Sunday, May 27, 2012

Raising little girls, scary or exciting?

I have two daughters! Holy crap, how did that happen? For some reason when I found out our first was a boy I was not at all surprised and it felt like what I expected.

Maybe it is because my husband was one of three boys, or maybe because my whole life I was more of a "one of the guys" kind of girl...but a part of me expected that I would not have a daughter....a mom who had a brood of little boys. Well clearly that theory was wrong.

So here I am, a mama with one over active, joy of a son and TWO little ladies. So why might the thought of raising daughter scare me? I mean I am a girl and I turned out okay, so I should know how girls should be raised, right?

Well I guess the answer to that is both yes and no.

Yes, I would like to think I know what it means to be a woman in today's world, that I know what kind of love and guidance my girls will need to be happy and mentally healthy.
But I also know that it can be hard to be a girl in today's world, that no matter what my husband and I do, not matter how much we love them, that they may fall victim to some of the social pressures and expectations that plague the young girls of today.

I worry for them.

I worry that they may be made to feel ugly, weak, stupid. That they will look at other women, movie stars, models and friends and feel like they are less than them, that they are not good enough.

I worry about them being confident enough to be alone. I know too many women who end up in relationships and friendships that are not right, or that they settle into just because they do not know how to be alone, to be happy just with who they are without someone else justifying this for them.

I desperately want them to feel like they are good at many things. ....not just that they are pretty, or smart...but that they have self-worth that comes from many places. I want to be sure that if they fail at one thing that they can find happiness in and feel good about something else.

I want them to know that they can always come matter what, no questions asked. It terrifies me to think that some girls do certain things or stay in bad situations out of desperation and no where to turn.

I want them to find happiness, to know who they are, to know how a good man (or woman) should treat them, to find real love, to love their family.

But I am excited about these two little ladies and what the future has in store for them (and for us). I am going to remember the mistakes I made, the wonderful lessons my mother and grandmother taught me, the words that I wish someone had spoken to me.

I am optimistic that they will have great lives. They certainly have a great role model in their father, and I would like to believe in me too.

One thing is for certain and that is that I love them with all of my heart and that I would die to protect them. I am also pretty sure their big brother loves them as much as I here's to hoping he looks out for my girls.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Post-Partum Body...1 week

I wanted to have a starting point to go by, even though I feel like it is a bit early for this. My current major goal is to get breastfeeding under control and get Vivienne accustom enough to life on the outside, that I am able to squeeze in some exercise when my body will allow me to do so.

The doctor recommends waiting until 6 weeks post partum until reassuming exercise. I plan to start slow by the end of week two by just taking walks and maybe doing some light elliptical work.

It is really hard to just sit around and feel fluffy, but I know better than to push too hard.

So here is some pre-pregnancy info to put my weight and body in perspective.

My last know pre-pregnancy weight was 138lbs and I am 5'7

At that time I had recently (1-2 months or so) weaned my daughter from nursing. Prior to that my lowest weigh was 132lbs, but that was at the peak of breastfeeding at not really a realistic long term weight for my height and frame. I was working out a lot at the time I found out I was pregnant and was in the best shape of my life.

The picture to the right of this post (in the tank top holding Charlotte) I am 135 lbs and it was a month and a half before pregnancy. That is my goal, to be around 135-140, in shape with muscle tone.

Pregnancy weight: On the day I gave birth I was 170lbs. This put me at a 32lbs weight gain.

1 week post partum stats:

Current weight: 152lbs

High waist: 32"
Around belly button: 34.5"
Hips: 40"
Upper thigh (right): 23"

The good news:

I started this blog 6 months after my daughter's birth because I was feeling lazy and generally crappy about my body and level of activity. That post can be found HERE.

At that time I was 154lbs. So I am starting at a much better place. I also exercised regularly and weight trained until 37 weeks into pregnancy, so I think I am stronger and will not have such a long road to travel.

The bad news:

When you have 3 children (one who is nursing), a full time job and a household to look after, NOTHING is simple. If I want to get myself in shape I have to work at it and there will be NO room for excuses. When I started this healthy journey I had to wake up at 4am each day to nurse my daughter, than pump and then go to the gym. I expect it will be even more complicated this time. I do not have a gym that has a daycare and my only option is to go to the gym in the morning or work out after the kids go to bed. But I will do it. I will be a good role model for my kids and I will feel good about myself again.

So my first health/ fitness goals:

1. Get back to eating more clean than I am right now
2. Slowly start to exercise and get the kids involved in the process
3. Get down to 145 lbs

I will check back in at the one-month mark and let you know how it is going.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Loving where you live

Now that we are done the baby making and baking phase of life, we are turning our energy to the homefront. Namely garden planting, chicken raising and making small improvements where we can. So far we (and by we I really mean my husband) is on a roll. Since my return from the hospital, only one week ago, he has done the following:
Planted tons of potted plants to surround the yard including tomato, lettuce, kale, blackberries, broccoli, herbs and taken a few trips to the local greenhouse for more.

Transferred all 30 chicken into their coop, which I assure you is no small feet..those suckers are fast

Helped me wrangle grouchy, attention seeking children

Started to clear the big field for ground planting, which starts next week

Let big boy "drive" the tractor so he doesn't feel left out.

Put a whole lotta dirt into pots

Straightened the yard for summer nights that are creeping up on us.

Pushed baby girl in her swing because she would rather be there than anywhere else.

Finished off a part of the porch which has been nagging us to get finished for two years. Now we can really enjoy the porch rockers and swing that I love so much.

And this is a huge part of why I love where I live. Because my husband works hard to make it home for us all. A beautiful home that he built himself. A place where I can be happy just watching my kiddos in the yard. With our newest baby in her rock and play in the shade, I sit an observe and I like feeling the security of my own yard and I love watching my kids learn about plants, animal and nature right in their own back yard. And of course it helps that we have the beach only 2 miles away.

In my eyes there is no better balance than a small little "farm" and the freedom of playing on the beach. I hope to continue to gain more of an appreciation for all I have and where I live. I will never be wealthy, but I know I have a lot to be thankful for.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Birth, Life

Now that our family of 5 is settling in and our help (thanks mama) has had to hoo, I am adjusting, healing and trying to slow things down, take it all in and not let myself get too overwhelmed or overtired.
That might be easier said than done, but if I pause and keep things in perspective, I think I will be alright. Another way to stay sane is just to be sure I get out of the house, go outside for a bit, drive around, visit a friend. Because staying in the house with 3 kids is nuts and even though it is a pain in the butt to get 3 little ones in car seats...the effort does help my mental health.
So I figured I would share my birth story. I know the reading of birth stories is not for everyone, so feel free to ignore.
Here is some back story for those who care
All 3 of my labors were all natural. My thoughts on natural childbirth can be found HERE.
My first child was 13 hours of active labor, most of which was felt in my back @ 39 weeks 2 days
My second was about 7 hours @ 39 weeks 5 days
and here is my third and final story............
At 40 weeks 1 day I was getting frustrated and just wanted to move on from being pregnant. My other two were born a few days early, so going past my due date was unexpected.
On Saturday May 12 I woke up in the morning having mild contractions. I had been having contractions of the same strength for a few weeks, however I usually did not have them in the I was hopeful. They were timing about 5 minutes apart, but nothing of any strength.
I showered, and as I was getting dressed I felt some unusual moisture in my underwear. I went to check, thinking maybe my water could be leaking. It was not water, but some blood. It seemed like what is grossly refered to as bloody show and mucous plug. This was a very positive sign, as I never had any of this before being in real labor with the others.
I let my mom and hubby know it was looking like today would be the day. My mom took the kids on some adventures and the husband and I started walking. It was a beautiful day and we walked along the ocean, in the yard, etc. Nothing seemed to be picking up all that much. I ate a light lunch and was sort of doubting my first thought of it for sure being that day.
At about 3pm I decided I wanted to lay down a while (which I am so glad I did). I was having contractions, but they were still mild enough that I was able to sleep for about an hour. When I woke up I was still contracting, maybe a tad bit stronger than before. I went to the bathroom and discovered more bleeding, actually it was enough to make me a bit nervous.
I decided I would clean up, get a few things ready and call the OB. I didn't feel quite ready to go in, but the blood made me nervous.
I ate a banana (after barfing while in labor the first time, I knew to be careful about what I ate) and called the OB. She wanted me to come in right away..and so were were off.
We arrived at about 5pm and went into the room where they monitor you before being admitted. They wanted to check my bleeding and monitor the baby and contractions. They gave me a saline IV just incase, due to the bleeding. My contractions seemed to pick up a bit as I got on the monitors and they were registering as being pretty intense and timeable (2-3 minutes a part). I got my cervix checked about 20 minutes later and I was 4 centimeters and 60 percent effaced...not a major change and this frustrated me (I was 2-3 centimeters and the same effacement at my last appointment)
However, everyone else seemed to think that was good and I was progressing nicely.
I was admitted, but the doctor insisted that I remain on the monitors throughout my labor.

This terrified me, as it meant I would not be able to move around as much as I had with my other two.
I stayed in bed on the monitor for just under an hour and then the pain got to the point where I had to move or I wouldn't make it. Babies heart rate was good. I spent a bit of time rocking back and forth and doing modified squats through the contractions. I even danced to some country with my husband. This was all right at the side of the bed because of the monitor.
I eventually moved to just the birthing ball and bounced through each contraction as my husband put counter-pressure on my back.

They started getting bad enough that I was moaning and having some pressure, but it hadn't been very long so I didn't think I was close. The nurse insisted that I get checked and I was shocked to be 9 centimeters and at -2 station.
The doctor offered to break my water, but I opted to wait a bit because I wanted baby to come down further...I knew that would mean less pushing. So after about 5 more contractions I knew she was coming and I screamed to the nurse that I couldn't get in bed because she was coming out.
As all good nurses do, she said you WILL get in bed and the husband helped her pushed me off the ball. As I did so my water exploded and the nurse yelled to the doctor that I was ready.
The whole room began rushing because she was coming and no one was quite ready. Also, there was meconium in my fluid so they needed a pediatrician who was not yet on the floor.
I had to breath through one contraction without pushing so they could get their gloves on and then I pushed, because I HAD to. With one push her head was all the way out and they started suctioning her due to the meconium. One and a half pushed later and she was born at early Mother's day gift.

She did give out one cry but then stopped for a minute so they brought her to the warmer for more suctioning and for a check by the pediatrician. My second child also had meconium, and all was fine so I think I was not overly worried.

All was well and after I got one stich (not bad, I had way more the other two times) I finally got to hold my baby girl.

SO I really only had 3.5 hours of active labor...not bad at all.
So now we are back to life and routines and preschool and being a family. I am feeling pretty good and am trying my best to enjoy the moment.
Today was the first time I had all 3 kiddos out of the house by myself. We picked up brother from preschool, spent some time at the school playground and then had a picnic lunch on the beach. It felt good to be out and I felt accomplished.

I will be returning to healthy eating, fitness and healthy lifestyle posts soon, as I am am eager to get myself back to being a healthy mama. So the next post will be a one week post-partum body/ eating update.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A family of 5 and a dream come true

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

When I was growing up I had so many dreams and goals. Some of these dreams changed or faded away, some morphed into other things, but my biggest dream of all has finally comee true.... I wanted to be a mom with at least 3 children, have a supportive and loving husband and live a simple and happy life. I am officially blessed and can say that I have reached this goal. I am a mother of 3 happy, healthy, beautiful children. I remember after my first I worried that because I loved him sooo damn much, that I wouldn't have enough room in my heart for more. I assure you a parent's heart can grow exponentially. I have watched my husband and his love for all of us and in awe and appreciation I wonder how I got lucky enough to have found him. So as you might have guessed, Vivienne Rose Alves is here With my husband by my side we welcomed our last and biggest baby into the world at 8:48pm on May 12, an early Mother's Day gift. She weighed 8lbs 7.4 ounces and beat her big sister by only .04 of an ounce. She is 20.5 inches long. She is perfect and pink and chubby and we love her. I will post our birth story later...but I can tell you it was fast!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Come on out little lady, we love you.

Maybe if I am really nice to her she will make her entrance.
I am approaching my due date and wondering when the little lady might make her appearance. Last night's Supermoon didn't seem to do the trick. Neither did a long walk or any other trick I might have pulled out.
I know she will come when she is ready, but it is always hard to wait.
I am officially on maternity leave, which is a fabulous feeling...but now this waiting game has really started.
Baby Vivi was good to me. She let me finish up work and she let me make my hair appointment yesterday...which was very important being that who knows when the next time will be that I can get my haircut again (I am interested to see how this juggling of 3 little ones will go). So now we just have to wait for her to make her grand entrance.
I am getting excited and anxious to meet her. It is amazing to think that I get to welcome one more baby into the world and spend time getting to know what kind of little person she will be. I worry for her so much already. Birth is beautiful, but also a little bit scary. I am afraid of things going wrong...even though deep down I believe all will be just fine.
So my next blog post will hopefully introduce a happy and healthy Vivienne.
I leave you with this...mama at 39 weeks, 2 days..........