Ella’s Birth Story

Well, it has been a minute since I have taken time to write a blog post. During my 3rd trimester, I decided to take a step back and really try to enjoy and soak in the last few months of my pregnancy. This meant stepping away from Her Healthy Kitchen for a short period of time. I am so glad I did this, but happy and excited to get back to blogging with little bit different twist and perspective than I originally had.

Having Ella has truly been our greatest gift yet. Becoming a mom and adding another member to our family has been extremely rewarding, but has not been without its challenges and hurdles as well. Nothing can prepare you for the whirlwind of emotions, changes (both physically and mentally), and adjustments that you go through as a new mom. Adjusting to this new life has had its share joyful tears and feelings of love and warmth towards our little girl but has also compiled tears of frustration, fear, and anxiety in creating the safest and happiest space for Ella as we could. While I hope to share more on all of this later, this post is going to focus more on Ella’s birth story and everything that came with that special day!

Our Decision:

Ella was born the morning of June 22nd at 7lbs 5oz via c-section. Ella was in a frank breech position, which means both her feet and her head were upright with her bum sitting at my cervix. She was in this position for quite a long time leading to an early conversation around what we wanted to do if she did not move on her own. My girl definitely got her moms stubborn personality because she did not move leaving me with the decision of whether or not I wanted to try an external cephalic version (ECV) or schedule a cesarian section for delivery. While you’d think this would be an easy, stress-free decision…baby girl would arrive safely either way… this was one of the hardest decisions I have every had to make in my life.

I am a planner, and this was not in my plan.

After a lot of discussions with Jeff, I decided to schedule the c-section and leave my precious little girl right where she was comfortable. Since I first found out I was pregnant I had embraced the thought that God gives you what you can handle and will create a path thats best for baby and mom. Trying an ECV went against that concept for me, and having never been a risk taker I wanted to minimize any and all risk in Ella’s delivery.

Birth:

The morning of Ella’s birth was actually fairly calm. We woke up about 2 hours before we needed to leave for the hospital. I wanted to have time to wake up, shower, and get myself ready for the day. As silly as it sounds doing simple things like straightening my hair and putting on a little bit of make-up help me feel normal and more at ease then waking up 10 minutes before we walked out the door. Jeff took Eddie for a run since we knew this was the last time we would see hime for a few days. I tried to prevent myself from getting hangry by staying busy in the house (I was not allowed to eat or drink anything before the surgery).

We packed our things in the car (another post on what I packed for the hospital/what I’d recommend bringing and/or leaving at home to come later!) and headed out for the last time as a family of 2. To be honest I can’t remember anything about that car ride. I was so focused on what was to come and trying to keep myself calm that the 25 minute ride could have very well been an hour and I would have never known.

We parked our car in the only shade spot we could find and debated whether or not we needed to bring the car seat into the hospital or wait until later (oh the first of many contemplations of being a parent!). We decided to leave it in the car, and I soaked in the last few minutes of being able to walk on my own into the lobby and up to the second floor of the hospital. As we entered with our billion items, a new dad got onto the elevator with us and I thought to myself, he looks happy and calm… we can do this! We checked in at the front desk and were taken immediately back to a small room where I felt like I signed my life away in paperwork. Jeff was calm and already taking pictures. While I normally want to document every moment, this was one time I didn’t even think to take out my phone, so I’m thankful that he did!

A nurse came and led us back into my pre-op room which was spacious, very clean, and right around the corner from the OR. Our nurse started going through her check list of questions (I couldn’t tell you what half of them were now) and another came in to place an IV and start fluids. Needless to say, after not drinking anything since 12AM in the Arizona heat (it was about 9:30 at this time) I was very dehydrated and was ecstatic to get fluids. I’ve never felt so hydrated after 1L quickly dripped in. They did a quick ultrasound to assure baby girl was still head up (of course she was), and we started the waiting process. My OB came in to pay us a visit, confident as ever, energetic, and ready to go.

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My nerves started to kick in waiting for our visit from the anesthesiologist, and you know what happens with nerves… bathroom! Thank goodness for this because my next easy “bathroom trip” would not be for a day or too.

The anesthesiologist came by just a few minutes later and was very friendly. Even though I knew more than I probably should about what was to come, it helped calms my nerves hearing him reinforce the simplicity of what was about to happen. Jeff was still calm as a cucumber in his blue scrubs and hair net; I was looking at the clock about every 3 minutes waiting for the next person to knock on our door. Jeff continued to snap away pictures and update family and friends on where we were.

Just a little after 11AM, we had a knock on the door and were told it’s time to go! I looked around the halls anxiously as we rolled away, keeping Jeff in site as we came to a stop outside of a cold room with glaring lights and a skinny little table right in the center. Jeff gave me a kiss, and I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. My OB’s assistant offered me a few words of encouragement as she wheeled me into the room. I knew that I would see Jeff again in just a few minutes once they were ready to start. Despite being nervous and scared, knowing we would see our little girl in less then 15 minutes was a surreal feeling. I was excited to finally see her and know that she was ok, healthy, and here in the world with us.

I received a spinal block {For those who asked, a spinal is used instead of an epidural during a c-section. A spinal block is a 1 time injection and prevents the sensation of pain for about 2 hours. There is no catheter in place like an epidural.} My nurse was right, I didn’t feel a thing during the injection (I didn’t even know he was doing it actually) and my legs went numb almost immediately. The curtain went up as they started to prep my body, and Jeff entered the room. He looked at me with an encouraging smile and started our music. He had created a country playlist for me per my request! I kept my eyes locked on him and waited to hear any indication that she had arrived. My anesthesiologist told us she was almost here about 2 songs later and before we had time to breathe we heard a cry. He took Jeffs phone and took a few pictures for us. Jeff got up once it was time and peaked around while they quickly wiped her and wrapped her in a blanket. He looked back at me and simply said, “she’s perfect”.

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Ella’s nurse brought her around the curtain for me to see and I was so happy to see my beautiful baby girl screaming and crying just waiting for us to hold her. Once they had all of her measurements, Ella’s nurse handed her off to Jeff so we could snuggle her for the remainder of the time until they were ready for us to leave the OR. Ella was 7lbs 5oz, 20 1/4 inches, with a 14cm head circumference.

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After all the nerves and anticipation in a matter of 8 minutes we got to see our baby girl and about 40 minutes later we were rolling out of the OR, our lives forever changed in the happiest of ways!

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4 Weeks Later…

Ella is any absolute joy. She has the most beautiful, big eyes and loves to smile and giggle at her mom, dad, and fluffy puppy which she’s taken a liking to. She is a wonderful eater and although she can get fussy at times, she overall is a happy and content baby. She is now just under 9lbs. She loves to snuggle on her dad and also loves bath time! She’s a dancer and can escape out of just about any swaddle which left mom in a panic the first few nights at home after the hospital. We are so happy to have this little girl in our lives, and cannot wait to watch her grown and continue to develop her own personality!

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Photo by Christina J Photography

 


Bumpdate: 2nd Trimester

Well hello there friends! Blogging, doing my newsletters, and really all things HHK have taken a back seat these past few months as I’ve tried to really soak in and enjoy the stages of pregnancy! I’m trying to stay present and in the moment with both experiencing changes in myself and my body and preparing in many ways for this little girl to come into our lives!

I thought I would take some time on this chilly Sunday afternoon to do my 2nd trimester bump-date and share how the past few weeks have been. We are halfway through the second trimester…. WHAT! At the 20 week mark I had this slight moment of panic (and excitement!!) that we only had 20 weeks left to prepare both physically and mentally for this little being coming into our lives. Truly how can you feel so on track and ready for a new life, and in the same breath be completely overwhelmed by how much left there is to do before that moment comes.

Regardless of all the back and fourth emotions, I am getting more and more excited each day to meet baby Ella and start our beautiful life with her! At 19 weeks we had the fun and exhilarating experience of our anatomy ultrasound, which gave us a real time look at our little girl moving and squirming around in my tummy. Talk about amazing! My faith has only been strengthened each time I see that little life and hear her heart beating through my skin; it really is God’s most amazing work of art right before me eyes.

Another wonderful thing that has come with the second trimester has been a new breath of energy and enthusiasm to start exercising again. My nausea has subsided and food has become fun and enjoyable for me once more (well… most of it!)! While I’m still not able to really run as I had hoped during pregnancy, I am keeping my cardio up with long, fast-paced walks up and down the hilly roads of our development. I’ve also started lifting light weights again which has been great for getting my muscles seasoned and ready for my growing body.

Now for the fun stuff….

As I continue to grow, I have gotten a lot of tidbits of information whether I have asked for them or not. Some  have been silly comments such as “I shouldn’t walk through a metal detector at security when flying” (don’t worry…. this is false, but caused me a great deal of panic after I did recently), and others have been helpful. I thought I would share one particular topic that may be common amongst other soon to be mamas and help ease nerves or encourage you to always ask your doctor if you have a concern! This topic of conversation was that I should be feeling baby move frequently before the 20 week mark.

It was hard for me to hear that other people had felt very solid movement or “kicking” before 20 weeks. I thought I felt some movement around 16 weeks, but then after going multiple weeks of feeling NOTHING, I started to worry that something was wrong. While some girls told me they had the same experience, I felt others would look at me funny or questions me when I explained I really didn’t think I had felt anything yet. After my last OB appointment, I found out I have an anterior placenta. This simply means my placenta sits in the frontal part of my uterus and in front of baby. This is totally normal and does not effect labor/delivery whatsoever but can prevent you from feeling movement early in the 2nd trimester. As time went on, I slowly started to feel little jabs in the outer sides of my lower abdomen. I was SO happy and relieved to know why it took a little longer and encourage all mamas to ask questions if you have this same concern!

Thank you for reading and coming along for this exciting ride!! I will be back for the 3rd trimester bump-date soon. Please continue to wish us and our growing baby well!

xo,

Chelsea


Bumpdate: 1st Trimester

Hello friends! Happy new year and happy Sunday! Is anyone else blown away by the fact that it is 2019? Aside from the holidays breezing buy, 2018 was filled with so many memories and experiences that it is hard to believe we have already started a whole new calendar year. This will indeed be a big year for Jeff and I. Big seems like an understatement…. this will likely be the biggest year for us thus far as we welcome a new life into the world come June. I didn’t know if I would be blogging about pregnancy in 2019 and yet here I am, almost 4 full months pregnant wondering how the first trimester just flew by.

When I wasn’t pregnant, I was absolutely fascinated by pregnancy. My coworkers will probably giggle as they read this because fascinated may not quite explain the deep interest I had in what pregnancy was like, how it felt, and what to expect in terms of changes to a woman’s body. The quote, “God works his mysterious ways” has rung in my head quite a lot these past four months. I remember thinking “this will be our last trip before pregnancy, so I really want to make the most of it” before leaving for Prescott, Arizona in late October. I was readying my mind for what was to come as Jeff and I seriously planned to start the “getting pregnant process” before the holidays with hopes to have good news for ourselves and family by the new year. Little did I know, there was already a little seed planted and growing that my body slowly starting to adjust to.

I’m surprised we didn’t get it sooner as the trip wasn’t exactly smooth to say the least. With my emotions on overdrive, I chalked it up to a few nights of bad sleep on an uncomfortable bed. While my sleep was crappy and my body was overwhelming tired, there was one thing that definitely made me happy that weekend (besides the personal time that Jeff and I got to spend together), and that was pumpkin soup. I remember Jeff and I stopping to pick up lunch on the way home from hiking, and I got pumpkin soup from Wildflower (those of you not familiar, its like Panera but 10x better). This pumpkin soup was everything and more, so much so that they day after we got home I made Jeff drive from our Costco trip back in Phoenix to a nearby Wildflower so I could eat it again. One of the many, many reason I love and adore Jeff so much is he would do pretty much anything to make me happy…. especially when it comes to my food cravings!

We got the exciting news just days before Jeff’s 28th birthday. I will never forget the look on his face the day I told him. Again, one of the many reasons I love him is we are truly on this ride together. We quickly decided to hide this little secret of ours from our family until Thanksgiving when we would all be together. That was one of the longest months of my life. Now, 15 weeks later our family, friends, and coworkers are able to share in our excitement!

Now, what was that first trimester like for me? I am happy to say that in my opinion, I had a fairly uneventful first trimester. I was exhausted and felt as if I could sleep 24 hours a day, but besides that my biggest hurdles were nausea (although no sickness!) and lack of appetite. Bread, cheese, and potatoes were my best friends for about 4 weeks while vegetables took a backseat along with pretty much anything else “healthy” in our refrigerator. I was lucky to get in a few bites of spinach if I mixed it in to something. To all my pregnant peers out there or those planning to get pregnant in the near future, take it from someone who just lived it… don’t beat yourself up about your diet! I’m a dietitian, and I pretty much at 2 food groups for a full month. Of course, my mind felt guilty, sluggish, and worried that I was making all the wrong choices, but time passed and I slowly started to feel better and reintroduce foods that previously made me gag.

In terms of exercise, this was also fairly non-existent from the time I took my pregnancy test until about 8-9 weeks. I attempted to take brief 20-25 minute walks after work a few days a week, but otherwise I was so exhausted that anything more just made me feel worse. Thankfully I had a few friends who had recently gone through pregnancy that reassured me this is normal, just listen to your body. It was hard for me to “let go” and not only give my body up to this little growing being, but allow true time for rest and realize this was all part of the plan.

After our first visit and ultrasound, my mind definitely took a turn for the better. I was so elated to hear that little heartbeat and see that tiny little blob right smack dab in the middle of my uterus on the screen that all the exhaustion and mental arguing with myself was worth it. If you believe in God, or in any type of higher power, I think your faith only strengthens when you realize that a tiny, 2 cm, simplest form of a child can have a heart beat. I am so excited for what is to come!

Thank you so much to those who have been on this journey with us thus far! As time goes on I hope to share more about my experience with pregnancy, especially from my standpoint as a dietitian and true health enthusiast. Although I know everyone is different, hearing experiences of others has only helped me and given me points of reference to help me feel normal throughout this process. I hope I can do the same for someone else! Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!

xo,

Chelsea


Holiday Gift Guide 2018

Looking for a last minute gift for a special someone or for a loved family member or friend? Below are my top 5 must haves for this holiday season! You will find kitchen items as well as basic home accessories. All items are under $100.

I hope your holiday season is filled with sparkle! Enjoy!

  1. Calphalon Contemporary Non-Stick 2 Piece Fry Pan Set w/ Lids (Crate & Barrel $89.00) This simple pan set is an essential addition to any budding chef’s kitchen. It is also perfect for those who just like to spend time cooking or entertaining. The nonstick surface is easily cleanable and perfect for sautéing, frying, or just whipping up a simple and fast breakfast.CalphContNSFryPansWLidsS2SHF16
  2. Metallic Dots Stem-less Wine Glasses (Crate & Barrel $20.82 set of 6) Know someone who loves to entertain? These festive and playful stem-less glasses are perfect for holiday entertaining. Add a little sparkle to your holiday table setting!MetallicDotsStemlessGrpFHF17
  3. “Hygge” Chunky Throw Blanket Threshold (Target, $79.99) Get it while it available! Currently only available in lavender. This chunky blanket is perfect for a cozy Saturday night at home or watching movies with the kids!'Hygge' Chunky Throw Blanket - Threshold™ - image 1 of 1
  4. Cuisinart Belgian Waffle Maker Stainless-Steal (Target, $45.99) Do you know someone who love to “brunch”. Help them start their own holiday traditions with this perfect and simple stainless steal waffle maker!Cuisinart® Belgian Waffle Maker - Stainless Steel Waf-F10 - image 1 of 3
  5. Old Navy Holiday PJ Sets (Old Navy, $12.00-36.00) Fun for the whole family! Start Christmas off with a warm and comfy morning outfit! Price will vary pending size (child-adult).

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Thanksgiving Leftovers…Turkey Tetrazzini!

Happy Sunday everyone! Is anyone else in full holiday mode? After a busy November and hosting our first Thanksgiving, I am ready for the Christmas season to begin (let’s be honest…I’ve been ready since about the November 1st!). Our home is decorated, we are slowing putting gifts under the tree, and a Christmas holiday station has been playing in my care for about 3 weeks!

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Despite my anxious desire to dive into Christmas, we were stuck with a few extra days of Thanksgiving looming over our tummies. Does anyone else find leftovers from Thanksgiving completely overwhelming?! Jeff and I are not huge leftover people. We typically keep leftovers for a day or two, then they slowly find their way to the back of the fridge or into the garbage can. I’ve been trying to be better about re-purposing leftovers, and Thanksgiving was no exception this year! After hearing my mom talk about turkey tetrazzini, a dish that utilizes leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, I thought what a great idea… I need to give this a try!

Turkey Tetrazzini typically uses a base of either cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, or a homemade white cream sauce. Cheese is another prominent ingredient as well as a few vegetables (need a little fiber in there, right!) and of course lots and lots of turkey. My recipe takes a little lighter spin on this classic dish. It is easy to make and definitely warm, comforting, and the perfect way to utilize some of your extra holiday ingredients. This will definitely become a new tradition in our home for after-Thanksgiving leftover meals, and I hope it will for you too!

A Little Lighter Turkey Tetrazzini

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 oz whole wheat spaghetti pasta
  • 2 heaping cups organic baby portabella mushrooms, washed and roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup white onion, diced
  • ¼ cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • ¾ cup 1% milk
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 cups turkey, shredded
  • 1/3 c frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese + a little extra for the top
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese + a little extra for the top
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (optional) with 1 tsp butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta as directed on back of box. I suggest undercooking slightly, as this will also gain some cooking time in the oven.

In a large sauté pan, sauté diced onion and mushrooms in olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to help draw moisture out of mushrooms. Sauté 4-5 minutes or until onions become slightly translucent.

Add cream of mushroom soup, chicken stock, parsley, garlic powder, red pepper, salt, and pepper to pan. Stir for a few minutes until soup starts to thin out and bubble. Stir in milk and bring to a low simmer.

Add frozen peas and shredded turkey. Cook for ~5 minutes until peas become soft and tender. Mix in cheese and stir until cheese is fully melted.

Once pasta is cooked to your liking, drain and add to your cream sauce with a 1-2 Tbsp of pasta water to help thin the sauce. Lightly toss pasta into the sauce then transfer to a medium sized baking dish. Top with extra cheese and bread crumbs (optional). You may season the breadcrumbs to your liking with herbs, spices, or just plain salt and pepper. Place small droplets of butter on bread crumbs and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until bubbling. Once bubbling, let sit under the broiler for another 5-8 minutes until the top begins to golden and become crisp. Let cool for 10-15 minutes and enjoy!