Making milk is a superpower! ||{healthy lactation cookies}||

First off, this is a completely “MOM” related post- if you couldn’t tell by the title. 😉  I do realize that many of my posts have “shifted” since the birth of my blessing, – but hey, my hips have shifted too. Life isn’t fair 😉   ……I am sharing this because of a few requests and the fact that I didn’t find a healthy lactation ‘cookie’ while in my search.  I searched high and low, sifting through all sorts of pins on Pinterest—–only to find unhealthy options……  So I’m sharing my own! Who knows, maybe I can help a mom out!

Making milk is superpower, truly.

Sadly, it is not a superpower I possess easily. It is hard work for me. Darn hard work. I’m a wannabe superhero milk producer.

Yep, I’m a wannabe.

I envy all the women that have gallons of breastmilk stored in their refridgerators for their little blessings to enjoy. I really envy them….. like the way I envied Rebecca on Full House because she got to kiss Uncle Jesse. Yep, that kind of envy. That is neither here nor there. Back to the nursing talk.

I take about 30 supplements daily, drink lactation tea 3-5 times a day, and drown myself with water all for the sake of producing juuuuust enough milk for my little one. All of this is doctor approved and suggested; don’t think I’ve went off the deep end here. (but sometimes I feel like I have!) While I’m at work, I also pump every time my son would eat—–> just to keep up.

IMG_0987 Making milk is a superpower! Lactation Cookies

Then, there is this other little thing I do—- eat lactation cookies! 🙂

I can’t lie to you and tell you that they are the best thing I’ve ever eaten, they’re not. However, they do help me eat healthily in a pinch and provide some good things that support healthy lactation. I’m telling you, I do EVERYTHING I can to make milk for my little superhero!

Healthy Lactation Cookies

  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/3 c. rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon (I probably put in waaay more cinnamon, I’m a cinnamon junkie!)
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 overripe bananas (the waaay ugly black/brown ones)
  • 1 c. ground flax
  • 6 Tbsp brewers yeast* (can add as little as 2 T)
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar (I use dark)
  • 1 Tbsp good quality vanilla
  • 2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°.  Mix the flour, oats, soda, salt, and cinnamon thoroughly in one bowl. In a seperate bowl mix remaining ingredients and mix well, mix very well.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and dollop the cookies on in whatever size you’d like. Bake for 12-14 minutes. (always 13 minutes on the nose in my oven!!)

*note: most recipes I saw only had about two tablespoons of brewers yeast. I just thought that didn’t seem like much for a whole batch of cookies, so I just kept dumping it in!

IMG_0969 Lactation Cokies

Many other recipes add peanutbutter & chocolate chips to make them more ‘cookie like’. But, if some of you recall, due to some “issues” south of the border, I can’t eat those things. So, mine ended up being UBER healthy. They remind me more of a muffin than a cookie. But their cookie nature makes them easy to grab and go for me personally. Plus, I can make varied sizes of cookies that way; something a muffin tin won’t allow!

I am in no way, shape, or form saying that these are a cure all for a low milk supply. For some women , eating lactation cookies can really help; while for others it really doesn’t do much. I like to think that they aid me in healthy lactation but more importantly, they aid me in a healthy lifestyle as a busy mamma! Because I choose to nurse Jackson over my lunch time on MWF while he’s in the same town as me, I have very little time to eat lunch at work, we’re talking 5’ish minutes! I grab one or two of these and know that I’m getting in some whole grains and something that can help with lactation.

WHY these are supposed to help:

  • Oats are shown to aid in lactation as well as just be darn good for you.
  • Brewers Yeast is shown to give some women’s milk production an extra boost.
  • Flax is sometimes shown to help as well, depends who you are asking.

So, these are winners for me and I find myself making them each and every week.  I do hope those of you  out there that are breastfeeding mammas, I hope you easily come by the superpower of making and abundance of milk………… ………But, for those of you like me, the PROUD WANNABES, cheers! Grab a cookie!

God knows better than me?!….. Who knew?!

I was crossing my fingers to win the lottery and put off going back to work for a little while. No dice. Bummer. I even was certain that if I won the lottery, I would go back to work free of charge; as long as they let me build a daycare on the school grounds and hire someone stellar to watch my son while I was instructing my lovely students. Guess it’s now written in the stars for us (yet! 😉 )

Lottery for me?!

November 1st was the set date that I would become a mother AND  a teacher. The day was quite dreaded and I had no idea how I would feel about the whole thing when it finally arrived. My maternity leave was bliss, I loved staying at home with my son….. Honestly, I was very scared that I would go stir crazy on maternity leave; manily because it was football season and I would be completely alone from 7:00 am- about 8:00 pm. {In a small town!} But, we found our groove and I was able to get things done as well as be a mom. It was nice.  Okay, I’ll be honest- it was out-of-this-world-wonderful!

I have known from a pretty early age that I wanted to work with children, even when I was one myself. I just knew that my genuine love of youthful spirits would lead me to teaching. So, I became a teacher. I love my job. BUT, it is no secret around Spinach and Sprinkles that my current situation as far as my job is concerend is a little….. ummm…… less than ideal.

I have taught Kindergarten, 2nd grade, 3rd, and half a year of 6th grade all in consecutive years and am currently teaching 4th grade. That is five years of changing. That means that for FIVE YEARS, I have never taught the same lesson twice! It has been new each and every single day for FIVE YEARS!!!!!  The only thing that has stayed the same for three of those years is my physical classroom—-and MY STUDENTS! That’s right, I have taught most of the kids in my classroom at least two years and four of them have had me three years **in a row**. (Would you like their addresses so that you can send them sympothy cards? I’m sure they would appreciate it! 🙂 ) Talk about a challenge!

My five years of challenges in the classroom.

I have been spending the last two, going on three, of those years crying and stressing about everything concerning my job; from the big to the small….. Then, I got the biggest blessing of my life and found out I was pregnant. I went to school for a full day of 4th grade and went into labor while teaching on the second day of school.

I was able to take an 8’ish week maternity leave due to the nerve damage I experienced. When those 8 weeks were gone, my heart was truly sad. I didn’t want to leave my son….. I repeat, I did not want to leave my son.

LOVE this cutie!

LOVE this cutie!

However, God has a better plan for my life than I have for myself. I recieved a huge shock……. I finally saw God’s plan for making me teach the same kids for three years in a row; I missed my kids. I honestly feel like a few of them are my actual children and I needed to get back and remind them of how much their mom at school loves and cares about them. I KNOW I never would have been able to go back to work if I didn’t care about my kids at school this deeply. God knew what I needed better than I did. Truly, I would have been a stay at home mom if it wasn’t for my unusual circumstances. He kept me with the same class for three years so I would still feel a calling to be a teacher/mom to students every year, not just my own son.  He knew I could be a mom to my baby and my kiddos, I just needed to have three years with some kids to convince me that I could do them both….. for the love of children.

His timing is PERFECT!

Who would have thought; God having a better plan than this girl. Who knew?!

QUESTION: Have you ever been able to look back and see God’s perfect plan for something that has been tough in your life?

Gone missing….

Okay, so I am totally sorry for dropping off the face of the planet. You all deserve an update in many areas of this girls life so I’ll jump in and say “life if good”.

Life is good

I have no excuses for my absence, a lot in my life has shifted and I’m just going with the flow. I’m trying to to not feel guilty about where I’m spending my time though.  I spend my days 100% focused on the tasks at hand so that I can enjoy a few minutes a day just enjoying my son. I RARELY open my computer; no worries though, I still blog read (I’ve been keeping up with all of you!) and catch up with my blogfriends, it just happens to be at 12:00 am, , 2:00 am, 3:50 am, and 5:30 am via iPhone while nursing the little one.

I went back to work on Novmeber 1st and—– golly am a pooped out by 6:00 pm! I struggle to stay awake till 8:45 every night. It’s like being pregnant all over again! It is truly hard being a full time mom, wife, and teacher. As well as sister, daughter, and trying to be a good friend is MEGA tough too. Yes, I’m fully aware that I’m not the first mama to do this and I’m not complaining about it. It is just new to me.  I’m feeling pulled in quite a few directions- any working mommies out there with tips or advice? I’m all ears!! 🙂

Within the next few posts, I’ll be filling you in on;  going back to work and how something COMPLETELY unexpected happened, our breastfeeding journey, what’s going on with my son, post-baby body, and sharing a few delicious recipes (one for lactation ‘cookies’ that have been my saving grace!).  Thank you all for sticking around and checking in to see if all is well in the Spinach and Sprinkles household. I’m glad to report that we are….. BLESSED! 🙂

Love my little man!

Love my little man!

Again, thank you for dropping by to see how things are going and for your continued support and love. I hope each of you are doing great and feeling very blessed as the season of love is upon us!

Lock up your almond butter….

Jackson newborn Marvel blanket

Here is our blessing hanging out in his awesome Marvel blanket! (made my my super sweet cousin!)

First things first: Thank you all for your sweet comments on Jackson’s birth story! It was an amazing experience that I’m already so glad I wrote out, it’s already becoming a tad blurry so I’m glad I can look back and read it…. or make Jackson read it some day when he’s being a stinker. 😉

Off to the doctor I go...

I recently went back to the doctor for my 6 week check up. This is the check up where most women get the ‘A-Okay’ from their doctor to resume life as normal and are told that they are good to go to be themselves again. Hooray! Right? ….Wrong.

I went into the appointment a tad nervous. I wasn’t quite mentally ready to go back to the doctor for myself.However, I do think that six weeks is ENTIRELY TOO LONG to wait to go back to the doctor to make sure things are oaky.  My appointment was with my regular OBGYN. I do wish that this appointment would have been with the doctor that delivered Jackson, was there for the birth, did the cutting, and preformed the reconstruction and such. He has the background knowledge. Oh well.

Into the doctor I went. He was kind and said he heard my birth experience was great and that I did get to go without medication, just like I wanted. His nurse gave me a high-5. HAHA! 🙂 Totally made me smile! Then, he went through the laundry list of questions:

  • Postpartum depression? ……NOPE! Horray, I was scared out of my mind that I was going to be affected by postpartum depression.  I was scared that I was going to feel super sad—- I waited for it to hit. It never did!
  • How was I adjusting to life as a mom? ….I feel blessed. End of story.
  • Was I resuming normal activity? ……I was completely ‘mad-as-heck’ at how long it took me to be able to run again.  I ran just days before he was born and tried to run about two weeks after I had him: complete joke. It felt like important parts of me were falling out when I ran about three steps. FAIL! I was able to run about four weeks after though. 🙂
  • Are you  having any PAIN? ……{oh crap, here is the question I was not looking forward to} Yes, I am still in pain. I still hurt.

It turns out my answer to that last question isn’t normal. Having pain like I’m having 6 weeks after delivery is not normal. The doctor informed me that I am not okay, I have some pretty extensive nerve damage.  What?! Extensive nerve damage.

What I'm not supposed to be in pain?!

What!? I’m supposed to be past the pain?!

I guess I shouldn’t be shocked. I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that it wasn’t supposed to be like this. Something was right and I, to some extent, knew it. I heard Kath write in her blog that she was excited to ride a bike soon. I replied to that post of hers by saying that, “you couldn’t pay me enough money to hop on a bike!” (and I’d had Jackson a fair amount of time before she had Maze.) No way, no how, could I even THINK of riding a bike!

Doctor say Whaaaaaaat?!

Yes, there is a medical name for my issue but I’m just not going to go into it. He gave me a prescription, list of things to do, AND a list of foods I can no longer eat.

I grabbed the list of foods not to eat and about had a heart attack! Here are a few of the things I can no longer eat:

  • Dairy: Cheese, milk, yogurt
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Nuts— all of them!
  • Nut butters— all of them too! 😦 and I love me some almond butter! 
  • Berries
  • Grapes
  • lemons & limes
  • Beans— all of them as well!
  • Celery
  • Eggplant
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach

**Note:The list is just a little bit longer but I only put on the foods that hit me the hardest. **

Would you like a list of my favorite foods?!? Wait, it’s pretty much the EXACT same list!!!!  I was just given the news that I’m not ‘okay’ and now I can’t eat any of my favorite foods. I’m pretty sure that the ONLY things missing from that list are wine & oatmeal. I had to go grocery shopping after the doctor and I *swear* the doctor stole my grocery list and put each and every item I had on the list of foods I can no longer eat….. I wanted to break down in the doctors office and start to throw a complete fit or cry. All I could do was look at him blankly, laugh, and say “I don’t know what I’m going to do….. I eat a lot of nuts.” He looked back at me, said that didn’t sound good, and laughed.

How am I going to feed my baby?

I just stood there reading the list and trying to rack my brain trying to figure out how to feed my baby and myself. I’m a breastfeeding mother that lives on protein from many of the foods on the list. How on earth was I going to feed myself so that I could feed my baby?! I was genuinely confused. I was already struggling with making sure I was eating enough to make enough breast milk. I was relying very heavily on almonds, almond butter, peanut butter, cheese, and greek yogurt to get enough protein and healthy fat to make good breast milk. How am I going to figure this out. I felt like I was in calculus class all over again, given an equation and problem that I simply couldn’t figure out how to make work.

How am I going to ROCK with this news?!

The doctor told me that he couldn’t stop me from eating all of those things- but it was recommended.So, I made a deal with myself. My “healing plan” is about 4 weeks long. I have to call back in 4 weeks to see if I’m better.  If I’m still showing signs of significant nerve damage I’ll be shipped off to a specialist for surgery. Till then, I have to follow this plan. BUMMER!   ….My deal was that I would take the medication, use the perscription, and follow the to do list— except the food part. Then, if I wasn’t showing signs of progress half way through, I would heed his advice and not let those foods pass my lips. Well, here we are at half way through the “healing plan” and……..

I’m not any better.

Crud. Unless I want to have surgery, I better give this a try. So, I have to throw myself  fully into a new way of thinking. For the past two weeks, I’ve been avoiding relying them on my sole nutrition to make healthy breast milk but not avoiding them COMPLETELY. I have to make the switch, no matter how hard it is going to be.

I am truly inspired by my blog friend, Maryea who blogs over at  happyhealthymama.comShe is working her way through breastfeeding while dealing with her son’s food allergies/intolerances. She is still making healthy choices for her family even with these bumps in the road. Maryea doesn’t let it stop her from feeding her baby or herself. I have admired her from the beginning for the lengths she has gone to to create healthy food & healthy breast milk. You rock, Maryea. I hope she knows that she is truly an inspiration.

So, here is what I WILL be eating: oatmeal, eggs, chicken breasts, avocados, soy milk, carrots, protein shakes, and ummmmmm maybe some bread. This.is.hard. I have spent the last six years of my life trying to find the healthiest food and eat them. Turns out this healthy food is not helping my body heal. This confuses me.  Oh well—– Doctor’s orders.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to put a lock on my almond butter, peanut butter, almonds, yogurt, chocolate, beans, and all the other things I like to eat…

**IMPORTANT NOTE** I am in NO WAY complaining about what I am going through with this nerve damage issue.  I remember one year ago taking off to go to the doctor all.the.time, feeling at a loss, discouraged, and giving myself shots to try to get to where I am at; to have a healthy blessing in our arms.  I would not change a SINGLE thing. Not one single thing. I am simply sharing part of my journey called life. Thanks!

Question: Have you ever had to abandon a healthy behavior because it wasn’t helping you?

Jackson’s Birth Story

This post is wordy. I make no apologies. I’m writing  Jackson’s birth story for me.  I want to remember how our son came into the world, each little and big detail. So, if you are curious how we came to meet our blessing, read on.

August 22! Baby’s DUE DATE!

August 22, 2012. The due date came and went. No baby. With the due date came the first day of school. I co-taught all day and kept a normal school schedule while getting reacquainted and meeting my 4th graders. I was supposed to be meeting my baby today but no baby. I was okay with that. I wanted him to come when he was good and ready- not a moment sooner. EVERYONE at school would ask me “What on Earth are you doing here?!” “Go home and put your feet up!” My response always was, “Ummmm, no baby yet. I’m continuing to teach till I go into labor!” I know they were just worried and trying to be kind. But, I don’t have sick days to take just for fun waiting on our blessing; plus he could go two weeks over his due date.   I would just truck on till he decided he would greet the world! I still didn’t believe or feel that our baby’s birth day was getting any closer.

Julie Maternity 49'ers black and white

40 weeks exactly!

Sidenote: We also had maternity pictures on the due date. Yep. Don’t be the crazy woman that takes pictures 40 weeks pregnant. Not a good idea. You’re much cuter at 33-35’ish weeks.

I went to bed on August 22nd and woke up a few times in the night. I didn’t know exactly why I awoken. I didn’t feel the urge to use the restroom and I seemed to have awoken for no apparent reason. I think I may have been having some smaller contractions that awoke me from my deep sleep. Believe it or not, I have a rather high pain tollerence so I wasn’t so sure what was going on. I continued on to bed anyway not thinking too much of it.

August 23, 2012

I woke up the next morning and finally felt like Jackson’s birth day could be any time now. I felt a little different in my heart, my head, and my body. I can’t place my finger on it but I did tell the husband, who is also a teacher, that he may want to have some sub plans ready- just incase. I had never said anything like that before. We hugged and parted ways. On the way to school, I called my sister, also a teacher, and told her that I finally believed that they baby could come any time now. I actually believed that I’d have a baby in my arms by the next Monday. I just knew that he’d be born before Monday, five days away. I felt like greeting him was on the brink and I wanted my sister to have lesson plans ready too. She cried tears of joy as I told her I felt I’d be greeting our baby soon. It was sweet.

While at school EVERYONE AGAIN asked what I was doing at school, my due date was yesterday. I told them all “I’ll continue to teach till I go into labor. But, I do finally believe that this baby is coming sooner rather than later.” {I kind of wonder if I went into labor just so people would stop asking what I was doing at school 😉 } I thought I may have been having small contractions and asked my sister the difference between Braxton Hicks and contractions. She suggested I time them to see if they were semi regular. So, at 10:00 am, I started timing my contractions on my iPhone. They were coming every 10’ish – 5’ish  minutes…

My doctor & I had discussed in detail when to come in due to my hour twenty’ish drive to the hospital— with NO hospital on the way! I was to call and head in when the contractions were enough that I couldn’t talk through- the kind that take your breath away. The contractions I was having were in no way taking my breath away. However, they were making me close my eyes, take a deep breath, and make a few funny faces. One student that I taught for going on three years was truly concerned, she could tell something was up. I assured her that I just wasn’t feeling well but would be A-Okay!

Calling the doctor!

I was NOT going to the doctor, I was fine. I could talk, move, and carry on pretty normally. My substitute nagged (in a loving way) me enough to at least call the doctor. So, I called the doctor at 1:00 after their lunch to see what they had to say. They took down the stats and said they would call back. At about 1:40 I  got a call from the staff of the doctor that was on call- which was NOT my doctor. Nuts. My doctor was not on call, which means that he would not be delivering my baby  if he was born today.  The hospital said I should come in….. “Whaaaat?!? Are you serious?!” was my reaction. I told them I was fine and would like to wait till after football practice to head to the doctor. It would be done by 7:00 and then the husband and I could come up to get checked out. The hospital insisted that I come in to get checked out and be monitored…… But that wasn’t the plan with my regular doctor. I was a little frusterated. They insisted that I come in and get monitored. I asked, “Like is this the kind of monitored where I need to bother my husband at work and make him take me up there?!” “YES, DEAR! Bring your husband. This could be real labor!” ….They didn’t take too kindly to my stubborn nature and my lack of urgency for the situation.  I wasn’t trying to be a hero but I didn’t want to drive three hours for fun, take off of work, make the husband miss school & football practice. I didn’t want them to say it was false labor and send me on my way. This had better be the real deal. I’m no wimp!

Bothering the daddy at work.

I picked up my phone and made THE long awaited phone call to my husband. The phone call he had been ready for for weeks. I called the husband and told him that I had been feeling contractions since early morning and they were wanting me to come to the doctor and get checked out. We left school for our home at about 2:00.  On the drive home, I called my mom and told her the hospital said we should come in and that I would get checked out. She started to get really giddy but I informed her not to get too excited quite yet.  The husband and I got home, packed up our stuff in the car, and headed for the hospital. Clothes, electronics, essentilas like make-up, and a car seat! It was so surreal but kind of nerve wracking because I didn’t like throwing a kink into the husband’s schedule if this wasn’t the real thing! (silly, I know. But, that’s just me….)

husband + Julie 49ers maternity against wall looking at each other

About 24 hours later, we were parents!

On the way to the hospital I was so worried that the whole thing would be a fluke and I would be told to go home (feeling like a complete wimp or failure). I am such a rebel, I ate a piece of string cheese, and some dates on the way to the hospital. I knew that I’d not be able to eat while I was there and I didn’t want to be grumpy simply because I was starved. My contractions were pretty irregular but coming for sure every 2-10 minutes apart. Wide spread, I know. But those ones at 10 minutes were getting stronger and longer. I was still okay though. I could still tough it out!

Is this real? We’re at the hospital!

We arrived to the hospital about 3:30’ish and I got put into outpatient to be monitored. I got to put on the lovely gown ‘open in the back’ and hopped into the bed to be monitored. I was checked and monitored for an hour. Sure enough, I was having pretty good contractions- but they weren’t SUPER regular. They were coming every 2-6 minutes. The nurse checked me and found me to be dialated to 3 cm- which is exactly what I was at my last doctor’s appointment. While checking me, she had a very hard time finding the baby’s head (or rump). He had completely setteld much higher when I laid down. I know she didn’t want to freak me out but she wasn’t sure he was head down.

While she was checking me she had to really dig to find baby’s head (or what she thought was a head) and stretched some things out. That wasn’t a bad thing- but wow it didn’t feel good, at all. We had the sweetest nurse ever when we checked in… She offered to get me ice chips because I wouldn’t be aloud to eat while in the hospital. I proceeded to inform her that ‘we couldn’t be friends’. Seriously joking- she was the sweetest. Then she asked the laundry list of questions. She asked “Have you ever done drugs, smoked, or consumed alcohol?” Ummmmmm, I was a little perplexed,—– “I’ve drank before, I’m kind of a big fan of wine. But, I haven’t drank while I’ve been pregnant…. Is that what you’re wanting to know?” She smiled and then we started  the wine talk. She wanted to know what kind was my favorite, I told her ‘gewurztraminer’ and that I also liked anything that wasn’t too oak ridden with vibrant tannins. She had never heard of it and asked me how to spell it so I spent a couple of contractions googling on my iPhone how on earth to spell “gewurztraminer” while chatting about running, food, and wine.  She was my kind of nurse!!

Not the mamma’s doctor. And, up or down.

The doctor on call {{one that I had purposely said I didn’t want because I had taught his son. I thought it would be weird for me to look down and see a Jack look alike down there, father and son look VERY much alike}} said that he wanted to keep monitoring me for another hour or so to see if the contractions became any more regular. From 4:30-5:30 I was monitored and could feel the contractions getting stronger. I was constantly being asked on a scale of 1-10 what my pain level was. I ALWAYS said a 3-4 up to this point. It hurt pretty bad but I knew the pain could get a lot worse- a whole lot worse so I was not going to wimp out and say 6 or 7! Not this stubborn girl! My contractions were starting to get regular every 4’ish minutes lasting for a minute and I was dialted to a 4. Still getting checked to see if the baby was head down, which he had been every.single.time. during the last weeks of pregnancy. I started to cry because the nurse feared that he had flipped since my last appointment (48 hours earlier). They ordered a sonogram to check to see if they were going to have to prep me for a c-section….. I started to cry inside, with some of it seeping out on the outside. I called my sister to let her know what was going on- she could hear the pain in my voice. I wasn’t mentally prepared for a c-section and I felt heart broken if it was going to come down to that.

It’s down! ….and that’s an up!

About 4:30 or 5:00 the doctor came in {the Jack look alike} and felt to see if he thought it was head or rump. He couldn’t tell either and then checked with a super grainy sonogram for a few minutes- baby was indeed HEAD DOWN! Hooray! I felt my heart jump up and down and relief just washed over me! The doctor said that he didn’t really want to admit me but didn’t want me to go home either due to me being dilated to a solid 4- 4.5  and pretty STRONG contractions- but they weren’t super regular yet. On for another hour of monitoring with the night starting to close in…… So, my options were to go to a hotel for the night (where I could eat as I wished!) or to stay in the hospital and be administered a drug that would encourage labor if it was true labor and do nothing if it was false labor. My doctor preferred that I stay in the hospital but the super sweet nurse pulled the doctors leg a little and told him that he should put me on a  restricted diet to sweeten the ‘stay in the hospital’ side. See? She was the sweetest!

Our active little blessing! Baby H

Our active little blessing!

Half way to 10.

From 5:00-6:00 was the last out patient monitoring that went on.  The nurses were switching shifts and I had to say goodbye to our beloved nurse (the husband and I were pretty fond of her!)

About 5:30 things started to get pretty intense and the option of leaving the hospital was gone. The baby was coming!!!! 🙂 I was dialted to a 5 and couldn’t believe that I was half way there! I knew that it could still be hours away before I would be able to meet our baby. I was ready for one long drawn out labor. I reluctantly told my family that it would be okay if they wanted to make the hour and a half trip the hospital. I just didn’t want them waiting for hours and hours in the waiting room (which didn’t exist because of construction) BUT my sister was going to hold my hand and tell me that I could do this whole birth thing. She was going to be my positive force because not I or my husband knew how he would handle the situation or seeing me in so much pain.

Getting stronger…..and stronger….and stronger.

My husband and I walked the halls, which weren’t long enough! I wanted to walk, not take a stroll around a super small circle. So, back to the room we went and I got on the birthing ball. I now have a love hate relationship with the birthing ball. My super sweet nurse encouraged super large hip rolls to help our baby move a little further into the birth canal. Holy heavens did things start to pick up at this point! My contractions were reallllllly hurting, yet I don’t think the husband or nurse knew until they looked at the charts. I was still trying to breathe and smile as much as I could….. concentrating on large hip rolls and breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. I was starting to feel really weak and wasn’t sure that I could keep myself on the ball by holding on to the bed- and I wasn’t about to ask for help…..so I got back in bed and laid on my side to breathe through the contractions.

The breaking point.

While laying on my side and breathing I distinctly remember wanting to go somewhere else, anywhere but here. I wanted to tag out and have someone else take over! ……. I was starting to feel weak in the mind and body. At that point, I was having a super hard time breathing slowly which lead to my arms going kind of numb (because it is like hyperventilating). Then about 6:30’ish…. My water broke! It must have broken due to the super hard contraction I was having. I “yelled” (like when you touch something hot)  “Owwwwwwwww!” and clung to the side of the bed in pain. Seriously, my water breaking was the most intense pain I’d felt in my life up to that point. For me, it was NO relief  like some women talk about, only encompassing pain. TMI– I could feel things coming out of me and it was weird and it hurt. Gah did it hurt. My husband pushed the nurse button and told her my water had broken. I expeced the nurse to rush in and see how I was doing—but she didn’t show up for another 20’ish minutes.  Apparently she didn’t understand what I had said on the call button so she didn’t come. Ugh- if you can’t understand a paintient that is in pain, don’t you think you should check on them? Oh well- things got intense fast.

At this time, things get pretty fuzzy and blurr all together. I got checked again and was at a 6 with our son moving down into the correct position. I was feeling okay but could feel myself starting to cave and wondering if medication would be such a bad thing.  My best friend just gave birth about a month ago and had a great experience…. However, I didn’t want medication because I was scared of tearing- I had been told that if you can’t feel while pushing you’re more apt to tear. I was scared…. I’m just going to say it- scared shitless to tear! OUCH! And, I was even **more scared** of an episiotomy!!! …… But, I was tired and could NOT slow my breathing down enough to stop the numbing sensation in all of my extremities (which was kind of painful) and my entire body was shaking uncontrollably. Seriously, body shaking uncontrollably.  I was told just to go with the flow and let my body shake- not to fight it. I thought I was doing a good job of just letting my body do what it wanted to do but my husband informs me that I was fighting it— I don’t believe him! 😉

Contractions…. not my chart. We bommed on taking pictures in labor/delivery.

Lucky number 7?

By 7:00 pm I was at 7 cm and feeling unsure of my ability to go unmedicated. If I was going to be in labor for another 12 hours- I wasn’t sure that I could do it. Some women stall out at 7 or 8 cm and I was scared that my body couldn’t endure this for 12 hours. I told them that I wanted an epidural- not really because of the pain (but oh heavens was it INTENSE!) but because my body was sooo tired from the shaking and breathing. I told them I wanted the epidural.

They ‘ordered’ the epidural while at 7-7.5 cm and I spent the next hour dealing with incredible contractions with them trying to stick me with every needle known to man. It is so hard to be messed with while going through a contraction- I was constantly being poked while contracting. Not cool…. I have really unfavorable veins for needles (even though I don’t mind being stuck all that much- that is what infertility will do to ya!) I had the hardest time listening to the people that were coming in and out trying to stick me and get the IV in— I wanted to listen, really I did, but my contractions were every 1-2 minutes lasting for a minute and I was shaking like a leaf. Breathing was the only thing I could concentrate on. I think I was stuck about 15-20 times (no joke) since being checked in and I don’t remember the majority of them. (you should have seen my arms after labor & delivery. holes.everywhere.) All I remember is apologizing for all the shaking that I couldn’t control and trying to relax the arm that they were currently working on. They had no luck pumping the IV into me and I knew that things were progressing too fast for me to get the epidural. I was going to get the labor I had truly wished for.

Breathe. Just Breathe.

From 7:00 -9:00 I know nothing. I could do nothing other than breathe and concentrate. I know that I was checked several times, felt a lot of pressure and hit 7 cm, 9 cm, and finally 10 cm. My husband nor myself remember me being checked at 8 cm.

I remember the nurses still messing with me trying for the epidural at 9 cm when all I wanted to do was be left alone- however I din’t have the ability to communicate that at all. I was so relieved to hit 9 cm! That meant that the baby would be coming soon- the end was in sight and I wouldn’t likely ‘stall out’- it was going to happen tonight! I’d have a baby in my arms before midnight!!!

Is the doctor in?

The nurses were all abuzz trying to get things ready and breaking down my bed. I remeber the nurses coming in and asking if the doctor had been called to come in (this was at about 8:30…) They said they had called him and he was on his way. One nurse said- “Well, we need to call him again to make sure he is literally on his way. Like, on the road. She’s almost ready to push.” Right after they called the doctor, who was indeed on his way across town, they told me I was at 10 cm but couldn’t push. Bummer. I had to wait- which is really hard to do when your entire body is telling you that you need to push and have an unbelievable amount of pressure needing to be relieved – paired with super intense contractions!

At about 8:45 my doctor arrived in his normal clothes and took a look and told me that it would be okay to start pushing. He pulled up a chair and got in position to push. He gave me a pep talk while I was breathing and told me that the nurses had “bragged endlessley about how awesome I was doing”  and “you’re being super wonman is all I’ve heard.”  They sure knew how to make a laboring woman feel speicial and empowered! He gave me directions and I remember that my doctor and I talked about the women who have problems in labor simply don’t push though the pain. He told me at my last appointment that I didn’t seem like the woman would would back off- and that was a good thing.

Heart and bellybutton

Can’t believe that this was 24 hours’ish earlier!

Show ’em what you’re made of.

A little before 9:00, two amazing nurses helped me pull my legs back, helped me sit forward, put my chin down, and started counting to ten as I pushed with all my might. My contractions were coming every minute – 90 seconds and lasting for about a 90 seconds. I would be able to push at least twice during a contraction and rest for a minute in between. I seriously can’t describe how amazing the nurses and doctor were! They were constantly giving me words of encouragement and telling me how great I was doing. I remeber my mind being fully active and normal while the rest of my body was completely occupied with laboring. That was the oddest feeling ever. My mind was not part of my body. I was feeling bad because I knew people were coming in and out of the delivery room yet my body wasn’t able to let me be kind, say hello, and be hospitable to the people entering the room. It was odd that even in the middle of the most intense pain of my life, my mind still was saying “Be kind, Julie. Say hello and be kind to the people entering the room.” I was shocked that I didn’t care who came into the room- all modisty was completely thrown out the window- and I couldn’t open my eyes long enough to even aknoledge what was going on around me. I also felt incredibly bad that I couldn’t even acknolege my husband during this time. He was being simply amazing and supportive. I was so thankful for his encouraging words and him stroking my hair telling me how proud of me he was. I needed every word he said and I could hardly open my eyes to look at him or tell him how awesome he was being for me.

Distress.

About 15 minutes into the pushing, my baby was starting to go in distress. I was heart broken and worried– but my mind was completely focused on getting him out. They strapped on an oxygen mask to help increase my oxygen levels, therefore helping our baby’s oxygen levels. It was kind of surreal to be pushing with the mask on- not exactly what I had pictured when I saw the birth of our son in my head.

This whole time I was planning on my sister being there but she simply didn’t make it in time- when she arrived, I was already in the heat of things. My husband totally stepped up and was a complete rock for me. That alone was an amazing experience! ….I remember knowing that I had been pushing for about 25-30 minutes when the doctor said “we’re starting to get somewhere” ….At that time, I did muster enough energy to open my eyes, look at him pittifully and say “what?! starting?!”…. How much longer was this going to last was exactly what my eyes were saying?! He told me I was doing great.

I continued to push and work with my contractions. The pain and pressure felt like I was doing the hardest work of my life. The whole experience was so encompassing yet my mind would track off, I don’t know if this is a body’s defense mechanism. Body was 100% involved yet my mind was so clearly ‘me’ and could still take in outside thoughts (mainly about what I was hearing going on around me).

Warning- this is a little TMI! Yep it’s vivid but it’s part of his birth story. Skip the next paragraph if you’d like 🙂 …. Because our little boy was in distress one nurse was pretty much devoted to watching his & my vitals. All the while, the doctor was putting me through agonizing pain in between my contractions. He had to physically stimulate baby’s head to keep him focused and not let him become compliant with where he was at in the birth canal leading to truly bad things for baby and for mommy…. In between each and every contraction the doctor put his hands where they shouldn’t go and rub on baby’s head (even before he had crowned… it hurt. a lot.) Once our little one came a little further in the birth canal- the pain of the doctor having to rub on his head subsided a little because he didn’t have to reach his hand as far into the canal. Baby was getting close and I could tell.

After about 40 minutes of pushing I began to feel a very localized pain ummmmm- up front. I could tell in my mind that I was about to tear- it was very painful and I began to get scared. Through my closed eyes and pushing, I heard the sound of the wheels on the doctors chair and knew he was getting scissors or whatever he needed to cut me. Ugh- I didn’t want an episimoty. I heard him say “Okay, Julie. You’re starting to tear going up. I’m going to do an episimoty.” Before he could ask me if that was okay I was shaking my head “YES” and knew for sure that it was the right thing for me. This entire pregnancy I was DEAD SET against an episimoty and I ended up being completely okay with him cutting me. I could tell, 100% for sure that I was starting to tear in a direction that is less than ideal. Once he cut me, the pressure did shift a little lower. He tried his best to follow my wishes and not have to be cut but it was necessary—– for me and for our little one.

It’s a BOY!

After pushing for about 5 more minutes our baby came into the world at 9:43 pm. The doctor immedietly said “It’s a BOY! What is his name?” “Joel is a good name!” (the name of the doctor) They placed him on my chest immedietly and started to rub on him to get him to cry. My husband and I looked at each other, it was the moment of truth. What were we going to name our son? Truly a scary moment….. We both looked at eachother, smiled, and said “Jackson.” We both were shocked that the moment had finally arrived, our son was here and his name was Jackson. I remember feeling very frusterated at the following moments because I couldn’t really see him. I wanted to SEE him. Yes, he was on my stomach/chest but my body was 100% shot and I simply couldn’t sit up well enough to see him.

Jackson's first picture!

Jackson’s first picture

They let him hang out with us for about 15 minutes while we got to look into our son’s eyes and cuddle with him. I know the nursing staff thought this was way too long because he hadn’t cried in a manner that they thought was acceptable. Our son is honestly pretty ‘chill’ and doesn’t get REALLY worked up about much.  While he was on my stomach, the nurses were continually rubbing on him and messing with him.

They may have let him hang out with mama for longer than they liked because the doctor spent a great deal of time trying to fix things down south. That hurt too. I also had to push out the placenta during this time- he told me to give an 80% push and after that-it was out.

A nurse later told me that once the baby had crowned, he kept giving our little one a mowhawk. Great. I’m glad the doctor had something to do while I was pushing and trying to give birth to our baby. Ha! (sarcasm) I only have this sarcasm because he played with my son’s hair for about 25 minutes… while I was pushing.

After an hour or so, once I had attempted our first feeding session (I was GOING to feed him in that ‘magic hour’ if it was the last thing I did!) the husband went into the waiting room to get my mom and sister. They had been waiting there since 8:00 with no news- poor family. They had been worried sick and hadn’t been given an update since labor started to pick up. The husband was so sweet and told them how amazing I had done through labor and that it was infact, A BOY…… They could come and meet Jackson, our blessing. 🙂

mom & jackson after labor & delivery.

Welcome to the world our blessing! Welcome to the world!

Thank you all for the prayers, love, & support while we were waiting on our blessing! I’m so unbelievably blessed!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Almond Butter

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Almond Butter

Heaven in a jar!

Ummm, yes. You just read that correctly. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Almond Butter.  It is heaven. End of story.

I have been hoarding this recipe for a few months now. Not out of my inability to share food (which is true, I don’t like to share food- unless you’re sharing chocolate with me….)  but out of love for you; I wanted the recipe to be perfect. Each batch I made~  this stuff got better. ……It’s like a magic food! 🙂

It can also turn a frown upside down…. See? MAGIC! 🙂

Disclaimer: Another reason for my lengthy time to get you all this goodness….. It was a staple in this pregnat woman’s diet. I can’t seem to keep a jar around long enough to photograph it. Oops! Now it is a staple in this new mamma’s diet—-> I’m afraid my son may have a lactose intolerance so I’m eating the heck out of almond butter these days!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Almond Butter

  • 2 c. almonds
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp sugar/ sweetener of choice
  • 1 tbsp dark molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract (pure almond extract is BEST!- super strong!)
  • 1 tsp butter extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2’ish tbsp. Mini Chocolate Chips (I won’t judge if a few extra slip in ;))

Roast almonds @ 325° for 13-18 minutes. Trust your nose. The longer they roast, the deeper and richer the flavor will be. I roast them much closer to 18 than 13. Watch them closely- rather smell them closely :)Let cool for 15 minutes.

Grind the roasted almonds in a food processor till they reach a smooth buttered consistancy. In my opinion, the longer the better- I don’t like it gritty. Add oil through baking soda and let it get smooth and well mixed. (add more flavoring or oil at this time if you want it more runny! I’m a runny’ish almond butter fan.) Also, I go a little overboard on flavorings but I was conservative in the recipe- don’t be afraid to add in more extract, sugar, or baking soda to make it fit your liking. Fiddling with a recipe to make it perfect for you is the best idea ever!

Let cool before you add in the chocolate chips– they WILL melt otherwise, trust me. Finally stir in those chocolate chips & enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Almond Butter 1

This recipe is soooo delicious, I make sure that it is always in my house. I even have it pinned up in my kitchen! 🙂 Make this magic food! It will turn ANY frown upside down!

  • Question: Is everyone else as wild about cookie dough as I am?! Weekend plans?

Promises, Promises…..

I have been working on this post thing for.ever. (cue** FOR-EVER- For-ev-ah from THE SANDLOT movie!**) It took me forever to write out Jackson’s birth story. I have to organize it before I share it though- good heavens it’s wordy!!!! The post I’m wanting to share is some Almond Butter that I have been devouring—- that tastes like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Almond Butter. Let me tell you, it’s a winner!

I’m stopping by to promise to get the recipe up TOMORROW! (or Friday if my day goes completely awry)  It’s simply not fair that I have been enjoying this Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Almond Butter for months (I’m ashamed to have kept it a secret for so long) Can we still be friends?!

….For now, this is what I’ve been doing 🙂

  • Mommy and Jackson

    Our little blessing is growing up SO FAST!!!

I  being Jackson’s mommy! 

Sorry I’ve been MIA-…….but then again, I’m not sorry at all. The little blessing will always come first…… He screams louder than you all do 😉 HA!