Motherhood

The BUMP -- Mikko James

From Hawaii to Arizona to Minnesota -- I've been on a mission to document my bump progress every two weeks. It's been so fun to look back and see the growth each and every month!

I think 22 weeks is where I really “popped” but I can’t tell for sure!

8 Weeks

8 Weeks


10 Weeks

10 Weeks


12 Weeks

12 Weeks


14 Weeks

14 Weeks


16 Weeks

16 Weeks


18 Weeks

18 Weeks


20 Weeks

20 Weeks


22 Weeks

22 Weeks


24 Weeks

24 Weeks


26 Weeks

26 Weeks


28 Weeks

28 Weeks


30 Weeks

30 Weeks


32 Weeks

32 Weeks


34 Weeks

34 Weeks


36 Weeks

36 Weeks


38 Weeks

38 Weeks


“40 Weeks” — holding Mikko James (one week old) on my due date!

“40 Weeks” — holding Mikko James (one week old) on my due date!


I gained a total of 31 pounds this pregnancy… it sure felt like more! My hubby likes to remind me that I lost all of my muscle tone… lol. It’s true!

Oh well, I’m too busy with baby snuggles to think about any of that right now.
Busy with baby snuggles and grateful beyond measure for my body that created this miracle.

A Year in Photos - Thomas George

We got these monthly airplane stickers as a gift from Auntie Alicia and I was so determined to use them. I pictured myself compiling the photos at the end of the year to see the changes our little man made each month. It was more fun than I expected.

Thomas George // February 1st, 2017 - January 1st, 2018

1 Month Old ~

1 Month Old ~

2 Months Old ~

2 Months Old ~

3 Months Old ~

3 Months Old ~

4 Months Old ~

4 Months Old ~

5 Months Old ~

5 Months Old ~

6 Months Old ~

6 Months Old ~

7 Months Old ~

7 Months Old ~

8 Months Old ~

8 Months Old ~

9 Months Old ~

9 Months Old ~

10 Months Old ~

10 Months Old ~

11 Months Old ~ 

11 Months Old ~ 

One Year Old ~

One Year Old ~

He's such a spunk -- more fun now than ever before. We love you Thomas George!

6 Surefire Ways to Pull Yourself Out of a Funk

I was 34 weeks pregnant sitting with one of my friends and she asked me, "Elyse, what is your biggest fear about becoming a mom?"

Here she expected me to talk about labor and delivery or maybe the sleepless nights or you know, the fact that I'll be raising a little human in this crazy world.

Nope.

Without missing a beat, I instantly replied, "Getting frumpy."

It was seriously what was keeping me up at night.

Am I going to totally lose myself in mommyhood? I pictured spending day in and day out with baby and no time to nourish my inner free bird.

So now, here I sit, with an almost one year old.
Did I dodge the frumpy life or did it get me?

I guess I could say yes to both of those. There were times I was most definitely so far in the pits I thought I'd never get out and then there were days, even weeks, where I was running on a mommy ass-kickin' high.

When I'm in a funk or feelin' frumpy I have to consciously choose how to spend my days.. choose to do what could pull me up when I feel myself slippin' into endless unwashed hair and a Netflix marathon of Friends

Oh! And you definitely don't need to be a mom to get into a funk -- all it takes is the routine of the adult life sometimes . A routine that MUST be shaken up every so often.

So alright, these are my musts musts.

1. MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC

I seriously had to get real with myself and turn off the damn TV because it turns me into an unhappy zombie to binge watch shows. I get sucked in so easy. Oh geeze, it's 2pm already and I've done nothing productive today.
Sometimes, it's nice for ONE day but not multiple days in a row.. at least not for me! I don't do well with that.
MUSIC just makes me feel happy and alive and I love hearing an old song that I haven't heard forever but LOVE. I love to dance and sing and jam and it just makes me really happy. So maybe you too?
CCR Pandora usually has me covered -- or I'll throw on my Island Vibes playlist on Spotify!

Make a kickass Spotify playlist of all your feel good tunes and let it lift you UP! 

2. Make Art

I struggled with what to make number one, this is such a close second. Don't let your creativity die, EVER. Make art, in some way shape or form, somehow, someway. Write, knit, draw, dance... take pictures! Whatever you have to do to keep that spark, do it... you don't even need to share with anyone ever, just do it... for you, for your soul!

3. MOVE

There are no rules attached to this one... no time commitment, no specific routine. Just MOVE in some way shape or form. Go for a walk -- that usually always works. Get on your Yoga mat. When you turn on that music from number one, dance. I've been dancing a lot, in the living room with a gawking one year old lookin' at me like I'm totally crazy but still, I dance. Find something that makes you feel GOOD (not punished) and do it for 5 minutes, or 10 minutes, or 30 minutes. Whatever you CAN do for however long you CAN do it. DO IT. 

untitled (1 of 1)-5.jpg

4. GO

Number four is a tad bit aimed at my mom friends, specifically my stay-at-home mom friends... and maybe you don't do this at all... but maybe you do. But - don't let too many days go by without leaving the house. You've got to go. And for me, two days at the house is too many, and three for sure so find something that is out of home and do it. GO.

5. Connect

Connect with others. I don't know about you but when I'm in a funk I tend to sort of keep to myself. I keep to myself to a fault. I know that each of us has that someone in our life that we can connect with -- be it your partner at the day's end, a phone call to your sister, a meet up with your mama (mama's always make things better) -- tell someone you love you're feeling funky and TALK to them. It helps. I know it.

6. PAMPER

Lastly, I asked my Earthen Women group a while back... what do you do to get out of a funk? This is a collective of their response: Make yourself feel good/pretty. Polish your nails your favorite color. Get your hair cut. If you don't normally, try putting on a little makeup or lip gloss. If it's in the budget, get a massage. SHOWER + shave (your WHOLE leg - haha) or even take a bath. Dress up in that thing you love but you're saving. You don't need to be extravagant (or hey, if you can/want to - then be extravagant. You're worth it.).

Alright, I think that's it for me. Do you do one of these already? What one do you agree with the most? If you're favorite's not here, please please share. I'd love to know.

Also, I should say that sometimes for me it just feels good to put the PJs on and be a slug on the couch and sometimes we need just that. Just not for prolonged periods of time, ya know. It's all about listening to your inner wisdom. She knows.

Alright, so have an amazing year you guys!
I hope it's filled with golden moments and less funks. I'll be here, always! xo

untitled (1 of 1)-4.jpg

That Positive Test -- Pregnancy Diary Part 2

Honeymoon April 2016 -- Corniglia, Cinque Terre, Italy

Honeymoon April 2016 -- Corniglia, Cinque Terre, Italy

"It's a boy!", said the mime as Tom and I were strolling by.

We were honeymooners, walking a cobblestone path through Venice.

He caught me off guard and I got offended! I know I had eaten an entire pizza and way too much gelato each day but did I look PREGNANT

Thanks a lot dude.

Tom and I joked about it because:
A. Mimes aren't even supposed to talk
B. I was definitely not pregnant


We got back from a magical 14 days in Italy.

As we adjusted back to being home, I just wasn't feeling the best. "Jet lag," I thought.
"Too much pizza and gelato, maybe. I'm not used to eating like that."

BUUUUUT .... it wasn't going away. So I bought a pregnancy test.

It was a lazy Saturday morning and we were putzing around the house when I decided to take it.

I unwrapped the stick, peed and quickly set it on the bathroom sink. I went and laid on the bed thinking over and over again, "No way, just... no way."

I sent Tom in first. He didn't have to say anything because when I saw his jaw drop open with a look of complete shock, I knew. It was positive and our lives were never going to be the same.

We were going to have a baby.


IMG_5555.jpg

I don't know about any of you other moms out there but I felt like the first woman in the world to ever see a plus sign on her pregnancy test.

I felt excited, nervous... like.. ok.... what do I do now?

Nothing had changed and yet it felt like everything changed.

It felt so wild.. but I'd soon find out that that is the only way to truly describe this whole experience. 

Wild.


Continue Reading...

The Pregnancy Diaries

Birth Story -- Thomas George

I'm convinced that going through labor and delivery is the most intense, 'in the moment' experience of all time. You can read and plan all you want but you can never truly prepare for what will play out. I'm convinced that women are incredibly strong and heroically brave and I'm 100% convinced that every single women's experience, no matter what it is, is absolutely perfect and beautiful. What a miracle.

Having a natural, vaginal, unmedicated birth was my greatest desire from day one. I felt so confident in my body's ability to not only grow a healthy human for 9 months but to also bring that healthy human into the world free from medical intervention. I read so many books and sought support from other moms that had the experience I was aiming for. I had my birth plan written out and printed. In my mind, it wasn't going to happen any other way.

The story of Thomas George

We took this picture right before we left for Castle. My last bump picture at 40+5. 

We took this picture right before we left for Castle. My last bump picture at 40+5. 

It was 11pm on New Year's Day when we arrived at Castle.

My contractions started the day before and were finally averaging 5 minutes apart. I had tested positive for group B strep earlier that month and was told to go in a bit early so they could start me on antibiotics.

When I arrived they put me through triage and checked me for the first time. Oh. My. Goodness. That was so painful and I was only 2cm dilated! I had to be at least 5cm before they would admit me. What a bum! My doula Katie arrived and at midnight we all started walking the halls, stopping every few minutes to breathe through contractions.

Over six hours later, at 6:30am January 2nd, they finally admitted me. At this point I was in labor. My contractions were intense and consistent. Lots of deep breathing, really loud, really long groans. It was all happening, finally, and we were thinking we would be meeting baby J very soon. (Ha!)

By early morning I was getting tired but still felt determined. The pain was hardcore but I had amazing support and my body was totally doing it. Following my birth plan, Katie filled the tub with hot water and at 7:00am I took the absolute best bath of my LIFE! I soaked in the birthing tub for over an hour... breathing deeply and trying my best to relax.

Being monitored while breathing through the early contractions. I hadn't been admitted yet. I can't tell if that's a smile or a 'holy crap this hurts' face.

Being monitored while breathing through the early contractions. I hadn't been admitted yet. I can't tell if that's a smile or a 'holy crap this hurts' face.

It was about 8:15am when I decided to go back to bed. They installed a birthing bar and I labored in many different positions over the next few hours. Primal noises, primal movements. With every contraction I needed to hold on to something with all my might: Tom, Katie, the birthing bar or in a few instances, Tom's hair (sorry love!).

Hour after hour after hour.. chugging along anxious to get this show on the road and even more anxious to meet our baby boy.

It was 9:15am when my midwife arrived. I had been laboring at Castle for over 10 hours! She checked me and I was dilated to 7cm. That was great, except my water still hadn't broken... they talked about breaking it but wanted to give me one more round of antibiotics first. So we had to wait... power on, breathe and wait.

By 11:45am I was dilated to 8cm (almost there!) and my contractions were SO STRONG. I was in a lot of pain now that I think back but in the moment I just did my best to get through one contraction at a time. I was still so determined and at this point and I was feeling strong and capable. I just kept thinking that he had to, had to come soon.

From 12pm-3pm I labored on but stayed right there at 8cm. What? No progress... I was 16 hours in, 8cm dilated but not making progress. I was starting to lose steam. It's so hard to really describe any of these moments but if I could, in this moment, READY would be the word. I was so ready. Doing my best to breathe but in reality, at this point, I was hollering (at the top of my lungs) through contraction after contraction.

Finally at 3pm they gave me one more dose of antibiotics and my midwife popped my water bag. We waited. Nothing. Stuck. I was stuck at 8cm.. then my cervix started to swell.  

My midwife came in and sat down. She said they truly wanted to honor my birth plan but she also wanted to give me her honest opinion. My cervix was swelling and I wasn't dilating past 8cm. She really wanted to give me some pitocin to move things along, but it was up to me. Pitocin, she advised, would intensify my labor so she suggested an epidural along with it so I could rest, labor down and prepare for delivery.

In all honesty, I was in some serious pain and I was beyond exhausted. I talked to Tom and Katie and it didn't take me long to decide. "I'll take the epidural along with the pitocin.", I told her with confidence.

For a brief moment I was bummed, this was not the plan. This wasn't the plan at all but that feeling was so short lived. It felt like centuries until the Dr. arrived. I truly don't think I could have made it through one more contraction. He gave me the epidural at 4:15pm, 17 hours in, and I fell to the bed in total relief. The nurses covered me in warm blankets and I closed my eyes. There is no way to truly explain what I felt in the moment and I swear if I had the energy to cry tears of joy I would have... instead I drifted off to sleep silently thanking God. 

So I napped. A glorious, glorious nap as my son labored down.

At 6:00pm I finally hit 10cm. When they let me know it was almost time to push I really couldn't believe it. His head was right there, I could feel it! I was doing it, we were doing it and after all the waiting our baby was almost here.

With a cue from my midwife, at 6:45pm, I began pushing. At this point I couldn't feel anything except for a little pressure. I had my husband holding one leg and my doula holding the other... I looked around and I swear there were 20 people in the room. A contraction would begin and they would all say in unison, "PUSH!"

This part felt very easy to me, and when the time came I'd just give it all I had. Everyone in the room would shower me with encouragement and compliments (they must have known how bad I needed to hear it, lol). I'd relax and then repeat.

I had been pushing for an easy 45 minutes. I felt his head moving down, and it was nearing the end. What a trippy, trippy feeling. We were about to meet our son!

In that moment I glanced over at Tom and I knew something was wrong (the monitor lost his heartbeat). As my midwife performed a swift episiotomy, the whole room yelled, "PUSH!!!". I closed my eyes and pushed with absolutely everything I had and at 7:29pm on January 2nd, my son was born.

Just moments after meeting our son for the first time -- 7:29pm on January 2nd!

Just moments after meeting our son for the first time -- 7:29pm on January 2nd!

There he was. I watched in slow motion as they lifted his little body up and unwrapped the umbilical cord from around his neck, his arm and his leg. 

The nurse placed him on my chest and I looked up at Tom. Oh. My. GOODNESS the emotion. THE EMOTION. I'm not sure how long we stayed like that. Time stopped. I was so happy and so exhausted, grateful and absolutely depleted. I did it. We did it. I followed about 30% of my birth plan but none of that mattered. In that moment I felt like the strongest woman in the world. He was here, our son was here!

When nurse came over to check him she noticed something was wrong with his breathing. There were so many people everywhere and at this point and I was so out of it, shaking uncontrollably. I must have fallen asleep as they took him because that is the last I remember from the delivery. 

The first picture I took of Thomas George. January 3rd, 2017.

The first picture I took of Thomas George. January 3rd, 2017.

I woke up around 1:00am in a dark room, Tom was sleeping on the couch next to me. From chaos to complete silence. I was hurting all over but I had to see my son. "What was going on? Where was he? Is everything ok?", I played over and over in my mind.

I made my way to the door and flagged down a nurse, she got a wheelchair and without hesitation brought me to the nursery.

There he was. My little blonde boy with fluffy hair. He was all wrapped up and the only word I can think of to describe him was perfection. He was perfect and standing there in the nursery, in the middle of the night, I completely lost it. Tears of uncertainty and tears of joy.

Nursing, holding, kissing and praying. Everyday.

Nursing, holding, kissing and praying. Everyday.

The nurse explained that when the cord wrapped around his neck he lost oxygen causing him to poop. He then inhaled and swallowed that sticky, tar like substance, meconium. They were able to get it out of his stomach but it was still in his lungs. They put him on oxygen and told me they'd update me in the morning.

After doing his blood work they decided they wanted to keep him in the nursery for a while. It looked like he had developed an infection and needed antibiotics. It was so hard to see his little body all hooked up struggling to breathe. The hardest part was the IVs! They had to continuously start new ones because Mr. Strongbaby would knock them out. He had them in his hands, his feet, his arms and his legs. Eehk. Also, like a lot of babies, Thomas became a bit jaundice. Under the light he goes! At this point we really had to rely on faith and each other. I prayed a lot and we did our best to stay positive.

I was a patient at Castle for the first two days and began my healing process. I worked with the lactation consultants to established breastfeeding/pumping and we spent as much time with Thomas as possible.

After those two days, it was time for me to be discharged. We had to go home. We held off until late that evening and when it came time to go, I totally lost it. (I did say this was the most emotional week of my life, right?) How on earth was I supposed to go home when my baby was still there?

Fortunately, the nurse taking care of Thomas that night was absolutely fantastic. She gave me the biggest hug and told me it was an honor to care for our son. She gave me the nursery number and said to call her anytime for updates. Tom and I locked hands and headed to the car. It was so hard and I cried all the way home.

The week chugged on. Pump at night, early rise, Castle all day, home, shower, bed, repeat.

It wasn't long though, and things started looking up. Our son kept proving that he is incredibly strong. Soon he was off oxygen, out from under the jaundice light and he was breathing really well. By the end of the week he was off all monitors and the only thing keeping us there was him needing to finish the full week of antibiotics. 

The morning of January 10th was one that is hard to describe. The skies were blue, the mountains were clear and the sun was shining. It was a perfect Hawaii day. We headed into Castle with our carseat in tow, our Thomas George was going home!

We made our rounds, hugging up everyone like crazy! We packed up and out to the car we went. 

We did it! We made it.. and our healthy little family was finally going home.

January 10th, 2017 -- after 8 days in the nursery, we are finally heading HOME! 

January 10th, 2017 -- after 8 days in the nursery, we are finally heading HOME! 

Thank you, Tom, for being everything that a father and husband should be. You didn't miss a beat that week. Sharing every single experience and being so strong when I couldn't. The love you have for your family is undeniable. You'll always be my greatest blessing. We did it! What a miracle our son is. Grazie mille, my love.

Thank you to my doula Katie. I honestly, honestly don't know what I would have done had you not been there that day. Thank you for being there and being the sister that I needed so much. From the beginning all the way until we were holding Thomas. Thank you, Katie. 

Thank you to our families and friends that were supporting and encouraging near and far. Sorry for the scare! We love you guys so much and are so lucky that you love Thomas the way you do. Thank you, thank you.

To the insanely brilliant mama tribe that continues to share their experiences with me, THANK YOU! I need you guys more than you know.

The biggest thank you to my midwife and all the nurses at Castle Medical Center. We had a phenomenal experience. So personal, professional and genuinely caring. Every single one of you are so appreciated. 

Thomas George, we are so lucky that you are here and that you are healthy. We seriously love you so much. Now, let the biggest adventure of our lives begin! <3

Thomas George, 6 weeks old. &lt;3

Thomas George, 6 weeks old. <3

January In Review ~

Oh January! What a month. Honestly, the most intense month of my life!

I wrote out January's dreams at the end of December and I kept going back to it throughout each week. I didn't do everything I wanted to do but I got much more done than I expected!

January In Review

- Gave birth to my little human, Thomas George, January 2nd at 7:29pm.
- Spent a week in the Castle nursery with baby Thomas. So. Many. Emotions.
- Read one book, Big Magic (for the second time) -- goodness I love that book. Feeling so inspired!
- Tom's family came out for a visit ~ his mom, stepdad and aunt came to meet our son. So nice seeing and spending time with them!
- My sister Coco came out for a full week! Chats, good food, lounging, beach and lots of baby time. She was the best!
- Got breastfeeding down! It was my greatest desire to BF my baby and without being too tooting of my own horn, we're rocking it. I love doing it!
- Went to one Mommy & Me Hui at Castle. Six moms in a room nursing and chatting. It was everything I needed.
- Created a budget with the hubby! All bills are organized and on a spreadsheet! (Thanks Tom!)
- Had two baby appointments with the pediatrician and a mama appointment with my midwife. (When you have a baby I swear your life turns into appointments!)
- Packed up all my maternity clothes and cleaned out my closet! Boy does that feel GOOD.
- Got my hair done! I hadn't touched my hair since before my honeymoon almost 9 months ago. A MUCH needed and well deserved treat if I do say so myself!

January went by so fast and in all honesty it was really hard. I'm looking forward to stepping into February and getting into more of a routine with Thomas.

I also looking forward carving out time for some of my personal goals ~ reading, blogging, business and getting on my Yoga mat.