How I Went From Junior Leaguer to Barefoot & Pregnant

When I was a little girl, I had a very clear image of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be someone’s wife and have a baby.  That was as far as I got. Nothing else really seemed fun.

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As I got older, I realized that I one day, I would actually have to get a job.  Go to college. Make money.  Uuggggghhhhh….  People, I was gonna have to work.

At that point, I had no choice but to twist that “clear image” up a bit.  I needed to figure out what I was going to be.  Become.  Do.  For a living.

My first thought was to become a veterinarian.  I loved animals….dogs, cats, and horses were at the top of my list. I thought it would be so much fun to go into my clinic every day and work with my furry patients.  So, during my senior year of high school, I started to observe our veterinarian.  The first surgery I watched being performed was the neutering of a huge German Sheppard.  I passed out.  So…….plan B.

My grandmother, dad, and aunt were all nurses, so I figured, “well…it’s in my blood…”  So, after graduation, I applied and was accepted into Auburn University with Nursing as my declared major.  I applied for a job at a surgical clinic in Auburn to get my foot in the door and began working just weeks after moving into my apartment.  One of the things I had to do on a regular basis was add “before and after” pictures to patient charts.  Most all of the pictures that I had to file made me completely nauseated & I quickly realized that if blood and guts were even slightly involved, nothing in the medical field was gonna cut it.  And neither was that job.  And there was no plan C.

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and I was quite miserable, so I decided to move back home with the parents.  And guess what…I met Rooster.1919110_1219926625101_6586228_n (more…)

What Mamas Really Need for the Hospital…and What They Really Don’t

If this is your first baby, you’ve probably looked at a million lists of things you need for the hospital when you have your baby.

It’s been a long time since I’ve actually looked at one of those lists because I’ve got my “absolutely must-have” list and my “don’t-even-bother-with-it-because-you know-you-never-even-get-it-out-of-the bag” list permanently embedded into my brain.

Some items change with each rodeo, but there are staples that have made my later stays so much better than the early ones.

I’m not just going to give you a “what you need” list. I’m going to add the “why you need it” part, so that you can see why I recommend it, and then decide whether or not it’s something you want to include.

Packing my bags and the baby’s bags is a time I so look forward to, cause that means you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

OK! So, let’s do this.

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The Most Scalarious Moment of My Life: The Night the Bat Flew Into My Bedroom.

I figured that since Halloween is knocking on our back door, now is an appropriate time to share this story with you.  It was the most scalarious (scary+hilarious) moment of my entire life.

August 17, 2013

It was just after 10pm. Our children were all tucked in their beds…it was finally quiet for the first time all day.

Rooster & I were just about to get into bed ourselves. I had just been downstairs minutes before, fixing us a yummy cup of yogurt with fruit on top (a phase we were going through at the moment). At the time, I was 29 weeks pregnant with Maddie Wallace, our 5th child.

After coming back upstairs with the goods, I handed Mike his dessert, walked to my side of the bed and climbed aboard, sitting up nice and tall–ready to indulge into the yumminess.

Just so you have a visual, this is our bed.  I sleep on the left.

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Mike was standing at his side of the bed, with his right leg in mid air, just inches away from getting into his sweet spot, when all of the sudden, something FLEW into our bedroom at a massive speed.

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Why I No Longer Vaccinate My Children.

This is about to stir the pot.  I’m excited.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a child with an ear infection. Raise your hand if that child had to go to the pediatrician & be put on antibiotics. And did they have to get tubes??

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a child that never once had to go to the doctor….has never had an infection of any kind, which means never has had to take an antibiotic.

Most moms I know could never raise their hand. And in the beginning of my mothering career, neither could I.

I have 6 children ages 12, 10, 7, 5, 4, and 18 months. I was like most moms and vaccinated my first 3 children. Here’s the short story.

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Braxton Hicks vs True Labor Contractions

Every pregnant woman probably wonders about this at least a few times during their third trimester. Are these Braxton Hicks, or am I really going into labor???

I have been there way too many times. It took 4 pregnancies before I finally realized the true difference between the two.

I remember having my first contractions when I was 25 weeks with my first baby. I had NO idea what I was feeling. I seriously thought that the baby turned over & that the hard-as-a-rock area on my belly was her pushing her back against me. I was so clueless.

Braxton Hicks are real contractions, but they aren’t strong enough to change your cervix. They are the “practice” contractions. Your uterus starts contracting very early on, but feeling them at first is difficult. I mean, you probably would never notice.

I’m almost 17 weeks and I just had one. They don’t hurt. The uterus just tightens up and then releases. Just practicing for the big day.

But why do so many women confuse the two?

It’s very easy.

As you approach your due date, Braxton Hicks become stronger and more frequent. They can take your breath away & that right there is very concerning. They can come at regular intervals, too, making you wonder what in the heck is going on.

I have an irritable uterus, which basically means that I have contractions very early on..but they become much more regular between 25 and 30 weeks. I’ll have days when I contract 30-50 times. Some are mild, some are quite strong, and come anywhere from 20 minutes apart all the way to 1 or 2 minutes apart, consistently.

They have sent me to the hospital on several, several occasions, only to be sent home because my cervix was softened, but not dilating. This can get extremely frustrating, especially if you are beyond 37 weeks because by that time we WANT THE BABY OUT.

Having 3O contractions a day is not the norm, so if you are experiencing this, you must tell your doctor. Even if they don’t hurt. The problem with having so many, so often is that they can soften your cervix.

When you’re pregnant, your cervix becomes thick to protect your uterus. When you approach the end of your pregnancy, your cervix will begin to soften (efface). It must efface some before you can begin to dilate. Braxton Hicks contractions can help get this started. The problem occurs if the cervix thins out too much too soon because of these practice contractions.

When I was on my 3rd pregnancy, I was experiencing frequent Braxton Hicks. Some were strong, some weren’t, but I just felt like I was having too many. When I was 28 weeks, I told my doctor. He was concerned and wanted to check my cervix via ultrasound. I was 75% effaced….I should have been 0% effaced.

I was put on bed rest immediately and had to take medication. I also had to come in every week to have my cervix checked. It was very scary time. The medication didn’t help, nor did bed rest.

I ended up going to the emergency room at 30 weeks because the contractions would not slow down. That situation put me into the hospital for 3 days. It deserves its own post, which I will be writing very soon.

Ok. So, real contractions vs Braxton Hicks.

Before I get into this, please understand that this has been my experience. Every pregnancy is different and your situation may not mirror mine. If you are ever concerned, call your doctor.

Real contractions usually, but not always, hurt. They usually start out mild and get stronger and stronger & closer together.

Braxton Hicks usually don’t hurt. They are kind of all over the place. I have so many pieces of paper in my pregnancy journals that show the timing of my Braxton Hicks. They may be 6 minutes apart, then 3 minutes apart, then back to 6, then down to 2, then back to 7…etc. There’s little to no consistency.

Real contractions feel just like menstrual cramps. You will feel it start, peak, then go back down. They may start out 20 minutes apart or more, but they will get closer & closer together, not further & further apart. So, you could have your first real contraction at 1:00pm, the next at 1:20pm, then one at 1:40pm…all 20 minutes apart. But the next one may be at 1:55pm, just 15 minutes later. They will also gradually get stronger….they will eventually be much, much, much stronger than any menstrual cramp you’ve ever had. If you start experiencing anything like this, just go straight to the emergency room. Or immediately call your midwife if you’re having a home birth…etc.

I waited WAY too long the first time I ever went into labor. I was 38 weeks, so I wasn’t absolutely sure that this was it. Very soon, I realized that it was the real thing because my contractions made a drastic turn as far as pain was concerned. I made it to the hospital & had the baby 30 minutes after walking in the emergency room doors—without an epidural, which was not fun. If you want an epidural, I wouldn’t mess around with that stuff. Get to the hospital. The worse thing they’ll do is send you home if it’s not the real thing.

If you are having a lot of Braxton Hicks, there are a few things you can do to try to calm them down.

  • Drink a lot of water. Even if you are the slightest bit dehydrated, your uterus can become irritated. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t.
  • Take Motrin or Alieve and lay down on. Swap sides as you become uncomfortable, but being on your left side is best.
  • Take a warm bath. The heat helps calm contractions.

So, Braxton Hicks & labor contractions are different, but you can have a Braxton Hicks one minute and a true labor contraction the next. There should be something that sets them apart, but it may be more subtle than I have described. Just pay close attention and be ready to have that baby!

Lisa

Why I Have So Many Children

Every time I have a baby, Rooster & I are asked if we’re “done”. Meaning, done having kids. More polite people ask, “are you going to have any more?” So far, the answers obviously have been “no” and “yes”.

Here are a few of the latest pictures of our children.

When I was a little girl, all I really ever wanted was to get married and have a baby. I didn’t dream of being a teacher or a doctor. I didn’t think about going to college and graduating with a degree that would make a lot of money… none of that stuff excited me. But boys and babies??? Let the party begin. (more…)

I Know it’s only October, but our Elf on the Shelf Is COMING SOON!

The Elf on the Shelf is BIG TIME in our family. Our elf arrived when our first born was three years old, so that was 9 years ago. Geez louise.

Maggie, our first born, named our elf.  His name is…………..(like I think this needs to be as suspenseful as it can be…………….) Okay, enough. I’ll just let you just take a guess. So, come on….just take a guess.

If you guessed “Elfie”, then you are CORRECT! However, I bet half of all the elves in the entire world share the same name.

Elfie started out as a sitter. A proper little quiet elf who was very sweet and polite and actually sat on a shelf or in the Christmas tree….He made no fuss for two years!, but that started getting boring…not for my children however, but for me.

I opened up a can of worms the night I cut Elfie’s stitched little hands apart.

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Gender Reveal! Why I Don’t Have that Beloved Party.

“Are you having a boy or a girl??”

That’s a question I hear all the time. I guess it’s just the natural thing to ask a pregnant woman.

When someone asks me that question, I say, “It’s either a boy or a girl”.  And that’s it.

I was pressured by one of my best friends, Waverley, to find out the sex of our first baby.  I had no intentions of EVER finding out if I was having a boy or a girl because it just seemed like so much fun to wait and see.  But Waverley was so pushy!  (She knows I love her.)  She was like, “Don’t you want to be able to decorate the nursery!?!?!?  If you don’t find out, you’ll have to use yellow or something.”  (yes, I know that’s yuck.)

But I bought crib bedding BEFORE I even got married.  I’m serious, y’all.  I remember where I was the moment I saw this bedding online.  Remember when toile was REALLY popular?  Well, for some reason, that’s the print I wanted for my future baby.  So, I looked and looked and found this one that I just fell in love with…

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I mean, who does that?  Who buys nursery bedding when they are engaged and not even near being pregnant?

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Halloween Fun…the Beginning of the End

We love Halloween.  But he moment Rooster gets out the decorations, life as we know it is pretty much over until after Christmas.

Why is that!?!? I mean, Rooster got all the bins out of the attic & I loaded it all on the table & the kids just went bonkers.

They see this stuff every year. And they still act like they’ve never seen anything like it before. It is utter craziness on Halloween decorating night. (more…)

What To Expect After a Hospital Delivery…The Stuff No One Talks About

There is so much that I could say in this post. There is so much that no one talked about before I had my first baby–I mean, SOMEONE could have told me these things that I’m about to tell you. You can thank me later. (wink)

Ahhh….after delivery….the baby is here…everyone is elated! You’re so in love with this new bundle of joy and it’s smooth sailing until real life begins at home. Well, not quite, pretty mama.

Now don’t get me wrong, Rooster and I LOVE our post-delivery stay at the hospital. I mean, it’s like a vacation to us. Come on–no kids for 3 days…you get to order whatever you want for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…they bring it to you and pick it up when you’re finished. Family & friends bring you food, drinks, gifts, flowers…hospital staff take out your trash & replace the trash bag….they bring you your pain meds….give you diapers and a bunch of other baby stuff…they clean up your accidents, mamas (more on that soon)…nurses help you to the bathroom…I mean, what’s not to love?

Well….there are a few things that aren’t so pleasant. I think I’ll just make a list and see how many I can come up with.  All I know is what I know, though, so this list is just an idea of some things you can expect. (more…)