A lesson in Balance

Just Breathe…

Today was my first Monday back to work. It was Monday. A long Monday. Only four more days to go. I really don’t mind working, I enjoy my job and the daily structure. What I don’t enjoy is being absolutely so tired! I am sleepy! I still have to get used to waking up extra early to feed Nico or pump before work. Side note: I am not a fan of breast feeding. I am slowly getting together, but I am still tired.

Balance and organization is what I am striving for. I wish there was a class on everything I need to know as a new mom, and how to manage life as a working mom. I’m just winging it and hope I don’t mess it up. Who am I fooling, of course I will mess this up. Possibly one day we will look back and laugh at all my mistakes, I honestly have no idea what I’m doing. But hey, that is perfectly fine.

The positive for today was that I did not have to think about food choices. It sounds like a small thing, but it is amazing. Our breakfast and lunches were packed and ready. For dinner hubby cooked the salmon and I cooked the veggies. Dinner was done in 20 minutes, we fed baby, and ate. It was wonderful. Organization, and working as a team are important parts of a healthy, happy, marriage.

As our family grows we both are getting used to balancing new responsibilities and tasks. It is not easy for either of us, remember we are learning on the job, but we try to make it work. If something doesn’t work so well today, lets change it up and make tomorrow better. Flexibility is needed.

Balance. That is important for anything in life. We are balancing family, our careers, goals (family and personal), health, and finances. I just realized that this is adulting. When did I become an adult with all this insight? Adulting is not easy, but done correctly and efficiently it is a wonderful thing. Balance takes consistency, dedication, and time. To find balance we have to take a step back and look at what we can move around in our lives, and who is on our team who can help. Balance is the key to finding my way toward a long, healthy, enjoyable life.

Tonight I packed my bags, breakfast, and lunch for tomorrow. I am ready for another day. I will take on the day by slowing down, making sure I stay balanced, and keep my self focused on concurring the events of the day.

One step at a time…Just Breathe

On Sundays We Meal Prep

And once again it’s Sunday. Tomorrow starts my first full week back to work, and I need my life organized ASAP. Another goal that I have for 2020 is to increase organization and efficiency. Do you know how many mornings I have made a cup of coffee and completely forget to drink it? More than should ever be possible. I feel crazy. Am I losing my mind?

I remember a time when I only had to plan for me. Wow, I didn’t realize how simple that was until now. I only had to worry about my own schedule, feeding only myself, and deciding what I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do it. The best part, I could nap whenever I wanted! I feel like I did not take full advantage of those opportunities. Silly me.

Then I got married, I had to plan for the hubby and myself. Ok, yes it was little bit more challenging but I made it work. I was working to get us in sync, decrease chaos, and organize our home. Then I get pregnant. Everything went out the window. I feel like I am starting from scratch and really need a road map to stability.

I question, how do we take care of a newborn, take care of ourselves, take care of our marriage, go to work, increase self care, date each other, organize our home, and keep a level of sanity in the process? Good question, I have no idea. In true Jennifer form, as with everything else in my life, dive in head first and just make sure you learn how to swim. I am treading water at the moment.

Prior to my year long pregnancy we were on a healthy living kick. Clean living, and training hard so we both could live healthy lives. I was weight lifting and training for races, the hubs was kayaking and doing century rides on his bike.

100 mile bike ride, go baby go!
Train hard, Love harder

We were going pretty strong. However, pregnancy hit and through us both threw a loop. My pregnancy cravings were grilled cheese, and pizza, or basically anything with cheese and bread. Lots of bread, and lots of cheese. Oh, and don’t forget the strawberry milkshakes. I have a slight lactose intolerance, so PP (pre pregnancy) I was never a big dairy fan, and would only indulge when I felt like giving myself a stomach ache. Yet, baby loved dairy. I could have all the dairy I wanted and it was no problem. So bring on all the strawberry milkshakes and all the cheese! I remember one time googling where I can find the best strawberry milkshake in Maryland. Then I drove around looking for it. Yeah, I was pregnant.

Now that baby is here, the holiday baking season is over, and I am back I work, I can once again find a sense of balance. So we are starting with clean eating again. If you remember a few years ago we did a plant based diet. When I pregnant we went back to eating meat because I just could never seem to get enough food, and my iron levels were off. So for now we will continue to eat meat, but probably not too much of it.

Today is meal prep Sunday. If I can pull this off, my week will be awesome. The plan is to prep breakfast, lunch, and dinner for us. If we can have food ready, then we can really get on a schedule and not be two hangry people!

I have started ordering my groceries and having them delivered, full disclosure…I was doing this way before the thought of a baby because I hate going to the grocery store. Groceries were delivered this morning, and now I get to cook for the week. I made a menu before hand so I know what groceries to buy, and limit waste. I am tired of throwing away food. As an effort to save money and time in 2020 I will attempt to stay dedicated to meal prepping.

If all goes well with having my weekly meals prepared, maybe I will actually remember to drink my coffee in the morning.

Time to start training for our next race!

What’s on deck this week:

Egg muffin cups and Greek yogurt for breakfast

Turkey and quinoa stuffed peppers, and chicken fried cauliflower rice with a sweet potato side for lunch.

Salmon and sauteed veggies for dinner.

Wish me the best of luck!

A Birth Story to Remember

You never know what labor actually feels like until it happens.

I figure now is a good time to inform you all of my birth story. Nico is now 3 months and 1 week old. He grew up so fast. When he was born he was a somewhat tiny 7lbs, 6.2 oz, 19 inches. Awww how I miss him being so small.

Baby Nico, 7lbs 6.2 oz, 19 inches

So let’s go back to the day, or better yet middle of the night that he was born. Nico was born at 38 weeks, 4 days. I had no idea I was going into labor. In my head he was going to be a late baby, I was mentally preparing myself to be induced at 41 or 42 weeks. In my head he was not supposed to come when he did. Remember, his due date was October 7, so I was prepared to have an October baby. Luckily he came in September and now he is a September baby.

At 38 weeks I was still working, still actively going to crossfit and yoga. I had stopped running pretty early into my pregnancy due to pelvic pain, so crossfit and yoga were my main sources of daily activity. The plan was to continue to do everything I was doing until he popped out, and that I did.

36 weeks preggers!

Two days before Nico was born, my husband and I went to the doctor for our 38 week check up. At that time I was 1-2cm dilated. I didn’t think much about it. I made the next appointment for the following week and returned to work.

The next day was a Wednesday, it was like any other Wednesday, I went to work, went to crossfit, completed the crossfit workout, went home, ate dinner, showered, and went to bed. A little after 12:00 am on Thursday, September 26, I woke up out of my sleep because I had to pee, I heard a small pop. I thought that I had urinated in the bed a little, I woke up to go to the bathroom, and felt a major pain in my back. I also felt incredibly constipated, so I tried to continue to use the bathroom. Nothing happened, but the back pain became worse. My husband heard me moving around so he came upstairs, I had him massage my back thinking that the pain would go away and I would go back to bed so I could go to work tomorrow. The pain never went away. My back was KILLING ME! As he rubbed my back the pain would lessen and then it would come back after a few minutes. Hubby figured they were contractions so he started timing them. I told him let’s just go to the hospital. He was hesitant, but I was adamant that we needed to go to the hospital right now!

Hubs and I pre baby

Luckily my hospital bag was packed, best advice I received, pack your hospital bag early! He started moving stuff to the car and I got dressed so we can go. Now, I was in a lot of pain and just wanted it to be over. The husband on the other hand was not moving with a sense of urgency. We laugh about it because he was moving in slow motion and baby was on his way out with the quick motion. We got in the car. Just so you know, my husband is a very careful driver. And this where we differ. At this time I would be speeding down the highway, I mean I speed down the highway to get to work because I am always late, so if a baby is coming out, lets just say that you can call me NASCAR. But, my lovely husband decides to put the car in cruise control and use navigation to get to the hospital. He has been to the hospital over 100 times, and I work at the hospital! We were not going to get lost on the way to the hospital…At all!!! He says that he wanted to make sure he did not miss the exit. I say ok drive faster.

We get to the hospital about 1:45 am, I am still in pain. We get a wheel chair and go upstairs to the labor and delivery unit. Now while we are checking in at the desk, I am trying really, really, really hard to hold it together. Like I wanted to scream and say give me the pills!! But first, I had to show them my insurance card and ID. So yeah I had to hold it together. The funny thing is that another woman and her husband walked onto the unit right after I arrived, she was not in a wheel chair, and she did not look like she was in pain. I wondered, why wasn’t she in pain? I am over here hurting, and she looks like they are just on an evening stroll. What in the heck was going on here!

Well finally the nurse took me back to triage, she checked my cervix and I was 9 cm dilated. I thought, HOLY CRAP, this baby is about to come out of here. She asked if I wanted an epidural, I immediately said yes. Previously I was uncertain as to if I wanted an epidural or not. I was leaning against it because I was afraid of the side effects and having residual back pain. I really didn’t want to deal with that. However, I just wanted the pain to stop so at that moment I would have taken anything.

Now, here is the part that I never knew. Before you can get an epidural the hospital has to to lab work, and you have to have a saline drip for a liter and a half. You have to wait for the results to come back, and you watch the slowest saline drip in the world. It was miserable. I wanted to drink that saline drip just so it could get in my body and we can move on to the main event.

I would tell you how long that all took, but honestly I really don’t know. In my head it was a life time. Finally, the labs were normal and the saline was moving along, next step get the anesthesiologist for the epidural.

Well that is where this story goes left. After another long period of time the anesthesiologist finally came. I sat up on the bed, she started to numb my back and then the phone rings. The nurse answered and tells the doctor they need her for an emergency C-Section in the operating room. Am I wrong for thinking that she would finish my epidural before she left? As I look back on it today, I know this was all God’s working plan. God has always been the comic relief in my life. I live life, and God laughs. I have gotten used to him joking with me. But, I always trust in his plan, and his plans work. Remember I was always unsure about the epidural anyway. I was just in pain and had no idea when it was going to end.

The doctor left to go do the C-section, I had the beginnings of an epidural on my back but no epidural. They said they would send another doctor. No other doctor came to administer the epidural.

The pain continued, the nurse checked my cervix again, this time I was 10 cm, and baby was ready. I was going to have a natural birth. I guess that was going to be my birth plan, let’s do it! My actual OB was not on call that night, so another OB was going to deliver my baby. No problem I thought, well…not so fast. Remember that emergency C-section that stopped me from getting an epidural, well the OB was in that delivery too. The nurse tried to reach her, but she was preoccupied. My Nico waits for no one and he was ready to come out!

Two other nurses came into the room, one held my hand, told me to push, and out came baby Nico. One push, at 3:27am on Thursday , September 26, I became a mom. Wow, that was fast. I would have never thought that would happen so fast, but I’m glad it did. It was painful, but not anything I couldn’t handle. I’m actually pretty bad ass. No doctor. I am grateful to all nurses everywhere.

And we have a baby!!!

That’s my story, quick labor, no doctor to deliver my baby, and no epidural. Not like I would have imagined, but I absolutely have a perfectly healthy, happy, baby boy. Thank You God.

My growing family

Side note: In August my husband and I went to a birthing class, there was another couple who also saw my original OB. We would see them at the doctor a few times. Our kids have the same pediatrician and we saw them at Nico’s 1 month doctor visit. Ironically, it turns out that she was the emergency C-section. They had a baby girl. Our kids were born on the same day, about a few minutes apart. It is always so funny how life works out.

Working Mom Day 1…This Is Life

So it finally happened. After 3 short months of maternity leave, today I returned to work. I have to be honest it was not so bad. Of course I was allll the way sleepy, it seemed like the kiddo did not want to sleep at all last night, and he woke up about four times. I’m guessing he was sensing my anxiety and knew that today was going to be a different type of day.

I woke up early, nursed Nico since he was up and got ready for work. The hubby was able to make sure baby boy was dressed, made sure his bags, bottles, and pack and play were set to go for daycare. This made it easy for me as I got dressed, made us breakfast, packed our lunches, and pumped my boobs. Wow that was a lot to do before 7:30 am, but we did it. The hubby drove baby boy to day care and dropped him off since my first patient was at 8 am. I think that worked out well because I was able to calm my own anxiety, and did not have to be stuck with thoughts of regrets and wanting to quit my job. I got to work, was locked out of my computer, apparently when I was out they decided to upgrade widows. Therefore, to my surprise all my previously saved documents were gone. Great, that sucks. I saw my patients, completed my 4 hour day, made a stop by my crossfit gym for the lunch time workout, and then picked up the kiddo. Not a bad day.

The daycare he goes to does not have cameras, I really wanted a daycare with cameras. Yet, I didn’t want to pay a monthly mortgage payment for daycare, so yeah no cameras. However, they do have an app that they send updates on. I’ll take it. At least they send pictures during the day. Nico appeared to have a good day, although I am concerned that he did not eat enough. He was an eating machine when we got home. I will continue to monitor that. I’ll say for day 1, so far, so good. I get some relief and return to being an actual adult with adult conversation for a few hours each day, and baby boy makes new friends. I just hope he still likes it when he realizes that he will have to go 5 days a week.

Now, since I promised you my rant on maternity leave in the U.S. I have to take this time to go off. I ABSOLUTELY HATE the fact that the United States does not have paid maternity leave. The patriots scream that this is the greatest country in the world, yet many families cannot afford to have a baby in order to keep the population growing. If you do have a baby, parents have to return to work almost immediately just so they can afford to keep living a suitable life after the baby arrives. Thus, leaving little time for parent-child bonding, attachment, learning skills, and development of healthy attachments.

I felt lucky that I was able to use leave time, and got one disability check. Wait, was I disabled? NO, I just had a baby. Having a baby is not a disability. It is the joy of bringing a life into the world. Since I had to save up leave time, that meant throughout the 9 month process of growing a human I had to be careful not to take a day off. Thank God I wasn’t sick during my pregnancy. I could have used a few days off to take care of my own mental health though. I’m a therapist, who couldn’t even take a mental health day, isn’t that ironic, don’t you think.

For a country that claims to care about family values, I’m not sure where those family values start. How can you shape and mold your child’s future when at six weeks we ship newborns off to day care. Then have to work 2 or 3 jobs to pay for day care, preschool, and save for college. Now I won’t turn this into a political rant, but I do wish that the party of family values, actually thought about family values after the birth of a baby.

Honestly I could have used 4-6 months of paid leave and I hope more jobs move in that direction. With paid family leave we can reduce rates of postpartum depression and anxiety, decrease family stress, enhance parent-child attachment, and increase rates of healthy pregnancies for women. I could only hope that by the time I give birth again there is a change in maternity leave policies for all jobs. It is time for America to actually be a great country, and that starts by catching up to other great countries in the way that they care for women, women’s health, and overall family development. Rant complete.

Isn’t he a cutie?

Welcome to My New Normal…Life As a Working Mom

Today is the second day of the new year, and tomorrow I go back to work. I have been on maternity leave for the past 3 months. I would rant on how bad the maternity leave policies are in the U.S. and how the government really does not want you to procreate, but I’ll save that for another post. Baby Nico was born on September 26, 2019. He was 10 days early as my actual due date was October 7. I was 38 weeks pregnant and sooooo over being pregnant. So I was happy that little guy decided to arrive early.

Nico’s First Day undefined

It was a super quick delivery, like a 3 hour delivery. Since he was my first baby I had no idea what to expect. All I know is that I hear horror stories of people being in labor for 24 or 36 hours. It all sounded scary. Leading up to my labor, well I actually had no idea I was in labor because I never experienced it before, I was really surprised how fast was. Soon I will update you all on my birth story, but for now lets just say there was pain, I had no epidural, and this baby was not waiting for anyone. The hubby and I were so excited when he arrived, it really is a whole new feeling of love.

Ok, so I have been off from work for the past 3 months and now I have to go back. Tomorrow is Friday. Yes folks, I am going back to work on a Friday. There was actually a method to my crazy plan, I only work a half day on Fridays, so I figured I would go, show up for a few hours and leave. It’s also Nico’s first day at day care, I have extreme mommy anxiety and need to go pick him up as soon as possible. But yes I must go back to work. Now I get to start a new adventure, life as a working mom. I’m not sure how it will compare to that life of living on a rock in the middle of the pacific, but I’m sure it will be interesting.

Awwww I think he loves me!

This has been the fastest 3 months of my life. Like really the fastest 3 months I have ever experienced. Don’t ask me what I did on maternity leave. I have no idea. I had all these great plans, I would write, organize my house, figure out some other ways to make income, and maybe even build enough of an empire to quit my job. How much of that happened? Well, none of it. Raising a newborn is tough. I guess those of you with kids already know that. But really raising a new born is tough. Having kids really is a 24/7 job with no pay. Yet, the reward is great when you see a smile, and know that he is sleeping peacefully. Yes, Yes, I know that was very cliche, but now I actually understand it. Being a parent is a whole new challenge for me. I wish myself and my husband the best of luck.

I go back to work tomorrow. I have major anxiety write now, even as writing this. I feel like it is the first day of school and I am anxious about what will happen. I know it will work out. It’s my job. I’m a psychotherapist, I have been doing therapy for over 15 years! I know how to do therapy. Will Nico be OK without me. I mean we have been together all day every day for the past 3 months. I feel like he needs me. I tried to explain to him this whole day care thing and mommy has to work just like daddy, blah, blah, blah. Yeah I don’t think he got it either. I have to go back to work tomorrow and I don’t want to go.

My plan in my head is to one day just be able to work full time from home. I think I am over doing traditional therapy and need to work on other streams of income. So I am letting you all in on my 2020 goals. Yes, they are the same ones that I did not accomplish in 2019. Work on finishing my books, podcasting, speaking engagments, and being an overall badass. I think I got the badass thing down, now just time to work on the rest.

Well here’s to making life happen in 2020, and enjoying my time back at work!!

Day 2 of 366 days of blogging complete. Hey now! Let’s keep this streak going.

I’m Getting Old and This Is 2020

It’s the fist day of 2020. And yes I return to the blog. Ok now this is just becoming a bad pattern. I come back to write once a year. I guess to remind myself that I have a blog and I probably should write. As always, good intentions, poor follow though.

Yet we have made it to the start of a whole new decade. I must say that the last decade was a pretty eventful one. It was my decade of redefining myself, and boy have I done that. Remember that when this blog started in 2009 I was the single girl who gave up on life in New York, and went to hide on an island. As I think about it now, wow, the last decade was probably my best decade to date. Maybe the best really is yet to come.

Come with me on trip down memory lane, in 2009 I got on a plane with some suitcases and moved to Hawaii. From 2010-2013, I was living my nomadic life as a single girl in Hawaii. I was exploring me. How many people get the chance to say that? Just be the carefree version of you. Yes, I had a job, bills, and other adult stuff, but everything was just about me. I was in charge of my own life, my own decisions, and I actually came out of it being a better version of myself.

Fast forward to 2013, I moved back to the mainland, lived in Virginia, and in 2015 I moved to Maryland. That’s a lot of states to live in and not be in the military. I was still a nomad, but I was starting to build roots. I was no longer the single girl who was basically doing her, I was in an actual serious relationship!! Who would have thought. Since I am and will always be a relationshipper, of course it was only a matter of time before I found real love, a partner, my better half, and that someone who could actually make me stay in one place and encourage stability. He was keeper from day one, I already knew that.

SO, of course in 2018 I go married. Wow, again that’s a lot considering where I was at in 2009. The icing on the cake… in 2019 I became a mom!!!!!

HOLY CRAP, yes I am now a wife and mom. So to say this decade was pretty eventful would be an understatement. Where have I been all last year, creating a beautiful, funny, smart, loving human. He is now 3 months and he is EVERYTHING! An absolute gem. So there was my last 10 years in a nutshell, with a whirlwind hitting me over the head during the last two.

My life remains crazy, I have no idea where it is going most days. But as always, God makes it work. So I follow his lead and let him do the work. No complaints.

I am revamping this blog. It’s a new decade, I am defiantly at a new place in life, so it needs a new look. It will still be Straight from NY to Paradise in a day, because that is where it all started. But I am no longer a single girl on a journey, I’m a wife and mother, I have a whole team on my journey. That’s what this blog will reflect, my life with my new teammates.

My personal goal for 2020 will be 366 days of blogging. Today is day 1. Not bad for just getting started.

I have lots to tell and I am ready to tell it!