Why I chose a natural, unmedicated childbirth

| Monday, 31 August 2015



When I learned I was pregnant with my first child, I was overcome by a rush of mixed emotions; I was overjoyed and excited, but I was also scared and worried. I was anxious to meet my very first child, but I was also worried about all the implications and responsibilities. Would the pregnancy go well? Would my child be healthy? Would I be a good mom? And of course, the unavoidable "oh my god, I'm actually going to have to give birth!" - That in itself is a scary thought.

I've always been petrified of giving birth. Like, nightmare city. Why wouldn't I be? We keep hearing horror stories about it our whole life and most people are convinced that the epidural is the only way to go. You know what though, there's a lot of stories we don't hear, and nature is made a certain way for a reason. That being said, I realize that sometimes, things go wrong, and I'm glad we have modern medicine to help us; I'm not one to refuse help when I need it. Which brings me to the question a lot of you asked. Why did I chose a natural, unmedicated childbirth?

Before I continue, I want to say that I respect the choice of every woman. Childbirth and your body are two very personal things; no one has the right to tell you you're weak if you take the epidural and no one has the right to tell me I'm stupid for choosing to endure so much pain. We all do our research and make our own decision based on what we know and are comfortable with.

To be honest, I'd always been so afraid about childbirth that I always assumed I wanted a medicated birth. Somehow, deep inside, something just didn't feel right every time I thought about an epidural. I think I always knew that for me, a natural childbirth was the only way to go, and that's why I was so afraid.


So, why did I choose a natural, unmedicated childbirth?


LIVING A FULL EXPERIENCE


I don't do things at 50%. I never have. It's always been everything or nothing. So for me, my main reason came naturally; it's either no baby, or the whole experience at 100%. I don't think I could have lived with the fact that I had the chance to have a baby (when many women don't), and I didn't live the whole experience.


CURIOSITY


I'm a very curious person. I always have a bazillion questions (which tends to drive other people nuts), so a natural birth experience for me, was a way to satisfy my curiosity. What does it feel like? What really happens? Is the pain really that bad?


THE LESS MEDICINE THE BETTER


Lastly, I'm undecided about medication. The less I manage to consume, the better I feel about my choices. I realize sometimes it's unavoidable, but I'm not one to take it "just in case" or just because I don't want to "deal with it". All pharmaceuticals have side effects, known or not, and I make a conscious choice to minimize my exposure. The possible side effects of an epidural on the mother are scary: longer labor, need of forceps, higher risk of tearing, increased need for Pitocin and/or a c-section, decreased breastfeeding efficiency, possible paralysis. Even more so for your baby (respiratory depression, decreased fetal heart rate, struggle latching-on to breastfeed). Like I said above, I don't rule out medical interventions completely. I'm not stupid; if I can't bear the pain or my baby's life is at risk (or mine), of course I'm going to take medicine and accept medical procedures! So far though, I'm almost always able to deal with things intervention free.


What kind of birth experience did you have?


If you've read my first and second birth stories, you know that I'm very happy with my experiences and that were I to do it again, I would choose the same path. They were intense experiences that involved quite a bit of pain, but it taught me a lot about myself; I'm dedicated to my plans, curious about life, fierce in personality, passionate about the well being of my children, strong willed and, in control of myself yet able to let go. Basically, the experience truly empowered me and reinforced who I am deep within.

DIY: Faux starfish garland

| Wednesday, 26 August 2015



Not so long ago, I shared how to make faux starfish. I originally made them to decorate my son's birthday party, little accents to put on the table and on the shelves, but I ended up liking them so much that I started making other things with them. Like this new faux starfish garland!

Last year, I decided to change my living decor with each season. I've been working on different color combos and experimenting in the past year, and it will definitely evolve over time (what doesn't right?) but for this summer, as you noticed from my brushstroke wall art, I decided to go with a beach/ocean theme with peach/orange and mint/green as my accent colors. 



I really enjoy decorating and creating new pieces for my home. The process is slow because of everything else I need to do in the little time I have, but every time I sit in my living room, ideas just keep coming.

What color combo have you chosen for your living room decor? Do you go for bright colors or more neutral ones? Do you like changing things up once in a while? 

MATERIALS

Faux starfish
Rope
Tule ribbon
Thread

When you're making the starfish for this project, make sure that you poke a hole through one of the legs of the star so you can hang them. You can do this with a toothpick.

STEPS

Put the rope and the tule side by side and attach the starfish (through the hole!) at set intervals. You can measure about where you'd like the stars to be using a ruler. Then you hang it! I have little nails on my fireplace where I usually hang our Christmas stockings so I use those to attach the garland at every star, if you don't have those, you can simple add little push pins that you can remove later, or just hang it from each end (it'll give a slightly different look, but still fun!).





There you have it. I seriously love the end result.

5 quick summer recipes for garden cucumbers

| Wednesday, 12 August 2015



For the past few summers, I've slowly been learning to grow my own fruits and veggies. I started with tomatoes; I tried growing them in pots, and in garden beds. I moved on to beans and lettuce, then tried carrots. This summer, I added fine herbs and cucumber.

Sometimes I wonder why more people don't have gardens at home, it's so easy! I mean, if you want to open up a business and maximize productivity, maybe not, but if you just want to garden for pleasure, you should seriously consider it.



Back to cucumbers. So I planted like, 8 seeds. I thought I'd plant a few more than I wanted because you always have loss. Some seeds don't germinate, others die when they're baby plants, and sometimes you get pests that eat your crop. I guess I was super lucky because none of that happened to my cucumber plants.

In case you don't know, cucumbers aren't like carrots. It's not one cucumber per seed. The plant grows into a really long vine which produce about 10-15 fruits per plant.  So we're looking at about 100 cucumbers in a matter about 2 months. Yeah.



My toddlers have taken a liking to picking and eating directly from the garden, so quite a few disappear daily. But I still have a LOT. So, I had to come up with ways to use them. Here are 5 of my favorite.

Have you tried growing your own fruits and veggies?


CUCUMBER MINT INFUSED WATER




Not so long ago, I shared my coconut lemonade recipe and although this is my go-to recipe for a nutrient boost and intense thirst quenching relief, I wanted something a bit more neutral in taste for the office. You can never have too many refreshing drink recipes for the summer.

INGREDIENTS
Cucumber
Mint
Water

DIRECTIONS
Wash, cut, mix. Let sit for a few minutes and enjoy!

I was pretty surprised at how much you can taste the cucumber in the water. It's super refreshing. You could even add a bit of lemon juice if you wanted. Once you're done you can either eat your slices of cucumber, or pour yourself another drink!


CUCUMBER CREAM CHEESE TOAST




I don't know about you, but when it's really hot outside, the last thing I want to do is eat a hot and heavy meal. Sometimes it's a spinach + lemon salad, sometimes it's some guacamole, but lately, with all these cucumbers growing in my garden, I had to get creative.

To be honest, it was a really hot day and I didn't want to cook. I just felt like eating a piece of bread. We had just spent the morning in the pool and the kids wanted to eat freshly picked cucumbers, so I thought we could make some cucumber sandwiches. 

Since my son is allergic to eggs, I usually replace mayo with humus. That day though, I had none in the fridge. I did find some cream cheese, which I buy to make the frosting for my egg free cupcakes. So bread, cucumber & cream cheese... just some protein missing. Seeds! I added a bit of chia and hemp.

INGREDIENTS
Bread
Cream cheese
Cucumber
Seeds (Optional - I used chia and hemp)
Salt + Pepper (Optional)

DIRECTIONS
1. Toast your bread + spread some cream cheese.
2. Wash + slice your cucumbers in the long using a mandoline .
4. Add some cucumber slices over the cream cheese then sprinkle some seeds, salt + pepper.


GREEK SALAD with OLIVE OIL




Oh my god you guys. Have you ever tasted freshly picked garden tomatoes? They're god sent. Seriously, it's like eating extra sweet and juicy grapes. Can you imagine? Winter grocery store tomatoes, you are a crime to nature.

INGREDIENTS
Cherry tomatoes
Cucumber
Feta cheese cubes
Olive oil (you could also use reduced balsamic vinegar as a dressing)
Red onion (Optional)
Salt + Pepper (Optional)

DIRECTIONS
1. Wash and cut all your ingredients (I leave out the onions because they're too strong for my toddlers).
2. Put everything in a salad bowl.
3. Add some olive oil, salt + pepper.
4. Instead of #3 you could also bring some balsamic vinegar to a boil and drizzle over your salad.


COLD YOGURT CUCUMBER SOUP




This totally sounds like mush doesn't it? Lol. I promise you it's not, it's actually quite refreshing and super delicious. Plus, it's fast, nutritious, and cold (such a treat on a very hot day!).

Prep time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2

INGREDIENTS
1 cups of plain yogurt
2 cucumbers
1 clove garlic
Salt + Pepper (Optional)

DIRECTIONS
Just clean and peal the cucumbers and garlic, and blend everything together. Season to taste and enjoy!


CUCUMBER CREAM CHEESE BITES




Just feel like eating a snack? Grab a cucumber, a knife, some cream cheese and dried fruit. Slice, dip, sprinkle and enjoy some cucumber cream cheese bites!


DIY: Easy brush stroke abstract wall art

| Wednesday, 5 August 2015



Perfection. Is there even such a thing?

This weekend, I finally mustered up the courage to paint some abstract art for my living room decor. Courage you ask? Sounds silly doesn't it. The truth is, I often put projects aside because I worry it won't be "perfect" and I don't want to throw away my money making something I may not keep or love. Writing it down makes it seem pretty futile.

Ok, not wanting to waste money is pretty admirable in this day and age, but how can you learn anything, if you never try it? 



Do you guys remember this wall art I made for my son's room? Oh, and this mobile? It's been a while since I tried making some fun art to decorate my home and I missed it. It's so much fun and so easy.


MATERIALS

Acrylic paints (your choice of colors)
Brushes (different types)
Foam board
Empty palette

I  chose to use a foam board because it's cheaper than buying a huge canvas. This one is 20x30 inches. Before I commit to something, I like to try it out first and this seemed like the perfect way. I got the acrylics at the dollar store a long time ago and craft wise, it was probably the best investment I made. Sure, they aren't the best, but all the projects I've made with them have lasted a long time and the colors have not faded. Plus, the sizes are relatively big, so I get to use them on a lot of projects.



STEPS

1. Select your colors and brushes.
2. Starting with the biggest brush and your main color, paint simple strokes randomly.
3. Lighten your colors and add some more strokes with the same brush. Make sure you clean your brush between each color.
4. Using a different brush, add a simple pattern in a neutral color (I chose black dots).





And voilĂ ! Pretty easy and it took me a whole 10 minutes to make. Not bad right?

Personally, I like to contrast colors. Blue and yellow, orange and green... you get the idea. I find it adds a fun twist to any kind of art. I chose orange and turquoise for this piece because those are the accent colors I'm hoping to use for my summer decor. I'm a bit late starting I know, with all that's been happening around here I haven't exactly been inspired to do anything, but it's ok, because there's always next year.

I'm really excited to try decorating with different color palettes for each season. That way I don't have to commit to anything and we won't get tired of seeing any particular decor. I'm keeping all my main items neutral in color, white, black, dark brown and gold, so that it's easy to dress up.

Do you have any decor tips?


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