A letter to my future self

Pregnancy Status: 39 weeks, 0 days
Currently: Snuggled up in a blanket on a cloudy summer morning, questioning the difference between possible contractions or Braxton Hicks.

Dear Me,

If you’re reading this, you’re feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, or just plain sad. I’ve read the articles, I’ve heard from friends; I know that it’s inevitable.

If you’re feeling exhausted, remember that you are STRONG. And you harness more energy from laughter, taking in precious little moments like sunsets, watching the pup run, a sweet hug from your husband.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath. Remember that everything is temporary and this too shall pass. Be mindful of the moment. Acknowledge it, accept it. Think of what you are learning and how much stronger you’re becoming as a result. Then, take a deep breath and move on. Remember, everything you do is a manifestation of how you ultimately want to feel. You are so much stronger than you think you are in this very moment. You. can. do. this.

If you’re feeling sad, make a list of all the things you’re grateful for. Take a picture. Or a walk down memory lane with the thousands of photos you have stacked in your favor on google photos, the pregnancy photos, the wedding, maybe a video. Tap into your inner “Cody” and remember the words, “I choose to be happy.” Smile. Even if you don’t mean it. Smile anyways, and smile directly face-to-face with at least 2 strangers today. Or your precious baby. Or your pup, or your husband. Ask for a hug and give one in return. Life’s too short.

I write this letter to you, future self, to remind you that the waves will come and go, the sun will always set, and each day will be one less that we have together with the ones we love. I write this letter to you to remind you that you are strong, beautiful, independent, and able. You can be both people, you can handle this. You have solace. Meditation. A beating heart pumping fresh blood, oxygen, and love through your veins. You are as strong as you think you are. Be mindful. Remember how much you are loved, and remember how much you love in return.

Love,

Me

10 Reasons I LOVE Being Pregnant

Pregnancy Status: 38 weeks, 3 days
Currently: Nesting, installing shelves, and taking a break while the AC guy examines our house (#SummerisComing)

Well, it’s official. Our babe is officially the last babe on board. I have had 4 friends who were all pregnant with me, with our babies due within just weeks of each other (if not on the same day). Every single baby is here – including the one my due date twin! – and our little one is officially the last to join the baby bonanza.

In these last few days, hours, minutes, I am starting to feel anxious. Anticipating the inevitable. Eager to meet our baby girl. (Still trying to dial in on her NAME!) But ultimately, we are incredibly excited and counting down each day patiently until we meet our little one.

I’ve seen a few posts out there as to why women love being pregnant and I’ve heard from quite a few people how much they miss being pregnant (or hated it, either way). I figured I may as well make a list of all the things I’ve loved about my pregnancy, especially seeing as I could pop any day now!

  1. An excuse to eat WHATEVER I want. (What’s that “#soccermom drive thru to snag a quick soda fountain beverage from Jack in the Box at 12 in the afternoon”? Hey, I’m pregnant and on maternity leave! YOLO.)
  2. An excuse to watch mindless tv and relax my body when I’m feeling sore. OR when I just don’t want to do anything else. 😉
  3. The ability to be part of the fabric that constitutes our very existence. To carry, create and experience human life on a totally different level that is completely indescribable. I am honored, grateful, humbled that I am a woman and part of this incredible experience.
  4. Little baby kicks and jabs. She is moving around in there! It’s incredible.
  5. Experiencing the love and support that your friends and family bring. The shower, the questions, the genuine care and kindness by so many of those around me has exceeded anything and everything that I thought was possible.
  6. The kindness and care of the physicians who have supported me throughout my journey.
  7. The growing dynamic and strength of my marriage, we see a different side of each other. One that is more compassionate, loving, supportive. I feel like we’re stronger now than we have ever been.
  8. The consciousness that comes with being mindful every time you take a bite of something or take down a green smoothie. Mindfulness has been a wonderful component to my pregnancy.
  9. All of the freaking ridiculously cool apps (technology, you DA BOMB) that allow me to connect with other women across the world who are going through their own experiences. There is nothing cooler than waking up every Wednesday and watching my favorite videos on Ovia and the What to Expect app.
  10. Lastly… knowing our bodies can do this. That we are strong, powerful, incredible, women who literally give up everything to nurture a tiny little human and help them grow into someone who is compassionate, kind, loving and full of joy. I know this is only the first part of this miraculous chapter into motherhood, but I can’t help but recognize how lucky I am to have had the pregnancy I have had to date – despite the few roadblocks along the way. I know without hesitation that I will be a better mother, wife, and human because of the last 9 months and cannot wait to meet our precious girl.

XO

Krysten

Here are a few special moments throughout the past 9 months…

Hello, Maternity Leave!

It’s my first day of maternity leave, and wow – let me tell you, does it feel GREAT. Outside of the few butterflies I’ve felt since last night and the mild shifts towards anxiety in not working or feeling like I should be doing “something else” right now, I’m trying to take in each moment and really enjoy it for what it is.

The friends of mine who have already had babies have talked about how fast time flies. This, more than anything else (labor, breastfeeding, crazy and hormonal mood swings) probably freaks me out the most. How do you avoid time going to by so quickly? Already, I’ve noticed that my pregnancy – despite the incredibly long lulls in between – has quickly come and is now going… I read an article recently in Huff Post on how you can play mental tricks on yourself to slow down time. The premise that this neuroscientist dude, David Eaglemen, cites in the article is, the more detailed the memory, the longer the moment seems to last. My lesson here? Get off my phone. Take notice of the small things, the scents, the sounds, the vivid colors around. Make it feel different so it feels like a world outside of one that is mundane and simple. The monotony and methodical routines that are so easy to fall into can strip away the ‘newness’ feeling that we may get with each new moment or experience we create.

Increasing mindfulness is going to be my goal these next few weeks before the baby comes. I’m probably going to write (read: bore) this blog with more information on it, but as I prep for my first time mom-hood as well as my feeble attempt at hypnobirthing, I’m certainly aware that every thought, every moment, every second adds up to something bigger. This life we live. This life that I so badly want to cherish in every way and hold close to my heart. It feels so weird being home right now, but I am committed to not wasting one second of it while I still have the energy to move around and get things done. And I promise to savor every positive experience, remember it, log it, detail it out somewhere so I’ll have these little moments to look back on.

I know I haven’t been the best blogger / logger / journaler (#distractions) but definitely going to make an effort to improve so I can bend time to my advantage and extend these little life experiences as much as I possibly can.

Today’s Mom docket:

  • Couple house chores
  • Took the dog to this beautiful dog park where the sun perfectly kissed each blade of grass (and my sweet pup wandered aimlessly wondering why the hell he deserved such a treat on a Monday)
  • Lunch by the water with a friend of mine who’s celebrating her first day of Maternity Leave as well
  • Returns at Buy Buy Baby + Grocery Store
  • A little afternoon waterside action for the pup before the hubs comes home
  • Yummy baked potato bar for dinner & prepping my birth plan this evening

A Father’s Day Love Post for My Husband

Pregnancy Status: 37 weeks, 4 days
Currently: Listening to the birds chirp on a quiet, foggy summer morning

It’s Father’s Day today. And I can’t help but feel immense gratitude for my husband and the man that he has evolved to be since we found out we were having a baby. I never realized what the promise and opportunity of new life can bring to people – for my husband and I, being that we’re in our first year of marriage, it’s brought a lot of… hmm how do I put this lightly. Communication. 😉 A lot of not seeing eye to eye, coming at things from different angles, taking our own learned sets of experiences and trying to fuse the two together to make sense of it all. But at the end of the day, in moments where I wince in pain from my ever-expanding pelvis or the times where I wake up in the middle of the night with an unfathomably sharp cramp that burns all too deep, he’s always there. Holding me up on a birthing ball, encouraging me to breathe, massaging my leg or simply and ever-so-gently asking if I’m ok. Pregnancy hormones are no joke. I know I haven’t been easy. And yet, he somehow helps me laugh. Encourages me to sing away the frustration or envelops me with a hug, even though I know I may not (especially in that moment) deserve it.

Our 1 year anniversary is coming up in 2 months, and I feel like in this past year, I have had 3 years with him. The depth of our anxiety and the relief to discover that it will all be ok (did I tell you the previa resolved?!?!?), the immense joy and gratitude we recognize and speak often about around our dog, who we also call our “beautiful son”, the candor and sweet vulnerability we have when we’re talking about our deepest fears of being a parent or that we may not be cutting it as a partner. It’s unfettered, raw, vulnerable, and so honest and true.

As I enter into these last few weeks, my gratitude and recognition for these moments, these experiences, these memories… bring me so much comfort and joy. I feel so lucky to have my husband, someone I know will be the most incredibly kind, loving, authentic, funny, and brilliant father. His love for our family is already unmatched, and I cannot wait for our lives to begin yet again when our baby girls comes into this world.

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful Dad’s out there! May your day be filled with laughter, little (and big) moments of joy and the tightest hugs you could possibly imagine.

XO

 

Shower Day: Find the patch of sunshine and smile

Pregnancy Status: 31 weeks, 4 days
Currently: Soaking in a patch of sunshine on a rainy morning, anxiously awaiting my baby shower

It’s been quite some time since I last wrote in my blog. Time has been passing, sometimes achingly (pun intended) slow and yet here we are, less than 9 weeks away and I feel like the last 8 months have completely sped by. My Previa hasn’t completely resolved, however, the win that I’m currently holding onto is that my Previa has been re-named “low lying placenta” (WIN!) and we have approximately 23 more millimeters to move by my next appointment on May 11, which will be my 32-week check-in. At that point, we’ll have to schedule a c-section. Despite my internal resistance and the exhaustion coupled with trying to control something that is virtually outside of my control, I’ve pretty much given in at this point. Resorting to manifestations, visualizations, affirmations, and lots of positive thinking that I can only hope will have some type of small and nominal impact on my body. If c-section is on the horizon, then so be it. I’d be lying, however, if I didn’t feel cheated out of the experience of physically pushing and guiding my sweet daughter into this world though. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me that the doctor would have to administer shots at 37 weeks, if a c-section was the outcome, to help my daughter’s lung maturity.

But as I mentioned, I’m ok. I’m staying positive and grateful that my pregnancy has been pretty much brilliant otherwise. Slowly but surely we are making progress on baby P’s nursery. I bought some beautiful and bright punchy floral sheets for her crib and splashes of white are starting to brighten up the room, just as I had hoped. My husband and I have

My husband and I have become closer through our first class in a series of child-birthing classes. We laugh like we used to and the idea of us becoming parents together, while it’s sinking in and terrifying, also has us giddy with excitement and anticipating what this new chapter will look like – us experiencing something new and entirely profound together as husband and wife.

And today, on May 7, 2017, is my baby shower. The sky has decided to follow suit and shower us with sweet rain, nourishing the earth and cleansing the air of toxins. I have so much to be grateful for, throughout my pregnancy, but especially today. The outpouring of love and support for my husband and I throughout this experience has been humbling. It’s incredible to think of so many people loving a little human before she takes her very first breath into this world. It’s wonderful to imagine the human spirit as something so pure, especially when the innocence of a child is brought into this world. I feel honored and humbled.  We can’t control the sunshine on a day like today, just like I haven’t been able to control the outcome of whatever happens with my body as my pregnancy progresses. We do the best we can. We dress for the weather, we eat the right things, we bask in the sunshine when cloudy patches emerge and dissolve from the sky, we think positively and focus on the silver lining. Each cloud, each hurdle has its own and the magic and experience of discovering it is something I feel privileged to be a part of on this journey of mine.

Sweet baby girl, you are loved by so many. Your mom, your dad, your brother Jax included. You have countless friends, family members and loved ones waiting for your arrival and to lock eyes with your precious little soul. I cannot wait to immerse you today in this sacred experience and surround you with all the love that we have felt from day 1. And while the sunshine may feel intermittent, know that the showers will continue to pour down with love, support, strength and this beautiful chapter ahead.

Updated 6.18.17 to share a few pictures from my incredible shower. My heart has never been more full (outside of my wedding day AND the the soon to be arrival of our baby girl) 

So I just kept going, I just kept going…

Pregnancy Status: 24 weeks, 1 day
Currently: Waking up from a long deep sleep, rubbing eyes and anxiously counting down the days until the weekend

Yesterday, we saw our baby girl yawn. Like, a real human yawn. She grabbed her foot, held her hand against her head and then at one point we even saw her drink. She’s 1 lb, 9 oz and currently the size of an eggplant. I feel her move constantly, little wiggles, shakes and tiny waves ripple when I least expect it. I also bought a doppler from Amazon, just so I can check in on her in those moments where I can’t feel her.

Overall, I’ve been feeling better – more energy infused into every step. It might be the cream of wheat upping my iron intake by 50% a day, or moving my prenatals to first thing in the morning. I’ve been hard at work cutting out dairy, cold veggies, layering in increased amounts of water, acupuncture, herbs, and meditations. Every day has been a simultaneous blur of slow and fast, and walking into my 24 week appointment yesterday – ultrasound to check in on the previa and a check-in with Dr. Lee – I felt anxious and quite confident that I alone, with these changes, have shifted my body to the point where the previa just poof, went away. It had to have just been a few minutes when the ultrasound technician shared (quite abruptly, I might add) that my placenta is right at the cervix, basically the same exact place it had been before. Disappointed, yes. Discouraged, yes. Frustrated, definitely.

Walking out of that appointment, another uncontrolled breakdown in front of my Dr., husband, and mom, I just felt depleted and confused. I really thought that things had moved. Maybe, I didn’t know my body as well as I thought I did. Outside of this, I felt confused. How could I be sad when I saw her actually freaking yawn? And hold her foot, and drink… and I felt her move constantly. I have friends right now who are desperately trying to get pregnant, who have to work on their own, personal form of patience. I should feel so grateful that I have this perfect little girl waiting for me, dancing about, waiting for the perfect time to join this world. Stifling sadness (or maybe it was just exhaustion) isn’t easy, especially when the world around you is full of heartache and really scary experiences. Maybe, I just don’t want to be scared anymore. Maybe, I want to (read: selfishly) live a “normal” life and travel and put my soul back into work all while having the perfect pregnancy, never having a care in the world. But, I guess that isn’t realistic and that just flat out is. not. motherhood. Maybe this experience is showing me how to live my life, adjust and transition into this next chapter. Accept the things we can control, make sacrifices when we physically and mentally think that we can ‘do it all’, and just maybe – this is all a major blessing. A long extended period of time where I am forced to physically resist the forces of the world that have swept me up for so long and mentally and physically connect with the precious little girl growing and yawning and drinking inside me. That is something I can get behind. And, that is what I’m going to focus on every single day for the next 4 weeks. With a smile on my face and a baby moving inside my belly.

Song of the moment: Alabama Shakes, “This Feeling”

So I just kept going, I just kept going
And hoping I’m growing in
Well this good I’ve found, I spent all this time
Tryna find my way here

XO,

K

Motherhood and Hamilton: Our Personal Revolution

Pregnancy Status: 21 weeks, 4 days
Currently: Reading “Hamilton’s Revolution” by Lin Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter ona cloudy morning sprinkled with showers and sipping on an extra hot decaf almond milk latte with a splash of maple.

I’ve been listening to Hamilton a lot lately. Like, really listening. To the words. The energy. The desperate impulse that Lin Manuel Miranda had to share a story that just had to be told – a revolution extended, a flame that burns – never to be extinguished. In this, I’ve been thinking about how this translates to motherhood. How suddenly, just one day, everything changes. You discover who you are. A moment. This unshakeable instance where the world suddenly stops and you summon a deeper purpose, one that is dense with passion, love, and an unmistakable dedication to do something larger than you ever have before.

I remember when we first found out that I was pregnant, that it didn’t seem real. It was as if this world that I had known so well was suddenly colliding and fusing with something I couldn’t comprehend. Immediately, I felt scared and totally overwhelmed. I retracted into this little girl. How would I know what to do? I could barely take care of myself, let alone my new husband, our dog and the new house we had just moved into months before. It’s funny how our ego takes hold so quickly upon the discovery of something new – “you can’t do this, you’re not capable.” Everything from that moment on for a while felt foreign and forced. I knew what I was and wasn’t supposed to do based on the experiences I’ve had with so many wonderful other mothers – my sisters, my aunts, my Mom.

And yet, in one of the first doctor’s appointments we had, where I laid there awkwardly with a paper sheet over my legs and my husband at my side, holding hands, our doe-eyed stares locked with this screen blinking with static and an awkward little triangle that I’ve only seen in TV shows, we saw her heart beat for the first time. A pulsing, blinking, magnetic star pushing itself in and out of the screen. “There she is….” the ultrasound technician continued. As a tear dropped down my face, I was overwhelmed and overcome with a deeper sense of being than I could have ever begun to imagine. It’s as if something clicked right then and there – I was forever changed and continue to shift with every evolution of days, weeks, flutters and kicks. Every moment of my day has purpose – everything I eat, drink, consume. The decisions I make, the ways I react.

Pregnancy, this impending chapter of motherhood is such an incredible gift, one that I feel so blessed to be able to experience. As a woman, as a woman who wants children, and as a woman has the opportunity to infuse a deeper level of meaning with her soulmate. Terrifying and unpredictable as it may be, the days glitter with new beginnings and new opportunities for me to continue evolving into this new person that I am becoming, the person that I have already started to be. Which feels weird because she isn’t here yet, however, yesterday – throughout the countless happy kicks and dancing there isn’t a doubt in my mind that we’ll be forever connected and this experience, these 9 months, will forever shape the mother that I will be to our precious little girl. There have been times where I feel like I’ll be pregnant forever, but perhaps this whole idea of pregnancy – the one where our precious little babies develop into the incredible children and humans we’ll raise, perhaps this time is for us to develop and evolve along with them. Time for us to grow. Recognize and realize the opportunities and changes we can make in our own lives.

Revolution is defined as a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system. Perhaps, this evolution of becoming a mother, this inevitable shift into a different state of being is similar: our lives are being turned completely upside down, we’re infused with a stronger sense of purpose, one that surpasses ourselves – one that consumes something larger than our minds can imagine. Our lives have become deeper, richer with love and excitement and miracles that we’ll never quite be able to shape into words. It’s a new system.

One that I cannot wait to experience for the rest of my life.

“We’ll bleed and fight for you, we’ll make it right for you. If we lay a strong enough foundation. We’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world to you. And you’ll blow us all away.” – Hamilton, Dear Theodosia Lyrics

XO

K

21-weeks