A Brand New 36 year old’s Reflection: 30’s vs. 20’s

I remember my mom, as well as several other women older than I, saying that they still felt like they were 25 but just in an older body. It true! Well, sort of.

Let’s compare 25 year old me to the just turned 36 year old me (yes, 36. Old AF. JK JK)

25 year old me:

  • Did not care about skin care creams or their ability to fight aging
  • Was fresh out of a bad relationship and living in NYC
  • Also fresh off going to Italy by myself, propelled to do so because of said breakup. At least, that was my excuse. I really just wanted to go back to Italy if I’m being totally honest.
  • Was mainly motivated to meet new friends, have wild nights and crazy experiences, and just soak up everything Manhattan. Marquee. Hamptons share house. Zipcars. The late mid-late 2000’s in NYC  were quite fun! P.S. All of those things sound like lots of missed sleep and hangovers to me now.
  • Did NOT want a boyfriend, husband, kid, boss (except I had to have a boss, because I had to pay my bills, yo!)
  • Spent way too much time worrying what other people were thinking about me
  • Was a runner (no more than 2-3 miles), picked up boxing at Gleasons in Brooklyn, tried yoga for the first time, drank a lot of iced coffee (even in winter), ate a lot of meat
  • 20-something year old me has a birthday: Invite everyone I know to some loud bar/club and dance all night. Brunch the next day. Amazing!!! (Thank goodness social media hadn’t really taken off!)
  • Had late nights that probably included tequila shots and met up with friends for brunch the next day to discuss previous night’s events. Probably go out that night too. Probably go for a run first and get an iced coffee.
  • Biggest concern: Will I miss out on something really fun if I stay home?

This would be some time in….2007 I think?? One pic is in the Hamptons, the other was at Pink Elephant. We decided we had jobs and could get our own damn table and bottle service, thank you! #goals

36 year old me

  • Have taken an interest in the benefits of botox, face creams, and general jeti mind tricks of trying to wish away wrinkles
  • Have come to terms with the fact that traveling is a medicine I need in order to keep myself sane and have decided that it must be a life priority
  • Mainly motivated to be the best mother, wife and person I can be, and to find the next show I can binge watch while my toddler naps
  • I have a husband, baby girl, distinguished dog, and I am my own #girlboss
  • Care very little about what anyone thinks of me unless they are my kid. Or my dog. Or my husband, sometimes.
  • Still a runner (3-4 miles at a time mainly, unless it’s not 97 degrees in which case I may go further), half marathon completer, boot camp lover, meditator, and extremely part time yoga enthusiast. Eat very little meat, lots of cauliflower, still drink lots of iced coffee.
  • 36 year old me has a birthday: go to dinner at 5:30pm with my husband followed by a movie with very buttery popcorn and in bed by 10pm. Heaven!
  • Has more than 3 drinks and feels like complete garbage for the next 2 days, and swears to never. drink. again. Oh, and also gain 10lbs from those 3+ drinks. No clue how that happens.
  • Biggest concern: How can I make sure my child doesn’t grow up to be an a-hole or sell street drugs? Also, wrinkles.

View More: http://aislinnkate.pass.us/reid-may2017

That would be circa now, the picture fit for a baby mag.

The part of me that still feels 25 is the part of me that still seeks adventure, friendship, and happy times. The part of me that is different wants to live my life for me and no one else, learn all I can and focus on living life in a happy vibration. I also watch way more tv shows than I ever have in my entire life now. I’m not exactly trying to proudly wave that flag, but I just tend to prefer that or a book and go to bed early rather than have some booze fueled house party til 2am. Clearly, there is no in between.

In the last year I’ve become extremely aware of my mortality and all the potential problems that could arise to take me away from my sweet baby or make me less able to do all the things I want to do! I see food as the fuel I need to generate the most Kung Fu cells in my body that can fight off any rogue cells that try to make their way into my organs and wreak havoc. I see my mind as a tool that can control my life and my happiness, so I spend a lot of time trying to get my mind on a high vibration (hello, meditation, mindfulness, and getting rid of negative thoughts!) I no longer think that everything is circumstantial. If I’m in a bad place in life it’s my own damn fault.

14232052_10153887179027636_8855376706617757207_o

This is actually from Burning Man just last year. I may be mid-thirties, but I still love doing crazy ish!

Health is extremely important to me. Now when I see someone drinking a Coke or a Pepsi I want to run up to them and say something like, “You are poisoning yourself! How can you treat yourself so poorly?!” But I don’t because that would be super un cool and probably get me punched in the face. But between me and you, I don’t understand why people complain about health problems while simultaneously poisoning their bodies.

I’m quite sure I’m not the only woman who got into their mid-thirties and started re-thinking life. I’m pretty sure I won’t be the last. 25 year old me would think 36 year old me was a wack job and made no sense. I may even make fun of me a little. 25 year old me also thought Lean Cuisines were healthy and meditation was the “devil’s work” and children were annoying.

25 year old me loved being friends with all types of people with all types of interests – even if it were interests I shouldn’t be around – because it kept things exciting. 36 year old me only wants to spend my precious time and life around people who live a positive life and influence me to keep living one as well. Negative types, pity party-ers, and users need not apply.

25 year old me thought I was pretty ok and did not do any self improvement what-so-ever, except for restrict my calories when I thought I had gained weight. 36 year old me realizes that I am far from perfect, will constantly keep evolving, and there are so many things that I don’t know. There are so many things that I don’t know that I don’t know! (Sacred Geometry?! Black holes?! Why Sex and the City had to end?!)

In the end, I wish I could go tell my 20-something self to stop partying so much, watch what I’m putting in my body, and follow my dreams without being worried about what others would think or waiting for the “right” time. I eventually did many of these things, it just took a long time for me to get there.

I can’t wait (wait yes I can) til I’m 46 and I look back and think what a clueless person I was when I was 36. It will be interesting to look back at this and probably roll my eyes…at myself…. while I drink coke and eat cheetos (actually that’s probably the least likely scenario but wouldn’t that be ironic).

10994463_10152686824002636_8178152126634160728_n

My husband and I in his village in Fiji 2 years ago. Traveling is my HEART!

 

1 Puff Sleeve Blouse, 3 Looks!

I was unsure if I would like this top – I have wide shoulders and usually things that accentuate my arms or shoulders make me look like a football player. Not a cute look. But I think since this top is so lightweight that I actually ended up really liking it!

IMG_5814IMG_5838

I immediately felt like this needed to be paired with a skinny bottom, like skinny jeans, but I wanted to try it with a few not-so-obvious combinations first. Which is why I freaking love fashion; there are no rules! OK well maybe there are some but I choose to ignore almost all of them 😉  I decided it would be fun to put this top with some trouser pants that had a print. I like this look, although I think if my pants fit a bit more snug it would look better.

IMG_5844

Then I decided to try it with a skirt – my faux leather skirt by Gentle Fawn is always my go-to skirt because it lets me pair an easy, no-tuck-in top and feel all comfy while looking like I spent some time on my outfit 🙂 I ended up liking this more than I thought I would! I also think it would be fun to pair this with a fitted printed skirt but I don’t have one that I think would work right now.

IMG_5868IMG_5890

Last, this is my favorite look of the 3! I don’t know why I always love skinny denim and heels – especially my sparkly Jimmy Choos (did I mention these were my “push” present from my husband? Worth having that baby without any drugs!) 🙂 I like this look the best and will definitely be rocking it many many times this year. Luckily, in northern Florida it will be easy to wear this look almost year round!

I didn’t try this out yet, but I plan on putting this top with my faux suede leggings and over the knee boots this winter. It *might* look a little like I’m about to ride a horse or be knighted in to King Richard’s army…but if it doesn’t resemble any of those scenarios I think it will ROCK!

IMG_5804

And look, you can even deal with your toddler who will not stop putting rocks in her mouth in this blouse! My top is from Walter Green Boutique.

1 Skirt, 3 Looks

This skirt is really great for 2 reasons: 1) it is a classy, to-the-knee length which I think is a nice change from maxi and mini and 2) it has these 2 high splits in the front! So you show a little leg when you walk. I really would have liked to pair a red top with this skirt, but I didn’t have one that was the right color red for me. So I decided to play around with tops I already own.

IMG_4977IMG_4997

I feel like this white off shoulder top from Walter Green Boutique literally goes with everything. I’ve also worn it with another floral skirt and I loved hat look too:

But I guess white goes with everything, right? I think it makes this outfit seem more romantic and date night worthy.

IMG_5611IMG_5594

This time I put the skirt with my faithful blue silk tank from Yumi Kim which I’ve had for 500 years. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of this Top! The blue doesn’t exactly “match” any colors in the skirt but I think it gives a whole different look with this skirt.

IMG_5588

Here I paired the skirt with a faux leather charcoal tank. I feel like this tons down the look a bit and could even be a fall transition outfit. I can see some tights and over the knee boots here…

IMG_5618IMG_5632

Last, I put the actual matching top with the skirt. I like this (this was my husband’s favorite) but I think it can be a bit overwhelming. I also think the other looks could be worn Day or night whereas this one is probably only wear it to dinner or maybe a party!

IMG_4948

And here’s one that didn’t make the cut 🙂

1 Dress 3 Looks

I bought this dress from Revolve.com on a whim because I really liked the sleeves. This color is not a color I would normally choose but it had me at the sleeves. Once I put it on, the color was actually pretty cute! It fit well – it is fitted, has a little stretch, but not so bodycon that I would feel self conscious. I started to hold up different necklaces that I could wear with it and realized that it’s a pretty versatile dress!

IMG_4786IMG_4803

Here is the dress with a long edgy-ish necklace that I bought when I lived in NYC so at this point it’s about 8 years old! I thought it gave the dress a look that could be worn somewhere like a party with a DJ or somewhere wanted to stand out but  not necessarily be “fancy”.

IMG_4804IMG_4809IMG_4828

Then I tried adding pearls and, what the heck, my Jimmy Choo sparkly pumps! This upped the fancy level to make it something I’d wear to a cocktail party or any place I needed to be fancy and it was still appropriate to wear such a short dress 🙂

IMG_4833shoes

By the way, if you’re even wondering if I have ever actually worn these ostentatious Jimmy Choo shoes, the answer is YES! I’ve actually found that they go with SO much – I’ve worn them with dresses as well as jeans.

Last, even though I have several more necklaces that would have looked great, I paired it with some blue ball (I couldn’t figure out any other way to describe them sorry) earrings for a color blocking effect. I feel like this is more of a casual look. I could easily put on some wedges and go to brunch.  My earrings are from Walter Green Boutique and are $10.

IMG_4905IMG_4874

I also think this dress would like fun with a big huge statement necklace like this one.

4 Amazingly Tasty, super easy, kid friendly (and vegan!) Cauliflower Recipes

I am not sure why, but I love cooking with cauliflower! Not plain jane, nothing but salt and pepper cauliflower, but all the delicious recipes that can be created with it. I’m mostly vegan and sugar free (I still have my vices…. hello coffee!) but these recipes are vegan. Even if you DON’T like cauliflower, I dare you to try these recipes and not change your mind…

P.S. Cauliflower is anti-inflamitory , cancer fighting, detoxing (unless you dump a bunch of cheese on it), and has tons of healthy vitamins and minerals! Plus it has basically no calories (if you’re worried about that) 🙂

Buddha Bowl with Cauliflower and Chick Peas

f28e7115196ebbab09cb2bc419144b56

THIS receipe… if you try just one, try this one. Even must husband, the ultimate no-veggie-eating carnivore who once told me when I said I was making cauliflower…again… said that “cauliflower just pisses me off.” I mean, he hates it. But, he LOVES this recipe! Not only that, but my 19 month old little girl LOVES it as well! WIN!

You’ll need:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 can of cooked chick peas or 1.5 cups, drained and rinse
  • 1 batch of quinoa (cooked)
  • salt n’ pepa
  • olive oil

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (I use the pre-squeezed because who has the time!)
  • 1 tbsp of tahini (it’s ground up sesame seeds…most stores have this)
  • 1 large garlic clove (or, like me, buy the already cushed garlic in olive oil)
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 6 tbsp water or more to thin out as much as you want
  1. Soak the cashews in water for at least 2 hours. I put them in water in the morning and when I get home to cook them they are perfect. In a pinch, you can also boil them for 10 minutes and they should be good to go.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  3. Put the chickpeas in a pan and sprinkle some olive oil on them and stir.
  4. Put the cauliflower and broccoli in another dish and sprinkle with olive oil.
  5. Put both of these dishes in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes stir the chickpeas and cook both dishes another 10-15 minutes until they are done. (aside: when I just don’t have the time for this, I steam the broccoli and cauliflower for 7 minutes and then roast for about 10 and back the chickpeas the same time (about 17 minutes).
  6. Meanwhile, mix all the dressing ingredients in a blender (I use my nutribullet)  and blend on high speed until smooth. Sometimes I’ll make this early and store in the fridge to save me time when my toddler is desperately wanting my attention.
  7. After the veggies are done, mix them all together. You can either mix all the dressing with it,  or let each person spoon out however much you want.
  8. Put the veggie mix over your grains (the quinoa), mix with the dressing, and enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Mustard and Parsley

IMG_9966

This one is from Gweneth Paltrow’s recipe book, It’s All Good. I’m sure there are several other recipes in there that are great (I think I remember a sweet potato one being pretty tasty….) but this is the one that stuck with me. I was cooking it twice a week sometimes! My husband and child aren’t super crazy about this one, but I LOVE it! But I also love mustard and that bitter taste. My friends who I have shared this with also love it!

Ingredients:

  • a 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained and dried in a kitchen towel
  • 1 head of cauliflower,  cut into bite-sized florets
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon seeded mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Toss the chickpeas and cauliflower together in a large roasting pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Roast, stirring now and then, until everything is dark and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 45 minutes. Again, if I don’t have the time to sit around and wait 45 minutes for this to cook, I steam it for a few minutes, roast for about, oh, whatever I have time for, and it’s good to go!
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the mustards, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of olive oil with a big pinch of salt and a few healthy grinds of black pepper.
  4. While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature. It’s so freaking good!!!

 

Creamy Vegan Lemon-Pepper Pasta

Creamy-Vegan-Garlicky-Lemon-Pepper-Pasta-4173

This is another dish my child LOVES! Little does she know she’s eating a whole bunch of cauliflower and healthy nuts. I make this at the beginning of the week and give it to her for lunch for the next few days.

This is another recipe which you’ll need to soak your cashews for a few hours (again, just put them in water in the morning and by cooking time they are soft and ready to go!)

Ingredients

Pasta

  • 12 ounces gluten-free linguine or rigatoni* 

Garlicky Lemon-Pepper Sauce

  • 2 1/2 cups small (1-inch) cauliflower florets (fresh, not frozen) (I just get a big head of cauliflower and call it a day)
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain plant-based milk (I use coconut milk), plus more if needed to thin
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours or in a pinch, boil for 10 minutes.
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste if desired
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (more or less, to taste) 

For the Pasta

  1. Cook your pasta according to package directions. I like to salt my water and put a little coconut oil in it which I feel like helps the pasta not to be so sticky.

    For the Garlicky Lemon-Pepper Sauce

    1. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets to the pot and boil for 7 minutes or until very fork-tender. Strain off the water.
    2. Add the boiled cauliflower florets, almond milk, cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and black pepper to a high-speed blender (do not use a food processor. I use my nutribullet.)

    3. Blend on high for 2 minutes or until completely smooth and creamy. Set within reach of the stove.
    4. Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large sauté pan over low heat. Cook for 2 minutes, or until soft and fragrant.
    5. Stir in the cauliflower sauce, increase heat to medium, and simmer for 3 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
    6. Turn off the heat, add the pasta to the pan, and toss to coat. If a slightly thinner sauce is desired, add more plant-based milk, one small splash at a time, to thin. (Note: If you add more milk, you’ll need to increase the seasoning to accommodate.)

    7. Taste and generously season with more sea salt and black pepper to taste.

    8. Serve immediately.

    Recipe Notes

    *For a rich and super creamy pasta use 12 ounces of pasta. For a slightly less saucy pasta, use up to 16 ounces (1 pound).

     

    Roasted Panko-Parmesean Cauliflower

IMG_6313-1

If you like things on the spicy side, this is for you. I can’t do spicy so I tone this recipe down a bunch and it is delicious! The first time I made it, it was VERY spicy and my husband was all about it. Sometimes my child likes this recipe, sometimes she doesn’t. The other 3 are way more kid friendly.

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 lb cauliflower florets [around 6-8 cups] Again, I just use a head of cauliflower.
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes – for less spicy, do 1/2 tsp
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika –
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper – for less spicy, do 1/4 tsp
  • ½ tsp oregano or dry Italian seasoning [optional]
  • ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spritz a large baking sheet liberally with cooking spray then set aside.
  2. Place the cauliflower florets into a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and stir until coated. Add the remaining ingredients. Toss until evenly distributed.
  3. Arrange on the baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle lightly with additional olive oil.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once midway through cooking.
  5. After 30 minutes, increase the oven temperature to 500°F and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes until golden.
  6. Serve with thinly sliced green onions, if desired. If you’re not going vegan, try sprinkling some parmesean.

3 Days in Sardinia & Milan

I feel like my life after having a baby consists of a lot of running. I want to get everything done before I pick up Mila from daycare because I want to be with her without thinking of anything I forgot to do or need to do or should be doing.  I do not even know what it means to be bored anymore! That being said, I absolutely love being a Mom and everything I do now has an added purpose of wanting to create the best life I can for my little girl. Never mind that she’s just so darn cute! However, it doesn’t change the fact that I have virtually no free time or time for myself anymore. I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be doing a 5:30am workout class just so I could fit in a workout twice a week. So when one of my best friends asked if I wanted to come over to Sardinia, Italy for his 36th Birthday for FREE for 3 days, I said, ‘heck yeah!’

IMG_3309

Adam and I have been friends for 16+ years. I knew him before he was ‘out’ and he knew me before I wore makeup and still put Sun-in in just my……bangs (oy). Adam is the poster child for studying hard in school to give yourself loads of opportunities. He completely put himself through college and later through business school, all the while working as a fancy schmancy consultant which requires him to travel a LOT…which is why he has so many frequent flier miles and hotel points, thus being able to use some of them to fly me over to Italy!

IMG_3315Although the trip was only 3 days, it takes an entire day to get to a small island in Italy from the panhandle of Florida. I was very grateful to my husband for agreeing to take care of our little one for 5 days while I went off on a quick vacation! I actually enjoyed the 7 hour flight to Europe because I got to mindlessly watch movies and read my book…which was amazing!

IMG_3367

As soon as I arrived, Adam and I went to Hotel Cervo which was a super luxurious resort on the coast of Sardinia. It was amazing. If we had to actually pay for our rooms I may have been a tad more “am-I-getting-my-money’s-worth” but seeing as tho we didn’t…it was absolutely perfect! The incredibly sweet staff left a bottle of bubbly in our room, probably assuming we were on some romantic vacation instead of a married woman and her bff enjoying the fruits of his labor. We immediately put on our bathing suits and asked the resort to take us by boat to their private beach. We were quite enthralled with the large yachts that surrounded us. If someone were to tell me Jay-Z and Bey were on one of those yachts I would not have been surprised. (Although the crime-drama-watching part of me thought it was drug lords with their mistresses behaving badly).

 

Adam and I noticed that we were the only Americans at the resort. At least, from what we saw. We also noticed that, in true American fashion, we were a few decibels above everyone else, we talked and joked with the staff, and generally made the most out of our short stay.

File_002 (1)

So later, we decided to check out this beach bar/club called Phi Beach. Ah-Maz-Ing! I absolutely loved this place. Completely outdoors with awesome, chill music, and the crowd was just families and groups just having a good time i.e. no sketchy 20-something males standing in the corner oggling all the girls, no weird old guys with model ‘girlfriends’, and generally no one looking for anything but a good time with the people they were with. There were even some children there! Sounds weird, but oddly appropriate in Sardinia. Adam and I hung out there for a while until it was time for our dinner reservation. If I lived in Sardinia, that would be my SPOT!

IMG_3336File_002

Dinner was perfect. We ate at La Rocca. Perfect weather, perfect ambiance, perfect food. Unfortunately, we were way too busy enjoying an amazing Italian meal in a beautiful restaurant to think to take pics, but it was amazing!

We did a lot of exploring on our trip and did some walking which made me feel like I at least got some exercise. The island was absolutely gorgeous and photos just do not do it justice.

File_000 (2)

IMG_3354IMG_3377

For Adam’s Birthday celebration, we went to a restaurant / club called “Billionaire”. There were some extremely attractive men and women there! However, I’m pretty sure the girls at the table next to us were doing drugs in the bathroom. In any case, we had an amazing dinner and then headed downstairs to the club. I haven’t been to club like this since my NYC days. Adam and I danced around for a while but eventually hopped in a cab back to our hotel. It’s too bad I didn’t think to take a picture of us when we  weren’t  in a dark night club – we looked really cute!

File_003 (1)

The next morning we planned to take a quick flight to Milan and spend the day there, so that my trip back to the US wouldn’t be quite so long. I had not been to Milan since I was 25, broke up with my boyfriend in Boston, and took a solo trip to Italy to “regroup” before I moved myself to NYC. Best credit card debt I ever racked!

We had a leisure breakfast, took in a few sights, then headed to the airport. We had NO idea we’d be met with an enormous line! There was no way we were making our flight. Adam, being the scrappy, MBA holding world traveler, asked a desk clerk if he could pay to skip all that nonsense (doesn’t hurt to ask, I guess!) Well, for 10 euro we were able to jump in front of the check in line, skip the long security line, and get to our gate in time for me to do some souvenir shopping! Thanks, Adam!

We got to Milan with almost the whole day ahead of us. We were exhausted from the night before (30-something clubbing is way different than 20-something clubbing!) but we did manage to go to a cute farm-to-table restaurant called Un Posto a Milano in the middle of the city, walk around the Duomo and grab some gelato before we just had to nap it.

IMG_3387File_009File_001 (3)

 

I couldn’t nap for too long but Adam seemed pretty beat so I headed up to the hotel roof for a beautiful view and  a glass of vino.

File_000-view

For dinner we went to a cute little (well, it was kind of big and crowded) area called Navigli along some bridges and had some really good pizza and great conversation about life. Afterwards I went back to our hotel and crashed, while Adam went and checked out the pool and of course met some boys who wanted to take him to a Milan nightclub… oh the life.

My 3 days were just what I needed for a quick break from “running”… ! However, I was super excited to get back to my little munchkin. One day I’ll tell her about my trip and then bring her on some adventures with me.

File_004-(2)

OK last but not least…. is this man carrying a purse?! He was walking with a woman, who was carrying a small bag….is this an Italian thing? Well anyway, to each his own….purse, I guess!

In the end, I had an amaaaazing time…. but always super excited to get back to my sweet baby!

File_000 (7)

My Birth Story – Drug-free birth feat. back labor!

Disclaimer: My child is almost 19 months old now. I started this blog with the intention of documenting my birth experience and early child care. Thinking I’d have all this time to sit on my laptop and tell stories when my baby was born. Not so much! My baby would not take naps unless she literally fell asleep attached to my boob. I should probably write a post about that one. In any case, if there was ever any time for me to write, I chose to eat/sleep/shower instead 🙂

That being said, I remember my birth experience like it was yesterday!

I knew from the get-go that I wanted to go through child birth without drugs. I don’t know why exactly – sometimes I feel like I need to put myself through the hardest way possible. But I also read / heard that if you have some scoliosis (which I do) that the epidural might not “take” or only affect one side. And then there’s also the fact that you’re sending some big drugs through your body. I honestly don’t think it really makes a  difference, because most babies are born from a Mama who had some numbing and they are perfectly perfect. This was just a personal decision for me. Also, like I said, sometimes I feel like I need to do everything the hard way.

My baby girl was due November 8th. So, clearly that means she would arrive on that day, right? Wrong!

It was October 31st, Halloween, and my in laws were in town, including my sister-in-law and her husband. There was lots of drinking (not by me, obv) and handing out candy to children and hanging out on the stoops and…. I even dressed up poor Grover, my male dog, as Marilyn Monroe. I had planned to take the following week off to organize the baby room, get a pedicure….nest…you know! 🙂

12190927_10153224346552636_219681826737716718_n There are few sad moments in a dog’s life but this may have been one of them for poor Grover. Before anyone calls dog protective services on me, please know that he was a willing participant and got extra treats 🙂

Reid 0188

That’s a pic of Grover and I, in his natural, non-defiled state.

The night continued and around 10 or so I was not feeling that great and my lower back was achy. So I excused myself and went to bed.

Around 4 or 5 am, I woke up with my pj shorts completely wet. Hmmm, that’s weird! I went to the bathroom. I decided to call the midwife. I wasn’t due for a week and I was not expecting my water to break before I was in labor. I planned on laboring at home as long as I could and then going to the hospital where my doula (if you don’t know what that is you should look it up and hire one for your next child birth!) would meet up with me. My husband woke up while I was calling the midwife. The phone call went something like this: “Hi, I have some major wetness going on and just wanted to let you know, I’m not due for another week so I just wasn’t sure what this was. Should I be concerned?” They told me to come in. I said, well, ok. My husband was awake at this time and I told him what was going on. I said I would just run myself to the hospital and it probably wasn’t anything. Luckily, he was sober enough to realize that was dumb.

On the way to the hospital I was starving because, I just woke up! Of course the only option at that hour was McDonalds so, we went through the McDonalds drive through. That was one of the only times I had fast food during my pregnancy. It may have been the only time but I can’t remember.

We get to the hospital and a nurse hooked me up to a monitor. Me, being quite particular about things when it came to my whole pregnancy and labor process, wanted to know everything the nurse was doing. She – without asking me (I had something to say about that) – stuck her fingers inside me and WHOOSH! tonnnnsss more liquid came pouring out.

So apparently, I was in labor. I think my labor actually started the night before when I didn’t feel that great. At this point at the hospital, I was 4cm dilated. I was having contractions. And they were something similar to mild cramps. I thought, I got this! Piece of CAKE! Riiiiight….

I got to have a room with a tub, bouncy ball, the whole bit. You would be surprised how “natural birth” friendly Tallahassee Memorial Hospital is! They literally offered anything and everything you could want aside from a water birth (I think they said it was coming…? I can’t remember.)

Around 9:30am my contractions started becoming to the point where I couldn’t walk and talk all over the hallways. I had to go the room and start…dealing. They got pretty intense and then at some point I started having back labor. I’m not going to lie, that was awful. Contractions, even if they feel like your guts are being twisted, only last a short time and then you get some relief. Back labor does. not. stop! I was in constant, continuous pain for the rest of my labor. I did not give in and do an epidural but man I came close! If it wasn’t for my doula being there I probably would have.

I puked. A couple times. The reason why I didn’t puke many many times is because the midwife gave me alcohol wipes to sniff which for some strange reason really help with nausea! Who knew! I tried essential oils …. lavender I think…. but nothing worked like those damn alcohol swabs.

Nothing would rid me of the back labor pain. On top of that my contractions were no effin joke. My midwife offered (and I accepted) to put some saline solution in my back (which she assured me was not “drugs”) under my skin or something like that which relieved the back labor for about an hour and that let me experience a normal labor process (sans back labor). I say normal, but I mean, I was in so much pain that any relief  from the back labor felt like a Godsend. Unfortunately, that only works once so I couldn’t keep getting those saline shots. I got to my breaking point, probably around 3 or 4, when I decided that if they did not check me and tell me I was about to be at the pushing stage soon I was going to need the drugs. I’m not even sure I would have been able to get them anyway. They never even offered them to me (because I of course told them no to!) They came in and I was 8cm and said…just a couple more cm to go! OK I got this.

Around 5:30 or so (I’m going by what my husband remembers) we got to the pushing stage. And….omg… as my little baby moved down, the back labor went away! I was thrilled. You read about the ‘ring of fire’ and pushing a baby out and all this pain the pushing stage is going to be. For me, my back wasn’t throbbing anymore and I was like, “LET’S DO THIS!” I even cracked a couple of (probably  not funny) jokes with the midwife. Pushing wasn’t ‘easy,’ per se, but that is the LAST STAGE so it just doesn’t matter. You just do it. I remember pushing as hard as I could and the midwife saying, “ok this time I need you to push really hard!” ugh… 

My husband says that I pushed for about an hour. At one point the midwife could see my little girl’s head. Mila had a lot of hair (and no I didn’t have heartburn during my pregnancy!). She informed us jovially that she was using my fluids to make a mokawk with my partially born baby’s hair. Greeeat!!!

At 6:40pm EST on November 1st, my little baby girl, Mila Solene Reid was born! As soon as she popped out my midwife threw her up on my chest and she looked up at me with her big eyes as if she was saying, “oh, so that’s what you look like!” It was pretty amazing. I also had never held a small baby like that before so I was overwhelmed with every emotion possible and also, at the same time, trying to make sure I was holding this new born baby in a way that she wanted to be held.

12191008_10153227140642636_4972715455673135551_n

That is a picture of me literally the day before I gave birth (October 31st) after I’d gone for a run and then for some reason I was in the bathroom of a Whole Foods and decided to snap a selfie. I ran all throughout my pregnancy. Not at any sort of record breaking pace or distance, but 2 to 3 miles 2 or 3 times a week at whatever pace felt great for me. Sometimes that was mostly walking and sometimes mostly running. I just listened to my body. It was the one thing that I could do that would make me physically feel so good! Maybe it was the endorphin rush.

The other pic is the day after I gave birth. My experience in the hospital was great – my baby was never taken away from me (to another room or anything like that) and the nurses and lactation consultant were very helpful trying to help me get Mila to latch (which she wouldn’t).

I breastfed for 8 months although the first 4 months of that process were very very trying and painful. I’m all about the “breast is best” and trust me I know the science of a baby’s gut if ANY formula reaches it when they are super young…but when you are in the midst of your baby screaming at your boob because she apparently is not getting what she wants and you don’t know what to do and you break down and give her a bottle…. I mean, it’s going to be ok! Women shouldn’t be so hard on themselves. I was very hard on myself when it ever got to that. I began to dread every 2.5-3hrs when my baby would be hungry because of the agonizing process to get her to latch and not knowing if she’d be happy.

Another thing to note about my childbirth: I came out strep B positive which, if you’re pregnant, you know what that is. A harmless bacteria to everyone EXCEPT pregnant women. I am VERY opposed to using antibiotics for any other reasons than absolute necessity and I definitely did not want to take antibiotics during my childbirth and possibly remove all that good bacteria my baby would get from going down the canal! But…. if, in the small chance my baby would have gotten sick right after birth with strep B I would beat myself up to no end if I didn’t go by my midwife’s recommendation to have the antibiotics during birth. So, I did wait until I was pretty far along before I let them hook me up. I decided that if I wasn’t even close to pushing her out there was no need for them (my own opinion). I had about 1.5 rounds of antibiotics. Since I did get the antibiotics, I didn’t let them give my baby a bath until 2 days after she was born and I kept her skin-to-skin for as much as I could – in my mind, replenishing some good bacteria on her. This may have absolutely no scientific backing but in my head, it seemed like the right thing to do.

In summary, for anyone who is interested in giving birth without drugs:

  • Get a doula! I can’t even explain what it was that made having her there so helpful. She literally just let me around, getting me in different positions that might help, brought me water…. I don’t even know. It was just great having someone in there who knew what was up to have your back. Yes, your husband might be in there, but he’s never done this either. Even my husband – who was against having a doula in the beginning – afterwards recognized that it was she who had everything under control.
  • I really liked going the midwife route. I had no one pushing drugs on me and they (I saw more than 1) were very supportive and helpful and spent time with me and all my 99 questions. That being said, I only saw the midwife or anyone come in when they came to check me and then they would spend a few minutes with me. You’re usually in labor for hourssss so if you don’t have someone else there with you, you’re just in there in pain by yourself (or you and your partner) the majority of the time.
  • I feel extremely blessed that I had such a short labor. I mean, I was really only in PAINFUL labor for probably  8 hours. I have friends that were in labor for 36 hours. WTF.
  • I want to say that I feel like running and eating super clean and doing yoga and all that was helpful, and maybe it was. I also know people who did all that and had to have c-sections. There is no sure fire formula. I would recommend being as healthy and active as feels comfortable to you so if you do end up with complications, you know you did all you could to prevent them and it is what it is at that point.
  • If you plan on going “drug free” and wind up screaming for them later on…. don’t even sweat it. It’s impossible to know what pain you are going to feel or what you’re going to go through until you’re actually there. Not only that, but in hind sight, is it really that bad being numb down there while all that is going on?!
  • In the end, you want a healthy happy baby. If that means doing an epidural, supplementing with formula, or having your baby in a barn or what have you…. having your baby healthy and YOU be well taken care of and healthy is all that matters!
  • Don’t let anyone tell you what to do. The best thing you can do is be educated and read other womens’ birth stories and then make up your own mind. I highly recommend getting Ina May’s Guide to Child Birth book and skipping a lot of the other nonsense that tells you the 8 million things that could be wrong with your child. It helps reading other stories because then you realize how different everyone and everything can be and there is really no “normal”. That goes for parenting too. What works for one parent/baby may not work for someone else. I get very irritated when I hear critical moms saying things like, “she shouldn’t be doing xyz with her baby…” well, other Mama, you don’t know what that situation is. I’ve had my own moments where I’ve silently judged and I think to myself…tsk tsk, Anna!
  • Last – the fact that we can grow a human and then actually give birth to it is a MIRACLE! I mean…. if men could do this, they’d be in bars talking about  how many babies they had birthed! It would be a competition! Don’t tell anyone I said this, but child birth and early child care has made me realize what a superior species we are to men. That’s so not PC but honestly…. look at all we’ve done! And still have jobs and opinions and unique thoughts and not be crazy (well not all the time, at least)…. and we’re also able to take care of multiple humans all while we change the world. Let’s all raise our daughters to be strong, kind women and our sons to be respectful and considerate men. Can I get an Amen! 🙂

12308683_10153275175132636_3235956074150060195_n

There are zero baby books that say to leave your newborn child next to a dog in his doggie bed. My child required me to hold her and walk her around non stop and sometimes I had to use the bathroom, as people do from time to time. Grover was and is seriously the sweetest, kindest dog ever, even to this day when Mila pulls his ears and hair and doesn’t know any better. So that happened. She was very content in his little bed with him for a few minutes. Now at a year and a half old, she curls up next to him when she plays with her books and toys. It’s so stinking cute.