HAPPY NEW YEAR!

This year I plan to focus on listening to my authentic voice and stop comparing myself and life to others. Everyone has their own authentic voice that knows how you feel deep down. But, because we are controlled by society. We tend to shut out our authentic voice and comform to society. We let it dictate our thoughts and choices…

So, this year I will listen to my inner voice and do what I truly feel is right for me and my family. And I ask for everyone to be accepting of one-another and kind. Most importantly kind. Not just for the new year, make it part of your life. I think we forget that we are all the same…a human being. And that life is tough already, let’s not make it harder on oneself. Own your authentic self by listening to your authentic voice. “Because being normal sucks.” -Trevor Evans

May your new year be filled with an abundance of health, wealth, happiness and kindness. 

-vanessa

p.s. Here’s a great article called, “Why You Should Stop Caring About What Other People Think.” It’s a great read for starting off  this new year, enjoy!

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HOME BIRTH VIDEO

I have to share this beautiful video that my husband created of our home birth. He managed to capture heartfelt moments while taking care of me. I’ve been watching this all day… I love the song he chose and the moment captured in the photo above. Another favorite part of mine and makes me tear up every time is towards the end. It’s when Liviana is nursing and you see her eye. She was only minutes old in this life. But, those eyes are from an old soul…

I hope you enjoy this video as much as I do. It will exciting to show Liviana when she’s older. Please leave any feedback in the comment section below. I’d love to hear what you thought! And I hope this brings inspiration to expecting mamas and those who plan to become a mom. Remember: You are a strong being and capable of more than you’ll ever know!

Click here to watch, enjoy!

-Vanessa 

SUPER MOON BABY


It’s been six weeks now that our little angel baby decided to join us on earth’s side. She was born at 37 weeks and 4 days. It all began at 9:50pm on Sunday, November 13th, just as the supermoon was waxing. Albi and I had just finished watching an episode of Westworld. I got up to use the restroom. And noticed a light pink hue in the toilet. Also, a fluid kept trickling from my vagina. I called Albi to come see and asked him to call the midwife. I did my best to stay calm while on the phone with Claudia. I described everything that happened and she calmly responds, “Wow…well, it sounds like your water broke.” Albi and I were completely surprised. Liviana wasn’t due for another 3 weeks!

Thankfully we had everything prepared just in time. Claudia then informed me that Johanna (our doula) would stop by to drop off the birthing tub. After my water broke I started to have mild contractions every 15 minutes throughout the night. Then around 7:00am the next morning, active labor began… The contractions were more intense. I would have one every 5 minutes lasting a minute long. On top of that, I had to use the restroom every 30 minutes to an hour. Labor is far from glamorous I tell ya…

During my pregnancy I read a lot of other women’s birthing experiences. And no matter how much you try to prepare yourself, especially if it’s your first time. You will not be prepared for the intensity that labor entails. I understand that every experience is different for each woman. But, I honestly thought I’d be in labor for (at max) 4 hours. I remember thinking,” Geez, a 13 plus hour labor, that’s crazy. I think I’ll be able to do it in less time.” Boy, was I wrong…I labored for 19 hours and each contraction would intensify as labor progressed. So, I turned my focus inward and concentrated on each breath. Reminding myself, “It’s a wave and will soon pass.” Also, my doula would give me pointers to help ease the pain. Such as, “Relax you face while breathing…Try deeper moans that come from your abdomen instead of high pitched screams…”

Even though 19 hours in labor sounds long. I don’t ever recall thinking about the time during labor. I didn’t realize how long I was in labor until after Liviana was born. I do recall two times in particular when I had thought that I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to birth this baby…But, I had to let go of my fear and reminded myself, “You got this! You’ve already come this far and you’re stronger than you think, mind over matter…” Also, if it wasn’t for Albi, I don’t think I could have been as strong. During each and every contraction I would have extreme lower back pain. And he was right by my side to make it all better. He was amazing and a trooper, especially for having worked a long shift prior to my water breaking. And on top of that, not getting a wink of sleep the following night. I’m truly blessed to have him in my life and that he’s the father of our child.

I am happy that I made the decision to have a home birth. I can’t imagine birthing my baby in a hospital. Now, if it was absolutely necessary. Then yes, I would have done just that. But, thankfully I had a smooth and heathy prenancy. Plus, if an emergency does arise during a home birth. There is always a backup plan…At some point in the afternoon my midwife suggest I try going for a walk to help move things along. Apparently, to them I was handling my contractions extemely well. They thought I still had a while to go before baby arrives. They even considered leaving to grab lunch…You see Claudia doesn’t believe in constantly checking the mother to see how much she’s dilated. She believes messing with the mother too much can cause tearing. Even though I didn’t really feel like going for a walk. I did try, but didn’t get very far. My legs felt extremely weighted down. Which could have been from the pull of the super moon. And the contractions were starting to become more intense. I remember standing in the sun next to the tree that’s in front of our complex. I had felt at ease for a bit by their energies. Then I remember telling Albi, “I just want to go inside.” I ended up in our bedroom trying to get comfortable. Then all of a sudden as a new contraction started I began to throw up… I asked Claudia, “Is this normal?” She replies, “Yes, it’s a very good sign. It means labor is progressing and you’re getting closer.” Maybe an hour after Claudia checked on me. I remember being in so much pain and feeling as if I needed to push…Claudia informs Johanna that I want to get in the tub. So, Johanna and Albi start filling the tub with warm water. Claudia stayed by my side monitoring the baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler. It seemed like an eternity for them to fill the birth tub. I remember feeling impatient… I wanted to be in the warm water. It sounded very relaxing and I figured it would help ease the pain, which it did.

When the tub was ready I removed my clothing and stepped inside very carefully. At first I laid down on my back. But, my legs kept sliding around and I couldn’t get comfortable. Then I decided to squat. I stayed in this position until Liviana was born. Next, I started to feel the need to push again, so I did…It felt strange to me because I had no idea what I was doing and if I was even doing it correctly… But, the feedback my midwife and doula were giving me made me feel confident. I remember reading one women’s birthing experience and how she described pushing out her baby’s head. She said, “…it felt like a ring of fire.” This was spot on, for me at least. When I started to feel the ring of fire I knew right away it was Liviana’s head. I didn’t mention it to anyone. I just kept pushing. Just so you know, that after each push it feels like a few inches of the baby gets sucked back up inside you. I remember thinking, “All that hard work and I’ve got to try pushing it out again?” The hardest and most painful part was definitely pushing out Liviana’s head…img_2103-2

By now I had been in the tub maybe 30 minutes. Claudia decides to check my progress. But, she wasn’t able to see from the way I was positioned. So, she started looking for a mirror. Since she wasn’t able to find one. She felt with her hand and to her surprise Liviana’s head was a third of the way out. I didn’t realize this because I was so focused on my breathing. So, Claudia instructs me to give a big push. I ended up giving two (maybe three) big pushes and Liviana torpedoes out from behind me. I was completely zoned out and didn’t realize Claudia was instructing me to lay back. Since I didn’t respond quickly she grabs me and lays me on my back. Then Johanna placed Liviana on my chest. She wasn’t breathing right away, but she was moving. So, Johanna ends up blowing some air into Liviana’s mouth and she began to cry…I remember feeling a little worried, but I just kept talking to Liviana. “You’re okay baby, we did it Liviana. We worked together and now you’re here.”As soon as Liviana left my body all the pain I had felt was gone… Albi says that it was like night and day. When he saw me smile he knew that I was back… He didn’t like seeing me in so much pain. Birthing a child is the toughest thing I’ve ever experienced. And I thought my dad’s death was hard…Going through all that pain without any interventions makes me feel empowered. And I am stronger in my mind, body and soul because of it. Thank you Liviana for allowing me to see just what I’m capable of in this life. I love you more than you’ll ever know. Liviana joined us at 4:47pm on November 14th, 2016 weighing 5 lbs. 11 oz. and was 18 inches long.If you’re interested in hearing about the birth from Albi’s perspective. Check out his podcast episode here! Curious Radio podcast, episode 12: Supermoon Baby.Thanks for reading my long post. We are stoked to be parents. Happy Holidays from our growing family to yours!

-Vanessa

BUTTERNUT SQUASH + TURKEY STUFFED SHELLS

I try to find recipes that aren’t only delicious and healthy, but can feed us for at least two days. And this recipe happens to meet those needs. Butternut squash is a versatile vegetable and it’s even in season right now! It’s always best to try and eat what’s in season. Just like ordering food at a restaurant. You wouldn’t eat tacos at the best burger joint in town, would you? Eating according to what’s in season is better for your body. Here’s a great post on Mind Body Green about the 10 Reasons to Eat What’s in Season.

Now if you’re a fan of pasta, healthy eating and simple recipes like me. I highly recommend this recipe. Plus, it’s husband approved! If you don’t have the extra time to cut the butternut squash. I would suggest buying the pre-packaged cubed squash. Let’s get started, shall we?  🙂

Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes | Servings: 4 

Ingredients: 

1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed

Half an Onion, sliced

¾ cup Milk

¾ cup Vegetable Broth

1 lb. Turkey, ground

2 cups Spinach

3 cloves Garlic

1 lb. Jumbo Shells, cooked al dente

15 ounces Ricotta

1 egg

¼ cup Parmesan, shredded

Additional parmesan, shredded

Olive oil or Coconut Oil

Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Arrange onion and butternut squash in an even layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil or coconut oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast for 50-60 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook ground turkey over medium heat. When turkey is mostly browned, add the spinach and garlic. Cook until spinach is wilted and remove from heat.
  4. Place roasted butternut squash and onion in a food processor or blender
  5. Pulse until a smooth puree forms. Allow to cool. Stir in milk and vegetable broth.
  6. Pour butternut squash sauce into base of a 9×13 baking dish.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, stir together ricotta, parmesan, and egg.
  8. Add turkey and spinach into ricotta and stir until evenly distributed.
  9. Fill cooked pasta shells with 3-4 tablespoons of filling. Arrange shells in butternut squash sauce in the 9×13 baking dish.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes covered with aluminum foil followed by 15 minutes uncovered. Top with additional parmesan.
  11. Dig in!

36 WEEKS + 2 DAYS PREGNANT

 

The home visit I had last week with my midwife went very well. It gave me an idea of how we all (Midwife, Doula, my mom, Albi, Watson and I) would fit in our little apartment. As for the birthing tub, it will have enough space in our living room and my husband and I will be able to fit inside together. Claudia and Johanna went over what accessories we need to buy for the birth tub (hose, shower adapter, tub liner and tarp). If you’re planning to have a home water birth. You can find these items and more on the website called Your Water Birth. And I managed to find a 10% off coupon code thanks to Naturally Thrifty Mom.

During the first half of our appointments we sit and talk about how I’m feeling, has the baby been moving, and if we have any questions or concerns. I love how relaxed these appointments make me feel each time. I had mentioned that I was feeling a bit nervous about delivering the baby. But, Claudia reassured me in her calm voice that, “No matter what, babies come out. Your body and your baby are working together and they know what to do. Just listen to your body and you’ll know when to push and when to relax all on your own.” One big concern I have regarding birth is tearing…

But, again Claudia informed me that she’s only had maybe 3 patients tear in the 20 plus years she’s been a midwife. And informed me about the pushing method called Laboring Down. Which is the process of letting your body push without adding extra effort. Your body will slowly move the baby lower without you actively pushing. Then when you begin to feel pressure of the baby’s head on your perineum, you will begin to push with the contractions. This will decrease the amount of time you’ll need to actively push.

Had a mini picnic and watched the squirrels at the park last Friday.

So, after calming my nerves we proceeded with the exam in our bedroom. My blood pressure was still normal and Liviana’s heartbeat was the same as the week before (120s-130s bpm resting, 140s bpm active). The only odd thing was my bump measured 31 cm while I was 35 weeks pregnant. Every week up until last week my bump was equal to the amount of weeks I was pregnant. I wasn’t too concerned when Johanna (my doula) examined the baby and notice that she had dropped a lot since my last exam. But, then Johanna mentioned you never know, next week you might measure 38 cm. Besides that, baby has plenty of amniotic fluid, she’s active and her heartbeat is normal.

Wanted to share this precious moment Albi captured.

My next appointment is scheduled for this Wednesday. Don’t forget to check back for updates!