Ava Giselle’s Birth Story

*Warning: this is a very long post, but for my own personal reasons I didn’t want to leave out any details.*

To try for a VBAC or schedule a repeat C-Section was always the question?

Let’s begin by giving you a brief history, a quick overview of (my first born) Zoe’s birth story…

There was no debate or doubt when I was pregnant with Zoe… of course I would try an unmedicated vaginal birth. “I’m a woman! My body was made for labor…” everyone would tell me. So I watched all of the natural birth documentaries, and the thought never crossed my mind that a c-section could be a possibility.

Turns out, after laboring naturally for hours on end, at 4 centimeters, I wasn’t progressing. (I only made it to 5-6 centimeters). My OB started the interventions to help the active labor progress. First I got an epidural, then she broke my water – still no progress. Then she started pitocin. I was on the highest I could be for most of the day. Still only a little progress. At this point, it had been 36 hours, and although neither Zoe nor I were in any stress my OB suggested to have a c-section. I was ready to meet my baby, and thought it’s better to do a c-section now while no one was under any stress, instead of waiting for when an actual emergency happens. So off to the OR I went, to meet our baby girl, Zoe. (You can find Zoe’s full birth story here.

Now 2 years 7 months later, present time… Ava’s birth story.

Over all my pregnancy went well. (Stay tuned for some posts on my pregnancy and running through pregnancy.) I tried my best to stay fit and active, and nourish my body with the cleanest food. I ran most of my pregnancy averaging 15-20 miles a week, during the 1st and 2nd trimesters. I definitely eased up on the running once I entered the 3rd trimester, and started practicing prenatal yoga.

One day after prenatal yoga, I started chatting with three other mamas. Because of medical reasons, two of them already had their labors scheduled – one with a repeat c-section, the other one with an induction.

It made me think about my own birth plan, which at that moment was nonexistent. At the end of most of my OB appointments my doctors would ask, “When are you going to schedule your repeat C?” Only one doctor mentioned VBAC. It made me question what was the best and safest way to deliver… Did I have a medical reason that I didn’t have knowledge of? Was I not a good candidate for a VBAC? I was more confused than ever.

So at my next OB appointment, my doctor and I came up with a birth plan. I couldn’t be induced because I had a previous c-section, and pitocin causes to aggressive of contractions which could cause a uterus rupture. So I scheduled a repeat C-section for March 21, 2018 – two days before my due date. My doctor didn’t want me to go passed my due date, because of my history – Zoe was overdue by 4 days and she was measuring above average plus being in there for the extra days gave her a little more time to plump up even more. She came out weighing 8 lbs 15 ounces, which is a pretty large baby especially for my petite frame. I ended up with a c-section due to failure to progress because of her size. We didn’t want a repeat of the same thing.

I chose Wednesday, March 21, 2018 for my scheduled c-section, because it is one of the first days of spring and because my doctor (Amy Porter) who delivered Zoe was going to be available that day. She did a wonderful job on my C-section the last time and I felt comfortable with her. However, if baby decided to come naturally on her own, we would go with the flow and try for a VBAC. We also took a good look at my 36 week ultrasound to determine size of baby and position. I knew she was going to be a good size baby because she was already measuring 6 pounds which was similar to Zoe at the 36 week ultrasound, except Zoe came late and this one was definitely coming early, on the 21st if not sooner. She was head down and ready to go.

I was pretty happy with this birth plan. It made perfect since.

but… of course nothing goes as planned.

On Wednesday, March 14, 2018 I started to show early signs of labor. My cervix started to soften, and strong contractions began. That night I was up all night dealing with them.

On Thursday, March 15, 2018, I headed into work with more contractions. In my mind, I questioned, “Am I going to make it to my scheduled c-section, with contractions like this, a week early?” I didn’t want to head to the hospital too soon, because last time I progressed so slowly. If I was going for the VBAC the best idea would be to labor as long as I could at home. But I was a little worried, because I definitely needed to have an epidural, especially if I was going to try for the VBAC. My doctors strongly recommended an epidural because if they needed to do an emergency c-section I would already be prepped.

When I had a short break at work I called my doctor’s office to chat with Heidi, the nurse. I revealed to her I was showing early signs of labor with sporadic inconsistent contractions throughout the day and night. She told me not to come in until the contractions were 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long.

I downloaded an app called, Full Term, to record my contractions. This helped me keep track and I highly recommend it!

Later that night, I was up again all night long with contractions. I was exhausted. It had been two nights in a row with absolutely no sleep.

On Friday, March 16, 2018, after my cleaning lady came, I headed to the doctor in the afternoon to have my cervix checked. I saw Dr. Nicole McClendon, she told me I was 2-3 centimeters dilated and my cervix softened 90% . She suggested I go straight over to labor and delivery. She couldn’t promise I would be having my baby that day, but because I had a previous c-section and might try for a VBAC she didn’t want me laboring at home without a doctor’s supervision over the weekend. I questioned her at first, because of my history – last time I was already 4 centimeters dilated before heading to the hospital. But she told me every labor is different and although, unpredictable, labor could happen very quickly.

So off I went… But first I had to stop home. My house was clean, but my hospital bag wasn’t even packed yet. I had some things prepped, that I just needed to get it in the bag. I also needed to go home, to let Zoe, my 2 year old know I was going to be at the hospital for a couple of days to have her baby sister. She knew she would be staying with Gigi while I was in the hospital.

Around 5:00 pm, I arrived at Labor and Delivery. They hooked me up to a monitor for two hours to check my contractions. After two hours, still the same, no progress. Dr. Paik came in, to explain to me, I was in early labor, but not quite active labor. She went over my options.

Ideally the two safest options would be to either have a successful VBAC or have a controlled scheduled repeat C-section.

The least safe option would be trying for a successful VBAC, but then ending up with an emergency c-section.

She also told me that I could stay and have a c-section that night, but because I had eaten at 4:00 pm, I would have to wait at least 6 hours.

I was so confused on what to do, but because I had eaten, and was only in early labor, plus didn’t progress in the last two hours DR. Paik told me that I had time to think about it. She advised me to go home and even said that it was totally possible that these contractions could ease up and I might make it to my scheduled c-section on Wednesday the 21st. However, if contractions became unbearable I could call anytime, even if it was the weekend.

So I went home, to labor more at home. Turns out I was up again all night with contractions.

The Birth Story

On Saturday, March 17, 2018, I called Dr. Paik first thing in the morning. I had a strong intuition that I would be laboring like this with slow progression and it would end in a c-section. So I asked her if I could come to the hospital and have a repeat c-section. She told me she could take me now and asked me, how fast I could get there.

After dropping Zoe off at Gigi’s we headed to the hospital.

I was placed in a room and hooked up to a monitor. It would take about two hours to prep me before the c-section. At this point, they were checking for contractions and I not only would meet with Dr. Paik one last time before surgery, but also the rest of the team. They also did a quick ultrasound to check if baby was still head down.

Surprisingly, my contractions were closer together – they were four minutes apart. Ugh, maybe I was progressing. Baby was head down and ready to go. I met two students who would also be there during the c-section. I met my anesthesiologist, who would perform a spinal on me.

It was go time…

My husband got dressed and ready. We walked over to the OR together, but he waited in another room while I went in the OR alone to get prepped.

It was cold and bright. I started to tear up. The operating room is a bit overwhelming, not cozy at all.

I hunched my back and received the spinal. Within a minute my body turned really warm and tingly. I was numb from the chest down. It felt a little hard to breathe. Last time my arms were strapped down, this time they weren’t. Soon the blue curtain was up and my husband was by my side holding my hand.

My last c-section was super quick. I felt like everything was rushed and Zoe was out in ten minutes.

It might have been because there were two students there, or maybe it was Dr. Paik’s style. But this time around, it felt like it took longer.

I kept hearing the team chatting, maybe it was Dr. Paik explaining things to the students. I even heard a laugh, – the laughter relaxed me.

I whispered to my husband, “Where is the baby?” The nurse assured me that it always seems a lot longer than it actually has been. I made my husband peek over the curtain to see what was going on. Then the nurse told me that they had just pulled out the head. A couple moments later, at 12:37 pm, I heard my baby cry. It was the strongest, highest pitched squeal I have ever heard. I quickly saw her as the nurse rushed her to get her cleaned up. She has a full head of dark brown almost black hair!

I told my husband to run over to take photos of her, and soon enough she was in his arms while they were stitching me up.

The nurse said she was healthy and beautiful, then she asked, “Does anyone want to guess her size?” I knew she was a big baby. She felt so heavy in my belly.

Then soon enough she was in my arms, weighing 8 pounds 12 ounces. Measuring 19.5 inches long.

Although, I thought she was big, I didn’t think that big. Zoe came out weighing 8 pounds 15 ounces, but she came late and was in my belly for longer, 40 weeks and 4 days. This little one came a week early, being born at 39 weeks and 1 day. If she had stayed in there for the same amount of time as Zoe had, she would have been over 9 pounds.

Once baby was in my arms, we headed right over to the “Mommy and Me” recovery room.

Dr. Paik came into my room to check on me. She also informed me that she was thankful that we did the c-section because it turns out my uterus was very thin where the previous c-section was done. She told me that she saw a mass and thought it was a fibroid but then realized it was a hand. Maybe my uterus was thin from being stretched out from babies both weighing over 8 pounds close to 9 pounds. Also the fact that my baby was 8 pounds 12 ounces, there was a very great chance I wouldn’t have progressed and most likely would have ended in a c-section anyway.

Turns out that I’m not an ideal VBAC candidate. The best candidate for a VBAC is someone who has already had a VBAC or someone who has never went into labor, and had a c-section because of a reason based on baby, such as being breeched.

Anyway the recovery room was really nice. I stayed there recovering for 3 nights, being discharged on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 12:15 pm.

It was enough time to really get to know my newborn. I stayed up throughout the night nursing her and snuggling her. All of the nurses were fantastic. It definitely was a more relaxing time then the first time around.

However, I was totally ready to leave by the fourth day. Although, Zoe, my two year old, came to visit everyday, I missed her and was eager to get home and start adjusting as a family of four.

Zoe impressed me so much! She was so excited to meet the new baby. We captured the moment on video and I will forever cherish it. She also did a wonderful job spending the days we were in the hospital, with Gigi. And understood that I had to be at the hospital to recover and take care of her baby sister.

Choosing the name

Before leaving the hospital we had to choose a name. We didn’t choose a name until I filled out the birth certificate the day we were discharged. I had a long list, that included Demi and Lux. A lot of people were giving us Irish names since she was born on St. Patty’s day. However, we ended up choosing Ava Giselle. Ava has always been on the top of our list. It is a name that both my husband and I love. We like it because it is a three letter name, and has an interesting letter in it similar to Zoe. It also can’t be nicknamed and it is easy to spell. Overall it is a beautiful name and was one of the names we considered using when Zoe was born. This middle name Giselle has no real significance except that I always loved the name. We also love the spelling with the double L, similar to Zoe’s middle name with he double N.

After choosing a name we were finally ready to head home…

Now that we are home sweet home, I’m helping Zoe transition to big sister the best I can. We’ve had some great support from family too. Gramps and Grams are in town. Aunt Jackie even came for a surprise visit. Gigi continues to help out.

Postpartum

Although, I am eager to start running and lifting again, – gotta get the glutes in shape again- so I see a lot of dead lifts and squats in my near future. I’m excited for my fit postpartum journey to begin, and see the progress I can achieve. However, for now it’s important to slow down and heal up. I’m trying to be kind to myself, since I had a c-section, which is major abdominal surgery. I’m also trying to take it easy and enjoy this time loving and snuggling my newborn, my two year old, and my husband! Cherishing this family time is so important because this time will go by so fast.

Motherhood is an incredible thing, and I can’t even express in words how thankful I am for my girls.

Welcome to this beautiful crazy world Ava Giselle. We love you, even before your very first breath.

Planning for the Fourth Trimester aka Postpartum.

“The first forty days is a period of time unlike any other. It is a short season of life that follows the delivery of your child – an almost six week long period that arrives after many weeks of pregnancy and who knows how many hours of labor – in which you recover from birth, your baby unfurls slowly into the world of bright lights and sounds, and together you devote yourselves to forging your relationship outside the womb.

Though brief, it is s time of amazing intensity and massive adjustments. Your body transforms – again – and your heart throbs with more feelings than you ever knew possible. Your internal rhythms ping-pong as days and nights merge. Your stamina and serenity get tested like never before. Your connection to the world you knew before loosen, or even comes undone, and your sense of who you are begins to change and morph.

In other times, and in other places around the world, a postpartum period of healing and adjustment was expected and allowed. After the rigorous and demanding act of birth, it was considered critically necessary for the whole family – and society at large- that a woman be given the first forty days to heal and rest. Other people in her community would feed her, nurture her, and take all responsibilities off her plate, so that she could focus on one thing only, transitioning healthily and happily from expectant woman to mother.

For the first forty days – a new mother stayed secluded from the busy stream of life, tucked indoors with her infant by her side. She received special meals to rebuild energy, replenish lost nutrients, and help her body produce breast milk. She followed traditional practices of keeping rested and warm to prevent exhaustion and depletion.

The understanding was the new mother was as vulnerable as her newborn, requiring her own steady stream of attention and care. A dedicated time of postpartum recovery could help to keep future illness – and equally important, depression – at bay.

Today in the West, we are waking up to the importance of cocooning baby in the weeks following birth. The understanding that baby is not quite ready to meet the world at large when she/he emerges and is still in the early stage of development that’s come to be known as the “fourth trimester” has awakened us to the value of holding baby close and sheltered for some weeks, so she/he can shift slowly and gradually into life outside the womb.

But somehow, we have forgotten the time honored wisdom that this special cocoon of care should extend to the mother as well…”

~ Introduction from the book, the first forty days, The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. By Heng Ou with Amely Greeven and Marisa Belger.

Life has been so busy, that I haven’t had much time to write during this pregnancy. I have been running the majority of this pregnancy so logging stroller pregnancy miles have taken up much of my free time. (I have a blog post written about my fit pregnancy journey that I will be sharing with you next week or follow me on Instagram @sweat1xdaily.) But now at 36 weeks pregnant, I am starting to use my free time to relax and rest which translates to read, knit, and write.

BOOKS

When I was pregnant with Zoe, I read all the baby books – I was very concerned with knowing what to do with Zoe once she was home and in my care. But this time around, because I’ve already read all the baby books, I am really focusing on my postpartum journey aka the Fourth Trimester. This phase is crucial for my physical, mental, and emotional healing, and will forever leave an imprint on both my newborn and my toddler.

The books I am currently reading are…

  • the first forty days, The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. By Heng Ou with Amely Greeven and Marisa Belger.
  • The Fourth Trimester by a Kimberly Ann Johnson.

My desire to learn about the postpartum phase came about partially because of social media. On Instagram, especially, so many women are posting their pregnancy and postpartum journey. Some seem to unrealistically, “bounce right back,” while others are very honest.

As an American woman, we are always expected to “Bounce right back,” and do more faster.” These expectations are doable, but are they the healthiest? These high demands need to be replaced with more support.

When I was in the postpartum stage with Zoe, I focused on her, and our new family of three adjusted successfully. Also because I had a c-section it was very important to give myself time to heal physically.

Although, last time was a success, it wasn’t necessarily easy. This time around I want to be more prepared. This time around, it is even more important for me to SLOW down. I will be juggling both a newborn and a toddler, so I’m expecting it to be chaotic. However, by slowing down and focusing on this postpartum/Fourth Trimester phase, Zoe will have a smoother time transitioning to her new role as big sister.

“Self Care,” the big trend for 2018 – I see it on every healthy lifestyle blog. Although, it is not necessarily used when describing motherhood, it should be. The postpartum/Fourth Trimester period is not just about caring for new baby, but it is also about caring for mama too. Happy mama, happy baby. When mama is happy and feeling good, so is baby and the rest of the family.

With all that being said, it’s crunch time to really prepare for this special postpartum/Fourth Trimester phase. In the next few weeks I will be…

  • Preparing nourishing meals, that will help aid in the healing process, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Having these meals on hand, will eliminate the urge to order unhealthy take out/delivery. Not having to cook will also allow me to have all the time, relaxing with my newborn and toddler.
  • Schedule house cleaning, so I don’t have to fuss with it, and can fully relax and rest with my babies. Plus a clean house will create a comfortable, refreshing space to really enjoy while staying home.
  • When reading about the traditional fourth trimester, practiced by other cultures – it is common for mommy and baby to stay curled up in bed together, breast feeding and practicing skin on skin for the full 6 weeks. Because of my personality, this idea already makes me feel cooped up. When Zoe was born, we walked every day, and I healed up from my c-section pretty fast. I needed the fresh air and vitamin D. So although, I want to slow down, I definitely think being outside and taking leisurely walks will be more beneficial for me and my family. With that being said, remember when reading books, that these are just ideas, and it’s best to customize this phase for what works best for you and your family.

Ultimately, my goal is to help Zoe have a smooth transition to big sister and for all of us to adjust comfortably to a family of four.

Did you prepare for the fourth trimester?

Six weeks with Zoe

The days go by so fast…

It seems like just yesterday we were leaving the hospital as a new family of three.

I remember the car ride home. Baby Zoe’s first time outside. I thought she would be peacefully sleeping, but nope, her eyes were open wide. At only three days old, she looked out the window,¬†taking in the light from the sun – curious and alert.

zoe new born

It is hard to believe that today Zoe is six weeks old.

It has been quite the roller coaster ride, lots of ups and downs, but nothing less than fabulous.

Here’s what we have been up to for the last six weeks.

Week 1–¬†Everyone trying their best to adjust.

We spent week 1 adjusting. We were quite lucky that Elissa was able to watch our dogs for us. That way, Erik and I didn’t have to worry about their reaction to our new baby girl. Instead we were able to spend the time focusing on our new born – cuddling and loving her. That week, Zoe didn’t sleep in her bassinet, but instead we all slept together on our couch in the living room.

Because my¬†mom had the whole week off from work, she cooked us delicious meals every night. Mrs. W also stopped by with a homemade dinner, and Ali brought us cookies. We definitely didn’t¬†stave, and never had to clean up a dirty kitchen.

Other things that happened this week…

Although, it was hot summer weather, we took our first walks together with the running stroller. While we are inside, Zoe loves her (4 moms) rockaroo chair.

Week 2Still adjusting.

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Should I yawn, cry, eat, poop… Zoe didn’t know what to do with herself. At week two, she was still adjusting to¬†this big beautiful world. In addition, we were still getting to know each other. I read tons of baby books and took all the classes. But everything I researched or decided on, the complete opposite happened. The books are great- knowledge never hurts, but when it comes to the care for my daughter, I have come to the conclusion that following my instinct is the best way.

I also have realized I do not know very many lullabies, so I have been singing Christmas carols. Zoe loves Silent Night, and Holy Night.

Other things that happened this week…

Zoe’s belly button healed, so she got promoted from sponge baths. Zoe also got to experience a bottle and pacifier for the first time. She had her newborn photo shoot, and got to meet her, Poppy, Gramps, Grams, and Aunt Jackie.¬†

Jackie came to visit.

Jackie was very helpful and great with the baby. Zoe melts into Jackie’s arm when she holds her. They spent most of the time cuddling, however, we did go out for lunch a couple times and was able to enjoy the last days of summer. Jackie also helped me learn how to use my Solly wrap. I love babywearing Zoe, and she loves being worn snug in her wrap close to her mama.

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Week 3 Erik goes back to work, but Gran and Nana came to visit.

I was so happy Erik was able to take off three weeks to be home with Zoe and I. It was important for all of us to share this special time together and adjust as a family. He was also a huge help to me, considering I was recovering from a c-section. He was awesome, treating me like royalty, waiting on Zoe and I.

Once he went back to work and Jackie left, Gran and Nana arrived. They came with tons of gifts – including hand knitted sweaters, hats, and booties, and some vintage pieces that her Gran wore when she was a child. Again we walked with the stroller, and went to lunch in Pentagon Row and Old Town. Zoe loved meeting her Gran and Nana, it was a fun visit.

Other things that happened this week…

Zoe loves splashing in her bath tub. She also loves getting a baby massage and reading books, before bed. Her neck is getting stronger, and she can now hold her head up pretty well.

Week 4 Play dates, schedules, and routine.

This week Zoe turned one month old.

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We spent time meeting other babies. (All at different times,) we met up with, Cordy, Piper, Jo Jo, Sheam, and DD. It is fun to have so many friends who have had baby girls this year.

Zoe is also more playful. We put her in her crib at Gam Gam’s house and we introduced her to her peek-a-boo bear. She loved it.

I have also realized that Zoe loves the water sound of the shower, and the hair dryer sound. It is either a form of white noise, or maybe she likes it because it is familiar to her, since I worked in the salon shampooing and blow drying clients up until 2 weeks before she was born. This is great news, because I have absolutely no problem getting ready in the morning.

This week I also¬†worked hard trying to read Zoe’s cues. By learning when she is tired or hungry, I have been able to come up with an eating schedule and sleeping routine. I now know that Zoe likes¬†a¬†nap around 10 or 11 am. She has her fussy time in the early evening. And she likes to start getting ready for bed around 8:00 pm.

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Other things that happened this week…

Zoe is now grasping objects with her hands. She loves her car seat, long walks, her Solly wrap. She also loves music, books, bath time, and baby massage.  

Week 5–¬†Zoe hangs out with Aunt Emily.

Meets baby Jasper.

Great” Grandma and “Great” Grandpa came to visit.¬†

Emily took the week off, so we got plenty of days to hang out with her. Emily read Zoe books, we went shopping, and we went on walks.

Mariana came into town with baby Jasper. And although, Zoe was sleeping, it was fun seeing Jasper again. He grew so much since the last time I saw him.

Then “Great” Grandma and “Great” Grandpa arrived. Zoe loved cuddling in Great Grandpa’s lap while he rocked her. Great Grandma gave her tons of gifts including some Boise State attire. It was a very special visit.

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Other things that happened this week…

Zoe starts to bat objects with her hands. She also is soothed by sounds of our voices and is instantly soothed when I babywear her. She has been sleeping well at night. and loves waking up in the morning by stretching out her legs and arms in her bassinet. 

Week 6–¬†Tummy Time and Smiles

This has been a big week for us. Although, Zoe had some smiles here and there in week 5, this week she is very smiley. She smiles big with her whole face, especially when we talk to her, sing to her, or play with her.

She is also much more talkative. Baby talk and cooing is the cutest thing. She is hearing us and taking everything in like a sponge. It is really fun to sing to her, because she looks at me like I have the most beautiful voice in the world, which is funny because it is quite the opposite.

Up to this point, we have been doing tummy time by putting her on her tummy during baby massage, however, this week I knew it was time to introduce her to a tummy time mat. She got one as a gift at her baby shower, but because she bats things with her hands and loves to kick her legs, I thought it was important to find one that had objects hanging down. This way she can be stimulated on her back as well as her tummy.

After a long debate on which one to get at Buy Buy Baby, I went with the Super Sensory Play Mat. This mat had both black and white and bright colors. The fabric it is made out of has both patterns and textures. There are toys that hang down that rattle when she kicks or bats them. There is also a star that plays music and lights up, along with two mirrors that she looks into. Zoe absolutely loves it. Every time I put her on her mat, she moves her arms and kicks her legs with excitement.

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Another toy I introduced to her this week, are her ankle animals. She loves these as well, because they rattle when she kicks her legs.

12108915_10102777640458306_2441717050109473123_nIt is fun as the weeks go on to see how much Zoe changes and what she discovers. I love seeing her evolve into the little person she is and has yet to become.

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You are beautiful Zoe Annalise, and you complete our little family.

Love you to the moon and back. 

xo

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

How to create a Birth Plan…

motherhood

 

“We go into labor as one person, but emerge as another.” – Roni Jay

This post was written during the week before my due date, August 15th, 2015. In other words, Zoe was not born yet, and I had not experienced labor and delivery. 

Birth Plan – Is it helpful to have one or not?

I’ve known ladies who have written up their birth plans – which are pages long… I want this, but I do not want that. Then labor happens, and nothing goes as they planned it. All¬†the time and dedication they spent on planning, goes out the window, and afterwards these ladies feel disappointed when things don’t go in the direction they thought or expected.

Because of this, I was hesitant to write out a birth plan. After all, pregnancy has taught me there are things you just can’t control.

Anyway, after a lot of thought, I finally decided to write a short birth plan. And although, my plan is written up and reviewed by my doctor, I know this is just a plan that could change anytime. I will be flexible and opened minded, with the end goal of keeping my baby and myself safe.

When writing up my plan, I thought of my own profession, hair styling.

As a hair stylist my worst nightmare is to have a new client sit in my chair who tells me, “Do whatever you want.” I normally laugh, because they are lying to me. Don’t tell me this when I know there are things you do not like. Because of this idea, I decided a short birth plan would be helpful. I don’t think the nurses at the hospital would want me to be in active labor screaming, “Do whatever you want?”

On another note… As a hairstylist, it is equally hard, to have the client, who maps out exactly what they want, when they do not have the hair texture, face shape, or skin coloring, for the look they are demanding. With that being said, a very demanding mama with a well detailed long birth plan, might be expecting the impossible.

By keeping these two ideas in my mind, while writing up my birth plan, I was able to avoid being to extreme, and stay balanced.

How to create a birth plan?

There are tons of example birth plans online. The two that I used as guidelines were written by The Bump, and Earth Mama Angel Baby.

Start your birth plan with general information. This includes…

  • Name:
  • Partner’s Name:
  • Due Date:
  • Doctor’s Name and phone number:
  • Hospital
  • Pediatrician:
  • Blood Type, including if you received Rhogam and the date received.

Then move on to what you want during labor…

  • What kind of birth is your delivery planned as?
  • Who do you want present before, after, and during labor? Don’t forget to include hospital or birth center staff, doctors, nurses, students, residents, interns, doula, midwife.
  • What do you want when it comes to food or drink during labor?
  • Do you want continuous fetal monitoring? Do you want a portable monitor so you can walk around?

If you need to be induced…

  • What natural methods would you like to try for induction?
  • Are you okay with medical staff breaking your water, if it hasn’t broken yet? This may speed up or jump start labor, but it also gives you a time limit. There is only so much time that a baby can stay inside once your water is broken.
  • Are you okay with receiving Pitocin? Pitocin can speed of labor, however it also can put baby under stress.

Pain relief methods…

  • What natural methods would you like to try for pain relief?
  • Are you okay with receiving an Epidural? Epidural will take away the pain, but it is also known to slow down labor.

During Delivery…

  • Do you want options to request birthing tools, such as birthing ball?
  • Are you okay with forceps usage?
  • Are you okay with vacuum extraction?
  • Do you want to be guided on pushing, or would you rather naturally push depending on how your body feels?
  • Do you want the option to touch your baby’s head as it crowns?
  • Do you want a mirror available to see the birth?
  • Would you like a episiotomy?

If you have to have a C-Section…

  • Who do you want to remain with you in an event of c-section?
  • Do you want the surgery explained to you?
  • Do you want hands free to touch the baby?
  • Do you want skin on skin and to breastfeed as soon as possible?

Cutting of the cord…

  • Do you prefer delayed cord clamping?
  • When do you want the cord cut?
  • Who do you want to cut the cord?
  • What do you want to do with the placenta?
  • Is it okay to give routine pitocin to help the placenta deliver faster and to prevent bleeding?

Immediately after Delivery…

  • How soon after birth do you want to hold your baby?
  • Do you want us to wait to clean the baby until after skin on skin and first feeding?
  • Do you want all newborn procedures delayed until after skin on skin and first feeding?

Family members and other visitors…

  • Who will get unlimited visiting? Husband? Partner?
  • Are you okay with other visitors coming to your room? Who does this include and when?

Lactation Consultant…

  • Is it okay to have a lactation consultant come to your room?

Baby’s Medical Procedures…

  • Are you okay with immunizing your baby according to normal procedures?
  • Do you know what PKU testing is? If not have it explained?

If your baby is not well…

  • Do you want to accompany your baby to the NICU or other facility?
  • Would you like to breastfeed or provide pumped breastmilk?
  • Would you like to hold your baby whenever is possible?

End your birth plan with…

What additional things you would like for your baby? And … What you do¬†NOT want for your baby.

So there you have it… These were all of the main things I included in my Birth Plan. But again, this is just a plan, that gives the hospital staff an idea of which direction I prefer to go in. Things may change, and I will go with the flow.

What ended up happening…

Things changed and I just went with the flow… ¬†Turns out that a lot of stuff that I included in this Birth plan – the exact opposite happened. But at the end, Erik, Zoe, and I are happy and healthy.

“Even though an “ideal” birth isn’t an outcome you can control, if you are prepared, you can come close.” – Alicia Silverston from The Kind Mama

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

My Top Pregnancy Q & A

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My Top Pregnancy Q & A

I explained to you in my previous post, that pregnancy brings on a never ending interrogation.  People ask you a ton of questions. Some of these questions can be quite annoying while others are fun. These are the most common questions I get asked, along with my personal answers.  

 

1) How are you feeling? 

Knock on wood – I don’t want to jinks myself. But as of now, I¬†am feeling good, hopefully, everything will stay that way. The only time I felt really uncomfortable, was the last 3 weeks of work. The uncomfortable feeling began around 35 weeks. It was like I flipped a switch. My feet began to swell. My belly button popped out. I couldn’t get out of bed, I had to roll over. None of the clothes I owned seemed to fit. I was on my feet all week at work, and feeling really heavy. Not very sexy at all. I’m really glad I have had the last two weeks to relax at home before the baby comes. It has made a huge difference in my swelling feet. I feel pretty rested and energized. However, I am still resting up for delivery day. It is going to be a pretty intense workout.

2) Are you having a boy or a girl?

Although, everyone guesses boy, because my baby bump goes straight out. I am not having a boy. Instead, I am having a sweet beautiful baby girl.

3) Have you come up with a name? What name have you chosen?

Names are hard to decide on, but I have had a long list for a while. There are tons of beautiful names out there, but finally my husband and I have narrowed it down to two names. We are going to decide when we meet our baby.

3) Is the baby nursery ready? What is the color scheme or nursery theme?

Yes, please ready my Nursery post, for ideas and inspiration.

4) What foods have you been craving?

I never had weird food cravings. Really the only thing I have craved this whole pregnancy has been FRUIT. At the moment, I eat watermelon, every day. I also make fresh watermelon juice.

5) Did you experience morning sickness? What pregnancy symptoms have you had?

I did not experience morning sickness. In some occasions, when I didn’t have a chance to eat, I would feel a little queasy, but never threw up.¬†However, I did experience other symptoms, such as pregnancy brain, fatigue,¬†nesting, swelling feet.

6) Did you have a maternity photo session?

Yes I did, and it was lovely. Check out the photos. If you are planning to do a maternity photo shoot check out these tips.

7) Have you been running? In what ways have you been staying active? 

No, I have not been running. I never though I would say this… but I don’t enjoy running pregnant at all. I will write a future post in more detail about why I have chosen not to run while pregnant.

However, I have stayed pretty active, and still have fitness goals. I have been doing some light weight, and body weight exercises, walking, and a little swimming. (Swimming is awesome when you have swelling feet.)  But out of everything I fell in love with prenatal yoga. I started at Journey Yoga Studio, but have been alternating every week between  Refresh Yoga Studio, and Mind the Mat Yoga Studio.

8) How much weight have your gained?

I have gained 33 pounds. ¬†At first I was really worried about the weight gain, but my doctors are not. As long as your doctors don’t see a problem, and you are staying active and eating healthy, don’t worry about it. Weight gain is out of your control. It will be interesting to see how much I loose on delivery day, and once I start working out intensely again.

9) Where are you registered?

I am registered at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon. I got pretty overwhelmed with creating a baby registry. If you feel the same read my, How to Create a Baby Registry, blog post for tips.

10) Did you have a baby shower? 

Yes, we had a bumble bee themed baby shower, in celebration of mom and pop to be(e) and Baby Leonard to be(e.)

11) Did you have a baby moon?

Yes, we did have a baby moon. At the end, of April, we escaped the cold and went down to Del Ray Beach, Florida and South Beach Miami. It was amazing. ¬†We also took another beach trip in late June, to Martha’s Vineyard.

12) When is the due date?

My due date is August 15th, 2015. 3 more days to go. Hopefully, she will not come too late.

13) Have you taken a birthing class?

Nope! I’m just going to wing it. I trust my body, and my doctors. Plus, prenatal yoga has helped me with deep hip openers, strengthening the pelvic floor, breathing techniques, and birthing positions. ¬†I am also going to use some of my marathon mental strategies, such as having a Mantra, and listening to music to help me push through.

14) What is your birthing plan? Are you going to be natural? Are you going to have an epidural?

As long as my baby and I are safe, I am going to stay natural/drug free as long as possible. But again, I don’t know how I will feel because this is my first time. I’m not opposed to an epidural. I also wrote a short birthing plan, which focuses on key points that are important to me, for after delivery.

15) Are you having a home birth or hospital birth?

Hospital birth.

16) Are you using a midwife/doula or an OB?

Nurses and OB at the hospital.

17) Are you going to breastfeed?

Breast is best for baby, so if these boobs work, then yes I plan on it. But because this is my first time, I’m just going to see what happens. Plus, every baby and mom are different – it may be easy for some and harder for others.

18) What are you doing for child care?

Still figuring it out. But, again I’m going to try an idea I have and see if it is a good fit.

19) How much time are you taking off for maternity leave?

 

About 10 weeks. I am hoping baby isn’t too late, so I have as much time with her as I can get.

20) When do you return back to work?

I plan to go back to work October 18th.

So there you have it my top pregnancy Q & A – the most common questions I have gotten while pregnant. I hope you enjoyed the answers.

To all the moms out there –¬†What pregnancy question have you been asked?¬†

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Nursery: To do, or NOT to do.

When you are pregnant, you get asked the same questions over and over. One of the repetitive questions asked is – “Do you have the baby’s nursery ready?” Everyone wants to know what color scheme and cute baby theme the nursery will be. And although, coming up with ideas, and putting the nursery together is one of the most fun things to do to prepare for your baby, it isn’t a top priority.¬†

At first the questions about the baby’s room really annoyed me. I always have a long list of more important things to accomplish. For example, finding a pediatrician, and researching delayed cord clamping, although these things are not as fun as interior design, they are much more important.

Plus, your baby doesn’t really know what they are looking at. With that being said, all of the cute nursery accessories are not really for baby, but rather to please mom.

I didn’t worry too much about the baby’s room. And, when it comes to baby stuff, I have tried to stay as minimalist as possible. At this point, I have the essentials, and feel successful with keeping things minimal. But even the essentials need to be put away somewhere.

However, as time went on… suddenly, my mind changed… I had a total change of heart.

Maybe it was the urge to nest. Maybe it was the pile of baby stuff, in the corner of my living room. ¬†Whatever it was… at 8 months pregnant, I found myself eager to start putting the baby’s room together.

In late June, when we got home from Martha’s Vineyard, I had a total freak out. I literally started to cry, sobbing, “There is shit everywhere, and the baby’s room isn’t done.”

My husband came to the rescue! I will never forget his response. He calmly said, “Babe, I got this shit.” Then he ran upstairs and painted the baby’s room and set up the crib.

Now, I’m not the type of person to half ass a job. If I’m going to do something, I give it my all. So now that¬†I have decided to prepare a nursery, I’m going all out. ¬†After that, I was able to organize things. We got a bookcase from Pottery Barn baby. We ordered a rug. Blinds went up. Things were looking good. My baby more than anyone, deserves a beautiful space in our home, to call her own.

I will reveal our baby’s nursery in a later post. But for now, I would like to share with you some baby rooms that inspired me. I used these rooms as a guide to help me create my own.

Our color scheme for our baby’s nursery is Gray walls, White furniture, and accents of Pink. ¬†Our theme is¬†elephants.¬†Elephants are special to my husband and I because we visited an elephant sanctuary when we were in Thailand. We have a special love for elephants. And we plan to frame photos of us riding the elephants we played with in Chang Mai.

1) The picture below goes with our color scheme. I love the pink window treatments, shelves, chandelier, crib, mirror, and dresser with changing pad on top. cafdd8e9466edb60d8020eddd0233c25

2) Again photo below has our color scheme. I like the mirror, the chandelier, the photo gallery, and the dresser with changing pad idea. 2a6221f6c824215cc3799b53ae34bf25

3) Photo below has our color scheme. I love the pink window treatments, with a decorative rug. I also love the chandelier. We are planning on keeping our window treatments simple because we have a pattern on our rug.

ec9dd668cd59d46e95742bf170177031

4) In the photo below, I like the chandelier, the mobile, and the pink elephant toy.31be20d080f5f87553043a83fc9d62c7

5) The photo below has our color scheme. I like the¬†chandelier, and the elephant stuffed animal. I also like the window treatments. This is another option for us, if we can’t find pink black out curtains that we like.¬†3eb175da4aaeaccb08e367f4e1a3a91d

 

6) The room below is my FAVORITE!! I absolutely love this room. The crib in this picture is the exact same one we have for our baby. I love the mirror, the crib skirt, the shelves, and the gold dot decals. I also love the vintage dresser, with changing pad on top.

009ca98875228a0b002edd22f58059737) I LOVE this sitting area – that can be used for nursing or reading. At the moment we do not have a space for a chair because we still have a full size bed and adult dresser in the room. But I absolutely love this. I did get a basket. Baskets can be used in many different ways. I also have a fuzzy pillow in gray. I hope to have a space similar to this in the near future.

3fe44e2511d68bc61127200f6ced18c28) I love all the elephants in this room. If you love elephants and need to create a gender neutral room, this room would be great inspiration for you. d04c63782f5d0220b9a1cfd8933168129) I love this big elephant toy. I also love the shag rug and the black crib, similar style to the one we got for our baby, but in black instead of white.

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10) Below is the exact crib we have, but in black instead of white. I also love the small chandelier in this photo. I love the framed art Рwe are doing white frames and pink frames instead of black. The rug in the picture is similar to the one we have, but in blue instead of pink. 82702546eba93384e7c5555220d23571

 

11) In this last picture I am going to share with you, I love all the elephants, the shelves, and the dresser with the changing pad on top. The rug is very similar to the one we have in our baby’s room, but blue instead of pink.¬†50f32e65bb6c02cc8b858e3bf06569ce12) If you are really into books. This reading corner is a very fun idea. The way to collect a ton of children’s books is to have people bring your books instead of cards for your baby shower.

a9d75d30adb96a08f47b089a4a328a88Anyway, these were all of the photos that most inspired me on setting up the perfect nursery for my baby. I hope they help inspire you as much as they did for me. I promise to share with you in the near future some photos of my baby’s room.

but in the mean time…

I would love to hear from you… please comment below…

Do you think it is a necessity to have a baby’s nursery?

What is your favorite color scheme and theme for a baby nursery?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

 

 

Our Bumble Bee themed Baby Shower

I love the month of June.

And this year June was busy.

Literally, every weekend was booked.

My two favorite weekends this June were… ¬†the weekend we had our baby shower, and the weekend my husband and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary.

(Because I already wrote a short anniversary post.) Lets talk about the baby shower.

This shower was super special to me, because¬†I never had a bridal shower, so this was my very first shower ever. The shower was planned by my mom and older sister. My younger sister and cousin came down to help with preparations. These ladies went above and beyond. I couldn’t have asked for a more fabulous shower.

It is finally summer and I am having a summer baby.

I also love everything seasonal… so my sister and I came up with a bumble bee theme. This theme was totally appropriate because it celebrates both our baby to be(e) and my husband and I… as mama and papa to be(e).

11407029_10102570932123466_7736887149609009418_n

Everything was yellow.

Yellow flowers…¬†

11235386_10102570975471596_3665407603461285782_n

more flowers…

10424323_10102571046963326_6424111744360407629_nyellow bumble bees…11406636_10102570943011646_3724344667608763612_n

lemons and lemonade screaming summer, summer baby.

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We had the most delicious food ever. I’ve been pretty obsessed with watermelon so of course I had to have some.¬†10341974_10102570975546446_3965448181379601562_n

more food…

15514_10102570975516506_5713872732054154519_n

food was everywhere…

11401034_10102570975571396_1914957495128536103_nmoss and bee detail was a nice touch.

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My bff Mariana had the most amazing cake made for the shower!¬†535952_10102571049363516_856342138403581851_nBee hive cake with a baby on top…

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This cake tasted amazing too!

As I said earlier, my mom, sisters, and cousin went above and beyond.

There were cute decorations all over the place. These small details were so perfect. 

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11660_10102570932163386_9023129214374593669_n

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549343_10102570943076516_3291713415041197040_n

11402687_10102571047437376_693106086892930831_n

There were two shrines.

A grandma one…1795658_10102570969254056_5629331531719633638_n

and a shrine in honor of my husband and I and our growing family.

11407029_10102570943046576_4456407192958739110_nOne of my favorite things about this shower was that we had both men and woman guests. All girl showers are fun, but not my style. It was important to me to include my husband. So this shower, definitely had more of a summer party vibe. It was great getting everyone together.

My husband and I and the baby to be! 

11401063_10102571072122906_757324409866633240_n

Some of the boys…
11402722_10102571074837466_3359765712500071828_nBFFs Rachel and I…¬†

1480710_10102571064972236_5689474832239360122_n

BFF Mariana and I with her baby Jasper…11393035_10102571064987206_3182942543286090071_n

Me and baby Jasper. One of the cutest baby boys I know. He even wore shorts with bumble bees on them for the occasion. 

10986821_10102571054468286_6049763562757216218_n

Lindsay and I, at the time, both pregnant with baby girls. Her baby Piper was born last month. 

11351165_10102571068390386_3620987603205127943_n-1All of us Dorsey girls…

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Another thing that I loved about this shower was that we made it an open house. It started at 4:00, but because it was an open house our guests could come and go as they pleased. This also meant that I didn’t rush through opening baby gifts. Instead I opened them either when the individual was leaving or later on my own time, when I could really take my time enjoying each present as I opened. (Note: If you have the time to hang out at your shower, I highly recommend an open house. That way you can spend the time, but your guest can come and go as the please.)

Everyone showered us with the best gifts. We are so lucky!

These are just a few I got pictures of…

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My sisters, the aunts to be, got us this…¬†

11148406_10102571047477296_6265009010668054714_nThe Small’s got Erik a present that he can use with the baby.

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11401179_10102571072666816_853280056643332771_n

We got some amazing handmade stuff…

including a quilt from Erik’s grandma, and a blanket from my Aunt... (blanket is in the photo.)

11248806_10102571081359396_1377958907931538776_nA beautiful knitted pair of socks and hat, made by Erik’s mom, grandma to be.¬†

11401453_10102571088185716_4543532180058885348_n

We didn’t want the¬†shower to end, so we let it go on pretty late. It was really fun to hang out, later that night on my mom’s back deck.¬†10537020_10102571088594896_177979312647970216_n-1I am so lucky I was able to have such a beautiful shower. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who helped plan and prep this shower – especially, my mom, Sue Small, my sisters, my cousin Colleen, and my BFF Mariana. I also want to thank everyone who came to celebrate with us – you showered us with the most precious baby gifts and it was fun seeing everyone. And to those who couldn’t make it, I am also very thankful, you went out of your way to send baby Leonard beautiful, thoughtful baby gifts – Thank you so much.

thanks bee(Thank you cards made by Sue Small.)

It is hard to believe that our bumble bee themed baby shower was almost two months ago. Now that it is August, it is baby Leonard’s birthday month. Erik and I are beyond excited to meet our baby girl in 2 weeks. As we wait for her arrival, I am spending the rest of this time reading baby books,¬†relaxing and enjoying the bump.

What is your favorite baby shower theme? What is your favorite baby gift to give?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maternity Leave

Leaving work yesterday was bitter sweet, super sweet.

Bitter because…

Yesterday was my last day at the salon until my return in late October.

There hasn’t been a time when I haven’t worked, so it is weird to think I don’t have work tomorrow.

In the past, if I took 2 or 3 weeks off it was because I was (busy) traveling.

Which makes me question… do I even know how to just chill, rest, relax?

Sweet because…

My body needs rest.

Through out this pregnancy, I’ve been pretty comfortable, feeling strong and well, but around 3 weeks ago (35 weeks pregnant) things started to change, and my feet started to swell. My body was telling me… slow down and rest.

A good friend of mine, explained that the last couple weeks are the worst. They are bad, because it is God’s way of getting us over the fear of labor. If there were no bad pregnancy weeks, woman would want to stay pregnant forever.

As a hair stylist, I don’t sit down. This last week was very tiring for me, squeezing in all of my favorite clients, and being on my feet all day.

Super Sweet because…

Today is my first day of Maternity leave.

enjoy

My baby is due to arrive in 2 weeks. I can’t wait to meet her, see what she looks like, and give her a name.

People always ask, “Are you ready?” well… are you really ever ready? I am as ready as I can be. And my body is definitely ready.

 

Mostly, everything is done…

So these next two weeks will be filled with…

Resting.

Relaxing at the pool.

Reading baby books.

Preparing some meals and freezing them.

I need to be as rested as possible for delivery day.

It is going to be the most intense work out ever. 

super woman preg

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

My favorite Maternity clothing brand: Part 2- STORQ

To most woman, Fashion is important, and even more so for a mama to be.

For us, pregnant ladies, we want to have a stylish bump. However, it becomes difficult to find clothing, when every day our bodies change, growing bigger and bigger.

Earlier this week, I introduced you to one of my favorite maternity clothing brands, Ingrid & Isabel. Today, it is all about my other favorite – STORQ!

STORQ is all about the basics.

They only have a couple main pieces, which include Рa skirt, leggings, dress, and tank top. But that is pretty much all you need. On their website, they provide videos showing different ways you can use these four pieces by pairing them with accessories you may already have. All of the products come in only two options, black and white, however this summer the dress came in a couple different colors. Storq

They have bundles, which is a more affordable way to get a couple items, all at once. These bundles also make a great gift, if you have a friend or family member who is newly pregnant.

It has always been a challenge for me, to find clothes that are both stylish and comfortable. Well STORQ does both. This is really important when you are pregnant, because unfortunately pregnancy is not always comfortable.

When it comes to clothing, I first received the white tank top as a gift. I loved it so much that I then purchased both the black tank top and the black leggings. I have been living in these three pieces, pairing them with a denim vest or boots. The leggings are the softest pants I own.

They also have some beauty products.

I fell in love with the lipstick and Belly products.

The lipstick is an organic, bright red/orange color, called Wild Child. It feels good on your lips and brightens up your whole face. Storq lip

When it comes to the belly products, I have both the belly bombe and belly oil. During the winter I made my own body butter, but I like to switch things up, and once I got my hands on this belly combo, I fell in love. It is important to take care of your belly, to avoid stretch marks. So far I haven’t had one stretch mark. The belly balm and belly oil are both soothing and hydrating.¬†Storq belly

Now that my baby is coming in 2 weeks, I am on the hunt for the best nursing bras. Well guess what? STORQ just came out with intimates. Because none of STORQ’s products have ever disappointed me, I went for the bundle. These pieces arrived in a quick 2 days. Again, the fabric they use is so extremely soft.

Storq intimatesThere is one more item, that I have purchased, but because of popularity, I am still waiting for it to arrive. I am waiting for is the Carryall bag, aka baby bag.

Storq carryallI wasn’t going to get a baby bag, I was just going to use my lululemon bag, but when STORQ came out with this bag a month ago, I had to have it. I can’t wait for it to arrive in early August.

STORQ has the softest, most comfortable, basic maternity clothing. If you want a stylish bump, STORQ is the way to go.

Have you tried STORQ? What is your favorite STORQ item?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily