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“I don’t know why but I’ve always loved the idea of summer and sun and all things hot…Sometimes I like to close my eyes and imagine what it’ll be like when summer does come.” If you don’t know what this line is from, then you probably don’t have kids, but ask a 7 year old and you’ll learn that it’s from the ever-popular movie Frozen.  It’s actually my favorite song.  Shh!
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What the Hicks?

braxton hicks

Let me tell you about the time I experienced my first Braxton Hicks (BH) Contraction.  I was on my lunch break when I began to feel intense tightening in my stomach; much different than the usual kicks and punches I had grown accustomed to.  I got really nervous when the tightening became increasingly painful and frequent.  I’m the type to tough things out, probably more than I should.  Like, if I have a toothache, I probably won’t go to the dentist until something is swelling.  I know.  So, I debated whether to go back to work thinking I didn’t want to over-react to a false alarm or head straight to the doctor’s office so that if the pain increased and this was the real thing, at  least I’d be at the hospital in the care of someone who knows what they’re doing.  I called the doctor’s office, explained what was happening and they told me I should go to the hospital right away… great.  I sat in the care for what seemed like an eternity but was really only 20 minutes because I was timing the contraction intervals.  As the pain intensified and contractions increased, I decided I needed to go to the hospital.  The called work.  So, what’s worse than talking to someone when YOU’RE in a panic?  When the person you’re talking to begins to panic!  Here I was trying to remain calm and simply tell them that I was not returning to work and the person I was talking to elevated her voice and began saying things like, “Are you okay?”, “Why don’t you pull over and I’ll send someone to pick you up”, bless her helpful heart but all I wanted to do was hang up the phone and call Jonathan.  I refused whatever help it was she was trying to offer and ended the call.  Panic turned to fear and I cried.  I hadn’t even thought of the fact that I probably shouldn’t be driving.  I needed to call Jonathan. But before  that I needed to calm down.  If I called him panicked, he’d panic.  I dialed.  The phone rang.  He picked up.  Using every ounce of confidence I could muster into my voice, I began to tell him that I was on my way to the hospital.  Then the flood gates released and I cried to the point that he couldn’t understand what I was telling him.  Not only was I a slobbery mess, but the pain was steadily increasing and I knew I needed to do something.  Jonathan figured out what I was telling him and meet me at the hospital.  I was SO happy to see him.  The nurses hooked me up to the monitor, they checked to see how dilated I was.  In short, they told me it was going home because what I was experiencing was Braxton Hicks Contractions.  Toni who?  Right!

To prevent a super-freakout-meltdown I offer you some insight to BH Contractions.

BRAXTON HICKS CONTRACTIONS

Braxton Hicks contractions start about 6 weeks into your pregnancy, but you won’t be able to feel them that early. You probably won’t start to notice them until sometime after mid-pregnancy, if you notice them at all since some women don’t.  They get their name from John Braxton Hicks, an English doctor who first described them in 1872.  Sometimes, BH contractions are hard to distinguish from early signs of preterm labor.  If you haven’t hit 37 weeks yet and you’re having more than four contractions in an hour, or you have any other signs of preterm labor you should call your doctor right away.

By the time you’re within a couple of weeks of your due date, your cervix has likely begun to soften up in preparation for labor. Your contractions may get more intense and more frequent, and they may cause some discomfort. Unlike the earlier painless and sporadic BH contractions, which caused no obvious cervical changes, these contractions may help your cervix thin out (efface) and maybe even open up (dilate) a bit. This period is sometimes referred to as pre-labor.  The main difference between BH Contractions and the real thing is BH contractions don’t grow consistently longer, stronger, closer together, and there will not be any progress when it comes to cervix dilation where as labor contractions do.

BRAXTON HICKS CONTRACTIONS

The truth is, there really isn’t a way to make them “go away” but you can decrease the discomfort until they stop on their own.  Try changing your sitting position.  If you’re standing, go sit down.  If you’re sitting, try getting up and walking around slowly a few paces.  For me getting down on all fours in the child’s pose (yoga) is most comfortable.  It always eases the pain.  Some other things you can try are taking a warm bath to relax your body.  You can also try drinking a glass of water, as some BH contractions are brought on by dehydration.

A word to the wise, don’t try to be a super hero.  Call your doctor right away if you haven’t reached 37 weeks and your contractions are becoming more frequent, or painful, or if you have any of the possible signs of preterm labor:

  • Abdominal pain (menstrual-like cramping) or more than four contractions in one hour, even if they don’t hurt.
  • Any bleeding or spotting
  • Increase in vaginal discharge or a change in the type of discharge — if it becomes watery, mucusy, or bloody even if it’s only pink or blood-tinged
  • More pressure in the pelvic area; a feeling that your baby’s pushing down
  • Low back pain, especially if it’s dull or rhythmic, or you didn’t previously have back pain

If you’re past 37 weeks and you haven’t experienced the above 5 signs, go to the hospital when your contractions last about 60 seconds each and are five minutes apart for an hour straight, unless your doctor has advised you otherwise.

BRAXTON HICKS CONTRACTIONS

You know that feeling when you get a charlie horse in your thigh and it just seems to tense up really strongly and then fade and then come back?  That, except the pain is in your uterus.  Not all BH contractions are that painful but as your pregnancy goes on they will intensify.  Depending on your pain tolerance, they may or may not bother you.  Here’s one way to understand the experience of contractions.  Take a piece of ice from the freezer and squeeze it in the palm of your hand.  You’ll notice a few things.  The sensation doesn’t start off as pain, it’s more of a discomfort.  The longer you squeeze the ice, the greater the sensation becomes and changes from discomfort to pain.  Keep squeezing the ice and the pain becomes deep and throbbing.  Soon, all you can think about is getting the ice out of your hand.  The experience of labor contractions is very similar in the course it takes, only it’s intensified and usually comes in waves.  BH Contractions are typically not as painful as labor contractions but they are a good indicator of what the experience will be like.

braxton hicks

While I don’t want to bore you with the details of my experience, I thought that since I’ve now had 3 children, I can at least tell you a little bit about what worked for me.

My biggest fear has always been getting to the hospital too late to get an epidural.  I’ve just heard nightmares.  With Jaxon, I was fortunate not to have to think about it because my water broke while I was at home which meant that I would not be sent back home for a false alarm.  That was my other concern.  The contractions were not intense at all but when the nurse asked me on a scale from 1 t 10 how intense were they I remembered some advice I had been given to always say 6 or higher.  LOL  So, I said 6.  She asked if I was going to want an epidural.  Absolutely.  She checked to see how dilated I was and the baby’s station.  It was slow going.  She let me know that they were going to give me pitocin, which speeds up the contractions and makes them stronger.  She also said she was going to have the epidural administered at the same time.  The pitocin kicked in and I was desperate for the epidural.  Finally, the guy came in to give me the epidural which seemed like took forever, but in human time it was probably 5 minutes.  Once he was done, I could feel the fluids enter my body and I was pretty much out.  I had to cover my mouth from talking because I knew I wasn’t making any sense whatsoever.  I laid down and dozed off.  What seemed like 1o minutes later, the nurse came in because I guess something was beeping at her station.  She checked me and said let’s call her doctor she’s ready to have a baby.  Wait, WHAT?  Jon woke up just as she said that and he was calmly freaking out.  I still didn’t feel any pain but I did feel an incredible desire to push.  Like I had to go to the potty.  The nurse told me not to push.  Come on, really?  So there I am, wanting to push but can’t.  The doctor comes in and we exchange pleasantries.  She checks things, tells me to push about three times and before I knew it baby Jaxon was here.

Each of my pregnancies were similar once I got to the hospital.  The biggest difference was with Julia and Jayde my water didn’t break so make the decision to go to the hospital was strictly based on me timing my contractions.  Around 37 weeks, contractions are no longer BH.  The baby will be coming out so I pay attention to each contraction, the intensity and the length pretty carefully.

I hope this is helpful for someone.  Just talking about it was helpful for me.  LOL  God, help this delivery to be just as wonderful as my previous three.  Bless the doctor’s hands and minds so that they give us the best care for our baby.  Continue to allow this pregnancy to be an experience that I look back fondly on.  In Jesus’ name!  Amen.

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FASHION DU JOUR LOVES: Bump Styling

FASHION DU JOUR BUMP STYLING

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Dressing around a baby bump can be exhausting.  I mean, when else in life does your body inflate to two to three times it’s normal size?  Some of us gain weight everywhere and so the challenge is not only dressing around a bump but also finding things to wear that are comfortable around all your growing parts.  Even for women who seem to be all baby, there’s still the struggle with finding a top or bottom that are the size you normally wear but are stretchy enough to fit around the circumference of your belly.  Of course there are bigger and much more amazing things going on with our bodies and how we look should be the least of our concerns, but it’s hard to ignore it when nothing in your closet seems to fit.

Here’s a look that any pregnant (or not) lady can pull off this summer.  Enjoy!

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What I Wore to #Coachella…

…is what I would title this post, had I gone.  But, let’s face it, I’m almost 6 months pregnant (going on 16 months…at least it feels like it) and even if I wasn’t I’m not really a #Coachella type of girl, whatever that means.  However, that doesn’t mean I can’t pretend I am and pull together a look or two!

What I wore to COACHELLA

 

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What to Wear to A Casual Blogger Meet-Up

If you are an avid blog reader like me, chances are you’ve never met the girl behind some of your favorite blogs, but you feel like you know her from what she shares in her posts.  You know her kids’ names, you know what she wore for date-night and you even know the last book she read.  Have you ever met a blogger you’ve been following and had that awkward I-know-everything-about-you-but-you-don’t-even-know-my-name introduction?  Yep, me too.  You totally feel like a creepy stalker and in your mind you’re trying to rationalize this feeling so that you can feel a little less creepy.  Okay, maybe it’s just me.  LOL

Well, if you don’t know, a Blogger Meet-Up is a face-to-face gathering of bloggers for the purpose of getting to meet the person behind the blog.  One of the great things about an event like this is you don’t get that awkward semi-intro that I mentioned above.  Everyone here knows the drill so it’s all good.

Jana’e Holmes of Naturally Curly Kinky, Kimberly Marie of Her name is Kim and I are hosting a casual meet-up for the Bloggers Like Me community next month and we’re pretty excited.  Although it’s going to be super intimate and casual, we have some fun things in store.  This is a pretty casual meet-up but you know how us girls get.  We like to dress up and look our best no matter where we’re going.  As you know, I’m in rounding out the second trimester of my fourth pregnancy so I don’t have as many wardrobe options as I’d like, but a girl can still dream right?

LA BLM Meet-Up

 

LA BLM Meet-Up

 

LA BLM Meet-Up 2

Now if I didn’t have this huge bump we’d be in business, but for now back to the drawing board!

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Something Sweet

FASHION DU JOUR | BLUEBERRIES

I don’t normally post about what I eat, but being pregnant, I constantly think about what I’m putting into my body.  I’m always looking for healthy sweets because, well since the horse is out of the barn, I have to have something sweet on a daily basis.  Strangely, non-pregnant Leslie really doesn’t care too much for sweets (unless it’s Mexican candy or Good n’ Plenty).

Normally, I’d go for a sweet mango with chile sprinkled on top, but the chile these days does a number on my mouth and I just can’t take it.  We’ll resume that treat once baby is born.  So, now I’m chasing a milder sweet snack and I think I’ve found it.  Blueberries.  Not only are blueberries really good, especially when they’re super ripe and almost mushy, but they’re very healthy and good for your memory…or so they tell me.

I recently bought some blueberries from Costco and they weren’t ripe {sweet} enough so I sprinkled some powdered sugar on them and voila, confection-perfection.

FASHION DU JOUR | blueberries

Today I decided to add some protein and carbs to my mid-morning snack with a slice of toasted 7 grain wheat bread, creamy peanut butter {because the nutty kind drives me crazy} with a little honey.  Delish!

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I’ll be serving these to the kids for their after school snack!

What healthy sweets do you like to indulge in?

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What Exactly IS Business Casual?

Sure, I claim to know a thing or two about fashion but I have to admit, when I get an invitation and the dress code says “business casual” my heart skips a beat.  Just what exactly IS business casual?  Can I wear open toe sandals with a blazer on?  Can I wear a short suit?

I think I’m on the right path when it comes to the business casual look. See for yourself here, here and here.

Here’s the thing, if I put “business casual” on an invitation, to me I’m telling the attendee to wear something they wouldn’t mind “meeting the parents” in if you know what I mean.

Being the visual person I am, here are some cool looks you can depend on when you’re trying to decipher that oh so tricky “business casual” trap.

FASHION DU JOUR | HOW TO DRESS BUSINESS CASUALFASHION DU JOUR | HOW TO DRESS BUSINESS CASUALFASHION DU JOUR | HOW TO DRESS BUSINESS CASUAL

[images via Pinterest]

One thing I should point out is “east coast” business casual is different than “west coast” business casual.  Not that I’m trying to start a coast war but I’m sure many of you east coasters are probably shaking your head at a couple of the looks, and that’s fair.  However, I think we can all walk away with a couple of good pointers.

1. Excessive cleavage is not business casual.

2.  When in doubt, wear a lightweight blazer.

3.  Consider your hemline. Shorts and skirts can work if worn at a conservative length.

4.  Jeans pass.  Just make sure they’re not your “errand day” jeans with the holes and tatters.  The darker the wash the better.

5.  You can’t go wrong with neutrals.

I hope these looks will help you pull together some fun ways to rock the business casual look to your next party of the century!

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