That Whole Giving Birth Thing – Part 1

Both before, and after, I got pregnant, I would often hear mothers talking about how beautiful their birth experiences were.  Really, ladies?  Beautiful?  Perhaps they’d suffered from some sort of post-baby amnesia and forgotten all of the pain that comes with labor and delivery?  That was the only valid explanation since beautiful seems a far stretch in the adjective department.  I mean sure, the final product of the experience was bound to be pretty extraordinary but the path getting there, not so much!  I hated these women…I just knew they were lying to me.  They wanted me to suffer right along with them.  When thinking back at this mindset, however, I must meekly admit my mistake.  I’d been wrong (this rarely happens…just ask my husband!)

41 Weeks
One Week Past My Due Date

It was a Tuesday morning, 10 days past my due date.  My stubborn little girl seemed to have found a nice comfy spot that she was not so willing to leave.  I’d begun mentally preparing myself for the induction that I hadn’t wanted, but was apparently going to need. After another appointment with my OB, he decided to “check me” one last time.  I assumed this was purely for shits and giggles since I hadn’t been making any progress thus far, but I dutifully placed my feet in those stirrups and waited for him to tell me nothing had changed.  Well this particular check was slightly more intense and seemed to take longer than any of the  others had.  Slightly concerned, I began wondering what he was up to.  Once he’d finally finished, he informed me that, I’d dilated to a lovely 2 cm!  I lie there in disbelief and then heard him say, “Oh, and I went ahead and did a membrane sweep today.”  Thanks for the warning doc…that explained the extra lovely examination.

Despite the fact that my doctor insisted the sweep would not put me into labor, I started having some sporadic, but intense, contractions.  Throughout the rest of the day, they would come and go, but I chalked them up to the same Braxton Hicks I’d been experiencing for about a month.  The hubby and I had dinner that night, cleaned up, lounged around, and then climbed into bed.

Around 10pm, my contractions started coming every 7-8 minutes.  I told my hubby, Ryan, to get some sleep; called my mom and told her the same thing.  I had a funny feeling we’d be taking a trip to the hospital early the next morning.  I tried to lay down and was increasingly uncomfortable.  The contractions started getting closer, and before 10:30 they were 1-2 minutes apart.  At this point, Ryan was awake again and insisted that we go to the hospital.  I got up and started calmly walking around the house, putting the last minute things into my bag, while Ryan frantically raced around.  He was looking at me like I was insane and couldn’t quite understand how I was staying so calm.  By about 11, we were in the car and making the 45 minute drive to the hospital…

The Gross Side of Being a Mother

So a few days ago, my husband came home from work and took control of our little one so I could run up to the store.  I dashed out of the house following a full day of baby loving, went to the store, and was back home just in time for Haddie’s bath.  As I sat there cooing at my precious girl in the tub, pondering how I could have been blessed with such a cutie, Ryan grabbed the side of my shirt and goes, “Um Kristen…what is this?”  Glancing down at the stain in question, I instantly realize that I’d been wandering around our local Publix with baby poop down the side of my shirt.  It’s official; I’ve been initiated into the mom club.

At a different time in my life, I probably would have been repulsed by this. There would have been a serious possibility of gagging and dry heaves, but with my brand new set of mom goggles, I simply threw my head back and laughed.  What’s even stranger than the lack of disgust for my fecal-stained shirt?  The fact that when I finished cracking up, I stared down at my child and decided I loved her even more.

You see, in that moment, I think I realized just how much my life has changed.  My sweet, little girl has become my entire life, and even though there are some rough, disgusting moments, there is nothing that can change the way I feel about her.  My disdain for bodily fluids is a thing of the past (where my child is concerned, at least), and my severely weak gag reflex has found its inner strength.

Still so happy, even when she's sick!
Still so happy, even when she’s sick!

This past week, our little one has been sick with her first cold (poor babe!) and this new found strength has certainly been put to the test.  There has been an abundance of snot and saliva, mostly found in my hair as of late, and yet somehow I still find myself loving her more and more.  You should see me busting out my NoseFrida to suck her little boogers out with a smile on my face each time.  I’m pretty sure I could give Super Woman a run for her money!

How about you guys, anybody have any gross mom stories they’d like to share?

The Beauty in Breastfeeding

Recently, one of my Facebook friends posted the most adorable photo of her newborn daughter breastfeeding. It was completely tasteful and displayed such a genuine love between a mother and her little girl.  There is nothing quite like those first few days after delivery when you and your new baby are trying to figure one another out and simply enjoying the little moments together.  Sadly, though, a few hours after that lovely picture was posted, it was abruptly taken down.

It would seem that some individual on this new mama’s friend list reported the image as “nudity” and Facebook saw fit to remove it.  I’m here to tell you, there was nothing inappropriate about this picture.  This makes me wonder though…why are people so ignorant?

As a breastfeeding mama, myself, I am so insulted by the constant negativity that is still hurled at us. As many years that women have been doing this, one would think that we would be more accustomed to the idea.  How is it possible that people are still so revolted by a mother wanting to do something that’s completely natural for her child?  Do they not understand the extensive number of benefits that come from breastfeeding?  Can they not comprehend what a sweet bond a mother can develop with her baby through such a simple action?

I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with formula feeding.  Most of the women in my family have formula fed their children, and we’ve all turned out just fine.  But if formula is so widely accepted, why does there have to be such a stigma to breastfeeding?

bf

I was on Facebook one day and noticed a post containing an article about the many reasons a breastfeeding mom should learn to just cover up.  The individual who posted the article was in complete agreement, and seemed appalled by the idea of a mother nursing their child without a cover.  Okay fine, have your opinion, but here’s the irony, my darling readers.  Over half of this individual’s Facebook photos consisted of them wearing low-cut tops that put her boobs on full display.  Riddle me this…what’s the difference?

How is it okay for a woman to walk around with her boobs hanging out for fun, but when a nursing mother accidentally flashes you, it becomes a scandalous affair?  Personally, I don’t feel comfortable nursing in public without a cover, but that’s simply because I’m a modest individual.  If you’re brave enough to do it, though, go for it, because let me tell you…covers are a bitch!  A wiggly baby does not quite understand that they have to eat with a giant piece of material over their face because you don’t want to risk seeing our boobs.

So can’t we just let it go?  Deciding to breastfeed is something to be proud of.  Despite what a lot of people may think, it’s not very easy.  It can be tiring, painful and a bit of a time suck; but I, personally, wouldn’t have it any other way.  Nursing my little girl, is one of the highlights of my day.  For a moment, even if only briefly, it gives me the chance to slow down and just focus on her sweet face.  The fact that I can provide such a beautiful thing for her makes me feel so strong and happy.

Every mother should do what they feel is best for their child, and our job as individuals is not to judge them, but to support them in their efforts.  Whether you’re a mother, a sister, a friend, or just a member of the general public, learn to raise one another up instead of knocking each other down.

Have a wonderful week, Everyone!

Can Chrissy Teigen Be My Spirit Animal?

Chrissy Teigen = Genius

I’m going to be completely honest…I don’t really know that much about Chrissy Teigen.  In fact, I can probably list on one hand the number of things that I know about her.  Let’s give it a shot.

  • She’s married to John Legend.
  • She’s gorgeous.
  • Her Instagram feed cracks me up on a regular basis.
  • I’m pretty sure she co-hosts a show about lip syncing.

There, four things, that’s about the extent of what I know about this woman.  As of this past Friday, however, I can add one more…apparently, she’s a genius.

A Facebook friend of mine posted an article last Friday that was called, “Chrissy Teigen Nails Why You Should Never Ask a Woman Why She Doesn’t Have Kids.” Intrigued, I opened it up and started reading.  It was discussing a recent interview in which she broached the topic of married (or unmarried) women constantly being questioned as to when, and if, they plan on having children.  In the article, Chrissy opened up about her own struggles with infertility.  Here’s a quote from the interview that really puts things into perspective:

“Anytime somebody asks me if I’m going to have kids, I’m like, ‘One day, you’re going to ask that to the wrong girl who’s really struggling, and it’s going to be really hurtful to them.”

Before I discuss this any further, let me say this.  I’m one hundred percent guilty of asking this question.  I don’t want to be a hypocrite and pretend that I don’t, or haven’t.  I feel as though the topic of children has just become a conversation piece in our society.  If someone gets married, people feel as though the next natural step is children, therefore, it often doesn’t feel like overstepping boundaries when we bring the subject up. Unfortunately, we act as though we all have license to this information, when in reality it is an extremely personal area that we all need to stay out of.

After my husband and I got married, the subject of children was brought up instantaneously.  And I mean that quite literally.  As we made our way around the reception room to greet the guests at our wedding, you wouldn’t believe how many times we were asked when we’d be having a baby.  Come on people!  Let the bride and groom at least have a piece of cake before you bring up their inevitable procreation!

As time went on, the questions came at a more rapid pace.  Each time I was asked, a little more salt was poured into the wound.  Do you want to know why it took my husband and I so long to have a baby?  Because we knew it wasn’t going to be easy.  From day one of our marriage, we pretty much knew that IVF was going to be our answer.  We weren’t stupid; the price of in vitro fertilization is astronomical.  We also knew that once we started the process, the process would pretty much own the majority of our time.  It was a huge commitment that we needed to be one hundred percent prepared for.  What I wouldn’t have given to have just gotten pregnant the old-fashioned way without a care in the world.

Please don’t think this is about bashing everyone out there who doesn’t have fertility struggles.  This is not a woe is me, pity party kind of thing.  It’s a respect thing.  Every person’s story is different, and we need to be kind and considerate of any, and all, situations.

So woman to woman (and men too, if you’re reading this), stop asking this unnecessary question!  It is none of our business when someone else is choosing, or not choosing, to have children.  We have no rights to the information, nor do we have the right to an opinion on the subject.  Nobody has any idea what is going on behind the scenes.  And you have no way of knowing how hurtful your myriad of questions can really be.  Whether it’s family, friends or some girl you went to high school with…just don’t ask.  When the women of the world are ready to discuss their reproductive capabilities and decisions, I’m sure they’ll let us know.

While I’m quite positive, Chrissy Teigen was not the first person to have this thought; it’s a breath of fresh air to have someone bringing it up.  Every now and then, we need to be confronted with our tendency to overstep boundaries and be put back in place.  So thank you Ms. Teigen.  Your beautiful honesty reigns supreme.

The Difference a Year Can Make

So this past Friday night, my whole family gathered together to help celebrate my Papa’s birthday.  As we sat around, chowing down on pizza and wings, I realized that it had been exactly a year since Ryan and I told my family we were expecting.  What an incredible moment that was!  I was very stealthy, you see.  I disguised the big news as a photo-op!  I told everyone that I wanted to take a family photo and announced that after the count of three they should all say, “Kristen’s pregnant!”  It took a moment for the words to register, but I’ll never forget the excitement I felt once they understood just what I was telling them!

Right when I made the announcement!
Right when I made the announcement!
When they realized what I'd said!
When they realized what I’d said!

This September didn’t just mark the 1-year anniversary of us announcing to my family, though.  We also decided to let Ryan’s family in on our little secret this time last year.  Color us shocked when we realized we were actually the ones in for a surprise!

Each September, the whole Bergeron clan gets together to celebrate all the different birthdays for that month (there’s a lot of them!)  One of the birthdays happens to be Ryan’s dad’s.  We went out and purchased a grandparent’s day card and told Ryan’s mom and dad that it was more of a gift for the two of them and that they should open it together.  When they opened that card and realized we were expecting, the whole family blew up with excitement.  There was so much screaming and laughter it was contagious, until I noticed Ryan’s sister and her husband whispering quietly off to the side.

“Oh no,” I remember thinking.  Were they disappointed?  I knew they’d been trying, and I was so afraid they were upset by our announcement.  I tried to brush my fears away but couldn’t help but feel nervous.

After the excitement calmed down a little, Renee said that they had a gift, too.  When I realized they were handing Ryan and I a bag, along with the other couples in the room, I became suspicious.  Why, you ask?  Because neither Ryan or I have September birthdays!  Before Ryan could even open the bag up, I remember saying, “Oh my gosh!”  I just knew that she was pregnant, too!  Sure enough, we pulled out the most adorable card that said “Our family is growing by two feet!”

At that moment, I’m pretty sure the Bergeron’s may have broken the sound barrier!  We were laughing, shouting and crying like crazy.  Everyone kept looking at Renee and I asking if we’d known…if we’d planned it that way!?! The correct answer is, NO!  We were completely shocked by it all!

cousins

I’ve got to admit…I was a little nervous when I first found out we’d be pregnant together.  Would everyone compare us and our choices?  Would we all compare the babies?  In the end, there was nothing to be scared of. I look back and realize that the timing of everything was the most extraordinary blessing.  It was so comforting to know that I was going through pregnancy with somebody else.  We could bounce ideas and questions back and forth, and were often able to comfort one another through the toughest moments (like when both babies decided to be super overdue…stubborn little things!) And now that the babies are finally here, we have the most amazing time watching them grow together.  These sweet little cousins make our lives so much richer and fun!  I’ll leave you with some shots of these besties looking all cute and stuff!

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Splish Splash!

Over Labor Day weekend, our little family of three took a short trip to Orlando.  We had nothing in particular planned, but wanted to spend some good quality time together without the worries of doing dishes or mowing the lawn.  The highlight of our trip…putting our sweet Haddie girl in the pool for the first time!  She absolutely loved it!  We weren’t to sure how she’d handle it, but were pleasantly surprised.  About a month ago, I tried to dip her feet into a different pool and she wasn’t too thrilled.  As soon as her cute, little toes hit the water she screamed out in disgust!  This time though, she started kicking like crazy as soon as we got her into her floaty!  She was looking around, completely mesmerized by this brand new experience.  In fact, I’m pretty sure she was a little disappointed when it was time to take her out!  No doubt about it, this girl is a true blue Florida water baby! Check out a few of the pics that I snapped!

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IVF (aka Our Year of Anxiety and Anticipation) – Part 3

After a couple of weeks on birth control to regulate my hormones, we were ready to start the shots (picture the word shots being said in a super scary, dramatic tone of voice and you’ll have a better understanding for how I felt about them!)  I shouldn’t be so melodramatic, though, they honestly weren’t that bad. Each evening, Ryan and I would sit down at our kitchen table with our vials of medicine, needles, and alcohol swabs.  I would then proceed to give myself three shots in the stomach.  It was like ripping off a band-aid; just do it quick and try not to think too hard.  These shots gave my ovaries the boost they needed to produce multiple follicles, which meant the potential for more eggs to work with.

Because of my PCOS, I was at risk for something called hyper stimulation.  To help prevent this from happening, Ryan and I made daily treks to our doctors office for about two weeks.  We’d wake up early, drive an hour for our 7am appointment, and they would test my blood and perform ultrasounds to make sure things were progressing on schedule and not too quickly, or over-abundantly.  Thankfully, I remained healthy the whole way through my stim cycle.  Healthy, but rather miserable. Continue reading “IVF (aka Our Year of Anxiety and Anticipation) – Part 3”

IVF (aka Our Year of Anxiety and Anticipation) – Part 2

Several months before Ryan and I began to seriously consider having a baby, my regular gynecologist sent me for an ultrasound to determine the cause of my long standing irregular periods.  A few days after the test, I received a phone call from a rather callous nurse.  She informed me that I had something called PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and that because of this, I stood very little chance of ever getting pregnant.  She proceeded to tell me that even if I did conceive, the likelihood of my being able to carry a baby to full term was, more or less, non-existent.

Continue reading “IVF (aka Our Year of Anxiety and Anticipation) – Part 2”

IVF (aka Our Year of Anxiety and Anticipation) – Part 1

So let me just say that I have no intention of partaking in a constant stream of sappy, emotional journaling via this blog.  That being said, however, I’m about to get a little sappy and emotional.

I met my husband back in 2006 when I was fresh out of high school.  A mutual friend was convinced that we were a match made in Heaven, but I wasn’t so sure.  At that point, I was getting ready to move away for school and was interested in living the single life for a while.  I repeatedly told this particular friend that I was more than willing to meet this supposed “Mr. Perfect,” but that she shouldn’t get her hopes up.  I had no intention of getting involved.  Color me surprised when I fell head over heels in love.

Ryan, the husband, is truly the ying to my yang.  I can undoubtedly say that he is my best friend and that I’m the best version of myself with him, and because of him.

In July of 2008, Ryan was over in Brazil performing in a professional water ski show.  One day, during a run in the show, several mishaps occurred which led to him being whipped into a sea wall.  This accident left him with a T-12 complete spinal cord injury, and he is paralyzed from the waist down. Continue reading “IVF (aka Our Year of Anxiety and Anticipation) – Part 1”

A Simple Salutation

Verve

[ Vurv]

Noun

  1. enthusiasm or vigor, as in literary or artistic work;spirit:
  2. vivaciousness; liveliness; animation:

When I made the decision to start this blog, I found myself wondering what it should be about. After all, I am, by no means, an expert on anything.  Well unless being obsessive is something that a person can be an expert in!

And that’s what I am…obsessive.  I have the capability to obsess over just about anything (“just about” being the pertinent phrase!)  Whether it’s my child, a great book, finding the perfect glass of wine – sometimes I feel like I could get excited about a million different things before noon!  Hence the name of this blog…”The Natural Verve.”  I have a pure, simplistic enthusiasm for so many elements in my life.

So I ask…why pick one?  Why not let you all in and share the whole lot of my many infatuations?  And that’s what I intend to do.  If you came to this blog looking for great recipes, I’m pretty sure you’ll find them in time.  Looking for a good book?  Something tells me you’ll eventually find a review or two (who am I kidding, probably a whole library’s worth!)  Or maybe you found this blog and thought: “Hey, maybe that writer has a super cute kid?”  The answer is yes, I most definitely do, and I will certainly be bragging about her adorable-ness!

At “The Natural Verve,” I won’t just offer you one choice from the color wheel.  I plan on giving you the whole damn rainbow!  So join me on this quest for variety.  Read along as I make my way through my a world of likes, dislikes and new experiences!  Welcome, and happy reading!