Sunday, April 29, 2012

3 Years Ago.... My Birth Story

3 YEARS ago I birthed my sweet baby girl and here is the blog posts to prove it... 

haha. Check out my birth story of my Cara. "Nugs" is referred to as my oldest daughter Ryann and CK is my Cara Kay.

FRIDAY, MAY 1, 2009

Contractions started

I posted on my facebook at 4:15 pm that contractions had started, but nothing regular. I mean, I had been contracting for weeks, but these ones were starting to change a little. I was feeling them in my back too.

So at 5:30 I felt them regular. This is when I decided to get into the tub- Nugs really wanted to join me- so this lasted for awhile until I had to start breathing and working hard through contractions. I kicked her out and told Rich to call our friends who were going to watch her- and let them know we would bring her before she had to go to bed at 7.


The birth story continues

Sorry for the delay of postings and of pictures- I have had really good intentions to at least put up pictures- but I will get there- I promise. So here is (hopefully) the rest of the birth story with some pictures. (this all happened Wednesday 4/29/09)
After I got out of the tub with Nugs, Rich was home from work and having dinner with my parents and Nugs. She was kind of fussy and I was trying to stay hidden and let my body do it's own thing. I relaxed in between contractions with my "hypnobirthing" CD and relaxing music and that helped a ton. I started having the "toe-curling" contractions and I started to think I was a sissy- so I told Rich I needed his help.
At one point during this all I remember hearing Nugs screaming so I yelled, "Just get her out of here!" and my parents were out the door in a flash to drop her off with KJ (thanks again you guys!)
At this point Rich was a little nervous. We had taken hypnobirthing classes and one of the predominant ideas is that if you are in a relaxed enough state you don't always feel pain during labor. I am a firm believer that this is true- however, I wasn't in this relaxed enough state. :) So Rich was starting to get nervous because I was hurting. But he did a fabulous job of keeping me straight with my hypnobirthing ideas and he helped me breathe through each contraction and relax in between them all. Occasionally I would make other noises during contractions but he quickly helped me refocus and kept me looking towards the goal.
I was on the birthing ball while my parents were gone and when they got back I had my dad check my cervix. I was 5cmThis was 7:00pm.
I thought, "great, now I am in active labor- 5 more hours at the most."
I had Rich text our midwife, doula, and labor nurse who would meet us at the hospital. Just an update- just to let them know I was going to hang out at home for another hour or so.

.My midwife.
2 minutes later we get a phone call from the midwife and here is the conversation:
Midwife: "Rich, does Brittani want a home birth or a hospital birth?"
Rich (looking at me): "Brit- do you want a home birth or a hospital birth?"
Me: "hospital birth?!" somewhat confused
Rich to midwife: "Hospital birth"
Midwife: "well, get in the car and get her to the hospital now!"
Sorry- breastfeeding break! to be continued...


There isn't much more... so this has got to be the last segment of the birth story... cause I am dying to post pictures of CK!
Rich drives very safely to the hospital because I told him I was in no rush to get there. I was breathing well through my contractions and Rich would occasionally remind me to relax and he would count my breathing for me. During this entire thing I never had anyone time my contractions nor did I care how close or far apart they were. I didn't think about how much the next one would hurt, I just relaxed in between.
When we got to the hospital my midwife and doula were there. My labor and delivery nurse who was coming in to help with the birth was stuck in traffic, but no worries. I never felt nauseated, but when I was walking into the hospital I let out some huge burps (like girls camp burps from high school-wow!). I like to think I was more calm than my midwife, who was ordering people around to get a room ready for me.
Before I got to my room where they could listen to CK's heartbeat I stopped in the bathroom twice. I kept feeling like I needed to have a bowel movement (uh- you think I would have put two and two together) but it wasn't until I actually started to push sitting on the toilet when I realized I better get into the bed and let someone know what was going on.
At 8:05 my midwife checked my cervix and let me know I was 9 1/2 cm dilated. She also broke my water. After that next contraction I smiled and said, "I am so happy". I obviously had many reasons to be happy, but mostly that it was about to be over and I would be able to hold little CK in my arms.
I decided to try and push with the next contraction but that hurt even more. I finally realized that I better just listen to my body. I only pushed once or twice with the next two contractions and then finally I felt like I needed to push the entire contractions. Both my parents and Rich were there by my side and my dad was video taping- this is when I started to get a little vocal- my dad thought it was funny that I was so quiet during labor and then pushing is when I got loud and that is the only part he got on video! LAME.
I was vocal because while I absolutely love my midwife she was bugging the crap out of me! She kept saying things like, "you are feeling a lot of rectal pressure" and "She is crowning now- you will feel a lot of burning." And I in turn would reply, "I KNOW!!! I CAN FEEL IT!"
8:21 pm, on April 29, 2009 CK was born. 7lbs 8oz. 18 inches long. Slightly bigger and a little shorter than Nugs. They look almost exactly the same and CK has beautiful blond hair. She has some newborn rash and is a little peely- but she is absolutely amazing.
I was able to breastfeed immediately after she was born and I breastfed for the first hour. I never had an IV, never needed pitocin, and I felt amazing after she was born. It was a perfect labor and delivery and I couldn't have asked for anything better.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thumb Sucker

No More Thumb

My 5 year old daughter, Ryann and I have recently been talking about having her stop sucking her thumb.  She once told me that she would stop sucking her thumb when she turned 8... I laughed and thought it was a joke.   Yeah, I know.  Anyway, a friend of hers just got her ears pierced because she stopped sucking her thumb and Ryann thought that was a great incentive.

I told Ryann that I would look for ways to try and help her stop sucking her thumb. I found some help from facebook about books they can read or gross stuff they can put on their thumbs. I then asked Ryann what she thought would work and she actually said if her thumb tasted yucky she wouldn't do it anymore.

I decided to go local rather than ordering something from Sweden or online, so I stopped at Walgreens on Saturday and I picked up this little beauty.
I painted her and Cara's (the 3 year old) nails with it. I told Cara she was going to stop sucking her thumb too... and a typical redhead she promptly said "NO. I like to suck my thumb A LOT!" And she has continued to suck her thumb every day even with this stuff on it. She doesn't suck her thumb nearly as much as Ryann did, but she still is sucking her thumb.

Anyway, back to Ryann, the first night was pretty rough for her. Every night since has been a little rough, but I am so proud to say that she isn't sucking her thumb at all anymore!  She wanted to do it and she did. Every once in awhile she asks me to paint her thumb again because she is afraid she will suck in the middle of the night without realizing it. But every night she puts her silky far away from her and she goes to sleep lying on top of her hands or with her hands underneath her pillow. It is so precious to see her try so hard to accomplish something and actually do it.

Yes, I know she is 5 and it is about time that she stops sucking her thumb, but it has been her best friend. It has been her companion and something she has done every day to calm and comfort herself. The past couple nights she has come in once or twice to see if I would hold her and cuddle her back to sleep. I let her come into bed 1 time a night but the other times I am making her go back to bed by herself.  By next week I think the urge to suck her thumb will be gone. 

I am so proud of my Ryann for being such a hard worker and accomplishing this goal she set out to do.

She still hasn't talked about getting her ears pierced, I think she wants to wait until she really knows that she won't start sucking her thumb again and she is confident with herself.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Special Guest Sunday:

Swimsuit Styles & Tips for Expecting Moms

Swimsuit season is quickly approaching and for all the expecting moms out there, it’s going to be a hot one! Just because you’re preggo doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your summer or avoid slipping into a swimsuit this season. When shopping around for some new maternity swimwear, keep these general tips in mind to have you feeling comfortable and perfectly stylish all season long.

When it comes to style, certain swimsuit silhouettes are definitely more comfortable than others. During pregnancy, many women prefer looser styles that don’t hug the torso. Look for blouson-style one-pieces or one-piece swimdresses. If you prefer two-piece swimsuit styles, try a-line and trapeze tankini tops paired with an adjustable foldover bottom. But if you don’t mind showing off that baby bump of yours, there are plenty of figure-hugging styles out there to choose from! Look for form-fitting one-pieces, tankinis and bikinis that fit your style and personality.

Similarly, when it comes to swimsuit cover-ups, a number of women prefer loose-fitting styles in lightweight fabrics. Tunics and a-line sundresses in cotton, crochet and rayon are easy, breezy and simple to slip on and off. Sarongs and pareos also work well for those who want to cover the upper inner thigh area. Look for cover-ups that complement your swimsuit in color and print.

Although there are a number of stores and brands that specialize in maternity swimsuit and cover-up styles, you can still shop at your favorite places if you follow these tips. I’ll leave you all with one last piece of advice: Always try your swimsuit and cover-ups on to make sure they’re exactly what you’re looking for. And if you’re buying online, make sure the site has a good return policy in case you need to return or exchange! Happy summer and congrats in advance to all the soon-to-be moms!

Susan is a swimsuit expert at To read more of her tips, check out their blog, Beauty and the Beach!

links to some of our favorite suits:

-Sun Seeker One-Piece by L*SPACE:

-Spring Daisy Tankini by Gottex Profile:

-Matt Siren Tankini by Seafolly:

-Regatta Blue Tankini by Michael Kors:

-Goddess Tankini by Seafolly:

-Ruching Swimdress by Karla Colletto:

Tricolore Tankini by Gottex Profile:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Body for Baby

If you missed the hint in my last post, I am thinking about trying to get pregnant again. thinking about trying which basically means that plans are in the works.

When I tell people that I am trying to get my body ready to have a baby they look at me like I am crazy. I have gotten all of these responses.

"Why would you want to lose weight right before you get fat again?"
"Why would you start exercising before you get pregnant? You can't keep that up when you are pregnant."
"People get pregnant all the time without being healthy so why would you have to worry?"
"Stop stressing over planning, just have fun and go do it."
"There is never a right time to get pregnant, stop thinking about it and just do it."
"You know too much as a midwife, just trust your body and you will be fine."
and more...

Basically I am not listening to anyone except myself and I have changed a lot of things to try and get ready to become pregnant.

First, I am making my husband take folic acid. I heard from a colleage that it makes "supe
r sperm" and can actually improve the sperm. So yes, my husband is taking once a day mens multi vitamins and folic acid.

Second, I started taking prenatal vitamins every single day for the past 3+ months. The ones I am taking are Concept DHA. I chose Concept DHA because look at those cute moms on their website babywearing!!! That is totally me. Hehe. Just kidding. Seriously though I love that they are small capsules, easy to swallow and they have the DHA in them so I don't have to take more than 1 pill. They have 1mg of folic acid, you don't burp up a fishy smell, and I haven't gotten constipated with them. They just work for me. I really think most prenatal vitamins are created equal, the one you tolerate the best it what is best for you.

Third, I started exercising. I want to be able to exercise throughout my pregnancy. I have always exercised but I wanted a good routine. I hike a lot and I started running. I am up to running at least 3 miles a day, but I will cut back once I find out I am pregnant. Either cut back or slow down a little bit, whatever I need to do in order to feel comfortable with a work out routine.

Forth, I am drinking green/spinach smoothies every morning. I really do not like uncooked vegetables so I hardly ever eat salad. I also am not a big meat eater, so my midwife and I decided that the best way to boost my iron stores was to start having spinach smoothies. I can cover the taste of the spinach with a banana, strawberries, kiwi, grapes, or whatever fresh fruit I have lying around. I LOVE my smoothies. They are delicious, they do take some extra time to make, but I am able to drink it on my way to work so I do save time in the morning.

And last but not least (for today anyway) is I have really stressed communication with my husband. We have had ups and downs the past year but I am working on really loving my husband. I recognize the wonderful things that he does for me and I am quick to apologize. That doesn't mean we don't fight (in fact we just had an argument on Facebook 2 nights ago...), it just means that we are working harder than ever before to make sure our marriage is as strong as ever.
Because seriously, nothing is more wonderful than a father snuggling his newborn baby and I want to make sure I keep this guy around for the next eternity or so.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bamboobies and milkmakers GIVEAWAY

Here at LaborLooks we are passionate about supporting breastfeeding moms. That is why we decided to include some of our favorite breastfeeding products in our 2000+ facebook fan giveaway celebration.

This giveaway is sponsored by Bamboobies (Super-soft, leak-proof, washable nursing pads) and milkmakers (delicious cookies that boost milk supply). I was lucky enough to meet the moms behind these companies and check out their products at the ABC Expo last fall. My daughter had just stopped breastfeeding. So, while I haven't used either of these products (yet), I have felt the Bamboobies (AMAZINGLY SOFT) and I have tasted the milkmakers cookies (YUMMY).

Enter to win a multipack of Bamboobies and a 10 day supply of milkmakers lactation cookies below. Entries will be accepted through 9pm pacific time April 20, 2012. You must complete all three entries below to be eligible.

Oh, and check out this awesome breastfeeding resource page on the milkmakers website.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Special Guest Sunday: Belli Skin Care Products

I haven't done one of these posts in awhile, so I thought I would start back up with the new skin care line I have been using. I didn't get paid for this post, I didn't get free product for this post, I really just was searching for a face wash for my acne that would be safe to use in pregnancy.

Did I mention that I am NOT pregnant... currently... but that I want to be in the near future?? So I am spending a few months getting "body for baby" ready and one of the things I needed to eliminate was all the chemicals I was putting onto my face each day in order to prevent acne.

My routine before the switch to Belli Skin Care products was this- a benzoyl peroxide face scrub HERE , followed by a clean and clear acne salicylic acid moisturizer HERE, and then I topped it off with a prescription Clindamycin acne medication HERE

That is a lot of stuff, most of which I don't want and shouldn't use in pregnancy. So I made the switch a few weeks ago to Belli. Let me tell you, it smells amazing, every single time I use it. It isn't one of those smells that is great in the beginning and then fades over time. It seriously always smells fresh. I also have noticed that I haven't had any breakouts. I was expecting breakouts for the first couple weeks while my face was getting use to the new routine- but nope, it didn't happen. And trust me when I say I am very prone to breakouts.

I also use the Healthy Glow Facial Hydrator. It is $32 for 2oz. I almost flipped when I saw that, but the girl I talked to promised me that a little goes a long way. It seriously does. I use a pea size or smaller for my entire face and it feels fabulous after I use it. I expect it to last me at least 3 months, using it twice a day.

So that is it, I love it. I will be buying more when this runs out, and I plan on using this skin care routine for my entire pregnancy... when it happens.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pap Series Part 5: Special Speculums

***In order to keep this series light-hearted and easy to read I am not going to quote or site any sources except the knowledge of what I have learned through conferences, school, from pathologists and others who have gone on before me. THIS IS NOT TO REPLACE ANYTHING YOUR DOCTOR/NURSE PRACTITIONER/MIDWIFE/PA etc IS TELLING YOU. This is just some easy to read information*** Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

So I have told you how to prepare, what to expect before hand, why we do it, and additional testing but I haven't actually told you what to expect when you actually get that pap smear. Most of you reading this have already had a pap smear so some of this may explain some of the sensations that you have felt, and for those of you who haven't ever had a pap smear, this might clear up some fears that you may have.

A pap smear isn't scary. Okay fine, it shouldn't be scary. It shouldn't be scary but it may be scary if you have a history of sexual abuse, rape, vaginal trauma, a bad or painful pap smear in the past, or you just don't know what is going on or what to expect.

There aren't very many names for this instrument, I have heard a "duck bill," "clampy thing," "the scary metal thing," and that is about all. However, the real name is a Speculum. There are different kinds of speculums, but a speculum is basically the only name for it.

image via wikipedia

A speculum is an instrument that allows us to see inside the vagina so that we can visualize the cervix. A light is either attached to the speculum itself, or positioned in place so that there is a clear view of the cervix.

Sounds simple right? Well, after time it does become simple for a practitioner to visualize the cervix in order to do a pap smear, however, not all anatomy is created equal. The cervix is sometimes towards the top of the vagina (anterior), the back of the vagina (posterior), or it can be towards the right or left sides. None of these positions are bad or abnormal, but if a provider mentions to you where you cervix is, remember it! This way you can tell future providers where to look if they seem to be taking a long time to visualize your cervix.

Example, "I am so sorry it is taking so long for the pap smear Ashley, your cervix is just posterior, and sometimes that makes it hard to see. But don't worry, I found it just fine and the pap smear will be over in just a few seconds."

Now I am starting to get ahead of myself. The speculum, when placed properly, shouldn't hurt you as a patient. There is increased vaginal and rectal pressure... this is sometimes mistaken for pain. So if you start to feel like you are going to "pass gas" "toot" "fart" or whatever, that is normal. Not pleasant, but a normal feeling when having a pap smear.

If the speculum is plastic you may hear a clicking noise as it is locked into place, if it is a metal one then you probably won't hear much of anything. There isn't a big difference between the metal and the plastic, except sometimes the metal speculums are a little colder. If that is the case, hopefully your provider will give you a heads up to that so it doesn't surprise you.

Well, I am not sure how much more I can say about speculums. They aren't fun, but they are necessary for a provider to be able to see your cervix and to collect enough cells for a pap smear.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Wishing you a Wonderful Weekend

I hope you weekend is wonderful. Not all of you celebrate Easter, but Happy Easter to those who do, and Happy Weekend to those who don't. Also a Happy Passover to those celebrating.

Which leads me to say that my sister is celebrating her first Passover with her wonderful and devilishly handsome boyfriend (I doubt Pete will ever read that!!).

Or maybe just Happy Spring?!

I am very happy spring is here. Look at that green green grass.

I am also very happy that I live in a country where their are hundreds of reasons to celebrate every day.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pap Series part 4: Human Pap-a What? or HPV

***In order to keep this series light-hearted and easy to read I am not going to quote or site any sources except the knowledge of what I have learned through conferences, school, from pathologists and others who have gone on before me. THIS IS NOT TO REPLACE ANYTHING YOUR DOCTOR/NURSE PRACTITIONER/MIDWIFE/PA etc IS TELLING YOU. This is just some easy to read information*** Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Isn't HPV a pretty molecule?? Found HERE

Let me tell you, the HPV, or Human Papillomavirus, is some crazy stuff. This is an additional test that is often done at the same time as your pap smear. This additional test checks to see if they can identify a virus in the cervical cells that may increase your risk of cervical cancer.

The HPV virus is crazy because there are sooo many variations of the virus. I think they have identified at least 40 different strains of the virus that effect the lower genital tract... ie... the girly parts. Some of these HPV strains are considered "LOW RISK" because they only produce genital warts. The others are considered "HIGH RISK" because they have been found to be the cause of certain cervical cancers.

The debate comes in as if this is a true STD. Well, yes, it is a sexually transmitted disease, but they are investigating other modes of transmission, so sex might not be the only way to transmit HPV. Skin to skin contact for one. Some are researching transmission through childbirth as well. However it is transmitted, it is transmitted and unfortunately we don't test men for it. Men don't know when they have HPV, there isn't a treatment for it, and they just recently started recommending vaccinating for HPV (only 4 of the 40+ strains are covered in the vaccine).

So men don't know they have it but it is transmitted and then women become infected with the HPV virus. An infection of the virus can lay dormant for years, only surfacing in times of decreased immunity- like pregnancy, sickness, stress, etc. This infection can lay dormant for years and then it can start "acting up" or causing changes in the cells on the cervix.

Over time the HPV can cause damaging changes on the cervical cells which can eventually lead to cervical cancer if your body isn't strong enough to fight off the HPV and heal the damaged cells. We don't have signs or symptoms of HPV, we really only detect it through testing with your pap smear. When I say eventually this is usually a long process--- sometimes 5 to 10 to even 20 years later!

If you are under the age of 30 the current standard of care is to only check for HPV if the cells are abnormal on your pap smear. After the age of 30 the standard of care is to check for HPV on all pap smears.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Welcome Baby

Ashley and I grew up not even a half mile away from each other so of course when I heard she was expecting I was so excited to see her wear a Laborlooks gown.

Hazel Elizabeth was born 3/24/12 at 7lbs 2 oz.

Here is what she had to say:

I wore the gown on and off the whole time I was in the hospital. I delivered in the gown from the hospital ans saved the cute one for right after when I had visitors. I also walked the halls in it while laboring because it provided more coverage I got so many compliments on it from staff and friends! It was perfect, thank you.