Welcome, Baby Girl!

I cannot believe how quickly time goes when you are sleep deprived and caring for a baby. Our little girl is now over three months old! She came two days after my due date, but her daddy jokes that she may have a future as an accountant since she came December 31st–just in time for a tax break!

Baby

The day I went into labor, the hubby and I had gone to the gym and I had spent about half an hour walking around the track and grumbling as several elderly people consistently lapped me. Despite staying fairly active throughout the rest of my pregnancy, I had had a lot of trouble getting around ever since the baby dropped Thanksgiving weekend!

That afternoon at 3 p.m. my husband and I had a doctors appointment, where one of the nurses informed me that I was having contractions that lasted up to two minutes long. I was surprised by how long they were, but didn’t think too much about them since I’d been experiencing them for a couple of weeks. However, as we were leaving, I noticed that I was feeling a lot of pressure in my tummy, and it felt like I had a Charley Horse in my back. While my husband and I were getting groceries, I felt uncomfortable even lifting my own purse. I didn’t say much to my husband about it because I didn’t want to get him excited for no reason–after all, we were starting to think she was going to take her sweet time coming.

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Later, at about 5:30 p.m. while I was talking to my family on the phone, I had to sit down on the bed instead of pacing around like I normally like to do. I was also beginning to really feel the contractions. I ended the phone conversation by saying to my dad, “Yeah, that was another one. I think I should probably go time them.” I went downstairs and made supper, thinking that if I was in labor, I didn’t want to go to the hospital and be starving all night. While I ate, I timed my contractions and noticed that they were long enough and close enough together that I could probably start thinking about going to the hospital. At 9 p.m., although I still couldn’t quite believe it, I looked over at my husband, who was hard at work studying, and said, “Hey, can you call the hospital?”

I was a little surprised by the nurse’s response: “Unless she’s in unbearable pain, there isn’t anything we can do for her right now. Have her go get in the bathtub and relax.”

Unbearable pain?? What is unbearable pain–isn’t childbirth SUPPOSED to hurt enormously? And take a bath? I knew that if I was going to be in labor all night long, I wanted to try to sleep.

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Two hours later at 11 p.m., the sleep thing wasn’t happening. I was tired, but there’s something about (unbearable?) pain that makes it impossible to sleep. I thudded downstairs thinking of making myself some apple cider, getting a heating pad, and trying to relax. My husband began timing contractions for me, and applying pressure to my hips as he had learned to do a few weeks ago (despite the stress that comes with being married to a medical student, there are some definite benefits that come with him being in an osteopathic school!). THAT helped tremendously. However, it wasn’t long before he looked down at the paper he’d been writing on and said, “I’m…going to get my coat.”

The ten minute drive to the hospital was one of my least favorite car trips. However, I still didn’t think I was in “unbearable” pain. I was glad I’d remembered to bring a pillow with me so I could bury my face and avoid the stares of everyone in the hospital lobby area. I got checked in and wheeled upstairs to the labor and delivery floor, where one of the doctors made small talk with me for awhile. As soon as he checked me to see how far I’d progressed, he said, “…We’re going to call your doctor now.” I was informed that there would be no time for me to have an epidural placed to help with the pain; it was time for me to deliver. Luckily, my doctor made it to the hospital in time, and our beautiful, healthy girl was delivered just before 2 a.m., weighing 7 pounds 3 ounces and measuring about 20 inches long. It was a little strange to me to see that she didn’t really look very much like me at all–I told the nurses it looked like I’d just given birth to my husband! I knew he wouldn’t be able to make his standard joke about our baby possibly being the mailman’s anymore!

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Although childbirth is never easy, I sometimes think the sleep deprivation I experienced the first few days–and weeks!–was more difficult for me to handle than the labor itself. Neither my husband nor I really slept at all for three days straight, between our excitement and our baby’s early fussing, and the nursing staff coming in constantly to check on me and our little girl.

Since then, we’ve had ups and downs in the sleep department. I have to admit that there were plenty of times when I never thought I would get any real sleep again. After her two month shots (a traumatic experience for Mommy and baby!!) she stopped sleeping through the night, after a one week stretch of sleeping from around 9:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. I was frustrated at first, but felt better after I talked to my sister-in-law, who assured me that it’s just like that with babies–sometimes when you think you have it all figured out, they throw a curveball at you. Now, she is sleeping pretty consistently at night, and even though she does usually still wake up to eat at least once, she usually always goes right back to sleep–a TOTALLY manageable situation for Mom!

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Overall, Baby Bear is a little sweetheart and a true blessing. She loves to laugh, “chat,” and giggle, and the only time she is a little fussy is when she is hungry or tired. Even though she’s not quite three and a half months old, she really does seem to have a beautiful little soul.

I think she was definitely worth the wait–and even every minute of the sleep deprivation.

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34 Weeks: Where did the time go??

Wow. I cannot believe I haven’t posted in a month! Things have been crazy around here, both with thinking about the baby coming, trying to start planning for our move to Montana in a few months, and having the in-laws visit for awhile. However, that’s no excuse. Updates to follow, but first, a photo of my favorite baby outfit so far:

DaddyOnesieThe story behind this adorable onesie is that my husband noticed we were having a WHOLE lot more clothing come in that said things like, “Mommy loves me,” “I love Mommy,” etc…let’s just say he was feeling a bit left out of things. So I was definitely tickled when I found this at a garage sale a few weeks ago. It explains perfectly the way I (and baby, I think) feel about Daddy!
Now, for some updates:

Baby:

I’ve noticed that she really doesn’t like it when I’m leaning ever so slightly against the kitchen counter, or if I’ve got the edge of my laptop balanced on my tummy. If she feels a little bit of pressure, she will push and kick until I readjust. The hubby says this might be a sign of her having a strong attitude when she’s older, which I suppose would be a mixed blessing!

Food Cravings & Aversions:

After so many weeks of saying I haven’t had any, I have been wanting chocolate lately. It might be because we bought a huge-normous bag at Halloween and didn’t have any trick-or-treaters. Of course, it was up to the hubby and I to start finishing it off–and boy have I enjoyed it!

Energy Levels:

I have been slightly amazed at how much tireder I am now. Although there was a week where I hardly slept because I was working on some papers, it’s common now for me to sleep 10 hours at night. That is VERY unlike me. I have been trying to stay active by taking a walk or doing something every day, just because I think it will help my endurance once the big day comes around. But it’s not as easy as it used to be! I usually end up falling asleep on the couch at night, until my husband wakes me and helps me up off the couch so we can both (officially) go to bed.

Physical Changes:

I feel like my tummy is taking over. Although the hubby is great at helping me up when I’m lying down, he usually does also laugh at me a little because I resemble an overturned turtle. My belly button is also dangerously close to finally popping out. I never thought it would happen to me, but now I wouldn’t be so surprised! I also may be starting to get some stretch marks. I actually don’t really care right now. My stomach is doing a lot of work. And, when Baby Girl is a teenager, I’ll be able to point at them and blame them on her. ;)

Emotions:

I will admit that I’ve been a little more irritable lately. Probably because I feel so tired all the time, and I don’t have the patience that I used to have. Wait–maybe I shouldn’t phrase it that way. I don’t think I ever was a very patient person. But now, little things just seem to irritate me more than they used to.

Tasks:

I’m trying to finish figuring out and ordering everything we’ll need for Baby, which hasn’t been that easy for me since I’ve been in denial a little bit about what is really happening here. I want to be prepared, since if I was my mom, I would be having a baby this week (my older brother was six weeks premature; I was four)! Although I’m hoping and praying our Baby Girl will be on time, I want to be prepared. I’m also finally starting to read more about labor and delivery–either because again, I want to be prepared, or because I just want to give myself nightmares. Hopefully the first one. ;)That’s all for now–stay tuned!
Justine

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30 Weeks:…And a baby shower!

I’m so excited to share some baby shower pics with you today! My friends Alice and Jackie were so sweet to plan it for me–and, even the theme of the party was “Sweet” since they know I have a bit of an affinity for candy and other sweet things!

Baby Shower Onesie ActivityAt the baby shower, each guest decorated a onesie for Baby Girl with some iron-on patterns that Alice printed out.

Onesies ready for crafting(3) onesieshung bird onesieThere was of course great food, including angel food cake from Alice (my favorite), some snickerdoodle cupcakes made by Jackie…

Yummy spread…and a candy count with my absolute favorite candy, Hot Tamales!

Candy CountI didn’t win, but I think I came close. I guessed 980 and I think there were actually around 870 or so if I remember correctly…either way, plenty of hot tamales for me to take home! (And to think, before the baby shower it had actually crossed my mind to stop at the store to pick more up…)

I had about 12 really sweet (haha–fitting the theme again!) ladies show up, who were kind enough to bring me some really wonderful gifts that I just know Baby Girl is going to love.

Gifts for Baby Duppong(5) juswithgifts justineI’ll show you some of the adorable things I got in my post next week. :)

One thing I did bring home was the (mildly freaky) baby doll Alice picked up to use for a baby shower game–one where we all partnered up to diaper the doll, but could each only use one hand. I lost–luckily, I’m sure I’ll get my practice as soon as Baby Girl is here!

Freaky DollI joked that I was going to put the doll in my husband’s spot in bed later to freak him out, but I decided to be a good (sweet!) wife, and show it to him before I had the chance to trick him with it. After all, I wouldn’t want him to have to think of any paybacks!

All in all, it was a great shower and I feel so blessed to have such great friends! Thanks Alice for planning, and thank you Jackie for hosting!

Now for some updates…

Baby Updates:

Still kicking away! Over the past couple of days when I’ve visited friends they’ve been able to see my belly twitching from across the room. Quite amusing for all of us. :)

Food Cravings & Aversions:

I’m finding it strange that I’m not craving anything. I’m actually getting tired of a lot of the things I’ve always liked to eat. Even the Halloween candy we bought last week isn’t doing it for me.

I miss sushi…:(

Energy Levels:

Lower than a few weeks ago still, but I feel much more normal after eating a couple good meals and taking naps!

Physical Changes:

My belly is stretched tight right now. I told my husband I can’t imagine it being able to grow anymore without a skin graft (ha), but I’m sure it will manage! Stretch marks, here I come??

Emotions:

Good for the most part…oh, except that one day where I found myself sobbing about four times because I was upset about something. I guess I’m a little more sensitive right now than I thought!

Stay tuned for next week’s installment…31 Weeks!

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29 Weeks: Where did my feet go?

The last week has been a little rough for me. Despite being a little bit of a needle-a-phobe, there were two days when it felt like all I was doing was getting blood tests and shots. On top of that, I had a dentist appointment and then had to go back two days later to get a cavity filled. More needles. I sucked it up as best as I could, though, because I’ve heard through the grapevine that what’s coming for me in about eleven weeks is a little bit more intense than just being poked with a few needles. I used that as inspiration to be tough, along with keeping my hands on my tummy so I could feel Baby Girl moving during my appointments. Feeling her there, and thinking about holding her and taking care of her, turned out to be all the distraction I needed to get through those couple of days!

Here are some more updates on the pregnancy as of this week:

Baby Updates:

Baby Girl still seems to be doing just fine. I can feel her shifting around all the time, and it always makes me smile. She also seems to be moving up higher in my body, which surprised my husband the last time he was trying to feel her. According to thebump, she is now the size of an acorn squash. Her living area is getting a little more cramped (which may be why I feel her shifting around so much!), and she’s growing fatty deposits underneath her skin, which is giving her more energy.

Food Cravings & Aversions:

Still mostly the same. I am trying to up my protein intake a little bit because I have been feeling less energy myself–maybe because Baby Girl is sapping it from me! I’m still eating a lot of fruit and trying to drink a lot of water. There was one day last week when I didn’t drink enough and I DEFINITELY felt it the next day!

Energy Levels:

Still lower than they used to be, despite me getting a little more sleep and being mostly over my cold by now. I’m trying to combat that by taking it a little easier during the day and, again, eating more protein.

Physical Changes:

I’ve had more back pain this past week thanks to my growing belly. It’s gotten better since I started focusing more on my posture during the day (no more slouching on the couch!) and started strategically placing pillows around my body at night–one under my tummy so my back stays straight, and one between my knees to support my hips. It’s a bit of a pain since I have to readjust every time I flip from side to side (which I think is about 10 times a night!) but it’s worth not having such an achy back all day long.

Something new this week for me, that I have yet to try out, is a belly band that I ordered after hearing a lot of women say it helped them with back and hip pain as they got further along in their pregnancies. It’s supposed to help hold your belly up so you don’t have so much strain on other parts of your body. I wanted to try it because I’ve noticed my belly starting to cramp up more often on walks. I’ll let you know how it works once I actually use it. ;)

bellyband(Thanks to my husband’s stuffed elephant, Abe, for modeling the band for me)

I’m noticing a softer look to my body, which is of course normal. Being a typical woman, I’m not always the world’s biggest fan of that, but of course the key thing is to always keep your eye on the prize–your baby. Bringing a new life into the world is an amazing miracle, and it would be silly and ridiculous to think your body won’t–or shouldn’t–change somewhat. The important thing is just knowing you’re doing everything you can to support the health of both your baby and yourself.

Emotions:

I think I spoke too soon last week when I said I wasn’t feeling any different emotionally. Over the past couple of days I’ve found myself getting frustrated more easily by small things. I guess it’s not that unusual for anyone from time to time, but I’m noticing it nonetheless. Today I also had a bit of a “weepy” episode while I was thinking about whether or not I will be returning to work once Baby Girl is born. I’m not really sure what’s going to be happening after this year, as my husband and I will be moving again for him to start his clinical rotations for medical school. As any mom would understand, I have some pretty mixed feelings about the idea of working (or not). On one hand, I would love to stay at home with Baby Girl, as I have always seen myself doing that once I had children. I want to be able to see all of their “firsts,” and know that they are being taken care of and loved all day long. On the other hand, I think it will be hard for me to not be working or feeling “productive” (not that child-rearing isn’t an important, productive thing!!) and seeing lots of other people during the day. It might be especially difficult with the insanely long hours my husband and I expect him to be working over the next five years or so. Financially speaking, it would also be a BIG help to us, so we’re not living solely off of student loans that we will probably spend several years trying to pay back.

It was when I started to feel guilty about possibly needing to “get away” from Baby Girl during the day, instead of staying with her and loving her all the time, that my weepy episode started. As much as I want to feel like an adult with a “real life” away from home, I also want to be with her and give her everything I can. I would imagine that those feelings are pretty much the same things every mom goes through, whether she decides to stay at home with the kids or go back to work.

In the end, it also will come down to whether or no I’ll even be able to get a contract for the school year wherever we end up moving. Sometimes life decides things for you! The best thing I can do right now is keep talking to my hubby about what we would like for our family, without thinking about it TOO much (hard for both of us to do sometimes!).

Other Stuff:

As the title of this post says, I have noticed that I officially cannot see my feet when I am standing up anymore. I don’t know when this happened, but it’s definitely strange for me and I know it’s only going to get harder for me to see them in the next few weeks!

Now, your thoughts: If you’re pregnant, how are you feeling right now? If you’re not, are there certain times when you feel more emotional than usual? If you’re a mom, how did you make your decision about whether you’d stay at home with kids or go back to work?

I can’t wait to hear from you!

Love, Hope, and Prayers,

Justine

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28 weeks (And why you won’t find any “bump pictures” here)

Hello, third trimester! Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe I’m officially in the final stretch of pregnancy–and then, there are times when it’s pretty darn believable, like when I’m trying to get up off of the couch or out of bed. These days, I feel like I have a giant Easter egg attached to my abdomen!

Since I think it’s fun to read about others’ pregnancy experiences on their blogs, I wanted to share a little of my own:

Baby Update:

Our little girl is moving like crazy, and has been for several weeks now! Even at our very first ultrasound at 11 weeks, the midwife couldn’t get over how active she was, calling her our little “dancing baby.” Sometimes I have to just look down at my pulsating belly and ask her, “What are you doing in there, little girl??” I still can’t believe how it feels or looks when she’s having one of her dance parties!

According to thebump, Baby Girl is now the size of an eggplant–no wonder I can feel her so much every time she flips around inside me! Her lungs are maturing and she’s developing more of that adorable baby fat.

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One of Baby Girl’s new outfits from Grandma

Food Cravings & Aversions

Strangely enough, I don’t really have any, other than being really thirsty much of the time. This makes me crave fruits by default (because of their high water content). Early on in second trimester I wanted a lot of chocolate, but that’s subsided. There are also random days when I really want meat!

During first trimester I was amazed by the fact that I was actually REPULSED by cottage cheese, which is one of my favorite foods. I started passing up my usual sweet treats in favor of saltier snacks. I also started needing a lot more variety in my diet, as every time I had something, the idea of ever eating it again made my stomach turn a little. I craved Totino’s pizza like nothing else, and then after I actually ate one, my husband couldn’t make them when I was home anymore because the smell made me feel sick. For those first weeks, I made sure I stayed away from some of my really favorite foods, so I wouldn’t get nauseous after eating them and then never want them again (it worked!).

Energy Levels

Sometimes I wonder if I’m starting to wear out a little more easily nowadays, but I think it’s just because I’m recovering from a mild cold. During second trimester I had an AMAZING amount of energy and actually went hiking quite regularly. I felt like I was in the best shape of my life! First trimester was again another story! I didn’t have the energy or desire to work out AT ALL. My routine after work was to go straight home and take a nap.

Physical Changes

In addition to the (obviously) growing belly, I’m noticing a lot more veins on my stomach. I’ve heard that this is normal because of the increased blood volume. No stretch marks yet (other than all of the lovely ones I got back in middle school!), but since I think they’re in my genes, I feel like it’s only a matter of time until they make their appearance. And–I’m actually okay with that right now. I feel like motherhood is too big of a blessing and honor to let myself get too upset about the stripes, and I’ve heard there are lots of nice tankini swimsuits nowadays too. :)

Emotions

Very stable. Other than probably one or two random teary days throughout the whole pregnancy, I haven’t noticed any mood swings at all. And that’s not just my personal opinion–even my husband agreed when I asked him about it!

Other “Stuff”

Apparently what they say about your immune system being repressed throughout pregnancy (so that your body doesn’t reject your baby) is true–for me, at least. As I said above, I am recovering from a cold right now and I usually NEVER get sick until at least the middle of winter. Being sick is even MORE fun when you’re pregnant and have to be extremely careful about what you take to treat it! Thankfully, our humidifier has helped a ton with my sore throat and cough.

So…what about the photos?

Something you won’t find here are pictures of my belly. Now, don’t get me wrong–I love looking at baby bump pictures just as much as anyone, and send them to my mom, sister-in-law, and sister (who is also pregnant, and due three months after me!) every week. So let me just make it perfectly clear that I don’t think it’s wrong for other bloggers to be posting bump photos. As a blogger with many readers who are recovered or in recovery from eating disorders, however, I just don’t feel comfortable doing it myself.

I think that whether you’ve had an eating disorder or not, it’s a huge temptation to constantly be comparing yourself to other people. This is especially true in pregnancy, when all of those body image issues might be kicking into high gear. The thing is, pregnant bodies are just like other bodies in that they are all highly individual. When you’re pregnant, you can have people telling you that you’re “huge” or “tiny,” all in the same day. Because this is my first pregnancy, my belly didn’t “pop” nearly as quickly as women who have been pregnant before, so I look smaller than them. At the same time, you could put me next to other women who are farther along than me (such as a friend of mine who is also pregnant) and I would look much bigger.

Your bump size is affected by not only whether you’ve had children before, but also your height, body type, water retention, bloating, etc. So while it’s fun to compare your own photos to your other photos, or other people’s photos to their previous photos to see how much bigger (and cuter!) their baby bellies have grown, if you’re currently pregnant, it’s important to not compare yourself to those others. You, your bump, and your baby are all completely and beautifully unique,

Stay tuned for Week 29!

You Can't Just Eat a Cheeseburger

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The New, Upcycled Website.

Unless you’re a first time visitor to the site (in which case, WELCOME!!), you probably have noticed that things are looking pretty different around here. I wanted to make things a little bit easier for you to navigate, as well as give myself a little bit of redirection in terms of just what exactly my goals for the site are. The homepage for the website is no longer the blog itself, but a “menu” where you can see all of the site’s major components: 1) Information about my book, You Can’t Just Eat a Cheeseburger: How to thrive through eating disorder recovery, 2) the blog, 3) Upcycle You workshops and Presentations, and 4) the new Life Coaching section!

As far as the blog itself, I hope to be a little (okay, who are we kidding? A LOT) better about posting more regularly. Prior to the site’s renovation, I struggled a lot with what, exactly, I wanted to do and say. Part of the problem was the fact that I am trying to balance both a professional and personal presence here. I believe that switching the homepage will help me maintain both of those presences a little more effectively: First-time visitors to the site will know what they can find here right away, and those who return to visit the blog will be able to easily communicate with me, hopefully learn some helpful life tips, and get to know me on a more personal level.

So what kinds of topics am I going to cover on the blog? I will definitely try to keep featuring some fun, healthy recipes from time to time, since those were some of my most popular posts (and all of the recipes will continue to be featured on my “Upcycled Recipes” page). I’ll definitely continue to use my counseling background and personal experience by sharing my favorite tips related to happiness & managing emotions, eating disorder recovery, body image, health & fitness, self-image, and relationships. Now that my husband and I are expecting a baby girl (in just three months!), I have even more reason to dedicate myself to the proliferation of positive ideas about all of these issues. I know that the next few months and years will be a huge test and adventure, both physically (hello, stretch marks!) and emotionally (how the heck do all you moms function without ever getting any sleep??). I hope you’ll join me for the ride!

Love, Hope, and Prayers,

Justine

You Can't Just Eat a Cheeseburger

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The Book is Here!

Hi everyone!

I am so sorry for my absence on my blog over the summer, but things have been very busy. Not only were my husband and I across the country visiting family (I know, that’s a poor excuse in itself!), but we have also been busy celebrating and planning the birth of our baby girl, who we are expecting around the new year! If that wasn’t exciting enough for us, after six years of hard work, my eating disorder recovery book, You Can’t Just Eat a Cheeseburger: How to thrive through eating disorder recovery is now published and available! It is currently listed on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/You-Cant-Just-Eat-Cheeseburger/dp/0615811884/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376928966&sr=8-1&keywords=You+can%27t+just+eat+a+cheeseburger

You Can't Just Eat a CheeseburgerI want to thank all of you who read my blog for all of your continued support, as well as everyone (over 100 people from across the nation and beyond!) who contributed insight for the book. I am so happy with how the project turned out, and hope that it will help those who are struggling to discover and love themselves. My new life, including my new family, are proof that the advice in the book works. Please check it out, and tell those in your life who might benefit from it!

Thank you again, God bless, and I promise I will be around here again now!

Justine

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