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The Natural Verve Has Moved!

I’ve had so much fun getting to know you all on this blog. Alas, all good things must come to an end…thankfully, The Natural Verve is not one of them!

I hope you’ll all follow me to my new blog home which can be found here!

There’s lots of exciting things to come on our brand new website. Make sure to enter your email and subscribe so you don’t miss a beat!

You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter! Be sure to follow me: @naturalverve

I can’t wait to start this new chapter with you all.

Lots of love,

Kristen

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12 Months, 52 Weeks, 365 Days

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Today is a day that I’ve been anxiously awaiting and dreading all at the same time. Today is the day that our little girl turns one! While watching her grow, learn and change has become the greatest thrill in my life, it breaks my heart to see her moving further and further away from that little baby we brought into the world a year ago. It really does happen in the blink of an eye. Thankfully, however, all sadness is erased when I realize how extraordinary that daughter of ours really is.

I know all parents think their child is perfect and wonderful and brilliant, but I swear Haddie is spectacular. She has the brightest smile and sweetest personality. She is incredibly smart and amazes me day to day with the things she’s capable of.

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While I was pregnant, I can remember thinking – what if I don’t like this kid? Yes, that’s a terrible thing to even consider and I should have known better, but it was a serious concern. Everyone tells you what you’re supposed to feel, and I had an overwhelming fear that something would be missing. From the moment she came into the world, high pitched screams and all, I knew there was nothing to worry about. Within seconds of seeing that gorgeous face, gravity had shifted. Everything before that moment was the gone with the past and this incredible creature was all that mattered for the future.

Hadley Sutton, you are my life, my love, and my unwavering happiness. I vow to do everything in my power to protect your dreams and give you the most beautiful life possible. Things will not always be easy. There will be scrapes and bruises, bullies, and break-ups, but I will use every ounce of my strength to build you up and help you through…kissing away your tears and reminding you of the possibilities. I want you to live the life that brings you joy, and I promise to always be your biggest fan and cheerleader.

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Each day, you remind your daddy and I just how blessed we really are. You truly are our miracle.

Happy First Birthday, Haddie Girl.

Infertility Awareness Week

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For so many of us women, we start to dream about our fairy tale lives at a very young age. There will be Prince Charming, a beautiful wedding, and the arrival of a gorgeous, bouncing baby girl or boy to make our family whole. Unfortunately for a large majority of us, that sweet little baby will not come easy.

The National Institutes of Health has discovered that 1 in 6 couples will struggle with infertility. If you have never dealt with the uncertainty and heartbreak that comes with this disease, I will tell you this…There are simply no words to describe it. Whether you have dealt with miscarriage, stillbirth, or simply the inability to conceive, there is no way to explain to someone how you feel. In honor of Resolve.Org’s National Infertility Awareness Week, I offer this post as an ode to all of my fellow warriors in this journey.

You are all beautiful, courageous men and women. I stand beside you and rejoice in your strength. For those of you who have achieved your dreams of a little one after a long and strenuous journey, I have so much gratitude and joy.  If you haven’t yet found your happily ever after, I offer you sweet dreams, lots of luck, and more baby dust that you can imagine.

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Our little girl is truly a miracle that I never thought possible. All of the cards were stacked up against us, but yet here you are. Our lives are so much brighter and more fulfilled because of you, little Hadley. I thank God for you every day.

That Whole Giving Birth Thing – Part 2

When we arrived at the hospital and made our way to the special OB Emergency Room where they hide the crazed labor-ridden women, I was informed that I was still sitting tight at 2cm…maybe 2 1/8, if I was lucky.  That was impossible!  I’d been contracting for hours at this point!   The nurse told me that with such little progression, my midwife would more than likely not want to admit me.  She must have seen the terror on my face because she suggested that we walk laps around the hospital courtyard to get things moving.

So we walked.  And walked.   And walked.  I’m not kidding you when I say that my sweet husband and I did laps for almost 3 HOURS straight.  Only stopping for periodic breaks when the nurse would check me, tell me I was still not progressing, and then send us out to walk some more.  Finally, around 3am, after one final check, she gave us the glorious news that I’d made it to 3.  She called my midwife and begged her to admit me.  The midwife said yes!  We picked up my bags and I waltzed (waddled) my butt up to labor and delivery!

After calling our parents to tell them we’d been admitted, I started trying to live out the zen birth I’d been dreaming of.  I fully intended to deliver our little girl sans medicine.  First things first…into the tub I went.  I had put in a special request for a delivery room with one of the big fancy whirlpool tubs.  As soon as the nurse had checked me out, I started pushing to get into the tub.  She filled it up, helped me undress and assisted in lowering me into the water.  I leaned my head back, turned on the jets and felt my labor pains melt away.  That is until the aforementioned nurse came back in and started freaking out that my monitor was off.  She made me leave my super relaxed position and told me I had to sit a certain way.  On my knees, hunched over with my arm hovering out of the water…not exactly the experience I was looking for.  Out of the tub, I went.

I walked around my room, bounced on a birthing ball and huffed essential oils like a feen.  Around 10am, the midwife came in and discovered that I was still hanging out around 3cm.  She decided it was time to break my water and speed things up.  After breaking my water (a lovely experience, by the way…blech!)  she made me get into a warm shower.  She looked defeated and didn’t seem to have much faith in my dilating capabilities.  Before walking out, she warned us that we were in for the long haul.

As I waited for them to get the shower ready, I felt a sudden shift in my contractions.  They’d gone from bearable to a ton of bricks hitting me over and over every two seconds.  They got me into the shower and my poor hubby practically had to hold me up.  In a matter of minutes, I felt compelled to sit down and found myself hanging out in a hospital shower in the fetal position.  For the first time since contractions started, I began to cry.

The nurse told me that I may want to reconsider the epidural.  If I couldn’t handle the pain I was currently in, there was no way I’d make it through the rest of labor. And per that nurse, I still had a LONG way to go. My resolved weakened and I frantically begged for the anesthesiologist.

They prepped me for the epidural and had to keep reminding me to sit still.  The contractions were coming constantly, and were hitting harder and harder each time.  I saw the nurse and anesthesiologist give each other a funny look.  Once the drugs were pumping, I heard one say to the other, “I think you better check her, I think she might be in transition.”  The nurse leaned me back, checked me out and looked up with a shocked expression.  I’d gone from 3 to 9 1/2 in less than an hour…about ten minutes later I was pushing.

In the beginning of my pushes, my midwife gave me the impression that I had no idea what I was doing.  At one point, she even said, “I think you’re forgetting what we’re trying to do here.”  Well that just pissed me off.  I put on the most intense focus face I’ve ever had in my life and pushed like a champ.

I pushed for a little less than an hour, and have never felt more empowered than I did in those moments.  My body felt strong, and I knew that I was completely capable.  When they asked me to take breaks between contractions, it almost pained me.  I felt like I was going against what my body so naturally wanted to do.  Out of nowhere, I felt an excitement taking over the room.  The nurses were breaking down my bed and the midwife was suiting up for the big “catch.” I gave one big push, and from the look of unequivocal love on my husband’s face, I knew our sweet Hadley was here.  The midwife lifted that tiny body up and placed her on my chest.  I felt like a woman possessed.  I bawled like a baby and showered my daughter’s face with kisses.  She was perfection.

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When I think back to my birthing experience, there’s a lot of things I could say.  But if you were to give me a one word allowance to describe my feelings about labor and delivery, there’s only one that seems to fit.  Yes, ladies and gentleman, I’m one of those annoying women…my experience was beautiful.

 

Can Chrissy Teigen Be My Spirit Animal?

Chrissy Teigen = Genius

I’m going to be completely honest…I don’t really know that much about Chrissy Teigen.  In fact, I can probably list on one hand the number of things that I know about her.  Let’s give it a shot.

  • She’s married to John Legend.
  • She’s gorgeous.
  • Her Instagram feed cracks me up on a regular basis.
  • I’m pretty sure she co-hosts a show about lip syncing.

There, four things, that’s about the extent of what I know about this woman.  As of this past Friday, however, I can add one more…apparently, she’s a genius.

A Facebook friend of mine posted an article last Friday that was called, “Chrissy Teigen Nails Why You Should Never Ask a Woman Why She Doesn’t Have Kids.” Intrigued, I opened it up and started reading.  It was discussing a recent interview in which she broached the topic of married (or unmarried) women constantly being questioned as to when, and if, they plan on having children.  In the article, Chrissy opened up about her own struggles with infertility.  Here’s a quote from the interview that really puts things into perspective:

“Anytime somebody asks me if I’m going to have kids, I’m like, ‘One day, you’re going to ask that to the wrong girl who’s really struggling, and it’s going to be really hurtful to them.”

Before I discuss this any further, let me say this.  I’m one hundred percent guilty of asking this question.  I don’t want to be a hypocrite and pretend that I don’t, or haven’t.  I feel as though the topic of children has just become a conversation piece in our society.  If someone gets married, people feel as though the next natural step is children, therefore, it often doesn’t feel like overstepping boundaries when we bring the subject up. Unfortunately, we act as though we all have license to this information, when in reality it is an extremely personal area that we all need to stay out of.

After my husband and I got married, the subject of children was brought up instantaneously.  And I mean that quite literally.  As we made our way around the reception room to greet the guests at our wedding, you wouldn’t believe how many times we were asked when we’d be having a baby.  Come on people!  Let the bride and groom at least have a piece of cake before you bring up their inevitable procreation!

As time went on, the questions came at a more rapid pace.  Each time I was asked, a little more salt was poured into the wound.  Do you want to know why it took my husband and I so long to have a baby?  Because we knew it wasn’t going to be easy.  From day one of our marriage, we pretty much knew that IVF was going to be our answer.  We weren’t stupid; the price of in vitro fertilization is astronomical.  We also knew that once we started the process, the process would pretty much own the majority of our time.  It was a huge commitment that we needed to be one hundred percent prepared for.  What I wouldn’t have given to have just gotten pregnant the old-fashioned way without a care in the world.

Please don’t think this is about bashing everyone out there who doesn’t have fertility struggles.  This is not a woe is me, pity party kind of thing.  It’s a respect thing.  Every person’s story is different, and we need to be kind and considerate of any, and all, situations.

So woman to woman (and men too, if you’re reading this), stop asking this unnecessary question!  It is none of our business when someone else is choosing, or not choosing, to have children.  We have no rights to the information, nor do we have the right to an opinion on the subject.  Nobody has any idea what is going on behind the scenes.  And you have no way of knowing how hurtful your myriad of questions can really be.  Whether it’s family, friends or some girl you went to high school with…just don’t ask.  When the women of the world are ready to discuss their reproductive capabilities and decisions, I’m sure they’ll let us know.

While I’m quite positive, Chrissy Teigen was not the first person to have this thought; it’s a breath of fresh air to have someone bringing it up.  Every now and then, we need to be confronted with our tendency to overstep boundaries and be put back in place.  So thank you Ms. Teigen.  Your beautiful honesty reigns supreme.

IVF (aka Our Year of Anxiety and Anticipation) – Part 3

After a couple of weeks on birth control to regulate my hormones, we were ready to start the shots (picture the word shots being said in a super scary, dramatic tone of voice and you’ll have a better understanding for how I felt about them!)  I shouldn’t be so melodramatic, though, they honestly weren’t that bad. Each evening, Ryan and I would sit down at our kitchen table with our vials of medicine, needles, and alcohol swabs.  I would then proceed to give myself three shots in the stomach.  It was like ripping off a band-aid; just do it quick and try not to think too hard.  These shots gave my ovaries the boost they needed to produce multiple follicles, which meant the potential for more eggs to work with.

Because of my PCOS, I was at risk for something called hyper stimulation.  To help prevent this from happening, Ryan and I made daily treks to our doctors office for about two weeks.  We’d wake up early, drive an hour for our 7am appointment, and they would test my blood and perform ultrasounds to make sure things were progressing on schedule and not too quickly, or over-abundantly.  Thankfully, I remained healthy the whole way through my stim cycle.  Healthy, but rather miserable. Continue reading

IVF (aka Our Year of Anxiety and Anticipation) – Part 2

Several months before Ryan and I began to seriously consider having a baby, my regular gynecologist sent me for an ultrasound to determine the cause of my long standing irregular periods.  A few days after the test, I received a phone call from a rather callous nurse.  She informed me that I had something called PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and that because of this, I stood very little chance of ever getting pregnant.  She proceeded to tell me that even if I did conceive, the likelihood of my being able to carry a baby to full term was, more or less, non-existent.

Continue reading