The “Non-Hack” That Will Completely Change Your Social Media Habits

 

I can always tell the days that I have spent too much time on social media (ahem.. *Facebook*)…

My brain is foggy.

It’s harder to concentrate.

I’m unmotivated.

I’m often grumpy and irritable.

And yet my thumb still reaches for that tiny blue square.

Why?

Is it because I’m lazy? Or I just want to ignore my kids? Maybe I need better screen time limits for myself?

Could it be because I’m *addicted*?

It seems everywhere you go online right now, you’re being told to get offline. The harm of being connected 24/7 and overusing screens is well known.

So why is it so hard to put the phone down.. and leave it there?

No, you’re not addicted to your phone

The dictionary definition of “addicted” is physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects.

So, I don’t know, maybe you are addicted. However, for most of us, I think “addicted” has become a catch all term that both undermines serious addiction and is entirely unhelpful when it comes to the phone problem.

The real problem

So then what? Why does my hand grab my phone and without even seemingly thinking, press that icon and start scrolling?

Habit.

Here’s the thing, our brains love habit. Forget the path less traveled, our brains love the path well worn. Habit is the reason you can drive home while your mind is on a completely different topic and the reason you do a million other little things without even thinking about it.

Our brains love the well trodden path of the familiar. And, lets be honest, they are naturally a little lazy. If you have a brain that automatically would choose reading a heavy book over zoning out on Facebook – I want to know your secret!

Then, once you add in the fact that our brains love rewards, you’ve cemented that habit firmly in place. Cute cat video? Awww.. *burst of dopamine in the brain* Answer a question from a friend? I feel helpful! *burst of dopamine in the brain*

While scrolling social media, our brains *think* they are doing something, but in reality they aren’t. The well worn path is combined with positive feedback. We are stuck treading the same path without giving it much of a thought at all.

And when we do try and forge off path, it feels strange and unfamiliar. Our brains just want to get back on the normal track.

The solution

So what’s the solution then? How do we get off that path and forge a new one?

Well, this is where I have some bad news for you. There is no list of “5 easy hacks” to forming new habits. Forming habits is work. Often hard work.

A “hack” tells you to put a blocker on your phone or put it somewhere out of sight. A “hack” tells you to set limits for yourself. And while these hacks can sometimes be helpful, the problems is they do little to change the way our brains interact with our phones. 

We notice this when the time limit is up, the blocker is removed, and the phone is back in our hands. We fall right back into old habits.

But the thing about recognizing the power of your habits is that change is doable. The word habit doesn’t have the kind of negativity attached to it that “addiction” does, so you are already one step ahead in the mental battle.

You can build new habits.

You have a choice. 

Imagine you are at a fork in the road.

To the right is your current habit. The path is clear of obstructions. The road is level, the footing sure. It is easy to start down that path.

To the left, however, is new terrain. The path is so overgrown you can hardly see it is there. You can set down this path, but it’s going to take some ground work. However, the good news is, once that path is clear, you’ll have a new habit and a new easy path to tread.

5 “Non-Hacks” to build a new habit

So, I don’t have a hack for you, but I do have some ideas to get you started. We’ll call them “non-hacks.”

#1 A well worn path is well traveled

There is a reason they say that it takes 30 days to build a new habit. In order for your new path to be worn, you have to break it in. The more you walk that path, the more you clear it, the easier it will be to walk the next time.

Keep going. Or in this case, keep stopping. Stop posting, stop clicking, and stop scrolling. Go another way.

And when you inevitably turn down the old path, turn around and jump back on the new. Over and over and over.

#2 Replace old with new

If you wanted to improve your diet, you wouldn’t just get rid of the junk food. If you want to succeed with your new eating habits, you would also replace the junk food with new good food.

The same concept applies.

If you are going to change your phone habits, you need a replacer.

Now, there are a ton of things you can be doing instead of using your phone, but for the purpose of habit building you are going to want to pick something that is two things: 1) Simple and 2) Enjoyable.

Back to the diet example. If you are replacing your ice cream with something that is complicated to make and you don’t even like, what are the odds that you are going to stop eating ice cream? Not likely.

Pick a replacer that is easy to bounce your mind to. Instead of continuing to scroll, it might look like…

  • Reading a page or two from an enjoyable book
  • Telling a joke to your kids
  • Refilling your drink cup with something yummy
  • Turning on some uplifting music

The important thing is to keep it simple and just start with one, easy to remember replacer. Think of it like redirecting your toddler: “No, no, we can’t throw the blocks, but here is a ball you can throw.” The replacer gives just enough distraction to redirect your focus. The more you do the replacer instead, the less the other habit will have a hold on your brain.

#3 Find your triggers

One thing I’ve noticed is that there are certain triggers that cause me to more easily go to zoning out on Facebook. Things like being tired, bored, or overwhelmed. When you can recognize certain things that drive you towards zoning out on a screen, it is easier to fix the root cause.

Are you tired? Take a break that will refresh you.

I don’t know how many times I’ve sat down because I’m tired and zoned out on Facebook, leaving me more tired. Closing my eyes for ten minutes could have actually solved the real problem.

Are you overwhelmed? Face the feeling head on.

When I’m overwhelmed I often like to hide. If I can’t choose what to tackle first on the mile long to do list, I’ll just avoid everything. No matter how many times this backfires, it is still somehow a temptation! Resist it. Pray and then get after that to do list.

These are just a couple of my personal triggers. We all have different ones, but the point remains the same. The more you recognize them, the easier it gets to deal with them. 

#4 Focus on the real FOMO

Speaking of triggers, once I started realizing mine I found one that seems kinda silly. But that’s the thing about triggers, even if they’re silly, they still do their thing.

Maybe you can relate though?

I found out I struggle with a serious case of social media FOMO.

Fear of missing out.

I would find myself wondering…

What’s going on on Facebook?

I wonder if anyone commented on my Instagram post?

I’m just going to check this group real quick to see if anyone needs anything…

As silly as it seems, the online world never seems to sleep and I was always wondering if there was something going on that I needed to know about.

Thankfully, once I realized this was a problem for me, I found a pretty easy solution.

Redirect the FOMO. Look at what is right in front of you.

I asked myself…

Do I want to miss out on a Facebook comment, or my baby’s sweet giggles?

Do I want to miss out on an interesting article, or my son’s cool Lego creation?

Do I want to miss out on what so and so is up to on Instagram, or miss out on a conversation with my husband over dinner?

Now, that’s some real FOMO.

#5 Find new rewards

I was reading a book completely unrelated to screen time, and it had one little snippet that wasn’t even the focus of that section of the book (It was The Law’s Guide to Nature Journaling and Drawing btw – great book!). But that one little snippet totally caught my attention.

It said that the sense of wonder we get when we discover something new about the world gives us a release of dopamine in our brains. 

That got me thinking.. if that gives us a dopamine punch, what else does?!

And if we can choose other activities that release dopamine, can we retrain our screen time loving brains to go after those things instead?

Why not?!

Here’s a list of some things that can give you a dopamine kick:

  • Doing something creative
  • Discovering something new
  • Exercising
  • Having a healthy snack
  • Listening to music (combine with exercise for a dance party – my favorite!)
  • Have some *special time* with your husband 😉
  • Check something off your to do list
  • Spend time in prayer
  • Go outside in nature

Pick some of those to focus on and retrain your brain to find pleasure in these good habits!

You got this!

Alright, it’s time to start putting this stuff into action. This might not be easy, but it is so so worth it. Since I have started figuring out these things and putting them to practice, I haven’t gotten perfect (I’m still building these habits myself!) but it has gotten so much better. And the benefits of spending less time in front of a screen are endless.

Before you know it, you’ll be looking back and realizing you just went hours or even the whole day without the urge to pop onto your phone “real quick.”

Two more resources that have immensely helped me navigate this are have been the book Plug-In Drug by Marie Winn and this article by Hands Free Mama. Highly recommend both!

I’d love to know how you are doing in building these new habits, so leave a comment, shoot me an email, or come hang out on the Steadfast Family Facebook page (hey, the nice thing about building these habits is you have control over spending some time on social media, cause it isn’t all bad!)

One last thing for you, I made this fun flow chart to help you start thinking through how you are spending your time on social media and the triggers that drive you there. I hope it helps to give you some ideas!

(Click on the image below to open a PDF)

Happy habit building!

The Hidden Blessing of a Full Life

The Hidden Blessing of a Full Life

As I flopped into bed, exhausted, I lay there thinking of all the things a left undone. Yet another day had passed, busting at the seams. Filled with highs and lows. Responsibilities, routines, and even some excitement.

I sighed, trying to figure out what I would need to prioritize tomorrow. “Life is crazy,” I thought. “Will it ever slow down?” My days felt like a never ending to-do list.

I was frustrated. I am someone who generally prefers the slow, simple life. However, this kind of life seemed to have disappeared lately. Replaced with early mornings, late nights, and a whole lot stuffed in between.

Frankly, in that moment, I had a little bit of a bad attitude.

But, then it hit me, life isn’t just this crazy mess I was portraying to myself. Yes, our days were full. Very full. However, they were bursting at the seams with good. And if I looked close enough, I just might see what’s really there…

The Hidden Blessing of a Full Life Days full of baby snuggles, interspersed with the delight of a child over a simple tower of blocks or a splash in a rain puddle.

Time that was sacrificed for friends. One helped to move across town. Another over for dinner last minute. Plus lots of spontaneous playdates among the kids.

Meals were cooked with little hands alongside. Walks around the block were taken, with stops every 20 feet to look at the scenery.

Small hearts were shaped through tantrums and chores, kisses and hugs, and silly giggles. And, of course, lots of pointing to Jesus.

Hidden Blessing of a full life

Sure, the bathroom (still) didn’t get cleaned. And routines were once again derailed, though my intentions were there. Lunch was mac-n-cheese from a box.

There may have been moments of anger, frustration, and exhaustion. There were moments I wish could have been skipped and time I wish I could reclaim.

But still, life is so rich. So good. So full of the sweet moments. Moments that will pass you by without a second glance if all you are doing is focusing on the crazy and wondering if you’ll ever get to take a nap again.

The Hidden Blessing of a Full Life

It is these moments I want to keep my focus on. Because, yes, times of peace and rest are so important, but how we view the other, not so peaceful times of life is what determines how we feel about our days. And even the hard moments can be bittersweet and full of good, if they cause us to lean more heavily on our Savior.

The Hidden Blessing of a Full Life

So, instead, as my head lays on the pillow, I choose to redirect my thoughts. I lay aside the mental to do list for the night and thank God for the good he has surrounded me with. Thankful for his grace, once again, carrying me through another day.

What I’m Into {August 2015}

I guess I’m on the every other schedule for “What I’m Into” – I did April, skipped May, got June, missed July, and now I’m back again for August!

August was a great month! Finished our 2 week road trip and have spent a lot of time finding new routines to keep us on track, but are still flexible for life with a baby.

Here we go…

What I’m Watching

1935424-leverage_wallpaper_cast_01_1024x768

While we wait for Fall programming to return, we turned to Netflix once again for our evening entertainment. We have been enjoying watching Leverage, a show about a misfit band of con artists that have decided to use their skills to help out people who have been taken advantage of. Although sometimes the episodes get a little formulaic, overall it is a really fun show to watch.

 

What I’m Reading

I’ve been trying to incorporate chapter books into our read-alouds lately, so we’ve been reading Charlotte’s Web. Although sometimes it goes over his head, K has really been enjoying it.

I received this awesome book to review for Sheila of To Love, Honor, And Vacuum. I love it! You can find the review here

What I’m Loving

  • Seeing baby J’s personality come out
  • Watching how well K cares for his baby brother
  • Having theological conversations with a three year old
  • Making headway on household organization
  • This amazing teething toy (baby J is an early teether like his brother!)
  • Rearranging furniture

What I’m Instagramming

IMG_7325At my Grandparent’s during our road trip

IMG_7594

Goofy boys!

IMG_7538

Teething baby not interested in being in the Ergo

IMG_7569

A series of conversations led to K professing faith in Jesus! We partied!

IMG_7661

“He likes it like this mom!”

IMG_7685

A surprise trip to visit my uncle who was on a business trip nearby

IMG_7692

Cuteness overload!

Come join me on Instagram!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this month! What are you into right now?

 This post is linked up with What I’m Into at Leigh Kramer
Affiliate links included. Thank you for using your purchases to help support Simple Life. Messy Life.

The Treadmill of Mothering Small Children

The Treadmill of Mothering Small

The afternoon felt like I was stuck in that movie Groundhog’s Day.

At this point my 8 week old was starting to fall into some semblance of predictable routines. He woke for the day around the same time, stayed up for a while, cat napped the rest of the morning, and then usually took a longer nap around 1 or 2.

At about 1:30 it seemed pretty obvious that he was getting tired and needed to take that longer nap. I finished up lunch and started looking forward to spending the afternoon catching up on house work (bad move – never count those chickens!).

Then began the seemingly endless cycle. Nurse, rock, lay down baby. Try to start working on something. Baby wakes up 10 minutes later. Play with smiley baby, rock cranky baby, nurse again, lay down. Baby wakes up 3 minutes later. Rock baby. Baby falls asleep in arms. Moments before attempting the lay down baby’s eyes open wide and he smiles as if to say “gotcha.”

IMG_6907

Oh, you thought I was sleeping, mom? 

I tried retreating to the bedroom, where he does such a good job sleeping at night. I rocked. I nursed. I set him in his bed. Happy, sleepy, and sucking on a paci.

I ran downstairs and cleaned the dining room for 15 minutes like a mad woman while listening to my baby cry over the monitor. Mom guilt crept in (I never let big brother cry like that this young!).

I climbed the stairs to the bedroom and peeked over the side of the crib. My good natured little boy smiled at the sight of his mommy. He wanted to be happy and play, but what he really needed was sleep. I tried one more time.

Rock.

Nurse.

Rock.

He drifted off to sleep.

Eyes pop open. “Just kidding mom!

It was 4 pm. I finally gave up.

I carried him downstairs and big brother entertained him in the swing while I managed to finish washing the dishes.

DSC_4391

But who could be mad at this face?

I had begun the work of cleaning the kitchen that morning when I started unloading the dishwasher at breakfast…

…and had finished just in time to start cooking dinner.

Sometimes life with little ones feels like a treadmill. Walking and walking, but going nowhere.

Like life is on repeat. Feed, clothe, soothe. Discipline, teach, correct. Walk, walk, walk – still in the same place.

IMG_7081

Didn’t I just feed you?

So often it feels like there is so much I want to do in life, but instead I spend the day just getting the bare minimum done. If that.

But is that really the case?

Let’s rewind this day back to the beginning again.

The day began with a late start due to extra morning snuggles with my two little boys. (Pouring into K’s love language – physical touch)

I fed my son breakfast, read him his Bible, and helped him with some preschool activities (Enriching his body, spirit, and mind)

I spent the afternoon caring for a baby who needed a little extra TLC. (Meeting his need for attachment and teaching him that mommy loves him, hears him, and can be trusted)

IMG_7134

Sleepy snuggles while doing computer work? Could life get any better?

All that and I managed to do the dishes? I’ll call that a win.

It’s all in your perspective.

That.. and a lot of grace.

 

Affiliate links included. Thank you for using your purchases to help support Simple Life. Messy Life.

IBG Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum

Dear Mom of a Newborn…

Dear Mom of a Newborn

Dear Mom of a Newborn,

It gets easier.

I promise.

You’re sitting there, feeling pain in places you didn’t know you even had, holding this tiny being that completely depends on you, and you’re wondering. Wondering what life will look like now. Wondering how you’re going to balance it all. Wondering if you’ll ever get to take a shower that lasts longer than 2 minutes again.

Mama. I get it.

And you know what?

You’ll figure it out.

As my second baby is now ending his newborn phase I experienced all these thoughts for the second time around.

DSC_4292

“How will I get anything done with two to care for?”

“Will my house always look like a tornado just came through?”

“Will I ever get to take a shower for more than 2 minutes again?!”

“And where is child #1?”

However, from the haze of the first few weeks, months, I have emerged. And you know what?

It got easier.

We have good days. We have bad days. But we’re figuring out our new rhythm.

Because that’s life. It gets hard. Then it gets easier. Then it’s hard and easy at the same time. It’s up and down and all over the place. But there is nothing that life can throw at you that you can’t take.

DSC_4283

So we adjust.

We finally figure out how to nurse the baby with only one hand.

We learn to get the basics done as soon as we lay the baby down for a nap. Because who knows if we have 2 minutes or 2 hours.

We corral the older sibling in a nearby area so we can keep an eye on him.

We celebrate the small things – getting through the grocery store in one piece, sleeping in ever increasing increments, finally getting to take that shower.

So, as you sit there and cradle that tiny little one, please know. You got this. You will have days when it doesn’t seem that way. And on those days you’ll need to lean hard into the strength of the Savior. Kiss those sweet baby toes and pray a prayer to just get through another day.

Version 2

Then. One day you’ll wake up and realize. You’ve found your new normal.

You’ve got this Mama.

Finding Balance in Your Life

Even though I knew it was coming, adding child number two to the mix threw my normal routines all out of wack. Before I knew it, life felt like a giant to-do list mountain that I would never scale. I knew that I was going to have to make some changes if I was going to survive – let alone thrive!

Enjoy Your Life eCourse

Then, just as I was beginning this process for myself, I learned about Kayse’s Enjoy Your Life e-course. Perfect timing!

As I read through the daily e-mails, it was like Kayse was speaking directly to me! With her gentle and encouraging style, she led me through the steps of ordering my days in order to thrive in the stage of life I am currently living.

Enjoy Your Life eCourse

One of the best parts about this course is that it is not just a list of steps on how to plan out your days. In between the practical advice, Kayse weaves Biblical wisdom, encouragement, and a heavy dose of grace. She teaches you how to add margin into your life so that you can not only tackle the to-do list, but also carve in some “me time” too! It’s like a breath of fresh air!

Does this sound like something you would be interested in? Then I know you will be blessed by this e-course!

Enjoy Your Life eCourse

Enrollment opens on Monday August 10! You can also sign up here to be notified as soon as registration opens.  If you sign up sooner, you’ll be able to get some AMAZING discounts.

Monday (launch day) looks like this:

  • 12:01am – 5am PST: Only $7!
  • 5:01am – 10am PST: Only $9!
  • 10:01am – 3pm PST: Only $11!
  • 3:01pm – 8pm PST: Only $13!
  • 8:01 pm – 11:59pm PST: Only $15!

Plus, everyone who buys the course on the first day will be entered to win a $200 gift card to Erin Condren!

On Tuesday, the course will return to the full price of $17.99. This is still a great deal because just look at what you get:

  • 10 days of brand new content, delivered right to your inbox each day.
  • An exclusive course pack of printable worksheets to help you get your thoughts and plans on paper.
  • Access to a private Facebook group where you can find others on the journey, share ideas, ask questions, and be encouraged.
  • A beautiful printable for you to frame as a daily inspiration.

Kayse will also be running giveaways on her blog all week!

I highly encourage you to go check it out! And if you take the course please let me know about your experience – I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

What I’m Into – June 2015

With the craziness that comes from welcoming a newborn into the world I didn’t get to writing a May edition of “What I’m Into.” I love reading and writing these silly little life updates so I’m glad to be back with an update for June!

What I’m Watching…

All the Spring finales have long passed and we are in the thick of boring summer programming. So, we have turned to Netflix and Amazon Prime for most of our evening entertainment and weekend binge watching while my hubby catches up on work.

suits-series

Although my hubby and I tend to primarily enjoy crime drama together, we couldn’t find anything else that looked great a while back so we decided to restart Suits (we had watched it for a while back when it first started). We are caught up now and currently recording the current season. It is kinda fun to watch something different – although the “lawyer speak” sometimes goes over my head! I think the one downfall of this show is that sometimes the drama goes a little bit overboard.

Chuck

When we finished Suits, we decided to resurrect an oldie but goodie – Chuck. We watched Chuck way back when it originally aired, but it’s been fun re-watching because we forgot most of the details of what happened. Plus, I absolutely love this genre – comedy + drama. The only other show like it that I’ve watched is one of my all-time favorites, Psych. Why aren’t there more shows out there like this? Am I missing some hidden gems?

 

anw

 

K was introduced to ANW a while back and immediately fell in love! He thinks it is awesome and is convinced that he is going to be a Ninja Warrior someday. We don’t watch a lot of “reality TV”, but we have been enjoying the current season of ANW together. That’s a major score because it is so hard to find something that the whole family enjoys watching!

What I’m Reading

 

bpsb

We’ve been keeping our Bible time low-key this Summer for simplicities sake. Every morning we’ve been reading from The Big Picture Story Bible (I picked it up at the library). I really want to love this storybook Bible. It is very similar to the Jesus Storybook Bible, but easier for littler kids to understand. However, as I’m reading it, one moment I’m thinking “this is great” and the next I’m thinking “this just doesn’t work for some reason.” I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I think it’s because in trying to give the “big picture” it leaves out too many details of the individual stories.

What I’m Loving

  • Kissing chubby baby cheeks
  • Baby coos and smiles
  • Hearing K read to me
  • Rearranging the living room furniture
  • Two words: AIR CONDITIONING

What I’m Instagramming

 IMG_6282

Chubby baby.

IMG_6071

Brother love.

IMG_6434

Baby kisses.

IMG_6414

Math lessons.

IMG_6299

Goofy little boy.

IMG_6838

Going shopping with two little helpers.

Come join me on Instagram!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this month! What are you into right now?

 This post is linked up with What I’m Into at Leigh Kramer

Baby J’s Birth Story

 

J birth story

I had a feeling this one would come early.

I didn’t dare say it out loud for fear of jinxing myself. But part of me just knew (or maybe it was just really strong hope!) he would make an appearance soon.

I really didn’t want to be induced again, so I was praying this little one would make his or her way into the world before that was necessary.

We were all as ready as we could be and not knowing the gender made it even more exciting. We wanted to meet this baby!

IMG_5768

Tuesday morning I had my 39 week appointment (I was 39 weeks plus 1 day). When I was asked if I was having any contractions, I answered the same as I had for months. “Yep, tons. But nothing consequential.” I had had way more Braxton Hick’s during this pregnancy than with K, but nothing that ever amounted to anything… or so I thought.

The nurse-midwife I had been regularly seeing was aware that I really was hoping to avoid a second induction, so she offered to do a membrane sweep. I said “yes please!” and when she did it, she informed me that I was already almost 3 cm dilated!

We did go ahead an schedule an induction time for the following week, to be sure to have a spot before the holiday weekend, but she assured me that she didn’t believe I would need it. She didn’t think it would be long!

I left the appointment feeling hopeful, but also trying not to get my hopes up. Having a membrane sweep with K did absolutely nothing after all.

I took it easy the rest of the day, since the membrane sweep left me feeling a little crampy and “ick.” I finished everything I needed to in order to launch Summer Search for God, figuring it should get done if I wanted to release it before the baby came.

IMG_5759

When that evening came I knew I should probably try to clean up the house a bit and get to bed early, figuring there was a good chance of going into labor the next day. However, I opted for sitting on the couch with my hubby watching TV and I headed up for bed around 9:30pm.

I took a shower and was crawling in bed at about 10:00pm when *pop* my water broke! I was not expecting that! I did a ninja like move to roll out of bed without getting the sheets wet and beelined for the bathroom. It wasn’t a huge bursting gush, but I was 99% confident that my water had indeed broke.

I called my husband on the phone (he was still downstairs).

“Hello?”

“Um.. dear.. you should probably come up here. I think my water broke.”

He rushed upstairs and made the call into labor and delivery.

They told me I could take a shower (already had) and have a snack and then come in to be checked to make sure my water really had broken.

I got together the few last minute items that needed packed and ate a banana.

Meanwhile, my husband was running around killing termites.

Yes, you read that right. Termites. They had been swarming that night and had finally made their way into the house through the vents. They were everywhere. Apparently this is a thing where we live. This being our first spring here, we had no clue. Thankfully they cause no damage and die soon after finding their way in your house. But still. Waddling around leaking amniotic fluid, termites were the last thing I wanted to deal with.

But I digress.

We finished up our last minute preparations, roused a sleeping three year old and dropped him off at a friends house, and made our way to the hospital.

Walking in I was experiencing some light contractions. Nothing that was keeping me from walking, although I was moving slow. It was about 11pm now.

I felt a mix of excitement and nerves. I was not looking forward to the intensity of labor and not knowing how labor will progress always made me nervous. However, I tried to keep my thoughts on how great it would be to finally meet this baby.

When we arrived at labor and delivery, they set us up in a side room and hooked me up to the heart rate monitor. They needed to check to make sure my water had actually broke, but they seemed in no hurry! (Probably because my labor didn’t seem very active at this point).

The nurses and techs did a few other things and as we waited contractions were starting to pick up. I began having to focus more intently on staying relaxed and I was really wanting to get out of the bed! Thankfully, they brought me a stool to sit on and that felt a ton better. Soon after that they confirmed my water was indeed broken and I was already dilated to 6cm!

A few minutes later they finally transferred us to our permanent room. At that point the contractions were very difficult to walk through, but I was just able to make it down the hall to our new room.

Once in the room, I had to get back in bed and get hooked up to the monitor again. Then, it was time to put my IV in (I needed antibiotics since I was group B strep positive). This was the worst part so far. Having to lay in the bed gave me back labor (ouch!) and I hate hate hate getting IV’s.

You see, I have vasovagal. If you’ve never heard of it, it is basically where in response to certain situations your brain decides the best course of action is to pass out! Thankfully, over the years I’ve learned to control it, but getting an IV put in is the worst!

I put in my earbuds to listen to music and turned away from the IV business. My husband stood by my head and comforted me and I remember a sweet nurse standing by my feet rubbing my leg.

I made it through the IV placement and was finally able to get out of that bed!

As I sat back on the stool (thankful to once again be upright and not feeling as much pain in my back!) I alternated between leaning against my husband during contractions and laying my head down on a table between them.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest things I was hoping to avoid (besides an induction) was laboring at night! I am such a wimp when it comes to being tired and boy was I exhausted!

It was about at this point that the doctor showed up and came in to talk with us (approximately 12:30am?). She had a paper that we had signed earlier and I needed to sign again. I could barely lift the pen to sign my name I was so tired! She asked if we had actually read the paper. We hadn’t!

She went through what the paper was about (it was just a release to do things like give me a blood transfusion, etc), but I was barely listening and really wanted her to stop talking at that point! The contractions were coming strong and very often.

I remember my husband comforting me with a little surprise in his voice saying that my contractions were “off the charts” on the monitor!

As each contraction came on, I would motion to my husband and he would come close so I could learn against him. I tried to relax as best I could and let my body do it’s thing. I kept visualizing the glorious moment from my first birth when my son was finally born – knowing this would all be worth it.

I was so tired though. The contractions were getting overwhelming and oh so painful. I knew I hadn’t even been laboring that long. How much longer was I going to have to withstand this? How was I going to be able to make it through?

The doctor asked me if I was feeling any pressure and I answered “no”, thinking there was no way it was going to be time for that already.

The next contraction came and I felt the pressure.

I couldn’t believe it was time to push.

I should have known I was in transition when I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore. I just didn’t think it would go so fast!

My mindset completely changed. I was in the home stretch.

One of my goals with this birth was to try alternate pushing positions. So, I started out standing with my husband holding me up. We both tired from this position quickly and the nurses helped a very dazed me climb into the bed. I sat on my knees holding the back of the bed and pushed from that position for a while too, but eventually my legs gave out again and I turned around to a sitting position.

I would like to add, this whole time I was pushing, I was yelling. It was horrible. I am not normally a yeller. I didn’t yell really for my first birth. It honestly felt kind of embarrassing (not to mention I almost lost my voice), but I really couldn’t help it! I think part of the problem was I was pushing a little too early and it hurt more because of that. By the time I got into the seated position I didn’t feel like I had to yell quite as much. All that to say – you gotta do what you gotta do to get through it!

Anyway, back to pushing. At this point I knew we were getting close. The pressure was getting intense and I could finally feel my baby coming down the birth canal. Everyone was so encouraging during this part and that really made a difference.

I got to the “burning ring of fire” and boy did it burn (I didn’t remember experiencing it as much with baby #1). I pushed through it though, knowing that it meant I was almost done!

A few more contractions and strong pushes later, and the moment I had been waiting for finally arrived. The moment I had been envisioning the whole time. The baby’s head crowned and his body followed right behind.

My water had broken at 10:00pm and a mere four hours later he was born. I couldn’t believe it!

Now, if you’ve never experienced childbirth, I don’t know how I can adequately describe this moment to you. When your baby finally comes out and you see their sweet little face for the first time. It is amazing. After all that excruciating work… your baby is born. It is indescribable.

I immediately looked down and reached for my baby. I exclaimed “it IS a boy!” (we had both really wanted another boy more than we wanted to admit and K had been declaring since the beginning that it would be a boy). He was handed to me and I finally was able to hold my sweet baby in my arms.

IMG_5789

He was perfect.

DSC_4200

He was wide awake and alert. Taking the new world in.

IMG_5800

He was here.

DSC_4218

K was thrilled.

IMG_5893

He is absolutely smitten with his baby brother.

DSC_4283

And I must say…

DSC_4310

We are too.

DSC_4292

We can’t imagine life without him!

 

 

Welcome Baby J!

He’s here! He’s here!

IMG_5796

7lbs 14oz of perfection.

DSC_4200 (1)

Born 5/13/15 at 2:10am.

IMG_5800

 

We’re in love.

Version 2

Can you tell?

DSC_4259

If you follow me on Instagram, I announced his name over there. I try to keep my kiddos names off the blog for their privacy, but I just couldn’t help sharing over there.

I debated back and forth whether to write up his birth story. I think I have a hard time writing about personal life here because I always wonder if anybody really cares. However, I know that I ate up every birth story I came across before Baby J was born. I just loved reading about everyone’s different experiences. So, I think perhaps I will write up both the boy’s birth stories. Stay tuned!

IMG_5854

Just one more picture, because how couldn’t you!?

DSC_4262

The Top Ten Things Getting Me Through My Last Trimester

last trimester

As I try to keep my focus on the to-do list and off the fact that this baby could make its appearance any day now, I thought it would be fun to share the things that have helped me through this last uncomfortable stage of pregnancy.

So, here they are. The top ten, in no particular order.

1. Watermelon

One word. YUM.

Okay, more than one word. What has been the deal with the last few weeks? Its like the appetite of my first trimester all over again! Nothing sounds good. Unhealthy things sound good. Weird things sound good. Then nothing sounds good again. I’m hungry after just eating. But have to choke down food when I’m starting to feel shaky from not eating. It’s crazy!

Enter, watermelon. It always sounds good. Sure, it doesn’t exactly satiate, but it is so stinking tasty.

2. Bedtime Snack

Speaking of food, for the last few months as soon as 9pm rolls around you better believe I’m grabbing a bedtime snack. And not just any bedtime snack. It’s gotta be cereal.

I know, cereal. Bedtime snack of champions.

And not just any cereal. Peanut Butter Captain Crunch. Hey, gotta shoot for 80/20 with the healthy diet, right?

3. Nightly Walks

We’ve been keeping up on our nightly walks for the most part, and for all the reasons I talked about here, I’m still loving them. Plus, they keep my ever growing body moving, which can only be a good thing.

It won’t be long now and I’ll be doing continuous laps around the neighborhood in an attempt to encourage this little one to make his or her entrance into the world. Will that work? I don’t know. (Hint: It didn’t with big brother!)

4. A Goofy Little Three Year Old

My child. How I love him.

He just keeps getting goofier and goofier. I love it. He makes me smile every day.

He has a newfound obsession with Star Wars and walks around humming Darth Vader’s theme. Although, he doesn’t really know it, so it just comes out as very intense humming.

He loves to dance and show me his “moves.”

He is completely convinced that he will be getting a baby brother.

He is my first miracle baby and every day I think I love him more.

5. Afternoon Quiet Time

Yes, yes, I really do love my child. But that 90 minutes of (mostly) peace and quiet in the afternoon is priceless as well. I’ve even managed to sneak in a few naps to combat the end of pregnancy exhaustion! Score!

6. Wild Kratts

Speaking of being exhausted, want to know my super secret trick for getting a few more minutes of shut eye in the morning? Wild Kratts.

You see, sometimes my lovely son likes to wake up with the sun (you know, “The sky’s awake, so I’m awake! Let’s play!”) and I do not. Solution? Invite said child into my cozy bed and turn on an episode of Wild Kratts (Amazon Prime, yes!).

First of all, the Kratt brothers are awesome. I used to watch them on their show “Kratt’s Creatures” when I was a young ‘un. Second of all, K gets to learn all about animals when he watches, which he loves. Third of all, Wild Kratts is like 100 times less annoying than our previous show of choice, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Win-win-win.

7. My Pregnancy Uniform

Being just a hair shy of 6 foot, it has always been hard to find long enough shirts. Add to that a growing belly and slowly but surely I have grown out of almost every maternity shirt I own.

Combine that with our lovely southern heat and I’ve pretty much lived in a maternity tank top and stretchy athletic shorts. It’s like yoga pants version 2.0. Please don’t be jealous of my mad style.

8. My To-Do List

I keep at least four of them at all times. My planner, the one by my bed, two dry erase boards on the fridge, and the random assortment of loose papers scattered on my counter.

You see, if it doesn’t get written down it doesn’t get done. I think you’ll find my picture next to the entry for “pregnancy brain” in the dictionary (well at least wikipedia!). My husband finds this a continual source of teasing delight. Don’t worry, I still love him.

9. Super Easy Meals

Seeing as spending hours in the kitchen preparing food which I may or may not even want to eat (see #1) is not high on my priority list, easy meals have been a necessity. Enter, grilled chicken. I marinate it early in the day, make a few simple veggie or fruit sides, and hubby takes care of the grilling when he gets home. Beautiful!

10. My Awesome Hubby

Speaking of my hubby, he’s great. I’ve had a lot more sickness/pains this go around and he is always willing to step in and help out. Couldn’t do this without him!

 

Well, that’s my top ten! What helped get you through the end of your pregnancy?