“How’s It Going?” You Ask? – A 4-Week Postpartum Check In

So everyone is asking me the same question…… “So, how it’s going?!”

I look at them and half smile, take a long pause with an extended sigh, and say, “Good!”

Here’s what I don’t tell most people (some people, of course, get the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth).  It all runs through my head in an instant during the sigh.

How’s it going?

Well, let’s see…I’ve got a new tiny baby who, although perfect and adorable and amazing in every way, lives in my house now.  He’s fully dependent on his parents for every little thing.  He doesn’t acknowledge my existence, but demands every ounce of everything I Calhave, making me feel like most days I’ve given all I can give by 10 a.m.  He is sleeping at night, but still up every 3 hours to eat.  And then of course because he has gas and spit up issues and is already rocking a gnarly cold with congestion galore, we have to keep him upright for at least 20 minutes after he eats so he doesn’t die or something — making a simple middle of the night bottle feed feel like an eternity, even though it lasts for only 45 minutes (if I don’t fall asleep holding him in that last 20 minutes – then it’s anyone’s guess when I wake up hoping I haven’t dropped him and get myself back to bed).  And during the day he sleeps best when attached to me in some way, making it impossible to get anything done.  I know I need to just lay him down and let him cry but then there goes my relaxing nap time!  Seriously, my victory at the end of the day is knowing that we are all alive and that I maybe unloaded the dishwasher…or at least had the presence of mind to write it down on the to-do list I never look at anymore. And that’s just Cal.

Then there’s Josie, who has always been amazing and stubborn and goofy and empathetic with a large dose of sass.  Now that she’s almost 3 and simultaneously going Josie and Calthrough a major life change where she has to realize she isn’t the center of the universe, she’s really amped up the stubborn and the sass.  Oh my.  Screaming, disobeying, hitting – you name it – she’s doing it.  Now, in between those meltdowns are amazing memories that I will try to use to block out the other low points she’s bringing me to these days.  Sweet moments where she begs to hold Cal, where he makes a tiny whimper and she sprints from any room in the house to force-feed him his paci.  Every time she talks to him, her voices goes up an extra octave and her smile is ear to ear.  Those are the things I will remember instead of us yelling at each other to stop crying and yelling at each other (Parenting Tip:  This method does not work.  If you find yourself in this situation, immediately question all of your life decisions, and then abort mission.  You’re welcome).

And then there’s Ryan, whom I love but don’t really know right now.  Who walks in from a long day at work and an even longer commute home to me telling him to choose which Ryan josie Calscreaming child he’d like to take a run at comforting.  Josie, locked in her high chair but throwing a world-ending fit because I “started” her string cheese for her.  Or Cal, who was quietly napping in the other room until the string cheese incident occurred.  Ryan, who loses his wife to either tears or sleep between 8 and 9 every night now (thankfully at 4 weeks postpartum, most nights it is sleep, not tears).  And Ryan, who has a million projects to do around the house, but forfeits those most of the time to engage with his family instead.  I mean, watching the relationship between Josie and her Daddy take off these last few weeks has been awesome.  Life-changing and life-saving (because prior to this she was all Mommy, all the time, and right now Mommy ain’t got time for that).

And then there’s me, who just to carve out an hour to write this blog, had to first drop Me and CalJosie off at daycare, let my baby scream while I showered, heat up coffee for the third time this morning, and get a spoonful of leftover chocolate buttercream icing from the fridge.  (*Real life update: Just finishing this 30 hours later.)  Me, who had to make some tough choices in the last few weeks (like going from nursing to pumping to formula, but more on that in another post).  And sometimes the choices were only tough because in the few weeks after having a baby, my mental capacity for decision-making is basically zero.

Week 1 example: Ryan’s sisters wants to order us dinner for delivery all the way from Arizona?  Awesome!  I cry, and then Ryan hands me the menu and I cry harder because I can’t decide what to order.  All the while knowing I won’t enjoy the meal anyway because I have anxiety that hits between 5-7 p.m. the first week or two postpartum for fear of what the night may bring.

Week 2 example: I have Cal sleeping quietly in my arms, but I need to pee, so I decide to put him down.  The time between when the decision was made and the actual putting him down was at least 15 minutes, because I was just paralyzed (until the bathroom thing became a real motivator).

Week 3 example: I get text messages from my Radio Theology peeps and I want to go back sooooooo bad, but I can’t even muster enough courage to text them back to say that I’m not ready yet and feel like I have nothing to offer anyone.  (*Healthy update: by Week 4 I was back in action)

Week 4 example: Shave my legs.  Ok, fine, I didn’t shave all the way up, I stopped at the knee because it was just too big of a commitment.

And me, who admits out loud when I can, to the best moms I know, including my own, that I don’t know how people do this.  They each give the same answer, by the way, and it is this: They just do.  You figure it out.  And keep figuring it out.  You talk to other moms about it so you don’t feel at all alone.  And you let yourself laugh and cry and succeed and fail again and again.

So, to answer your question – how’s it going?  It’s good!  Reeeeaaaalllly good…with all the other tough stuff in between.  And that’s ok.

And a big fat P.S. A HUGE thank you to our amazing family and friends for all of the help they’ve given us – with meals, toddler-watching and baby-holding, cleaning, cooking, and doses and doses of encouragement.  You guys rock.  And are the reason that people can do this.

5 Things I Learned From 2 False Labor Alarms

Monday night.  Midnight.

I wake up to a painful contraction, take some deep breaths, and decide that I probably have to pee.  As soon as I get out of bed, I’m shaking from head to toe.  Full body.  Teeth chattering.  I think, this is labor.  My contraction never let up.  Couldn’t even time it because it wasn’t uncontracting.  Call the doctor.  She says come on in.  I burst into tears.  We get to the hospital, and everything stops.  Contractions.  Shaking.  Everything.  2 AM, they send me home in what would be our first drive of shame.

Tuesday night. 9:30 PM.  (Warning: TMI ahead)

Ryan and I are sitting on the couch.  I feel a tiny gush in my pants.  I go to the bathroom to investigate.  I pee.  And also lots of other fluid is coming out of a different location.  Immediately my teeth start chattering again with all the shaking.  It’s intense.  I sit back on the couch to calm myself and see if anything else could be happening.  Contractions here and there.  I repeat this 3 different times, all with the same result – bursts of fluid.  I call the doctor to explain that I think my water broke.  She says come on in.  We do.  They test the fluid.  It wasn’t my water.  Their best explanation is urine.  Really?!  11:15 PM, we complete our second drive of shame.

What I know now that I didn’t know then…

False Labor Alarm

Lessons Learned from 2 False Alarms:

  1. Apparently I don’t know the difference between peeing myself and my water breaking: You’d think with all the experience I’ve had peeing, even in my pants, especially these last 9 months, I could tell that I just peed myself.  But this is not the case.  I will now take this off of my list of life skills.
  2. Teeth chattering and full body shaking are not my sign of labor: From back to back nights of these shenanigans, I now realize that although the shaking came instantly after a “labor sign”, the more likely fact is that as soon as my mind registers that I’m in labor, I start involuntarily freaking out through these aggressive body quakes. Next time, I’ll crawl underneath a blanket and try to chill the heck out.
  3. I need to ask the doctor to ask me more questions: Had the night one doctor asked me any questions about how far apart my contractions are, etc. or told me to time them and call back, I could’ve saved us a lot of trouble. Had night two doctor asked me if I had soaked a pad or had fluid running down my leg, again, we could’ve stayed home.  But I didn’t know!  And they didn’t ask these questions until I was checked into triage.
  4. You really can lose more dignity than you thought possible during pregnancy: Of course I expected to lose my last shreds of dignity during labor, but not false labor.  It’s not my first rodeo!  I didn’t think I’d ever be the mom sent home from the hospital once, let alone twice.  Night one was pretty embarrassing, but the nurse even told me it happened to her and this is her full-time job!  That helped a little.  Night two was just mortifying.  When the doctor looks at you, gives you the pity pat on the leg, and unconvincingly says, “It’s good you came in just in case…” it is perfectly acceptable to feel like dying.
  5. Our family and friends rock: Not only are Ryan and I well-versed in the “grab the bags and let’s get to the hospital” game, so are our friends and family. Twice our families have rearranged schedules, packed bags, and even hopped in the car only to be told to turn around.  And they’ll do it all again – hopefully only once – in the next 2 weeks.

We were joking (but seriously) that when I’m actually in labor, I won’t tell anyone and won’t go to the hospital because my confidence is so shaken.  I’ll end up giving birth in the tub at home just to save face.  Which would actually be my worst nightmare.

With two back to back nights of excitement, and two more weeks until my due date, I think things will be pretty calm for a while.  I’ll relish the last days as a family of 3, get a few things done around the house, continue to work, and let my unborn just get super chubby in there.

And, of course, await a dramatic entrance into the world from my tiny that will make for another great story.

8 Super Ridiculous and Mortifying Things I Did During Labor

Labor and delivery, like pregnancy, is not as glamorous as it is cracked up to be!  Spoiler Alert: It’s pretty gross.  As I’m nearing this very event, I’m replaying the ridiculousness of Josie’s birth in my head over and over and over again.  Read on for a few laughs, some TMI, and the ugly truth.

8 ridiculous labor graphic

It was a Tuesday morning.  The day before, the doctor had told me to call him on Friday to schedule an induction because he didn’t see any movement towards labor in the next few days.  He was wrong.  I woke up early Tuesday morning to hear my husband in the bathroom with what he thought was food poisoning.  Yuck.  Lying in bed, I started feeling some regular contractions, and so it begins.

As a relatively “normal” person, I could be embarrassed by what happened next.  But as a first-time mom in labor, with minimal dignity left (and unbeknownst to me, so much left to be lost), it was all just a part of the experience.

A couple things to keep in mind as you read this:  Ryan was getting sick this entire time, so not only was I in labor thinking I was probably going to die, he was also having some…struggles.  (Think, arriving at the doctor’s office and both sprinting to our respective bathrooms.)  Also, when I use words below like “asked” and “said” – what was really happening was I was losing my mind, screaming bloody murder.  Enjoy!

8 MORTIFYING Things I Did During Labor:     

  1. Losing it from both ends…and leaving it on the floor: [At Home.  7:30 a.m.]  Just before my contractions got painful and I knew this was labor, I spent some time in the bathroom…in the worst way, with no control of where certain excretions were landing.  Almost as soon as I was empty, my contractions became painful and we quickly started the process of getting out the door (quick shower, grabbing the hospital bags, calling the doctor).  Unfortunately, during that scramble it did not cross my mind to clean up the bathroom.  (Shout out to my mother-in-law, who called to see if there was anything she could do while I was laboring…and Ryan said, welllllllllllll…….)
  2. Mint-spitting: [Hospital Triage. 9:45 a.m.]  I had read on the internet (a dangerous game) that your mouth gets dry during labor so you may want a mint, so I packed some mints.  While I was being checked in Triage, I asked Ryan to get me a mint.  As soon as the mint hit my lips, my body rejected it.  But instead of taking it out of my mouth and asking Ryan to throw it away, I violently spit the mint to the floor and screamed, “I don’t want that mint!”
  3. Ripping off my clothes: [Labor and Delivery Room. 10 a.m.]  Finally in a labor and delivery room, wearing a hospital gown (backwards), a sweet little Patient Care Tech came in to obtain 2 pieces of information – my social security number and a copy of our insurance card.  While Ryan was getting the insurance card from my purse, I was shouting my social security number to her, one number at a time between contractions.  At about number 4, I got so hot I thought I may burst into flames, so I just whipped off that hospital gown and sat there, butt naked, mooing like a cow in front of this poor girl, shouting the remaining digits at her.  It took 10 minutes.
  4. Kicking off my blankets: [Labor and Delivery Room.  10:20 a.m.]  What?!  I’m now freezing?  Of course I was, I was naked in a hospital room.  So my body is shaking and my teeth are chattering and I’m sweating up a storm, so the nurse offers to bring me warm blankets.  After about 15 minutes, I’m so hot I feel like I could burst into flames.  Cue the ridiculous toddler-like kicking off my blankets and screaming, “I’m hot!  I’m hot!”
  5. The vicious cycle: [Labor and Delivery Room. 10:30-11:30 a.m.]  I repeat the above several, SEVERAL times for over an hour.  But never in a calm, “I think I’m getting warm so I’ll fold these blankets down.”  Always in an emergency-like state, screaming at the tops of my lungs.
  6. Begging for the epidural: [Within earshot of all of Central Indiana. 8:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.] This started while I was being checked for labor at my doctor’s office earlier that morning. (Newsflash: they don’t give you an epidural until you get to the hospital.)  And the screaming for the epidural continued until the nurse finally told me that I’d have to be officially registered as a patient (that makes sense) and an entire bag of fluids needed to be dripped into me through my IV.
  7. Making the highest paid guy in the room hold my barf bucket: [Labor and Delivery Room. 11:40 a.m.]  It’s pretty common that after you get an epidural, your blood pressure drops and you vomit.  I did.  While the Anesthesiologist held the bucket.  Dear Sir, I’m so sorry that you got stuck with something so gross and way beneath your pay grade.
  8. Hot Doctor: [Labor and Delivery Room. 12 p.m.-6:30 p.m.]   Of course I’d get a hot doctor while I’m at my absolute worst.  And he’s just hanging out down there using mineral oil to create a slip ‘n’ slide (his words).  Luckily he only saw me post-epidural, so at least I was relatively sane.

[Labor and Delivery Room.  5:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Pushing.  Josie is born.  All is well, and aside from bringing new life into this world, pretty uneventful (thank you, epidural!]

mama and josie

  1. Post-Delivery Bonus! Wetting the bed. :  [Post-Partum Room.  8:00 p.m.] The nurses told me I’d know the epidural was wearing off because I’d feel the need to urinate.  So when that need arose, I thought to myself, “I guess I can get up and walk to the bathroom now.”  What my brain must’ve heard and then transferred to my lower region was, “Pee now.”  So I did.  On the bed.  I apologized profusely to the nurse while she changed my linens.  And an hour later, when I felt the urge, it happened again.  Full bladder.  On the bed.  New linens.  But still no shame.

Like I said, I could be embarrassed by these things.  But as a pregnant woman, you slowly lose dignity over the course of 9 months…probably for this very reason.  And now, I’ve got this ridiculously hilarious story to tell.

To all first-time pregnant mothers: All or none of these things may happen to you.  Don’t be surprised either way.  You can do it!  (Also, I highly recommend the epidural…)

you got this girl

Why I’ve Been Hiding From My Own Blog

I started this blog because I really enjoy writing as an outlet for creativity and storytelling.  My highest goal is to share my story in order to create a community of women who may need to hear that someone else’s toddler picks up dead worms on the sidewalk in an effort to clean, kisses fish straight outta the pond, and throws fits at all the most opportune times.  That although I don’t sprinkle when I tinkle, I’ve lost bladder control far more than I’d like to admit during this pregnancy.  That most days I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing in motherhood, but I’m doing the best I can.

Aaaaaaand, I’ve only written about sprinkling whilst tinkling in the past month because we’ve just been going through it!  And what I actually feel and have thought that I should write about is a little scary… and not what you would expect from someone almost ready to pop out a kid.  But here goes…

Confession time:

  • I’m pretty terrified to have this baby: They say women forget the pain of childbirth because of the sheer joy of having brought a child into this world. It’s even in the Bible somewhere.  It is False. I remember every pain, every moment of chaos, every second of losing my mind to the point of spitting and yelling and ripping off my clothes (another post for another time, my friends).  So to know that at any moment this can and will happen to me again…you can see why I’m a little anxious.  (Million Dollar Idea: epidurals delivered to your house so your first bad contraction can be the last one you feel!)
  • I hate the baby stage: To be clear, I already love my baby.  And hate may be too strong of a word, but the baby stage is my least favorite.  Babies don’t do anything.  They aren’t interactive, aside from their smiles that come to save the day at 6-8 weeks old.  They can’t give you any indication of what’s wrong with them.  And the worst part is that you’re living with this tiny helpless human while you’re losing your mind with hormone shifts, night sweats, and no sleep.  Ummm, no thanks.  I’m not looking forward to this.
  • Josie’s longest phase yet about killed me: She’s just over 2 ½ and discovered that she has fears.  Specifically, wind and ants.  Seriously?!  And those fears have led to this stupid separation anxiety or something that made her scream as soon as we left her room at bedtime.  It was heartbreaking.  And although I can tell myself that THIS TOO SHALL PASS, not knowing when it would pass or how best to help her had me all worked up.  Seriously beside myself.  All day anticipating the screaming that would happen that night.  Sobbing as she was crying in her bed.  Mess.  And every night closer to bringing home a little baby.  (Update: as of writing time, we are 4 nights into peaceful bedtimes.  Thank you, Jesus!)

The combo of these three things, in addition to regular old life (full-time job, part-time job, wife, home remodel, a teeny tiny social life)…I was feeling really overwhelmed.  Emotional control has not been my companion during these last several months of pregnancy and change.  And while that’s fun for my This Week in Lisa’s Pregnancy segments on Radio Theology, it doesn’t make me feel “ready” in any way to have a baby.

Be it painful or smooth-sailing, It'll become part of my story.

How to Balance the New and Exciting with the Holy Crap and the Anxiety:

  • Tell someone: This week, as I felt like I was emerging from the (emotional) woods (mostly thanks to Josie’s tear-free bedtimes), I did an experiment. I told a guy I just met that I didn’t like the baby stage.  And you know what happened?  I got a high five and an “I can’t wait to go home and tell my wife.”  And we chatted about how the fun we have with our slightly older kiddies feels like the sweet spot.
  • Make peace: I’m about to pop. I can’t even change positions on the couch without sweating.  And there is a day coming in my near future where I’ll face all of the unknowns, probably at the same time.  This too shall pass, and be it painful or smooth-sailing, I will welcome it into my story.  And I’ll have a beautiful baby boy who we’ll raise into a wonderful man, and a big sister who will take this world by storm.
  • Take care: Through the roller coaster of emotions the past few weeks, I’ve practiced self-care by giving myself lots of grace in moments of chaos. I’ve gotten extra hours of much-needed sleep.  I’ve spent great time with friends and family while enjoying the break that extra helping hands provide.  I’ve pretended to nest (because the real pregnancy nesting thing must’ve skipped me).  And I’ve found a song that I sing out loud when I can believe the words and listen to when I can’t.

it is well with my soul

So friend, here I go, off into my last 4 ½ weeks of pregnancy (or less).  And I already feel better than I did when I sat down to write.  Sharing your story is a powerful way to fend off isolation.  So if you can see yourself in any part of my story, I hope you feel encouraged and loved and inspired to hold your own confession time with a friend.  And if you can’t, share it with someone who may need some hope!

sharing your story is a powerful way to fend off isolation

If You Sprinkle When You Tinkle…

Today, I bring before you a PSA for decency.  An attempt to tackle a growing epidemic among women. I’m mostly embarrassed to post this, as it’s been a while since I’ve been inspired to write a blog, and THIS is the topic I choose after weeks of silence.  But it is an important one.  It bothers me weekly.  So, ladies, listen up! 

if you sprinkle

This clever little poem hung (and may possibly still be hanging) in the bathroom stalls at my Grandma’s church.  It was burned into my brain as a child.  As a little girl, I thought to myself, “How strange that we need a sign to tell women to clean up after themselves.”

And now, as an adult, I realize that absolutely we need a sign!  Ladies, if you’ve ever experienced the ridiculousness that is the public bathroom, you know this to be true.

Here’s the problem: Women are grossed out by sitting on the toilet seat in public.  It’s cool.  I get it.  Doesn’t personally bother me, but to each her own.  But, instead of putting down toilet paper or using the paper cover (sometimes) provided, ladies now squat over the toilet seat and attempt to aim.

Newsflash! Women can’t aim.  And from the looks of it, most can’t even hold a squat properly.  I mean, seriously.  Holding that low of a squat for any extended period of time is hard — even for those who are in shape.  And believe me, I’ve cheated at squats before, and slowly stood up to relieve the shaking in my thighs.  But NEVER over the toilet!  (Always in my basement, in shame, with the judging eyes of Jillian Michaels staring me down through my TV.)

And I’ll tell you, 4 out of 5 times I enter a stall, there’s pee (or worse) on the seat.  Are we stuck with the uncertainty of the horror that may await us as we push open the stall door?  I say, no!  Ladies, YOU can be part of the solution (you know who you are!).

be-the-change-in-the-bathroom-e1491410840324.png

 

What’s a girl to do? 

  1. Chill the heck out. Stop the squatting, and have a seat.  Put 14 layers of toilet paper down if it makes you feel better.  But also, when’s the last time you heard of someone catching some deadly disease on the john?  Scientifically speaking, whatever germs you may sit on can only enter your body through a mucous membrane, which you don’t have on your derriere.  Plus, with regular showering and hand washing, you’ll survive, I promise.
  2. If you must squat, at least pair your squatting efforts with common courtesy. As the wise poem says above, wipe the seat!  And if you’re not in the habit of turning around to glance at the toilet after your use (which, you probably should be if you are in the habit of flushing), change your ways.  Take a glance and see if you’d appreciate walking into the stall you’re leaving.

In following these two simple steps, I believe that we can change the world…or at least change the way we feel when we walk into a public bathroom and look at the toilet seat – which, for me (a pregnant woman who pees at least twice during a half hour trip to Target) might actually be the world.

 

Self-Care, Self-Love, Self-Whatever-You-Want-To-Call-It-Just-Do-It

If you’re thinking, “Self-care sounds like a therapy word,” You Are Right!  It’s a fancy, not-so-fancy way to say TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

As humans, yes, we need this.

As human mothers, we need this all the more.  And the more we have going on in our lives, the more we need to pay special attention to filling our own cups!

you-cant-pour-from-an-empty-cup

It’s not always easy, and it’s quite the process to nail down the specifics, but if you don’t have a satisfying self-care routine, dig deep and get to it!  Not sure where to start? 

Here’s a look at my self-care journey.

When I’m not diligently practicing self-care, (*in varying degrees depending on how long my stretch is) I:

  • Isolate: Not in the physical sense, because who has time for that! Full-time job, husband, 2 year old, family, friends!  Oh no no no….I hide away inside and bring my relationships to the surface. It’s a slow, almost-unnoticeable progression, but it happens.
  • Make poor decisions: I get lazy. Instead of practicing any sort of discipline, I do the bare minimum.  I keep up my house, sort of.  I keep the laundry going, just so I can binge on Netflix. I go to work, I cook, I play with Josie…but not in the fully-living way that we all deserve.
  • Play a dangerous game of chicken with depression: I’m prone to depression.  Sometimes I can see it coming at a distance, which is a scary gift.  If you’ve ever lived in the trenches with depression, you get what I mean by scary.  But a gift because I know I’ve got time to take steps to get healthy.

When I AM diligently practicing self-care, I:

  • Work out consistently: Nothing like a good sweat and some trusty endorphins to make me feel empowered, accomplished, and disciplined.  (Edit for pregnancy: let myself not work out because I can’t even get up the stairs or have an exciting conversation without losing breath and sweating profusely…oh the joys!)
  • Make healthy food choices: Can’t ruin my morning work out! (Edit for pregnancy: chocolate and dairy, in as many combinations as humanly possible.  The end.)
  • Am Transparent: I’m back to storytelling and wearing my heart on my sleeve.
  • Look for joy: Sometimes, I know just where to find it.  Other times, I’ve got my eyes wide open looking for it in the day to day!
  • Take my alone time: If I don’t get alone time, I go nuts.  So I take it when I need it, usually before I start getting really cranky.
  • Focus on others: Because I’m not busy burying myself, I’m free to send a small gift just because, bake cookies to give away, or enjoy conversations I’d otherwise dismiss.  I’m available to love others well.

It’s taken me a while to even get to the place in life where I can put words to all of this stuff.  I haven’t always been good at recognizing my times of no-care or plenty-of-care.  But I am getting better.  My self-care stretches get longer and longer, and the breaks get shorter and shorter! 

So every day I’m striving to love myself well, so I can love others well too!  Isn’t that kind of the point?

I’d encourage you…take the time to get to know yourself so you can chase down what brings you deep joy and excitement, health and wholeness.  love-yourself-love-others.png

A Review: My Experience in a Sensory Deprivation Float Tank

Have you heard of floating? Yeah, it’s a thing.  You get into a pod with about a foot of water and 900 pounds of Epsom salt.  As soon as you slide in you bob like a cork, water reaching over your ears but somehow not covering your face.

float-tank-girl

Here’s what floating is supposed to be (as described to me by many people and the wonderful world of the internet):

  • Freedom from your senses: You’re floating in a pitch black pod. In water the same temperature as your skin so you lose the sensation of touch. You have ear plugs in.
  • Relaxation like you’ve never felt before: 90 minutes in said pod, where some fall asleep or get to the place just before sleep where your brain produces theta waves. It’s science.  And supposedly magical science that will change your life forever.  My dear friend said it felt like he slept for a week.  So you can see how attractive that was to me, a pregnant mother of a potty training toddler.
  • Recovery from all that ails you: Luckily for me, I would test this theory. I had worked out the day before and was pretty sore.  Then, I took a hard fall due to the slick conditions and probably cracked my knee cap.  Plus, my shoulder is still jacked up.  I was in prime condition to be whisked away from my tiny world of pain.
  • A euphoric experience: Apparently, when you’re THAT relaxed, creative types write novels and come up with their next big ideas. Athletes feel connected to their bodies and their teams (The Cubs have these in their club house, and some contribute their World Series win to these pods). My Chiropractor had an Inception-like experience, with deep conversations with people from different time periods.  Another friend felt a connection to his unborn child.

float-tank-me

As you can see, my expectations were pretty high.  So high.  Too high.  So here’s what happened for me in the tank:

  • I buckled under pressure: It’s like when you NEED a nap, but only have a short amount of time. Or you know you’re getting up at 4 a.m. so you force yourself to sleep early.  And of course you can’t sleep in either situation, because you’re continually telling yourself to sleep.  And then getting mad when you’re not sleeping.  And finally deciding it’s not worth it and maybe you should just quit.  That’s what I was going through in this pod.  I wanted to badly to “get there” that I got nowhere except to a place of negative self-talk about how I wasn’t “getting there.”
  • Too many distractions: First, I had a hangnail from days past. Submerging that in salt water for 90 minutes was not the most pleasant of experiences.  At one point, my nose itched, so I itched it and a drop of salt water got inside my nose, carrying the burning sensation through my nose and down my throat.  And for my biggest distraction, see below: A float within a float.
  • I got a migraine: My ginormous pregnant belly made my middle extra buoyant, leaving my head and neck to overcompensate. My neck muscles got so sore and tired, that I kept trying to figure out a comfortable position – using the floating head rest, hands behind the head, or hands under the neck.    And all that strain gave me the start of a muscular migraine, which I didn’t recover from until I actually slept that night.
  • I got cold: The water temperature is the exact temperature of your skin, so in theory, you’re not supposed to feel any sensation of hot or cold. But when you can’t get comfortable and keep moving your various body parts in and out of the water, plus, your big fat pregnant belly submerged once and now floats above the water, you do get cold.  And there’s nothing worse than being cold while you’re trying to sleep in a lukewarm bathtub.  Am I right?
  • A float within a float: The main reason I didn’t have an enjoyable float? Because my baby was floating around inside of me!  Kicking and rolling and having himself a regular blast!  The entire time.  Which, although wonderful and miraculous and blah blah blah, is not relaxing.

So, should you float?  Sure!  Give it a go!  The guys I went with absolutely loved it and are planning monthly visits.  I wouldn’t recommend it while you are pregnant, but I think it has definite potential.  Next time I’ll be sure to go baby-free, scratch and hang nail-free, and most importantly…expectation-free!

sensory-deprivation-tank

P.S. This didn’t cross my mind, but next time!

I Hate New Year’s Resolutions…So Why am I Making One?

Some thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions…

I hate them, because I suck at them.  Thus, I rarely do them.  I’ve tried the “pick a word to focus your new year” and the “I’m going to run at least a mile every day in the new year.”  Umm, please.  Can we not?

maury-new-years

But of course this year, I find myself needing to make some kind of change in the new year, mainly for fear if I don’t, I’ll lose my mind.  And to be fair, I think if I would’ve hit this point at any other time of the year, I’d make the same resolution.  So, in order for me to succeed, I won’t call it a new year’s resolution.  Just a resolution.  To start practicing what I preach – self-care.

Seriously, why is it always the hardest to take your own advice?  I know deep, deep down that when I’m exercising and eating healthy, plus getting enough sleep, I’m my best self.  Pregnancy has ruined this for me.

I’ll blame the constant fatigue of baby-growing for the cycle I’m in.  I’m so tired by the end of the day that I park myself on the couch as soon as humanly possible.  Then, I get lost in the wonderful world of Netflix (currently, I’m watching the entire Gilmore Girls series for the first time and LOVING it), and before you know it, I’ve forgotten how tired I am, and one episode turns to 3 and my 9 p.m. bedtime is now 10. 

So it’s no wonder that I can’t get up and work out — I can barely get up!  I thought I was going to be the buff pregnant chick.  Seriously.  I thought this.  I made a workout plan.  I printed it out.  And then I hit snooze until I finally decided that Josie could be my alarm clock.

And don’t get me started on eating healthy.  I’m eating like a regular pregnant chick.  The kind that knows she’s gaining 30+ pounds anyway, so what’s a few more pieces of fudge or my current cravings – milk shakes.  Ice cream.  Fruity Pebbles.  Toaster Strudels.  Just reading the list sounds gross to me.  I never shop or eat like this, but because I have this “excuse” I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth.  Never mind the fact that my back fat is growing at an alarming rate.  I’m surprised it’s not as big as my bump at this point.

junk-food-meme

So where does this leave me?

Making a resolution.  (Eye roll)

So if you’re in a boat similar to mine (soon-to-be capsizing or not) and are on the resolution bandwagon for 2017…

Here’s my advice.  (And yes, I’m talking to myself).

Take a Position:  Choose your resolution.  Mine is not a firm plan, but a renewed focus on self-care.  Giving myself grace when I fail, and a swift kick in my expanding butt if needed.  Also, tell someone else, so you’re not all alone in the kicking of the butt.

Stand Firm:  Don’t say, “I’m going to lose 50 pounds this year” and then go eat a dozen donuts.  I’ll stand firm in my position of self-care, and continue to make tiny steps toward this goal.

Look for the Results:  If you’re really standing firm, you’ll see some changes.  Some so small, you may have to actually look hard for them.  But believe you me, it’s ok to celebrate even the minutest of positive changes.  I live with a toddler and we celebrate every tiny thing she does (if you’ve ever been through potty training, you know this is true).  I’ll celebrate every night I’m in bed before 9.  I’ll rejoice that my grocery bill is $50 higher because I’m buying fresh fruits and vegetables instead of 3 tubes of cinnamon rolls (true story).  And although I doubt I’ll see a reduction in back fat, I’ll feel better knowing that with self-care, my back fat will someday go on its merry way.  If not, my 2018 resolution practically writes itself.

So, Happy New Year’s Eve, my friends!  I’ll be enjoying one last total pig out and late night, milkshakes and all…

happy-new-year

 

How I’m Taking Care of Myself During Pregnancy

The days leading up to THE DAY I found out that I’m pregnant I was thinking maybe, maybe not.  Am I?  Am I not?  And I dare not hope I am just in case I’m not, and I dare not think I’m not because of course I am, it’s science!

So all of those back and forth emotions culminated when I received a call from the nurse with a positive blood test.

I laughed and cried and was in so much shock the news just didn’t sink in.

But then I slept.

And when I woke up, I felt pregnant.

Like, even though it’s not at all possible or scientific, I felt the baby in my belly.  I felt protective and very aware that I was now a miraculous construction site. And I felt like a mom again (this is the weird one, because I never stopped being a mom to Josie???).

superhero

Then I made an important decision: I chose to really live it all. 

From now until MAY I will:

  • Embrace the good and the bad of pregnancy: Crying at the drop of a hat?   Feeling extra hungry or tired?  Right on.  Nauseous?  I guess.  Remembering how amazing it is that I’m growing a human?  Yes.  Always yes.
  • Give myself grace in fatigue: Being pregnant isn’t the only thing we’ve got going on in our lives! We’ve recently moved into a new house, my full-time job, an impending job-change for Ryan, family and friends.  And most importantly, we’ve got Josie and a marriage to focus on!  So I’ll forgive myself every night when I’m in bed by 8 because I’ve given all I’ve got to a growing baby and all of the above.
  • Love my body: Even though I know that I’ll just feel and look chubby the first several months before the cute bump comes. Even though my workouts won’t be as satisfying as before, if I can even
    lisagraft.com
    lisagraft.com

    muster up the energy to work out at all. Even though I will pee more often than I thought humanly possible and shower way less than socially acceptable.  I’m a baby-growing goddess.

pregnant-or-fat

These declarations are just as important as the diet change, the gender reveal and packing the hospital bags.  This is self-care at its most impactful – in the body, mind, and spirit.  And self-care not just for my sake, but for the sake of those closest to me. And for the sake of the one who is growing in my belly. 

My New Favorite Christmas Song Will Rock Your World

This.

This is my Christmas Power Anthem.  I’m one of those Christmas criers.  From about November 10th through mid-January, I’ll cry at the drop of a hat when it comes to anything Christmas-related.  And here’s why:  During the Christmas season I’m reminded at every turn how grateful I am for so many things in my life.  And I’m looking more clearly at the joys (and pains) in other’s lives as well.

Noel, Noel

Come and see what God has done

Noel, Noel

The story of amazing love!

The light of the world, given for us

Noel

As I reflect over our year of transitions and changes, I’m remembering that through hard days/weeks and peaceful ones, God really blessed us beyond what we could have imagined.

Come and See What God Has Done:

  • A New House: we waited over 18 months in a “short sale” for this house we really wanted! And a week after we found out we wouldn’t be able to get it, we found this house in our adjacent neighborhood and were able to snag is sans realtor before it even went on the market.
  • A New Baby: Sure, I’m still growing it, but we are super pumped for Josie’s little brother or sister to rock our worlds! I seriously can. not. wait. to watch Josie interact with this new tiny one.
  • A New Job for Ryan: As I’m writing this in late November, we are still waiting on this to be an answered prayer. But Ryan was able to work from home a lot during his final days at his old job, and even got extended 2 months, which helped take the pressure off of the job search.  We’re confident the right job will come along.
  • A New Opportunity: I knew for a while that I’d wanted to start a blog, and here we are. But I was also looking for other opportunities to share my desire to encourage women!  Low and behold, I walked right into a co-hosting gig on a new radio show on the most listened-to station in Indianapolis!  Say whaaaaaat?!?!
  • A New Clarity in Calling: Ryan and I went through a workshop called Clarity in Calling with my awesome cousin Robbie, and that really helped us identify and verbalize the situations in which we thrive! (Me: storytelling!  Ryan: project work!)  This has led to great discussions in our marriage about the future and also helps us understand each other better.
  • Family: Our families are the best ever. Tons of support and love.  Tons.  The best ever.  Did I mention they are the best ever?
  • Josie: I mean, just everything. Our little thrill-seeker.  Her highs are high and her lows are low, but oh my goodness, I can’t put into words the ridiculous emotions I feel for this girl.  And watching her with her Daddy has my heart exploding.

It’s possible I could go on and on, especially in thinking about our FAMILY and FRIENDS!  The Story of Amazing Love! 

Merry Christmas season to you, my friend!