It's Been a While!

Friday, October 3, 2014

It's been a while, friends! I just wanted to give you an update on where I'm at in Mommyhood. I LOVE being a mommy!! I knew I would, but it's given my life a whole new purpose that I never could've planned for. For better or worse, it consumes me, and I don't want to do anything but just be with my little man. He grows so quickly and I don't want to miss a thing!

At first, it wasn't so easy being a mommy. We struggled with nursing A LOT during the first two weeks, and gradually everything became much easier throughout the first six weeks. Now at five and a half months old, Peter is a pro! Lately he's been very distracted, and the final feeding of the night (around 4pm) is a struggle - I'm thinking it's because he just got his first tooth! Otherwise, we're nursing so well that I haven't got the little guy to consistently take a bottle - my most recent mommy challenge. I would love to be pregnant again in the not too distant future, so I'm hoping that when we introduce solids, a bottle transition will be easier. Please leave me any advice you have on bottle transitioning!

My little man is a champion night time sleeper. At two months, he was pulling eight hour stretches and now, he can sleep for 12-13 hours straight! This is amazing! Except he doesn't nap long or consistently throughout the day. He is a very active kid, always bouncing around, and I think he just doesn't want to miss a thing. I have been a crazy lady about preserving his nap times, making sure we're home so I can feed him and get him into the crib within 30 minutes of our schedule. Trouble is, when he's awake, I want to make sure he get's time to play and work those muscles! So I rarely get out of the house except to go on an afternoon walk. I feel guilty for not taking Peter to mommy & me classes or something, but there's not enough time between naps, feeding, playing and reading! How do all you Mommies going to activities do it?!

With that extra play time though, Peter is already great at sitting up. He twists around, lunges for toys, looks up, and can do pretty much everything in that position except sit up on his own. Rolling belly to back came pretty early for him, too, but back to belly took a little longer. He's recently been "scooching" around on his belly and does this funny move where he get on his legs and rocks back & forth like he wants to crawl! Oh, and he sleeps like that, too - bum in the air! So cute!

As for me, I am so happy and feel so crazed - it's hard to believe I can feel both so intensely. My husband works ridiculously long hours, and that's been so hard for me. I would love to spend every minute of my life with him - we somehow never get sick of each other! And I know he is madly in love with our son. I feel badly that he doesn't get to see his son for more than an hour each day. :( We're still in Massachusetts, and are constantly on the look out for jobs so we can move back to Vermont. This has been a major stress in my life for the past year, and even more since Peter was born.

I feel wonderful about motherhood and everything that comes with it. It feels good to know that I can handle it, and I would absolutely LOVE to have lots more babies. There are times when I feel overwhelmed, but I mostly feel confident about how my boy and I are progressing. One thing that is hard for me is watching my baby grow. I thought I would be so excited and anxious to have him achieve milestones early - but I'm not. When Peter got his first tooth last week, I cried. Stop growing so fast!!

Another thing that has been difficult for me is losing the baby weight. UGH! I worked out and ate healthily during pregnancy to make this easier!! But because my baby doesn't nap - it's been a long journey. I have about 8lbs to go, and I would really like to lose at least 5lbs before becoming pregnant again. I'm mentally & emotionally ready, but not physically - so that's hard. Breastfeeding did not help me lose weight. Exercise was helpful, but my diet was the toughest part. I don't eat junk food, but I love to eat. I started losing after I cut calories - which caused a drop in my milk supply - so it's a delicate balance. It takes time, right?

I hope this ramble is relateable to you. I miss you! I miss writing - now I feel too frantic to truly write well. I miss my blogger friends. I still check on your pages to see how you're doing. I know I'm not alone in needing a break! Being a mom is the best and most important job in the world. It's my life now. :) You can follow me on Instagram for photo updates - I try to post at least weekly! I don't know when I'll post here next, but I'll leave you with this:

The days are long, but the years are short.

xo kristen genevieve

My Labor Story

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

After! I love you, Peter!
As many of you know from one of my previous posts, I had been preparing to have a natural childbirth. While everything didn't go exactly as I had planned, I'm very happy about the way my labor turned out. It was the most intense physical experience of my life, and I still don't know how to describe the emotional impact, 6 weeks later. In order to maintain authenticity, you may find this post graphic at times - you've been forewarned!

I started having contractions the morning of my due date, which I spoke about in my 40 week update. The whole weekend before I was feeling a little off, especially Sunday night. Contractions began around 1am Monday, April 14th, but didn't get too intense until late afternoon. I tried to sleep and eat but in retrospect, I didn't take care of myself the way I should have.

We went to the hospital around midnight. It was a wild night - the day had been hot, almost 75 degrees, and when we got to the hospital, they informed us that their air conditioning had broken down earlier that day, so the air was thick. The hospital was also pretty busy that night, whether it was due to the full moon & lunar eclipse that night, who knows! ;)

I was 4cm dilated at my first exam. Then my contractions became much more intense. I tried my relaxation and breathing techniques with my wonderful husband coaching me, but I was so exhausted that I kept falling asleep in between contractions. Startled awake, I couldn't focus enough to get control of my body. At my second exam a few hours later, I had only progressed to 5cm. Around 7am, the pain and lack of control was so unbearable that I asked for an epidural.

As the anethesiologist entered the room, I began to cry. I never cry in front of strangers, but I felt so disappointed in myself. I knew intellectually that all I had to do was get control over my body, but I could not physically do it. I didn't know how I was going to make it through the pushing stage if I was so exhausted already.

Within 10 minutes of getting the epidural, all of my disappoint vanished and I knew in my bones that I had made the right decision. I smiled again for the first time in several hours, and I could actually have a conversation. That morning, I slept for three blissful hours. I finally had a chance to recharge my batteries.

In the early afternoon, I had another exam and was told that I was 10cm dilated. I couldn't feel the contractions or my legs, so I just took their word for it! (By the way, not being able to feel my legs was completely freaky.) The doctor came in shortly after and asked me to try pushing. Well, I had no feeling, so my pushing was for nothing. I had to wait almost 3 hours for my epidural to wear off before I could push!

When it was time to push, I felt that pain coming back and I started to get anxious. I didn't want to feel pain anymore! Looking back, I'm grateful that I was able to feel enough to instinctively push. But because my labor at that point had been over 25 hours (with contractions starting over 39 hours prior), I don't think anyone expected that this phase of labor would go so quickly for me. My husband kept bugging the nurse to come in, and she was slowly making her way. I was thinking, "this baby is coming, where is everyone?!" It only took about 10 minutes, and the doctor almost didn't make it! He rushed in and quickly put on his gloves, and my little man was born just a few minutes later. I'm definitely lucky in this respect - some women push for a couple hours.

After Peter was born, I was in complete shock. My body was in so much pain after being numb for several hours, and I had a strange feeling because my belly was gone. And sorry if this is TMI, but the stitches were the most difficult part for me emotionally - I had so much anxiety in those few minutes and couldn't truly enjoy holding my son.

Soon after Peter arrived, a lactation consultant arrived to assist me with my first breastfeeding session, but I was so in shock that I just couldn't handle it. So we were transferred upstairs to the Maternity ward (where it was even hotter!). My husband went across the street to the Whole Foods and got me a huge plate of mac n cheese, my first meal in over 24 hours. It was so delicious and I was so ravenous that I basically inhaled it!

We had a great nurse that was very helpful with recovery & nursing advice throughout the night, but it was anything but easy. I'll do another post on that later. Essentially, it was the craziest experience of my life and much more intense that I could have possibly prepared for, but looking back, I wouldn't do anything different. I'm so grateful that I was able to forgive myself so quickly for getting the epidural, because I truly believe it allowed me to have a significantly better birthing experience.

I hope my story is helpful and not fear inducing to those of you that are still pregnant. It's such an intense experience that you can't prepare for or understand until you go through it. I finally see that. Despite it all, I definitely would do it again! I love my little man! Becoming a mom has enabled me to roll with the punches better. 

I love connecting with other mamas! Please share your labor stories with me! Also, coming up I'll have posts on Peter's first week home, my nursing experience, and more updates on my baby! For more photos of little Peter, be sure to follow me on Instagram!

xo kristen genevieve

I'm a Mom!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I'm so happy to share with you that I am now a Mother! I'm sure those of you how have followed my pregnancy could guess that since I've been gone for so long. I've tried to update my Instagram, but truthfully, I've spent most of my time snuggling with my little man!

I've missed blogging! My blog has most definitely taken a backseat to being a mom. I feel like I'm constantly nursing, which makes getting to a computer to type nearly impossible. But now that my little man is one month old and I've begun to learn his wake/sleep patterns, I'm hope to have more me time.

Upcoming, I'll have a post about my labor story, my nursing experience, and the first week home. Thank you all for following me throughout my pregnancy and for your well wishes on Instagram over the past few weeks! When I'm alone at home, it's nice to feel connected to other ladies who have had the same struggles and joys. Thanks for reading!

xo kristen genevieve

Pregnancy Update: 40 Weeks! DUE DATE!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Today is my DUE DATE!! Wow! I am so excited that I've crossed this mini milestone. What's even more exciting is that I've started experiencing contractions! They started this morning around 1 am and I've had 2-3 each hour pretty consistently since then. I can't believe it! 

I hadn't been sleeping well last week or at the beginning of this week because, as I mentioned in my previous update, I've been struggling with control. I feared that I would start having contractions at night (which I did) and not be able to get control of my body enough to relax. But what actually happened was that I immediately and instinctually woke up and focused on relaxing all of my muscles. I felt in complete control. It made me feel so confident about what is to come! 

I'm going to do my best to update all of you on my progress! My baby boy could be here this evening or it could be a few more days, but I have a feeling it will be within the week! I'll post quick updates on my Instagram until I'm able to blog again. So go follow me @kristengenevieve !

Week: 40 weeks - Today is my official Due Date!!

Gender: Boy!!

Total Weight Gain:
28-29lbs total! I definitely did not expect that I would be able to stay right around 30lbs. It was my goal, but I wasn't sure what would happen! 

Exercise: Lots of walking and stretching! I went for four long walks this week in addition to just getting around. Helping baby get a move on! Still stretching but no more yoga.

Nutrition: I started easing into drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea on Wednesday after my doctor appointment. It's supposed to help with labor but not actually induce. We'll see! ;)

Food cravings/aversions:
Still craving Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough Ice Cream. I've just totally given in at this point, it's bad!

Signs of Stretch Marks: Nope! Still using Burt's Bees Belly Butter!

Maternity Clothes: No new ones. In hind sight, I wish I had a few more shirts and one pair of pants. It's been nice wearing dresses again now that the weather's nice though! Remind me to having a summer baby next time. :)

Sleep: On & off. I slept horribly at the beginning of the week, feeling anxious about when I would go into labor. But the past several nights, I've talked myself into feeling good before bed and I've slept much better. Mind over matter!

Feeling: A mix of emotions but not too emotional! (If that makes sense!) I've been feeling anxious about when this little man will decide to arrive, but I'm actively trying to relax and let go as much as I can. 
Physically, I feel great. I am pretty much fully capable - something I never expected at this stage of pregnancy. I just do things a little more slowly than before. The only time I'm uncomfortable is getting up from the bed at night. :)

Labor Signs: I was beginning to feel more "crampy" on Friday night. By Sunday evening, I could tell something was happening. Then Sunday night, I started having contractions! As of Monday morning, they're 15-20 seconds long, roughly 20 minutes apart and not painful - noticeable and uncomfortable, but not painful. Banging my knee on the coffee table would feel 10x worse.

Baby Movement: Yeah! His kicks hurt! But I can't blame him, he must be feeling so cramped in there!

Belly Button In or Out? In - barely!

Wedding Rings On or Off? Off most of the time. :( They fit tightly but I don't want to force it.

What I miss most this week: Sleep! But I have a feeling I'll be missing that for a while. ;)

Best moment this week: Experiencing contractions and feeling totally in control of my body! :D

Looking forward to: Meeting my little one! Maybe today! Ah!!!

xo kristen genevieve

Pregnancy Update: 39 Weeks!

Monday, April 7, 2014

I can't believe how far I've come! Thirty-nine weeks blows my mind! Now we're officially considered "full term" and I definitely feel it! This part is tough because its a waiting game. I'm such a planner, its so difficult to not know exactly when this little one will join us. Anything within the next three weeks would be completely normal, and that window is so big when you're expecting a baby!

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I have been dealing with some major life decisions over these past couple weeks. It's nice to be able to control some things, but when this baby boy joins us is out of my control - and I'm finding that difficult to handle! Not only do I need to practice more patience, I need to learn how to deal with not being in control of everything, all the time.

I haven't been sleeping as well lately, not just because I have to get up to go to the bathroom more often, but because my anxieties about going into labor manifest themselves in my dreams. I wake up feeling so physically tense! One morning this week, I woke up with a charlie horse cramp in my leg, and I was so hazy, I thought that meant I was going to start having contractions immediately after! During the day, I feel confident about what's to come. At night, I'm afraid I'll be caught off guard and not be able to take control of my body and calm myself. Does that make sense?

Week: 39 weeks - officially considered full term now!

Gender: Boy!!

Total Weight Gain:
About 28-29lbs total - I think it's half baby, half ice cream this week! ;)

Exercise: Not much yoga this week because it wasn't working for my recent lower back pain. Just lots of stretching and walking!

Nutrition: Still noshing on green grapes for lunch/snack time. I'm healthy with my breakfasts & dinners, but at this point, as long as I'm not gaining a ton of weight, I'm pretty unconcerned about what I'm eating during the rest of the day. I just want to feel good before I go into labor. Hello, ice cream!

Food cravings/aversions:
Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. Mmmm...

Signs of Stretch Marks: No new ones! Still using Burt's Bees Belly Butter!

Maternity Clothes: Nothing new - doing lots of laundry and holding out until the end! I'm excited to get some new non-maternity clothes soon!

Sleep: Yeah, I wake up a lot. Every time I wake, I am in such a hazy state that I feel like I have to check myself to make sure my water didn't break or anything else crazy happened while I was sleeping. I also woke up to a killer charlie horse in my calf one morning this week - again, I thought my leg cramp meant that my uterus would start a few seconds later. Let's just say, labor is on my mind!

Feeling: During the day, surprisingly great! Once my back pain went away, I felt strong again. Sure, my feet swell every night and my belly gets wet when I'm washing dishes, but I'm certainly not in pain or uncomfortable. I just want to meet my little man and kiss his face! 

Labor Signs: No contractions yet, but my cervix is soft and baby boy has been head down ("dropped") since 35 weeks. I would welcome irregular contractions this week - it'd be nice to have my body start working for me before the hard work begins!

Baby Movement: Yes, but he's definitely cramped in there! Every time I go for a walk, I can feel his head dropping further - there's a lot of pressure down there. 

Belly Button In or Out? In - woohoo!

Wedding Rings On or Off? On during the day, off at night. This part I don't like!

What I miss most this week: Hummus. A few more weeks!

Best moment this week: Game of Thrones season premiere! Second, getting packages in the mail! :)

Looking forward to: Meeting my little one! Even some irregular contractions this week would be welcome!

We're so close now! Thanks so much for following along and caring! If news breaks with baby, I'll probably update my Instagram first, so go follow me! :)

xo kristen genevieve

Learning To Be Content

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lately, my husband & I have been making some important life decisions. It's important to me to try to be a positive person, but when there is no plan for what's to come, I tend to fall into an attitude of, "hope for the best, prepare for the worst." I admit it - I have a difficult time not feeling like I'm in control. 

This past year since moving to Massachusetts from Vermont has been a trial year for us to grow and decide where we want our lives to go. From the start, we've seen this place as a transition, something temporary that we would eventually move away from. We weren't sure where we wanted to be until we actually moved and realized that Vermont is our true home.

Since then, we've been trying to figure how to to get back to those gorgeous green mountains. We had hoped to move this June, before our son was two months old. Now that the time is creeping near, we've realized how little sense it makes to move now. For my husband's career, we have to stay. We have to be smart! It could be six months, or it could be two years, but the longer we stay, the more we fast track our lives so we can do things the things we want in life. 

While I'm disappointed that we have to postpone our dreams of moving back home, I feel strangely at peace having a more solid plan for our immediate future. I am practicing patience and learning to be content with where I am. I've spent so much of my life so far feeling discontent while struggling with depression. One year ago, I promised myself to not ever let depression consume me again - to do everything that I can to make myself happy & grateful for each day. It's great to have goals and things to look forward to, but not if those visions prevent me from appreciating my life now.

I think sacrifice is a normal part of life, especially when you're young. It's not easy being a twenty-something or even a thirty-something depending on how many turns you've taken in your career. It's also very different making life decisions when you have your kids to consider. Still, I know that I have so much to be thankful for. 

xo kristen genevieve

Pregnancy Update: 38 Weeks!

Monday, March 31, 2014

As you know from my 37 week update, I've been dealing with some end-of-pregnancy back pain. Leading up to my 37th week, I exercised a lot. My husband suggested I scale back on my yoga practice this past week so I could see what exactly was hurting my back. I stretched several times throughout the day, including integrating stretches with my balance ball, but I skipped some of the more intense back exercises and it definitely helped! Then over the weekend, I walked all over the place while running errands and my back pain almost vanished! I am so surprised - I thought rest and yoga would be best! Not this week. This experience has taught me that I can do better when it comes to listening to my body.

It's starting to really sink in how close we are to meeting our son. I haven't really been too stressed about labor or becoming a parent, but sometimes it does scare me that I'm not able to visualize how much life will change so instantly when baby arrives. I really enjoy cuddling on the couch & watching TV with my husband. Will I ever have any free time again? Will I be so exhausted that I won't have time to spend with my husband? So many parents complain about how life is all about their kids, but are those people just whiners? (Seriously!)

When I got married, people told me that the first year of marriage is the hardest and honestly, I never experienced that. I'm not trying to say that everything in my life is perfect, because I certainly have issues within myself, but I think my husband and I have genuinely fought once in our +five year relationship - and it didn't last more than a few hours. It surprises me that so many people seem to think fighting once a week or holding long term grudges is just a normal part of marriage. So maybe parenting and family dynamics with a baby are the same way. Maybe having a positive outlook, being grateful for what you have, and making time for the ones you love is enough to make it through major life changes. But what do I know! ;)

Week: 38 weeks - woah - this is getting so real!!

Gender: Boy!!

Total Weight Gain:
I've gained 27lbs total!

Exercise: I scaled way back on yoga this week to determine the problems with my lower back. While stretching throughout the day feels great, some of the strength training yoga moves are just too intense for my back in this stage of pregnancy.

Nutrition: I have been terrible with sweets this week. Every day I eat fruits & veggies, but then I let dessert slide by. Need. more. self-control! 

Food cravings/aversions:
Obsessed with green grapes still! Aaaaand Ben & Jerrys!

Signs of Stretch Marks: Still using Burt's Bees Belly Butter! I have no stretch marks on my belly and I'm curious how much this butter has helped vs. genetics.

Maternity Clothes: No new ones for a while! My maternity shirts are actually starting to get a little short at this point - ha!

Sleep: Much better than last week but I'm still getting up a few times each night!

Feeling: Physically - much better towards the end of the week. Mentally - great! My husband and I have been dealing with some tough life decisions this week and it feels good to have a more solid plan for our immediate future.

Baby Movement: Baby's head is still down, and his body shifts from left to right. Sometimes when I get a strong kick, it feels like it sets off a Braxton Hicks. Maybe it's coincidence, I'm not sure.

Belly Button In or Out? In - but looking crazy!

Wedding Rings On or Off? On - but my fingers are swelling so much at night this past week. :(

What I miss most this week: Sun & warm weather. Stop snowing already!

Best moment this week: Having my husband home all weekend instead of working Saturday! Finally!

Looking forward to: Experiencing real contractions. I know it sounds strange, but if I had on & off contractions this coming week I wouldn't complain. It'd be nice to have my body start working for me slowly! 

I'm sorry I was absent for my Thursday post last week - with all of my new free time, I filled my schedule with projects and plans once again. I can't slow down - it's beyond my Capricorn nature, I've got an intense case of nesting mama instinct! ;)

xo kristen genevieve

Pregnancy Update: 37 Weeks!

Monday, March 24, 2014

I'm 37 weeks today, now considered "early term," and I've officially crossed into very pregnant territory! It's been a pretty tough week for me, physically. I've done yoga almost everyday this week, along with a bit of walking and hours upon hours of stretching to relieve my lower back pain. I was in so much pain at the beginning of the week and I couldn't figure out what to do to get comfortable. Then towards the end of the week, the pain began to diminish. I'm not sure if it was baby's position, if I pulled a muscle during yoga, or if all this weight is causing the discomfort. If the pain intensifies again, I'm not sure how I'm going to get through the next 3-4 weeks with so much wearing on me before labor even begins! 

I've also been experiencing lots of Braxton Hicks contractions this week, more so than the previous weeks. It's most noticeable in the evening and during the night time. I've been waking up several times a night - nature's way of preparing me for the lack of sleep to come! There is no way I can get out of bed without doing the belly rock these days! But I don't mind. :) 

Now that virtually everything is ordered, completed, and ready to go and I've stopped creating projects for myself in case he decides to come early, I find myself not having much to do for the first time in my pregnancy! I planned it this way so I would have time to just relax, but it's an odd feeling for me! As my husband will attest to, I am the queen of "to do" lists and have trouble not keeping myself constantly busy. So what did I decide to do? Go shopping! Ah! I am usually very frugal, but this week I can't peel myself away from all the adorable things I've found on Etsy! There are so many unique, handmade clothes, blankets & toys for baby, I just love it! I admit it - I have an Etsy problem. 

Week: 37 weeks 

Gender: Boy!!

Total Weight Gain:
Still right around 26lbs most days. Today I was only up 25lbs though! 

Exercise: I've been exercising like crazy this past week doing lots of yoga, walking & hours of stretching. I have to! My back hurts too much to stay stiff.

Nutrition: Fruit! I've been eating lots and lots of fruit. I've also been eating a ton of cheese this week. Calcium, right? ;)

Food cravings/aversions:
Craving mango & watermelon this week! I'm craving green grapes even more intensely, but Trader Joes didn't have any yesterday! :( Anyway, it must be a spring thing, craving fresh fruit. Last week I made a little smoothie from organic mango.Yum!

Signs of Stretch Marks: No changes for several weeks. Still using Burt's Bees Belly Butter!

Maternity Clothes: No new ones! Just doing lots of laundry!

Sleep: Phew! It's been a tough week for sleep. Since baby has dropped, I am constantly getting up to go to the bathroom. The backache doesn't help matters either. :/

Feeling: Heavy! I'm beginning to waddle because of the weight and the backache. I'm sure it's funny to look at, but it doesn't feel too great! My spirits are still high though!  

Baby Movement: Definitely still moving and he still has hiccups at least twice a day, but he is a lot more cramped now. Unfortunately that means he kicks way out to the side, which is so sensitive! What a stinker!

Belly Button In or Out? In - but looking crazy!

Wedding Rings On or Off? On

What I miss most this week: Feeling normal and pain free!

Best moment this week: Seeing our baby's face on the ultrasound and finding out that he's about 5lbs 13 oz and is in position, ready to go for the big day!

Looking forward to: Meeting this little nugget already!! As soon as pregnancy got a little difficult, I started getting impatient. ;)

The top photo is from a mini maternity photo session I did with my husband as my photographer about a week ago! I'm so grateful to have such a patient & talented husband! :)

xo kristen genevieve

Book Review: Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Author Qualifications
Susan McCutcheon is a Bradley Childbirth educator, and one of Dr. Bradley's first students in 1968. I was not able to find much other information about her, so I'm assuming she has no formal medical training. The founder of the program is Dr. Robert A. Bradley MD, who did his obstetrical training at the Mayo Foundation in Minnesota. 

Stand Out Nuggets
-The Bradley Method is also known as Husband-Coached Childbirth. The program heavily relies on a supportive partner.
-Describes several differences between Bradley and Lamaze techniques, including an emphasis on natural breathing vs. panting techniques; visualization of the body vs. distraction techniques; viewing the hospital team as pushy vs. trusting what the doctor says, even if it means accepting medications. 
-Provides questions to ask your doctor about what happens during labor so you know what to look for to have the experience you want.
-Emphasizes that preparing for birth is a long-term commitment. You must spend at least 12 weeks, if not the entire pregnancy, eating well, exercising, not taking any medication, practicing deep breathing & relaxation, and put a great effort into choosing the right birthing team.
-Provides sections with very specific relaxation, breathing & visualization exercises for the different stages of labor. 
-Teaches you how to recognize where you are in the labor process based on your emotions and how your body is feeling.
-Teaches the best body positions for the different stages of labor.

What I Think
First let me say, I have not taken the official 12 week Bradley course, I've only read this book. Educators would frown on this approach, but I found this amount of study was sufficient for me. Also, my mom is an RN and former Lamaze educator, but I did not resonate with those techniques.

I have a very bi-polar view of this book. On the one hand, I felt that the Bradley techniques resembled my yoga practice much more than Lamaze. Bradley focuses on natural, deep breathing, and emphasizes the importance of the whole body, eating healthy and exercising throughout pregnancy. I also like that the Bradley techniques have me focus on how contractions are working for my body, how exactly those organs are pumping and making progress, whereas what I understand from Lamaze, I would focus on something to distract from the pain.

I really like that the book provides very specific body positioning, relaxation, and visualization techniques. It's a great help for me and for my husband. I've book-marked specific exercises and plan on bringing this book to the hospital for my husband to reference if he needs help remembering what to do on that emotional day.

What I strongly dislike about this book is how judgmental and fear-mongering it is. Throughout the book, for example, the author insists that episiotomies are routine and that you'll have to fight the doctor to avoid it. Not true! This information is outdated and it totally freaked me out! I asked my doctor about this and about how often they use forceps and vacuums. She said an episiotomy is very rare, they never use forceps and she can't remember the last time they used a vacuum. This book made these methods and other interventions seem commonplace. So check with your doctor if you have concerns about anything you read in this book - it was last published in 1994 which is a long time ago in medical history.
The book is just very one-sided. If you accept interventions, you are "giving in" and while it does say that you should have a good relationship with your birthing team, the book also implies that you should expect to have to fight everyone. I don't want to fight when I'm in labor! I wrote a birth plan and informed my husband of what type of experience I want so he can be my voice if I cannot, but I really don't want him to fight either! I don't think this is a healthy mentality and I truly believe that most people in this field of work just want you to have a good experience, even if they don't often see women follow through with their natural birth plans.

The Takeaway
Even though Bradley is less accepting of a flexible birth plan (it's very judgmental about any kind of intervention and medication), I feel like this type of strong conviction might be just what I need to overcome my self-doubt. Of course, I will do what ever is medically necessary. But if I go in with a strong will to deliver naturally, I feel like I'll have a better chance of succeeding than to be completely open to accepting interventions. 
I do not judge other women and I don't think this approach is right for everyone. The book itself can be scary, and can even make you feel bad about yourself. But if you are an earth-mama yoga-type that feels deeply connected to your body and emotions, this might be a good program for you if you can ignore the judgement and pushiness. Overall, I did find this book very educational and it did make me think a great deal about what type of labor I want. But even though I consider myself a type of person that's able to detect an author's bias or false information, I still felt fearful about some things because of this book before I spoke with my doctor.  

Have you read this book? Did you find it helpful to you, before and after your birth experience? Did it freak you out, too?! Please comment! I am so curious to know about others experiences. I had great feedback on my post discussing Natural Childbirth vs. Epidurals on how I weighed the pros and cons of each experience, so thank you!!
Be sure to check out my other parenting & pregnancy Book Reviews on the blog! So much has changed this week, I'm looking forward to updating you all in my next pregnancy update on Monday!! Almost 37 weeks now and the Hospital Bags are packed! Thanks for reading! :) 

Pregnancy Update: 36 Weeks!

Monday, March 17, 2014

This has been such a busy week! As you may have seen from my last post, I packed our hospital bags last week! It's so relieving to have that done, I can't even tell you! I also did a good cleaning of the apartment, got a haircut, ordered my breast pump, installed the car seat base, and even squeezed in a little maternity photo session at home. Phew! It's nice to be able to have almost everything done now so I can just relax and enjoy these last few weeks.

This week I've been feeling heavy. When other moms said the last month was the most difficult, I didn't really understand until this week. I've been so busy and physically exhausted that I have to make resting a priority over doing yoga, but I can tell my body is getting heavier and my back is hurting more because I've been neglectful of my exercise routine. I'm mentally motivated to get things done but my body is getting in my way! Hopefully next week will be better if I make yoga more of a priority again. It makes a huge difference!

Week: 36 weeks - 4 weeks to go!! Maybe?!

Gender: Boy!!

Total Weight Gain:
About 26lbs total! 

Exercise: I've been slacking with my yoga routine this week...I've been so exhausted! I have been walking a little more and still stretch for 20-30minutes before bed. But damn, this month might be more difficult than I thought!

Nutrition: I'm kind of boring - same old low-sugar, nut & seed filled granola, organic tomatoes, organic spinach, and lots of bananas. 

Food cravings/aversions:
Craving cayenne - I love lots of spice! But it's been giving me bad heartburn again. :/ Still craving clementines, too! And really all fresh fruit.

Signs of Stretch Marks: Thankfully, no new ones (yet!). Still using Burt's Bees Belly Butter!

Maternity Clothes: No new ones since 32 weeks! But furiously doing laundry because I am running out of clothes that fit!

Sleep: Phew! It's been a tough week for sleep. I get up only a couple times a night if I'm lucky. I've also experienced insomnia some nights, worrying about getting things done in time! I need to woosah!

Feeling: Physically - heavy! This last month might be tougher than I thought! I've also been experiencing some pretty intense heartburn, much worse than my first trimester. I also have swollen feet if I stand for more than an hour without a break. Finally, those Braxton Hicks contractions are increasing in frequency - they're not painful, just slightly uncomfortable. They're a good reminder to practice my labor relaxation techniques! 

Baby Movement: At my doctor appointment last week, baby was moving as she measured my belly. She said, "wow, he's really going!" I replied, "this is actually mild compared to normal!" Ha! We've got a wild one on our hands!

Belly Button In or Out? In - stay, stay!

Wedding Rings On or Off? On - Crossing fingers they'll stay on!

What I miss most this week: My energy. Ironically, yoga gives me energy but I also need to feel good to be motivated to exercise!

Best moment this week: Getting over my anxieties and asking my doctor all the questions about labor & delivery that I've been afraid to discuss with her so far.

Looking forward to: Getting an ultrasound today!

We're in the home stretch! Hoping I'll make it to at least 39 weeks, if not 40 weeks, but realistically, baby could be here any day now!! As you know from my last post and from Instagram, my hospital bags are packed! Check out my list and let me know if I missed anything! Thanks so much for all your support during this time. I really appreciate all of the love and good vibes. :)

xo kristen genevieve

What's In My Hospital Bag

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Now that I'm almost 36 weeks along, it's time to start packing my hospital bag! Here are all the items I can think of that I plan on bringing with me to the hospital. In some cases, I bring a few things more than necessary because I want my own organic products. I've also listed optional items, gathered some snacks, and created a list of last minute items that I don't want to forget! I hope this is helpful to you!

For the Little Man

  • Car Seat! We're installing the base this weekend. ;)
  • 4 Outfits - I'm bringing 3 onesies and 1 pair of pjs with footies.
  • 2 hats, 2 pairs of mittens, 2 pairs of socks
  • 2 swaddling blankets. Mine are from Aden & Anais.
  • 4-6 Burp Cloths. I have a mix of organic & regular burp cloths. 
  • Organic Cotton Balls - I'm using these with water instead of wipes for the first few weeks. They're also great for wiping eye boogers!
  • Diaper Cream - I'm using Seventh Generation because it's fragrance free, hypoallergenic and non-toxic with no parabens or phthalates. Plus it's a Vermont-based company!
  • Optional: Diapers - I'm bringing a handful but plan to use as many as the hospital will give me!
  • Optional: I'm bringing just 2 multi-use wash clothes for random needs. The hospital will also provide some.
  • Optional: Baby Memory Book - for footprints.
  • Optional: Pre-sterilized pacifiers.
  • Optional: Stuffed animal, blankie or other memory items.
  • Optional: Extra lip balm - for me. I spread them throughout the bags so I can always find some!

Labor & Delivery

  • Trash bag & an old towel for my seat on the car ride to the hospital.
  • Forms: Hospital Forms, insurance information, and several copies of my birth plan.
  • Lavender & Peppermint Organic lotions for calming. You could also use essential oils.
  • Organic coconut oil- I got mine at Trader Joe's.
  • Lavender neck wrap (and/or eye pillow) for relaxation.
  • Birthing Ball & pump - the RN on my hospital tour said they don't have many. (On my last minute list.)
  • Wood massager
  • Pillows (Also on my hospital stay & last minute lists.)
  • Wash Cloths 
  • Labor Books - I'm bringing Natural Birth the Bradley Way & Active Birth.
  • Disposable Flip Flops for walking with swollen feet and taking a shower during & after labor.
  • iPod with music doc or Laptop
  • Optional: Robe; slippers or socks to walk around in; magazines or light reading.


  • Nursing Bras - 2-3 in case one gets wet.
  • Nipple Cream - I'm using Motherlove Organic cream, but Lanolin is fine.
  • Disposable Breast Pads - I'm starting off with Lansinoh Ultra Soft pads.
  • Nursing pillow + cover (I'm still waiting for my covers to arrive from Etsy!)
  • Optional: Organic Washable Breast Pads -  I'm saving these for home.
  • Optional: Breastfeeding book
  • Optional: Breast pump - the hospital will provide one or rent one to you if you want.
  • Optional: A pre-sterilized Nipple Shield if you anticipate problems with breastfeeding. Ask your lactation consultant about them. 

Hospital Stay Necessities

  • Toiletries: Soap, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, face lotion, body lotion, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouth wash, floss, minimal makeup, partner's deoderant. (Don't forget those shower flip flops from above!)
  • 2 Towels - for showering in case the hospital towels are small. (Remember the third towel is for the car ride!)
  • Extra travel size bottles to put soaps in if it's more convenient. 
  • Squirt bottle with water or witch hazel for post-delivery recovery.
  • Lip Balm
  • Hair brush & hair ties
  • Vitamins: My organic prenatals from New Chapter, DHA and Iron. 
  • Any other medications
  • Pillows & a blanket (on my last-minute packing list)
  • Tissues
  • Empty bag for gifts and hospital extras.
  • Empty folder for records, blank paper & pens.
  • Cash & change for vending machines
  • Camera & charger
  • Laptop, Phone & chargers (on my last minute list)
  • Clothing: Nursing bras (listed above), maternity underwear, lots of socks, loose clothing for nursing and sleeping, a maternity outfit for when I leave the hospital. Oh, and a few things for my husband! ;)
  • Optional: Sound Machine - in case the hospital is noisy.
  • Optional: I'm bringing my own organic soap/shampoo for baby from Earth Mama Angel Baby because it's a more non-toxic option than I suspect the hospital might offer. I only need a little, so I'm just putting it in one of my travel-size bottles.
  • Optional: Lotion for baby. I am bringing my own Burt's Bees Fragrance Free lotion for the same reason. Not sure how much I'll use since baby doesn't get a bath in the first +12 hours of life. 
  • Optional: Journal. I'm leaving it at home because I don't expect to have the energy!
  • Optional: Razors, Loufas, Q-tips, Advil


  • Water
  • Some type of chocolate - obviously!
  • Multigrain Pita Chips for sustenance- these are from Trader Joe's.
  • Almonds or other nuts/trail mix - protein!
  • Granola bars - to keep blood sugar up (mostly for my husband!)
  • Peppermint Tea
  • Optional: Last minute fresh food (see last minute packing list for ideas).
  • Optional: Some women insist on having coconut water because it basically a natural Gatorade, packed with electrolytes. I have tried to like it, but - yuck! 
  • Optional: I found this Organic Red Raspberry Leaf Tea from Earth Mama Angel Baby that is supposed to naturally induce labor. I'm not sure if I'll bring it to the hospital since I'll already be in labor, but I might drink it after 39 weeks!
My husband is prone to fainting because when his focus on me, he forgets to eat & drink. My mother-in-law has been telling me that I need an extensive snack collection ready! ;) Don't forget your partner when packing!

My Last Minute Packing List
  • Any extra clothes, toiletries or medications I couldn't pack in advance
  • Pillows & a blanket
  • Birthing Ball (pump is already packed)
  • Laptop & Charger
  • Phones & Chargers
  • A peanut butter & jelly sandwich, a banana, an apple, some chedder or any other fresh snacks you or your partner might want.

Leave at Home
  • Any clothing you don't want ruined. This is self-explanatory.
  • First Aid & Grooming supplies for baby. You'll use them at home soon enough! 
  • Deodorant - if you plan on breastfeeding.
  • Advil or other medications you might get at the hospital for free.
  • Too many diapers - try to get free ones if you can!
  • Extra sanitary pads - unless you are particular, get more free things while you can!

While You're Packing
  • Make yourself some witch hazel pads and pop them in the freezer for post-delivery care.
  • Bring a vase or two out if they're tucked away. ;)
  • Tell your partner or other family that will be at your place if you specifically want anything when you return from the hospital. I want some Pinot Noir or champagne, chocolate and a cheese, cracker & fruit spread! ;)

I hope you found this helpful! Let me know if I missed anything!

xo kristen genevieve

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