Self Care: dry brushing

Some of my favorite self care steps literally take 2 minutes. It’s all these little things you can do throughout the day (or once a week/month) that add up to SUCH big changes! Dry brushing is one of those things that’ll help both short term and long term. 

So, why dry brushing?

You brush your hair, you brush your teeth, and you should also be brushing your skin! It has major benefits including smoother skin and lymphatic drainage. Every time you dry brush, you’re getting rid of SO many dead skin cells that are just sitting there. Exfoliating dead skin is going to help the appearance and bring to the surface that new skin sitting underneath it. Just like exfoliating your face (which you should also be doing!), but we’ll talk about that another time. Also, your lymphatic system is directly related to your body’s immune system. Your lymph system is made up of lymph nodes, ducts, and vessels that all help to transport lymph through your system. These lymph vessels sit just below the skin and regular dry brushing can help keep the flow of this system going through the body. It’s a completely natural way to help detox your body! I don’t know about you, but anytime I come across something that helps your body and your systems detox, I am ALL ABOUT IT. 

How do  you do it?

 Dry brushing should always be done TOWARD your heart. I do it before every shower right in the shower so any dead skin I’m brushing off just falls there. I start at my feet and do long upward strokes up my body. My routine is...feet to knees, knees to thighs, butt & hips, hands to elbows, elbows to shoulders. Sometimes I also do my stomach in a counter clockwise direction (this is the direction your digestive system works). And if Mike is around I’ll have him do my back, which is the only exception to the direction. Your back should be done from the neck down to your lower back. SO easy. Like I said, this usually takes less than 2 minutes, and look at all of the benefits! 

This is the brush I use. It’s small and comes with a little bag, so it’s easy to stash away or throw in a bag if you’re traveling. 

After dry brushing and showering, I always finish my body off with oils! I’ve always been an oily person over a lotion person. Even when I was younger I’d use Baby Oil over lotion as my daily moisturizer, (but obvs NEVER out in the sun!) 

+ favs for after shower are Young Living’s Cel-lite Magic Massage Oil, Sensation Massage Oil, or I’ll just use a pump of fractionated coconut oil and add a drop or two of an essential oil!

 

 

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Self Care: count your steps!

I’ve always been pretty big on self care, but after having so much trouble getting pregnant with Capri, I really stepped up my game. I started researching WAY more about cleaner products, and ways to keep toxins out of our home as much as possible. Exposure to toxins can really mess with your hormones, and we really had no answers as to why I couldn’t hold onto a pregnancy, so I figured that was a great place to start. I always have lots of people interested in what I do and products I’ve turned to, so I wanted to start talking more about self care. 

First up, and one of the first things I really started doing for self care after Capri was born is count your steps! When she was about 4 weeks old, I started doing this again (I’ve don’t this for years and through my pregnancy as well). There are SO many types of pedometers out there now, so grab one and start counting! I use an Apple Watch, but have previously used a Fitbit. My mom has the Garmin and loves that because it doesn’t have to be charged!

I set a goal of 10,000 steps a day for myself, and also try to have 2-3 days a week where my goal is 15,000. I know every mom probably thinks between chasing kids around and doing daily chores, that you’re getting enough steps in, but I’m telling you, you’re probably not! I HAVE to be proactive and moving a LOT during the day to get those 10,000 in. This helps me SO much with staying motivated and moving all day. I have some days where it’s shitty weather and I’m just not running around between inside, outside, playgrounds, beach, etc., and I take a look at my steps and I’m at 1,200 at 2pm. Uhhh what!  Especially on those days I MAKE sure to take 30-40 minutes and hit the treadmill. Another rule I use is that I have to hit my steps before dinner time. I’ve had a few times I was so motivated to hit my goal that I’d be walking circles around my kitchen island at 10 pm. How dumb is that? Walking around your kitchen island isn’t BEING ACTIVE. So, I try to keep my steps more as something to keep me motivated and moving throughout the day. Not just a goal I want to attain by walking through my house at the end of the night.  But, if you like to get a workout in at night, that works too! I just rarely work out after I’ve eaten dinner.

Just a great way to stay motivated and take care of yourself, especially after having a babe! Don’t over think it or stress if you don’t hit a number! So easy!

+some fav oils I like to incorporate into my workouts....Lemon oil in my water, and peppermint oil on the back of my neck! 

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Capri Lou’s Birth Story

Capri’s actual due date was January 28 - my Dad’s birthday. I think he was excited at the thought of sharing his birthday with this new grand baby. I TOLD everyone her due date was February 1. I wanted to push it out a little because I dread as your due date is approaching and everyone starts calling and texting asking if the baby is here yet!  

I really wanted this to be a natural birth. I spent the last few months of my pregnancy reading all I could about natural births and hypnobirthing. I read about how we are the only mammal that looks at childbirth as being painful. Have you ever watched a dog, or cow give birth?  There is no sense of pain in their experience at all. However, dogs and cows DO know what pain is. They are just able to relax their bodies and do exactly what nature had intended for them to do. I was certain that I could do that exact same thing and allow my body to do what it was built to do. I meditated, practiced breathing techniques, and continued to exercise right up to the end of my pregnancy. I researched essential oils and which oils could be helpful in all aspects of labor - before, during and after.  

We had a doctors appointment the morning of the 27th and decided to do a membrane sweep to see if we could get things moving along for some personal reasons and things we had going on at the time. The doctor told me to try and stay active throughout the day to help keep things moving as well. I was so anxious to get things going and ended up walking about 5 miles total on the treadmill, and we also made a family trip to Walmart to let Everly look through the toy section!  Throughout dinner time I started having very light contractions about 10 minutes apart pretty consistently, but not at all painful. My inlaws made the trip up to spend the night since we were fairly sure the baby would be coming soon and we had someone to be with Everly. We went to bed that night hoping they would not see us when they woke up in the morning.

Around 2am I woke up to contractions that were painful enough that I couldn’t fall back asleep, but that I was breathing through completely fine without being too uncomfortable. From 2-3 I timed my contractions being about 5 minutes apart and lasting for about a minute each. I was certain it was pre labor and if we went to the hospital I would just get sent home. Looking back, I’m not sure why I thought that! Maybe because my contractions with Everly leading up to labor were much more painful and intense. But with Everly, my water had broke (which can tend to make contractions more painful), and I also hadn’t practiced any breathing techniques or really prepared myself for labor at all. Around 3am, I woke up Mike and told him we should probably head to the hospital. He showered and we were at the hospital and in our room by 4am. 

After monitoring my contractions and the baby’s heartbeat for a bit, I was finally able to get into the tub around 5am. My hospital had tubs in every room that you could get into to labor which I had heard could be helpful for getting through contractions. As I got into the tub, the nurse made sure we had everything we needed and said to let her know if I felt an urge to push at all. I was only about 5cm dilated as I got in the tub, so I assumed I would labor there for a bit. I sat on my knees in the tub and put my head down on my forearms through the first contraction. It was a tough one to get through, so I repositioned myself to my back. As I got through the next contraction, at the very end of it, I felt my body do the smallest push. We decided to call the nurse to let her know.

The nurse was in the bathroom almost immediately after we had called and said to get out!  As I was standing in the bathroom, Mike and the nurse were drying me off and another contraction came on. This one was extremely intense and I could feel my body pushing throughout the entire contraction. I had completely lost control of my body and it was taking over and doing exactly what it was supposed to. The nurse instructed me to stop pushing and I told her I couldn’t. She looked at Mike with a little bit of a worried look and said to him “we need to get her in the bed.” I sensed her urgency and took one glance at the bed and got myself in the bed and onto my back. About 30 seconds later another contraction came on strong and my body once again took over and started pushing on its own. The nurses instructed me to breathe through it and it would help my body to stop pushing. I did my best. 

I looked up and my Doctor was rushing in. She took one look at me and said “this baby is coming on the next contraction.” The nurses were frantically changing sheets and blankets and setting everything up for this baby’s arrival. I looked to Mike and he had a look of shock, amazement, excitement, and overwhelming emotion on his face. Next thing I knew the contraction had started and everyone was cheering me on to push. Seconds later the pressure was gone and I could see my baby! She was placed on my stomach immediately and Mike came right up to be by our side.  

TRUTH: natural birth was not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. To be real, the worst part was after labor when the nurses would push down on my stomach to be sure everything had come out and they continued to push to get all of the blood out. If we have a third baby, will I do it again?  Absolutely!!!

ESSENTIAL OILS: I had all my oils packed I wanted before we left for the hospital. As soon as contractions started, I would apply Clary Sage to the bottom part of my belly (this can help contractions progress). As soon as we got to the hospital, I had Clary Sage and Patchoulli diffusing in the room. It’s a very earthy, grounding combination that I knew I wanted. Each time I diffuse this now it takes me right back to Capri’s birth. I diffused White Angelica for he remainder of the time I was in the hospital. It’s my absolute FAVORITE scent and reminds me of angels. I used Claraderm spray “down there” a few times a day to help the healing process begin. It’s a blend of oils that help reinvigorate skin and relieve irritation.  I brought along another fav - the tranquil roller.  But, decided against using it because the first few days with my new babe I just decided I didn’t want any oils directly on my skin. Any skin to skin bonding time we had, I wanted her to spend getting to know me and my scent with no distractions. I have no idea if this is a thing, or even something that can happen....just what made sense to me in my situation and what I was looking for!

For more info on oils or if you’re interested in getting started using them, check out the oils tab! 

 

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heartache & baby loss

I've always considered starting a blog.  Ever since having my daughter about four years ago, I've had friends and family always say I should have one.  Just a place to document pictures, share stories and stuff we've been up to lately.  The past two years have been rough.  When my daughter was two, we started trying for our second baby.  Since then, we've experienced three miscarriages, and are still trying to get pregnant.  I feel a calling now more than ever to share our story and our journey.  

Three babies lost, three babies in heaven, three separate heartaches.  

I never thought I would be here in this position, or sharing this kind of story, but here I sit.  I had my first little girl the first month we tried.  No issues, a textbook pregnancy, and a perfectly healthy baby.  We waited until she turned two to start trying for our next.  I wanted some time between my babies.  After all, she still was (and still is) my baby.  It’s been a little over two years since we started trying, and we have gone through a loss on three different occasions. 

This is never the story that I would have picked, but I have learned to find the beauty in the work that God has done. When you have such a fierce love for something, and it is taken away from you, it shatters you into a million pieces. If you’re able to pick those pieces back up and put them together, somehow you’re different. I am forever grateful for the way He has changed us through our experiences.

I was so oblivious and just thought this part of our story would be easy.

Two years later, three miscarriages, and a lot of heartache and tears – and my story has changed. I kept it all inside for a while. I figured after the first miscarriage that this happens to so many women, I’ll probably be pregnant in no time, and no one even needs to know this happened. After the continuous struggles we’ve had, the only thing that helps now is to talk about it. When you’ve had a miscarriage, or even worse, multiple miscarriages, you’re on an emotional rollercoaster.  Every month.  You have so many emotions you are dealing with – heartache, shock, grief, disbelief, disappointment, confusion, anger.  That’s a lot to deal with on your own.  

Please keep in mind, I am only speaking from my personal experience. I can’t imagine what any other momma’s or momma’s-to-be are going through, and everyone’s story is different. Everyone has different struggles or obstacles they may be facing on their own. What I do know, is whether you are trying for your first, second, or fifth – it’s hard…I know.  We all have our own story, and we all have something that bonds us.  That is why I’m here today writing about this – we are bonded.  

The hardest part is the feeling of being alone.

I know I’m NOT alone. I know that. We are one in four. My husband is one of the most caring men in the world. He puts my daughter and me first – above all. He’s the guy who texts all of my best friends on their birthdays before I even have a chance to.  He’s caring and thoughtful.

When the losses happened, of course he was upset. But he also had to continue on with life. There was no physical attachment and he had no idea how I felt. I had already figured out my due date, thought of how wonderful my daughter would be with a sibling, downloaded pregnancy apps onto my phone…you know the drill. But, maybe he was grieving in a different way on his own, while also trying to stay strong for me. And be there for my daughter on those days I couldn’t peel myself out of bed. 

The most comforting thing I found was a friend.

A friend I knew had also gone through a miscarriage. I finally opened up to her about what I was going through. There is something that bonds us now. An understanding of what we have gone through and how hard it really is. We shared our stories and our emotions, raw and unfiltered. I realized how healing it was for me to share my own experiences.

Before I had started this journey, anytime I heard of someone having a loss, of course I felt terrible. How awful that must be. But, I also knew how common it was and always tried to stay positive for them. After having one myself, I realized it’s so much more than that. It’s not just sad, or hard. It’s devastating. Whether it happens at 4 weeks, 6 weeks, or 10 weeks – it’s devastating. 

Where we are now…

We have had every test done possible. Everything is normal. Everything is normal.  We have no answers. We see a fertility specialist and are trying a few new things. It’s a long road. It’s a road of trial and error. A few months trying one thing with no results….a few months trying the next thing with no results. Of course, our insurance doesn’t cover any fertility treatments, so it’s also an expensive road.

I’ve also done a lot of my own research, eliminating any of the possibilities that I DO have control over. We’ve changed our diet, minimized toxins from our home, made changes to regulate and support hormones, eliminated caffeine, and many others. I could go on and on with google searches, articles and testimonies that have kept me up night after night until all hours in the morning.

If everything else fails, you can still have hope.

It took me a long time to get here, but what I’m left with at this point is hope. There is no right or wrong way to feel, and there’s no time limit put on how long you’ll feel the way you do. But, allow yourself to have hope. It’s ok to grieve, it’s ok to be angry, it’s ok to ask questions, and it’s ok to ask for second opinions. But don’t lose hope – our bodies are absolutely amazing things. You have to believe at some point the stars will align, the timing will be right, and things will work out exactly when they’re supposed to.

If you’ve managed to read this to the end, thank you for being here and allowing me to share my story. Share this with anyone you think might benefit from it. Get in touch with me personally if there’s anything you want to share, or any questions you have. And lastly, good luck to each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. I hope you can find the strength to get through your journey and remain hopeful for your redemption.

I'm hoping this blog can be an outlet for me.  My place to share what we've gone through, and hopefully my place to share my happy ending.  These are the days.