Tag: my view


To a NICU Mama… Family

It’s been 6 months to the day since we were able to bring Maddie home from the NICU. She was there for 13 days. 13 days wondering if there was another tube in her or if she was hooked up to a different machine. 13 days hoping she would remember to breathe. 13 days wondering if she was going to ever come home.  Maddie’s NICU stay was easily the worst time in my entire life. There were times where I would sob and literally say,” She will never come home.” I lost out on a lot of things new mothers are supposed to experience. I grieved over those losses. There is nothing that hurts more than seeing your child struggle to live and not being able to help. In retrospect, 13 days isn’t very long. There are so many families that spend much more time there and my heart hurts for them. 

If you are a NICU mom, this is for you. If you are newly a NICU mom, I promise that it does get better. Right now, it’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to cry and it’s ok to scream. You are not alone in those actions and emotions. Eventually, this will be a memory and it will be ok.

I’ve been trying to write something about how it is to be a NICU mom for months  but I could never get out the words in the right way. I decided to abandon what was “right” and just write. Here’s what came out. 

Madalena at 1 day old.

Madalena at 1 day old.

nicu mama

You are strong.

You may have spent little to no time with your baby. If you were lucky enough to get a minute or two with her, you could tell she was struggling. If you were lucky, the first memory you have of him is his discomfort.

You spent your first night as a mother without your baby. If you were able to take him home from the hospital when you were discharged, you still wondered if he was healthy enough to be home with you. Just know that you are strong and you are enough.

You may have been one of the few who left the hospital a mother without their child. You are a warrior. You battled tears every drive you made to and from the hospital to see your child. You fought back screams every time the doctor said, “She’ll need a feeding tube” or “He’s not quite ready to come home yet.” You held your breath every time a monitor would beep. You prayed that it wasn’t your baby and that, if it was, it was a mistake.

You may have been one of the few who could have crawled into a dark corner and sobbed for hours. You may have done that. But you battled back and you made sure your daughters nursery was ready for her when she came home.

You may have been one that stayed in the hospital with her. Your days and nights were only different because of the light outside. You spent all day look at your baby, looking at her monitor, and looking back at her. You’d tell the nurses you’d sleep only to lie down and stare at the ceiling- fearing the next “ding” would mean your son needed help that you couldn’t provide.

You may have been one of the few whose “it’ll only be a couple of days” turned into “she’ll have to stay for at least one more week.”

Maybe for you that “one more week” turned into “maybe next month” or even “maybe her due date.”

Maybe “maybe her due date” turned into never at all.

Maybe you aren’t even a NICU mama yet – I pray that you never are.

No matter what kind of NICU mama you are, just remember:

You are strong. You are a fighter. And you have so many NICU mamas in your corner.

Madalena at 6 months old.

Madalena at 6 months old.


Meant to Live Life

When you look back at the past few weeks, what kinds of things do you remember? If you could categorize your thoughts, where would they go? Would you put them in the “Memories with the Kids” category? “Date Night with my Spouse”? “Vacation with my Family?”

Or would the majority of your thoughts fall into categories more like these:

  • Budget is a Little Tight
  • I Hate My Job
  • I Ate Terribly/Didn’t Exercise
  • I Gained Weight
  • My Significant Other is Annoying Me
  • My House is a Mess
  • I’m Stressed

If you’re thoughts fall primarily into the latter category, welcome to the club. I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten all the good things going on in my life because I am wrapped up in how much laundry there is and how I need to change my eating habits to see some weight loss. Shoot, we set ourselves up to thing this way when we make resolutions every year to lose the weight or eat clean. I can look back at 2014 and 2015 and remember thinking “I will be the fittest ever this year!” Neither year produced that for me. I remember that, but I have to think a little harder about the good things (aside from my daughter being born, of course).

It’s so sad how so many of us are focused on all the wrong things. All the time you spend stressing out about things could be spent doing things to alleviate that stress!

Think about it. Stressing about a tight budget isn’t going to help anything. Stressing never gave anyone some extra money in a bank account. Stressing never folded laundry or put away dishes. Stress is toxic.

Research has shown that stress can actually do physical damage to your body. Your body needs stress in certain amounts. It’s what helps pump your blood through your body so you can react appropriately in fight or flight situations. Stress is a good thing. The problem is that we are in a constant state of stress. Constant stress can cause respiratory problems, heart disease, kidney and liver issues, stomach ulcers, and it could even eliminate your ability to react to an emergency all together. Stress can literally kill you. (source).

Aside from the physical harm stress does, stress can kill your relationships. If you look at polls and surveys, stress about money nearly ALWAYS listed as a top reason for divorce. Stressing about how you look can push away friends and significant others for a multitude of reasons as well (I could literally write an entire post on how food and aesthetics can ruin a relationship).

With all of this stress, when are you finding time to actually LIVE? I have an answer for you – You’re NOT. You’re not living. You’re going through the motions and waiting for things to change. Guess what? Things don’t change if you don’t change them.

meanttolive

I was listening to Switchfoot this morning – The Beautiful Letdown album (yeah, yeah, throwback, I know)- and I think I actually listened to the words for the first time. We were meant to live for so much more than bills/food/weight/annoyances/insertotherstresseshere. We are not here to spend our days stressing about things that we can’t change. If you can change it, then change it. If you can’t, stressing is a waste of your time. It is literally a waste of your LIFE. We were meant to LIVE.

 


I Think We Should Take a Break Fitness

This post is honestly mostly for me to sort out my thoughts, but I know I’m not the only one who’s going through what I’m going through so I thought I’d make it a blog post.

If you’ve been following me on my other social media accounts, you know that my weight loss isn’t exactly going well. Not from my lack of trying, either. I ate at a calorie goal and did well, then it stalled. Then I switched it up and started eating a more plant based diet. GAINED weight. Gave the plant based thing some more time since it can be a big adjustment for your body. Nope. Still a gain. The other day, I mentioned eating based on the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) method and I started logging yesterday and today. Epic failure.

I know what you’re thinking. I couldn’t have possibly seen results from 2 days of IIFYM. You’re right! The reason it was an epic failure was because of how time consuming figuring all that out was. On top of being time consuming, I was started to get irritated at the lack of flexibility there was. Sure, you can eat to fit your macros, but if you don’t have a ton of calories to work with, there is very little flexibility.

That’s when I realized: why the fluff am I trying to go through all of this trouble? What is the point? What is my end-game and what is the long term plan?

To answer those fairly quickly:

  • I want to look good.
  • The point is to look good after having a baby.
  • The end game is to look good.
  • The long term plan is to look good.

 

See the problem?

I am so focused on wanting to look good that I am completely ignoring all of the OTHER things (and frankly, more important things) my body can do.

Before I get a bunch of  “I told you so’s” hear me out.

It is ingrained in us to like what we see. We want people to like what they see when they look at us. And that’s not a bad thing some times. What IS a bad thing is when the focus and the priority of your day is looking good. I will be the first to admit that, over the past few weeks, that has been my focus. I still go through my daily routine and I completed the tasks I need to complete. I’m a good wife and a good mom. Outside of those priorities, though, my brain was 100% focused on what I could do to look better. I hated my body.

In church today, I was thinking about the past couple weeks and how I’ve just been bummed out and depressed because of my lack of progress. That’s when I got hit like a ton of bricks.

wonderfullymade

Me hating my body is telling God that I hate the body he gave me. It’s me saying the work he did to create me before I was even a thought is worthless and garbage. I am made in His image and hating my own body is like hating Him. Let that kick you in the gut for a minute.

It would be like someone painting a piece of art specifically for you just for you to focus all day on the fact that you hate it. In reality, it’s a piece of art that was wonderfully made. It’s made up of all the same things as other paintings- paint, canvas, brush strokes- but it has a different look that is totally it’s own and it is beautiful.

Truth be told, the body I have is NOT garbage. My body can do amazing things. I can run, jump, squat, press, and climb. It carried, grew, and kept a baby alive before it brought that baby into the world. It can run on no sleep efficiently and it can recharge when it needs to. Does it look the way I would like it to? No. And I don’t think it ever will. But I am learning that that’s ok. I am NOT an elite athlete or a physique or bikini competitor. I don’t model. I don’t have a job that requires me to look a certain way so I don’t need to look the way the way people who have those jobs do.

All of this being said, being happy with my body is not an excuse to not take care of it. I was given this body for a reason, so I need to take care of it the best I can. In my case, that does mean I need to lose a few pounds. Those pounds don’t have to be gone overnight, however. I don’t need to do anything crazy to lose that weight. I don’t need to spend hours at the gym or count my calories or be strict on my macros. Those things will make me look good, but how long can I actually keep that up? 1 month? 6 months? 1 year? Certainly not forever. All I need to do is find balance. Make healthy choices. Stay active. Go back to basics. Those things can be made into lifelong habits.

 

I have been counting calories/macros for 5 years. 5 YEARS. I know what’s good for me and what isn’t. I know healthy habits. I just need to put them into practice. That’s why, macros and calorie counting, I think we need a break.


Life

Be Yourself.

How many times have you heard those two words? “Just be yourself!” “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”

It seems like such an easy sentiment, but how many of us struggle with being ourselves? You don’t have to raise your hand, but I’ll go ahead and admit that it’s hard!

Whether you’re in school and being influenced by what is popular or you’re at work trying to be what your job needs you to be or you’re on social media trying to be what’s most viewed, it can be really hard to be yourself. So much so that those words have almost lost their meaning. What does it mean to be yourself?

For me, being myself is allowing myself to do what I like to do without thinking about what people think. Obviously, there are some limitations (I’m not going to do crack and not care what others think because crack is whack and it’s illegal), but I need to care more about the things that matter to me and less about how other people will think about the things I do.

In the social media sense, you may have noticed that I really don’t blog as much as I used to. I’m not the best writer and I feel like I can’t express myself well in writing. I’ve switched over to YouTube as my main platform and I LOVE it, but it is a TOTALLY different world from blogging. I notice that a lot of my favorite channels have a very common set up: bright lighting, white backgrounds, glitter backdrops- the works. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely NOT. I love the content of these channels. I did notice, however, that, when I started making videos, I would pull so much inspiration from these channels that I was accidentally trying to imitate them. I thought that if I acted like those people that the rest of my channel would follow suit. That didn’t happen. Glittery backdrops didn’t appear and my subscriber count didn’t shoot to a million. When I look back at those videos, it’s actually kind of cringeworthy. I look stiff and uncomfortable. It wasn’t until I said, “wait, this isn’t me” and rebranded everything that I really got comfortable. When I changed Keeping Carrie Fit to Carrie Crista, I was much more comfortable and confident in my content. Even further, I cut out the DIY stuff and decided to focus more on just health and beauty and I feel even BETTER about my content.

If you don’t like doing something, don’t do it. If you have a blog and you don’t want to make a million images for pinterest or headers or footers or whatever, don’t do it. If you want to focus on JUST old school Nintendo, do it. Don’t feel like you have to do what other people do to reach a larger audience because you’ll look back and realize that the content you hate doesn’t really do well anyways.

The point is, things got easier and things are going better now that I’m able to really be myself.

allthingstoallpeople

I’ve had to put this into practice in my real life as well. There have been some changes in my life and I’m really learning that I can’t be happy until I am who I want to be. Not who someone at church or work or a friend wants me to be. I heard the other day, ” You can’t be all things to all people,” and that really resonated with me. My life is for ME to live. I need to decide what is important to me and be THOSE things. What’s important to me?

  • Being the best wife I can be to my husband- which, admittedly, I need to work on in some aspects.
  • Being the best mother I can be to my daughter.
  • Being a hard worker
  • Enjoying art and music
  • Strengthening my faith in God and really practicing what I believe on days that aren’t Sunday
  • Being healthy and fit so I can be energized and healthy enough to be the first two things on this list.

There are other things that are important to me, of course, but those are just a few.

Bottom line, when it comes to my life, I’m working on putting stock into the things that matter to me. I’m working on being myself.


New Year’s Resolutions //  2016 Life

2016 is almost here, resolutions are about to be made, and shortly after they’ll be broken. Maybe that’s cynical, but it’s true. Last year, my resolution was to hand letter something every day. That didn’t happen (though, I did hand letter some throughout the year). I wanted to stress less and I don’t think that happened either, though I did learn how to relinquish control in some situations thanks to a completely unpredictable pregnancy.

This year, I have a one resolution: be happy.

There are a few ways to make this happen, but the main one I want to focus on is loving myself.

I can’t tell you how I’m going to do that yet, to be honest, but that’s part of my resolution. I have been so hard on myself about a lot of things and I think I’m finally ready to learn what it means to be happy with myself as I am today. That’s not an easy thing to do, but I plan on using this year as time to really learn how to love myself and make myself happy.

This isn’t to say that I’m not happy with my life now. I am! I have a wonderful family, a home, a job…I have everything I want and need but I am sometimes unable to enjoy that and cherish it because I stress out over a lot of things. I am always anxious about something and that is such a burden on me. By the end of the year, I want to learn how to not be anxious about everything.

As you make your New Year’s resolutions this year, I challenge you to come up with things that are attainable and worth while. Make resolutions that will impact your life past 2016. If you want to travel, make sure you’re making lifelong memories. Let those trips change you. If you want to lose weight, make that journey one of learning. Make sure your resolutions are impactful. Make the time you put into them worth it. Make 2016 the year your life changes for the better.

Carrie Signature


2015 Keeping Carrie Fit Holiday Gift Guide Fitness

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These are a few of my favorite things!

The holiday season is here and you may be scrambling to get someone a last minute gift. My holiday gift guide is here to help! Help your loved ones kick off the new year in style with these fun gifts that will make fitness in 2016 a blast!

holiday fitness gift guide

Fitbit
Fitbits have been at the forefront of fitness tracking over the past few years.
The Fitbit Charge HR is one of the more popular Fitbits out there. It has a display that shows steps, flights of stairs, heart rate, and other outputs that make tracking daily fitness easy.

The Fitbit Surge is a larger Fitbit that has a bigger face. It also tracks steps, flights of stairs, and heart rate.

The Fitbit Flex is a smaller Fitbit that shows dots that indicate the steps you’ve taken.

Any of them are sure to be helpful to any friend or family member that is looking to track their fitness!

holiday fitness gift guide

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes
Get that sweat off your face with these cleansing wipes! I use these every day for make up removal and I LOVE them. They’re great for sensitive skin and they don’t leave your skin dry or greasy. These are perfect for a stocking stuffer!

holiday fitness gift guide

EOS Organic Lip Balm
This lip balm is fantastic! There are so many different flavors and the packaging makes it easy to apply. Another great stocking stuffer!

holiday fitness gift guide

Asics GT 2000
These are the shoes I’ve been wearing this year. I’ve loved them! Asics are my shoe of choice by far.

holiday fitness gift guide

Adult Coloring Book
Not in the naughty sense, but in the complicated sense. Adult coloring books have taken off this year, and for good reason! I loved these when I was in the hospital. It passes the time and it is great for stress relief! I know people who will color for 15 minutes before bed to wind down. They come in all kinds of themes! I love this particular book because there is a lot of variety, but there are tons of others! They even have a Game of Thrones one!

holiday fitness gift guide

Stabilo 88 25ct colored pens
These are my favorite pens for hand lettering and for coloring in my coloring book. They are inexpensive, good quality, and come in tons of colors! If you opt for a coloring book as a stocking stuffer, these pens are the perfect addition!

Bonus: All of these items are available through Amazon prime. 2 day shipping for the win!

What are some of your favorite things?

Carrie Signature


Things They Don’t Tell You || Labor and Delivery + Post-Partum Care Life

Part one of this series talked about Things They Don’t Tell You about Pregnancy. In part two of this series, I want to talk a little bit about labor, delivery, and post-partum care. These parts of pregnancy and birth aren’t discussed nearly enough. Even if you buy books on pregnancy, they either don’t cover this part or you’ve stopped reading by the time you get to it because you get caught up in pregnancy. Babies aren’t born without delivery, though, and every delivery has post-partum recovery, so here are some things I wish I knew.

  1. You cannot be shy during delivery (or afterwards)
    I only have experience with vaginal delivery, so I can’t speak for C-section mamas, but if you are delivering vaginally, everyone will see all of you. Between cervical checks, catheter insertion, and other things (you know, laying spread eagle pushing a baby into your doctor’s face), you will have people in your business your entire labor (and after). If your baby isn’t “sunny side up,” it gets even better as you may have to lay on all fours to get the baby to flip. There is no time to be shy.All that being said, the people who are seeing you are professionals. It’s nothing they haven’t seen before and everything they are doing is for the good of your baby to make sure you have a smooth delivery. If you’re uncomfortable, just try to relax and remember the reason behind everything.
  2. You will need to make immediate decisions
    Who will cut the umbilical cord? Will you do skin to skin? What will you do if your baby is taken to the NICU? Will your significant other stay with you or go with the baby? Do you want your baby to be given his or her Vitamin K shot (can prevent bleeding in the brain)? Goop in their eyes? Research these things so you can make informed decisions on the fly.
  3. Be ready for change
    While everyone may have some sort of plan going into labor and delivery, things tend to work a little differently once you’re there. Be prepared for things to change. Maybe you stop dilating and they need to dilate you using medication or other means. Be ok with that and research those options so you can make a decision or let your doctor know that you have a preference. Maybe you labor for too long and your baby goes into distress- be prepared for a C-Section. Maybe you wanted an epidural but you progressed too quickly so you can’t have one. There are so many variables when giving birth, you have to be open to change! A change in plans doesn’t mean failure. If you decide to get that epidural after swearing you’d go med free, it’s ok! Do what’s best for you and your baby.
  4. Pushing out the baby isn’t the end!
    After the baby comes, you will deliver your placenta. If your placenta doesn’t come out, the doctor may have to find a way to get it out. After that, you’ll get a fun massage on your belly to make sure everything that needs to be out of your uterus immediately is out. This is called a fundal check. It hurts. I won’t lie to you. But you may be so busy doing skin to skin with your baby that you won’t notice. Fundal checks will be done regularly while you’re in the hospital to make sure your uterus is shrinking back to the size it should be. If you tear, you will also get stitched up before they let you assume your regular laying position.
  5. You will bleed- a lot
    You may tear during delivery.  You may need an episiotomy to help the baby come out (I’ll let you Google that one). You won’t notice the bleeding during the actual delivery, but you will bleed after delivery for days- if you’re lucky. Your body is essentially going through a huge period. 10 months of uterine lining is being shed which can be terrifying when you’re the one who’s bleeding. Don’t worry! Bleeding and passing clots are normal. You may fill multiple thick pads per day at the beginning and that’s ok. Over time, bleeding will decrease and stop all together. It may take weeks, but it will subside. Always talk to your doctor if you feel you are bleeding far more than normal.
  6. You will be sore
    For a lot of women, myself included, post partum hurts more than delivery. If you tear, you will be sore for a few days. That’s normal! You may also swell- also normal. You may get a peri bottle in the hospital- USE IT! This bottle is filled with water and used to “wipe” after using the bathroom so you don’t have to put pressure on stitches. Your hospital may also provide you with an antiseptic spray, tuck pads (witch hazel pads), and some ice packs. I didn’t prefer the icepacks, but other women swear by them. Take as much as you can when you leave so you can continue your pain management routine at home. As always, talk to your doctor if you feel you’re in more pain than you should be.

Now, reading all that may make it seem terrifying but, honestly, you will look back and you won’t remember all the crappy parts of it because it brought you a beautiful baby. Funny how your mind can make you forget things like that! Also, keep in mind that everyone’s experience is different. I didn’t have a terrible labor and delivery, but my post-partum experience was horrible. Some people may have a long labor and delivery but an easy post-partum. Every experience is different, but it may ease your mind to know what could happen.

If you’ve been through labor, delivery, and post-partum, what would you add?

Carrie Signature


Things They Don’t Tell You || Pregnancy Life

Pregnancy is an amazing time in life. It’s pretty amazing that the human body can grow another human in 10 months. Looking back, it’s insane to me that the 3mm dot we saw on an ultrasound screen back in March grew to be my Maddie.

You hear about all the joys of pregnancy often. An adorable belly, little kicks from the inside, longer hair (thanks, prenatals!), funny cravings… but there are so many things that I wish someone had warned me about! From pregnancy things I didn’t know about to parenting things I wasn’t told- there are so many things I wish I had been clued in on! I wanted to share some of those things in a series of posts.

Today: Things They Don’t Tell You || Pregnancy

  1. Morning sickness isn’t just for mornings
    Morning sickness, lunch time sickness, afternoon, evening, and night time sickness. It’s just sickness. For me, I felt sick every morning and every afternoon as soon as I’d get home from work. Like clockwork. What can you do to help? Ginger ale, ginger tea (Yogi makes a great ginger tea- very strong, though!), sour candies, saltines…all can help. If you want to go the medicine route, unisom and vitamin b6 works well for many women. You can also talk to your doctor about taking Zofran or another anti-nausea medication if you’re really sick.
  2. You won’t get many ultrasounds
    Going into pregnancy, you may think you’ll get ultrasounds often. Not the case! The majority of your appointments won’t last more than 15 minutes. Ultrasounds are most common on your first visit (to see the tiny little dot that is your baby), your anatomy scan (to make sure all organs are growing right- and to find out the sex!), and to measure growth at the end of your pregnancy. While this can be a bummer, it’s a good thing! Ultrasounds are only common practice if there’s some sort of issue that needs to be monitored. Most of the time, if you don’t have many ultrasounds, you’re considered low risk- a good thing!
  3. Aches and pains are common
    And it’s ok to call your OB about them! Cramping can be a common occurance which is a scary thing. Constipation causes incredible pain and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t call my OB due to that. It can be scary but, most of the time, minor cramping and pain here and there are totally normal. Keep in mind that your insides are being pushed and squeezed into new locations to make room for your baby!
  4. Panty liners are necessary
    You won’t get your period while pregnant, but you may lose some control of your bladder. Plan accordingly and you can laugh about it later.
  5. The last months are horrible.
    First trimester is notorious for being hard. Morning sickness is common and it’s the most common time for complications. It’s hard physically and emotionally. What no one tells you is that the last trimester can be equally as challenging. Sleep becomes impossible. Rolling out of bed is a workout. You will ache in places you never thought possible. If you make it to your due date, or even a week before, the waiting game can take a toll on you emotionally as well. Was that pain a labor pain? Was that leak my water breaking? There are so many things that mess with your head (so I’ve heard since I didn’t make it that far).What can you do? First, grab yourself some Unisom and get some sleep. Talk to your OB first, but I was told by my OB that Unisom tabs (not gels!) are safe when pregnant. If you don’t want to take a pharmaceutical, try natural solutions like sleepy time tea or melatonin- as long as you’ve cleared whatever you’re taking with your OB or midwife. If the waiting game is causing you stress and anxiety, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to offer resources to help you and they may be willing to talk to you about scheduling an induction date. While most doctors prefer the baby makes his or her appearance on its own, sometimes the stress of waiting can be bad enough that it’s just better to induce. Induction doesn’t always mean pitocin! There are different things that can be used to induce labor. In my experience, this generally doesn’t happen until after a woman’s due date, but it’s still something to keep in mind should you start to have serious anxiety about labor.

Those are a few things I wish I’d known about pregnancy. If you’ve been pregnant, what are some things you’d add to this list?

Carrie Signature



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