Emotional Fitness, Physical Fitness, Spiritual Fitness

Lessons From Yoga!


A few weeks ago, one of my long-distance buddies contacted me about a yoga program that she was interested in. After chatting about it for a bit, we decided to team up and complete the program together as virtual workout partners. Each day we completed the day’s workout and checked in with one another. The accountability was amazing and really helped me to stay on track, and it was a great way to get back in touch with someone that I’d not spoken to in a while.

I’ve been interested in yoga for a few years and have taken yoga classes before, but for some reason I never felt like I had a grasp on yoga. I always left classes feeling as though I didn’t really understand it or connect with it. This program, however, has completely changed my outlook on yoga.

The instructors were all so good at explaining each posture, not only how to replicate it, but what each posture meant and what it did for the body. Despite being a program that I completed in my living room, it felt like each instructor was right there with me. I definitely have a new appreciation for yoga.

Here are some of my top take-aways!

Breathing into the Space

Every single yoga instructor I’ve ever come across always talks about “breathing into the space,” of things. I hear it so much that honestly it just seems to be something trendy that yoga teachers say because it sounds cool and relaxing. But this phrase has both literal and metaphoric meaning. Yoga requires you to stretch into some postures that may be challenging, and you use your breath to gently go deeper into these challenging poses, awakening your body, and building strength, stamina, and flexibility. In the same way, life often has a way of putting us in challenging situations. If we learn to lean in and gently “breathe into” those challenging spaces in life – with kindness, love, and patience –  we will find ourselves building strength, stamina, and flexibility to our character.


Savasana (pronounced “shaVAsana”) is something of a corpse pose. You basically lay there and play dead. One of the instructors recalled learning about savasana for the first time and thinking it to be too morbid for her tastes. Then, she realized that this pose is about letting old things fall away and being re-awakened into the new. As a believer in Christ, I immediately connected this with the call for believers to die to ourselves. In the Bible, there is a verse that says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.” Whenever I went into the savasana pose, I asked God to continue to show me ways in which I could die to myself and become more like Christ.

It’s Not About How You Look

There was one class in which we did a downward dog split, a pose I’m not particularly good at. For this pose, you start in downward dog position, and then you bring up one of your legs into the air behind you. I can get my leg about three-fourths of the way up to where it is supposed to be. All the while, my plumber crack is showing and my t-shirt falls down over my head, and the extra flab from having been pregnant two years ago drops down and swings around. Its not sexy, and I don’t look anything like the instructor on my TV screen.

But it’s not about how you look, it’s about the subtle growth.

Although I have not yet reached the level of the instructors, I definitely felt strong during this program! There was a time that I would not have been able to do any of this. I’d been hospitalized, I was out of shape, I could barely walk without having trouble breathing – much less be working out every day. If we get caught up in our appearance (or the appearance of our situations) and allow what we see to discourage us – we will never win. We have to keep showing up, every day, and bring all of that un-sexy with us.

It’s in the mess that the transformation happens.

I used to do the side-eye when people took pictures of themselves doing yoga and would caption their picture with some life lesson or semi profound nugget of wisdom. But I am beginning to see how the physical lessons in yoga can transfer over into our every day lives.

If you’re into yoga, what are your biggest takeaways from your yoga practice?

If you need help getting started on a fitness journey, I would love to partner with you to make sure that you have the support you need to achieve your goals! You can contact me @wholeheartblog on Instagram or find me on Whole Heart Blog on Facebook!

It’s amazing what a little love and accountability can do!


Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual Fitness

Lent Is Here!


I grew up in a tradition that didn’t practice Lent, and to my recollection never even mentioned it. But I’ve always been an avid student of world religion, so I discovered Lent on my own and immediately fell in love with the practice. For a few years during my pre-teen and teen years, I was a practicing Muslim. I always loved the month of Ramadan, because it was such an amazing time of spiritual renewal both individually and for the community. The Muslim faith brought so much balance to my life, and at that time I (wrongly) resented the fact that the faith I was born into – Christianity – did not have any tangible spiritual practices like Salat and Ramadan. At the time that I discovered Lent, I was not a Christian, but my respect for the Christian faith grew upon learning that something like Ramadan existed in Christendom. When I eventually returned to faith in Christ, I knew Lent was going to be something that I would want to make part of my spiritual life.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a bit of a spiritual eclectic. Okay, I am a lot of a spiritual eclectic. Sometimes I half-jokingly refer to myself as “multi-faith.” I can’t deny the profound impact that other faith traditions have had on my spiritual growth. And I can’t deny the fact that I have heard and do hear God speak to me through the framework of other religions. Still, I want Jesus to be the head of my spiritual life. I want Him to come first.

One of the things that I am guilty of is getting carried away in spending time with other faith traditions and forget to put as much energy into spending time with Christ. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that religious literacy is essential, and since God cannot be placed in these boxes that we make for Him, I think we should be able to be open to hearing from Him in all sorts of places and situations, but I also think that if I want to keep Christ first – I have to keep Christ first.

I don’t push Jesus aside on purpose, but I think sometimes that since I connect with Him in a variety of ways, I don’t always make it a priority to read the Bible or spend direct, intentional time with Him.

I know that for Lent, the idea is to make a sacrifice by giving up something that is important to you and filling the void created with more spiritually beneficial activities. But I can’t think of anything that I am so attached to that it would be hard for me to give up – or would create a void in my life. So, instead of giving something up, I’m going to commit to doing a better job at spending more time with Christ. It’s been a very busy few years – moving from one state to another, and then moving 3 times within the new state, having a baby, being in the hospital with blood clot issues, trying to make new friends, being a working mom – and it’s been a while since I’ve had enough time to commit to any of the things (outside of my family) that are important to me.

Now that I’m going to be staying home, intentional time with God is one of the things that I hope to be able to reclaim. I guess, in a sense, it’s giving up the time I would be spending doing something else, and making sure I spend that time with God instead.

What are you giving up for Lent? If you’re unsure of what to give up for Lent this year, think about joining me in committing to doing something that you should be doing more of – but just aren’t. In any case, I hope you have an amazing Lenten season, if you’re into that sort of thing.



Happy Thanksgiving! 

When certain holidays come around, I struggle with teaching my students about them in a way that honors those who experienced great pain while not trashing those who were victorious in their efforts to conquer. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but I can’t help but think of all the people who’ve been pushed aside and displaced as a result of the appearance of colonists. 

In my classroom, I spent a lot of time this month teaching my kids about various Native American tribes. We looked at maps of tribal territories, read stories from the Lakota and Blackfoot tribes, talked about (and built) various types of tipis, played “memory,” with home made Native American symbol cards, talked about foods that Native Americans ate (and sorted them into food groups), and learned a few words from different tribes. I wanted to honor Native Americans for who they are as people, outside of and apart from their relations with colonists. I wanted my students to learn about Native American cultures without making the native Americans into some sort of cliche art project. 

My friend Shannon at The After Crafter enjoys crafting with her toddler, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving and honoring all things Native American, I asked if she could share her totem pole crafts here on Whole Heart. I really love that she researched both the meaning of totem poles and the symbolism of the various animals used in her totem pole as part of creating her project. Here is some of what she learned:

“I️ have always had a fascination with totem poles. They look so mystic, like they are patiently waiting to reveal a library of stories to anyone willing to listen. When my friend spoke to me about doing a craft commemorating Native Americans, I knew immediately this is what I would make. Here are some neat things I found out:

🍗Totem poles are sculptures carved into large trees by only SIX tribes of indigenous peoples of the Northwest coast of North America.

🍖The poles are carved and painted with figures or animals that represent families or clans, and are believed to have spiritual significance as a guardian or helper.

🥐 Every color used on the poles have meanings, as do the figures carved on the poles. The Symbols for every animal or spirit carved on the pole also have meaning and when combined on the pole, in sequence, constitute a story, legend or myth.

While planning my pole I decided to let my daughter choose the four animals we would make. Just for fun I looked up the meaning of each animal totem to see what our story would be.

🐇: Pour your energy into creative pursuits

Those with a rabbit totem are spontaneous and unpredictable. They have fast reflexes, and good coordination. They are gentle and nurturing yet also clever and quick witted.

🦉: Listen to your inner voice and watch for signs that will guide you forward. Use wisdom.

🐻: It’s only when you can say a clear no that you can say a clear yes. Both are just as important in defining what your boundaries are. Those with a bear totem have great confidence and are seen as an authority figure.

🐘: You already have all the tools you need to accomplish what you desire, just go for it. Elephant totems are highly intelligent. Family and loyalty are important.

Making our totem pole was really fun and a great learning experience. Make sure to comment below and tell us your totem experiences!”

Check her out! https://m.facebook.com/thehealthycrafter/

As a teacher, I love learning and teaching about various cultures and finding ways to honor them without voiding the authenticity and meaning behind the art form. I am grateful for the various Native cultures and I hope to continue learning about them, not just during the Thanksgiving season! 

Have a happy and safe holiday! 

Hobbies and goals

Publishing a Book!

In 2010, I took a class on curriculum development and instruction for the young child. As part of the course, I wrote a cute little rhyme to help teach children lunch time manners in a classroom setting. At the time, my professor suggested that I get the story published, but I sort of eye-rolled at the thought of ever doing anything with it.

I’ve always been a writer. Aside from blogging, I have journals full of stories, poems, con-languages, con-worlds, and random thoughts about life and spirituality. I’ve found that, when it comes to my writing, I’m often too much of a perfectionist to think about getting published. I once wrote a 27 chapter novel and deleted the entire thing simply because I didn’t like a few details (I regret that, by the way, and won’t ever do that again)! So, when my professor suggested I get something published, I pushed the idea out of my mind and barely gave it another thought.

Fast forward seven years, and “Lunchtime,” the story I wrote for class, is scheduled to be released on December 5th! I’ve been working with Mascot Books, and they have been really helpful in walking me through the publishing process.

Since I announced the publishing of this story, a lot of people have told me that they have always wanted to publish something. Often, what holds them back is finding the time to complete a manuscript. And then, I imagine, the cost of publishing might be a bit of an obstacle.

In regards to completing a manuscript, I know that can be difficult. There are so many things I want to write, but finding the time is incredibly hard. I am still learning to manage my time appropriately, because there are so many things that I want to do in life that I “don’t have time” for. The thing is, though, we all get the same 24 hours in a day. And any accomplishment you achieve in life will not come without sacrifice.

In regards to the costs of publishing, for our family it wasn’t cheap. My husband has been amazing in supporting me through this without complaining about the cost. One night, I apologized to him about what I was spending for this book, and he simply responded with – “But what will it cost us if you don’t publish?”

If you have something valuable to give to the world, what does it cost you to keep it to yourself? And, perhaps more importantly, what will it cost the world?

I love seeing people reach their goals, and it is exciting to be able to cross one of my goals off the list. I want to encourage you, whatever it is you’re wanting to achieve, to buckle down and follow through with it!

In the meantime, if you’re interested in a copy of “Lunchtime,” let me know via email at wholeheartblog@gmail.com or on Facebook at Whole Heart Blog. While you’re at it, let me know what your goals are, and how I can support and be praying for you!

Thanks for reading!

Diet and Nutrition, Physical Fitness

On Becoming a Vegetarian

My husband and I recently decided to become vegetarians. For years, I’d been considering this change, but felt gun-shy because I didn’t think it was a choice that I would be able to actually follow through with. It’s only been a month since we made this decision, and it hasn’t been without its challenges, but it’s been a lot easier to follow through with than I thought it’d be! I wanted to share the reasons I made this choice, some of the challenges it brings, and some of the things I am learning as a result of doing this.

I’ve always found it interesting that, at least according to the Biblical account of creation, God originally only gave humans and animals permission to eat things that grow out of the ground (Genesis 1:29-30). We weren’t permitted by God to consume animals until after the flood (perhaps all the vegetation had been drowned out?). The fact that, in God’s original design of the human body, we only needed fruit and vegetables for sustenance speaks volumes to me about why we are not currently thriving in terms of the state of our collective health. Disease is rampant, and yet often times preventable simply through diet. I know we can’t control most of the things that happen to us in life, but if I can do my best to take care of this body that God gave me, to be around longer and to be healthy enough to do whatever it is that God might have me to do, I’d like to get on board with that!

Another concept that I’ve felt personally convicted of over the years is the concept of Ahimsa – or non-injury – to all sentient beings. This concept is adhered to in the Jain, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions. The basic idea is that we (humans, animals, and insects/bugs) are all in this together. These traditions go beyond showing love to your fellow man, but also showing love and care to anything that lives. I love the compassion in that, and I think it echoes what God intended when he told us that we were to be stewards over the earth (Genesis 1:28). Full disclosure, I am still working on letting bugs live when I find them in my house or my classroom– but I’m getting there!

Finally, it just isn’t healthy to eat the meat that is mass produced here in the United States. Our animals aren’t raised humanely, are fed products that are inconsistent with what’s healthiest for them, and then killed in (often times) tortuous fashion, and brought right to our dinner tables. I often wonder what is happening to our bodies when we are eating sick, traumatized, and depressed animals?

The challenge for us, in being vegetarians, is that it can be hard to plan and execute good meals. I work full time, we are both involved in activities outside of work, and we have a lot of things currently happening in the life of our family. In the past, when we were too tired to cook or plan dinner – we’d just go out and grab something quick and easy. That’s a lot harder to do when you are a vegetarian! Though I haven’t craved meat, I do suspect that abstaining from seafood will be a bit of a challenge for me. I love my lobster and crab legs in the summer! But I’ll just take it one day at a time and cross that bridge when I get there.

One of the things I am learning is how to cook differently, making vegetables as the main portion of the meal as opposed to them being a side dish. I am also learning to detach from food. A friend of mine who went paleo mentioned that she was learning this, too. And I have a better understanding of what she meant now, than I did when she first said it. Not that it’s bad to enjoy the food we eat, but I am learning that food is primarily for sustenance. In the past, the enjoyment of food (for me) took precedence over whether or not a particular food item was beneficial for my body. This realization surprised me, because I am not a foodie by any strtch of the imagination! But, by refocusing my purpose for eating (sustenance and not enjoyment), I am finding that I am not as attached to food as I previously had been. Which, I think, is a good thing!

A final thing that I am learning has to do with the difference between saying, “I’m a vegetarian,” and actually eating a plant based diet. Just because a person is a vegetarian doesn’t mean they are eating healthily! There was one day where all I ate was cheese pizza, popcorn, fruit snacks, and a Dr. Pepper. Those things are all technically “vegetarian” in the sense that I didn’t have any meat – but none of it is plant based! (And, I felt horrible at the end of that day).

Ultimately, I think being a vegetarian is the healthiest dietary choice for my body, and I want to do whatever will allow me to experience my body to its fullest potential!

Have you ever significantly changed your diet? And if you’re a vegetarian, send me your recipes!

Thanks for reading!

Arts and Crafts/Creativity

Designing My Classroom Door

For a preschool teacher, I  consider myself to be pretty terrible at art. I tend to shy away from wanting to design doors and big wall spaces, because I just don’t feel that I have the gift of visual creativity. This past week, however, I spent some time designing our classroom door for the Winter season and I was pretty impressed with myself and wanted to share!
One of our parents is an elementary school teacher and always brings in leftover things from her classroom that she thinks we can use. I am so grateful that her son is in our class because she has brought in so many useful toys, books, and craft materials. A few weeks ago, she brought in some perfectly cut snowflakes and I knew when I saw them that I would want to use them on our classroom door – I just wasn’t quite sure what type of design I would want, or how I would go about creating it.

As I was browsing Pinterest, I saw a really cute classroom door featuring owls, snow, and the words “Whoo baby, it’s cold outside !” I knew this idea would be perfect for our class, because we are the Owls.

I went around my school, looking for enough brown paper (to make the tree branches), and black paper to make it look like night-time.

We didn’t have any black board paper so I used a soft lilac color instead. I lined the door with purple paper, crinkled up the brown paper to make the tree look more realistic, and scattered the snowflakes and cotton balls around the door. We have about a million owl cut outs in our room, so I chose three to place in the tree branches.

One of the differences between our door and the pinterest door is that our door window is a lot wider. Instead of using letter stencils to write “Whoo baby, it’s cold outside,” I simply wrote it on our door with a glass marker.

Many times people joke about how their version of a pinterest creation pales drastically in comparison to the original, but I am  happy to be able to say that our door is just as good as the original on which it was modeled!

Here is a picture of the original that I found on Pinterest:

I don’t brag often, but this artistically challenged preschool teacher feels pretty good about our classroom door and all the compliments it has gotten!

Education, Teacher Fitness

School Days!

A few months ago, I started working in a new school – about ten minutes away from where we live – teaching a new age group! It’s definitely been an adjustment on several levels, but I am enjoying my new job and having a lot of fun there.

First, I don’t think I can overstate how hard it is to be a working mom! Kudos to all of the single moms out there, because I don’t think I could run a household, take care of a baby, and work a full time job without a supportive partner. And, on top of the nonstop list of things to get done in both the home and professional arenas, there is quite a bit of sadness that surrounds dropping your child off to be with someone else all day, and there is a constant tinge of guilt for missing out on your child’s day to day development and interactions. I am so thankful that our son loves his teachers and his classmates – I definitely would not have been able to keep this job if I felt that my son was unhappy there – since he is there for eleven hours a day! I’m also grateful that I am able to take him to work with me every day. His class is in a different building, but I still get the chance to go and visit him, which is important. Finally, I’m grateful for the one day off that I have in the middle of the week. It’s been such a blessing to find a job that allows me to have schedule like this – it’s great to be a fake stay at home mom once a week!

Another huge adjustment that I am getting used to is the ratio of class sizes in my new state. In my old state, ratios for preschool children were much lower. The class sizes here are huge! Sometimes I feel that the ratios here have affected my teaching ability. With so many children running around, it is hard to get the one on one time with each of my students. I am often unsure of whether or not I am doing an effective job, because I don’t always get the chance to have quality time with each of them – though I try! One thing that has really helped with this is splitting our class into small groups for learning activities, which really gives me a better chance to focus on each individual child.

I wanted to share some of the activities we’ve been doing over the past month! My co-teacher and I switch off in terms of who is planning all of the lessons and activities. For two weeks, she will run the show by planning all of the lessons and preparing all of the materials, and I will support her by keeping the classroom clean and organized and keeping the kids busy when she is setting up activities. After her two weeks ends, it’s my turn to plan and execute all of the lessons for two weeks – and she helps me out by keeping up with all of the essential “background” tasks that help keep a classroom running. It’s a good system and I think it works really well for us.

I haven’t been there very long, but so far I have been in charge of the “Fall on the Farm” theme and the “Travel and Transportation” theme.

I painted a barn and tried to turn our dramatic play area into a farm. By the end of the two weeks, we’d filled it with crafts of corn, pumpkins, and various animals. We planted pinto beans in cotton balls and watched them sprout, we took our toy farm animals outside and traced their shadows, we painted and made prints with vegetables, weighed pumpkin seeds and corn kernels, and much more. It was fun to see the kids get excited about the fall season.



In the middle of all this, our school held its pumpkin patch event and the kids got to go out and pick pumpkins. We spent some time dissecting a pumpkin and learning more about what was inside of a pumpkin and what types of things could be done with pumpkin seeds.

For our Travel and Transportation week, I attempted to turn our dramatic play area into an airport. I didn’t do as great of a job with that as I had hoped to do, but the kids still loved it and played in it. I even got some compliments on my airplane (which, if you ask me, wasn’t all that great). We made paper airplanes and flew them around our school gym, we inspected globes, maps, license plates, and fighter pilot attire that one of our parents brought in, we talked about boats and predicted which items in our classroom would sink or float, and we enjoyed creating a school-bus from a huge box that all of the kids could get inside of and play in. I really believe in the power of learning through play and I hope that I’ve given my kids some fun and engaging activities to help enhance their abilities in each of the domains of early childhood development.

Family, Parenthood

Why We Bed-Share – And How to do it Safely


As an early childhood professional, I was always taught that the only correct way for an infant to sleep is on his or her back, and in his or her crib, with only a fitted sheet. If a blanket is used, it should be made of a light material, tucked in, and come up no father than the child’s chest/nipples. And certainly no toys, pillows, bumpers, or any other item that could potentially hinder an infant’s ability to breathe should be in the crib.

From a professional and/or liability standpoint, I stand by what I was taught. We were flooded with so many stories of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and of children who were suffocated to death because of improper sleeping conditions while with a caretaker. I cannot imagine ever doing anything – intentionally or unintentionally – to harm someone’s child. Not only would the legal ramifications be serious, but the pain, guilt, and sadness of knowing that a child I love and am trusted with was hurt because of my decision-making would be overwhelming.

In my new role as a mother, however, I have found (to my surprise!) that bed-sharing works for our family.

From the night he was born, our son refused to sleep in his bassinet. When the nurses brought him into my recovery room to sleep, they swaddled him and placed him in the bassinet next to us. He screamed. And screamed. And screamed. My husband and I tried everything to keep him happy in that little see-through box, but he wasn’t having it.

He was instantly comforted by being taken out and cuddled. So, for the remainder of our time in the hospital, I allowed him to sleep on my chest and I slept at a semi-upright angle in the hospital bed. This same pattern continued at home. Although we tried placing him in a much more comfortable bassinet that we had previously set up next to our bed, our baby would not sleep there.

It scared me to allow our baby to sleep in my bed. On top of the fear, I felt like a hypocrite, since I have always been an advocate of the “back to sleep” in a crib method. But when in his bassinet, our baby woke up crying every ten minutes. And not only were my husband and I not getting any sleep, but I had to keep getting up (aggravating my C-section incision) to comfort or feed our boy. When I ended up with a blood clot in my lung two weeks after our son’s birth, not only was it painful getting up at night because of my C-section, but now I also had chest pain to deal with. This was not working.

I began to clear a space in our (king-sized) bed for baby to sleep next to me. A bed-sharing advocate friend of mine reminded me that, for thousands of years of human history, mothers have shared sleeping spaces with their children. My mother reminded me that I slept in bed with her until I was 5!

At first baby slept on my chest, and as he got bigger he slept on the mattress next to me with my arm wrapped around him. Now, I barely wrap my arm around him anymore, but he stays close to me and his head is always turned toward me. We often sleep face to face, unless I am feeding him. No matter how deeply asleep I think I am, I always notice and wake up for any of my son’s overnight needs.

I later learned that the scent of my breast milk acts as a something of a “homing beacon” for baby. It keeps him close to me so that he will not toss, turn, or roll into pillows and blankets.

I also learned that baby’s breathing can be regulated by being so close to me, and that he can sync his breathing to mine, in a way.

I learned that there are social, emotional, and mental health benefits for babies who share sleeping spaces with their parents – both immediate and long term.

I learned that (although I am already a light sleeper), mothers who sleep with their babies naturally sleep lighter in order to pick up on any breathing changes, sounds, or movements that their babies might make.

Despite God’s way of designing mother-baby sleep to be such that mothers and babies are in tune with one another overnight, I have also taken extra precautions to make sure baby is safe in bed. These include:

-Never taking any medication that alters my natural sleeping patterns or makes me sleepy (for example, Nyquil or Benadryl).

-Not bringing my covers up past my hips.

-Baby sleeps on his back (or on his side, if he is eating) facing me, when on the mattress.

-Keeping his space clear of pillows and blankets.

-I try not to put baby between my husband and I. When he is between us, I make sure my husband knows it and I extend my arm and legs as a barrier. If hubby rolls over, he will roll onto me first.

-I wake up naturally at intervals to check on our son. I don’t do this on purpose, but it just happens. I open my eyes, check him, go back to sleep.

-We have a nightlight and we keep our blinds open so that the extra light allows us to see our son easily in the middle of the night.

Unless baby is particularly fussy, I get much better sleep each night and baby does too! He generally goes to bed between 830pm and 930pm and wakes up between 7 and 8 each morning. I have come to really enjoy our nights together, as my husband and I generally watch a movie or funny show in bed while baby goes to sleep.

I know he can’t sleep in our bed forever, but for now it’s really nice. Anyone else out there have any bedsharing experiences?

Family, Infertility, Pregnancy

Baby is Here!

November is normally a busy month for my husband and me, since we celebrate our anniversary and (for the past three years) host Thanksgiving at our place. The month is usually the start of a busy season in which we do the most traveling and the most celebrating – from our anniversary in mid-November all the way through to the New Year. This November, we added another special occasion to the list when our baby boy was born!

But, I’ll start with our anniversary.

I was at the end of 38 weeks pregnant during our anniversary this year, and although we couldn’t do a whole lot, we enjoyed our day together! My husband took off from work so that we could go to a church that we recently discovered around our way. After church, we went to Panera for a light lunch, and then it was off to the movies. My husband has always been a fan of the James Bond series, so we saw Spectre. I was pretty wiped out by the time the movie ended, and we spent the rest of the day at home relaxing and working on getting some last minute baby stuff together.

Two days later, I was at what would turn out to be my last pre-natal doctor appointment. At the appointment my doctor informed me that, because of our baby’s suspected large size, she did not want me to remain pregnant past forty weeks. She said that if I did not deliver the baby before my due date, she thought it best that I come into her office to be induced. She didn’t want baby to become too big for me to safely deliver vaginally. My husband and I ran errands the rest of the day and ended the night with a quick, impromptu date to Olive Garden. That would be our last date before the arrival of little Chocobo!

The following evening, I experienced a series of Braxton-Hicks contractions (which I had already been used to having) and one real contraction (which I had not had up until this point). It was around 6 in the evening and I wondered if I was beginning to go into labor. However, I didn’t have any other labor contractions afterward and felt a little disappointed by the anti-climactic nature of my one contraction.

Three hours later, I began experiencing more contractions. They were only slightly painful at first, but as the night went on the pain increased. I’d heard all these stories of women who’d thought they were in labor and rushed to the hospital, only to be sent home. I didn’t want to be one of those women, so I decided not to tell my husband about it right away. I didn’t sleep all night because of the pain, and at four in the morning I finally decided to call my doctor and ask for advice.

My doctor advised me to begin timing the contractions, and I downloaded an app on my phone that allowed me to time them. I eventually woke my husband up around seven in the morning, and by ten we were calling the doctor again – my contraction patterns were consistent with true labor and I was instructed to get to the hospital right away!

This sent us on a little bit of a rush to grab everything we would need for our hospital stay. We were quite certain that we wouldn’t be back home for a while and although I had packed a few items into our hospital bag – the bag was far from complete. We got to the hospital around eleven on Thursday morning and I spent the rest of the day in labor at the hospital.

By five in the afternoon, I had already been in labor for about 20 hours. Although I originally wanted to try and make it through childbirth without any medication, I gave in and requested an epidural. I had to wait for the anesthesiologist to arrive and I had about ten contractions as he was administering the epidural! This was difficult because I needed to be completely still in order for him to do his job – but I also needed to move around to try and alleviate the pain of the contractions. The nurse had to hold me down so that I would not jerk or twitch in response to my pain. Shortly after receiving the epidural, I fell asleep. When I woke up, there were a swarm of doctors and nurses in the delivery room with me – rushing around and talking amongst one another. I looked for my husband who was standing up and trying to listen in to what everyone was saying. My heart rate was dropping, as was Chocobo’s. Each time I had a contraction, Chocobo’s heart rate dropped to lower levels than was safe. In addition, he’d swallowed some meconium. At this point, I was only 7cm dilated and the doctors didn’t want to risk waiting until I was fully dilated to deliver.

They’d decided that I was going to need a C-section.


Although I was too drugged up to be nervous, the need for a C-section has probably been one of my biggest fears since childhood. I’ve mentioned before that when I was six or seven, I used to pray each night for a natural, vaginal delivery because I had witnessed my mother go through two C-sections and the recovery process did not look like fun. It looks like God’s answer to that prayer was “No!”

The doctors and nurses moved so quickly that I barely had time to process what was happening. I remember my husband grabbing my hand before they rolled me away from him, telling him that they would come back to get him. I remember the lights on the ceiling on the way to the operating room, and I remember feeling exceptionally drowsy and being unable to swallow.

I kept telling the doctors, “I don’t want to be asleep when he is born. Why do I feel so sleepy?” and “I can’t swallow. Why can’t I swallow?” I’m sure I sounded like a delusional crazy person but hey, I was drugged so I get a pass. The rest is sort of a blur as I struggled to fight sleep. It was all I could do to keep my eyes from closing. I can remember bits and pieces of things – such as someone saying “Your husband is here!” and the feeling of him grabbing my hand (although I couldn’t see him because my eyes were closed). I remember one of the nurses saying, “Okay – she doesn’t feel anything let’s get started!” I remember the bright lights of the operating room, obstructing my ability to see clearly each time I did manage to get my eyes open, and I remember someone saying “Your baby is here!” and the feeling of them placing him on my chest.

I couldn’t see or feel anything, but I remember asking if I could kiss my son and one of the doctors chuckled and said, “He’s your baby! Do whatever you want!” Someone put him close to me so that I could give him a kiss, I tried to open my eyes and I remember kissing him on the forehead. Before I knew it my eyes were shut again and I was throwing up!

After this, I probably fell asleep for quite a bit of time. Baby Chocobo was born at 7:53pm and I didn’t get to see him again until 9:20pm! I don’t remember anything that happened between the time he was born and the time that I was able to see him again.

My husband went with the doctors and nurses to wherever they took our baby and he was able to spend that first hour and a half bonding with our son until I was coherent enough to do the same.

We stayed in the hospital from Thursday until Sunday, where I received a lot of care and instruction on how to recover from a C-section. I don’t know what it’s like to recover from a vaginal birth, but recovery from a C-section is horrible! I am so grateful to have gone through this process in a hospital that really did a great job of taking care of me after our son’s birth.

My father came to stay with us once we were at home, and he helped out a lot by making food and running to the store for us each day. A few days later, my mother, my husband’s mother, and my two sisters came to be with us and we were all able to celebrate Thanksgiving together with little Chocobo!

My husband and I are so grateful for our little baby, for whom we have (not always so patiently) waited and prayed over the last five years. Our wish for parenthood has finally come true, and so far we are loving it!

Family, Pregnancy

The Third Trimester

*Trigger Warning* As titled, this is a post about the third trimester of my pregnancy. Please be kind to yourself if you are struggling with infertility and are not in a place to read this! Love and prayers always!

In the TTC (trying to conceive) and IF (infertility) communities, there is something called the TWW (Two Week Wait), in which a woman must wait the approximate two weeks between ovulation and her ability to test for pregnancy. It is a rather stressful time, in which every twitch and tingle is (over) analyzed and scrutinized in the hopes that her body will provide her with a sign that she is – finally – pregnant. In the TTC community, this time period (though stressful) can be rather exciting. Most women find that after a few months of TTC, a baby is indeed on the way. For the IF community, however, this is usually a time of anxiety, depression, fear, and hopelessness. Each month, for years on end, the TWW of an infertile ends in crushed hopes as her tests show up negative and her monthly cycle returns.

During my time as an infertile, I grew so tired of the TWW that I stopped testing. It was harder for me to see a negative pregnancy test than it was for me to see the return of “Aunt Flo” each month.

Now, as a pregnant woman, I am experiencing a different kind of TWW. This time, I am waiting through the approximate two weeks I have left before my due date (and if we want to be precise, I have exactly one week and four days left to go)! I thought now would be a great time to overview the third trimester and talk about some of the things I am doing to help me get through this new type of TWW!

Getting a Job

I was crazy enough to get a job at the start of the third trimester! I am a PreK teacher at heart (and probably always will be), so naturally I found a job in a pre-school teaching two year olds. There were some advantages and disadvantages to this decision. The advantages included having a little extra money to help with our finances, having something to do each day that helped pass the time and made me feel productive, meeting new people and making some new friends, and of course getting to wake up and do what I love (caring for and interacting with young children) each day was always a highlight! Two is an incredible age where anything can happen and no day is the same. Each day I had stories about something cute or funny that one of my kiddos had done. It was quite an enjoyable experience.

On the downside – I was so tired and in so much pain. The constant movement was too much for me and I got to a point at times where I could barely walk! Cleaning my classroom after nap time (picking up all those cots!) and at the end of the day (organizing toys, arranging furniture, vacuuming, taking out the trash) were the worst parts of each day. I got sick from kiddie germs after my first week at work and it was difficult to recover. It was also hard to get a bathroom break, and I was expending so much energy that I needed to eat almost constantly. Our weekly grocery bill went up by almost another $100 just trying to keep me fed while at work!

Still, I enjoyed having a job and I thought it was great how baby Chocobo responded with kicks and flips to the voices of other children playing, singing, and talking to me.

Childbirth Classes

We started taking childbirth classes at the hospital where I am set to deliver. It was a five week course in which we went once a week for two hours at a time. Our teacher was really sweet and the class was very informative. Despite having worked with children for most of my teen and adult life, I knew very little about childbirth – and even less about natural childbirth and non-medicinal pain management options. We saw some very graphic videos that gave us a bit of an idea of how much pain I am headed for! I also learned a lot about the recovery process that I feel will help to prepare me for what to expect post-partum.

3D Ultrasound

During my time as an infertile, one of the things that I always said I would do if I ever got pregnant was to have a 3D ultrasound. Although I have read a bit on the potential dangers of having too many ultrasounds, I decided in the end that this was something I really wanted and I waited until my 35th week to have one done! I was hesitant at first, but I am so happy that we went in and now have a clear picture of what our baby looks like – even before his big debut!

Baby Shower and Visiting Friends

The weekend after the 3D ultrasound, my husband and I went home for the baby shower! My mom and sisters organized it, and it was a lot of fun! There was good food, fun games, and lots of people that I hadn’t seen in a long time! It was great to catch up with everyone.

We also got a chance to make our yearly trip to visit our friends – who recently had their second baby. We always enjoy visiting them each year and didn’t want to miss out on our 2015 visit! My husband got a chance to practice feeding a baby on their infant and it was cute to watch. Hopefully, when we visit next year, Chocobo and their little boy will be able to interact with one another!

Cat Fleas and Last Minute Things

Unfortunately, my cat contracted fleas somehow, and man has that kept me busy around the house! I hate that he got fleas so close to my due date! In addition to trying to organize and get everything ready for baby’s arrival – I also had to deal with keeping the house disinfected and keeping my cat clean! I’m not sure whether or not his medicine made him sick or whether he ingested something from the fleas, but he’d been throwing up a lot and we were quite worried about his lethargic behavior! Thankfully, I think the problem is finally starting to clear up.

We also went on our hospital tour and let me just say – don’t wait until your 38th week of pregnancy to tour a hospital! All of the walking and standing was excruciating for me! The tour was great and the tour guide was very thorough and answered questions well, but it was hard for me to pay attention at times because I was hot, exhausted, and in pain.

My doctors told me that baby is approximately 8 pounds and 11 ounces right now, and that I could go into labor at any time! When she said that, it hit me that I really needed to have certain basics set up so that just in case I begin labor sooner than I think I will – we’ll be ready.

We are planning to have him sleep in our bedroom in a bassinet at first, so we set up his bassinet. The following day, we installed the car seat with the help of a fire and road safety technician, and now I am working on packing a hospital bag! Everyone says that I should be getting the “nesting” urge but honestly I feel just as tired lately (if not more tired) than I did in the first trimester! When it comes to all the cleaning and organizing I need to get done – “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!”

Final Thoughts

Toward the middle of my pregnancy, people began asking me “Has it hit you yet?” and “Does it feel real yet?” And while the aches, hunger, fatigue, insomnia, and Braxton-Hicks contractions definitely feel real – the fact that I will be bringing home my very own baby still doesn’t feel real to me! I don’t think it will hit me until they lay that baby on my chest and I get to see him face to face for the first time! This has been a completely surreal experience all the way through.

As I face this new type of TWW, I am trying to keep focused on things like my NanoWrimo project, getting the hospital bag packed and getting baby’s room organized, our upcoming 7thwedding anniversary(!!), and on enjoying what little sleep pregnancy insomnia hasn’t stolen from me!

God-willing, the next time I write about our son – it will be to announce that he has made it safely to the outside world!

Two weeks ago, at 36 weeks!
Two weeks ago, at 36 weeks!