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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Care Down There... (PBVS's)

I've realized I still have first pregnancy blogs to write and wanted to slap this one together before my son wakes up! Fingers crossed... I doubt it, I hear him stirring... One moment please... ;)

Anyway.

There are still some things I'd like to touch on for you beautiful future mommies!
This one may be TMI for some and others not to much.
Just depends on your personality I guess :)

I would like to touch on post baby care for down below...

Have you thought of this yet?

No?

Now's the time because if you're like me, you didn't think you'd end up having a C section.
Yup, you still need to give down there some TLC even after a c/s!

Here are my PBVS's:
(Post Baby Vaj Savers)



1. I would suggest investing in some large and VERY absorbent liners and/or using as many as the hospital gives you. Heck, ask for more to stalk up before you leave!
(You'll need it.)

2. Either make, buy/use witch hazel wipes. 
These will help you feel clean and help ease any inflammation.

3. Once you're past the super tender part and/or your bleeding has slowed you can use basic wipes for female care. (Again, make or buy.) These are a life saver for feeling clean and refreshed!

4. Shower or bathe in a tub when needed or desired. 
Baths with herbs and Epsom salts that are for post baby care esp!
(I had to wait 6 weeks till I could enjoy a bath after my c/s)

5. Some mommas have sworn by making witch hazel dampened liners and freezing them if you had a vaginal birth; I didn't but I've heard stories that made me file this away as another PBVS! 

** If you had a c/s you may want to get a shower bench to help out since standing is sometimes VERY painful! They're sold at any Wally Word, Walgreens, Target etc

Hope this offered some help :)

Shannon <3 




Sunday, June 16, 2013

Kylan's birth story

Where to start...

This is not the birth story I had intended on writing but it's the one I was given.

Many, if not all of you knew I was planning a home birth. However it's funny how God begins to prep your heart and you don't even know it's happening. The best thing we can do is sit back and let Him take the wheel...



I had pre labor contractions off and on from the end of Jan till Feb 13th which was my sister's graduation from TSPA. During her graduation I was excited for her but very antsy at the same time, I could feel things in my body shifting and changing, it was thrilling!

I woke up feeling funny the 15th and started cramping which didn't ease up so I knew labor was right around the corner. About dinner time I went to the bathroom and saw my first sign of "Bloody show" (Mucus plug fall out). I called Kyle (my husband) downstairs to show him and in doing so I watched him jump for joy around our room, "The baby's coming soon!!!" he rejoiced. The hug he gave me had me asking for air to breathe, he was beaming! We told my family and they joined in our celebration that new life was soon coming into this world. Not long after my cramps intensified, this was plenty confirmation labor was due any hour/day. My body kept me up off and on that night with random contractions, they varied in pain and length. I didn't care, I was excited! Kyle would check on me if I made any indicator a contraction was more than just a little blip. I maybe got 4 hours of sleep? (Kyle says I got less.) The next day I was uncomfortable as you can guess and just waited as my body prepped. I honestly don't remember that day other than waiting, waiting, waiting...



Saturday night came and I went from pre labor to labor!

At first I wasn't quite sure how to relax because I was met with SO many emotions and was eager to get the show on the road! I talked via txt with my best friend Diana
 while I labored so between her and my husband they helped keep me patient. I quickly shifted into active labor shortly after 2:30 a.m. I txt my midwife to update her as I had already let her know about the cramping etc. The contractions weren't close enough to fill the pool and get in but they were growing in frequency and intensity, we had Jessica (Our midwife) on standby.

There's something I never considered nor remembered about how my body deals with pain.

Esp new pain.

With my TBI my body will shut down after long drawn out times of pain and stop it by cutting off sensation. This is not good when it comes to a woman in labor! In fact it's very detrimental when you're contractions are roughly 1.5 min long and almost solidly 5 min apart. We were 30 min out from having our midwife come when the worst hit and my body very quickly shut down... I was on my yoga ball in the middle of a contraction with my upper body resting on the bed when I felt the wave hit me. 10 min came and went before the next contraction and that contraction lasted only seconds. 20 min came and went... Nothing. My midwife said to try and sleep some and to txt her when I woke up. I slept for maybe and 1.5 hours and was woken once again by intense contractions so Jessica stopped over to check on me and said I was 90% effaced and barely 1cm dilated. After all of that...

Labor continued Sunday and drifted into Sunday evening, I was weary as we pressed long into the night. Both of my parents came to our room helping take some weight off Kyle since he still hadn't slept a wink. We are ever grateful for their support, we couldn't have done it without them!! They took shifts as I found a focal point and relaxed with each contraction, had plenty of time to get it right by that point. ;)

Jessica came back to check me Monday morning and said there was no change and my heart broke. She said in her professional opinion I wouldn't be able to handle another night of zero sleep and hard labor so I needed to transfer to a hospital. She wanted me to be induced and to have an epidural to help my body along. For her to say this meant she saw a real need for such interventions, I trust her 100%. She copied all my records and gave me the name of a doctor to try. We made contact and were told to go to the hospital right away vs coming to the office. I packed a bag for myself and our baby boy. My world was spinning in circles as I felt contractions coming and going and I was faced with my greatest fear, going to the hospital. The only joy I found was in the fact God was in control and my baby was still on his way. The baby's heartbeat was still good each time our midwife checked, this too helped ease us into the transition of needing to change our plans so drastically. I can remember crying as we prepped to go, I wanted my baby born at home!

We got to the hospital, they took me back to a small room and I was sickened by what little they did to check both me and the baby. They pulled the medical card of "knowing better" and didn't want to hear how the head injury affected me with all of this. From there it turned into an even bigger nightmare....
The doctor we planned to see decided my case didn't sound very serious after all and so she wanted me to see the on call doc. The doctor on call said I wasn't worth coming into work 30 min early for and to send me home with sleeping pills that I simply needed sleep and wasn't/hadn't been in labor. (If the medical community was looking for ways to boost my confidence in them they were doing a bang up job at this point.) This was said without checking the baby via ultrasound or anything, I was hooked up for some minor monitoring and that's it. My contractions had lessoned due to my hospital anxiety I developed post head injury and that gave them even more reason to send me home. Nobody would listen. (I wonder if Mary and Joseph felt like this when looking for a safe place to have Jesus... Gave me a little more perspective that's for sure.) I told them no thank you to the sleeping pill because it wasn't safe to ingest still being pregnant, I had done my research and knew what the side effects looked like. They tried to convince me otherwise but I assured them I had gone into this pregnancy well educated.
Something was very wrong, little did we know just how wrong the situation really was. The nurse gave me a long list of reasons to return and had me sign a paper discharging me. I didn't feel like arguing, even if some of things on that list were already taking place. They didn't believe me and that was that. Jessica told me to go home, collect myself, to eat something and maybe take a nap before heading to the next hospital. There had to be some phone calls made to see if they'd first take me so we headed home. I tried not to feel depressed over this matter in fact I felt more shock than anything.

 As soon as we got out the door my contractions kicked back up again, it's like my body was relieved to be out of that hostile environment and relaxed enough to let me proceed. We got home and they came 5 min apart almost 2 min long, I wanted to eat and I wanted sleep but my body wouldn't let me get more than some wonton soup and a spring role in me. (Whoever said you're not hungry when in labor... They lied... I was eating the entire time it made me so hungry!) Mom called the next hospital in tears begging for somebody to take her daughter. God placed a kind ear on the line and spoke tenderness into their hearts, they agreed to see me. I could feel my body growing weaker with each passing hour so I prayed they'd find reason to keep me; the baby began to move less and that started to worry me. I wasn't able to stay too hydrated either as I oddly needed the bathroom more than usual. Kyle had a hunch to weigh me seeing as my feet looked far from swollen, this wasn't the norm for me at this point of my pregnancy. It turns out I had dropped 10 lbs, what on earth was going on?? Water weight or no water weight, something was very, very wrong...

Getting checked in, changed and hooked up to the machines I was already shown more tender care inside of 20 min at this new location than I had the entire time at the other. The care God showered me with in the nurse that was taking care of me was so incredible! They hooked me up to a machine that showed my contractions, the baby's movements and heartbeat. Right off the bat they noticed the baby's movements weren't what they should be. Giving me cranberry juice and ice water they wanted to see what rehydrating me would do and it proved to do very little for our little man. They ordered an ultrasound as the deciding factor if they'd keep me or not, this nurse wouldn't tell me how worried she truly was and did a good job hiding it from me. The ultrasound showed the amniotic fluid was dangerously low. That right there was more than enough for them to take what my midwife suggested and put it into action.

I was now in the process of being admitted...


The plan was to have me moved to labor and delivery, hook me up to an iv with fluids, start the induction with pitocin, get the epidural and hopefully let my body relax enough so I could dilate and hopefully deliver him in several hours time. (No, I wasn't thrilled either but these interventions were designed for such times.) Getting the epidural wasn't the horror I thought it would be, in fact, they did it so quickly I felt very little pain, I was thrilled! (The iv hurt worse as my sister had warned.)



I think I threw up due to those meds over 5 times! I was told to sleep if I could and I inwardly laughed, me being to intensely watched and them shifting me from side to side every hour, checking my progress occasionally... Yeah right! All in all I did my best to chill. I tried to pray but my heart hurt too much for actual words.


Jessica looked pensive as she checked me and watched the screen. The doctors decided they needed to insert and internal unit to watch the baby's heartbeat and In order to do that they had to break my water. I really am grateful for their trying to work with me on wanting a vaginal birth but it didn't change the heavy feeling of concern in the room as we learned baby boy did worse if I laid on my R side. I was kept on my L for the remainder of my time, this was nice since I could actually see everybody who was with me then. Our midwife announced several hours later she would go home to get some sleep and be back in a flash if things progressed or got worse. We thanked her profusely for sitting with us and explaining things in better detail once the staff would leave the room. Major ease on the nerves, you have no idea. We wished her well and prepped for a long uncomfortable night of very little sleep. My sister and husband "slept" off and on by my my bed with their feet up near mine as mom and dad took the pull out couch.





Kyle and I later kicked the family out to go home and get some better sleep and for them to return in the morning. Kyle took the pull out after that and tried his best to sleep but it's difficult with medical staff that kept coming in to do their thing. The staff was exceptional and kept me at ease save for one nurse who went to adjust my catheter after the doctor checked me and cut me from the inside causing a slow bleed to start that I was never told about till I heard somebody mention I had blood in my urine. Yay for me!

Night dwindled into day and I was introduced to new staff and informed I was going to be passed onto my next doctor. This had me on edge as I was going from a female to a male. However, when I met him I realized I was in safe hands, he had a remarkable bedside manor! He kept a very close eye on the baby's heart rate as it began to dip lower and lower with each contraction, he started to react badly to the induction. Watching your baby's heart dip and watching how he all but stopped moving minus a few times per hour is a very difficult thing...



My family returned in the morning and got the update that things weren't looking good and option "B" was being pulled out of the drawer for possible consideration. They decided to insert a different type of catheter near the baby to start pumping fluid back in to make him "float" as we got word his cord was wrapped around him like a sash and each contraction compressed it. My husband and I had a moment alone and I started to cry as I realized how weak I was and that if it came time for me to push I may not be able to. I stayed 3 cm all night and by now as inching my way to 5cm with growing pressure down below that frightened me, my body was trying to push! I had to force myself to not give in even though it felt incredible to have that feeling I had craved so long for. The level of danger this presented was something far more than I could currently comprehend. As for the tears that met my eyes I told my husband I was pretty sure I didn't have the strength to have this baby vaginally. Kyle remained strong and told me all would turn out just as God had planned and wasn't that always the better option anyway? Yes. The Dr came in and he looked pale saying we didn't have a choice, option "B" was fully on the table. The doctor said this little one was giving him heartburn and he wanted to start prepping me right away. I requested to have a moment alone with my mother as she had gone through 2 C-sections already and I needed my mother with me for a few to help me clear my foggy head. We talked and cried as we knew a dream was being shattered and a mother's worst nightmare for her daughter was coming true. I told her how scared I was but how I just wanted the baby to be safe and I knew something was up that I wasn't being told. I txt Jessica and she told me she'd be there in 20, Praise God for that!

The team came in and very quickly rushed me out the door, I touched the hands of my family and told them I loved them and that I'd see them soon. The ride down to the operating room was a massive blur...
My husband was getting his O.R. duds and a crash course in what was about to go down. I kept asking where he was, I couldn't see him and that worried me because their hurried nature had me on edge. There wasn't a utterance of prayer that came to me as I felt fear taking over once I reach the room and saw all the lights and equipment. My heart danced for joy when I saw my husband's handsome face looking down at me and smile. My Dr and the anesthesiologist also helped as their tender personalities kept me on level ground and calmed some of my nerves. My husband kept telling me the baby was coming and to focus on that. I was ready, very ready to have this done and to have my baby safely out! They numbed me with a saddle block and was told I would feel A LOT of tugging and pressure during this procedure. They didn't lie about any of it, my head automatically went to the end of Braveheart. Enough said.



I'm sure not every C-section is that intense and I was assured mine was a special case because the baby needed out yesterday. I was feeling pain during the operation and realized that dumb catheter the nurse "fixed" was digging into my side causing excruciating pain. Pain that was far worse than any contraction I'd had at home. I kept telling them what I was feeling and they were shocked I felt that with how drugged I was. They kept intensifying my meds to numb me but nothing helped. The doctor said if I could hold out for a few more I'd see my baby and then they'd knock me out.



The doctor announced moments later the baby was out and he was indeed the little boy we had seen on the sonogram! I heard the doctor's concern rise right after and didn't know why till I learned the baby had a bowel movement and swallowed some then passed another as they pulled him out. Meconium went back into my body giving them ample reason to worry as their work just doubled.





I cried for joy, I couldn't believe there was a baby being shown to me then very quickly rushed over to his own little table so the pediatric staff could tend to him and start clearing his lungs. He wasn't crying very much and what he was doing he was doing very softly. Kyle cut the cord and beamed coming back to my side telling me how beautiful our son was, he bent down and gave me a kiss. I was informed it was time to knock me out so I told my husband I loved him and was gone.

My husband and family almost lost both me and the baby twice that day I learned.




Waking up was difficult.


I remember begging to see my mother and I remember being given meds in my iv that really hurt.
I was finally allowed to leave the recovery unit and getting wheeled past my family and Jessica while Kyle went to go be with our new son. I also remember getting back to the room and them telling me roll if I could to have me help them as they moved me to the bed in my new room. HA! Yeah right, I couldn't move my body from the chest down almost. The move was painful non-the-less! Morphine was injected into my iv on top of the other pain med I was given and I was left in a VERY loopy state. (I've been told I sounded drunk.) My mommy never left my side and that was a true comfort since I was in such a useless state and had no clue what was going on half the time. Both she and Jessica made sure I was okay and then Jessica stepped out to go see the baby before she took off for home. A nurse soon came in and wanted to hold this in depth conversation on lactation and breast feeding, talk about my "welcome folder" etc... I was quite shocked because I must've looked more coherent than I felt. Goofy medical staff, always wanting to talk when you simply can't. No wonder people are in hospitals so long, you NEVER rest! (People aren't joking when they say such things.)








The moment finally came where they decided I was awake enough to go see our son.
I was wheeled down in the bed to the NICU and will never forget hold my little bundle I had carried for 41 weeks! The pregnancy wasn't an easy one but I did enjoy the feeling of him move and watching my belly grow with each passing week. Part of me misses being pregnant very badly actually (I'll explain in a later post)... Seeing that sweet face for the first time and holding that small body in my arms didn't set in till much later. How I wish there was more privacy in those moments and how I wish he would've let me nurse him but he wouldn't latch due to the drugs messing with my system and them telling me I wasn't developed enough for him to nurse. They told me he needed fed and his best option to start gaining strength was for them to feed him formula... Inwardly I broke apart as I knew I wasn't gong to be the first to feed my child and his first meal wasn't going to be us bonding as he fed from my breast.

After that my time was spent going back and forth from the NICU for a week.

But I say this...

My heart is singing a song of praise that my little one's life was spared,
That my God let me live to watch him grow and to live with the man I call husband,
To see my family and to cherish this new adventure!

I am no longer just a daughter, sister, wife and best friend... I am a Mommy!!!

May I introduce the newest little love in my life...

Kylan Joshua!!
6lbs 15oz
21 inches
Born into this world via emergency C-section on February 20th, 2013 at 2:43 p.m.



Our pride and joy is showing us new ways of leaning on God and His strength but we wouldn't trade him for the world! I don't know how to love him sometimes because I feel SO much in my heart! 
My God is good and we have chosen to give our little one back to his Heavenly Father since He blessed us with what we prayed so long for. Both of us dreamed of him since we were little and to now have him here is nothing short of miraculous. 



Thank you for taking the time to follow me along this journey, 
And thank you for reading the birth of my amazing little boy!! 

Shannon <3

P.S.

Mothers Day 2013


Almost 4mos later and he's my little chub! 
June 2013


Now to start a new blog....




Saturday, March 9, 2013

Finding diamonds in the ashes...


"...Miles and miles in my bare feet I am reminded there are footprints next to mine and sometimes those footprints are a single set. I look back right now and see there's a single set as I am being carried and will never been left to walk this road alone as I heal..." S <3



God breaks our hearts to bring us closer to Him and the blessings that unfold are far better than any shattered dream out there!

I'd lie if I said this time since the baby's been here has been easy... I've never been met with such heartwrenching emotions before and such feelings of being robbed of so many things one after the other... My aches and pains have been too deep for clairty at times... My prayers have been cries of a mother's heart that doesn't know what to fully feel.

But feel I shall.

I am starting to feel less numb for in that numbness I have found a dark valley in this time of joy and peace. A dark valley of shattered hopes and dreams that I wanted so very badly. I ached to feel certain things and to experience the birth of my son where he was laid on my chest as we had those first few moments to bond and get introduced as mother and son. Not cut from my body in such a fashion our very lives depended on it. I never got to touch him or hold him when they took him from me... In fact I only saw a glimpse of my precious boy before they rushed him away. My heart went out the doors with him and I saw him several hours later in such a state of being drugged I have that memory as a fog but I know I held my baby for the first time then and tried to wash him over in the best love I had to offer. 

I don't believe I've asked for much in this life but when those things get swept away from your reach and you watch them wash away like words in the sand it hurts very deeply... I have faced death a few times in my short life and to now sit here and see how God must have such plans for my life that He continues to bring me closer to Him in such drastic ways must mean something huge.

I look over at my beautiful baby boy and see a blessing beyond any other and for such a diamond to be given to me out of such a difficult and scary situation is something I won't take lightly! I wipe these ashes from my eyes and continue onward and upward, my God has us for I am forever and always a child of the Most High and a very blessed one at that.

My birthing dreams may have been shattered but my new dream lays in my arms and I call him son...

Kylan Joshua 2/20/13 @ 2:43 p.m. via emergency C-section
6lbs 15oz 
21 inches long
Baby boy spent the first week of his life in the NICU and is now home on oxygen. 
We love our little fighter and feel so incredibly lucky to have been given this precious gift!
He is the incarnation of mine and my husband's love and we can't wait to watch him grow...


I love you baby boy, you make your Momma so very happy! My heart has a new song to sing in caring for you. You have also shown me a love for your Daddy I didn't even knew was in there... Thank you for teaching me more on God's love and purpose for marriage. You are a warrior and we give you back to your Father above. 

Amen.

Love Always,
Mommy <3 

(Full story to follow when I have time to fine tune it and sort the pictures taken for me...)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Nursing Bras (from Motherhood Maternity)

I've officially decided nursing bras are nothing like regular ones when it comes to comfort.
It's the more sporty look that tends to not only fit better but it has more comfort in the long run.
Very few that look like a normal bra are actually worth wearing or can be worn for long periods of time. Now this is my opinion, some of these may actually work for you! You lucky woman :)

Here are the bras I bought from Motherhood:











(One in black, the other nude)


The rules are very simple and quite easy to follow thus I didn't see any issue in buying them when I did. Spent more than I wanted but hey, I thought it would work. Wrong. Very wrong.

The rules are as follows:

1. Make sure the band around and clip are comfortable enough that you can be clipped on the tightest hook. This allows for ribcage expansion as it's bound to happen as baby grows.

2. Your cup size will double in most cases, some more (Me for instance). Make sure when being fitted you can fit 3 fingers inside the cup to allow room for the milk once it comes in. 

**The first on our list looks sexy on and is great minus the awful stays in the sides! Those caused major bruising after one day and so I took them out and it fit better but the cup size is now way too small and the band is also to small. In fact I had to buy expanders right off the bat because cup size and band size juts couldn't be matched to fit my body. What do you do with a small girl who has fast growing boobs?

**The 2nd I only used once as the cup size fit well at the time and I adjusted the band with the expander but the underwire also gave way for nasty bruising right on top of my stomach. I decided I'd wait to wear it once the baby had dropped and he was on his way out. I was even going to cut out the underwire because this is yet another sexy looking nursing bra! To my dismay I couldn't even dream of fitting the girls in this puppy... Not. Even. Close. 

**The 3rd option was by far the most annoying out of my purchase! This bra only fit for a short amount of time and then the straps started to fall off my shoulders, the band size fit fine with the expander but it lacked fitting in the straps and I had them as tight as they'd go. The cup size in the last month has been getting smaller and smaller thus causing more issues with the straps. It also gives way for the underside to start cutting into me after a day of use. Making an already tender situation a little more irritated.

The bras that I actually fit in are 2 I bought at Target and they aren't even for nursing. I just wanted something cheap and comfy. But now with the baby due any day I'm seeing a need to go and invest in some more bras... Yay! Did I mention the ones I picked up from Target are an XL?



I'm all about the deal I can score and with nursing not being a lifetime commitment I don't see why I should pay above a certain amount, call me crazy. Target, Motherhood and other stores all cost about the same or more. I don't mind a certain price outside of nursing bras but I know I'll have that bra for awhile and it's more of a commitment. I don't plan on being a mom who nurses past the age of 1, if I'm still nursing near his first birthday that is. I'm thinking more along the lines of 9 months then weening.

I'm envious of you ladies who fit in these designs I'm talking about! 
So my plan of action is to probably go with the more sporty rout and possibly try another of that grey laced one and take the stays out once again to prevent bruising. Who knows but at least I have an idea and I'm not feeling so lost like I was a few hours ago. 


Hopefully this was found to be a somewhat helpful for somebody I just felt like I needed to do some processing... Thanks for listening :) 

Shannon <3 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A budget for your pregnancy Pt 2: Beauty!

As your body grows and starts to change you still want to feel good about yourself don't you?

Of course!!

Your beauty routine for day in and day out may change as your hormones will most likely be changing your skin, hair, nails and physical appearance. Something that's not always easy for us ladies.
Well, is it ever when those changes are really drastic?
Not usually.

Being an Aesthetician I found myself researching and analyzing each change seeing as pregnancy books aren't too detailed and some don't offer the best advice when it comes to our skin and it's sometimes vast changes... One said to avoid scrubs and masks to lessen irritation. Well, if you use the wrong types you will cause some angry skin issues for sure! However, with the correct type it'll be quite the opposite and you'll have happy results vs unpleasant.

Let's dig in shall we?



Pregnancy beauty budget 101:

** Is your current skin care routine working? 

Yes?
Wonderful!

No?
Not unusual at all :)

If you're breaking out, it may be time to invest in some acne safe products to help balance out your skin topically. Many acne products use ingredients such as Salicylic Acid (BHA Beta Hydroxy Acid) or Retinol A commonly used for treating various types of acne and these should be avoided!
A couple other commonly used and that should be avoided are,
Benzoyl Peroxide, Accutane, and Hydrocortisone.

Search out as natural and as organic as possible!

**But be warned, not all natural and organic can be used...
Some essential oils used to treat acne aren't safe for pregnancy.
http://www.essentialoils.co.za/pregnancy.htm


The one company I like to use Juice Beauty has a pregnancy safe kit you can buy that's about $216.
Which is awesome but kinda expensive if you're trying to stay low key for other items needed. 
Either way you're probably looking at something around $100 or above if you're really wanting to care for your changing skin.

I had to devise a totally new way to take off my makeup at night and revamp some of my products.
http://shannonaestydiygoodies.blogspot.com/2012/09/deeper-nightly-diy-facial-cleanse.html
(My new pre cleanse routine for removing my makeup! It's been a true skin saver this pregnancy!)

I went to websites like vitacost.com and found great ways to save money on my skin care as well! That's what I use for nearly every product I have right now other than a few things that turned out cheaper at Target or that the website didn't have that Target did. (I'm trying to avoid Wally World when I can help it!)

And the same goes with if you're skin is feeling dehydrated vs hydrated now. There are things you may need to look into...You might need to not only amp up the water (Which is a HUGE thing we know during pregnancy) but you may need some serums and moisturizers to help feed your skin doubly during this hormonal time. Again, I find that either Juice Beauty or Vitacost.com has some of the best options/deals!

http://www.juicebeauty.com/

http://www.vitacost.com/

I can't put a price tag on what I've spent because I've probably spent a little more than planned only because I was really into researching and set on finding something that would help! I'm pleased to say I did and have a renewed confidence in how my skin's looking these days vs when I first started out.

The highest I paid for an item?
I can tell you that!
Nothing over $40 was my rule.
And when you know how to research or who to talk to for all the deals/savings can get even better!



** But my body needs some TLC too!

SO true and here are just a couple things you can do to help...

Any lotion containing the following ingredients are awesome for a pregnant woman's body! And what you want are both lotions and oils right now. Esp since your skin is about to do a lot of stretching and it's not always in your belly... Weight gain and water retention can contribute to those little things we call stretch marks. (Not to mention genetics don't always help) They can appear on your upper arms, belly, bottom, breasts and legs. But there are ways to either avoid or lessen them, even help heal your skin to it's best possible condition afterwards by using these following ingredient infused lotions and/or oils. Vitamin E, Coconut Oil, CoCo Butter, Shea Butter, Olive Oil are wonderful for you! I picked two just to keep things really simple, I went with the vitamin e and coconut oil. Both provide me intense hydration and they don't break the bank!
I pay under $20 for both.

Ingredients to avoid are sometimes hard on a tight budget because you really don't want to spent double digits on an 8 oz bottle of lotion do you? But there are ways to stay healthy non-the-less! Try to avoid anything with Parabens, Phthalates, Mineral Oil, 1 4 Dioxane, Bleach, Synthetic fragrances etc.

** You mentioned makeup removal but failed to mention makeup!

My rules are simple.

Keep it under $15 for your foundation and don't let your routine become anymore detailed than what you truly want it to be! I have become so lazy I just don't feel like doing much right now so all I use is a tinted moisturizer (when I'm needing to go somewhere and I want more coverage), powdered spf 30, concealer, blush and mascara. Simple and satisfying!

I avoid the following ingredients... Talc, Bismuth Oxychloride as my 2 biggest!
But there's more to keep away from http://www.organicmakeup.ca/ca/cosmeticsAvoid.asp

If I'm feeling sassy and in need of something extra I have fallen in love with those black marker-like eye liners for doing my pinup or even just a real simple lash enhancement line across my lid. They save me time, mess and they wash off MUCH faster than any gel liner I've ever used!

That's my little extra fun thing I will never live w/out again :)
That and a nude-ish pink lip liner to help polish off my sometimes very tired self!

** Hair care!

This has been my lax side of things... I really wish I could tell you I'm not using something with sulfates or a synthetic fragrance in it but, ugh, not so... I have gone the super cheap route as I just couldn't get myself to spend more than $3 a bottle haha I just make sure I don't wash my hair every day if I can help it, I don't get it in my eyes and I try to wash and rinse as fast as possible! But if you do want to avoid a key thing or two try to avoid any sulfates, synthetic fragrances, dyes etc...

I've only had my hair colored twice and the first round I waited till my 2nd trimester for pictures and the second I had done so my hair looks refreshed for baby when he comes! In general, I'd say not to dye or to make it as far between apts as possible and never do it in the 1st trimester. Make sure the area has good air flow too so you can avoid those fumes as much as possible.

** Nails!

Avoid anything with strong fumes for the 1st trimester if you can and make sure if you decide to have them done that there's air flow for that as well! But do treat yourself to mani's and pedi's as they will do more for you than you ever thought possible. :) I've been a pedi girl this pregnancy!

And just remember cuticle oil and hand lotion! 
My hands have been SO dry this pregnancy and those are 2 thing I always have in my purse.

Well, that's my breakdown for what I think or feel is valuable to a woman when she's pregnant and needing some beauty updates or changes. Hope that helped and I didn't confuse you too much ;) My train of thought seems to become more and more fuzzy as I get closer to my due date. So close now!!!

Have a wonderful evening,
Shannon <3 





Thursday, January 17, 2013

When a family member dies...

Today marks a very key moment in the history of my pregnancy...



My Gram passed away at 11:54 a.m. peacefully with us beside her assuring her of our love and how it was okay to let go. That it was okay to go home to Jesus and go be with my Grandfather, he was waiting for her and couldn't wait to take her dancing again! She loved to Jitterbug :) 

I have been bedside with many people but had never been there when they passed, this was a first. I am so blessed to have watched God's hand come down and take her so quietly. That was our prayer, to go in peace. You don't always get that when their lungs begin to fill with fluid.
We count ourselves truly blessed. 

The nurses found her early this morning with a fever of 104 and the realization she had developed more than just a chest cold and a UTI. She couldn't express the discomfort she was in as she had advanced dementia and it had rendered her without words, the desire to eat was gone and she no longer knew who anybody was. However, she did always have a tender smile when I told her about the baby... She rubbed my tummy the last time I saw her and smiled. The only smile we could get out of her came from the idea of this precious unborn baby. If that isn't God's grace I don't know what is!

My Gram was baby crazy!
She would always, ALWAYS be asking my husband and myself when we planned on having a baby and we always would say later, not yet. Little did when know it was right around the bend! When she learned she was going to be a Great-Grandmother (Again, I believe there are 3 before our little guy) it instantly brightened her day and gave her something to look forward to when I would go see her. I'll never forget when she told me she thought I gained too much weight! I guess you put a belly on a small frame and it looks massive to some. That moment has always made me smile. 

Something inside always told me she'd go before the baby and I knew it meant I wouldn't be able to fly back for the funeral. God gave me the gift of being with her as she passed so I was able to have closure. My parents will be flying back to attend and help with the funeral and my sister will stay behind to be with me as my husband works long hours and she has shorter. This will be awesome just in case baby comes a little early. However my mom has told this little one to wait till they come back. 

It's a relief to know she's in heaven free and able to be the woman she's always dreamed of being!
She was 85 years old.

Gram with me on the day I got married
12/02/2011

I loved my Gram and will miss her dearly!
What an amazing thing to realize I'll see her again on the other side.

Betty (Grammie)
One of my favorite pictures from 2010, Christmas Eve...
She LOVED sweets, I snapped this photo while she was sneaking some before dinner.

Oct/15/1927-Jan/17/2012
Betty went home to be with God and is finally free!

Amen.

Shannon <3 


Saturday, January 12, 2013

A budget for your pregnancy Pt 1: The Basics!

Starting at a very early age we begin to dream in our little hearts of what we want for our lives...

Most little girls start dreaming of their prince coming to sweep them off their feet, getting down on one knee and give them a gorgeous ring and then start planning the perfect wedding! Other thoughts that dance around our heads are plans of one day starting a family and having children of our own. The feeling of our own babies in our arms and the intoxication of drinking in their scent and dazzling over their little hands and feet. A baby is one of those moments in our lives we will never, ever, ever forget!!!

But it costs to be pregnant and have a baby doesn't it?

I don't think we always think of those costs when we decide it's time to start a family...

I didn't.

A few costs kinda snuck up on me... Great learning experience, that's for darn sure!

Let's start with the basics:




**Pregnancy tests.
You will most likely buy a few for home and keep them there but you'll also want to have it confirmed with a blood test. The cost of this really depends on location, insurance coverage or lack of coverage. Will you also be seeking to have it expanded to guess your current state of gestation?
$50.00 +

Congratulations!!! You're going to be a mommy!!!

**Are you planning to stay with your OB, a midwife who works in a hospital or one that does births out of home? Again, you're looking at insurance coverage or lack of coverage. This will include visits, ultra sounds, blood work and any other test you or your provider may or may not want/need you to have. 
$2,000 + 
(Or under)

**But your body is about to change in such drastic ways... Ways you didn't even know possible!
Are you planning on using any massage therapy or chiropractic care to help keep your body conditioned for birth? These methods when used properly can help not only cut down pain and laboring time (usually), they also create a healthier pregnancy for both you and baby. Massage is usually paid out of pocket unless they're part of a chiropractic office and both may be covered by some (Not all) insurance. 
For chiro alone (Which I HIGHLY recommend!!) your cost may or may not start at,
$450.00 and this is based off a package deal. 


You're now pretty set for some big physical help to guide you through this amazing time but you're still forgetting a key factor... Your vitamins!

**You'll be needing at least a Prenatal and DHA supplement.
You may or may not need extra iron, calcium or vitamin C etc... This is what they'll help you figure out in your blood work. A lot of what you'll be needing on top of your supplements will be in your diet, can't just rely on those vitamins to feed and grow your bundle! You need nutrition in what you eat to double what you take in pill form. This will also depend on location of purchase, size and what you can afford. 
Let's start low... And no, low cost doesn't mean terrible product.
$10.00 per bottle +

**Your food budget probably will go up as you deal with the special needs of morning sickness, cravings and additional needs. So factor that in as well. Just keep track of healthy cravings vs not so healthy and look for local co-ops such as Bountiful Baskets to help you get fresh produce, grains and other needed things for a growing belly/household! http://bountifulbaskets.org/


These are a big deal when having a baby!



We don't always think of what it takes for us to have a healthy pregnancy and these are key factors that help keep both you and baby strong. It's really smart to think of these things before you get pregnant. Or if you're like me you didn't quite plan on getting pregnant so soon and some of these things snuck up on you! Esp if you decided to fire your OB and go a more holistic rout, insurance doesn't always cover that or at least all of it. The blessing for us is any lab work or medical shots are covered! 
(Rh factor for myself, it's not a vaccination. It's a treatment.)  
Praise God because lab work isn't always cheap!!

Keep an eye out for Pt 2 coming soon :)
Thought of and maybe not so thought of beauty basics for your changing body...

Have a glorious day,
Shannon <3 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Third Trimester Pampering!

So by this stage you may not feel so attractive, energetic or very clear when it comes to thinking...



You might be looking over your grown body and thinking things like,
"Those aren't my legs or my butt!"
"I miss my ability to bend over and get it myself..."
"When will I be able to roll over in bed and NOT grunt or groan?"
"My feet are kiiiillling meeee!"
"I want to get comfy so my husband can massage my back better but I have this mellon in my way..."
"Have I always looked this way when I wake up in the morning? *gasp*"

Yes, you are a 3rd tri mommy-to-be!

However, your husband is probably still looking at you and your body with adoring eyes and saying how gorgeous you are and that he loves the changes and knows you'll need some emotional support to get back into your pre baby jeans when you're tired and frustrated they didn't just snug back on a week afterwards. Those thoughts seem to start sneaking their way into your mind the closer your due date comes. You begin to think over things and process your plan of attack but won't know exactly what that looks like till after you've had your little bundle and you see how you're feeling. I've been reminding myself to simply take it one day at a time after our son comes. I know there will be days of frustration but I also know it's not impossible! I refuse to kill myself because rest is vital after baby and without that rest I won't heal properly and I won't have the proper energy I need as a new mom. 

I've been trying to plan out a way to pamper myself before and after baby for over a month now and have finally come up with some options for us pregnant or one day in the future pregnant mommies!

Here is what I've come up with:



1. Don't stress out on the little things! They will get done when they get done.

2. Drink water and if you doubt how much you've had have 2 more glasses or bottles. 
You'll feel much better!

3. Try your best to keep your diet in line. 
It's so hard not to "cheat" these last several weeks because you're beyond ready to be done!

4. Plan out beauty apts for the last month of pregnancy!

a. Have your hair redone or changed up a bit for a fresh feeling/outlook...

b. Have a mani/pedi so you feel a little more "put together" when you go into labor...

c. Get a facial or massage or both!

5. See if there's anything in your current at home skincare/body care routine that could use some updating. This is also vital! You may not be sleeping much for the first month or so and some extra help in the healing/preservation process wouldn't hurt.

i.e.
A new nightly moisturizer
Intensive eye cream
Healing treatments/oils for your skin/body
Hydrating shampoo & conditioner to help with post birth hair
Some new concealer and mascara for brighter eyes and blush for cheek color


6. As you asked for those special snacks when pregnant, ask for them again after to help boost your mood/energy levels. ESP if they're healthy!
(Mine is a berry cup from the store!! SO YUM!!)

7. Consider placenta encapsulation for hormonal help/healing post baby.

8. Buy yourself a few new clothing items even if it's just underwear and yoga pants!

9. If you need more than one bath or shower a day to feel refreshed, do it!

10. Keep away from negative people and online drama as much as possible, this is mental pampering and you will need it more than ever now! If somebody pisses you off you tend to feel it tenfold even when you're not trying to take it personally. Keep things around you as calm as possible, esp since now is when you'll feel Braxton Hicks or a sudden drop in blood sugar or energy if you get too upset.
BE CAREFUL!


I have invested in a few home skin products so I probbly won't treat myself to a facial or massage but am dying to have these treatments, not gonna lie... You also have to budget out what you is doable for you and your family, for me it'll be a couple more pedi's and my hair! (I need to see a change on top of my head!) For now I'm happy to have a new chiro that's helping take most of my back pain away and is helping me keep things relaxed these last 4 weeks of pregnancy! 

Current hair 01/07/2013

I've also been trying to spend more time praying when I wake up at night. This time of pregnancy you might feel things stirring in your heart and praying is the only thing that calms me. That and asking my husband to hold me close, his arms and warmth are a heavenly blessing! 

These are things to consider and I'm not you HAVE to do them all.
Heck, put your own list together! This is your life and your body after all :)

Have a glorious rest of your day,
Shannon <3