So, as any mom knows, time flies when you’re raising a kid and going about your everyday life. Even though my little girl is only 4 months old (almost 5!), time has been taken away from me. It feels like just yesterday I was holding her in my arms for the first time, and now she’s almost holding her own bottle! Although I seem to think I’m not all that busy, everyday just seems to whiz by me. I realized today, that even though I have been writing at the odd time, I haven’t actually taken the time to introduce my pride and joy, my beautiful daughter. With that being said…
Meet, Charlotte Jean Binder-Freeman!
Born May 12th at 9:34am (as noted in my birth story), she arrived after being stubborn and taking an extra two weeks to come out! I guess that’s just the Taurus in her.
For months on end I had multiple name ideas floating around in my head, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to settle on one until I saw my angel’s face. However, even knowing this, it took me some time to decide on her name even after she had arrived. In the end, I knew that I will always be a sucker for names that have nicknames, and that’s how I ended up with Charlotte, nickname, Charlee. The second I decided this, it was like everything fell right into place. My little girl, that I called ‘Baby b ‘ for months, now had the most perfect name that suits her wonderfully. Looking at her now, I couldn’t even imagine her as anyone else and I think every parent could agree with me on that, looking at their own kids.
As a teenager, you don’t care if your room is a mess and there’s a pile up of dishes in the sink, or crumbs on the floor from the sandwich you ate last week. It’s not in our system to be clean it seems. As a mom, you want everything spotless and clean and organized all the time. As a teenage mom, I seem to want that a thousand times more than a normal mom. Why? Because I realized what slobs teenagers are. Now don’t get me wrong, I fall off the wagon every once in awhile, but when my OCD kicks back in and I need everything (and I do mean everything), spotless and in order, and it seems I stay that way for awhile.
Today I finally got the kick and spent the entire day cleaning and organizing. Doesn’t seem like the typical teenager thing to do on a Friday, huh? It’s not. It’s the mom side of me.
Sitting down though at the end of the day with everything in order makes me feel accomplished. Which I love. I don’t get to feel accomplished very much anymore since I’m a stay at home mom. I don’t go to a job where I can complete a task a feel good about myself. My house is my task now.
I’m finishing my very accomplished day with some time for myself now. Reading with some wine! You can never go wrong with that. Every mom deserves time for herself – so if you are a mom, make the time. You deserve it and need it.
Also, here’s a list of how to keep things clean on a daily basis if you don’t have time to spend the whole day cleaning:
Those may seem like standard rules, and of course everyone already knows them, but we often seem to forget and then we end up with a disastrous house and a boat load of stressful dumped on us. So there is just a friendly reminder that has helped me out a lot lately! I hope everyone has a wonderful long weekend!
For months on end I was researching countless blogs and reading countless books trying to get my hands on all the information this world has to offer about pregnancy and birth. As my due date approached, I began to read more blogs and stories about different women’s births. I wanted to hear their stories on how their experience went and know what might happen in different situations. As I began to research more and more each day, I came to realize something… all of the stories I read were birth horror stories!! Not a single blog post or book I read had a story about a happy birth. (I read one, and that was AFTER I gave birth). They were all about how their birth wasn’t at all like their birth plan (hint: no birth goes exactly how you planned it on your birth plan, you just gotta role with it), how it was the most brutal painful thing of their life, how their labour dragged on for 24 hours or more, and how they ended up getting a cesarean or their baby had issues the second that little nugget popped out.
THANKS FOR SCARING US PREGNANT MOMS!!
Not all births end up being horror stories though. In fact, over 50% of births that women experience are wonderful, mine being one of them. Except we don’t get to hear about them. We only get to hear from the moms who make birth sound like riding a bike on fire off a cliff would be better. Birth is not a terrifying thing. If you go in with the right mindset, connected to your mind and body, then you will come out the other side knowing that birth is the most empowering, selfless, and extraordinary thing you will ever do in your life. And more women need to know this! So I’m here to tell you a birth story. Not a horror story, but an empowering story for any soon to be moms out there that are having doubts about her birth. Welcome to my experience…
Sometimes I feel guilty for having the perfect the birth that I did. Out of every story I’ve read since finding out I was pregnant, I’ve only come across one other girl that had a perfect birth story. ONE. I’ve read SO many!! Reading all of them honestly made me scared for the type of birth that I would have. When you’re pregnant, you’re told to write a birth plan. Write one, but don’t hold onto any hope that your birth will actually go the way you want. It doesn’t. It never does. I knew that. So I made one, and didn’t hold onto any hope. I knew whatever happened, would happen, but in the end all I cared about was a happy and healthy baby. As time went on, so did my research. After making a birth plan for the hospital, I came to the realization that I wanted to deliver at the Lucina Birth Centre and have a water birth.
Before any research and videos, I thought water births were INSANE! The thought of that just seemed weird to me…like why would you do that when you could in a hospital where you know if something goes wrong, there will be help? But it’s the same for water births, whether you do it at a birthing centre or at home. Help is accessible the whole entire time! If something were to go terribly wrong, they would have you at a hospital in the blink of an eye. When I found out that if I were to need a cesarean, the exact time it would take for them to get me to a hospital, would be the same amount of time it would take for me to go from the labour and delivery room in a hospital down to an OR. That eased my fears. Personally, after research, delivering at a hospital no longer interested me. (If you wanted to have a waterbirth but still be at a hospital, many midwives are certified to deliver a water baby in a hospital). Hospitals are bright. Nurses are in and out of your room, checking you constantly (if you don’t feel the need to be checked, you can say no of course), you share a room with strangers, and you’re moved around. It’s actually proven that even leaving home to go to a hospital puts a delay on labour and you end up having a longer labour/delivery. Also, doctors tell you to push and when to stop. I know that seems like a silly thing to complain about, because that’s their job, right? But after my water birth, I realized that it’s not up to the doctors when you need to push or not. It’s up to you and your body. You will know when you have to push. All you have to do is breathe (a lot!) and listen to your body. If you do that, you have less of a chance of tearing, and you’ll have a better experience.
So, I made my birth plan, and I decided to deliver at the Lucina Centre. April 30th was my due date and by May 11th, NOTHING was happening. And I tried EVERY natural induction method possible…the last to come was the castor oil. Now this, is hands down the most disgusting oily thing on this god forsaken planet. Ever. May 11th I ate a tablespoon of it mixed in with peanut butter (as directed by my Midwife). Don’t do this. It’s much (not really but still) better with orange juice than peanut butter. I had a tablespoon of it in the morning, and throughout the day, rolled on my ball, religiously drank raspberry leaf tea, and walked everywhere! I took another tablespoon in the afternoon (with OJ), then went to the mall to walk some more. Nothing. I even ate spicy foods!! And I hate spicy foods. But nothing even tasted spicy! By the time the night rolled around, I was convinced I wasn’t ever going to have this damn baby.
At 10:30pm I had a bath and was finally starting to feel some Braxton Hicks contractions again. (They were real contractions but I didn’t know that at the time). Nothing intense. After my mom told me to go get some sleep, I went down to my room and tried. Tried. But I couldn’t. The contractions got more intense and then, I threw up! First time I threw up while pregnant. I thought that was weird so I texted my mom if throwing up was a sign of labour, and sure enough, it is! YAY! Finally I was in labour!! It was about 12:00am by this time. For the next hour or so, I rolled on an exercise ball, and laid on my bed, breathing heavily and concentrating on each contraction. I had no concept of time throughout this whole experience, but at some point, my doula showed up. It was when she got there that I decided that moving from the ball, to my bed between contractions was exhausting enough, so there was no way in hell I wanted to get in a car and drive 20 minutes to the birthing centre. Water birth at home it was!! What seemed like 5 minutes after she got there, she urged me that it was time to call my Midwife. I told her it was fine, she just got here! (Midwives only come when you’re close to pushing). She ignored me of course because she knew what was best for me, so she called Anna, and my mom started blowing up the pool in my bathroom.
Fast forward through getting in the pool and breathing through contractions, my body told me it was time to push! So push I did. And holy. This is when the pain started to kick in! Push after push after push. It dragged on and on. My family was with me, supporting me through this. I had my doula holding one hand, my older sister holding the other, my little sister rubbing my shoulders, my mom taking pictures/videos, and my midwife watching. My dad was upstairs waiting for my little baby to pop out. As weird as I thought it would be having my whole family there, watching, I’m so thankful they were. I couldn’t have done it without them. Just their presence made me feel like the strongest girl on this earth, and in that moment, I needed it.
Eventually, Anna and my mom kept saying after each push, “Oh my god I see a head!! You’re so close!” So, silly me thought, yay like 2 more pushes and I’ll be done! Lol. Jokes on me. I pushed for about 2 more hours AFTER they said that constantly. Way to get my hopes up. Then the moment hit. The ring of fire. Or so I thought. I was thinking holy hell until I pushed again and in the midst of all of this, I literally said to everyone in the room “Just kidding that wasn’t the ring of fire this is! Holy f**k!!” Damn these people weren’t kidding when they said it was literally like someone was lightin up a fire down there! Pushing through the most painful moment of my life, I knew I was so so close. Moments away from meeting my beautiful little baby.
And 3..2..1.. IT’S A GIRL!💗 May 12th at 9:34am, she finally arrived. < i>Truly the most amazing surprise of my life. But before I found out she was a girl, I pushed through that burning ring and breathed through her head coming out. (There’s less of a chance of tearing if you breathe through the head coming out instead of pushing). And once her head was out, the rest of her body came flying out! That part happened before I could even blink. I looked at Anna, who was just standing there. Like excuse me I just gave birth, can you do something?? But she just stood there, wanting me to take in every moment of this experience. So that I did. I reached down, and delivered my own baby! I never imagined in my life that I would get pregnant at 17, let alone deliver the own baby. I’m so happy I did though. That moment was so empowering for me. I did it. All by myself, I did it and was blessed with the most beautiful (and grumpy) baby girl ever. The second I held her in my arms I balled like a baby. I think I was crying just as hard as her!! She clearly did not like being out of the womb, and I was clearly the happiest, most blessed person on this earth. I was in labour for a total of 9 hours (3 hours of pushing), although the contractions seemed to be over in the blink of an eye. She came out so perfect and healthy.
I never believed in love at first sight until now. My god do I love my little girl so much. More than I’ve ever loved anything or anyone, and more than I ever will. She’s 3 months old now, and the happiest baby ever. I couldn’t be more thankful for my beautiful experience and everyone that I have/had supporting me through this. You know who you are, and I thank you will all my heart.
Today marks the first day of the rest of my life. At 10:40 this morning I walked out of my last exam, officially completing high school forever. And let me tell you, it’s not only the best feeling in the world, but it’s also the most rewarding. Although finishing high school seems like an easy thing to do, it’s not. You would think, “I just need to stay in school and then I’ll graduate”, right? – wrong. It takes hard work, dedication, and COUNTLESS nights shooting back redbulls as if you’re shot-gunning a beer trying to cram for a test that you had a week to study for but chose to leave it until the night before. You have to work for those good grades and credits so you can actually graduate. A number of people I went to school with made it to the end of grade 12, but didn’t actually graduate. The thought of that makes me sad for them, but what can you do? At least I made it!! Happy to say that! (Don’t be the person who makes it to the end of grade 12 but doesn’t actually graduate – you will be labeled as a sad loser).
Everyone always says, “high school was the best four years of my life”, “I miss high school so much”, “oh what I would give to go back to the good ol’ fun days”….like excuse me??? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. I don’t know about anyone else, but I COULDN’T WAIT to get out of that dungeon with 3 windows. (Literally…my high school only had 3 windows people.) Talk about captivity. Anyhow, I have no idea what those people are talking about. High school was not fun. That may be because I wasn’t the most popular kid and didn’t have more friends than fingers and didn’t party every weekend, but it also may be that I was forced to drag my ass out of bed at 8am everyday to go sit in a desk for an hour at a time (which is so not good for your back by the way), and was forced to learn about things that didn’t serve me. It didn’t serve me to learn about why “x=y” or that a hundred years ago the United States had conflict with the Soviet Union. NONE of that serves me in my life today. And I’m so happy to be done with that. I now have the freedom to go to school and learn about things I actually want to and that serve me.
It was a long time coming, but I did it. I’m moving onto bigger and better things, like college & raising my beautiful daughter. High school may have been the best four years of everyone else’s lives, but the years I have ahead of me will be the best years of my life. And I can’t wait to see what it has in store for me. So today officially marks the first day of the rest of my life. And how am I spending it?
I’ve never been content with the idea of “home” being in one certain place. In the same house, in the same town, in the same country, for the rest of my life. The thought of that has never settled with me. I believe home is where the heart is. I knew from a young age that traveling was something I’ve always wanted to do, but as each day passes now, it’s more than a want. Traveling is in my soul. It’s a need more so than a want. I need to travel. That itching feeling I get in my body to get on a plane and never look back burns inside me every time I see a picture of a place I have yet to explore. I want the experiences that staying in one place can’t give me. I want the knowledge of history and cultures that textbooks can’t give me. I want to be able to embrace the scenery of a place and be able to feel my love for it more than a picture can give me.
I’ve always had a dream of traveling the world. But then I got pregnant. And I thought that my dream was over. How am I supposed to travel with a kid? But then I saw a post on instagram that changed my point of view. Youtuber and travel enthusiast, Jay Alvarrez posted a picture and shared a part of his life with his followers about how he dropped out of school at the age of 12 because he felt it didn’t serve him. He craved more. He craved the experiences and knowledge that only travel could give him. He craved what I now crave. Reading his post gave me the inspiration and motivation to follow my dream still. If he could drop out of school at the age of 12 and now travel the world living a luxury life and start from nothing, then I could make my dream of traveling come true while having a kid, right? He posted this because he wanted people to realize that you don’t need to go to school, be smart, and get a good job with a steady income to be happy and live a luxury life. All you need is a passion and motivation to make it happen. Happiness and money will follow if you do what you love…and that’s exactly what he did. He didn’t let anyone stand in his way and he shot for the stars. I also believe he wanted people to realize that you don’t need to have a rich family to live a luxury life; that you can start from having nothing and make it happen on your own. I find that so many people nowadays think that if they don’t come from a rich family or live a luxury life while young, then it will never happen. That’s not true. You can make anything happen on your own as long as you have a passion for it.
Read Jay’s Post Here
This post is an appreciation post for Jay, for reminding me that I can achieve my dreams no matter what, and a motivation post for everyone reading, to not give up on your dreams, and always shoot for the stars.
Life’s a trip, so go out and explore.
As I near the end of my pregnancy, I decided to look back and reflect on the sources that helped me out throughout this time. Being a reader, of course, 90% of my sources were books. Also, with being so young, I wanted to get my hands on every piece of information I could so I could better prepare myself for the big day.
Pregnancy and birth is such a whirlwind of emotions, and such an amazing thing to experience. It truly is life changing; it’s a miracle when you really think about it. Creating life simply from within us. I know for a fact that I would have not be able to get through my pregnancy as smoothly as I did without the help of my books. Lucky for me I didn’t get any morning sickness or horrible mood swings, just massive waves of exhaustion to say the least. Any changes in my body however, physically and emotionally, the books were able to help me realize why those things were happening and how to cope with them. There are so many options for books and information out in the world nowadays, that it’s hard to know what books to buy and what one’s are worth your time to read.
Hopefully, if any pregnant girls out there are struggling with what books to read (or know someone who is pregnant and loves information) this post will help you out a bit! Below I’m going to attach my favorite books that I read (and am still continuing to read since I’m not due for another 5 days), and what I found most helpful about them.
Taking on pregnancy in a fun way: Belly Laughs. Knowing nothing about being pregnant, I had NO idea where to even begin when it came to the books. Luckily, I had my mom with me while buying the first few books, she told me this book was a lifesaver. She wasn’t wrong about that. Jenny opens up about pregnancy in such a blunt, real way that may gross you out while reading it, but it’s so worth the read! She shares her experience in a funny, eye-opening way that makes you want to learn more and more about pregnancy. I definitely recommend this book as a first read!
A shocking choice: What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Such a cliché choice, I know, but it really has all the information you need to know! It breaks down pregnancy month by month, and includes common symptoms, how to cope with them, common questions girls frequently ask about pregnancy, different options during labor, and complications that could arise and how to deal with those. It’s a big book for a big amount of information, definitely worth a read throughout your pregnancy!
Really, you’re pregnant? Would’ve never guessed why you bought this book… I’m pregnant! I really enjoyed reading (and still continuing to read) this book because it breaks down pregnancy piece by piece. This book gives you the run down of what to expect at each and every stage of pregnancy. Taking it on week by week, you’ll never have an unanswered question about any symtom, what to expect at doctors appointments, food, excerise, labor & delivery, and even after the baby is born! If you’re someone who likes to know what is happening to your body every week, rather than just generalized information, then this is the book for you!
Baby Time: Yeah Baby! I’ll be honest, I bought this book not because I knew it contained good information, but because it said it was autographed by Jillian Michaels. Am I obsessed with Jillian so this was a big deal for me? No. Being honest, I didn’t even really know who she was when I bought the book! I had heard of her of course, but had no idea why she was famous. I had my moment of feeling like I was awesome because I owned an autographed book, but as I read it, I actually realized how much I loved it! Jillian herself didn’t have her baby, her partner, Heidi, did. “So then why did Jillian write the book if she doesn’t even know what it’s like to be pregnant?” I asked myself the same question. However, she had numerous professionals help her write it, and included Heidi’s take on pregnancy. This book contains so much valuable information from different nutrition and excersies to do before, and during pregnancy, along with symtoms and questions about what to expect, how to equip your home so it’s safe for a child, and the birth itself. All the information is too much to contain in a small blurb, but I can promise you, you won’t regret this buy! (Don’t be like me. Buy it for the information contained within, not because you found an autographed copy!)
The big day: The birth book. This book prepares you for EVERYTHING you need to know about what to expect on the big day. From what type of birth you plan to have to the different types of birthing options (natural, cesarean, epidurals, etc), this book gives you the low down on each option and what you can expect from each. It has pros and cons, different birth stories, and just a boat load of information that is really good to know if you’re stressing about the big day! Reading The Birth Book can put your mind at ease and help you make a birth plan that day fits you.
Pregnancy within: The Energy of Birthing. I absolutely love love love this book. It’s a quick read, but chalked full of information on birth in a more natural, holistic, spiritual way. It talks about chakras, essential oils, different practices that can help you during labor (reiki, acupuncture, etc) and focuses on your energy and how your mind and body being connected is a huge factor for having a safe and enjoyable birth. For myself, I believe in energy in your mind, body, and soul and doing everything in a natural and holistic way (as much as I can anyways). So if you’re like me and believe in chakras and essentials oils and such, then you won’t regret spending your money on this book!
Keeping your emotions and pregnancy in order: A pregnancy journal. Now this isn’t an essential item, nor does it have information like the books above, but it is something that I find really fun and good to have on hand. This journal (there are many to choose from, this was just my favourite from Chapters) contains a breakdown of the each trimester (then into week by week) and has areas for you to fill information about your pregnancy out. Such as, “Energy, Mood, Appetite, Cravings, Sickness, Notes”. This allows you to keep track of how you’re feeling each week, and it’s a good memory book to look back on one day! On top of that, it has areas to fill out more information such as: emergency contacts, the hospital you plan to deliver at, a hospital checklist, nursery checklist, a place for you to write name ideas down, baby shower guest list/gifts received, and so much more!
I hope this helped out some of you, and made your decision on what books to buy easier!
1. Lean Meat: Aim for 3 servings (75 grams) of protein per day. Protein gives you iron, which is essential during pregnancy
2. Lentils: Lentils are packed with folate (vitamin B), and it also boasts protein, vitamin B6, and iron. If you aren’t one for lentils (like me!), you can easily replace lentils with spinach. Spinach contains iron, vitamin A, calcium, and folate
3. Yogurt: Aim for 4 servings (1200mg) per day. Yogurt is a great way to get in your calcium that helps your baby grow. I strongly recommend Greek yogurt. It’s a healthier option, and tastes great in the many flavors it comes in
4. Wild Salmon: Aim for 2-3 servings (8-12 ounces) of fish every week. Wild salmon contains omega 3 essential fatty acids. Although you should have 2-3 servings of fish every week, there are certain types of fish that you must avoid while pregnant:
These certain fishes can be high in toxins like mercury and dioxin, which is toxic to your baby
5. Avocados: Avocados are one of the healthiest foods you can eat, if fact, if avocados were the only thing you ate for the rest of your life, you would get all the nutrients your body requires to survive. This being said, it’s no shocker that avocados are one of the best foods to eat while pregnant. They are loaded with folate (if you can’t tell by now, folate is pretty important), potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6
6. Oats: Oats are full of fiber, B vitamins, and iron. Try by having some oatmeal for breakfast in the morning (oats in cookies don’t count people, healthy decisions!)
7. Edamame: Edamame are packed with protein, calcium, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin B. It is also a great gas free stand in for beans (and if you aren’t one for beans, like me!)
8. Nuts: Nuts are never a bad option! They’re great for on the go, and they’re very filling. Nuts are packed with vitamin E and minerals such as: copper, manganese, magnesium, selemiun, zinc, potassium, and calcium. So go ahead and pack some for where ever your day takes you!
9. Carrots/Peppers: Packed with betacarotene (which your body converts to vitamin A), these are also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and fiber. Cutting peppers into strips and making ziploc bags full of peppers and carrots are a great way to have a snack throughout the day instead of caving into fast food
10. Mangos: Full of vitamin A & C, mangos are also packed full of magnesium which helps relieve leg cramps. Anyone who’s pregnant knows how excruciating these leg cramps can be, so instead of feeling helpless, dig into a mango!
11. Water: SHOCKER! Water is an essential whether you are pregnant or not. However, your water intake should increase if you are pregnant. Dehydration can up the risk of early labor, and cause low blood pressure. Staying hydrated also helps when you feel faint, nauseated, or constipated.
Although this is a short list, it’s a good start if you’re having troubles with deciding what to eat, and what’s a good option for you and your baby during pregnancy. Other nutritious powerhouse foods that you can choose from include: seeds, yams, winter squash, apricots, kiwi, and papaya. The list goes on and on, but knowing these essential 11 foods will give you a kick start on what to put into your meal plans, keeping you and your baby healthy throughout your whole pregnancy.