Saturday, September 3, 2016

New Site and Name!

I am very excited to announce that I have a new name and website! I will no longer be writing here. You will find me at Catholic Mama Bear. Thanks for all the support!

7QT - End of Summer

{7QT} 7 Quick Takes, 

1. Rolled over!
Zelie Belly has officially rolled over! Now my whole system has to change again because I can't just leave her somewhere to play and do the dishes, let alone use the bathroom. We have these fantastic alphabet foam tiles that are soft (and I can wipe up spit easily). So for now I will do that, or she'll get strapped into her rocker while I try and get stuff done. 

2. Started School
I have officially started up school again! I have about one semester's worth of work to finish before I get that beautiful degree. I have mostly papers to write, but the class I have been loving the most is Psychology of Adolescence. It's lots of reading and then some other work with it. Right now I am learning about this new term between adolescence and adulthood, emerging adulthood. Now that secondary school and even college is common, emerging adulthood is the time between around ages 18 to 25, which is basically between high school graduation and college graduation, finding a career, marriage, and parenthood, or all of the above, take your pick.

3. State Fair
Pete and I were really nervous about bringing Zelie to this, but we picked the first day, which actually has the least attendance, and we went in the evening when Peter got off work so it wasn't too hot. We weren't there as long as we have been there before, but that's okay. Zelie LOVED it. She was in her stroller and did more people watching than the both of us. She was SO quiet, just watching as we walked along the streets. She also loved the animals in the miracle of birth center (my favorite place at the fair). There are a lot of benches outside of this building and it was actually a perfect private yet public spot to nurse. I have been really nervous about nursing in public lately because I have been getting VERY mixed opinions about it. I don't want to make people uncomfortable, so I'm willing to go somewhere more private, but I refuse to go into the public bathroom or anywhere extremely inconvenient to nurse. So I thought the spot we picked at the fair worked perfectly. We didn't try any new or exotic foods this time. Nothing was calling to me, and I wasn't going to waste 8 bucks to try something I didn't like or even want to try. I was perfectly satisfied with my pronto pup and all you can drink milk.

4. 5K Training
Oofta. I'm not as far into my training as I'd like to be with only one week until the 5k, but I feel very confident that it will go well. I feel very healthy, and ran a whole 20 minutes straight with no breaks yesterday, and I am very proud of that. I'm really looking forward to the race!

5. Cooking
This summer I tried to have a green thumb, but I feel like everything I touch dies (not true, but I have killed a few things this summer). So I have picked up on trying new recipes instead, and they have been going really well! I really enjoy making them, and I enjoy eating them even more! I plan on making posts with my recipes and including pretty pictures on them. Lately I have made chicken pot pie (with homemade crust, ooOoOooo), calzones, and homemade meatball subs!

6. The Little Catholic BoxI can't explain how excited I was for my box to come in the mail! The Little Catholic Box is a monthly subscription for women to receive a little box full of a variety of goods. I am especially in love with my St. Therese sacrifice beads bracelet. St. Therese used to have a string of beads to keep track of her little sacrifices to help her strive for holiness. This bracelet has a miraculous medal clasp that you can move to the next bead each time! The company that made the bracelet is call Chews Life, and they also make teething rosaries for all the babies. I also got in this box a Mother Teresa 28 day reflection book, a Mother Teresa prayer card, a Mother Teresa key tag, a CD from Brother Isaiah in the CFRs, and a yummy chocolate espresso bar from Monk's bread. 

7. New Blog Name!
I will be making a couple changes to the blog, including a new host site, name, and logo. I will be moving to Word Press, and the blog will be called Catholic Mama Bear. I am very excited for this change and look forward to this blog's future! If there are any types of posts that you would like to read, you can always let me know in the comments or send me an email! I will not be writing at this site any longer. You will find me here!

Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

7QT - Birthday and Baseball

Seven Quick Takes

1. Feelin' 22!
Yesterday was my birthday, and it was a good one. I started the day looking through my new Blessed is She planner with a cup of coffee. Because Zelie is three months now she can be at the daycare at the gym so that I can workout. I ran on the treadmill and watched Olympic volleyball. I was legit crying for some of it because it was so beautiful and I think the man next to me was a little concerned. Zelie was a great baby for most of the day, so we had birthday snuggles and I got a lot of cleaning done. We invited our friends from our old apartment and it was great catching up with our basically 10 old roommates. The evening was filled with drinks, desserts, pizza, stories, and laughter. 

2. Blessed is She planner
This is no ordinary planner. It is a liturgical planner for women. So it has allll the feast days. It also has a couple pages of the makers' favorite prayers, a place for birthdays, monthly layouts with a monthly todo list, weekly todo lists, weekly grocery losts, neal plann for each week, weekly prayer intentions, weekly notes and goals, hourly layouts for each week day, daily goals, places to mark whether you have loved your body, soul, or mind, and a place to write down what you are grateful for. This planner is going to be so helpful for me. 

3. St. Paul Saints Game!
This summer the three of us have gone to two games now. We (read: I) love baseball. Zelie did really well. She had her fussy moments, but that's to be expected. We had these baby ear protection muffs for her that were hilariously adorable, and apparently Michael Phelps's son wore the same kind at the Olympics, so that's cool. 

4. Date!
A couple friends of ours wanted to babysit so that we could go on a date! We had a beer flight and some wings and were able to have some alone time without needing to worry about the baby. Then we came back and caught up with our friends and watched the rain fall while eating some cookies they baked. One thing I love about a date night is being able to catch up with the babysitters. 

5. NFP Class
We had a discussion with my doctor and together decided that it would be beat to have our next child when Zelie is able to walk, based on how my last pregnancy was. I also still have some healing and rehab to do. I have been taking a lot of vitamins and probiotics to get my stomach and body to be normal. I feel normal for the most part now, but I can tell that I went through some serious trauma those 8 months. So, we are doing the Creighton model of NFP, charting all kinds of symptoms, and now that we're a month in, we are finally seeing a pattern! I am happy to say that I am confident in our method of spacing children, without using any birth control. 

6. First Anniversary 
Everyone has been telling us how fast this last year has been. Peter and I felt that this past year has felt like five years. We did not have a typical newlywed phase and it we lived out that "in sickness and in health" part of our vows only about a month in. And now we have a baby. So yes, our marriage has been great, but no it did not fly by and it has been very hard. Zelie is such a blessing in our lives and I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm looking forward to this next year of marriage, and am hoping it will be better than the last. 

7. Bocce Ball
Last week Zelie's godparents had a bocce ball tournament and invited all their friends to their new home. I've never played before but it was so fun meeting new people, having the bracket, and a  ice cream truck drove by and we all got a treat! Zelie has been loving the outdoors and she actually watched us play! I think this event really showed what our whole summer has been like. It's had friends, family, adventure, and a baby. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Five Favorites: Baby’s First 3 Months


Zelie turned three months old on August 6th, and boy has time flown by! Besides her birth story, it has been a long time since I’ve written. I’ve really been investing almost 100% of my time into being a wife and new mom. These has been my five favorite moments with this little booger.

#1: Nursing

One of my very first moments with Zelie was feeding her. I was able to look at her bright eyes and memorize her face. Eating is probably a baby’s favorite thing to do, and I am honored to be able to provide that solely to her. I thought that it would be very weird, but instinct came in and it only felt natural.

Because a baby needs to eat around every three hours (we have a six-hour gap at night, and sometimes she has a “snack” during the day in between meals), you really can’t be away from the babe for too long. Luckily I have been able to get out. I do pump the occasional bottle for babysitters. Even when we do go on a date or I get to go to the gym, I miss Zelie a lot. This may sound odd, but my chest knows if I’m away and if it’s time to eat soon. This is because of a huge bond that we have because of nursing and I’m blessed that we have this. Because of this bond I have been learning how to have a baby in public and I think we are doing really well. I can now confidently nurse in public (baseball games, malls, Church, etc. etc.).

One of my favorite times to nurse is at night. At the beginning when we were still getting to know each other and I was very sleep deprived it was hard, but now I wake up to her soft cries between 2a-4a, come into the nursery, pick her up and snuggle, sit in the recliner with the Boppy pillow (U-shaped pillow that goes around my waist for the babe to lay on and frees my hands), and nurse her until she falls asleep. Then I pick her up so that she is vertical, wait for the most adorable of burps, then gently lay her down back in her crib and snuggle her up in a soft blanket. Then I get to crawl back into bed and snuggle with my husband.

#2: Watching them learn and grow

It is so cool seeing her go from limp noodle to able to hold her head up, grab things, sit up, and roll. I bought this pay mat that has an arch with hanging toys for Zelie to bat at and it’s amazing seeing her have favorites, try to chew on them, and coo while playing. About once a day you’re “supposed” to give the baby an opportunity for tummy time, helping with trying to roll over and hold their head up. Along with that I also have a time (or multiple times) when I practice saying “mama” with her. Sometimes I try other words too, or even just sticking my tongue out. She tries monkey see monkey do, but it is so special because I can see her watching my lips move and trying to mimic them.

#3: Baby smiles

One day Peter came home from work, went to the swing Zelie was in to say hi, and Zelie gave this big fat smile to her daddy. I can’t explain this magic moment. Soon almost every time we were playing with her, holding her, or even changing her diaper she would have this dopey smile. This was her way of saying I love you, and we know she means it. These smiles mean that even if all we want to do is crash and go to bed, we’re doing an okay, in fact, good job raising Zelie.

#4: Baby snuggles

When Zelie cries, I can go through this list of things she is trying to communicate. She wants her diaper changed, she’s hungry, she’s cold, she wants more attention, she’s tired, or she just wants to snuggle. Most of my snuggle time is when I’m nursing, but a couple times a day she just wants to lay on one of our chests. She doesn’t fall asleep, she just wants to share warmth and hear our heartbeat.

#5: Sharing her with others

I was very honored whenever people visited me in the hospital after her birth. We would all just sit there and adore this little fresh bundle from God. We also had visits those first two weeks at home, and it was a great time for us to catch up and bond over this little baby. Even now I still just love watching others hold her, play with her, and fall in love.

We are all called to ministry in some way. I thought as a wife and mother it would be to just get my husband and children to Heaven, but I am learning that I am also helping others come to know God with my family.


Well, those are my favorite five moments with this babe. What are your favorite parts of baby time? Let me know in the comments!

I plan on doing more in the “Five Fav” series. If there is anything you want to know, leave a comment or send me an email!

This post is part of the 5Faves linkup with the Koala Mom and BabyStylista. Click here for more 5faves posts from others!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Zelie Louise's Birth Story

Birth is different for everyone, and it can even be different for each child she has, but I wanted to share my own experience.

Note: because 99.99% of my readers are women who don't mind, I will not refrain from details.

Coincidentally or not, pregnancy is 40 weeks. Jesus was in the desert for 40 days. The Israelites were for 40 years. Especially in my personal experience, it's always 40 something of suffering.

At 35 weeks, we had our checkup with the doc. We did a cervical check to see if anything out of the ordinary was happening because I was experiencing some contractions. Turns out I was dilated 1cm. Then doc said that it’s possible that I could go into labor at any time.

So I waited in anxious anticipation for this suffering to be over. Any hour now. I even posted on Facebook that it might be time soon. 

36 weeks. Another doctor’s appointment. 4cm. It just HAS to be any time now. I ate more pineapple. I ate a lot of food with tabasco sauce or salsa. I went on a lot of walks. No labor. 37 weeks. 4cm. More pineapple. 38 weeks. 4 cm. More walks. 39 weeks. 4.5cm. A lot more spicy food.

Then came the due date and the 40 week appointment that wasn’t supposed to happen. It was a Thursday.

I went in and Doc came in and said “We have two options. We could wait, or, we could do an induction. I think you and I both think you have suffered enough.” I was so happy and so terrified I almost barfed on her. I felt frozen and boiling at the same time. Peter and I agreed and she went to call the hospital to get me in for the induction. As soon as she shut the door I grabbed a magazine and started fanning myself. 

Do I look like I'm going to barf or what?

Dr. Mary came back. She said they’re expecting us at 3:00 (an hour from now), and that we should pack our bags, eat my last meal for a while, and head on over there. The hospital will call her to tell her when it’s time for her to come over.

Holy crap.

So we got in the car. Called our parents. I texted a storm of people for prayers. When we got home and I felt outside of my body. 

My bags were mostly packed already. I had to grab clothes, my tooth brush, and the other things I use on a daily basis. I was not hungry. I was thinking about pushing a baby out of my hoo-ha. But I cut up a fresh pack of strawberries we just bought and put them in a bowl for the car ride. I also grabbed a freeze pop. I think it was blue, my favorite.

I posted on Facebook that it was baby time so that we could have more prayers. 

When we took the tour of the hospital they showed us where to park and check in, so this eased my mind that we knew where to go. We took Grand Avenue to United Hospital and parked in the red ramp. We were moving somewhat robotically when grabbing our stuff. Do we need to grab the diaper bag now? What about my bag of clothes? Peter’s duffle? Will he even have time to go back to the car later? Let’s bring it all now. Except maybe the diaper bag. We found a wheelchair by the elevators in the ramp. So I hopped in and we put the bags in my lap and wheeled to the desk. I was getting more excited but felt like I either had to burp or barf, maybe pee.

The lady was super nice and said to wait in the empty lobby. So we sat down and just stared at each other. I think Peter grabbed water or coffee from the complimentary refreshments area. 

Well, we're here. I still look like I'm going to hurl.

Shortly a nurse came out and called my name. Yep, that’s me. Oh my gosh we’re going to push out a baby now. Well, not quite yet, but holy crap.

I was feeling lightheaded, but I had to get up and get my weight. 190 exactly. Well, we never went over my goal (it was 190). Then we went to the room that I would call mine for the next 24 hours.

I saw the bed and wanted to lay down immediately because my head hurt and I wasn’t able to stand very well. But I had a couple things they wanted to do first. I had to strip down and put on the monitors. This band went around my torso. Then they put one hockey puck to monitor the baby’s heart rate, and another hockey puck to monitor pressure (aka a contraction). The band was really tight to keep the pucks in place. I hated how tight it was. It made me even more nauseous than I already was. One weird pregnancy symptom I had was anything tight on me made me nauseous. So I wore shirts with lower collars and really baggy clothes. If I was home alone, I hardly wore anything so that I was more comfortable. I can’t explain why but it felt suffocating. So this belly band was not fun. Oh, and the hockey pucks each had a cord hooked up to a box next to my bed, so moving was limited, but I finally got to lay in the bed.

Next we had to do my next favorite thing, the IV. In the first trimester, I was barfing on average ten times a day…so I wasn’t keeping any food or water down and needed to go into the hospital to get nutrients…through an IV. Because I was so malnourished my veins would not cooperate and they had to stick me a lot because they would either miss or eventually my vein would blow and they’d have to try a different spot. I was also really sensitive to the touch (like the needy baggy clothes thing) and the IV was some of the worst pain I’ve ever felt. I would shake and cry uncontrollably. And the thought of something inside of my veins also freaked me out. So this IV I needed now brought back a lot of great memories.

While we waited for the IV, my mom and sister came by to visit and see how I was doing. At first I didn’t think I wanted anyone there besides the hospital staff and Pete, but I’m glad they were there. When the nurse came in to insert the IV I could talk to all three of them and not think about the needle being stabbed into my right arm. I explained to her my previous experiences and said that this is the part I’m least looking forward to. Yes, even more than pushing out that baby. Embarrassingly, I actually started tearing up while explaining, but I’m not sure if anyone noticed. I just had that little choke in the back of my throat and my tears starting to well but not break. She understood. It hurt, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I remembered. I think it’s because I was actually hydrated this time. The nurse looked at me so apologetically. My heart sunk. She missed. I remembered that there is a staff at the hospital whose job is to give people IVs all day, and they are known to be successful the first time. I said “I don’t want to offend you, but I would love the swat team to do it this next time." She was not offended at all.

So the super IV lady came and I kid you not I didn’t even notice her do it. She said she was shocked they missed the first time because my veins were large and quite clear to see with my pale skin. So it was over. The IV was all over. I don’t have to think about it until my next pregnancy.

The nurse who missed my vein came. "I am so sorry but we have to do a blood draw." I was furious, but I knew it wasn’t the nurse’s fault. It got missed in the paperwork. I requested the swat team again, and they came and left. So now is it baby time?

It’s now suppertime and I’m not allowed to eat. That sucked. But they’re coming in with the oxytocin (the induction) so we’ll get the show on the road soon. They got it started at a slow rate and then we just hung out with my mom and chatted.

Watching the monitors was really cool. I would start to feel uncomfortable, and then we’d see the pressure monitor go up, and then the baby’s heart rate go up, and then all back down again. This would happen every 2-5 minutes. It would interrupt the conversation for a sec, then we’d go back to whatever we were talking about.

Every once in a while they would do a cervical check to see how I was progressing. With my doctor, this was not a painful experience. Uncomfortable, yes, but not painful. I had a nurse who was newer...and I guess she hasn’t figured out how to make cervical checks not hurt yet. At each nurse shift shift there was a different nurse and thus a different experience, but again, mostly just uncomfortable. Each time a nurse made a cervical check, they would see I wasn’t progressing very quickly and would turn up the oxytocin. Then my contractions would get just a bit stronger.

Mobile Mama

So we spent our time hanging out and chatting. I even got to try out the yoga ball. We also tried going on a walk in the hallways but they needed to keep track of the monitors and the wireless signal wasn't working. So we didn't walk for very long. It was so awkward trying to move around with something in my vein which is also connected to a pole. Every time I had to pee, someone had to help me get the pole over the bump into the bathroom. So I tried to hang out in the bed for the most part. 

As evening turned into night, my mom left and the nurse started a narcotic to let me sleep and get some rest before the real party started. But man was there a party that night every couple hours for each dose. This narcotic rocked my socks. First, they put it in the IV. Shortly after my vision was all fuzzy and everything was swirling. My head felt like it was floating. Shortly after that I got really hot and was trying to take off my blankets and even my hospital gown. Then shortly after that, I would barf. Then I would feel on the clouds again and fall asleep.

Peter slept on the couch. It was weird not sharing a bed, but I’m glad he was there. We both didn’t sleep very well at all, but we were better rested. I woke up before him and let him sleep for another hour. He pulled an all-nighter the other day for school, just in time to have a baby. I don’t think he caught up on sleep until after graduation.

Buon giorno!

So now we’re up and starting to labor again. I feel contractions, but they’re still pretty light and don’t necessarily hurt yet. So we try a bath. It felt really nice but after not very long I was starting to feel VERY hot and wanted out like right now. But first the nurse came by saying that her shift was over and introduced me to the next nurse. (This whole scenario happened with me in the bath tub wearing only the monitor over my belly.) For it being like 7 in the morning this next nurse had so much energy and I loved it. I assumed that she would be the nurse to help me actually poop out the baby so this is exactly what I needed. While naked in the tub, she got out a little notebook from her pocket and asked me a bunch of questions about the pregnancy and what we’ve tried so far. She actually reminded me a lot of Monica from Friends, which is funny, because her name is Monica.

The next few hours were a lot of hanging out, walking, turning up the Pitocin, and chatting with Peter and Mom (who has stopped by again). Contractions started getting a lot stronger. I would have to stop during the conversation and just focus on them and breathe. They didn’t necessarily hurt quite yet. Around 9 Monica and I talked about my options because I just wasn’t progressing fast enough. We also got my doctor on the phone and we decided that she’ll come in and break my water and get the show actually on the road. My mom headed out to a room with coffee and chairs with my dad who just showed up. (Later I found out that sometimes they could hear me from this room. Awesome.)

Doctor Mary (a gem) showed up, we chatted, and then we decided to break my water. So Monica got a bunch of stuff. She had what looked kind of like a chop stick and towels to put underneath my bottom to soak it all up. Because there was a semi-sharp object about to go in my hoo-ha, I was nervous. I had to keep reminding myself that everything they were doing they have done before and is safe. They had me lay back and relax and Doc went for it, and I kid you not it felt like I was peeing, really. Except not.

After what seemed like five minutes later boy did the contractions feel stronger. We really did get the ball rolling.

I just realized most of the people that read this are students/not married/have never had a baby. A contraction is the uterus muscle squeezing the baby down, and to me, that’s exactly what I felt like. It kind of feels like period cramps, but different. It’s really hard to explain. When I was pregnant, people tried to describe what a contraction felt like, but I didn’t get it until I felt it myself.

My cute face as the contractions got stronger. Can't you tell I'm enjoying it? Pete said this is my focus face. Anyway, look at the cool monitor behind me! The blue line is her heart rate and the green shows my contractions!

So the contractions were much stronger, with kind of a squeezed feeling and some sharpness in it as well. Monica moved all the towels (there was a lot to soak up) and I continued to labor in the bed for a while. Laboring for me was ouch ouch ouch ouch, rest, talk to Peter/Monica/doctor, ouch ouch ouch ouch. Doctor Mary suggested instead of breathing through the contractions or making whatever noise that I was making (yelp/squeak/moan) that instead I do a very low hum. Because I have a higher voice I really had to focus on having it be a lower tone, and that focusing helped my body relax and let the contraction do its job, which was push a baby down. One thing that I thought was cool and maybe only I think is cool, but the whole time Dr. Mary was just watching. Not in a creepy way, but in a science way. Let me explain. Doc was waiting for certain signs to see where the baby was. Based on how I was reacting to contractions (sounds, movements), she could tell what stage the baby was in. I thought it was super fascinating.

Laboring in the bed really hurt my back. According to Peter, I was laboring in the bed for about 45 minutes. Then the weight and movement of the baby was too intense on my back so I moved to laboring on the toilet so that I could lean forward and get the weight off. Being on the toilet also gave my body muscle memory to relax (since that’s what I’m used to doing on the toilet). Peter pulled up a chair and faced me and would emotionally support me, hold my hands, rub my forehead, let me lean on him, etc.

Again, the pain was a lot in this position so we changed it up again after (according to Peter) only 15 minutes. Dr. Mary suggested kneeling on the bed, and resting my chest, face, and arms on the yoga ball. It looked really funny, but it helped to rest on the ball, but still be up. Eventually, (30 minutes, according to Peter) I needed to change positions again. Monica to the rescue. She went to go get a peanut ball. I had no idea what she meant by a peanut ball, but I discovered it looks like a yoga ball in the shape of an hourglass, or a peanut. So I got back on the bed but laid on my side, with this pillow in between my legs.

I realize that at this time I was trying to poop out an 8-9 pound baby, but this peanut ball position was heavenly. I feel like I could have labored like that the entire time, but we just had to find that magic position. For baby #2, I’ll probably start off labor with this. Being on my side took the baby weight off my back. I was able to still be in a resting position. I was able to hold onto the bed railings. It was prime. After about (according to Peter) 30 minutes, I said the magic words, “I’m gonna shit my pants!” 1. I was not wearing pants. 2. I haven’t eaten in about 18 hours. I didn’t need to poop. This only meant one thing. “It’s baby time!” said Dr. Mary.

I just want to note that surprisingly this was the only time I swore. I thought I would be swearing up a storm.

After doc said what time it was it seemed like everyone was on fast forward and running. (There was a lot of sitting and watching me before this. There wasn’t much for them to do.) Doc and Monica took the peanut ball, were getting a cart of supplies they needed for delivery, taking the bottom half of the bed off, and putting up the stirrups. Another nurse I never met came in and got the baby bassinet ready. It had a big red light on top to warm it up and keep the baby toasty. It reminded me of the lights for keeping chicken eggs warm. She also had a bunch of supplies they needed after she was born, like a tape measure, a hat, the booger thing, and blankets/towels to rub the gunk off of her.

During all this running around, I was thinking “holy crap holy crap holy crap now we’re actually getting this kid out.”

So now the bed is angled so that I can sit up. The bottom half is gone. My legs are in the stirrups. Peter is on my left. Monica is on my right. They’re holding my legs so that they can push back when I push. Doc is right in front of me. She (obviously) catches, but also helps the baby out, making sure she isn’t stuck on anything, and helps stretch me so that I don’t tear as badly. So yeah, her hands are all up in my business.

So this next part is the scene everyone pictures in the movies. And here comes the contraction. Doc tells me to push my chin into my chest. I grunt and groan and it literally feels like I’m trying to poop. I feel like I’m using the wrong muscles, but the baby made progress and doc said that was great. I’m in a daze, shocked that those were indeed the correct muscles to push.

Each contraction and push was exactly like that. I can’t remember how many times I pushed, but it was only for fifteen minutes, and the baby made great progress each time. Yes, it did hurt. It’s actually how I imagined it would be, but it was not as bad. Though, I was also ready for it, and very determined to get her the heck out. Nothing was going to get in my way.

I remember when they said they saw her head. I looked at Peter to see his reaction. He was excited but very focused on the task at hand. Here was another contraction. Push push push push push push push push GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR, and I thought I was done until the next contraction but Doc said to keep pushing “push push push push push push push push” and I’m still pushing but I’m exhausted and wanted to wait for the next contraction, but this is it. This is the last one. When that idea clicked I put my chin down even more, grunted and pushed harder and

and there was a beautiful grey blobby baby girl named Zelie Louise Hilpisch, as dazed and confused as I was, held up so that I could see her and then put on my chest. 

The nurse I didn’t know grabbed the blankets and started rubbing her to clean her and keep her warm. I couldn't stop looking at Zelie. All I could blurt out was “Hi. Hi Zelie. I love you. I’m your mom.” She wasn’t crying at first but eventually she figured out how, but it wasn't very intense. So then I just held her and kept saying over and over very softly “It’s okay. It’s okay.” 

Because I was only paying attention to her, I didn’t even realize that I was still having contractions and actually delivered the placenta, and then I also didn’t notice that Dr. Mary was SEWING UP MY STITCHES. How did I not notice her sewing my hoo-ha with a needle, I do not know. 

So here she is. Please give a warm welcome to Miss Zelie Louise Hilpisch! She is named after two new saints, Zelie and Louis Martin, also known for being the parents of St. Therese the Little Flower. Zelie (rhymes with "jelly") was 8 whopping pounds plus 14 whopping ounces, and 21.5 whopping inches long. Another post to come on the rest of our hospital stay and these last seven weeks with a baby!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

39 Weeks Prego

I'd love to update you on life, since it's been a while, specifically what I've been listening, eating, reading, and making (the theme of the link-up).


I've definitely been on Pandora lately. I finally have it personalized enough that it's my music, but still shuffles at random and feels like the radio.

These are the channels that I most often listen to. 
*The Lumineers
*Mumford and Sons
*Ed Sheeran
*Today's Hits
Peter calls this my "sad music." It's definitely low key and coffee shop style. I may have been found listening to these stations if I'm feeling down. 

If I'm "working out" (aka going on walks) or looking for something higher energy (or if I'm mad), I turn to these. 
*Today's Hits
*Nicki Minaj
*Iggy Azalea 
*Pop Fitness
*I Can't Stop

When I want to praise the Lord or when I want to pray but don't know what to say or when I don't have the attention span to sit and focus on personal prayer, I turn up these. 
*Matt Maher
*Audrey Assad
*Tenth Avenue North 


My appetite has been much lower lately. Baby Girl is taking up so much space that I have no room to eat! But the cravings are still real. Allow me to introduce you.

*Icees, the delicious red and blue sugary treat. The taste and texture hits the spot. I don't know why, but many pregnant women crave ice or frozen things. It's weird.

I can't explain how delicious these are.

*Cheeseburgers, particularly the Blue Door Pub Jiffy burger, with mayo, peanut butter, pepper jack cheese, and bacon. I'm drooling.

*Fruit, all kinds, kiwi, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, orange juice, etc. It's like candy but healthy?

Gotta love yogurt, fruit, and drugs


Lately all I've been reading consists of my Facebook feed, the blogs I follow, and the Blessed is She daily emails that have the Mass readings and a reflection. Lame. This summer when I pick up my classes again I will be doing a psychology of adolescence project on the third Harry Potter book. I'm looking forward to diving into that again with a whole new perspective. 


Well, I have been growing a baby. I think that counts. I also have been growing some flowers. I say that counts too. When we move to our town home in less than three weeks, I'll buy a raised flower bed and throw those sprouts in there so that they have more room to thrive, but here they are now. I love them. I hope I someday have my grandma's green thumb. Next summer I'm going to try fruits and veggies!

38 weeks prego!

My beautiful flowers

Please keep us in your prayers, as the baby isn't quite here yet, but her debut will be soon. The actual due date is May 5th, so basically a week! Oh, I forgot to mention, Pete got a big boy engineering job and we officially have a town home. Wow. 

Love, Ryian

// If time is on your side today:

In case you missed them, here are the 3 most popular posts on the blog this month:
2. It's a Camp Thing
3. Prego Adventures

Here are some gems I found this time around.

I ran into 12 things St. Zelie Martin taught about sainthood as a mother.

Christians at my school speak out because they have something to say.

There is an awesome article pleading against "training" children and obedience-based Christian parenting, written by a blogger I follow, Shannon Evans at We a Great Parade.  

Super awesome stats found that religious people are found to be happier. What do you know. 
Note: "These differences are found not only in the U.S. adult population as a whole but also within a variety of religious traditions (such as between Catholics who are highly religious and those who are less religious), and they persist even when controlling for other factors, including age, income, education, geographic region of residence, marital status and parental status."

Last but not least, top ten takeaways of Amoris Laetitia. You are probably most curious about 7, 8, and 9. I'll give you a hint, no Church teachings were changed.

Love you, miss you, can't wait to blog more, hopefully it'll be a birth story!


Ryian Louise Hilpisch

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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Spring Break & the Triduum

The other morning as I was lying in bed, trying to get rid of the nausea so that I could eat breakfast with Peter before he went to work, he crawled back into bed and said, “Do you know how much I love you?” and he put his hand on my tummy and said, “This much.” I feel like that should happen in a movie or a book or something. I melted.

I woke up one morning to a surprise breakfast! Best husband ever

My weight is much more “stable,” at least as stable as it can be when it comes to growing a person. In the first trimester I lost 10 pounds from my hyperemesis. In the second trimester I gained… way too much. The doctor wasn’t concerned since I passed all my blood tests and at the time gaining too much weight was better than losing weight like I was before. I think I was so excited that I could actually eat again because my stomach wasn’t as sensitive anymore as long as I kept snacking all day, so I accidentally ate a LOT. But now I am doing a lot better with the rate I’m gaining. I’ve been (trying to) walk more, and I’m eating the normal three meals a day with snacks like a normal human being again, with the ice cream indulgences of course.

We’ve been going to Abria pregnancy resources for birthing classes, and I also receive counseling there to cope with my hyperemesis, and they have been so great. I love Abria. Note: it’s FREE. I didn’t think that I was the type of client they were looking for, but after much thought and consideration, I thought it was valid to go because I was a student. When I first came in we just sat down and talked about our situation and talked about different the different options we had for them to help us. They have a variety of classes (birth, parenting, etc.), counseling, free ultrasounds, help finding a job or a place to live, and there is so much more. After you pay a visit, you earn points, which can get you maternity clothes, baby clothes, baby toys, diapers, and even a Pack n Play! I love what they do.

Slowly but surely we have been nesting. We now have a bassinet in our living room, and in it are random things like a bottle, a pacifier, burp clothes, a blanket, diapers and wipes, and other miscellaneous stuff. We have on the way very generous gifts: a stroller, a car seat, and a Pack n Play. I can't believe it's all coming together! I love seeing all this cute little stuff. It makes me squirm.

This spring break I was planning on getting a lot of school work done before Baby Girl arrives. My body had other ideas. I’m officially back on my nausea medicine, which mostly helps. I’m only throwing up once or twice a week now, sometimes zero! It’s still a little inconsistent, but it’s obviously better than it was in the fall. What’s so strange is we can’t figure out my headaches. I can’t explain how discouraging it is, doctor appointment after doctor appointment, describing the headaches, how faint you are, how weak you feel, the dizziness you get when standing, and the vertigo, and you only get a shrug and are told that there’s nothing we can really do except wait until she is born. These issues have been preventing me from doing simple tasks like cooking, taking a shower (now I have to lay down after I shower to recover for about 15-30 minutes), or even sitting at a computer to write a blog post. (This is my first time sitting up at my computer in a couple weeks. Thank goodness for smart phones, but I can’t practically write a blog post or study on my phone.


This year I went to my very first Holy Thursday Mass. What makes it special is the washing of feet, and the stripping of the Church. They leave the tabernacle empty and open, bare. They remove all decorations, flowers, candles, and even holy water fonts. I hope to go every year and be more a part of the Triduum when we can. I know that’ll be hard with little ones, but since we’ll be bringing kids to Sunday Mass already, what’s a couple more? I obviously don’t know what I’m talking about yet, never having kids before, but that’s the approach I’m going with for now.

This Good Friday, I wasn’t feeling well enough to go to the service, but this day still hit me in a beautiful way. I think I’ve come to understand it better than ever before. Why do we call it Good Friday? It sounds like a pretty Bad Friday to me. Well, yes Jesus died this day, but he HAD to die in order to conquer Death. So this day is something good. It can be compared to the pulling a tooth. It really really REALLY sucks to go to the dentist and letting the terrifying procedure happen, but afterwards you sure feel a heck of a lot better. For there to be life, there needs to be death. Death can be terrible, but God has shown us that it is necessary and even good. I really connected this with my pregnancy. Though there is much suffering, it will bring life. This time of pain is also a time of joy.

Saturday evening we went to the vigil at St. Mark’s. It was AWESOME. I went to the vigil once in high school at St. Agnes, which is always huge. Everyone and their mom goes to it. But I really liked the vigil at St. Mark’s. I didn’t think anyone was going to catch on fire. I knew a lot of the people there because we are parishioners. It felt more like family. Because I can black out so easily from standing, I had to sit during the whole Mass, which is still strange 8 months in. Overall my favorite part about this Mass was during the Genesis reading. It started pitch black, our candles blown out, and they turned the lights on, one by one, throughout the reading, and afterwards the bells rang and people walked onto the sanctuary with flowers and everything got decorated right before my eyes. It was so beautiful to see the transformation.

Because we went to the vigil on Saturday, we got to sleep in on Sunday. After we were up and I was done being sick that morning, we headed on over to Peter’s parents to have dinner with them and some of his siblings and their families. I always love spending time with them. There’s lots of food, conversation, silliness, and games.


Peter’s been practicing his accordion almost every day now. I’ll admit, it’s growing on me. I wish there was a way to control the volume. It’s a very loud instrument, so even if he is playing something soft and sweet, my sensitive ears send me into a headache pretty quickly. I’m sad that I have to shut the door when he practices. They got second place at the University of St. Thomas Catholic Studies Talent Show!

Over spring break I was feeling well enough to go on a date, which we never get to do anymore since I can’t sit up for very long. We went to one of my favorite places, Ikea! Sure that sounds like a random date location to you, but it was a blast. If you have never been there, I’m not sure exactly how to describe it. It’s kind of a Target from Sweden with furniture show room, on drugs. There is just so many cool things to see, and it’s all Swedish and super cheap and there is furniture everywhere that you can sit on and there are $1 ice cream cones and I love that place. We got some ideas of what we wanted in our new apartment this summer, like a rug and a rocking chair or recliner. We also got a couple kitchen utensils that we needed and I also got an aloe plant! The kids sections is one of my favorites, they have so many cool toys. I love the stuffed animals, the wooden toys (totes coming back for the train set one day), and there are so many colors. What they offer gives kids (and adults) the opportunity to imagine and have free play vs. always having what to do laid out in front of them. Sorry, a little child psychology rant. Ahem, anyway. What was nice about Ikea is that at any moment if I needed to I could take a break and sit down I could, and we could people watch and look at all of the amazing things that are Ikea.

Another great day over spring break that I wasn’t mostly in bed was when Cretin Court (our 10 friends who all happen to live in the same apartment building) decided to go to the como zoo. 

By the way, it's tropical in Minnesota now.
The weather was perfect. The zoo is free. There are animals. There are children. I got to wear a dress. (Lately I’ve been doing dresses and skirts because pants are NOT comfortable in the third trimester of pregnancy, aaand none of my maternity jeans fit anymore.) It was so fun. BUT, all the walking we did there caused something super fun, my first contractions! Luckily, I was by a fence and had something to grab onto because I was just surprised and thought


“I can’t walk,” 

and “halp.”

This transitions to our most recent doctor’s appointment. I was super excited to tell Doc that I started having contractions! We actually did a cervix check and found out that I’m already dilated at 35 weeks. This isn’t super early, but it’s definitely early. I was actually super excited to hear Doc say, “You could deliver anywhere between TODAY and next week.”


I am so excited. The baby shower is this afternoon, but after that, I’m going to walk and walk and walk to get this baby out! I’m sick of being sick and I want to see this baby girl!

That's all for now! I'm not sure what or when the next blog post will be. There might be a BABY soon!

Please keep us in your prayers as this pregnancy ends and a transition in life begins, (and for a safe delivery and healthy baby).

Love, Ryian

// If time is on your side today:

Related and from the Archives

In case you missed them, here are the 3 most popular posts on the blog this month:

The internet has had some lovely bright and shiny distractions this week. So I have some gems to share.

Jenna Hines wrote on Blessed is She a beautiful reflection on Holy Saturday that was really captivating to me. 

This is what led to my inspiration about Good Friday. This year Good Friday fell on March 25th, 9 months before Christmas, the birthday of Jesus. That's right, the Annunciation, when an angel comes to Mary and she says "yes" and BOOM she's preggers with GOD. Anyway, I thought this was a beautiful reflection since we had Good Friday on this day this year.

I loved this post about pregnant and postpartum body image. 

Here are some thoughts on labor and delivery that really stuck with me.

I have heard many great talks on the Sacrament of Confession, but I thought this one was unique and refreshing to me. Some other "Catholic veterans" may agree. 

I LOVED this post about a list of women to pray for. It really struck me.

I discovered that I love mini rubber spatulas. They are perfect for peanut butter jars, mayo jars, yogurt containers, and everything. Okay, maybe not everything, but they sure help you get the last bit of anything. I have one mini rubber spatula and I need at least 2 more.

Lately I've been reading the daily Mass readings on Blessed is She and I'm almost done with the Divine Mercy novena. I love the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It's shorter than the Rosary, but you still feel like you did something. That's totally pride thinking that I need to feel like I accomplished something, but hey we are human. I have the app on my phone simply called Chaplet if I don't want to get out my beads. The people who own this app are also in charge of one of my other favorite app, Rosary.

This next week we are basically just playing the waiting game with baby, and trying not to throw up or faint. Until then, don't be a stranger.


Ryian Louise Hilpisch

Facebook See when I have new blog posts and read what others' blog posts strike me.
Instagram Stalk my life through photography.
Pinterest Look at my dream projects.
Professional Tumblr Take a glimpse at my soul.
Personal Tumblr Laugh with me.
Bloglovin' See more blog posts.