cried, I had to find someone to do it for me or else I’d be in a whole bunch of pain, or risk hurting myself. I think that along with my hormones trying to figure themselves out put a slight hindrance on bonding with my son. But I’m no quitter! I nursed and did skin to skin contact every second I could. I’m so thankful to not have gone through postpartum depression because I know a lot of women have, and I feel deeply for them because I cannot imagine how hard that must be to have a new baby and not feel close or even want to feel close enough.

I did, however, have a touch of the baby blues about a week after having him, which is completely normal, that lasted about two days. So I spent those days curled up in bed with my baby, everything making me cry, but after venting to my husband and my mom I came out of it and haven’t had a real bad day since!

Thank you for reading! I know how much it helped me to read other women’s experiences when I was pregnant, so if you have any questions or would like to share your own story, I’d love to read them and talk to you!

-Shayna

My Birth Story. Part One: When Your Birth Plan Changes.

My Birth Story. Part One: When Your Birth Plan Changes.

I’ve got lots to talk about, if I didn’t split this in two you’d be sitting here reading forever! That being said, here’s my story.

I’ve always dreamed and eventually planned on having a natural home birth. The idea of being able to feel every moment of birth, and share it with only my husband and midwife, has always been my dream. That was the plan too, for most of the later half of my pregnancy. It’s true, that for the first twenty-odd weeks I was planning a natural hospital birth, but that was only because I thought if I tried a home birth people would invite themselves and think that since a homebirth is more “relaxed” that they could sit and watch. Thankfully I finally talked myself into meeting with a local midwife that I’ve known for pretty much my entire life (she was going to deliver me, but I came early and so I ended up being delivered by a different midwife) and she informed me I could give birth at her office where she had a waiting room that would keep the looky-loos away.

So, I spent the next few months leading up to my due date in her care, more relaxed than I ever was with my OB at the hospital.  At every one of my visits, my midwife would do an ultrasound to check on my little one, who was nice and healthy, other than the fact he hadn’t flipped head down for birth; the only real “flipping” he did was going from lying transverse (sideways) to frank breach (with his head in my ribs and his butt ready to come through the birth canal.) My midwife pointed out his lack of cooperation during my seventh month, along with some concern for the levels of my amniotic fluid, so I began doing EVERYTHING I could to get him to turn. You name it, I did it.  Despite my effort, my little man was nice and content with his head against my ribcage. My midwife doesn’t perform breech births, so she told me if I was serious about being able to deliver naturally and out of a hospital, I’d need to at least try to attempt a version.

If you’re like me and have never heard of a version before (also known as External cephalic version) which is basically when the doctor, after doing a 3D ultrasound  to make sure that the baby isn’t stuck because of their umbilical cord or placenta placement, they will forcibly turn the baby by pressing on the mother’s stomach. Depending on the woman, some say it could be painful while others only experience a mild discomfort.

That being said, my midwife referred me to a hospital about an hour away from where I live, to have an ultrasound to see if it would be possible to turn my baby; I was a little over thirty-six weeks along when I went in to have my ultrasound done. The poor tech had to turn me so many differentangles just to get a good look at him, and a good estimate of the amount of fluid. It took almost an hour, about the amount of time it takes to do an anatomy scan, and then my husband and I were left in the room to wait. It took about fifteen minutes before one doctor came in, asked me how much I knew about what was going on. I told her, “Well, my midwife says he’s breech and my fluids are low.” The doctor smiled and told me she was glad I was on the same page and that we needed to go to another room. We waited what seemed like forever, with just a nurse popping her head in occasionally to ask us if we would like water or anything. At last, the door opened and a man in a long white coat approached us. I was a little unnerved, I’ve never really had a male doctor except for neurologists, especially never had one for an OB! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some great male OBGYNs, I’ve just never felt personally comfortable with it.

After spending a few moments looking at my ultrasound a few more times, he informed me that if I really wanted to have a version that he would do it, but because of how low my fluid was he didn’t personally think it would work and that it would end up causing more stress on both me and the baby. My fluid level wasn’t dangerously low, just low enough that it could make things difficult. If I had gone through with the version, there was a chance that my baby’s heartbeat could drop, which would lead to me needing an emergency c-section.

I ended up going with a scheduled c-section. It’s never been something I’ve wanted, but I didn’t want to but my baby and myself through more stress than need be.

 

Be on the lookout for my next post: “My cesarean and recovery”!

-Shayna