Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bye bye bread! Bye bye cheese!

When Jack was about 3 weeks old, I decided to sit down & do some research regarding some strange signs he was exhibiting. I knew that the pain he was experiencing when he ate wasn't normal, as well as the wet sounding burps with no spit up. I discovered he had silent reflux, but I did not want to have him put on medicine. I read that almost all babies with reflux have an intolerance to something the mom is eating (or to their formula) so I decided to cut out dairy, which is the most common culprit. Three days later, he had a really bad day, & I realized I had eaten a lot of bread that day, so I cut out gluten as well (which is the second most common culprit). That removes a lot from your diet, folks! However, about 48 hours after removing gluten from my diet, he stopped showing signs of reflux & his demeanor continued to improve over the next few days. A lot of his gas went away as well. I'm really thankful to have found a natural way to make him feel better, even if it means giving up a LOT of delicious things!

I use almond milk in my cereal, & found coconut milk ice cream to be a good treat. There are a lot of gluten free products available, including sandwich bread, brownies, crackers, & more. You can tell they aren't the same as their gluten-filled counterparts, but it's easy to feel fulfilled & not deprived for the most part. I think the hardest part is eating out. Most of what is available at restaurants isn't something I can order, & it means not getting some yummy things that I used to get, like breakfast tacos or the occasional Krispy Kreme at MOPS (yummmm...). But I like being somewhat forced to eat healthier. Removing gluten almost guarantees healthier dinner recipes & snacks. My gluten-free granola has more nutritious grains, & dairy substitutes often have less calories. No more saucy casseroles, no fried stuff, etc.

Josh & I have slowly been refining the way we eat for a long time. Pregnancy always messes us up since I tend to eat a little more hormonally for nine months, but now we're getting back on track. As much as I don't think I would have ever chosen to do so voluntarily, I can now see going gluten-free as a lifestyle. I wouldn't mind using alternative milks long-term (I've never been a milk drinker anyhow), but I would like some cheese back in my life! (I plan on trying to eat some dairy in a couple of weeks to see if that affects Jack or not, since I'm not entirely sure it is necessary to remove from my diet like gluten is.) I'm certainly not suggesting that gluten is evil or that milk is bad, but it might be something we choose to limit, if not cut out of our diet long-term.

I am interested to see how I feel being gluten-free for a few weeks. I know a lot of people report feeling better not eating it. I'm sure part of it is that the diet removes a lot of the yucky stuff (like fried foods) which always makes me feel better! We also plan to eat less meat (& what we eat is organic, grass fed already) & more vegetables & snack on fruit instead of processed foods. You know, the obvious things - but aren't they so hard to actually do?? I don't mean to sound like we eat horribly. We don't. We eat a lot of organic & natural foods, no high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils, etc. But we definitely want to cut out most of our processed foods & eat more whole foods.

I'm also hoping this Jack-led-diet helps me lose the rest of the baby weight. Let's be real, that would be a great perk!! I lost a lot in the two weeks following Jack's birth, but still have some work to do. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to the gym in a couple of months when I'm more comfortable leaving Jack in childcare.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Giving Up On Perfection

I got this in a MOPS email this week & really liked it, so I wanted to share.

Giving Up On Perfection
by Kathi Lipp, mom and stepmom of 4

I may have to give up reading blogs.

Once again I've stumbled across a blog that my friend LOVES, and it's all about a perfect family who look perfect, who are making their clean eating, sugar-free snacks (from scratch) as they do EVERY DAY, living on their pseudo-farm, where not only are they all hard workers, but their kids are all gifted. And there are plenty of Instagram photos to document all this perfect-ness.

It feels like a bunch of mini-Marthas trying to out-perfect each other, and I have to say it concerns me.

"Here’s the thing:
WE are not designed to be perfect."

When all we are seeing is the perfect slice of a person's life, it can make us, the reader, a regular mom, feel like there is something wrong with us because WE aren't perfect. I live with daily evidence of my imperfection:

  • My kids talk back to me.
  • No one ever offers to do chores.
  • I’m happy if I get dinner on the table (even if part of it
    came from a box).
  • I may have (just possibly) watched a little too much TV
    last night.
  • My second child has exactly one page of her scrapbook
    filled in.

But here’s the thing: WE are not designed to be perfect.
Let me see your dirty laundry.
Tell me about that cobbler that tasted like actual shoes.
Tell me about the time you messed up as a mom.
And let me know that you are being the best mom you can be, leaning on a community of moms, and asking for help and grace from others and God.

God, help me to be the girl you created me to be – living loved. Help me to see others through your lens, not to compare myself to, but to learn to love.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Jack's Birth Story

A few notes: If you question whether or not you should read something that has the words "birth story" in the title, then you probably shouldn't, so stop now. :) 

If you don't know how my labor with Elliot went, you might want to brief yourself for comparison. 

While I was pregnant, I began to pray specific things for labor & delivery. I wanted a different experience this time - a better one. I prayed that my labor would start naturally, & that I wouldn't need pitocin. I prayed that my water would not break to start labor. & I prayed that I would be able to enjoy Jack as soon as he was born. I was so out of it when Elliot was born, & I didn't want that again. I had friends dedicated to praying for these things too.

So I was starting to wonder if I might be the first person alive to be pregnant forever. Yes, I know that seems extreme, but we just kept waiting! Elliot came on his due date, so we kind of expected Jack to come by then too.

Saturday the 22nd we had a busy day. That morning, we went to the farmer's market for a while (& saw one of our midwives while we were there, who was surprised I was still pregnant), then went to the birthday party of one of Elliot's friends at the park. That afternoon around 4, I started contracting. They weren't too bad though, & the timing was not consistent, so I wasn't sure if it was going to turn into labor or if they would peter out. Josh & I had a date planned for that night, so we went out to dinner (Chinese, yum), walked around Whole Foods, & got gelato. The contractions slowed down after dinner & were pretty spaced out after that. I went to bed easily that night.

I woke up at 2 a.m. with a hard contraction. Realizing I wouldn't be able to sleep, I took a shower, then went into the living room to work through them. I knew I was in labor at this point; the contractions were painful & I had to stop & try to relax through them (as the Bradley Method teaches). I watched several episodes of Say Yes to the Dress on Netflix, & around 5:45 I decided I probably needed to wake Josh up & get things ready so we could leave when I felt we needed to. As he was getting cleaned up & packing last minute items, the contractions moved from 5-8 minutes apart to 2-3 minutes apart. We called Tyler, my brother-in-law, who was on standby, to come over to stay with Elliot & we headed to the hospital. On the way there, we passed by one of our friends out for a run & told him we were going into the hospital. He committed to praying for us for the rest of his run & throughout the morning. His wife texted me to let me know she was praying too. A few other friends let us know they were praying for us. So encouraging - we are very blessed!

We got the hospital around 7 a.m. In triage, I found out I was 5-6 cm dilated, & 90% effaced. Awesome! I was so glad to have already done that much work. Over the next three or so hours, I labored mainly in the shower (which really helped my contractions) until I felt I was possibly heading into transition. I could tell based on the pain & my attitude that I was getting much closer to delivery. So we had my midwife Amy come check me, & she told me I was 6-7 cm. What?! After three hours, I had dilated one centimeter?? As much as I knew not to put much stock into that, I was pretty frustrated & the pain was getting worse. Amy suggested breaking my water, but I was totally against that plan. I knew the pain would get much worse then, & I didn't want that! So she & the nurse left the room, & I labored over the birth ball. During this time, I felt led to pray that transition would go quickly, & that I wouldn't push for more than ten minutes. I labored & prayed for 20 minutes before feeling like I needed to push. I told Josh & he got them to come back in. I was checked again, & was 8 cm. Over 2 cm in 20 minutes - definitely in transition! Amy told me that if we broke my water, I'd be pushing immediately. I said, "You promise?" She said yes. So they broke my water, & she said, "Okay, whenever you are ready, start pushing." At the next contraction, I pushed, but barely. Then I hesitated to do anything after that. Amy knew what happened with Elliot, & she told me I needed to really push, & I told her I didn't want to push for 2.5 hours again. She knew I had been thinking that, & promised that I could have him out in five pushes. So at the next contraction, I pushed hard, & at the reaction of Josh, Amy, & the nurse, I knew it had actually done something, so I continued to push through & he came out! Jack was born at 11:18 a.m. on the 23rd after about 9 hours of active labor, weighing 9 lbs 12 oz & 21'' long.

Every prayer of mine had been answered - I went into labor on my own, had no intervention, & they even had to break my water in order for me to start pushing. No labor contractions with my water broken! I was able to enjoy the moment Jack was born, which was wonderful & emotional. God answered my prayers during transition as well. Jack was born with less than ten minutes of pushing. I was truly amazed & so very thankful! Our friends were able to rejoice in the answered prayers as well.

Because my labor was so much better this time, I felt better post-partum & have healed much quicker. My emotions have been more in check (though not completely normal, of course!). Every aspect of labor & delivery & post-partum has been better this time around. Praise God! He didn't have to give me a better labor experience. But He did, & I am thankful!