Pieces of Me

I’ve been stressing and struggling the last few weeks on how to BE ENOUGH. Be the mother my children need and deserve, the loving and attentive wife my husband needs, and the model employee who shows up at least on time, and remaining to find something for myself at the end of the day.

Photo credit: Missie LaFrenz Photography

I slowly piecemeal out bits of myself throughout the day. I wake up at 5:30am after sleeping 4 ½ hours in between the nighttime nursies, cries for a sippy, or snuggles to chase away the bad dreams. I rush to get ready and attempt to make my girls a good breakfast to keep them healthy and growing. Then it’s out the door to daycare, fly into work and quickly log in, grab my cup of coffee and check out my latest AdWord campaigns and catch up on inventory reporting.

I work through lunch most days, eating at my desk to “make up” for the lost few minutes of me arriving to work late or needing to leave early. If I’m not working on my lunch, I run our household errands, so I can have the weekend to do whatever cleaning or family activity we have planned.

Photo credit: Missie LaFrenz Photography

Before I know it, it’s out the door off to the sitters to grab the girls and hurry home to finish supper, then its bath and bedtime where each of the girls wants just one more snuggle or kiss from Mommy. I spend the next hour talking with Luke about his work while preparing for the next morning. After he’s in bed or off watching TV, it’s finally my time. Lately it’s been either running or a HIIT exercise only to shower and collapse into bed.

While searching for the elusive answer, I’ve switched from listening to audiobooks to listening to motherhood, lifestyle, and marriage podcasts. On Sunday, one of the podcasts hit home. As moms, we constantly juggle many different balls. We have to stop and ask ourselves if our priorities are on our fragile, breakable, glass balls or on the sturdy, rubber balls that bounce if we drop them.

The same podcast reminded me that it is impossible to pour from an empty cup. That is not to say that I should go out every day or week for a manicure or massage or I should spend lots of money on a new wardrobe. But it is a good reminder that as a mom, it is ok and necessary to be selfish occasionally. To let all the little details of a birthday party go so you can enjoy the moments. To ask for help instead of trying to be SuperMom. To let your husband handle the meals for one week, even if he feeds your kids McDonalds every night. To let your older kids go to “Grammy Camp.”

So Momma – what are you juggling? Where are your priorities? Let that rubber ball drop. You have all the time in the world to do ______. You only have 18 years of your children. You are enough for them. Always.

Photo credit: Missie LaFrenz Photography

Coping with Postpartum Anxiety

Anxiety comes in waves for me. I can be fine for weeks, even months at times. Then a trigger happens and I find myself paralyzed. Unable to breathe, think, or cope with life. Ever since Kori’s failed attempt at the dairy ladder, I’m bombarded with random anxiety attacks.

Photo Credit: Brittney Hogue Photography

Reaching into my coping methods basket, grounding and “J”breathing help the most when I am overwhelmed.

J breathing:

  • Inhale 4 beats
  • Hold 7 beats
  • Exhale 8 beats

Grounding:

Look around you. Identify and name

  • 5 things you see
  • 4 things you feel
  • 3 things you hear
  • 2 things you smell
  • 1 thing you taste

Most of all, remember anxiety is a liar. Speak truth to yourself when the intrusive thoughts start racing. You are worthy. You are loved. You are enough.

💗💗 A

How I Meal Plan by The Month

Start by stopping your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry to see what items need to be utilized. Then I break down the days of the week by either protein or cuisine.

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Our typical week

  • Mondays: beef days.
  • Taco Tuesdays: tacos, nachos, or fajitas.
  • Wednesday: breakfast for dinner
  • Thursday: lov’n leftovers – use leftover protein from Monday to create a new meal.
  • Friday: pizza
  • Saturday: grill out
  • Sundays: Luke cooks

You can plan your meals like this or by protein. If chicken was on sale and you stocked up make one night chicken night.

My sister does something similar

  • Wednesdays breakfast for dinner
  • Friday favorites
  • Sandwich Saturdays

A couple other ideas that you utilize when you plan, Meatless Mondays, “Souper” Sundays. It makes menu planning by the month a lot easier when you only have to plan 4 days of a theme rather than thinking you have to come up with 31 different meal ideas.

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Some things to consider as you contemplate menu options:

  • Calendar check. Determine what nights you’ll have time to cook and what nights you’ll only have time to reheat leftovers.
  • Look for sales. What’s on sale this week at the supermarket?
  • Shop your pantry. That can of beans at the back of the cabinet could be the starting point for any number of healthy meals.
  • Think seasonal. What fresh produce is available this time of year? Is it salad season or soup weather?
  • Mix things up. Keep the menu interesting by planning some meatless meals or substituting a breakfast for a dinner. Alternate new recipes and old favorites.
  • Picture the plate. As you plan each meal, keep in mind that vegetables and fruits should cover half your plate, lean protein should cover a quarter, and the rest of your plate should be grains, preferably whole grains.

Don’t forget 31 one days is a long time and if your family enjoys a meal, it is ok to rotate that every other week! My husband would eat “cheese-y chips” and my daughters would eat tacos every night of the week if I would let them. Taco Tuesdays are the one constant in my monthly meal plans year round.

Happy Menu Planning!

~ Alecia

Kori’s Birth Story

brittneyhogue-birthandbabyphototographer-peoriail-9399Here it is – 7 months later I’m finally getting ready to write this down. How I remember things and how Luke says they happened are two different versions. We will go with mine.
Photo credits: Brittney Hogue Photography

May 5, 2018 – Kori’s official due date. I had an appointment with my midwife on May 1st and due to Kori’s predicted size and my history with fast labors, she wasn’t comfortable letting me go past 41 weeks. We scheduled an induction for May 12. Now, I had an induced labor with my oldest and I did NOT want another one. 

May 8 – had another appt with my midwife, begged for a membrane strip and stretch. Was dilated to a tight 2 cm. Noticed no change. This was the day the whole pregnancy I said Kori would be born.

brittneyhogue-birthandbabyphototographer-peoriail-9472

May 10th – called and begged for another stretch and sweep. I was dilated to a loose 2 and Amy, the midwife told me, I would be having this baby in the next 24-48 hrs, but told me if not to be at the hospital at 5 am on Saturday morning. 

We had plans to meet up with Luke’s mom and dad at the local carnival that evening. I told Luke jokingly on the way there to hit every pothole he could to try and bounce the baby out – which he did, causing me to have uncomfortable cramps every time. At the carnival, I made sure to stay moving wanting to keep whatever could possibly be going on continuing. We enjoyed watching the girls go on rides, had some pizza, and came home (where Luke enjoyed hitting every.single.pothole on the ride home.)

Luke and the girls went to bed but I stayed up pacing the house, walking around in the yard, bouncing on the yoga ball, even running our basement steps a few times for good measure. I finally decided nothing was going to happen and fell asleep on the couch around 1 am. Just like Frankie’s labor, I woke up around 3:45 am in the middle of a hard contraction. Because Frankie came so fast (3 hrs from first contraction to delivery), I knew we had to get going to the hospital. I went upstairs and told Luke to call his mom to come stay with the girls while I got things loaded into the van. 

4:15 am – Luke learned from the last time that things would go fast, so he got up right away and called Kim. She arrived shortly after and we were off to the hospital. Due to road construction, we went the long way taking almost an hour to get to the hospital. In the mean time I was having contractions every 3-4 minutes and was totally in the zone. I don’t remember much of the drive to the hospital. 

5:15 am – We got checked into the hospital and were told they were full – I wouldn’t get my room with a birthing tub. I was pretty disappointed because I loved my water birth with Frankie. The nurse who checked me in attempted to get an hep lock started and blew 4 veins. I finally had enough and told her to stop, I declined the HEP lock. The stress of everyone bugging me caused my contractions to slow down and I was starting to get annoyed.

5:25 am – Amy, the midwife, came in after attending another birth and checked me – I was at a loose 4 cm and “officially in labor.” I had the option of continuing to labor as is or she could break my water. I asked to have my water broken and to get in the shower.

5:45 am – From the time I actually got in the shower to the time they made me get out of the shower is a blur of contractions, cuss words, and me pounding on the shower wall. The shower never got quite warm enough, the pressure sucked, and the shower head didn’t adjust so it was pretty much useless as far as pain management goes. I had my Amazon Prime music list going and was attempting to distract myself by singing. Luke was making sure to stay out of arms reach from me as I was threatening to castrate him with a dull knife – probably having some PTSD from our oldest’s birth where I bit him so hard I left teeth marks for 3 days. Amy would come in every so often and check Kori’s heart rate and watch my contractions. When I started begging for a c-section, Amy decided to get me out of the shower. I distinctly remember telling Luke, “This natural labor is BULL$#!T. I’m done – I want a c-section!”

7:08 am- (I remember asking Luke what time it was when I was walking to the bed.)  They got me onto the bed on my back and I promptly started yelling at everyone to help me get up because the contractions were horrific – it was like my pelvis was being squeezed in a vice and there was so much pressure. Amy checked me and I was *almost* completely dilated and could start pushing whenever I felt like it. I was still on my back and they finally helped me roll over to all fours and a hot pack for my back – what an intense relief! I labored down for a little bit and started getting the urge to push. I fought it terribly because I was terrified of how big Kori was going to be and of tearing (literally nothing is burned in my mind more than the memory of the sensation of tearing with my oldest.) I remember telling Amy(yelling it probably) that I knew I needed to push, but I couldn’t stop fighting the urge. About this point is when “Elvira” by Home Free came on, and I started yelling at people to turn my music off. My baby was NOT being born to Elvira. Luke turned my phone off and Amy turned on some relaxation music which is just what I needed. 

At this point they raised up the back of the bed and I drape myself over top of it. This helped me to relax and I finally gave into the urge to push. I did a couple tiny little pushes with the next contraction. I knew I was going to have to push harder to get Kori born. The next contraction I gave it my all pushing through dreaded ring of fire until I felt her head emerge. Seeing as Kori was my third baby, I expected her to just slide right out after her head was born (like my other 2 did.) Turns out – her shoulders were about 1/2 in bigger than her head and Amy called her “sticky.” Luke and Amy were yelling ‘Don’t stop pushing, you have to keep going.’ I was so annoyed that I had to push again but I gave it everything I had and then at 7:28 am, Kordella LouAnne was born! It took me about a minute to catch my breath and I finally rolled over, they laid her on my chest where she promptly decided to poop – the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

I loved how we did get to enjoy the “golden hour of bonding.” Our L&D team was amazing moving in and out of the room quietly cleaning up. Around 8:30 am, we finally texted family to know she had arrived. Luke took Kori off to the nursery to be measured – our big girl – all 9 lbs, 2 oz and 20 3/4 inches, head circumference of 14 inches, shoulders were 14 1/2 inches, while I showered and cleaned up. Around 10 am Luke’s parents brought the girls up to meet her and our family was complete – big sisters were in love!