Labor and Postpartum Oils: What Worked for Me

labor oils collage Our Sadie turned a month old on Friday…mind blown!  Time has flown by already and I am trying my best to treasure every moment of her being so small and cuddly. More on that another day, but I thought it was time to share what I found most helpful during her labor and this postpartum time frame for both of us.

Here is what I planned to try during labor and beyond: Essential Oil Labor Plans

And here’s what I have used:

Active Labor

I used Clary Sage or Clary Calm to encourage contractions before arriving at the birth center when things were just starting by applying to my lower belly and pressure points on my ankles.  Once I got in the tub later on, we had a few drops in the water I was laboring in along with Geranium for calming and help slow bleeding after birth. I feel that it did help to move things along quickly and to keep me relaxed. I was very drawn to the scent and loved smelling it during active labor.  I will forever associate the smell of Clary Calm with my birth with Sadie, I love it! As things progressed and I was having stronger contractions with more pressure, I started feeling more fearful of what was ahead, memories and fears of my previous births came rushing back. Juniper Berry also is one I am very attracted to and is supposed to help with the emotion of fear, so we put that on a towel on the edge of the tub where I could smell it as well.

We also had a diffuser going, but I cannot remember what we put in it! The room was large and the diffuser wasn’t near the tub so I didn’t smell it much myself, but I’m sure it did help with the atmosphere of our birthing room in general and helping my birth attendees. I found for my use, having it on a towel or pillow right by my face when I had a contraction as I closed my eyes and took deep breathes was most helpful.

Transition

As soon as I got off the bed after my midwife checked to find my 7-8cm and onto a birthing ball beside the bed while we refilled the tub, I felt nauseous and shaky which is typical for transition stage. It was a very familiar feeling in my previous births and I knew pushing was close! I mentioned how I was feeling to Leslie and she suggested peppermint. I’m so glad I had someone there to make suggestions because being that far along I wasn’t thinking “what will help?” but just focusing on what my body was doing. She put peppermint on her hand for me to smell during the next contraction and it was instantly helpful. Shakes and nausea were gone right away and I immediately felt more energized and able to focus through the intensity as well. This by far was my favorite oil for labor and one I highly suggest! Once I got back into the tub, we again put peppermint on a towel for me to smell on the edge of the tub. I breathed it in and enjoyed the scent and the ways it was helping me focus.

The picture above was me smelling peppermint on the towel, just about fully dilated and about to push. So calm and still in my zone! One thing I aimed to do in this labor was to be more calm and less “vocal” and I truly feel between the oils and the massages I was receiving with each contraction, helped me to do that. I felt very much relaxed and in control the whole labor and birthing time.

Postpartum & Baby

I had made a roller bottle of “Reduce Bleeding blend” suggested by Stephanie Fritz in her book that I used both as a preventative before labor and afterwards. I did still bleed more than my midwife liked but it was less than my previous births, where I needed a piton shot before but not this time. I also attribute the less bleeding than my “normal” and the better energy levels after birth to the Life Long Vitality pack I took as my prenatal pills. My family commented over and over how much more energy and color I had this time around after birth! I used the Reduce Bleeding blend for several days postpartum as well to help slow the bleeding and I felt it helped to not be so heavy. I was amazed at how quickly things lightened up this time.

Afterbirth pains and my stomach muscles felt horrible for the first few days.  We used Marjoram for the tired sore stomach muscles and that helped a ton! For the after pains, I tried lavender and white fir.  I also used arnica and Afterease tincture, but nothing truly helped the afterpains as I had hoped it would. A heating pad was super helpful though! Eventually on day 3 I finally gave in and took a dose or 2 of pain medicine.

Bottom healing wise, praise the Lord I didn’t tear at all this time! I still did a Lavender and Frankincense spray and also added Geranium to my peri bottle. Again, I felt it helped to reduce the bleeding and make sure everything stayed clean down there. If nothing else, I smelled awesome :-)

For hormones and hot flashes, Clary Calm again is so helpful! I apply it morning and night on the back of my neck and bottoms of my feet. If I forget to before bed, I always wake up in night sweats! This is probably my favorite oil for postpartum for me.

For Sadie, the most used essential oils have been Frankincense, GeraniumDigestZen and Lavender. For her cord stump, I applied a little Frankincense and Geranium to boost healing and reduce bleeding (the scab kept getting picked a little on her onsies). Myrrh is recommended too but I didn’t have that one.

She had some bad spitting up issues the first week so we made a 5ml roller bottle with 5 drops DigestZen and Fractionated Coconut Oil. I just rub it on her belly clock wise and it seems to help relieve gas and reflux.  This is embarrassing to admit, but after birth as my insides were moving back into place and also “backed up” if you know what I mean, I was in a lot of pain with gas those first few days too. I used DigestZen and Fennel over my belly and it was SO helpful to both relieve pain and to get things moving again!

When I’m getting her ready for bed I put Lavender on her feet (and mine!).  She’s been a good sleeper anyway (praise God!) but it definitely seems to relax both of us and get us ready for bed. She does seem to sleep longer when I apply it verses when I forget. Plus it makes for a good bedtime routine and that’s always a good thing for babies!

One last tidbit of how oils have helped me in this postpartum time: my mood! Some days I still feel some blues or overwhelmed when I forget to take my placenta pills. Once again as it helped after Ashlyn, Elevation and Balance are key to helping me feel more centered and joyful in those moments. I have a spray bottle of Balance that I use every morning (I also used this during labor) and I keep something in the diffuser daily so we’re all breathing in the benefits!

What oils helped you during labor, birth, or afterwards? I have loved experimenting this time around with these tools God has gifted us from His creation!

 

Sadie’s Birth Video

I was honored to have the amazing Katy Cook photograph Sadie’s birth. Through this blog and Facebook we were connected over adoption and it was a pleasure to finally meet her in person. Since Mark couldn’t be at the birth, this video and the pictures she captured will be treasured even more by us! You can read the details of Sadie’s birth here.

Now, grab some tissues! (all pictures are modest)

Sadie’s Birth Story

Writing my last post helped me work through many of my struggles and fears as I awaited Sadie’s arrival. The next day I woke up full of peace and this feeling that God would work it all out with the sickness going through our home and Mark not being able to be at the birth. And He did. It was magical, His presence so felt.

First, I have to note that months ago my February due date group did a “What’s Your Guess” game and I said February 20th knowing my late babies.  February 19th, I just had this feeling that tomorrow was going to be the day. I cleaned my room preparing for a homebirth, I felt excited and looked forward to labor starting. That night my friend Leslie texted me something like, “I’m feeling labor vibe for you.” I said, “Me too, I think tomorrow is her birthday” and she said she had been feeling the same way for me. She had also had a dream earlier in the week that she was there to catch Sadie when she was born, little did we now that would come true. It’s neat to know how intuition can be so strong!

I was all excited when at woke up at 5am on February 20th with a stronger contraction than Braxton Hicks, but they faded after a few hours, as my usual. I went to my 41 weeks midwife appointment at 10am, she did a cervical check (3cm) and a membrane sweep to see if it would encourage contractions on its own. We discussed the pressure I was feeling from family to have this baby before Monday when I would be considered 42 weeks. She suggested I try a castor oil cocktail at lunch and see how that goes, otherwise do a full castor oil induction on Saturday after a good night’s sleep. We also talked about the possibility of me delivering at the birth center instead of at home for my own comfort level of not having kids around for me to worry and to avoid the sick germs. I bought the supplies and headed home to make myself lunch and a cocktail.

I was only able to get half of the recipe down, I apparently don’t like almond butter! It was certainly easier to drink consistently wise compared to other castor oil recipes, but I should of used peanut butter for taste. By 2pm I was feeling consistent contractions (after getting cleared out some in the bathroom, of course.) they picked up to 2 minutes apart, but then spaced back out. I notified my birth photographer and doula, who both had 2-3 hour drives to make that I was having contractions and tonight should be it. By 4pm I decided to take more castor oil to get things going stronger again (especially if people were traveling to be with me!), I really felt like today was her birthday and wanted to do what I know works for my body. I made scrambled eggs with veggies with 2 ounces of castor oil in it (eggs is by far the best way I’ve found to not taste the castor oil with the 3 inductions I’ve now done with it!). I got it down easily while I packed up for the birth center since I decided that was going to be best for the situation surrounding this birth.

Leslie came to take me to the birth center around 5:30pm, contractions had picked back up to being every 3-5 minutes and stronger.  When we arrived we got settled, got out the essential oils I wanted to use, put out the diffuser, etc. and then walked the halls to get things moving faster. I truly was nervous at this point, that these would pitter out like usual and I felt pressure to keep them going so I wouldn’t waste people’s time. My doula, Kristen, arrived around 6:30pm. She is a mommy from my due date group and it was the first time we’ve actually met in person but it felt normal and easy to keep on laboring with her there. My Midwife and 2 labor supporters helped me do some side lying pelvic release positions through contractions to help bring the baby down, Sadie was still pretty high up. That worked and things picked up fast after that!

My birth photographer arrived around 7 pm while contractions got stronger. They had moved to every 2 minutes or so and definietly taking more effort to work through. Leslie said a prayer over Sadie and the birth, which helped center us all I think and welcomed His presence into our hearts and room as we prepared. We continued to set up the room in between contractions, I kept trying to do things like text people to update or set up music but they were coming fast and I had to keep stopping. Leslie and Kristen took turns helping me through contractions while I leaned over the dresser with hip pressure, light touch, or a harder touch massage. It was incredibly helpful and a new experience for me, I haven’t had that in my other births. I found it so nurturing and the touch a welcomed distraction.

Labor Collage

 

We got the tub ready since things were obviously more intense now and I was checked around 8pm and was 4cm. Not much progress since 10am, but progress non-the-less! I got in the tub and while contractions were frequent and strong I was still laughing and enjoying things in between. I could tell things were progressing when later the pressure was getting more intense in my bottom and it reminded me of what I was going to feel when pushing. I always dread pushing and we talked through this fear of mine, they reminded me of how short that pushing time is and when it is time it will be over before I know it. And then I would have a baby!

With each contraction one or both of my doulas/friends would come to my aid, often one massaging my back and the other rubbing my head. It was so peaceful, even if it felt crazy on the inside for a minute as a contraction peaked. They encouraged me with their words too when I needed it, to breathe in deep and that she was coming out soon. I have spent months really praying over this birth and how I envisioned it. I wanted to be calmer, more relaxed, and just surrendering to the process. I truly feel having these 2 wonderful ladies helped me to do that! We all agreed that it was really neat to have an all women birth, nothing against men/dad’s being there, but it felt like how it would of been hundreds of years ago when birth was only a women’s event. My midwife called it a “Red Tent” experience :-) It was super empowering feeding off their strength and knowledge of what I was a feeling. However, I did have to grieve a little and feel sad about Mark not being here to witness his daughter’s birth. But, we both understood and felt at peace that this set up was the best scenario for this birth.

At 10pm my midwife wanted to check me again, which was no fun getting out of the tub and feeling all heavy again! Contractions on the bed were not comfortable at all, I was much more tense.  I prayed that there would be change and she said “Good job Momma Bear” as she found me to be 7-8 cm and baby was lower.  I texted Mark and family in between contractions to let them know it would be soon! I told Leslie to turn on the video camera because I knew it was close, usually when I get to this point pushing happens soon after. And I was right.

I worked through a few contractions sitting on the yoga ball by the bed while they filled the tub again. There I started feeling shaky and nauseous, I knew transition was hitting. Leslie suggested I smell peppermint oil and it was the BEST thing in those moments. It took away the nausea, gave me some energy, and something else to focus on. I used the bathroom one more time and found bloody show, then got back in the tub (with peppermint on a towel for me to smell!). I assumed the position I had been this whole time when in the tub, kind of a frog squatting position and leaning my head forward on the side of the tub. My body began pushing soon after getting back in. I’m told I started pushing at 10:26pm and she was out by 10:28pm! 3 pushes, my fastest pushing time yet and I powered through it. It was intense as I knew it would be but, I knew it was almost over so I roared her out quickly.

Pushing collage

Fun facts: She was born with her hand by her face, her arm popped out before her head, and a bubble of amniotic sac still intact before her head (a caul baby just like her sister Ashlyn!). She also was born in a purple room with the same furniture as her brother Jaxson who was born there. Amazingly, with all that going on and how fast she came out, I didn’t tear at all.

Sadie birth collage

The relief was instant, as I knew it would be.  Leslie helped to pull her up onto my chest as I sat back (as was her dream!). Her cord was wrapped around her body and she was blue. She didn’t cry or open her eyes at first, the whole crew quickly surrounded the tub closer and encouraged her to breathe with rubbing and gentle whispers. My midwife suggested we pray and she literally blew life into my daughter’s lungs, along with a few from a mask. It felt like eternity in the moment, but it actually didn’t take long for her to breathe and pink up.  I wasn’t scared, I knew God (and my midwives) had this. I knew she would be okay. And she was! For the next hours after that she cried a LOT trying to clear her lungs, but that cry was a welcomed sound in our room :-) We moved to the bed, snuggled skin to skin, and she quickly started nursing (in between her crying).

After resting a few hours and taking a shower, Sadie and I went home with Leslie to continue avoiding the flu germs and fevers going on at my home. This also was an answer to prayer and one of my worries, it was such a help and blessing to have 2 days away being fed awesome wholesome food while my family continued to heal and Mark could focus on the kids. We all missed each other a lot though, and we went home February 22nd on Savannah’s 8th birthday to meet their new little sister! Sadie is adored by everyone, even little Ashlyn. We are so happy for her arrival and in love with her! I love the scowl she has on her face most of the time :-)

Sadie Olivia
Born February 20th, 2015
10:28 pm
7 pounds 15 ounces
19 inches long

Sadie collage

Bonus! You can watch Sadie’s birth video here.

All black and white photos by Katy Cook Photography

I Don’t See the Big Picture

Sadie 40 weeks big pic 2

I get being “late.” I do. I’ve learned by now it’s just how I bake my babies. Long and slow. I’ve come to terms with that and I’ve learned how to keep myself physically comfortable (thank you, chiropractic care!) and emotionally stable (most days) as I wait.  I’ve learned to treasure the extra days and weeks, realizing that I get extra time to enjoy the knee rolls and a baby bump that I love. I may never get to do this again, so I will treasure it.

But…

What I don’t see what is what God is doing right now.  I’m 41 weeks and a few days. This baby HAS to come out within the next few days. While I’m supposed to be doing all I can to start labor, my 3 kids are downstairs the sickest they have ever been with the flu or some nasty virus like it. Why now? WHY?

My husband is being the awesome single dad man downstairs, while I stay upstairs to avoid the germs. Their fevers have gotten as high as 104, which wouldn’t be so good for a pregnant momma and a baby inside, OR for a brand new baby if she ever decides to come out. But, while he tends to our sick kids and awaits catching the sickness too…I’ve now lost my rock and my biggest emotional support, both now, and when labor does start. Most likely we BOTH will need a caretaker in the next week if he is sick and I’m on baby moon bed rest, plus needing care for our 3 older kids.

I don’t see what you are doing, God. I just don’t. My heart breaks that I can’t take care of my own kids without risking the health of my newest child. I haven’t seen their faces or felt their hugs in days. I’ve cried over missing them and not being that person to snuggle while they rest and bring them hot tea. My heart breaks that my husband, who is my everything in life but especially during labor, can’t even be here to hold my hand as I will be pushing our 4th child into the world. Yes, I have wonderful friends and midwives who can and will support me too, but it isn’t the same. They aren’t one with my soul like he is. They aren’t this child’s father, who should be able to watch that miracle take place.

I truly don’t know if it is best to keep Sadie in longer as 42 weeks nears closer and closer in hope it keeps her safer inside and to wait out these germs, or to keep encouraging her out? What I do know is that God has put me in a place where I clearly have no control. These past weeks God has reminded me over and over of His sovereignty and that I’m trying to control this birth. But now, God has placed me in a whole new humble place where I have no clue what is best for Sadie right now and all I can do is surrender to His plan. I have to trust that the people meant to be at this birth will be here, whether that includes my husband or not. I may have a birth photographer here, I may not. I may have a friend here to hold me up, I may not. Heck, this baby could just fall out after 20 minutes of contractions like this lady and not even the midwives make it!

At least God can see the big picture. I trust that He will provide for our needs. That is the only thing bringing me peace right now as I wait.

Tomorrow I officially will be the most pregnant I have ever been.

Sadie 41 weeks marked

And I wait. At His feet. Surrendering. Waiting for how this will all work out.

Control 2

Essential Oil Labor Plans

essential oil labor plan

I’m gung-ho about my oils! They have been such a blessing in my family’s lives and onto a path of a healthier life, we rarely visit the doctor or reach for over the counter medications anymore.  I’m super excited to see how they will impact my natural labor and upcoming homebirth as well. Most of these suggestions I have taken from Stephanie Fritz’s book,”Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth, and Babies.” Which, is an awesome read and a great reference to have on hand!

Here’s my plan for using oils during labor and beyond. I have kept a list of suggestions as guidance so that when in labor I can use my nose/instinct to decide which ones to use at the time. Our bodies are smart to know what it needs! 

Diffuser Oils:

-Balance & Lavender to relax (my favorite relaxing/sleep combo right now!)
-Juniper Berry & Roman Chamomile for anxiety (Also one of my favorites!)
-Balance & Orange for anxiety/relaxing
-Orange & Peppermint for focus & energy

Oils to Apply during labor:

-Clary Sage or Clary Calm to pressure points if contractions need picking up
-Massage Basil with coconut oil on the low back for pain management
-Massage Balance and Orange on feet for relaxing
-“Relaxation Blend” (Bergamot, Roman Chamomile, Frankincense)
-Grounding Spray (Balance and distilled water to spray as needed during contractions)

Oils to apply last week of pregnancy and after birth:
*This is especially of interest to me in how it will work, as I tend to hemorrhage after birth requiring a pitocin shot. I’m nearly 38 weeks and already applying these oils in hopes it will make a difference along with my supplements (alfalfa, iron, and doTERRA’s LLV)

-“Reduce Bleeding Blend” on lower tummy and back during last week of pregnancy
-Geranium & Immortalle on abdomen for excess bleeding after birth
-Lavender, White Fir, Clary Calm on belly for after pains
-Perineum Spray: Immortalle, Frankincense, Lavender
-Balance on feet of momma and baby

I’ll update what actually got used and how helpful it was when Sadie finally makes her appearance :-) Don’t forget you can join me at Wellness & Grace Facebook group for more information on oils and tips!

Preparations

Ready for SadieSince the holiday busy season has been over, I’ve been in the full swing momma-nesting mode. The energy I have felt the last weeks has been unreal. I’ve never felt like this withmy other pregnancies at the end, usually I feel more tired and achy. It is a welcome difference to my other pregnancies. I kind of wonder if it is the change in supplements I have been taking the last few weeks and being more consistent with it (doTERRA’s Life Long Vitality pack, extra iron, alfalfa, etc.). I feel great as long as I get sleep and don’t have insomnia or contractions keeping me awake, or don’t over do it too much and feel achy.

I have always been past my due date so I shouldn’t feel rushed, but this time have felt the need to have everything done, just in case. My house is clean top to bottom, between my nesting and a deep cleaning service. Tiny baby clothes washed and put away. All my children’s clothes are organized. I have all my birth supplies. My labor music is ready to go. My labor and post-baby oils, homeopathics, and herbs are ready to go (I plan a separate post on that soon!). My birth pool is waiting to be blown up and filled. Newborn cloth diapers prepped. Cameras are charged. Birth affirmations and scriptures are printed.  Phone numbers of people I need to notify when labor starts are ready.

I’m just ready.

Honestly, feeling this “ready” in every way, even emotionally, feels new. I feel accepting. This is a new kind of peace I don’t remember feeling with my others. I remember feeling ready physically to have my body back and not lug around the weight of my extra-large belly, but emotionally I remember feeling very in between and not at peace. On one hand, I couldn’t wait to meet my new baby and experience birth again. On the other, I had a hard time letting go of pregnancy and the last moments of feeling my child move within me. I do still feel that to a degree, but I also have this peace. A peace that God is doing and will do great things, so not to fear or try to hold onto something that isn’t mine to hold onto forever. I truly hope that peace will help my labor come on it’s own this time, and sooner than 41+ weeks as my other natural births have been.

I also find this peace interesting because, honestly, at the beginning of this pregnancy I was terrified. This pregnancy was expected, we felt God calling us to have a fourth child, but it happened sooner than I thought and with my battle of depression it was hard to grasp at first of why God would allow another. But oh, what healing has come since then! This pregnancy has turned into such joy and we are all so excited to meet Sadie soon. The joy that has been exuberant within our home lately in anticipation has been wonderful. Ashlyn has gotten out of her toddler-terror phase (for the most part) and my hormones feel more stable, which certainly helps. But, Mark and I are often finding ourselves smiling at each other and saying, “I love our kids” or talking about how soon Sadie will be out to enjoy snuggling with us each night. It is a reminder, a glimpse, of why God has entrusted us with these children in moments like those. For now, we are in a peaceful bubble in the calm before the storm. I love these special moments in time, though I know it won’t last forever. Parenthood is not always easy, in fact, this past year has been a huge trial in my motherhood and feeling unworthy of my children. But, having come out of that place gives a whole new perspective. I am looking to 2015 with expecting more joy, more grace, and more growth within myself and our family.

As I’m preparing my home to welcome another addition, I’m preparing my heart too.

I’m ready, Lord. 

 

Fit2B a Work in Progress

Diastasis
I suspected that I had diastasis recti for several years, but it wasn’t until after Ashlyn’s birth January 2013 (4th full term birth) that I started to work at doing something about it. I feared what would happen if I had another pregnancy after her, her pregnancy and birth left me feeling like I was falling apart! Personal trainers sounded great, but were expensive for our budget and truthfully? I hate gyms. I don’t like  the thought of people watching me, even if it’s just one trainer.  Plus, with kids, getting there is half the battle and I wasn’t up for that battle several times a week to work out or figuring out babysitting to make it on time.

Somewhere I stumbled on Fit2B and I was thrilled at not only the price ($10 a month, y’all!) but that I could do it at home! Streaming through their website or Roku, I could work out anytime I could fit it in– during naps or while my infant played on her mat nearby– sometimes even in a carrier! I also really liked that Beth Learn, the founder, is a Christian and she keeps her videos modest and very encouraging. And best of all, almost e very single video is “tummy safe” meaning that won’t make an ab separation worse if you are doing them properly. No planks, no sit ups, no crunches. Which, in my previous post-partums I had been doing! Beth’s videos and support group has taught me so much about my body, how it best functions, how parts all work together, etc. and that knowledge is a beautiful thing that extends beyond doing a video 5-45 minutes a day. I love that she gives tools for real life, like how to lay down correctly, how to stand up from the floor, how and when to utilizes our “God-given girdle.” And Bonus! My older kids love the workouts too!

Now, I say how much I love Fit2B, but I’ll be honest in that I wasn’t always consistent. In the last year and half I had phases of going strong while other times I let it slide. Once I got into later 1st trimester of this current pregnancy, I completely stopped because I simply had no energy to give to it.

Even then, this shows me that any progress is progress. Below is my 3rd pregnancy with my son 4 years ago compared to me today with my current pregnancy. This is proof that I did something! And still am as I remember the super quick and easy Foundational Five workouts that I can do while brushing my teeth or in the shower. Or, making sure that I’m properly aligned throughout the day. Now that I’m heading closer to birth, I plan to make this a priority again to prepare physically. Plus, it counts as stress relieving self-care, which is so important! I also wear a maternity FitSpint on days I am running errands or on my feet a lot to help support as well. It makes a big difference in my back and pelvic comfort!

31 week comparison

I still have an ab separation and still have work to do to heal years of misalignment and many pregnancies that have stretched me in every way — but I have hope that one day my “mommy pouch” will be gone and that gap will be closed completely. I also have hope that continuing this program will help Sadie be better aligned for labor to make it an even easier delivery! Maybe, just maybe, her position will be perfect and I won’t go 1-2 weeks late yet again? We’ll see when her time times.

Want to get started yourself or find out more? They have tons of information, how to tell if you have diastasis recti, and free sample videos.  Head over to Fit2b!

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This post contains affiliate links which may compensate me if you decide to purchase. I promise to only post about things I truly use and believe in! This is one of them. Thank you for helping to support this blog and our family.

 

Updates and Tantrum Pity Parties

It’s been a while, no?

Life is busy these days. And tiring in everyway– seeing how I have 3 kids and growing a 4th. Plus a husband, a house, and a cat that found us to take care of. We’ve had some issues here and there with our children, like anxiety and sleep, or the terrible terror that Ashlyn can be as she approaches 2 years old next month. Some days are so good, and some are so long and overwhelming. And truthfully, I haven’t had much brain power to sit down a write except for other places like Adoption.Net.  My husband and I have been known to fall asleep on the couch by 8 or 9 some nights! We’re just tired. This is a hard phase in life, surrounded by little people all the time. But, of course, glimmers of joy remind us why we keep doing this and why we are so excited to meet Sadie in February to add to the mix.

My life these days revolves around all those things above, but doTERRA has quickly become one priority as well and I love it! It feels good, just like with writing, to be paid for something I am passionate about. Helping others to improve their health with gifts from the earth– from God’s creation– is so fulfilling and fun.  I like having purpose outside of this home, outside of motherhood. But, I like that I can do it at home within my motherhood! What a beautiful balance that is.

31 weeks with Sadie editPregnancy wise, I’m 31 weeks now with Sadie and feeling it. Some days I still feel great and enjoy it. The absolute best part of pregnancy is feeling her movements, I love it. Feeling my children’s movements from the insides gives me clues as to their personalities. Makes it all worth it! Some days though when I’ve over done it, standing too much, doing too much, I feel it all over and I’m ready to be done.  And the hormones! Oh, the hormones. I literally will cry at anything these days.  Really silly things.

Last week my sobbing in Trader Joes’ check out line felt justified though. Prior to shopping, I had a cat poop on my spot in the bed, cat pee on the curtains (she was mad we left her at Thanksgiving apparently), Ashlyn tearing apart special items, climbing on the counters, etc. (you truly cannot take your eyes off her!) and I really didn’t want to go grocery shopping but I forced myself too. I wish I hadn’t.  See, Ashlyn has always been a ninja-super-escape-artist of the belts in carts. Now that she’s almost 2, it is impossible. I know people passing by wonder why I don’t buckle her– it’s because there is no point.  She also cannot sit still now and has a very loud voice.  Snacks only last about 1 minute of distraction before she starts screaming, throwing herself out of the cart, or trying to eat the food still in packages. So, by the time I’m halfway through my shopping trip she is DONE and throwing a fit. I’m flying through the isles with her on my hip/baby bump so she doesn’t bash her head on the floor, Jaxson in tow swinging on the cart like a monkey, and my inside stress-o-meter about to hit max force. I make it through, surely missing things on my list but just ready to GO, but then we have to stand in line. Ashlyn doesn’t like this one bit and continues to try to escape my arms while screaming. Nothing will console her and I feel so overwhelmed and can just feel the judgement of others burning through my confidence, “She can’t even handle the kids she has, and she’s pregnant again. HA!”  Then the  hormones kick in and I just can’t stop the tears. Pity party in line 4! The people around me were so sweet though, despite my fear of judgement. The cashier gave me free flowers. A mom behind me gave me some encouraging words and a gentle touch on the shoulder. I wanted to hug her, but I thought that might be weird or make me cry more. I surely hope Ashlyn is getting all this terrible-two-ness out of her system now before Sadie arrives. And props to the awesome Trader Joes and their customer service. My favorite store for so many reasons.

Adoption wise, things are quiet and peaceful as we both are busy and respect that we have 2 separate lives. We visit soon though and we all look forward to when our lives intersect once again, even for a few hours.

So that’s life in a nut shell– or a grocery cart– right now.

What’s the craziest tantrum you’ve endured with your toddler? Any public mommy-melt downs like mine? 

 

Stepping Stones to God

Stepping Stones to God: what's your story? || TheGraceBond.com

Image Credit: adapted from Emily Mills via Flickr Commons

Last night half of our ladies small group shared our testimonies so that can we can know each other deeper and see how God reached into our lives to change our hearts. The situations He used were all different, but one thing is the same: There were stepping stones leading down to Him so that He could bring us UP. Stepping stones that often lead to heartache, depression, and many questions. But, oh, how God has used those situations for His glory!

My story consists of everything from living between two family’s back and forth, feeling unstable amongst all the moving we did and changing schools every few years, sexual abuse, turning to boys for what I thought was “love,” to 2 teen pregnancies, adoption, and a young motherhood.   It’s not a pretty story. My early years were filled with heartache and searching in all the wrong places. But, these latest chapters are ending up to be a lot happier…because now I have a relationship with God. I have His peace, His strength to being me through whatever He brings me to. To be honest, for many years I felt bitter and angry towards God and people in my life for not protecting me as a child or trying harder to talk to me as a teen.  Why wasn’t there more rules and discipline? Why didn’t a person who was supposed to love me, hurt me? Why didn’t God stop it?  I couldn’t answer those questions, things just were they way they were. It took counseling and a change of perspective to see how God used all these situations, even as a 4 year old, to lead me to the point of sobbing in my room at 7 months pregnant when I was 16 years old. I finally was at my lowest of lows, where I had no where to go anymore but UP with and to Him. I’m so grateful for that, I am. I am thankful for the trials that broke me and humbled me. I am thankful for each stepping stone.

Sure, it is hard to be in the situations at the moment.  Even just a year ago, I was on a stepping stone of Postpartum Depression and Anxiety (and just so. darn. tired.). It was a very hard year emotionally, but it is often during those trials that I feel Him most. He was there every step of the way, guiding me and giving me tools, helping me to discover more of myself and who He is. Helping me to move forward and forgive, helping me to change my perspective to His perspective. Looking back now over my 27 years, I finally see the answer to why that I always questioned of my childhood: to bring me to Him. 

What were your stepping stones? I’d love to hear your stories! Are you thankful for your trials?

It’s a process, for sure.

  • May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14