First Birthday – My Wish

Happy Birthday to my sweet darling.

This year has gone faster than I could have ever imagined. I can almost certainly say that time doubles once you have a baby. It seems just like yesterday that I was rocking my newborn baby. Now here she is, giggling and laughing. Moving so quickly I can barely catch her. I love every little thing about her. Sometimes I can hardly stand it.

Now that I have a one year old I can confidently tell younger mothers to cherish every single moment, because even those never ending nights of crying that seem like they will never end, do. And maybe not too quickly for an over exhausted mother, but before you know it she is going to be wiggling out of your arms yearning to be let down to run free. Really, before you know it.

Now that I sit down and take a moment to reflect on the past year it reminds me to appreciate the time that I have now. To bathe in and embrace each moment. To put down my phone or book and observe her play. To absorb the little chatter noises that she makes. To memorize the soft curves of her hands that lay gently on my chest as she sleeps. These are the moments that go all too quickly. I can’t stand thinking of letting that get away from me. Even though I know I can’t stop it.

I can document it though. And that is what I wish to do. A memory is made with stories and pictures. Each memory I have as a child comes with it an image in my mind or picture from a photo album. I want my sweet pea to remember the love that surrounds her at this time in life. This is why I wish to take pictures and write stories. Then, when she gets old enough we can sit together, read the journal I have been keeping for her and look at pictures that hold more than words can describe. What fun it will be.

So, to my little monkey bear, this is what I wish for you…

Stay true to yourself.
Don’t let what others think of you determine what you think of yourself
Laugh all you want
Cry all you want
Know it’s okay to be beautiful on the outside
Strive to be beautiful on the inside
You don’t have to be perfect
Listen to others, even if you don’t agree.
Know what you believe and be able to defend it
Always keep learning, expand your brain
It’s never too late to try new things
Love in all things
Love God
Love your mom
Most of all, know that I love you, no matter what

Love, mommy

She’s loves music so much. Here she is being sung to for the second time on her actual birth day.

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A few pictures playing about here and there. Then pictures from her birthday party. What fun it was to plan a party for my sweetie.
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Birth Story – A Tale of Patience

A few people have asked me to share the story of how my darling little Maeve made her arrival into this world and so I have decided to make it easy and share it here.

Sleeping soundly. 10 days old.

(Pictures by rilie dee photography)

As a bit of background you should know that I am a huge advocate of home births and feel strongly in the ability of women’s bodies and the perfect design that God gave us in order to birth our children.

With that said, I also believe that there is a time and place for hospital births and I am so thankful that we live in a time and place where if a medical emergency takes place we can quickly get to a hospital.

I also believe that each women must make an informed decision about where she feels most comfortable to give birth.

So, here is my story, at least this is how I remember it 🙂

It’s midnight, July 28th, half asleep I walk to the bathroom to empty my bladder (just another one of the many benefits that come with pregnancy). I feel like I’m done but water just keeps leaking out. What is going on? It takes me a minute or two but I finally realize that my water has broken.

I wake up Matt right away and tell him I think my water has broken. I call my midwife and after a few questions she confirms that “yes, your water has broken”. She tells us to try and go back to bed and get as much rest as possible.

Not much sleep is possible. We lay back down but I can’t seem to quite my mind. I say a little prayer. I keep thinking I feel contractions, little tinges of pain here or there. After lying in bed for what seems eternity, we both decide to get up around 5am and make a good hearty breakfast.

We go for a walk. While walking I feel little tiny feelings of tightness here and there but nothing big.

We stay in touch with our midwife throughout the day. Because my water has broken this puts me on a timeline. I have to start having contractions by 11pm or I’ll have to go to the hospital, something that was not in my plan at all, actually one of my worst fears.

Through out the day contractions still not have picked up. My midwife says that if nothing has progressed by 2pm will should try the castor oil method. I’ll do anything to get things moving, I do not want to go to the hospital. My fears are growing at this point. I start wondering why my body is not working, what is going on? Is the baby ok? What is wrong with me? So many feelings and emotions are running through me.

At 2pm Matt picks me up a pasta dish from the restaurant down the road. I eat it and two hours later drink a mixture of castor oil, orange juice and baking soda. My midwife has stopped by to see how things are going at this point. She tells me that I cannot throw up this concoction, this is the only thing she says that I have to do. I tell her sure no problem and down the drink. The drink is supposed to start working within 4 hours if I remember correctly.

We go for another walk outside to see if we can get things moving. We try nipple stimulation. We try talking through anything that might be fearful to me. I honestly was most scared of having to go to the hospital, but even at that point was getting used to the idea. I wasn’t afraid of labor, I wanted to meet our little girl.

4pm, I am starting to prepare myself to go to a hospital to get induced. I tell Matt that we should start getting supplies ready to take with us. Standing in the kitchen Matt looks at me says with tears in his eyes that he does not want to go, he wasn’t expecting to feel this way, but he is, he was excited to have our baby in our home and is sad that things may not turn out the way we were expecting. We cry together trying to understand how things are taking a different route than we expected.

We were both tired, emotionally stressed and I had been walking in circles around the house because it was too hot to walk outside, for hours. My mom and dad asked to come over to say a blessing for me.

The four of us sat in our living room, first my mom asked me if I had anything I wanted to talk about, anything that I might be afraid of. I tell her that I really am not afraid of anything.

Matt, my dad and mom all lay their hands on me. My dad starts with a fathers blessing, Matt says a prayer and then my mom. I start crying. I can’t stop. I don’t know why. So many emotions, expectations and just being tired rolled up into one day. I needed that release. My mom tells me that when they leave I should just take some time to myself, pray, cry and feel what I am feeling, it is okay to cry and be sad or mad or scared, or whatever I am feeling at that time. She says I should dance, let my body move, allow it to react to whatever I am feeling; feel the motion of movement throughout my body. Dancing has been such a huge part of my life and for the past three years it has been absent, she thinks it will  be nice for me to just dance.

The clouds have started to gather and as my parents leave, Matt and I stand outside our door watching the sky grow darker. He holds be from behind and we stand there swaying. I ask him to give me a little bit of time alone. He kisses me and goes inside.

I can’t remember what it feels like to move, especially since my body has changed and is now holding a little life inside. I start by swaying my hips, circles, bend my knees, open my arms, roll my neck, try to feel and move each part of my body, feel each sensation. I am crying, I am praying, Lord please give me the strength to make the right decision, please allow my body to work in the way you created it, take away any fears, show me direction, give me and Matt peace, allow us to trust in your plan, be with our baby keep her healthly and safe. I don’t know how long this goes on. Raindrops fall on my skin. I am dancing again. I feel thankful.

When I go inside Matt is waiting for me, he too has been crying too and we sit and just are together.

Matt eats a little something for dinner, I try to eat this and that but everything tastes like metal, a strawberry Popsicle tastes best. We sit outside on our porch watching the rain waiting, waiting, and waiting.

About 10pm I start getting diarrhea, finally! It took long enough! By this time I have started little contractions I believe.

My midwife says that she will be over at 11pm and if I haven’t progressed any we will have to go into the hospital to get induced and get the epidural. She says that I should a use a pump to help with the nipple stimulation. I don’t have one. My dear eldest sister goes to the store to buy one. Once she gets to our house, she helps me to attach them right away. Time is running out.

After about ten minutes of pumping, I start feel really nauseas, Matt tells me I have to keep it down. Not happening! I rip off the pumps and try to run to the bathroom but don’t make it; I throw up all over everything, the carpet, and the curtains, anything that was on my way to the bathroom. I think I threw up twice.

Shortly thereafter, my midwife arrives. I am in labor, this I know for sure.

My contractions are starting to intensify.  By 11:45pm someone has called my mom and she arrives. By that point Matt is timing contractions and they seem to be about 2 mins long, 4 mins apart. I can talk between them at this point.

From this point on is a blur. As the contractions intensify. I start to become really internal. Only hearing bits and pieces of what people are saying.

I start having really bad pains in my lower back and front hip joints, I later learn this is because Maeve has her little hand right up by hear face.

Matt and I get in the shower and I sit on the medicine ball, this hurts REALLY badly because it puts more pressure on my hips. I remember hearing myself moan in the shower but thinking “is that really me?” As the contractions keep getting closer together my moans get louder. At one point Matt notices that I am starting to furrow my eye brows and scrunch my face, he tells me to relax my face and he later tells me I did whatever he said to do right away and didn’t do it again. He said it was pretty amazing how I didn’t question or hesitate; I just trusted that he knew what was best for me.

We got out of the shower and at some point my midwife asks me if I feel like pushing, I tell that I think I need to poop, she says lets getting ready to start pushing. Next thing I know I am laying on the floor next to our bed. Below me is my midwife, on my left is Matt and on my right is my mom.

Then its time to push. I felt so ready to do it. Let’s get this baby out!

My contractions helped me along for about half an hour, after that they become less and less intense. That didn’t matter to me though, at that point, I was just pushing out of pure might. My midwife kept telling me I was really strong and I had a dancers butt. She said it was amazing that I could kept pushing without the contractions, she even had to tell me to stop pushing so I didn’t tear. However, the problem with a strong butt is its tight, and when birthing a baby you don’t want anything to be too tight.

What I remember most about this pushing part was the pain in back and hips. Matt put his had in the low of my back to relieve some pressure and I wouldn’t let him take it away even though it was falling asleep.  My legs started shaking really bad, so bad that they were hurting.  Lots of push, then stop, my midwife would rise warm water and olive oil over me then stretch me with two fingers (yes, it hurt!), then back to pushing. This went on for two hours.

Once Maeves head was out, her hand was still stuck up by her head, my midwife had to push Maeve’s head back in and push her hand down so she could come out. Once this happened things were easier and it seems like she slipped right out!

She was put right on to my bare chest and looked right at me with big blue eyes. She was alert and content. We had to make her cry to make sure she could breath okay.

She latched right onto my breast to start feeding. What an amazing feeling. I was so happy to finally meet her.

But still no contractions. My placenta was not coming out. Matt took Maeve and back came the breast pump. It wasn’t till about 40 min later that my placenta came out. Next thing I know I hear a gushing noise. My midwife says I am bleeding a lot. She pushes deep down into my abdomen to stop the bleeding but when she lifts her hands it starts gushing again.

She tells matt to get his phone because he may need to call the paramedics. I see Matts face and realize this is serious. Matt runs to fund his phone and my midwife looks right at me and says, “Caitlin, you have to stop bleeding”. I am not sure if she was talking to herself or me or but it sounds like she is commanding my body. I start praying. Lord please stop this, over and over. Next thing my midwife does is stick five little pills up my bottom. We continue to pray. She takes her hands off me a few minutes later and the bleeding has slowed.

I am lying there shaking, asking where is my baby is she ok? I just want my baby.

I am so blessed. Everything turned out okay. My dad has come at this point and my sister Nikki came to bring me iron. Dad and Matt move me to the bed.

I have a beautiful baby girl and I am lying in bed cuddling her.

I am out of it but I know we are all okay. I can rest now.

This experience has taught me that I am strong. This may sound a bit obnoxious but I can kick your butt! I know that if I put my mind to something I can achieve it.

I have an amazing husband whom I could never have done this without. And my mom, wow, just having her near by gave me strength and I felt her love for me and my baby throughout this processes. My midwife was perfect. She was there when I most needed her and in the shadows when I needed alone time.

Even though this birth was hard and painful, scary, and unpredictable, I wouldn’t change a thing. I have learned so much about myself and my relationship with others. God had a plan and he wanted to make sure I knew he was in charge.

Yes, I will have another home birth and would suggest that you look into it too.

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like the information for my midwife, she’s amazing!

Meeting our baby for the first time.

Matt holding his baby girl for the first time.

A few hours after giving birth I feel a bit rested.

12 hours old.

Growing fast! (and mom still looking tired)

Such a big girl now!

Playing with bunny – 6 weeks, 3 days

Chilling out

Cubby cheeks!

Now What?

This past Friday was my last day of work (for now). It was a bitter sweet day for me.

I will have been with my company for four years. In those four years so much has happened, shaped and changed me into who I am today. Each and every person in my work place has made an impact on me, both personally and professionally. I feel lucky to have grown into the person I am today while working there.

With that said, NOW WHAT?!

“It feels so strange, now I’m just a stay at home mom” – Me

“You’re not JUST a stay at home mom, now, the possibilities of what you can be are endless, being a mom is just part of who you are.”  – Matt/husband/daddy-to-be

Don’t be jealous, I have the best husband ever. I cannot tell you how incredible he has been these past 9.5 months.  Not only supportive, caring and loving but he also tells me how great I look and embraces my new “softness”. (Although this new “softness” could come across as insensitive, the tone that he says “you are so soft and perfect, God is making you soft and comfy so baby can’t help but fall-in-love with you” is so sweet I can’t help but melt.)

I chose to take my maternity leave a few weeks before my due date (July 25th). Again, my great husband encouraged me to take this extra time for me, to rest and relax before my life changes forever. (Told you he is awesome).

Now that I have plenty of time (but a little less energy) I want to choose what I do with my time wisely. The first few things on my to-do list are clean, organize, rest, exercise and mentally prepare for my homebirth.

Even though I know these next few weeks will go by fast I still feel a little lost. Where is my place in the world? I start thinking, “Since I can work I really should  be working”, I feel lazy for not doing more. But then again this is what this time is for, for a little R & R and to feel prepared (as much as I can) for my little girl to enter this world.

I feel so thankful that I am able to take this time, that I am supported my both my workplace and my family.

I am so excited to meet my baby girl!

Till then, I will continue to clean, relax, and ponder what life will be like in a few weeks.

With love,
Caitlin

          38 weeks

Back with vigor!

Why hello there! I’ve missed you. Have you missed me?

I have been a little busy for the past five months, distracted by habitual sleep and nausea. However, now that I am feeling better I happy to announce that my darling husband and I will be expecting our first child at the end of July. We are so thankful for the little bundle of joy that is growing inside me and pray each day for health and happiness for this little one.

I am now in week 21 of my pregnancy. Between weeks 9-15 were the hardest for me, I felt like I could never get enough sleep, even thinking of making food made me nauseous and when I was hungry nothing but pizza and carbs sounded good to me. I am very thankful that I didn’t get really really sick (I don’t know how women do it). It was awful but bearable most the time.

Through it all I continued to teach my body works (weight) classes three times a week and walked around the neighborhood when I could muster up the energy. I feel that if I had stopped working out altogether, I would have felt much worse.

The thing that I tried to keep in mind was “listen to my body and what and I need”. If this meant going to bed at 6pm for 2 months or eating whatever I could keep down, I did it. I was a little worried I wasn’t getting enough nutrients because I lost 8lbs in 2 months. I talked with my wonderful midwife about this and she said that as long as I could keep my prenatal vitamins down the baby would be getting enough nutrients at this time. She told me, as time passed I would be able to eat vegetables and fruit again without having to force it down, and she was right.

I am now back to my old schedule of having “life juice” first thing in the morning, then a fruit smoothie mid-morning, lunch (a sandwich, salad or dinner leftovers), snacking on fruit, yogurt, or nuts, and dinner (chicken or fish with a salad/veggie and sweet potatoes is my favorite right now). This sort of eating really makes me feel good.

Now that I have energy again, I will be posting regularly. I have tons of great workouts and recipes to share! Can’t wait to see what you think.

Much love,
Caitlin