Friday, September 12, 2014

Essential Oils: My Use of Them During Pregnancy, Labor & Delivery

 

So unless you live under a rock, essential oils are all the rage right now. I can barely open Instagram without seeing at least ten pics of them :) I love them-- I've already shared that. It's been so fun to "makeover" our medicine cabinet using them for health issues and also with cooking and in my daily beauty routine. They have been SO universal. I had no idea how many ways they could go until I started using them... there is truly an oil for everything! 

I knew when I was pregnant with Everly that I would be using essential oils during my labor and delivery. I am still kicking myself that it took me as long as it did to hop on the oil train because I really do believe it would have helped me so much with my morning sickness. It wasn't until March, into my second trimester, that I bought my starter kit and started using them in my pregnancy. They served several universal purposes that I'll be sharing about below. I'll also be writing about my uses for them during labor and delivery as I got quite a few questions about how I incorporated them into that special day, already a month ago! Crazy. Time is flying soooo incredibly fast the second time around! 

Let me say that Young Living is the ONLY brand I trusted in my pregnancy to use topically AND orally. I did a lot of research on brands and it was incredibly clear to me that they were my only option based on their SeedToSeal guarantee (read about that HERE). If I was going to put something on or in my body that was going to affect my unborn child it had to be top notch. 

PREGNANCY

While pregnant, my biggest issue was nausea. My morning sickness was 24/7 until about week 14 and reoccured around week 32. I tried to not complain about it a lot, but it still affected my day-to-day. Once I got my starter kit, I whipped out the peppermint and would apply it behind my ears and on my belly button for some relief. Usually just SMELLING it would help. I got so, so sick of sucking on peppermints. It was great to have the smell and relief that came from the candy without having to actually digest it. My morning sickness was so bad that I got put on Zofran but the side affects are HORRIBLE. If you've taken it before, you know what I'm talking about. 

I also experienced a lot of heartburn during the third trimester. I love lemon essential oil because it smells deliciously fresh and it was an instant cure for me with heartburn. I would put a few drops in a glass of ice water and get relief almost immediately. It was also another oil that I could simply inhale when nauseous for some relief. 

My major second trimester issue was sciatica pain and that also continued into the third trimester. There were a few times I felt like I could barely walk. I whipped together a "pain cream recipe" using 1 cup of coconut oil, 10 drops of Valor, 10 drops of Peppermint, 10 drops of Panaway and 10 drops of Lemongrass. I blended this in my Ninja blender, poured into a glass jar (essential oils will warp through plastic), placed in my refrigerator and had an awesome, natural pain cream when I need it. It smelled like a peppermint patty and was cooling to my skin. Relief! 

I loved using Lavender in my bath tub at night when I was relaxing. The smell was incredibly soothing and would help my body unwind and destress after a physically long day. Joshua and I are obsessed with Cedarwood essential oil and used it nightly for a good night's sleep by diffusing it in our bedroom and putting a drop behind ears, one in-between eyebrows, and a drop on the back of each big toe. I also used Lavender in my mascara-- a drop helps with eyelash growth and protecting your mascara wand against bacteria (yuck). I lost almost ALL of my eyelashes while pregnant #weirdpregnancyproblems

My skin also started freaking out a bit at different times in my pregnancy and I used a few drops of Frankincense in my nightly moisturizer to help soften my skin and help with breakouts. It's the oil that the three wise men brought to baby Jesus-- hello! 

A different times in my pregnancy, let's be honest, there were stressful moments chasing around a toddler, feeling frazzled about getting everything done and more. I swore by Stress Away- I had it in a roller bottle in my purse and would just roll it on my wrists on more than one occasion. The smells of Lime, Lavender, Cedarwood, Vanilla and more just soothed me. It's a crazy oil to me because I feel it working right away. It's one of my daily go-tos and is known for helping with normal, everyday stress and promoting relaxation and lowering hypertension. 

Nasty to talk about but hello your body does weird things while pregnant! For constipation issues, Citrus Fresh, Lemon, Orange and Peppermint essential oils in a glass jar of water - 3 drops each and bam! ;)

For overall energy, I used EnRGree on the bottom of my big toe and got jamming. I kind of laughed at this oil at first-- yeah right I could get energy from an essential oil? But um, yeah. The blend of Rosemary, Juniper, Lemongrass, Nutmeg, and more put my body into productivity mode. Totally necessary at the end of pregnancy when you have a zillion things to do and not enough motivation to do it. 

For headaches, I used Panaway, Peppermint and Frankincense essential oils applied to my temples, forehead, neck and big toe.

Can't stress Lemongrass enough as a great way to help with back pain, sciatica pain, water retention/puffiness, etc. It helps big time with circulation and helped me in the end when I was starting to get killer puffy feet ;) 

LABOR AND DELIVERY

During labor, we started my diffuser right away with Lavender. It set the tone for a calm, peaceful environment. I encouraged Joshua to wear Peace&Calming and he rubbed that on the back of his neck. Another highly suggested oil for the daddies is Valor during labor but since I was running low we kept to the Peace&Calming ;) 

I didn't have back labor this time, so we didn't have a need for the pain cream, although I did have everything for it. 

I didn't eat anything the whole day, but I did have two popsicles which started some heartburn for me right as I was entering transition. We zapped it with some lemon in a small sip of water and I was good to go. 

We were too overwhelmed with seeing our new beauty, but I did have plans of putting Frankincense on her sweet little head and anointing her with it, but that didn't happen ;) 

Now ClarySage is known to increase contractions and I can't say enough about this oil. First of all, it smells AMAZING! I was going to diffuse it but didn't have enough time. When I was around 5 CM dilated and relaxing, Joshua put a few drops of ClarySage on my ankles and I rubbed a few drops on my belly button area. Within 70 minutes, I went from a 5 CM to a 10! Bam! 

I also used LavaDerm Cooling Mist for post-delivery-- it contained aloe vera and lavender to help soothe the perineal area from tearing/episitomy, etc. I was SUPER glad I bought this product after being a little on the fence about it. I can still use it moving forward for sunburns and more! Woot! 

POSTPARTUM 

For postpartum hormonal dips and balance, I've been diffusing Joy in my house a lot and also placing a few drops over my heart. It's an uplifting oil that has helped boost my mood and frame of mind. Also a lot of Peace&Calming going on in the house with two under two now :) 

I still have a few oils to try that help this specific issue and will be purchasing them this month so I'll have to let you all know how those go! 

//

Thanks for letting me share my uses of oils during this whole process-- they truly helped me and made me fall in even more love with them. I'm not a doctor, obviously, and am only writing this to share my story. Any questions about essential oils, please feel free to email me at heather.findingbeauty@gmail.com 

(I really suggest starting with an essential oil starter kit-- it will start you off with 11 of some of the most popular and universal oils and will totally "makeover" your medicine cabinet. To order click HERE)

xo

Monday, September 8, 2014

Everly Kate: 1 Month

 
  

Everly Kate, I can't believe it's been a month of having you in our lives. 

From the day you were born, you have been a calm, easy-going, laid-back, super smiley baby and we just adore you. When I prayed for you, and thought about what you might be like, I always envisioned a sweet, laid back little lady like you. You are truly a treasure. A beauty in every way. We already pray for you daily, for who you will marry, for the path you will walk in life, for the people you will touch along the way. Some little details I want to always remember about you at 1 month old:

- You are little! Still in newborn diapers and newborn clothes. You were 8 lbs 14 oz at your 2 week appointment, two weeks ago. I'm sure you've gained more weight by now, but you are still little compared to your sister at this age and we are loving having a small babe to cuddle with in our arms! 
- You are a great eater and you eat so efficiently fast already, averaging about 15-20 minute nursing sessions every 3 hours or so. 
- You've given me a 9 HOUR stretch at night, but that only happened once ;) You usually sleep about 4-5 hours at night before waking up to feed. 
- You are starting to coo and you love to smile, especially in the morning and late at night. You are flirty with your smiles and usually give us funny, quirky smiles like you are up to something no good ;) 
- You are so loved by so many already. We always have arms to hold you when we have friends over or go out!
- You like it noisy and not quiet. You can fall asleep in seconds when Eden is making tons of noise around you and you are bound to wake up when it gets a little too quiet. 
- You love to be held and you love to sleep in the bassinet. You love to stretch out during the day on the floor in the living room and you love to stare at the fans and look at the light pouring through the windows in the morning. 

You are loved, dear one xo

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Everly Kate: The Story Behind Her Name

(hoop by my dear friend Amy

It all started with a positive pregnancy test, a family vacation to Sedona over Thanksgiving and the cover of a magazine.

We had just digested the news of our second pregnancy when we headed to Sedona for Thanksgiving. We had told no one our news and were waiting to spill the beans to Joshua's family when we met up with them. While over a Mexican dinner on our first night there, we had a waiter video tape us pretending to take a picture, but in fact he was recording the whole time and we had him say "1, 2, 3" and instead of us saying "3" we said "We're pregnant!" and it was pretty much the most awesome reveal ever ;) Their faces! 

The next couple of days we spent enjoying the gorgeousness that is Sedona and on Thanksgiving evening, while getting ready to enjoy our dinner in the hotel suite, my eyes stumbled across a magazine that was laying down on the coffee table. It had actor Channing Tatum and his wife, Jenna, in it (or on the cover? I can't remember) and they were revealing their new baby girl-- Everly. Both my sister-in-law and mother-in-law expressed they thought the name was so pretty, and to be honest, the name had already crossed our minds so it was kind of funny for us to get affirmation of one of our top name picks without even asking for it. 

We stored the name away but it never really left us. There was just something special about it. And it wasn't something that we tossed around a lot-- it was just like "Ok, this is it." Her middle name was harder... we originally thought of Faith, and then Joy. Eden's middle name is Grace so we kind of thought it would be neat to go along with the Biblical aspect of meanings. But those just didn't fit to us. And I have always loved the name Kate. Kate means "purity" and I love the way it flowed with Everly. So we decided on Everly Kate. 

Everly's original meaning is "grazing meadow" and has been made more popular recently by the Tatum's name choice and the Everly Brothers music duo. Merging the names together, we loved the idea/visual idea of "meadows of purity"-- wide, open spaces of pureness. We also adored its similar sound to "heavenly" and the word scramble of the letters:

"happi(LY) (EV) er aft(ER)"

We love you, Everly Kate,  you are loved beyond compare. You are the perfect addition to our family. We adore you so! xo

Friday, August 15, 2014

Everly Kate's Birth Story


Here I am, writing another birth story. Another baby girl. Another life. Another sweet miracle. I mean, how awesome is God? When I had Eden, I really was torn about whether or not I wanted to document her birth story in such a public forum like my blog. But I did it. And it's something I am so glad I did. I often re-read it and it takes me back to that place. To the details. To the specifics I don't want to forget. So tonight, I want to write about Everly's arrival and have it stored onto this blog for her to read one day and for us to re-live over and over again in the years moving forward. 


My due date was technically August 9th (by ultrasound) and July 30 (by LMP dates). Three things I learned from my last pregnancy-- I knew that 1) I have big babies, 2) my babies like to come late, 3) I labor at home for about a week before I deliver. That being said, I knew that since Eden was 9 days late, I should just chill at home as long as I could and not be annoyed that Everly had not made her grand arrival just yet when July 30th had come and gone.

But I began pre-laboring at home. I had contractions that were stronger than Braxton Hicks but they were not enough to keep me house-bound. I tried to live life like normal. On Friday, August 1, I started having insane back pain. And since I knew back pain to be a sign of impending labor, I tried to take it easy but it completely overtook my body. Joshua was upstairs sleeping and I woke him up and told him I think he needed to start paternity leave. He took Eden for the afternoon and ran some errands and let me rest. During that time, I finished some laundry and took a bath. While soaking in the warm water, I could literally see Everly turn and switch positions from sunny side up, taking the pressure off of my back. The next couple of days, I felt great-- energized, excited and ready to have a baby. 

But she didn't come. And that was okay. My first baby, I was impatient. My second baby, I was fine with waiting. We had a doctor appointment that Monday, August 4th, and I had progressed a bit and was a borderline 3/4 cm. 

The next couple of days came and went. We had a last minute, small, intimate birthday party for Eden's 2nd birthday with close friends and family on Wednesday evening, August 6th. It helped get my mind off of things and just enjoy time with loved ones in my home. We had an induction scheduled for the next morning if she hadn't arrived yet, and I kept watching the clock, wondering if she would come, but she didn't.

And I realized how much I love being induced. HA! I was able to take a bath, go to bed, get last minute things for Eden organized and get a good night's sleep. Well, the latter didn't happen, but we tried. The awesome thing about this induction was that it wasn't really an induction. Since I was already dilated and effaced enough, and progressing well enough on my own, my doctor was simply "inducing" by breaking my water.

We woke up at 4 AM on Thursday morning, August 7th, and we headed to the hospital. The sky was so beautiful; the clouds were like nothing I have ever seen. Both of the days we have had our girls, the weather has been breathtaking. I just tried to take it all in. I was excited and anxious and most of all just at peace. It's different the second time around-- you feel confident and also scared because you know you have that much more to leave behind if, heaven forbid, you don't come out of it alive. I held Eden tight that night before and kissed her over and over again and just prayed to God that all went okay the next day.

We stopped at Starbucks and it was there that we got a call from the hospital, "Hey, where are you?" Apparently, we were supposed to be there at 5:30 AM but we thought it was "somewhere between 5:30-6:30" and it was already 6:10. Oh well. What could we do? We arrived to the Labor & Delivery entrance, walked right in and told the receptionist we were there. Within 2 minutes, our nurse Deborah greeted us and took us down the hallway into Labor & Delivery, and into our room, room 1111. We had a large window and I could see people outside. Just another day to them, and a life changer day for us.

I put on my gown and hopped into bed. Our nurses came in and formally introduced themselves: Deborah and Nicole. They seemed sweet, calm, professional and ready to roll. We told them we had brought candy and licorice and we were there to bribe them with sweet treats in response for an awesome birth experience :) Deborah started my IV and things started moving.

At 6:40 AM, my doctor came in and broke my water. Now, backing up a little bit-- we switched doctors this time around. And by switching doctors, we switched hospitals. Two things that were really risky after having a really great experience with my last labor and delivery. We were referred to our doctor by one of my best friends, and we really did fall in love with her. She was a Christian, and she was touchy-feely, with an awesome bedside manner (something that our other doctor strongly lacked). When she saw Everly on sonograms, it was "Ahh look at God's gift of life" instead of, "Oh hey, there's the fetus." It was such a different experience this time. I'm so glad we jumped at the change because the results were amazing.

So my water was broken. The warmth came over me and it really did feel like I was peeing all over myself. Since I don't remember it with Eden, it was kind of funny to actually experience this time. My contractions stayed the same. We asked the nurses what the schedule looked like for the day. How many planned c-sections were there? When was the anesthesiologist going to be busy? It helped provide a sort of "guideline" for us as to when I might be needing to ask for my epidural and what not. I had always had a feeling that Everly would come fast.

We were told that my doctor had a planned c-section at 8:30 AM. So my epidural could happen at 9:30 AM. Fortunately my contractions lingered about the same, off and on and off and on, and I was comfortable. Joshua and I got to talk about how surreal it was to be experiencing it all over again, not even two years later. How much had changed in our lives, how different we were as people, how good life is, how blessed we are. My mom arrived and was full of positive energy. My heart was full and I was at peace-- I could have this baby now.

We started diffusing lavender in my room (you better believe I will be posting about my experience with oils in my next post) and the contractions continued, increasing more and more. I still wasn't uncomfortable yet, but they were definitely increasing. Our room was calm and relaxing, never once was there any sort of tension or stress. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law would send us texts and videos of Eden playing at home with our nephews, and I heard from sweet friends throughout the morning, wishing us good luck and sending lots of prayers our way. Since my mom had arrived, Joshua decided to take off for a bit and go grab a cup of coffee. He came back with two huge boxes of bagels for the whole nursing staff and I think they all kind of fell in love with him ;) It was about 9:35 AM when one my nurses came in and said that the anesthesiologist had to go to an emergency c-section, so if I still wanted an epidural, it would be happening when he was finished.

Now about the epidural. My first labor I felt like I needed to go as long as I could before asking for it. Which in that case, I was already experiencing wanting to die from the pain and it was really hard to sit still for it. I felt pressure from others, and I put pressure on myself. Pressure to do labor without it. Which is dumb. This time around, I knew I wanted it again and I knew I had nothing to prove. It was there when I wanted it, which is why I got a feel for when I could receive it because I knew for sure I didn't want to ask for it too late. With both pregnancies, we had a birth plan that had specifics but we were both open minded to know that GOD ultimately writes our children's birth plans and that we really have nothing to do with it. So we try to go for a laid-back approach, and I really do believe that in both cases, it has really worked in our favor.

So at 10:40 AM, I was at a 5 and I was feeling awesome. Except my back was so tired from the week of pre-laboring at home. So, so tired. I could not wait to get my sweet girl out and be free of the back pain. Fortunately though, because she had flipped, I was not experiencing back labor like I did with Eden. The anesthesiologist came in and within 10 minutes, he was done with my epidural. While he did it, we all talked about places to eat downtown, where to go to grab food after I delivered this baby, and more. All we talked about the whole day was food. Food, food, food. I was officially starving. And it was only 10:45. The smell of bagels permeated through the room and no, I could not have one. I started taking inventory of all the things I was going to eat after labor. 

The epidural swept through my legs and I got to taste its bliss all over again. I have never been more relaxed than I was after I got my epidural when I was laboring with Eden. I would joke that it was like a good bottle of wine and a bubble bath on crack. This epidural was extra good because I had movement over my entire body, even my legs, but not in my pelvic region. So basically, I could feel everything except where the pain was. And there was no pain. My back pain was gone and my contractions were dull. 

Over the next hour-and-a half, we got to sit and talk, check text messages, and sleep. Joshua kept the lavender diffusing, and he poured Clary Sage oil on my ankles and I put a few drops on my belly button. The nurses gave me this large, plastic, peanut-shaped "pillow" that was put in between my legs. They helped rest me on my left side, with the peanut in-between my legs. And then they rotated me to my right side. We alternated sides every half-hour for an hour-and-a-half, with the intention of Everly lowering more and more and more. 

At 12:40 PM, my nurse Nicole checked me and said she thought I was at a 7, maybe an 8? But since she was new to labor and delivery after working in the OR, she wanted to get a second opinion. So in came CC, another nurse, and she checked me, and I heard the words, "She's at a 10. She's complete." 

WHAT.

After a 19 hour labor with Eden, I could not believe what I just heard. It wasn't even 1 PM in the afternoon, and I was feeling incredible. I could not be in labor. What was happening?! 

Because my doctor was back at the office and was seeing patients, and wanted to ensure that she was there to deliver Everly, my nurses called her and she asked that they try to let me rest. She would be back at 2 PM. So I had an hour and about 10 minutes before I could start pushing but fortunately I had no pressure or desire to. I was comfortable. Joshua ran and got me a popsicle, and the nurses and I started talking about Pinterest. Pinterest, of all things, while at 10 CM.

 The energy in the room was so calm, peaceful, and relaxing. You would never have guessed a baby was coming. I was so, so thankful, because in my heart of hearts I prayed to God that Everly would come while Eden was napping at home. So it couldn't have been more perfect. It was 1 PM, and Eden was at home, going down for a nap, and I could just rest knowing that she was back at home, sleeping peacefully and being taken care of. And that when she woke up, she would get to come up and meet her baby sister.

1:50 PM arrived and my nurses got a call from my doctor saying that she was leaving the office. Since she would be there within 10 minutes, they wanted me to start practicing pushing. Pushing? Were we seriously having a baby? I just could not believe it. It was just so different than last time. I wasn't wiped. I wasn't exhausted. I was completely aware of everything going on, and the contractions were small lulls that came and went and I was feeling great.

We practiced two sets of pushes. Deep breaths. I could not believe it... Our baby was almost here. My doctor came in with a big smile and it was time. Time to have a baby! At the last minute, I remembered! A mirror, a mirror! Someone bring a mirror! So Nicole found one right away and it was placed at the foot of the bed. They situated it perfectly so I could see. And then they asked me to start pushing.

Four sets of pushes, and in-between experiencing the natural feeling to close my eyes between each one, I caught sight of the mirror and could see my sweet girl exiting my body. There was no pain. It felt like small throbs of pressure and that's it. My doctor poured oil all over me and everyone was so encouraging. "Heather, she's almost here!" "Heather, she has tons of hair!" "Heather, she's so beautiful!"

And I could see her. 
Her face!

There she was. It was her all along. She was beautiful. She was everything I prayed for, and more lovely than I imagined. She had dark hair and the most perfect pink skin. She was mine. Ours.

And she was out. Screaming and gorgeous. My doctor held her up and I could not keep back the tears. I looked at Josh and I just fell in love all over again. I looked at my mom and saw her tears and I looked at the nurses and saw all their smiles.


This was heaven.

She was placed on my chest and her cries lit up our room. She had a set of lungs, that's for sure! She struck me with her strong resemblance to Eden. I noticed her lips, how perfectly placed they were. She stayed on my chest for awhile before they whisked her about 10 feet away to get weighed and checked. Joshua cut the umbilical chord, and one of the nurses was laughing about how difficult Everly was to put a diaper on because she would not stop moving. 

I heard Joshua.... "Babe! She's 8 pounds and 6 ounces!" 

19 3/4". Born at 2:13 PM. Healthy, healthy, healthy! And they wrapped her up and brought her back to me and we just stared at her. It's truly just as magical as the first time. The love is the same. The experience no less amazing. It's all so beautiful. 

And just like that, we were a family of 4.

A few hours later, I got wheeled out of the labor and delivery room and moved upstairs to the postpartum unit. My amazing sister-in-law brought Eden to the hospital with her two boys and we prepared for her entrance into the room. In she ran, with a coral shirt that read "Big Sister," her soft blonde curls framing her beautiful face and her smile like nothing I've seen before. She ran towards me and Joshua and curled up on my bed. You would never have noticed a new little babe was there, she had nothing to do with her. She just said, "Mommmm. Mommmm. Mommmmm." With the sweetest, more adoring little voice. Like she missed me something fierce. It was the first thing that brought me to tears since I saw Everly coming into the world a few hours earlier. We sat on the bed and cuddled and then she saw the bags of candy and she couldn't focus on anything else other than stealing a bag of Skittles ;) Over the next hour or two, we got her to kiss her sister and take her in, but she really wanted nothing to do with her. After all, she doesn't talk, play, or do anything fun yet ;) 

Our first night went well and we were sent home the next day in the early afternoon. We came home to a house full of love, my parents and in-laws all there with dinner ready and waiting for us. Transitioning from one to two has been much easier for us than transitioning from none to one. But that's a post for another day. Eden has warmed up to Everly more and more each day and we are so excited to see our girls' relationship blossom. I feel so blessed to have experienced the gift of bringing another life into the world. We feel overwhelmed that God would trust us with another. We are overjoyed to have one more little person in our home to fill our halls with the sound of little footsteps. 

God is so good and we thank Him for our newest blessing, Everly Kate.

Also, a huge, huge thank you to my mom for her incredible help during labor and for taking some incredible photos that we will cherish forever! And to our families for taking such great care of Eden and us :) 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Introducing Our Latest Addition!


Everly Kate Devowe
August 7, 2014
2:13 PM
8 lbs 6 oz
19 3/4 "

We are smitten! Thank you, Jesus, for another beautiful, healthy baby girl.
Birth story coming soon! 
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