Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Christmas Birth Story

I always get a little melancholy and reflective on Christmas day. I'm sure I'm not the only one. It's a very special time of the year with tons of memories. Some wonderful, some not so wonderful. So, while I reminisce over many wonderful memories from my childhood, years where Randall and I were in Portland, and others, my main thought is of my sweet Porter's day of birth four years ago.

I really can hardly believe that my baby is already four. I know that's a common thought for moms. But seriously. How did this happen? I mean, I really feel like he was born just yesterday. Since I've never shared his full birth story here, I figured today seemed like a good day.

I was due on December 14. I was convinced I would have the baby the week before that. I don’t know why, I just had prayed for it and wanted him to come then so his birthday wouldn't be so close to Christmas. Well, those days came and went, my estimated due date came and went. I felt great, the only reason I was upset that I hadn't had the baby was that the closer to Christmas it got, the less likely I was to see my family – we all were to be traveling “home” for Christmas. I had many bouts of prodromal labor. It was SO frustrating!

Well, as Christmas approached, so did a major weather system. Since my mom lives an hour away, we decided that she should probably come stay with us just to make sure she was here in case the weather and roads were too bad when I finally went into labor - after all, she needed to be here to catch the baby. She came on Monday. The weather raged on through the whole week. Thursday (Christmas Eve) was Randall's (my husband) birthday, so Vienna (our 23 month old daughter) and I made him a nice dinner, cake, a card, and we had a little “party”. Still no baby. I was getting very frustrated and sad that I hadn't had him yet. Mom was going to miss Christmas morning with my dad and youngest brother (high school age). That night before going to bed, we watched the Nativity Story. I remember thinking “ok, baby. I’m ready anytime! If Elizabeth and Mary can have safe and peaceful out of hospital births, I can too!”. I was a little jealous that they had already done it – silly but true J.

I woke at about 2:15 a.m. to go to the bathroom. I went back to bed and couldn't fall back asleep so justJ.
laid there for awhile resting. I realized that I was actually having some regular contractions – they were more regular and increasing in strength than my previous bouts of labor. Hooray! I got up to start timing them – they were about 2 minutes apart. I told Randall that we needed to clean the floor. I didn't know where I would end up having the baby, and I couldn't stand the thought of him being born to a dirty floor. Funny, the things that are important at that time in labor

With the floors clean, I finally decided it was time to wake my mom. About that time, my contractions intensified – though they weren't painful, I could feel the strength of them. I was sitting on my birth ball, mom gave counter pressure on my back, I leaned into my hubby, and just relaxed and let the contractions do their job. In between contractions I was so relaxed that I honestly kind of forgot I was actually in labor. Randall would pull up funny YouTube videos, and we would joke and laugh. It was a wonderful and relaxing fun time. About 6:00 a.m. I decided to move to the bathtub. Ahhhh – bliss! They took turns dumping a pitcher of water over my belly, and it was SO wonderful!

About 10:00 a.m. or so I felt a little urge to push – it definitely wasn't the intense urge I had had with Vienna. In the next three contractions, my healthy baby boy oozed out with barely any pushing on my part. Of course I was overjoyed and excited. I just held him and looked at him in awe. As blood was still pulsing through the cord that connected us, he began nursing like a champ. When I finally let my hubby and mom hold him after we cut the cord so they could weigh him, I made them do it again. He seemed so small! There was no way he was 8 lbs 11 oz! Well, they weighed him again, and yep – it was right the first time and they showed me to prove it. I was shocked!

My entire labor, we had Christmas music playing softly in the background. Vienna slept through most of it and was enjoying her breakfast when he entered the world. Within minutes she joined us in the bathroom and met her baby brother. About an hour or so after having him, we were all in our living room and our little family that had just grown by one opened our Christmas presents. After eating, he and I snuggled into bed and took a long nap. This all happened while getting 16.2 inches of snow during the worst blizzard of the year! We felt so blessed to not have to go out into the elements to get to the sterility of the hospital. We were warm and cozy in the comfort of our own home!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Just Breathe

Oh. My. Word.

Where oh where has the time gone??

Do you all realize Christmas is TWO days away?? What am I saying. Of course you do! I'm sure you are feeling the crunch just like I am. Pretty much every single person I've talked to recently doesn't feel ready for Christmas. I don't know for sure if it's because Thanksgiving was so late this year (I'm sure that has something to do with it), or if it's just because our lives are so friggin busy, and adding all the extra activities of the Christmas season just makes it extra-hectic.

Whatever it is, I want to just give you some encouragement today (I probably need it just as much as any one of you).

I want you to stop what you  are doing right now. Working, wrapping presents, making Christmas goodies, cleaning your house in preparation for company, whatever it is you might be doing.

Now I want you to close your eyes and take a really deep breath. Not the kind that you do when you sigh. I'm talking about the kind that you breathe in all the way, you feel the tension in your chest build-up-build-up-build-up until it can't build anymore.

Then release.

When you release, I want you to imagine all tension blowing away with your breath. I want you to imagine it just melting away, rolling down your arms and legs and exiting your body. I want you to end your deep breath with a thought of something you are thankful for - before opening your eyes. You can repeat this deep breath thing as many times as you feel you need to. Until you truly feel all your tension and stress has at the very least lessened significantly or at the most disappeared completely.

Now, when you are ready, you can open your eyes.


Now look around. Is there a Christmas tree near you? Take a short moment to enjoy the lights. Are your children near you? Watch them do whatever they are doing. Really just drink it in and enjoy them. Are there dirty dishes that you can see in your sink? Take a minute to thank God that you have food to eat that made those dishes dirty. Are you in a "sterile" work environment? Take a look around your work space and find one thing that you can enjoy. Just for a minute - wherever you are.

As you make your way through this Christmas season, I want to encourage you to do this as often as you need to to really truly enjoy yourself and rest in the true meaning of the season. Christmas is such a magical time of the year. It's filled with beautiful lights and music and wonderful sounds of children and adults just enjoying themselves. Join them. Don't worry so much about making it super perfect. Enjoy what you have. Make memories with your children. They won't remember the gifts anyway. They are going to remember how you made them feel. If you are stressed and not happy, or too worried about things to enjoy it, then they will be too.

So I want to encourage you to engage them in whatever you are doing. Be present. Turn the computer off and put down your iPhone. Love on them. Read to them. Make memories with them. Play with them. Delight with them in whatever they are delighting in at the moment.

Then, when it's all over, you can look back fondly and know that you weren't a downer because of stress. You were their light and love that they felt and that they will remember for years to come.

And if you start to feel the stress creep up, just breathe.

Many blessings to you this Christmas!


Friday, December 6, 2013

Where are You Shopping?

Well, we are in full swing of the Holiday Shopping Season.

We were excited to see so many of you over the Thanksgiving weekend "kick-off" to shopping. We had Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sales and deals, including an "Undiscovered Treasures Craft Fair" back in the Educated Mommy space on Small Business Saturday.

A great time was had by all, and at the craft fair many of you were able to support some wonderful Work at Home Moms, and make purchases that will be reinvested into local businesses.

From All Michigan mLive, "eLocal estimates that when purchases are made at local businesses, about 65 percent of revenue is reinvested into the community, compared with about 34 percent of revenue from national chains"

It's no secret that the holidays are super important to all retail businesses.

But they are even more important to local small businesses. It's our "make or break" time of the year. If people don't choose to shop locally at small businesses, it can make the difference in what products can be brought in, what services can be provided, the quality of information given, and of course, how much we can put back into the community through charity projects, missions, and just giving back to you, our wonderful customers and friends. If people don't support local businesses, they simply can't keep their doors open.

There are many small businesses locally - brick and mortar stores, online businesses, small-time WAHMs, Etsy shops, etc - and we at Elegant Mommy want to encourage you to shop small for all your gift giving needs this year!
Here at EM, in return for your support we pledge to continue to bring you the highest quality service and best products to help you through your pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and natural parenting journey while giving back to our community in every way we can.

Check our facebook page often to find out what deals we are running (because of facebook settings, you may not see them in your news feed!), and help us continue to bring wonderful things to you by shopping locally with us!

We will see you this December!