SMEP

Many people know that I tend to be a little bit of a TMI kind of person. Not like the gross people who tell you every disgusting thing without you even asking about it, no. I simply answer people’s questions with more information than they expected to get, especially if it comes to a topic I am very enthusiastic about! Such as… getting pregnant!

I like things to happen according to my plan and on my time line. Of course, this is all with the underlying acceptance that my plan and my time line might not be God’s plan or time line for me. Getting pregnant was one of those things that I wanted to have happen WHEN I wanted it to happen.  Mr. Manly and I have been very blessed to get pregnant quickly. With Jr. it took 2 cycles and with this baby it was cycle 1. I know that not everyone is as fortunate and that it doesn’t always go so smoothly.

Trying to conceive is not something that everyone is comfortable discussing especially if they have been struggling. My heart breaks for and goes out to those who want so badly to be pregnant, but for whatever reason it just isn’t happening. Your fertility is none of my business, but I wish you knew that you could talk to me. I have no clue what you are going through, but I’m a good listener and never judgmental. I will hold you and you can cry on my shoulder.

For us, it was made easy by a specific plan. We tried for one cycle with Jr. before we found this method and got pregnant the first cycle we tried it. With this baby, we tried it on cycle 1 and got pregnant. The method is called Sperm Meets Egg Plan or SMEP. This plan uses timed intercourse to conceive and also requires the use of OPKs (Ovulation Predictor Kits). SMEP was originally created to help women who were trying to conceive after having a miscarriage, but it can help anyone.

The SMEP website states, “Anyone can do SMEP but it helps if you are not battling untreated infertility problems. If you do not have fertility problems, are TTC#2 or more, or are TTC after a miscarriage, the Sperm Meets Egg Plan method may be just what you’ve been looking for.”

Here is the “How To” of SMEP:

  1. Day 1 of your cycle is the first day of your period. Mark this on your calendar or in your tracking app!
  2. Day 8: Have sex every other day starting on Day 8!
  3. Day 10: Begin to take OPK tests every day until you get a positive test!
  4. Once you get a positive OPK have sex 3 days in a row then skip 1 day and do it once more just for good measure!

At first it might seem complicated, but take some time to go over it slowly. It’s actually very easy! If you have any questions about this method please e-mail me, thedoitalldolly@gmail.com , and I’ll do my very best to answer them!

The Birth of Claire

I had an OB appointment at 41 weeks and my OB measured my contractions and did an ultrasound. She could see that I was having inconsistent contractions and estimated that the baby was at least 8 lbs. Those factors combined with the fact that I was experiencing severe sacroiliac joint pain, which impeded my ability to walk without help, made her decide that it was time for me to go to the hospital and be induced.

When I arrived at the hospital, the on-call OB (not mine, but he ended up being great) introduced himself and told me they told me they would induce me by placing Foley Catheter to dilate my cervix. He said it would need to stay in place for 12 hours as their aim was to dilate my cervix as much as possible. They warned me that insertion would be painful, but I actually found that it was only uncomfortable. Insertion of the catheter did start stronger contractions, but not strong or regular enough to mean business.

So I dozed off and on during the night, frequently woken by small contractions. In the morning, the catheter had done it’s job and I was 6 CM dilated. They removed it and continued to monitor my contractions. My contractions were now strong but irregular, so they started me on a small dose of Pitocin.

That did the trick and my contractions started hard and consistent. I felt them in my back only, no abdomen pain at all. But the back pain was incredibly intense from the get go. I was surprised as everything I had read and learned about in birth classes said that contractions slowly build up to being very painful, rather than immediately start that way. Well, Pitocin-induced back labor is a different story and I have since read that this combo is very much like the intensely painful transition period that most women experience right before the pushing stage.

I was open to the use of medication and the nurses offered me Fentanyl. I was hesitant at first because I had heard stories of mothers who took Fentanyl during labor and became disoriented, scared, and were unable to remember the birth of their baby. But, my hesitations didn’t last long as the labor pain was very intense and the nurses said it would be a while yet before my baby would arrive. So I accepted the Fentanyl. Luckily for me it didn’t disorient me a bit, although it didn’t do much for the pain either. It took the edge off and made me feel deliriously happy, which was an improvement. It didn’t last long though, and they couldn’t give me much.  My Pitocin dose was increased and after about an hour I told the nurses I was ready for an epidural. I was now 9 cm dilated.

The anesthesiologist was a no-nonsense guy and wouldn’t let my husband watch (which was fine by him). The hardest part was lying very still and not reacting to contractions. He was very quick and smooth, there was some pain but the most uncomfortable part was that as the tube brushed one of my nerves my left leg twitched involuntarily and it felt like it had been shocked. He had warned me this might happen, but it was not pleasant!

Within ten minutes, all of my pain was gone. The anesthesiologist did a great job and I could move my legs just a little, and feel every contraction as pressure, but no pain at all. Shortly thereafter the OB came in and broke my water, which I did not feel at all. Not long after that he did a check and told me I was 10 CM with very strong, close contractions and it was time to push.

So with each contraction I pushed. And pushed. After two hours the nurse said, “honey, you can some strong pushes and baby should be on the way, but she isn’t.” The OB came in and had me push while doing an exam (and this OB had the largest hands I have ever seen on a human being, epidural or not, this part was very uncomfortable). He told me “You have exceptionally good abdominal muscles and very strong pushes. This baby should be here by now. If she’s not here in an hour I’m going to do a more thorough exam.” So I pushed for another hour. The OB came back and did his “thorough exam,” which again, giant hands so very uncomfortable this time as he was feeling the baby’s head. He said “Ah! That ear is not where I was expecting, this baby is sunny side up! Also slightly transverse. So here’s the deal – you are fully dilated, your pushes are great. But,  her positioning is slightly off and I see that she’s getting some bruising on her head from hitting your pelvic bone. So I will let you try another hour, but if she’s not here is an hour, we will have to do a c-section. So I pushed for another hour. If you’re counting, that’s four hours. He came back and did another exam, and said “As we said, her positioning is off, but something else is going on and I can’t say what. I’m not comfortable doing a vacuum extraction, I think it would do more harm than good.” I was glad to hear this because I too was not comfortable with vacuum extraction!

 

Then he sat down next to me and held my hand and said “We’re going to have to do a c-section now. There is nothing wrong with you or your body, you have a great pelvis and strong muscles and there is no reason you can’t go on to have another baby vaginally if you choose. There is some issue with the baby’s positioning that is making it impossible for her head to make it past your cervix. That happens sometimes. But I can’t let you push any longer than four hours with Baby’s head bruising like that.”

 

I cried a little, just because I was at 32 hours of labor at this point, exhausted, and in the motherhood culture of today c-sections are so often seen as a failure on the mother’s part. I already felt some guilt for using all the pain medication, as that too is often seen as a weakness. My birth classes had really enforced those philosophies, the teacher declined to show the class the epidural kit she had on hand in order to prevent “pre-trauma.” I was very grateful for the doctor’s compassion and reassurance. My husband was there holding my hand and reminded me that in the end, we just wanted a healthy baby to be born.

 

So off we went to the OR for the c-section. They used my epidural drip to do a spinal block which is a completely different thing than an epidural. When they did the spinal block I felt literally nothing from my belly button down. It was like I had no hips or legs at all. There was no pain, but there were some unpleasant parts. I had to lie in an awkward position – like Jesus on the cross with my arms spread to the sides. This did cause my arms to ache after a few minutes. When they started the incision, I could smell the cauterizing tool, meaning I could smell the burning tissue. Although I had initially felt nothing, I did feel them tugging on the baby – she was descended so far into my pelvis that they had to pull her back up to get her out. This didn’t hurt at all but was absolutely unnerving, I felt like a part of my body was being yanked out, which was more or less true.

My OB suddenly exclaimed “AHHHHH IT WAS THE HANDS!” A second later my husband exclaimed “LOOK AT THOSE FEET!” I was worried about those hands and feet, but then the baby cried and I felt the most amazing instantaneous wave of love overtake me. It was the most amazing emotional experience I have ever felt, I never before understood how it was possible to love someone at first sight (or sound).  I tried to prop myself up to see her, but the doctor and nurses quickly told me to lie still. After a c-section the baby needs to be suctioned because the fluid in the lungs that is usually squeezed out as the baby descends through the birth canal is still there. So I couldn’t hold her right away.

At that point I began to shake violently and my husband was afraid I was having a seizure. The doctor said that the shaking was normal – a product of my body going into shock after a long labor and major surgery. I was also freezing cold, but the nurses put a heated blanket on my chest, which helped. Baby Claire was ready to be held, but I was shaking too hard so my husband got to hold her first. I am glad they had that special moment of bonding, from then on she has been the light of his life.

He held her by my head and I cried and talked to her. She was chewing on her fist, and her hands looked fine. I asked my husband about her feet. “Oh!” he said “They are identical to mine, I was just amazed.” The OB came around where I could see him and said “She had both hands up by her temples with her elbows out. No amount of pushing could get out a head, two fists, and a couple of elbows out a 10 cm opening! I knew something wasn’t quite right.”

I recovered from the c-section very well. I had no complications, and was up and moving, holding, nursing, and caring for my baby within a day. I needed to keep up with my pain medication schedule, but did very well as long as I did. My lower abdomen was numb around the incision for about 6 weeks, but then returned to normal. The incision is about 5 inches long, below my underwear line, and healed nicely. A year later, it’s flesh-colored, pencil-thin line, only slightly raised to the touch.

I am pregnant again, and will have a repeat c-section. Although the OB originally said it would be totally fine to do a VBAC, I did not wait the recommended time between pregnancies (1 year to 18 months) which increases my risk for uterine rupture. For this reason my OB urged me to do a RCS, and I am willing to do so. Without the 32 hours of labor beforehand I imagine it won’t be bad at all.

My OB wasn’t on call, I didn’t want an induction, I didn’t want Pitocin, I didn’t want a c-section, I wanted to delay cord clamping (can’t do that with c-section), I wish someone figured out Claire was sunny side up before sending me to be induced…the list goes on. Basically nothing went as planned. After some soul-searching I decided that I wouldn’t let this traumatize or embitter me. I had an narcotic pain medication. I had an epidural. I had a c-section. I wasn’t able to breastfeed long because I never produced enough milk (which can happen after a c-section). Yet, one amazing year later, Claire is a healthy, happy, well-fed one year old.
When all is said done I couldn’t ask for anything more.   

Jr.’s Birth Story

This is my own personal birth story! I’m excited about the stories I’ve received and can’t wait for you to share in the love, joy and excitement that is giving birth.

The birth of Jr.

Born at 7:52pm

9lbs 11oz and 21.5 inches long

My first baby and no epidural!!

!!!WARNING!!!

The following contains information pertaining to childbirth. If you can’t handle words like cervix, urethra, perineum or labia, then you should stop reading now!

41 weeks and 5 days pregnant:

Mr. Manly and I went in to get yet another Fetal Non-Stress test. This was number 3 because Jr. seemed to not want to be born. He was happy on the inside and had plenty of amniotic fluid. I was dilated to a 4 and my cervix was soft, but just a few Braxton hicks contractions here and there. The midwife said I was really on the brink of starting labor so I had her strip my membranes in hopes of getting labor started without having to be induced. I did not want to be induced, but Thursday was the latest I could go. That night the power went out and my lower back was killing me! I thought for sure labor was starting so I went to bed hoping to be woken up with contractions or my water breaking or something!

41 weeks and 6 days pregnant:

No such luck chuck. The pain had subsided, no contractions and the power was still out, so Mr. Manly went to work. My sister called me wondering if I wanted to drive around with her and my nephew simply to keep warm because their power was out too. Plus this enabled us to charge our phones in the car! We ended up picking up my mom and going out to lunch.  While on our way out, one of my midwives called me and asked if we could be induced that day. Apparently the birth center had 5 other women on the books to be induced Thursday and none of them were far enough along to be induced a day early. We would only be able to go in after Mr. Manly got off from work. I called him and he said okay. So we arrived at the hospital at 6 o clock and were shown to our room.

If you know anything about my husband you know he has many things that he is particular about. One is even numbers. Don’t know where is comes from, he’s not OCD, he just likes even numbers. Well he was ecstatic that our room number was 2346! And on top of that, 46 was 23 doubled, he said it was good luck! Our moms had arranged their schedules to be there with us too! (Lesson learned about having too many people in the delivery room!) Unfortunately when you make a choice like being induced you automatically give up other choices you once had, such as IV fluids and continuous fetal monitoring.  I had to have an IV anyway because I was GBS positive and needed antibiotics before I delivered, but still! I would say it was the worst part, not the most painful, obviously, but definitely the worst because I hate needles and I hate feeling confined and boy did I end up feeling confined! Also, because I was being induced with Pitocin I had to have continuous fetal monitoring.

They finally started the Pitocin around 8pm. I asked if they could give me the smallest dose possible and they did. They started with 1 ml and went up by 1 every 30 minutes when they normally start with 2 ml and go up by 2 every 30 minutes. In hindsight, that was just prolonging the process, but I was still praying that my body wouldn’t need much to push it over the edge into labor. Eventually they started going up by 2 and I would have a few contractions here and there.

Mr. Manly and I tried to go for a walk to help speed things along. I had to take the IV drip and the Fetal Monitor with me and unfortunately the monitor kept picking up my heart rate instead of the baby’s so we became confined to our room… waah waah waah!

Sometime in the night the midwife checked me again and I was dilated to 7cm and contractions were coming at regular intervals, but I was still smiling and talking, which is apparently not normal for most women when they are dilated to a 7. I thought this was a good sign and that maybe I had a huge pain threshold that would carry me through birth and that it would only get a little worse! It got a lot worst.

42 weeks pregnant:

Now just to let you know, I was going through the midwives clinic at my hospital for my care and at our first appointment the we met with L. and she said that we would click with some of the midwives better than others and that babies had a way of waiting to be born with your favorite. I loved 5 out of the 6 and still liked the 1 just not as much as the others because our personalities were too different. We had most of our appointments with R. and K. and they were my faves!  It just so happened that R. was on call Wednesday and K. was on call Thursday. So really, Jr. waited to be born with one of our favorites!

Well the morning came and I still hadn’t had a baby! K. came on shift at 7 am and we decided that since my contractions were regular and I was at 17 ml of Pitocin (They usually don’t let people go pass 20 ml) that we would stop Pitocin and hope my body continued in labor. This was a great decision because it allowed me to take a nice shower! However, the catch was that if my body didn’t continue in labor that we would break my water (another intervention I wanted to avoid, but eventually saw it as necessary in order to progress). Well 10 am came and my labor had basically stopped. It had been an hour since I had my last contraction therefore we were going to break my water, but stay off Pitocin. The midwife tried to break my water, and she thought she had, but there wasn’t a huge gush and she was afraid of hurting the baby if she continued to try. So we let it be and again hoped that my bag of waters was broken and simply leaking instead of gushing. Again my labor had done much of anything and we decided that my water was not broken and she was going to try again. This time it worked and there was a big gush and it was clear! Clear fluid meant there was no meconium, which is pretty rare for an overdue baby! We also asked to start Pitocin again just in case breaking the water didn’t actually help me progress.

Finally labor really started! I decided to stand with a birth ball on the bed and sway. This is when my back pain really kicked in like it had Tuesday night. Thankfully Mr.Manly was there to do counter pressure! Not sure if you know this, but my husband is inhumanly strong and therefore amazing at counter pressure! The nurse asked if I wanted a peanut ball because it might be easier than using a big round ball. It was much easier and way more comfortable, but my back pain was getting worse. Because of the Pitocin I again had to be on continuous fetal monitoring which is what really made labor difficult. I wasn’t able to move around and change position freely because then the monitor would lose the Jr.’s heartbeat. It was very frustrating!

Severe back pain during labor can be a sign of a posterior baby. In case he was posterior, we decided to try a sideline position to try to coax him into a better position. I liked this idea because most of the relaxation practice I had done was in this position and I thought I could manage my pain better. In the process of changing positions I had to stop for a contraction. I suppose it’s weird to say it was my favorite contraction, but let me explain. I was trying to breathe through my contractions like I had practiced. I was finding that either I controlled the contraction or the contraction controlled me and I wanted to be in charge, but my deep abdominal breathing was proving to be very difficult if I wasn’t ready when the contraction started. This particular contraction was one that I controlled. I owned it!

Once in the sideline position I tried relaxing. My legs and feet did not like that idea and decided they were going to try to absorb the pain, but that just makes it more painful and I knew that, but I honestly couldn’t stop it. The contractions were getting stronger and closer together and I couldn’t control any of them. It felt like once I finished one I didn’t have time to regroup for the next. It was like playing defense against a powerful no-huddle offense in overtime! I couldn’t keep up and I felt helpless. The nurse was trying to help me breath but she was not doing deep abdominal breathing she was doing more like Lamaze and I didn’t want to do that but she was all I could focus on. Because I wasn’t breathing properly I started to hyperventilate which caused my hands to tingle. That was weird.

I had watched many natural birth videos on YouTube and there were a few where the women were so loud and vocal that I had to turn them off because it was straight up annoying to listen to…. I was that woman in labor. I didn’t want to be, but I was.

From our Bradley classes we had this amazing “Overview of Labor and Birth”. It takes you stage by stage through the process and explains physical, mental and emotional sign posts. The final phase before you start pushing is called transition. During this phase the woman typically experiences self-doubt, confusion and basically surrenders to the labor. The overview described some things you might hear a woman in transition say such as, “I give up” “I want to go home”. I specially remember feeling like this and I was thinking, “I don’t want to be here anymore”, “I’m done” “I can’t do this anymore”. I must have been saying these things out loud because I remember my mom (who was reading our Bradley book) said, “I think this is transition!” I could hear the midwife’s voice but I have no clue what she was saying.

I wanted to push but I didn’t want to say that because I was afraid it wasn’t time and that I wouldn’t be dilated enough to push. I felt the largest need to go poop. I said, “I need to go poop!” They said, “Do you want to go to the bathroom?” No I definitely did not want to get up and go to the bathroom, but I had to poop so they said, “Why don’t you just go poop?” The midwife said that after my next contraction she was going to check me to see if I was dilated enough to push. I think it took 2 contractions because I didn’t really want to be checked, but she checked me and said I was dilated to 9 and 3/4 cm. SERIOUSLY?! I’m not sure how you can tell the difference between 3/4 cm and 1 cm because that is less than an 1/8 of an inch difference, but I couldn’t hold it anymore my body needed to push and so I got to my hands and knees and started to push. They kept telling me that I was going to need to turn around in between my next contraction, but that took like 3 or 4 contractions. When I turned around I remember looking at the clock and seeing that it was 7 pm, but after that I closed my eyes and pretty much kept them shut the rest of the time.

Pushing was the greatest part! I felt so in control of my body and the situation. It was nice to feel in charge again. I didn’t hear this and my husband said it was because she whispered it, but around 7:15 the midwife said her prediction was that the baby would be born at 7:53 and he was born at 7:52! They placed him on me and he felt so small!

The cord had been wrapped around his neck and the midwife said, “Elliette, he’s not breathing we have to take him for a few moments.” Mr. Manly quickly cut the cord and Jr. was given to a NICU team in the room who immediately began suctioning him out really good. He had apparently pooped right as he was born and his first breath inhaled the meconium. The NICU team pulled pieces of meconium out of his lungs and he started crying. They listened to his lungs and then pulled out more.

Meanwhile, I needed some stitching. I only needed a few in my perineum, but I had labial tearing and needed stitches in many delicate places. After delivering the placenta the midwife gave me lidocaine to numb me, but it wasn’t extremely effective. She began stitching and then asked someone to go get Dr. L.  She told me that because the tearing was so close to my urethra, she wanted the OB to stitch it. I didn’t hear the Dr. say I was hemorrhaging, but that was what my mother-in-law claims he said. They gave me 4 pills to chew up while also giving me some sort of IV drug which I think was to help numb me, but I am not sure. The pills tasted like cotton and I remember saying out loud, “This tastes like cotton!” Both the midwife and the doctor made me feel as though everything was not that bad and I’m sure they’ve seen worse!

Reflections and Moral of My Story:

The first two weeks after Jr. was born were difficult for me as I tried to recall everything that happened during my labor and delivery. You would think that it would be easy to feel extremely awesome about my accomplishment. I mean really… I freaking gave birth to a 9lb 11oz baby without pain medicine! However, being a perfectionist, I tore myself up about my experience because it was not what I wanted. It was nowhere close to the calm, beautiful experience I had envisioned and dreamed about for me and Mr. Manly. I knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, I’m not stupid, but I had hoped for so much more and expected so much more from myself and had therefore been very disappointed. It was potentially exacerbated by a little postpartum depression.

I definitely made the mistake of listening to the comments and partial criticism of others, when I should have just let it be someone else’s opinion and not a fact. My experience was somehow traumatizing to others. My mother she said that if any of her daughters decide to do natural childbirth again, she will not be attending. And my mother-in-law was and I quote…Scared for me… because I could have died. I don’t know which one said it, but someone made the comment about how they should have given me an episiotomy to make it go faster.

I finally came to the conclusion that it is absolutely unacceptable for any woman to ever feel bad or disappointed about her birth experience. Let me say that again…

IT IS ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE FOR ANY WOMAN TO EVER FEEL BAD OR DISAPPOINTED ABOUT HER BIRTH EXPERIENCE!

I don’t care if she has her baby via C-section, with an epidural, without pain meds, in a hospital, in a birth center, in water, at home, in the woods or whatever the case may be. If she survived then by damn it, she HAS succeeded! My friend J. once said, “My goal in childbirth is to not die.” I agree!

I made it out alive. I succeeded!

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This is why I have started the Birth Stories section of this blog! Sharing stories and learning more about each other’s experiences can help us be at peace with what we go through as women bringing new life into this world! Each story is unique and beautiful in its own way!

If you are willing to share in my small attempt to help other women be at peace with their experiences please e-mail your birth stories to me at thedoitalldolly@gmail.com !

Super Sand Removal Trick

We just got back from our annual trip to the Oregon coast with my in-laws and I love being there and spending time on the beach!  The sound of the ocean waves crashing on the shore and the relaxing exfoliation of the sand between my toes are just 2 of the reasons I love being there! It’s so peaceful and calming… until I have to leave and can’t seem to get rid of all the little grains stuck to me or Jr.!  Despite how relaxing being on the sand is, it gets EVERYWHERE! You can try to brush it off, but that only does so much and you will still find it 3 weeks later. Sand everywhere is the worst part about going to the beach, but what are you going to do? Not go to the beach? Yeah that doesn’t work for me. Thankfully my sister-in-law shared this amazing trick with me and I want to share it with you!

Sand Removal


!! BABY POWDER !!


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Am I the only one in awe?! That’s it? Just baby powder?! YES that’s all there is to it! My sister-in-law has spent the last year in Grenada while her hubby, my brother-in-law, attends med school there. Being on an island meant lot of beach living for her and her 2 kiddos! This also meant dealing with a ton of sand and a baby in sand can be somewhat of a nightmare! It gets in their diaper and then they have to ride home with it chaffing their skin! The powder feels so soft after spending a day in the exfoliating sand! 

Today Jr. had a play date who’s back yard has a sand box he could not resist.  Of course at the end of the date he had sand from his head to his Keens!  I normally would have dreaded putting him in his car seat with sand everywhere, but not anymore! It truly is as simple as sprinkling baby powder on your hands and rubbing it on any sandy areas! It works everywhere, even in hair and on shoes! I powdered him up and we were good to go! 

Going to the beach is fabulous, but leaving with sand everywhere is uncomfortable! Leaving doesn’t have to be as horrible anymore with your new trick! Use baby powder to get rid of the sand! It’s a comfortable and soothing way to end a fabulous trip to the beach… or sand box!


I personally recommend using Johnson’s Baby Powder with Soothing Aloe & Vitamin E! It leaves your skin feeling extra soft and dry! 

This content uses referral links. Read my disclosure policy for more info.

A Few Announcements

I have some announcements to make!

First….I’m pregnant! I’m about to start my 2nd trimester and am excited to be basically over my morning/ All day sickness. I had to take a break from blogging because it was just too much. But wait.. I’m a “do it all dolly” so how could it be “too much” for someone who does it all?

I’m not ignorant enough to actually believe I can do it all. I want to do it all, but guess what doing it all leads to… overload and breakdown. Being a “do it all dolly” also means managing your time and your life wisely!

Jr.’s pregnancy was a walk in the park compared to baby #2. I could have been pregnant with Jr. forever and would not have minded. I threw up maybe twice and only because I brushed my tongue a little too far back! I was nauseated but nothing like this pregnancy! At it’s worst I threw up 8 times in one day! I threw up even when I didn’t eat! Have you ever seen or tasted yellow bile? I’d wish it upon my enemies! I couldn’t keep anything down… including my prenatal and my anti-depressant! So think about that for a moment… I couldn’t eat without puking, I wasn’t getting all my vitamins that my body is used to getting and I was dealing with my mental health issues all while trying to work full time as a kindergarten teacher and keep my home and family running. I don’t know how I made it to the end of the school year, but I do know it wasn’t pretty! I am still picking up the pieces and am having difficulty putting them back together.

My second announcement is that I will be limiting Do It All Dolly posts to 3 times every 2 week. (I will explain how that will work after announcement #3!) I felt so awesome pumping out 3 posts a week and was proud of how my blog was turning out, but the reality is that I am not able to do that and maintain the other areas of my life especially now that I am pregnant. It will take longer for this to really get off the ground and to the level I wish it was, but I am at peace with this.

The last announcement is I am adding a new component to the Do It All Dolly blog! I am adding birth stories! After I had Jr. I reflected on how my birth experience had gone and wrote his birth story. It wasn’t perfect, but I learned so much about the reality of giving birth. After posting his story someone, I don’t remember who, said, “ It’s important for us (women) to share these with one another.” I am totally feeling that way! It is important to share your experience. I will be starting with my own and then family and friends! If you feel inspired to share your birth story with me I’d love to post it one here! Please email me your story at thedoitalldolly@gmail.com !
That is the end of the announcements! I regret to have to disable comments due to spam I have been receiving, but this will only be until I figure out how to require approval for all comments! I look forward to the future and all the posts I have milling around in my head! I hope you are doing well and that this post inspires you to believe in yourself and work hard for the things that you want! 

No Time For Trolls

My apologizes for the long break, I will resume posting in a week a so. The last month or so has been terribly busy! The end of the school year is a hailstorm of everyone wanting everything from you! Also, some of the posts have been receiving comments from someone with an unknown agenda and poor communication skills. So until I learn how to manage such unwanted admirers I will not be posting!

Thank you for your continued love and support!

Bedtime Routine Ideas

Children thrive on routines and having a bedtime routine can take a lot of struggle out of any bedtime war. When Jr. was a baby I struggled to create a bedtime routine that was simple enough to do every, single night and long enough to allow him time to settle down. We tried many combinations to see what suited us best and now we have one that works great. I think it is important to have a bedtime routine that is easy to shorten or lengthen as needed. Some nights there simply isn’t enough time for our whole routine so I cut out parts that I feel are less crucial than others. Here is a list of possible bedtime routine activities that might help guide you in your quest for a functional bedtime routine for you and your little ones. Remember that the routine might change as your baby becomes a toddler and then a little kid and then a big kid!

Bedtime Routine Ideas

  • Family prayer
  • Reading scriptures
  • Bath
  • Brush teeth
  • Wash face
  • Potty/change diaper
  • Baby massage, moisturize skin
  • Snuggle
  • Sing a song – could be a different song every night or the same one
  • Listen to quiet music
  • Read a story
  • Love yous and kisses
  • Talk about your day/tomorrow – favorite part, least favorite part, plan for tomorrow
  • Pick out pajamas
  • Set out clothes for tomorrow
  • Turning off the lights – to ease any nervousness about the dark, make sure children have a heads up about when the lights will be turned off, involving them can help!
  • Put toys away
  • Baby yoga or stretching

 

Right now Jr.’s 18 months old and his routine is as follows:

-Brush/floss teeth

-Diaper change

-Pajamas

-Read scriptures (Family scripture study)

-Family prayer

-Read book of his choice

-He turns out the light

-Sing the nigh night song “Give Said the Little Stream”

-Love you and kisses

Remember to try out the routine for a couple of weeks before changing directions because it takes time to establish an effective routine. A bedtime routine should be between 15 and 30 minutes in length. However, when reality comes into play, which it often does, and you don’t have 15 minutes because your baby needed to be in bed an hour ago, don’t get discouraged. Pick one or two items that you will always do before bed. The two items we pick when we are pressed for time are the last two pieces of our routine. We sing the nigh night song, say love yous and give kisses!

Do you include something in your routine that’s not on my list? Let me know! 

Redefining The Golden Rule

Mr. Manly and I were recently invited to attend a Sunday school class series called Marriage and Family Relationships. This was the first part of the series designed to focus on marriage.  Being invited to these classes was, what I felt like, the answer many nights of prayer. There is so much I took from these classes that I could write about, but something from our class came up in one of our staff’s book study sessions.

The book we read was How Full is Your Bucket? Written by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton. It’s the idea that we each have an emotional bucket and when it’s full we are happy and more productive, but when it is empty we are negative and less likely to be motivated to do anything. Positive interactions with others fills our buckets while negative interactions dip and take from our buckets. I think we can all imagine that one person who is simply emotionally draining to be around. I know I can! The very last chapter refers to the “Reverse Golden Rule”  which was also mentioned in our class, so I thought I’d expound on it for you!

Redefining The Golden Rule

Everyone knows the golden rule… do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Sounds good right? Well the reality is that this rule is pretty selfish. You’re assuming that everyone wants what you want which is clearly not the case. I think the origin of the golden rule was meant for it to be interpreted as “be kind to others and others will be kind in return”, but that’s not what it says. In our Sunday school class we read a talk by Ester Rasband at a women’s conference entitled, “The Eden Gift”. This talk was mainly about emotional fidelity in marriage (I highly recommend this talk to everyone!! It’s the first PDF when you Google : Ester Rasband Eden Gift) and she too touched on this idea of the Reverse golden rule. She said:

When Christmas comes does the golden rule husband give his wife the power drill he’s been wanting and does she give to him a string of pearls to go with that little black dress? I don’t think so. Yet that is the logic that many of us use when we think we’re living the golden rule. Particularly in our marriages. Let me tell you, the golden rule is not all that easy to follow. What it is , is to have another understand your needs and love you enough to fill them your way.

Isn’t that really what we want from the golden rule? Our emotional needs met in our own way? She hits the nail on the head when she mentions that this is not easy. It is very difficult to try to understand where someone else is coming from and what their emotional needs are, especially if this person is less than loving to you.

My personal story on this topic is very similar to the one shared by Ester Rasband. It was Christmas time and I am constantly pinning those pins on pinterest that say things like, “10 ways to pray for your husband” or “5 quick ways to let him know you’re thinking of him”. Well the one I had read most recently suggested doing a 12 days of Christmas gifting spree for your true love! I was so in love with the idea that I hoped on it right away! I put so much time, thought and effort into pulling this together for him, but he was less than impressed. His first reaction to the first gift was, “What the crap is this?” I explained what it was and he said in an extremely worried tone, “Does this mean I am not getting any presents on Christmas?”… Day 1 … FAIL. And from then on it was just an… oh……..gee, thanks. Needless to say I was heartbroken that I had put so much into doing something I thought was cool for him for Christmas.

The moral of my story is that, it was something that I would have extremely appreciated if someone had done it for me, but it did not fill my husband’s emotional bucket. That’s where my plan was flawed.

Trying and simply putting forth an effort to change for the better is all that is asked. Try to understand where your spouse or family member or friend is coming from and how to fill their emotional buckets. In the 2016 April General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church) Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said this, “Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow and forever.”

Cheap Summer Fun

Summer is almost here! I can smell the sunscreen! I am so excited for summer this year because Jr. is at such a fun age! Summer is also my time to be a stay at home mom! I don’t think I took full advantage of my time with Jr. last year plus I was still breastfeeding so our schedule revolved around the nursing schedule.

 

I am excited to have more time to just play with my boy! We are in the process of saving for a down payment for a house so we don’t have a lot of extra money. This summer is going to be full of free or nearly free activities! I’ve compiled a list of things we may try this summer!

Cheap Summer Fun

  1. Go for walks – Not only does this help to get or stay fit, but it can take as much or as little of time as you have available. Explore new parks close to your home!
  2. Pack a picnic – This goes perfectly with the previous one! If you have some time, you take a long walk and have  picnic!
  3. Story time at the public library –  This is the one that made me say “Things we MAY try”. Unfortunately our public library is crowded with drug dealers, transients and what my husband calls “twacks”. On top of this people are allowed to watch porn at public libraries so I try not to take Jr. with me just in case something were ever visible to him. Maybe your library is nicer or cleaner or safer and therefore I recommend trying storytime at the public library!
  4. Bike ride –  kids love bikes and going for a ride with you makes their day even more awesome! If you don’t have bikes, ask around and maybe one or more of your friends have some you could borrow for the day. Some cities also have places where you can rent bikes, but then this activity would no longer be free.
  5. Living room drive ins- Turn your living room or wherever your tv is into a drive in movie theatre by turning cardboard boxes into cars! The only cost is any supplies you might need to decorate, but I would suggest checking out the dollar store. Again, asking friends or even your local grocery store for boxes keeps it closer to free!
  6. Arts and crafts –  Similar to the previous one, go to the dollar store with a $5 limit and purchase a few random art supplies and see what you or your kiddos can come up with!
  7. Skip rocks –  Find a pond or calm area of a river and skip rocks or learn how!
  8. Feed the ducks or birds –  A loaf of bread is what $0.99? Take it to a pond or river or park where you could feed ducks or birds! I will definitely be doing this because Jr. loves animals and I can only imagine his squeals of joy as he tosses some bread pieces and watches the birds eat them up!
  9. Have a water fight – you don’t need water balloons, cups and mixing bowls will do!
  10. Go to a farmer’s/flea market – Summer is the season for farmer’s markets and flea markets. You don’t have to buy anything to enjoy your experience and even if you do plan to buy something, you don’t have to spend much!
  11. Look at cloud shapes – Kids have such huge imaginations and are so capable of seeing what we adults can’t! Watching the clouds roll by is a cheap, but quality filled way to spend your time!
  12. Dance party- The fun thing about dance parties is that they an happen at any time and in any location! My favorite dance parties are in the rain!

Needless to say I am beyond excited for summer! Jr. is at an age where I can more easily enjoy my time with him! What are your cheap or free summer plans?

Moms’ Top 10 Things That Are Okay

I’m not gonna lie, I’m EXHAUSTED!! I am so overwhelmed right now that at any given moment I am one idiot’s comments away from bursting into tears. I don’t even have time to think about what I supposed to be doing right now. I feel like I’m riding a rusty old roller coaster that jerks on every twist or turn. I hear other people complain about how much they have to do and I am constantly tempted to just throw down and go toe to toe with them on who has more to do or at least ask them if they’d like to trade places!

Tired Mom's 10 things that are okay!

The really silly thing is that I am not even doing as much as did before. I exclusively fed my baby breast milk  from the time he was born so when I went back to work, I didn’t take breaks because that’s when I would pump! I remember scheduling out everything I actually had to do and I honestly only had 5 minutes here or there to do nothing. Now I have at least 30 minutes to simply do nothing. I have been so tired that… and I know this is gross, but I haven’t taken the time to take a shower because I’d rather sleep. I had to tell myself last night that it’s okay to choose sleep over a shower. How sad is that?! I think it’s ultra sad and then I overthink it, get depressed and it makes it worst. So here is my top 10 list of things that are okay for a moms.

  1. It’s okay to choose sleep over a shower
  2. It’s okay to just sit and do nothing
  3. It’s okay to roll your eyes at people who don’t understand
  4. It’s okay to eat McDonald’s for dinner because a 1 hour trip turned into a 3 hour trip
  5. It’s okay to smile and nod while thinking about how you would kill the ignorant person talking at you, especially if they are asking you to do more than you already do
  6. It’s okay to forget to brush your teeth or do your makeup in the morning
  7. It’s okay to be annoyed with your husband or friend or family member or kids because they don’t understand how much you actually do
  8. It’s okay that the caretaker sees your kids for a longer time while they’re awake then you do because they still love you are happy that you are their mom!
  9. It’s okay to throw in the towel or say no
  10. It’s okay to take a few moments and just breathe

Cut yourself some slack! You work so hard and do so much for so many people. You do enough and are enough! In the words of RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how the heck are you going to love someone else?! Can I get an Amen up in hur?!”