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8.13.2018

my placenta encapsulation

There were a few things we knew we wanted and could have at least a little bit of control over when we found out we were pregnant with twins:
1. We wanted to keep their genders and names a secret until they were born
2. I would try my best to find a way to keep my anxiety low
3. I would also do my best to breastfeed
Most people that have read along here know I had severe anxiety from the very beginning of this pregnancy. I wouldn’t wish that onto anyone and it stayed pretty strong throughout the first trimester. I would go from feeling completely fine to instantly not being able to breath, crying, throwing up, and it was terrifying. I was lucky Andrew was able to rush home almost always just to check on me but I wanted to have more control by the time they were here. And I knew that if you suffered from anxiety and depression while pregnant, there was a much higher chance for depression afterward which I reeeally am trying to avoid.

So after looking into healthy, safe, and natural ways to help my body get through this next chapter, I found that I really loved the idea of having my placenta encapsulated. Have you heard of this before? Do you know someone that has done it? Does it freak you out a little bit? I totally get it. It is wild to say the least!

It’s been in our plan for months and even though the end of our pregnancy didn’t go as expected or hoped (more on that crazy story later) my placenta was able to be taken home with us and didn’t need any further testing once the twins were born. Basically, when we were discharged a few days ago, my placenta went from sitting in a freezer at the hospital to sitting on my lap while in my wheelchair... in one of those giant plastic buckets like you buy cheap ice cream in. It was heavy, kind of hilarious, and made me proud just holding it!

The day we got home, our doula came to our house and began working on encapsulating. I’m hesitant on sharing the photos of the process since they’re a little graphic but when I walked into our kitchen and saw her working away at my heart-shaped placenta (this isn’t common. They’re usually round) I did get a little teary eyed. There it was in all of its glory! I asked Andrew to come in and watch a few minutes of the process. Bless his heart he’s the best sport ever.

It was simple enough to watch; our doula boiled down water, lemon, and ginger and after my placenta resembled what i can best describe as a pot roast, she left it overnight in a dehydrator on our kitchen counter. She returned the next day, ground up my placenta, and encapsulated the powder. It was one of the neatest processes to watch and knowing it came straight from my body and was going to help my babies and myself made it even better. She even had some salve and lotion made from it too for skin and scar issues later.

It’s common around the world for different people to eat and ingest their placentas and it’s supposed to be very helpful with milk supply (since my twins were born early, I need all of the help i can get) and even help with energy and depression. Since we had twice the amount of placenta, we ended up with double the amount of pills (a twin perk for sure!) and I’ll be taking 2 pills 3 times a day for the first two weeks and then tapering down to 1 pill 3 times a day after that. Our doula even said if you find yourself making an abundance of milk, you can take less pills. An abundance would be the best thing ever considering our twins are in NICU currently and I’m so hopeful that my placenta will help me give our babies the best mama. Thank you again to Lauren from Luminous Bodywork for doing this for us. I’ll report back in a few weeks to share my experience!
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7.12.2018

just a quick little nursery tour

We just returned home from our 30-week appointment and it's feeling more and more real every day that soon, I'm gonna be a mom of two little humans. I still don't believe it some times that 1. I'll be responsible for two little lives and 2. that there are even TWO babies to begin with! But then I hear those heartbeats and I get more and more excited. (Baby B's face looked just like Andrew's today. Even the ultrasound tech pointed it out. This stuff is wild!) The doctor said both babies look great, have strong heartbeats, and my blood pressure is excellent. Basically, with the help of nightly cinnamon sugar pop tarts, I have given these kicking monsters a pretty decent home for the last 2 million months, so I tried to make them an equally decent room for when they're earthside. 

We still have kept our babies' gender a surprise and I wanted to keep their nursery as neutral as I could without it being too bare. Neutral, calming, and pretty simple was the plan and I think we made it happen. I am not a fan of baby animal motifs or even themes that I would be sick of in a few months so we kept the room looking like just another room as far as paint and hardware, but with baby pieces throughout. No, we did not buy a changing table. No, I didn't cover the walls in baby-themed art and pastels. And no, there are not cloud and unicorn shaped mobiles hanging over each crib. I just couldn't do it. I'm a minimalist to an extent when it comes to filling our apartment with "stuff" so I had hoped I could keep the babies' room matching that idea. success! 
I think every parent has their #1 concern when it comes time to start investing in baby pieces; travel items, feeding items, cloth or disposable diapers, etc. Our biggest concern? S L E E P. We knew pretty early on we wanted to invest in Snoo Smart Sleepers from the time the babies were born, but they are only recommended up until the babies are 6 months old. Those bassinets are in our bedroom and will stay there until it's time to transition them into their cribs. So where do you go when you want a super simple, clean-lined, modern crib that won't break the bank? Ikea of course! My grandma bought us our cribs and they are exactly what I wanted; no frills. At first, we had them aligned under the light fixture facing out but it seemed like a huge waste of space. This positioning makes way more sense for us. 
we used our old tv stand/dresser as a changing table/dresser and so far, I think it's going to work out perfectly for us (after being sanded, stained, and a quick brass spray paint job on the pull knobs). We still have several empty drawers which makes me very very happy! I bought this dresser for a few dollars at the thrift store years ago and it was missing that bottom left drawer, so I filled that space with some old copper bins for swaddles and immediate diaper changing supplies. The drawers are filled to the brim with newborn and preemie pieces, socks, shoes, accessories, and swaddles that smell so good, I can't even describe it. Clothes that we've purchased or been gifted that are 0-3, 3-6, 6-9 and so on are hanging in their closet, in order of size, surrounded by boxes of diapers (again, in size order), wipes, and small storage baskets of pacifiers, thermometers, and plenty of other goodies.  
one of my best friends gifted us these precious onesies for our shower and they're just too cute to not display until the babies are big enough to strut around in them. 
every good nursery seems to have a little nook for reading/breastfeeding/crying into your glass of wine so this corner felt perfect to make one, too. Don't ask me how we accumulated so many books without trying. We got several from our baby shower, a few I had from my childhood, and they just started adding up! We read to my belly and it melts me into a pile of goo listening to Andrew. 
and there she is! Nothing too over the top, nothing fancy, but just perfect for our little city apartment that they'll be growing up in for a little while. Sometimes I'll just open the door, pop my head in, and smile. We hope you babies like this space as much as we do!

Sources:
dresser: thrifted
blankets & pillows: Home Goods, Ikea, Homemade from grandmas

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7.02.2018

my #1 pregnancy pain remedy

if you follow along with me on Instagram, you know that this third trimester is starting up and it's already rough. I'm scared for what the next 2 months have in store for this giant body of mine. We're talking bloody noses, creaky knees, and let's just say that my wedding ring now sits in a box because my fingers are huge! I've never felt sexier to say the least *eye roll* But all jokes aside, it's getting more and more uncomfortable every day and while I know it's normal, especially with twins (you guys, I gain roughly 5 pounds A WEEK) it doesn't make it any less difficult. So I  asked my fellow mamas over on the gram what their favorite pain remedies were. Warm baths, body pillows, and essential oils were mentioned several times, but the number one suggestion- a maternity massage. I had never even heard of this before! It wasn't long before I discovered Becoming Mom Spa and I was instantly intrigued. I joke with older women all of the time about how thirty years ago when they were pregnant, women didn't have all of these resources at their fingertips, the good and the bad. But a spa dedicated to expectant mothers? Now that is an idea I can stand behind.

I went there yesterday and had the slightest bit of anxiety on the drive up. It was new and unfamiliar which always gets me a little restless. But I was greeted immediately with calming music, relaxing smells, and smiling faces behind the desk and that anxiety disappeared instantly. They offered me treats and water and let me waddle back and forth to the bathroom as many times as I needed to without feeling rushed. I first met Renee who handed me a giant fluffy robe that felt like a cat giving me a hug and I climbed up on the table for my facial. The longest, most thorough facial of my life. She was the sweetest most friendly thing and I yacked her ear off from beginning to end, but I could have slept through the whole process if I hadn't kept asking her questions about her life (I'm a blogger, what do ya expect?). She also gave me advice on what my skin will do once these babies are out and made me feel so much relief because I don't even recognize my face anymore. After the best, drool-worthy facial, I moved to the next room for my body massage where I was met with another smiling face. I laid on my left side first and wiggled under the blankets and before she even came in the room to start, I was already feelin' goooooood. She focused on my lower back, knees, and ankles (someone remind me to send her a Christmas card. I love her) and I could just feel all of my tight knots and joints loosening up. Between the dark room, her soothing voice, and her magical fingers that had the ability to knead my body like dough, I could have slept in that room forever. No seriously, I nearly got an Uber home because of just how relaxed I was.
It was a perfect afternoon that I am still feeling the relief from and it is now my #1 suggestion for any women out there expecting a baby or postpartum. As a total newbie to Becoming Mom Spas and being a mom in general, I think I can safely say that this company has a number one goal in mind- to let us women with 2000 questions and concerns about our bodies and babies relax for a few hours knowing that they have done the hard part for us and we are in the best hands, literally. Everything they are using to make us feel good is safe and natural; from the body oils all the way down to the nail polish they use (Natural Nail Polish!!) So the time that you spend there is dedicated to strictly relaxing your head and body while not worrying for a few hours of your day ...until you leave and go back to the real world to google "How much Dr. Pepper is safe during pregnancy"? and "Can I take my husband's multivitamin if I run out of prenatal pills?"

If you are expecting or want to make an expectant mama's day, check out Becoming Mom Spa for specialty maternity massages, nail & skin services, and even ultrasounds! Thank you so much to the ladies that gave me the best afternoon (and nights sleep) I've had in weeks!!

*this post is sponsored and all opinions are my own.
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5.22.2018

baby blueprints & a baby update

It's been a wild couple of weeks lately and this blog kinda took a backseat to just about everything. have you missed me!? Don't answer that. But I needed to take some time to handle some heavy stuff that was going on in our home with our babies. If you follow along at all through other social media sites, you have a good idea of what I'm referring to. As of last Thursday, we were told by our doctor that it looked like our baby A had clubbed feet and that our baby B had a cleft lip. She told us that she wanted us to go see a specialist who would be able to tell us for sure and I instantly lost it. I laid back on the table while she and Andrew both tried to calm me down and relieve me from my panic. And while telling us this and trying to keep me calm, my doctor must have repeated five times “We just can’t get a good angle of them, we can’t tell, this is not definite, don’t start panicking". It didn't help. I still panicked. While I know these are both minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of life and pregnancy, it was still scary and totally intimidating and caught me completely off guard. It made me feel more guilt and disappointment in myself than I ever knew possible. I thought I screwed them up and I thought I caused these issues. 

The first day was definitely the hardest and it was a long six days of trying to be optimistic and wait for our doctor's appointment. The night before going, I absolutely broke down and was basically dragged to the specialist the next morning where we would find out what exactly was going on in there. We arrived 15 minutes early as instructed and after an hour of taking nearly 200 ultrasound photos, trying to focus on breathing and squeezing all of the life out of Andrew’s hand, our doctor told us the best news possible. Not only did baby B’s mouth look totally fine and cleft lip free, but baby A’s little feet weren’t of much concern either. At this point they’re so small and wiggly that they can’t tell much on the foot and the baby could be born perfectly “normal” or need a brace of some kind. Pfff that's nothing. I can take that no problem! I sat on the table and cried the most relieved tears of my life. We were able to see our babies sucking on their hands, they had each grown 3 ounces in just six days, and they even went from being head down in the lower right section of my belly to facing each other completely flipped around with their heads kinda under my belly button. Their hearts, brains, and spines looked good and we couldn’t be more thankful that the last few days are over. 

I never knew I could love and worry about someone (or two someones) so much without knowing them. I've never cared about anything so much in my life and now, I worry about them all day every day. I wish they could just shoot me a text from in there and tell me "hey! we're fine You don't need to feel so guilty if you want to eat Taco Bell!". We're at nearly 23 weeks and while I'm feeling good most of the time, I'm ready for them to be earth side. I'm ready to see them and hold them and smell them (Oh my goddddd I can not wait to smell them) and look back on this pregnancy as a challenge that I'll never have to face again. 

Especially with twins, they tend to come earlier than expected. So even at 23 weeks, that doesn't necessarily mean they'll be waiting 17 more weeks to meet us. It could be sooner and we're trying our bet to get as prepared as possible and that project started with the nursery. I wanted that room done as soon as possible so I could just kind of check it off of my mental list of things to do (that list also includes clean behind refrigerator, vacuum all air vents, and figure out how to give a cat a bath) But first up, the nursery! Every few days, it comes together just a little bit more. It is now filled with cribs and baby books, and more Goodwill onesies than I knew existed. I wanted to keep it pretty simple, soothing, and calm in there with not a long going on (before our kids take it over and make a mess of it) 

So a few months back, a friend of mine tagged me to show me an Etsy shop called Baby Blueprint. I'm so glad she did because it introduced me to what would soon be my favorite piece in our twin's room. A print from one of their ultrasounds (Specifically, my favorite print of them. They're still tiny but they're just starting to look like babies and they still fit in one frame. We called them our water babies. Do you remember those dolls?!? They're too big now to fit in one photo and it's totally bittersweet. Isn't that crazy!?) The prints come in a variety of sizes and colors, but a simple black one was right up my alley and it turned out so very perfect, I cried when Andrew brought it home. No seriously. I had been in a bad mood from bleeding gums and a sore lower back and he walked in with a big smirk on his face and said "I got something that will cheer you right up" I said "I doubt it. I'm not comfy today." and then he pulled out our twin's first framed photo together and I smiled ear to ear. I'm so excited to keep it in our nursery and then move it to our photo gallery wall once they're older. Thank you so much Baby Blueprint for making this mama's day, week, and month. We love it so much!  
this post is sponsored by Baby Blueprint
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5.03.2018

mocktails for mamas: grapefruit & pink orange spritzer

this past Sunday, I went and got Mexican food with a few girlfriends. We sat on the patio and ate 30 baskets of chips and it was so so good to see them and have them rub on the bump a little bit. But I gotta say, it was the first time I have realized ever in my life, even after a hundred years of working behind a bar, just how few drink options there are besides water and soda for a pregnant woman surrounded by her margarita lovin' besties. Even a few weeks back, Andrew and I tried out a new taco place and I got a virgin margarita just for fun. Nope. Tasted just like lemon lime Gatorade. I've never been so jealous watching someone slurp down a salt rimmed beverage and I'll be perfectly honest I can't wait to go back into my little routine of having an adult drink at night with my friends or husband once this pregnancy is over. The moment I peed on that stick at roughly 5 weeks along, we both quit all of our bad habits and haven't looked back and I'm so damn proud of us but in the meantime, I gotta shake it up! Now that it's finally warming up outside, I'm ready to fire up the grill and sit on patios pronto so it felt like the perfect time to try out some new mama mocktails and this was first up. A grapefruit and pink orange spritzer (by "spritzer" I just mean soda water, but I miss you white wine) with rosemary and honey. Super easy and delish and you'll feel just as fun and free spirited as you watch your friends get a buzz. Speaking of buzzes, I think this drink would be perfect with tequila so if you're having friends over, make a huge batch and just add liquor per request. Just be mindful to not do a switcharoo! No one needs to see a pregnant woman dancing on tables!

for 4 servings, you'll need:
3-4 grapefruit
2 pink oranges
2 tablespoons honey
8-10 sprigs of rosemary (extra for garnish if that's your thing)
crushed ice
club soda
Over medium heat, combine your honey and rosemary for about 5 minutes. While that's working, Start squeezing your fruit (doing this procedure always reminds me of when I met Andrew. he was my boss at a tequila bar and I would come in early and squeeze limes for him just to hang out with him. now I just squeeze his limes for fun ;) Remove your honey & rosemary from heat. Add crushed ice to glasses. Pour your honey & rosemary mixture into your citrus juice mixture and stir vigorously (if you can, shake it until frothy. but stirring works fine, too!)  Pour over ice and garnish with fruit chunks or rosemary or both if it's the weekend.
like I said before, a shot of tequila in this would probably be delicious and I'll report back on that theory in about 6 months :) enjoy mamas and happy weekend!
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