Finding my Voice Through Motherhood

It’s not a secret that becoming a mom literally changes everything.

Your schedule is no longer about you, you have to think of a little persons needs before your own, you can’t just leave the house at a moments notice, and last minute plans just can’t happen anymore.

What may surprise you is how much you change inwardly once you become a mama

I remember saying to myself “I’m not gonna be one of those moms that let’s motherhood change them!” I’m pretty sure most, if not all of us, say this at some point. We all picture ourselves continuing on being who we were prior to motherhood, just with this little baby tagging along for the ride.

While I’m pleased to say I never fully lost myself, (although, like all moms I have certainly had my moments), I am definitely not who I was prior to becoming a mom.

I’m not so different that I’m unrecognizable. I’m not so different that if I were to hang out with my friends without kids they wouldn’t know what to do around me. However, deep down I am changed forever.

Yes I’ve changed in the normal ways you expect. I’m not out until 1 am with my friends anymore…. I honestly don’t even know what 1 am looks like anymore. I’m not getting my nails done every two weeks, or getting together every weekend with my girlfriends for a glass of wine. I’m genuinely happy to spend my weekends with my little family watching my toddler explore snd learn.

But there’s one way I’ve changed that I LOVE, and that’s truly surprised me.

I’ve found my voice, or at least I’m finding it!

My whole life I’ve been the girl who did as she was told (with a few rebellious spurts in my younger years). I’ve never really been one to say no when someone asked a favor, even when I really wanted to. I would never rock the boat if I disagreed, because I HATE confrontation.

Once I became a mother, that has slowly started t shift. Ask my husband… Almost instantly after becoming pregnant with my second I have pretty much no fear speaking my mind.

If someone asks me to do something now ,and I really don’t want to, or in my gut I feel like it’s a bad idea, the answer is no. No more people pleasing.

That doesn’t mean it’s anything personal against the person asking for the favor, or inviting me to something. Time just becomes a precious commodity once you have another human to care about. They tend to take up the majority of your time, especially when they’re so young. Adding more events, or favors to your plate can be stressful.

Personally, I know I am a better wife and mother when there’s a sliver of time in my day carved out for myself, and if that means saying no to a night out with friends so be it. I can’t pour from an empty cup, and sometimes the best way for me to fill my cup is an hour of alone time. For this reason, I am super comfortable saying no to plans. After all, once you’re a mama alone time is so hard to come by.

I’ve also experienced the fun of postnatal anxiety. So saying no to things involving my kid when in my gut they just don’t feel right has become second nature now. I know that if I follow my intuition I won’t regret it; but, saying yes when my my head is screaming no always results in anxiety.

I really found my voice recently at the pediatricians office. A doctor I don’t normally see, but have had to with limited staff, tried to pressure me into multiple vaccines at once. I delay and space them out as a matter of preference.

I found myself being lectured… no more like bullied, by the doctor about why I may have a point but she didn’t think it was correct. Now, normally when someone of authority talks to me like that, I cower and just agree so the argument ends. This time, mama bear snapped.

I nicely, but firmly, told her it was my preference, and that while I appreciate her opinion, I’m doing what I personally feel comfortable with. She huffed and puffed but eventually gave in. Ever since, she’s been kind and understanding when I say no to something she suggests.

When it comes to my own personal beliefs, and the beliefs of others, I’ve always wanted to remain respectful. I was raised to treat others as I would want to be treated. I personally don’t want someone shoving what they believe, or their ways of doing thing down my throat. Therefore, I try to do the same.

My personal code of ethics is to keep my beliefs to myself unless you seek me out. If you genuinely want my opinion I’m happy to give it. I’ll talk personal beliefs all day with anyone open to it.

At some point during your pregnancy, (pretty much as soon as you announce it to anyone), it’s almost like a sign is tattooed on your forehead. It reads: “unsolicited advice welcome here!” It’s not really welcome here, but it’s given to us anyway, and it doesn’t stop after the baby comes. It just gets worse.

This advice, and outspoken opinions, come from a well meaning place… usually anyway. A loving family member or friend gives you a piece of information they personally found helpful. They truly want to better your experience with their suggestions.

Sometimes this advice, suggestion, or the belief they are unknowingly pushing on you, just doesn’t align. Sometimes it may seem, or even BE critical of the way you do things, or what you believe. I used to smile and nod, again, trying to remain the peacekeeper.

These days, if it rubs me the wrong way, or feels too pushy, I shut it down. I don’t do this in a rude way. Instead, I politely say “thank you, but this is how I’m doing it”, or point out where my boundary is, and respectfully ask that it is followed.

I cannot tell you how freeing this is.

Motherhood is the most challenging, wild, experience of my life. It’s also been the most beautiful transformation I’ve ever experienced.

Yes, I’ve had my moments where I look in the mirror and don’t know who I’m looking at anymore. Yes, I’ve had days where I need a break and want to rip my hair out. More than anything though, I feel like I am more myself than ever before.

Motherhood has made me stronger in my convictions. It has made me realize that speaking my mind, and standing up for myself, and the family I’ve created is much more important than keeping the peace. It has been more freeing than anything.

When I birthed my little girl, I was born again too. I became a mom. Mothers are warriors. We love hard, and we fight hard for our families.

The greatest gift I’ve received as a mother is my little girl. The second greatest gift I received was my voice. I’m still finding it, and learning to use it, but I will forever be grateful for it.

So from one mama bear to another, don’t ever be afraid to let someone hear you roar. It is a gift, so never be ashamed to use it.

Pregnancy, a Pandemic, and Prenatal Anxiety, OH MY!

My first pregnancy was a dream. No morning sickness, great news at every checkup, and I was calm, cool, and collected through the entire 40 weeks.

This time around I’m facing some new territory.

This time I’m dealing with a pandemic, taking care of my toddler, and oh hey, prenatal anxiety decided to walk into the party.

Now, I have zero reasons at this moment to be anxious or stressed about this pregnancy. Every appointment has gone like a dream. Although I had nausea at the beginning, it was very mild compared to other women’s experiences. I’ve been able to workout 5 days a week, work, and keep up with my 20 month old.

I guess a worldwide pandemic could be cause for anxiety, but honestly it’s not even the first thing on my mind when that sinking, overwhelming feeling sets in.

Instead I’m anxious about all the things that COULD go wrong but haven’t yet.

This is not like me. If you know me, I’m pretty chill. I like to go with the flow, and I don’t tend to freak out or worry too easily.

My first experience with anxiety was when postpartum anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks 2 weeks after giving birth to my daughter. I had never before felt that way. It terrified me! I couldn’t breath, my mind raced, my heart raced and I couldn’t pin point a single thought or reason for it.

It took me about 9 months, research, talking to people and talking with other mothers who have gone through it to finally control it. I learned tools and methods to calm it (which you can find in an earlier blog post), and eventually it just kind of faded away.

The last 5 months I have been pretty calm…. but every once in a while the fear just takes over. It doesn’t just take over, it overwhelms me worse than my postpartum anxiety did.

The thing about pregnancy is you are SO out of control, and you feel it. Your body no longer feels like the one you know so well, you can’t do some of the things you normally can, and no matter how well you take care of yourself you have ZERO control of the outcome.

For some reason this time around that lack of control over the outcome has freaked me out.

I have no idea why since the first time around I had a dream pregnancy. Then again, sometimes I think that’s the exact reason.

I know so many women who have done everything right, and been healthy, and something just went wrong out of nowhere. I know many that this has happened to multiple times… so in the back of my head there’s a voice saying “why would you be so lucky?”

I think about how blessed I was with an easy pregnancy, a healthy baby, and an easy birth all the time. I try to focus on my own experience and use that to focus on how well this second one has been going as well.

Anxiety, however, has no rationality. It just attacks, and it takes your positive thoughts and twists them. It sounds more like “you had such a good pregnancy the first time, while so many others suffered…. why would you think this time would go so well?”

I’m only 19 weeks pregnant, just about halfway through, but early enough that fetal movement isn’t super strong or regular. This NEVER bothered me with my first.

This time if I don’t feel the baby move more than once a day I go into full blown panic mode! My doctor even reassured me at my last doctors appointment that before 22 weeks she doesn’t even usually ask about it, and the fact that I feel it at all is amazing. You would think that would reassure me… but nope!

A major trigger I have noticed is social media. It makes sense that I didn’t see many pregnancy loss stories prior to being a mother, because I didn’t follow mommy accounts yet. This time they are pretty much all I follow.

The month of October is Infant and pregnancy loss awareness month. I think this is super important to bring to light, and beyond necessary to be shared. Sharing stories of your losses helps other mamas going through it, and show others that they are not alone. I love that women are speaking their truths, sharing their stories, and connecting with others about the pain they share.

Now for me…. this has been SUCH a trigger. I have never felt the sting of pregnancy or infant loss, but something about seeing post after post this past month has caused my anxiety to skyrocket.

One day last week, I read two posts in a row about mamas losing their babies at 18 weeks… the exact gestational stage I was at. I lost it.

I realized I hadn’t really felt much movement for the past few days. I reached for the Doppler my sister in law let me borrow a few months ago and my heart sank! I couldn’t find her!

It took me 5 minutes of pure panic until I found her little heartbeat and calmed down. I reached out to my husband and best friends and explained how I was spiraling. They reassured me all is well, and baby and I will be fine.

This was helpful at the moment but still…. the anxiety creeps back in all the time. I’ve been abstaining from mindless scrolling on social media, and it has been a real help.

Prenatal anxiety is a bitch. I want to enjoy this pregnancy like I did the last. I want to walk through my day with my daughter, and not be freaking out while I should be having fun with her. I just want to feel more in control of my mind.

Thankfully, this is not my first rodeo with anxiety. Postpartum anxiety has helped me to be much more prepared for prenatal anxiety.

I am so grateful to have the guidance and tools from my postpartum experience to help me calm it. Instead of it lasting hours, I use my breathing techniques and other tools to calm myself within a few minutes. I use art, being in nature, and exercise to keep it at bay.

Without knowing these tools I don’t know what I would do.

I wanted to share this so that other pregnant mamas know they are not alone. About 10% of pregnant women experience perinatal anxiety or depression. There are resources for you. There are forums to talk to other mamas going through it. There are therapists trained to help with this exact type of anxiety.

If you’re feeling any type of anxiety or depression during your pregnancy please know you are not on your own. Talk to a loved one or a friend. If it’s crippling you tell your doctor. Don’t suffer in silence.

Pregnancy and motherhood can feel isolating and lonely to begin with, but you’re not alone. Anxiety can heighten those feelings, but again, you aren’t alone.

Share your feelings, don’t be afraid of them. Journal it out if that helps. Just get the help you need mama, because you deserve it.

Let’s normalize these topics of women’s mental health. It is so important to know you never stand alone.

We will get through this, and come out the other side stronger because of it.

Second Pregnancy: Prepare to be Just as Unprepared

That first time you read that positive pregnancy test, you jump for joy, and dive head first into the first trimester of pregnancy. It’s wild. You embark on a journey like no other you’ve seen before.

You feel like you’ve been hit by a truck, feel like your boobs have been used for punching bags, and you’re probably puking. All the while you’re thinking “no one prepared me for this!”

The second time you would think you’d go into pregnancy saying “Been there done that, this should be a breeze!” However, in my newfound experience in my second pregnancy…. that just ain’t true!

In full transparency, my first pregnancy was a breeze.

Not a hint of morning sickness, no aches or pains, maybe some sore boobs, but honestly my only real symptom was pure exhaustion. Exhaustion like I had never experienced before. Taking naps in my car on my lunch break and still falling asleep at my desk, and napping at home after work level exhaustion.

I expected that the second pregnancy would most likely be a little different, because as we know “all pregnancies are different”.

Well it started off different.

This time I knew. I knew before I even took a test. I told my husband, and one of my close friends that I swore I was pregnant a few days before I could test.

I was able to recognize the signs. My box of wine in the fridge suddenly went untouched…. and I had been having a glass every other night since covid hit because I mean that’s what you do in quarantine right? Suddenly I didn’t even wanna think about alcohol. That was the first weird thing I realized the first time around, before ever thinking I was pregnant. This time it was a giveaway.

I started craving orange juice. Immediately. I also started having vivid dreams, and I just had this innate feeling that I had a tiny little creature beginning to suck the life out of me.

Sure enough I tested the earliest day I could in my cycle and there it was… a second pink line.

Just like the first time there were tears, excitement, and joy! I expected my symptoms to begin sometime in the next few weeks and that I would be needing some naps very soon.

Boy was I in for a shock.

This pregnancy could not be more different.

Yes, I did get the giant wave of exhaustion…. but it was ten times worse…. probably because, Idk, now I have a toddler to chase?! Also naps?! What are those? So I began my first 3 months of zombie life.

SPOILER ALERT: the exhaustion didn’t stop past first trimester. Although, yes I am definitely LESS exhausted now that I’m in that blissful second trimester stage, mama ain’t got time to rest working from home, taking care of a 20 month old, and a house. Mamas, this just comes with the territory!

Next came something I was blessed beyond measure not to have dealt with the first go round: nausea. Boy was I unprepared for that.

From weeks 6-10 I spent nauseous pretty much all day. I lived on pizza, Mac and cheese, pasta and crackers and ginger ale. Even water made me nauseous. Also…. although it “went away” I’m 17 weeks along now and still experience nausea every once in a while… I even puked for the first time yesterday… what an unexpected turn of second trimester events that was!

Aches and pains came quite fast this time. Round ligament pains showed up somewhere around 8 weeks and have been more intense this time around. Headaches too! Headaches galore. Oh and back pain. I swear I can feel where I had my epidural!

That belly shows up waaay sooner too. I started showing around 8 weeks, and started really popping by 12. My husband and I actually had a good laugh comparing my 12 week pregnancy belly to a photo of me pregnant with my first at 17 weeks…. my belly at 12 weeks was larger this time.

That’s just how it goes. The body remembers what it went through the last time and starts preparing the womb a little quicker this time.

Besides the physical symptoms being different, so is the rest of the experience.

The first time around you read all the books, you check the apps daily to see how baby is developing, you make lists and lists of names. You spend hours dreaming up the most beautiful nursery. Your husband beams at you, and you beam back at him as you think of the little bundle of joy joining you soon.

This time you know from experience what’s going to happen to your body, and you’re lucky if you remember to check your apps once a week. I’m proud I know what week I’m in, but i couldn’t tell you how many weeks and days I am unless I find my app. Last time if I was asked how far along I was I could tell you down to the hour!

In planning the nursery, instead of searching the baby furniture stores for the most beautiful crib and furniture set, in perusing Facebook marketplace. You realize how little of the baby registry stuff you ended up using, and are just happy to have a place to put the baby.

People keep asking us about a name, and the truth is we haven’t even had time to really sit down and discuss it! While we’re just as excited about bringing this little girl into the world as we were our first, there’s very little sitting and and imagining what that will be like.

The truth is, the second time around you have a little one you’re already spending all your time focusing on. We’re so focused on her and her needs, feeding her, entertaining her, and keeping her alive that we have little time to discuss the new baby.

Something else I hadn’t experienced before was the thoughts every second time mama has. “Will I love this one as much as my first?!” “Is she going to love the baby, or resent her?” “Am I going to be able to handle two?!”

I’ve talked to so many moms of multiples, and they have all assured me that these thoughts are normal, and that yes I will love them exactly the same amount and that yes they will love one another. Also… my grandma had 10 children so surely I can handle two!

Pregnancy is wild no matter if it’s your first, second, or any time after. Your body reacts differently to each pregnancy. You may feel differently mentally as well. You may have completely forgotten some of the pesky pregnancy symptoms.

The truth is, pregnancy reminds us that we aren’t as in control as we think we are.

Whether it’s your first or second, it asks you to go with the flow. Just like motherhood, we have to adapt, change and let go of the control we wish we had and give ourselves grace during this time.

No matter how different your pregnancies are, the result will be the same. You will be handed this sweet innocent little baby, and your heart will explode into a million more pieces.

It doesn’t matter how prepared we are for pregnancy, or what it may throw at us. You’re a mama now, you can handle anything!

Thank You for Being a Friend… Seriously, Thank You!

As you prepare for your future child you pour yourself into research, you read all the books, you make all the lists.

You browse the aisles of Buy Buy Baby with your partner with a twinkle in your eye as you compile your registry.

You Pinterest all the baby hacks, and things you need to keep your baby alive for their first year.

You set aside a room in your house for the nursery and nest til your little hearts content!

You have your shower and neatly put away all the things that you have been told are completely necessary to raise your little baby (many of which you will never use or open).

Well I’m here to tell you that one of the most important things that you will need when your child is born is not on that baby registry. Nope! You won’t find it in that parenting book you have read cover to cover, you definitely can’t buy it in a store, and most likely no one has even mentioned it to you as a necessity.

In my experience so far, this has been extremely important to my survival as a mom. You simply need some really good mom friends.

Sorry husbands, and family members! You are also important. You cooked for me for weeks after the baby came, you cared for me, and you love my daughter better than I could ever hope for. I’m not taking any of you for granted, but hear me out.

Mom friends are so so so important.

Motherhood is the most amazing experience of my entire life, but it can also be super lonely. The days can feel long, and isolating when your trapped at home with a fussy baby, dealing with the baby blues, and trying to figure out how to keep yourself fed and clean on top of the pile of chores around the house.

My husband is absolutely amazing. I tell him all the time that I literally do not know how single parents do this, because without him I would be failing at life.

My parents, siblings and in-laws are wonderful. They have all gone above and beyond to help us out with the baby whenever we need, and have been an amazing support system for us.

Friends who aren’t parents yet are also super important. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to grab a drink with a girlfriend and have a conversation about her dating life, rather than diapers and burping. It’s a breath of fresh air to have a conversation about anything other than your baby when you’ve been taking care of them day in and day out. You need these friends to remind you that you’re still you even after having a kid. I’m beyond grateful for all of my good friends, and love them like family.

That being said, a good mom friend is the only person that can make it feel like you aren’t alone on new parent island!

My husband is a very social person. He will make friends with just about anyone. Seriously… we’ll be in a store 100 miles away from our house and I’ll come back from another aisle and find him laughing with some random person, and when I ask him who it is he says “I don’t know, just some guy I met in the aisle.” Needless to say, he’s always making new friends.

I am not this way. I am friendly, but slightly shy.

I’m horrible at keeping up with friends. If you haven’t heard from me in days, weeks, months, years it’s not because I stopped liking you, it’s because I literally cannot take care of myself and my home, (and now my child) and remain in contact with other people as often as if like.

In the past I have been known to say to my husband MANY times, “but we don’t need any new friends, I love our friends and I find it hard enough to keep up with socializing as it is!”

Well people… things change! Give me ALL the mom friends!

You know who doesn’t give a shit if you text them daily or weekly… other moms! They aren’t annoyed or thinking you hate them! They’re just as frazzled as you are, and odds are they read your last text and forgot to respond for a month because their baby woke from their nap as they opened it.

You know who isn’t offended that you are late to every single plan you make? Mom friends! Yeah you both said 10am, but you also both know that really meant whenever you manage to escape your house after battling your child.

You know who also isn’t offended that you canceled your plans an hour before you were supposed to meet? That’s right! Your mom friends! They get it. They have felt the sting of defeat when their child won’t nap, and is screaming at the top of their lungs as you try to get them dressed to go somewhere.

They just get it.

They’re going through these same things you are, and they couldn’t be happier to share all these hair pulling, tear jerking moments with you, as well as all of your triumphs.

It feels so good to have friends that text you back “oh girl, I am right there with you” when you feel like you could scream after a day of your child going on nap strike.

When you lose your shit, you need someone who is losing their shit right along side you, so that you don’t feel like you’re the only one who may be headed to the mental ward. It’s good to know you’ll be heading there with a friend or two.

No one else knows the feeling of wanting to murder their husbands almost every single day, while simultaneously loving them, and being ridiculously grateful for them at the same time. Yes men, you thought we were complex before… wait til we become mothers.

The other night I had the pleasure of grabbing a glass of wine with 4 other mamas. One of my friends started a story by saying “oh my gosh I have to tell you this story, because I know none of you will be shocked when I talk about poop!” Ain’t that the truth!

No one but a fellow mom will bond with you over poop stories. If I were to talk to any of my friends who’ve yet to have children, and recount the amount of blowout stories I have I’m pretty sure I may never hear from them again. You know who is happy to hear you vent about your kids “fun with feces”, and will happily compare stories with you? A mom friend! They are glad to compare and see who’s day was literally shittier!

You can talk about your kids non stop! You know when you’re out with a bunch of your friends who aren’t parents, and your having a conversation, and then you realize “oh my goodness, I’m just rambling about my kid… I can’t even stop! Have I run out of non-kid things to talk about?” Well, no worries about that when you’re with your mom friends!

The best thing about finding good mom friends is the support. No one lifts me up like my mama friends.

If I tell them I’m having an awful postpartum anxiety day, they check in on me. If any of us are having a hard time with something we get on our group chat and ask advice. We cry on each other’s shoulders. We tell each other “you’re right” when we need someone to reassure us.

We vent to each other about all the heartaches, emotions, and difficulties of mom life. We pour each other a glass of wine and let each other know it’s going to be ok. We try to get each other out of the house kid free (key word try).

We are all different. We each will parent our children differently. However, we are there for each other; there for all the hard times as well as the beautiful ones.

It doesn’t matter how you became a mom, if you are a stay at home, a working mom, or something in between. It doesn’t matter if you are super outgoing or super timid. It doesn’t matter if you have all the help in the world, or are struggling to stay afloat. This is the hardest job any of us will ever have. Having mom friends is like having a team of coworkers who you can bitch at the water cooler with.

If you are a new mom, or the only mom in your group of friends, I highly encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and find a mom friend. Even just one!

Take your kids to a play group, a baby program at your library, a mommy and me workout, join a mother’s club! Trust me, I am super shy when it comes to meeting new people, but it is worth it!

If you need a mom friend in your corner, I’m here for you.

Find your mom tribe, because no mama should ever feel alone; and because you’ll never feel more seen than you will sipping your cold coffee with a fellow mama who also isn’t quite sure if she brushed her teeth today or not. We’re all in this together.

Letting Go of Plans: My Birth Story

The past few months have been a whirlwind, but they do not compare to the past two weeks. I have left this passion project of a blog unattended, because I was very pregnant, busy, and far more focused on preparing for the little bundle of joy that was to join us!

You see I am a gal who likes a plan. A nice solid plan. This is something that occasionally drives my husband nuts (like when it’s Saturday we have no plans and I get up at 6 am contemplating things to do, and demand he start planning the day with me as soon as he wakes up). I can’t help it! I like to know what I am doing, and what I need to get done.

Nesting hit early on in my second trimester, which was terrible timing because farm life was still in full swing and the husband and I were both working 7 days a week. Come November I had my husband painting walls and building cribs before he had a chance to think otherwise!

Once that third trimester kicked in, I was sure to finish my Hypnobirthing home course, and assign my husband homework and readings from it as well. I wanted to be thoroughly ready for what lay ahead, and my husband had to be too. My birth plan was written, proofread, and had 3 copies printed and strategically placed in different bags just in case by 36 weeks.

In my head I planned that this baby just wouldn’t make it to 40 weeks! She had dropped by week 34 and was 7mm from my bladder and resting her head on my cervix since 37 weeks.

Well I learned pretty quick that planning was about to fly out the door!

The week before my due date I had a routine check. The doctor examined me, told me I was 80% effaced and 1 cm dilated. “From the looks of it you may not make it to your due date, but just in case go ahead and schedule an appointment for that day.” That comment basically gave me the green light on my plans to have this kid before my EDD.

Well then my due date came, and at that appointment the doctor said “OK. Nothing has changed from last week. I would schedule a sonogram for next Friday, and have you scheduled an induction for the 42 week mark yet? Because I think you should just in case.”

This was the beginning of my plans shattering. I walked out of that office with two new appointment cards: one for a sonogram in case my stubborn baby was too big to wait until 42 weeks, and one for an impending induction. My heart deflated and my ego took a big hit. My plans to be a mother by that evening had flown out the window.

I dramatically texted my family saying “No baby, I am just gonna he pregnant forever.” That was the new plan. I even came home and declared it to my husband. “Well since she doesn’t wanna come out, I’ll be induced on the night of February 18th and she’ll be born on the 19th. It’s ok though because I got to pick who will deliver her.”

Well that night our daughter had other plans. After a delicious eggplant parm dinner (a labor induction suggestion from a friend… who knew!), at 12:30 am on February 9th my water broke.

It wasn’t like a scene out of a movie where I immediately went into labor and we rushed to the hospital. I had been sleeping and was actually terrified that the whole loss of bladder control thing everyone had been telling me would happen, had finally occurred. But nope, my water had definitely broken. I phoned the hospital, they told me to wait til 6 am or until my labor had started and I was having good contractions 5 min apart for 1 hour.

At 7:30 that morning my husband and I were rushing out the door to go have our baby girl! I had been having strong contractions every 4 min for 1 min straight for 2 hours by the time we got to the hospital, so naturally my husband and I thought this was gonna be it! I’d be delivering by noon, just like we’d hoped for the past month! An afternoon baby, and lots of naps for the rest of the day! (Hahaha now I can really laugh at that because I’ve lived the new baby hospital life and know that naps are hard to come by there).

The doctor examined me and informed us that my water had indeed broken and she’d be back in a few to check my cervix.

I was so excited! I must be well on my way right? The contractions although pretty painful, and super close at this point were bad, but my hypnobirthing breathing techniques were really helping! I was about to have the all natural, beautiful, non medicated birth I dreamt of!

The doctor then checked me, and informed me that while I was 95% effaced, I was still only 1cm dilated. My water had been broken for almost 9 hours and if I went much longer, the baby and I would both be put on antibiotics because we would be at risk of infection. She suggested I be put on a pitocin drip (synthetic oxytocin) to speed things up.

My birth plan had entailed no pitocin unless necessary… but starting my baby’s life with antibiotics or risking infection outweighed my desire to naturally progress. I agreed, they started my drip, and things certainly sped up. My husband asked me if I wanted to show the doctor my birth plan… I said no that’s ok, confident that I would get the rest of my natural birth!

The first 4-5 hours my breathing techniques worked wonders… but then we entered the transition period. I was about 7-8 cm dilated and the contractions were coming every minute or less, and due to the pitocin were lasting 120 seconds instead of 60 and were super intense. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t breath or relax my body if I tried.

Enter the drugs. I remember looking at my husband who I told “don’t you let me take the epidural”, and pleading with him not to judge me. I knew that if I didn’t take it, I would not have the energy to push this baby out on my own. That mattered to me more than anything. My husband of course supported my decision. What felt like an eternity later, the anesthesiologist showed up and took all the pain away!

After a brief hour long nap, I started feeling a serious pressure and my contractions once again. The doctor checked me, told me I was at 9.5 cm and that she wanted to wait one more hour so the baby could descend a little further on her own. Whelp then she noticed I was feeling my contractions once again, and that the epidural had snapped out of my back! “Ok time to push!” She announced.

About an hour later my little girl was placed into my arms. Our lives were changed forever… and all plans have gone out the window!

We planned to “get some rest” that first night, but as soon as I’d feed the baby, and change her and shut my eyes a nurse would come in to check one or both of us. So we planned on napping the following day, but we were flooded with excited and happy loved ones who came to wish us well.

(Keeping it real:this picture truly captures how exhausted I was the day after giving birth)

It’s been a week and a half since our baby girl was born, and I can honestly say I have woke up everyday knowing full well there will be no planning happening. I’m ok with this now. The only plans I have every day now are to feed, clothe, and give my baby girl all the love she deserves. That is truly the only plan that matters anymore.

Whoever first told me to “plan to throw your plans out”, you were so right. I am so at peace with this idea of a plan free day, because all I really want to do anyway is spend as much time with my girl as I can.

It’s only been 11 days since the birth of my daughter, and time already seems to be speeding by.

Life is just too short to make plans. Instead I will choose to soak up each and every moment I get with my child, so I can cherish them one day when I’m free to plan away again.

Creamy and Simple Butternut and Sweet Potato Soup

It’s finally here! Autumn has officially hit! There’s a crispness to our morning air, the leaves are beginning to change, the days are a little bit shorter, and girls have officially broken out the PSL lattes!

I myself LOVE this season! I love the cooler weather, wearing sweaters, the smell in the air…. but mostly I love the food! The farm stand starts stocking my favorite veggies this time of year. Broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and winter squash…. one of my absolute favorites being Butternut!

I also have been known to love a good bowl of soup, so having the cool weather as an excuse to whip up a pot of soup on the regular makes me happy! I’ve already made about 3 different soups and it’s only been officially fall for a week now.

Sadly when I first met my husband he proclaimed that he HATED soup. I know! I was just as shocked as you are! How could anyone hate soup?! It’s warm, it’s comforting, filling and it’s flavorful!

This did not stop me from pumping out soup after soup on a mission to change his mind.

Happily, I can tell you that he no longer hates soup. He will eat any soup I give him and he usually asks for more! He does however favor a creamy soup (especially on colder days).

I made this particular soup after a busy day at the farm stand. One of my favorite parts of making soup is how easy it can be! You literally cut everything up, throw it in a pot and walk away. That’s the kind of dinner I can get on board with during this time of year… especially now when I’m working a full time job and helping out at the stand on weekends and I’m 5 months pregnant.

I literally stood at the farm stand after work and saw butternut squash and sweet potatoes and decided to challenge myself to a new soup. I am so glad I did because this one is definitely a new favorite!

Not only is this husband approved, but this one is also sister in law approved as well! She happened to be over for dinner that night and the two of them loved it!

So if you’re not sure to do with our butternut squash and want to try a twist on your usual butternut squash soup recipe, give this one a whirl! It is so simple, very minimal ingredients and SO delicious!

Happy cooking!

1 Butternut squash chopped

2 carrots chopped

2 sweet medium potatoes chopped

1 onion chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

1 tbs olive oil

4 cups veggie stock

1 can coconut milk

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh pepper

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp sage

1/2 tsp thyme

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp chili powder

Optional topping: crumbled bacon…. I usually don’t add it because the soup is delicious on its own but my husband LOVES to!

  1. In a large soup pot heat olive oil and add onion and garlic. Sauté for about 2 minutes or until they begin to sweat (or the onions start to become translucent).
  2. Add the chopped carrots, butternut squash and sweet potato and stir. I like to let it cook for about a minute.
  3. Throw in your spices and stir everything together, again let them cook for another minute so the flavors can really sink into those veggies.
  4. Add you veggie or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil reduce to a simmer and cook for about 25 min.
  5. Add in your coconut milk stir well, and cook for another 5 min.
  6. Place soup in a blender or food processor or use my favorite tool and immersion blender to purée!

Serve it to your family, friends or company and enjoy!

Love and light,

Rachael Krupski

Guilt Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Happy September! It’s hard to believe it’s actually here! Where is this year going?

I can’t say I’m not excited to see September finally arrive. Something magical starts to happen this time of year. The leaves begin to change, the mornings get cooler and quieter, and fall decor and produce kicks into overdrive at the farm (and my house… yes I already have a pumpkin proudly displayed on my table… not even sorry).

As fall quickly approaches (sorry but it’s true!) this pregnant lady has been craving all types of baked goods! Something about fall makes me want to bake breads, cookies, and cakes. I have been trying to keep my diet as healthy and nutrient dense as possible for baby girl Krupski, while allowing myself to give into cravings once in a while.

A few weeks ago we were invited to a dinner party at a friends house, and I decided that was the perfect time to whip up a dessert! Still keeping baby in mind, I chose to make something that was not just yummy but also nutritious… without anyone knowing!

I had been craving brownies and chocolate chip cookies that week, so it made sense to me to try and make something that mixed that warm gooey brownie texture with a chocolate chip cookie flavor! I went to my pantry and gathered my ingredients, threw them into a food processor, and created a delicious batch of Guilt Free Chocolate Chip bars.

My husband was skeptical… as he always is when I make a healthy dessert. He fondly remembers the days of cookies, cupcakes and brownies when we first started dating. He somehow forgets the part where where both gained 20 LBs from all my baking back then. He wasn’t sure a healthy dessert was the right choice to bring to a dinner party.

Well, on the way home (clean cookie plate in hand), he apologized for ever doubting me. They were a hit! Nick even ate 2-3 of them! No one had any idea they were healthy until I revealed my ingredients… and even after that they continued to grab them. I will definitely be bringing them to a party again soon.

These bars came out gooey, soft, and sweet with just the right amount of chocolate flavor. They took 5 min to prep, and 30 min to bake. Best of all, the batter is made entirely in a food processor (or blender) so clean up is a breeze!

Try these bad boys out! Share them with friends and family, and I bet that plate will be clean by the end of the party.

  • Guilt Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
  • Ingredients:
    • 1 can chickpeas
      3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
      1/4 cup pure maple syrup
      1/2 tsp vanilla
      1/4 tsp baking powder
      1/4 tsp baking soda
      1/2 cup chocolate chips

    1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease your baking dish. (I used coconut oil spray in a 13×9 inch pan but u can use a smaller pan for thicker pieces just add more time to bake).
    2. In a food processor add chickpeas, peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, baking powder and baking soda and combine on high speed until mixture is creamy.
    3. Add the chocolate chips and pulse until they are evenly mixed in.
    4. Spread your batter onto your greased pan and bake for 25-30 min or until the edges begin to pull away from the pan. You can also use the toothpick test to see if they are ready!

    That’s it! I told you they were simple! When I told everyone there were chickpeas in them people were shocked!

    They add a nice serving of protein in this dessert that will help regulate your blood sugar. That’s right, instead of this dessert sending sugar surging through your blood stream, that protein will help to slow the process down and keep your blood sugar much steadier. Just an added bonus to a delicious treat!

    I hope you try these cookie bars out and let me know what you think! Happy baking!

    Love and light,

    Rachael Krupski

    Staying Active and Healthy Avocado Toast… for 2!

    Surprise! Nick and I are expecting our first child in February! We found out the first weekend of June and have been ecstatic ever since!

    I had fully planned on starting up the blog again once Farm season had begun and I had plenty of resources for my recipes… baby had other plans! I have never experience fatigue like I did the first 2.5 months of pregnancy! I napped in my car at work on my lunch break, when I got home, and was in bed by 8:30, 9 pm latest! Apparently this whole growing a human thing really takes it out of you!

    Luckily, that was the only bad symptom I experienced during my first trimester. I am beyond grateful that I missed the whole morning sickness fiasco most women deal with! Fatigue was tough, but it wasn’t unbearable.

    I was determined from the beginning of my pregnancy to remain fit and healthy for myself and most importantly for baby K. My morning workouts not only keep me in shape but keep me sane. It’s my only time for myself all day, before my husband gets up, before my workday begins, before that list of chores becomes a reality….. I need that time! Thankfully, the little energy I had during the first trimester was at the very start of my morning, so my workouts never stopped!I’ve continued to workout 6 days a week, but have been following prenatal weight lifting workouts and running on my off days (as cleared by my doctors).

    There is so much research saying how important it is for women to continue working out during pregnancy. It helps us prepare to be fit for delivery, it helps maintain a healthy weight gain, and also has been shown to help with brain development for baby!

    Fitness hasn’t been difficult to keep up with….. my healthy eating habits however have taken a LOT more discipline.

    Apparently all this baby wants is mint chocolate chip ice cream and carbs (not that I blame them). Before pregnancy, my will power around sweets was unbreakable…. somehow this baby has made me crazy for ice cream! This was the first thing that tipped my sister in laws off that I might be expecting.

    Although I just want to spend my days shoveling in nachos and ice cream, I really want to give my baby the best nutrition I can. I have been focusing my meals around what nutrients are especially important to baby K’s growth and development… not to say that I don’t occasionally allow myself to indulge in a treat or two or three every week. Everyday I try my best to make sure I am taking in enough Folate, vitamin D, calcium, vitamin c, protein, Omega 3s, etc.

    I have personally found it easiest to stick to healthy eating when I begin my day with a healthy breakfast!

    Almost everyday since the beginning of July I have had the exact same DELICIOUS and most of all NUTRITIOUS breakfast! I call it 1st Trimester Avocado toast. It is so simple, quick and easy to make plus packs a ton of nutritional value!

    All you need for this recipe are the following:

    1 tsp coconut oil

    2 pasture raised eggs

    1 cup spinach

    1 clove garlic minced

    1/2 avocado

    1 toasted Ezekiel bread English muffin (or your bread of choice)

    Seasoning of choice (I use Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning)

    • First melt the coconut oil in a large pan. Once you have done this, crack the two eggs into one side of the skillet to fry.
    • Once the eggs are about halfway cooked, add garlic to the opposite side of the pan and allow to sweat for 1 minute. Then add in the spinach and cover pan until it begins to wilt.
    • While the spinach is wilting and your eggs are cooking, mash and spread your half an avocado onto each half of your toast.
    • Remove the pan from heat, layer the spinach onto the avocado toast and top it with your fried eggs… that’s all folks!
  • See how simple that is?! You definitely don’t have to be pregnant to enjoy this, but if you are it has so many benefits. This meal is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-6, E, K, Folic acid, potassium, magnesium, protein and fiber! It is also absolutely scrumptious! I wake up wanting this meal every morning, and it fills me up and keeps me going until lunch time!
  • I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you try it out let me know what you think.
  • Now that I am feeling myself again, I plan to create and post many more recipes this summer to share with you all, as well as more about my pregnancy journey!
  • Until the next one,
  • Rachael Krupski