Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hi. My name is Kendra and I had an epidural.

The most popular post I've written here would have to be on the Bradley Method. I get a ton of traffic from expectant moms doing their due diligence and researching if Bradley Method is a good fit for them for a drug-free labor.

It's true that I had an amazing birth experience with Little C and I still can't believe that I made it through a drug-free labor and delivery. I definitely have the Bradley Method classes to thank for giving me the much needed confidence to get through it.

So, what about your second labor? How did it go with Baby P-Nut?

I still have yet to share her birth story and I have been hesitant because I had been feeling somewhat guilty and unsettled about it.

I've been afraid of judgement. Judgement from other moms and bloggers but most of all... judgement from myself. Truth is, I abandoned everything that I believed in and fought for with Little C's birth. I did not remain calm, I did not get through the pain with slow, deep breaths and I DID ask for the epidural at the first opportunity to do so.

Hi. My name is Kendra and with the birth of my daughter... I had an epidural.

This day and age, and especially in many of the blogging communities, more and more emphasis is placed on drug-free labor, going green, breastfeeding, making your own organic baby food, turning Pinterest ideas into reality, etc. If you don't do all or most of these things then you've failed. At least that is how we can be left to feel.

My rational brain knows very well that there is no right or wrong way when it comes to motherhood and it is definitely not one size fits all! Regardless, I have felt like I let myself down for literally begging for the drugs after 1) I had intended on a drug-free labor and 2) I had done it before! Additionally, I felt I let my baby down, which was the worst feeling of all.

But believe me when I say I am so over it. I am no longer ashamed.

I've always said labor is more of a mental game than a physical one and I will be the first to admit that I was mentally not prepared to get in "the zone" for a drug-free labor this time around. This time around actually KNOWING what to expect was not helpful for me, it was the opposite.

As the contractions kept intensifying I knew it was only going to get worse and instead of remaining calm, I panicked.

Here's the thing... my second pregnancy was hard. It feel like my body was revolting against me with morning sickness, severe sciatic pain and hormonal rage I wouldn't even wish on my worst enemy. Then there was the mental component of this pregnancy. I was dealing with so much internally for 9 months which I've done my best to explain in this post.

Combine that with an on-the-go toddler that doesn't care if your back hurts and you are exhausted, a full-time job, and all the other daily crap which keeps right on trucking no matter how miserable you are feeling.

Fact: Life doesn't stand still for a pregnant mama.

As my due date approached I was done. Physically and mentally ready to no longer be pregnant. So when labor started getting real I was just so tapped out and my mental stamina was shot. I could not calm myself down and my super supportive and oh-so-wonderful husband couldn't get me to calm down, and the Bradley Method? Well, that was a distant memory. The epidural was my answer.

Now, let me just take a quick second here to do some patting myself on the back. I labored at home for a solid 6 hours before going to the hospital. I did deep breathing, I got in the bathtub, I moved around. My contractions were 1-2 minutes apart as we left the house for the hospital and upon arriving I was 7 centimeters! So, I'm going to say I didn't take any easy way out of this at all.

Bottom line is I need to do a better job of taking ownership of my journey through motherhood. No more feeling guilty and no more shame. I'm not perfect, I am flawed and that is okay. Judge me all you want because I need no one's approval to believe I am a good mother.

I make decisions that are best for me and for my babies. Of course some will argue that deciding on the epidural was not best for my baby and I say unto you... SHOVE IT! I have a beautiful, healthy baby girl and if taking the epidural is what I needed to safely bring her into this world then no one can fault me for it.

I've had a drug-free labor. I have been lucky enough to experience it in all it's magnificent glory. And guess what? I've had an epidural labor. I have been lucky enough to experience it in all it's magnificent glory.

So gear up, people. I'm going share Little Miss P-Nut's birth story with the world! There will be laughter, there will be tears and (sorry mom) a whole bevvy of F-bombs!

To be continued...

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Love List

Here is what I am loving today:

1. It's Friday! Duh.

2. This face from the morning...

3. Little C moving up to the "big boy" room at daycare today because his potty training is going so well.

4. Rdio is my new addiction. Waaaay better than Pandora. 

5. This song is on constant rotation in my head.

6. This post about Kanye West as a dad.

7. I'm probably going to be able to get a workout in today. You guys, I've been WORKING OUT! It has been going so well and I have now accomplished the 1st hardest part of it all... getting started. Now comes the 2nd hardest part... sticking with it. Wish me luck! 

8. The extra shot in my Starbucks this morning is wooooorking!!!!!!!!!

I couldn't get to ten things. Shoot!

I may be on a major caffeine buzz right now but my brain is still fried. I'm so ready for the weekend! Is it 5 o'clock yet?

What are you loving today? Any fun plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


It's back to school time! Summer break comes to a screeching halt for all the youngins, parents breath a sigh of relief and morning commuters are forced to slow their roll for ALL THE DAMN SCHOOL ZONES!! Arg. I swear the school zones add like 10 extra minutes to my trek into work. But I digress...

On my 20mph drive into work this morning, I started thinking back to my first day of kindergarten. Kindergarten was my jam! I mean, I loved everything about it and I mean EVERYTHING!

For starters I thought I was extremely special because in my egocentric little mind everyone was attending Kendragarten, not Kindergarten. I didn't know why the school system named it after me, I just knew it was pretty cool that they did! ;)

So off to Kendragarten I went wearing a little yellow dress, my hair in a ponytail with barrettes because I always wore a ponytail with barrettes for most of my younger years. My hair was long and I was what my mom lovingly referred to as, a ragamuffin. So ponytails kept my crazy mane at bay.

I had my backpack filled with school supplies that I was just bursting at the seams to break out and start using. My pencil box was probably my favorite thing. It was yellow and had rainbows, letters, numbers, etc. all over it. I know we have a picture of my dad holding me as I proudly displayed my pencil box after buying it. I freaking loved that thing.

All my supplies had my initials on them including every. single. crayon. in a box of 64. My mom was a bit over-the-top with the initialing. I wonder if I will be the same way?

After the requisite "first day of school photo" in front of the house, my mom walked me to Kendragarten with my 2 month old baby brother in tow. I am not a shy person by nature but this experience had me nervous. I didn't know what to expect.

The school was bustling with kids and parents and I remember looking anxiously around as my mom kept making me pose for pictures in front of the tree in front of the school... in front of the brick wall in front of the school... in front the school itself.

Then it was time to head into the class... All of a sudden I heard a voice say, "Kendra!" I turned around and it is one of those exact memories that you never forget. The sun was shining in my eyes so at first I couldn't see who said my name. I could see a parent holding a boys hand. As they walked closer I could finally make out who it was. It was my buddy, Chris! We had been going to the same daycare/preschool since we were both infants and I had no idea he was going to be in my Kindergarten Kendragarten class too! I was thrilled to see a familiar face.

We walked into the classroom and I met my teacher. A teacher that to this day remains my all-time favorite. There was an alphabet circle in the carpet, a play house in the corner, books, numbers, arts, crafts, etc.

I don't remember saying goodbye to my mom. I hope I did it properly because now that I have kids of my own I can tell how hard it must be when your kids get to this stage of their lives. It is a positive and exciting milestone for sure. But they are no longer babies, and from that moment on they embark on a whole new adventure that will bring with it some of their greatest highs and even some major lows throughout their school years. You have to let them go and experience it all for themselves... Like I said, I don't know if I gave my mom a good hug and let her soak it in but I guess that is also part of how it all plays out, right?

And so it began. A year filled with so much fun and learning. I made some great friends, learned so many new songs to add to my repertoire, had a blast in gym class, and I even took my baby brother to show and tell when it was my turn. I didn't want it to end!

When the year was finally over I cried. I cried like a little baby and I didn't want to leave. I didn't want a new teacher and I certainly didn't want to spend an entire summer AWAY from school. My teacher assured me I would like my 1st grade teacher but I didn't want to listen. I was in denial that it was all over.

Of course I got over it and moved on with life but I will always have the fondest memories of my year in Kendragarten. From start to finish it was the best!

Do you remember your first day of Kindergarten? If not the first day, what is your best Kindergarten memory?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Show and Tell

Hey all! I don't know about you, but I am loving the fact that it is Friday! And do you know who else is loving the fact that it's Friday? Little C.

Today was his first ever show and tell. He was so excited to get to school and share with his friends the contents of his back pack. Behold...

You see it's not show-and-tell. It's SHOW AND TEEEEEEEEEEEEELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Inside his back pack was a small photo album containing pictures of this experience feeding Mushindi the Rhino. But that wasn't enough, oh no. He also wanted to take his Rhino figurine, his baby Rhino figurine and the stuffed Rhino that his Auntie Shan got for him.

Getting this boy to look at the camera and smile is really a joke. My camera and phone are filled with pictures just like this one.

Anyways, he was so stinking excited to share with everyone his love of rhinos and as soon as we walked through the doors at daycare he started opening his back pack and showing anyone and everyone he could find what was inside. He was so proud and so adorable and my Mama heart was beaming. 

I mean, it's just show-and-tell. No big deal. But to me it is. It is a big deal because it is so much fun watching him get excited about something like this. It is a big deal because life is whizzing by us and this morning when Little C couldn't wait to share his show-and-tell was a precious moment. A moment that makes me smile and that I don't want to forget. 

Which is why I may have taken a few too many unnecessary photos to document, but I just couldn't help myself. I'll work on going overboard from now on. I promise. For his sake...

HA! Sorry buddy!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Monday, August 12, 2013

#12ThingsILoveAboutMe - August

Today's the 12th.

Just thought I'd let you know, in case you are living under a rock. I'm here for you rock dwellers!

Anyways, it is time to share your "thing" for this month. It's time to shout from the roof tops what makes you beautiful! Go ahead, give it a whirl!

Seriously. There ain't no shame in yo game! Own your beauty and silence the negative self-talk. What better way to do that than telling the world why you are beautiful? Don't rely on others to do it, it has to come from within. You have to believe it because I promise so many other people see your beauty inside and out, so it's time you do too.

It can be physical or a characteristic that you love about yourself. Basically anything about you that makes you unique, makes you feel beautiful or that you just down-right love about yourself. Do NOT be shy! You can do it!

This month's "thing" for me:


I used to be so self conscious about them. They are broader than most girls' and I've always felt like a line backer instead of a dainty little lady. My shoulders go beyond where they should in shirts and jackets and if I wear my hair up with certain shirts it just looks all kinds of wrong!

I've learned how to dress my body accordingly and there are times when my hair is up, I'm wearing a tank top and my shoulders look fantastic!

My shoulders are not a flaw. They are beautiful because they make me strong. As a cheerleader I could practically bench-press my peers straight up over my head. I could hurl them through the air and I could always catch them when I needed to.

Now that I'm a mom I have to carry toddlers, babies, diaper bags, car seat buckets, and sometimes ALL AT THE SAME TIME!

I am not a dainty little lady, but I am still a lady. I'm strong, and I'm beautiful and...


What do you love about yourself? Shout it out with countless others here in my comments, or here on Twitter.

Put an end to your negative self-talk and start to love yourself!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mama and Baby Update - Month 7

I swear from month 6 to month 7 we have a whole new baby! She is rolling over like a champ, she is pincer-grabbing the crap out of finger foods, she is lunging forward when on the floor to reach for a toy and if she still can't reach it she starts inching her way closer to the object. Not really crawling just some how, some way, she gets where she wants to go!

Oh, and remember how I always said how quiet she is? Well, lemme just tell you... those days are long gone! Baby Sis has found her voice and it is LOUD and incredibly high-pitched. She is now screeching frequently and there is nothing dainty and soft about it!

She holds onto the handles of a sippy cup and knows to tilt her head back to take a sip. She isn't too proficient with getting the liquid out, but she's not too far out. We currently just give her water in the cup or even formula.

Miss P-Nut definitely likes her food and is still thriving with the Baby Led Weaning. We have to modify it a bit because she is spoon-fed at daycare and there are some evenings when spoon-feeding her at home just makes sense and is easy. But she does get a great deal of finger foods and seems to enjoy it!

I've told you before how much Little C loves his Sis but now we are seeing how much Baby Sis loves her Big Bro. I can't wait for them to be able to play more!

Mama Update:
I have stopped pumping. 

::hops up and clicks heels::

 I no longer lug my Pump-In-Style with me to work and I no longer pump before bed. My work situation does not allow me to pump more than once a day and because of this fact my supply has steadily decreased and I haven't been able to get it back up. And honestly? I haven't gone too crazy trying to get it back. 

I found the pumping to be more of a stress than anything and I would feel so deflated when I'd get 2-3 ounces total. I currently nurse P-Nut first thing in the morning before daycare, and once in the evening when I get home. Some days she needs me to nurse her twice in the evenings but not always. On the weekends I nurse her whenever I can and I do pump on some occasions on the weekend just to keep me producing a bit.

I do not feel I am providing her with sufficient milk to count as a full feeding. I simply provide her milk to tide her over in between bottles or solids, or as a comfort when she is upset. I still have milk to give so I plan to keep providing it for her this way until I no longer can.

She seems happy with this arrangement and I can't tell you how much I love it too. I've taken the stress of pumping away and there has been a HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders!

The unfortunate side-effect from this recent change is ::a'hem:: menstruation. BOO! It was a good 15 month run without but it is officially back and with it, all the bloating, cramping and hormones galore. Joy of joys. 

Oh, and one more thing. I'm STILL loosing hair by the hand fulls! I don't remember this postpartum side-effect lasting this long with Little C. Does anyone remember how long it lasts? This is getting old!

Overall, we are all happy and healthy and Little Miss P keeps right on doing her cute little thang! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tough Guy

My husband is the quintessential "tough guy." Sure, he's sentimental and a big softie when it counts but for the most part he is no muss, no fuss. He's big in stature and makes me feel tiny when I'm wrapped in his arms.

So you can imagine my surprise when on Saturday morning my tough guy called to me from the other room and said, "Um, Kendra. I think you need to take me to the emergency room."

I came around the corner and he was doubled-over in a chair, ghost white, with sweat pouring down his face and seeping through his t-shirt, saying his heart was about to beat out of his chest and he was fighting not to pass out... I didn't hesitate. I immediately called my FIL who lives 1 minute away to come be with the kids, I threw on some clothes (it was early and we were still in PJ's) and I attempted to remain as calm as possible as not to alarm Little C.

We headed off to the ER and as we were driving Hubs said he was feeling much better and we should think rationally about whether or not this constituted as an "emergency." His heart rate slowed, and he said he was starting to feel normal again. We pulled the car over and just sat.

Together we decided to get him some food and some hydration and we'd call the after-hours doctor to see what they thought. The doctor advised that if he felt the slightest bit faint again we should not hesitate and get to the ER immediately but if he felt better then pumping him full of fluid and taking it easy would be a good idea. They also said he should make an appointment to actually see the doc on Monday.

Fast forward to Monday afternoon's doctor appointment... After explaining what happened Hubs' doctor hooked him up to an EKG machine and based on what he saw ordered him to go next door to the hospital for more tests.

Queue me at home with both kids making dinner and getting the call, "Um, Kendra. They need me to stay overnight at the hospital for a battery of testing, I'm about to be admitted." Once again I attempted to remain calm, make phone calls and arrange care for both kids overnight. There was seriously one point that evening that I had P-Nut on my hip and Little C following me around asking questions about where Dad was.

I was walking around the house swiftly and seemingly on a mission but I was not doing anything. I knew I needed to pack their bags, get bottles together, clothes together, etc., but I just paced for a minute or two with a rock in my stomach, a lump in my throat and an ache in my heart. Two tears rolled down my cheek...

Then I snapped out of it. No good was going to come of being sad and there was no time for that nonsense with two kids to take care of and a husband to rush to.

The rest of the story is typical hospital protocol. A lot of testing, a lot of questions, and a lot of freaking waiting. The good news? They found nothing wrong, all tests came back in good shape. The bad news? They found nothing wrong, all tests came back in good shape.

It takes a lot to knock down my tough guy and I'm telling you, what happened on Saturday was not okay. There was fear in his eyes and unsteadiness in the voice of a man who is always rock solid. So now we move forward to get some answers. We have a plan in place regarding follow-ups and doctors galore. We are all hoping for explanations and resolution.

To say we are feeling really lucky is an understatement. This was a wake-up for so many reasons and we intend to be focused on being as healthy as possible and taking care of ourselves. It seems the tough guys need to be reminded of this more than others. ;)

I'd have to say the hardest part through all of this is how your mind can be your own worst enemy. When faced with these situations it is so hard not to think of the "what ifs."

Last night as all four of us were back under the same roof all tucked in our beds I felt so blessed and grateful. Hubs and I fell asleep holding each other tight and as we were dozing off I reminded him how we just don't work without him... I don't work without him.

Each day is a gift, people. Don't forget it. The daily grind can distract us from that but it is so important to remember. Of course you don't have to get super sentimental and mushy every single day. Simply telling the people you love how you feel about them will do the trick.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go snuggle up on the couch with my tough guy and do just that.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Letter to Little C - Capturing a Moment

Dear Little C,

I wanted to take a second to write you a letter to capture a moment in time...

The past four weeks you have been taking swim lessons at the rec center. Although you are quite the "big boy" these days, you still need to swim with an adult in the pool. So you've had the privilege of swimming and splashing with your dear 'ole Dad.

It has been a great experience for him and I just wanted you to be able to look back on this someday and know how special this time has been for the both of you.

Your Dad would leave work early every Monday and Wednesday to pick you up from daycare. You always knew when it was "swim day" and you would announce to everyone you saw that your Dad was going to pick you up to go swimming! (I think the teachers were happy for Dad to get there at the end of the day because once you get something in your cute little head you have a hard time letting it go) ;)

Then the two of you were off to spend an uninterrupted 45 minutes together. For Dad, no work, no deadlines, no chores, no rushing. And for you, no Baby Sis, no school, no parents telling you "no." Nothing but you, the pool and your beloved Dadeo.

He told me how special this time was for him. As excited as you were for Dad to pick you up at the end of the day, I know he shared the same excitement. He understands that a short, four week swim class may not seem like a big deal, but four weeks of one-on-one time with his son was priceless.

He was so proud of you and sure you learned some swimming moves and made big strides but the truth is, he was simply so proud to with his son.

Yesterday was your last day of lessons and as a special treat the two of you picked up some ice cream and ate it together at the park under the shade of some giant trees. I don't know what you talked about or how it all went and I'm glad that I don't. I hope there are many more times over the years where just the two of you get to spend some quality time together and that your relationship grows in only a way a father/son relationship can.

Pretty soon parent/child classes will be a thing of the past and we will be sending you on your way to try new sports and activities as we watch from the sidelines. We are so excited for the future but honestly, not too eager to get there.

Until then, I so enjoyed hearing from you and your Dad about each afternoon at swim lessons and I was giddy with happiness as you each explained it with the same enthusiasm and pride. You make your Dad very happy, my son, and He's aware that the feeling is mutual.

All my love,