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Take Your Birth Plan and Light it on Fire

I wrote this a year ago and never posted it. There was too much pain and guilt that surrounded it. I hadn’t fully processed it. Today I had a long conversation with a new friend, she had a very similar experience and it gave the chance to process it and the courage to post it.

Disclaimer: I’m not saying don’t have a birth plan. Totally write one out and stick to it if you can. I’m saying that when people tell you to keep an open mind, do it. I didn’t. So many people told me not to be so fixated on what I wanted, but I didn’t listen. You can only control so much of what will happen in a a delivery room.

Almost a month ago, I went into the hospital to be induced. This was the first thing going wrong in my birth plan. Two weeks prior I had gone in for a doctor appointment and my doctor nonchalantly handed me my induction date. We had discussed this earlier in the pregnancy due to chronic hypertension. However, it had never been mentioned again so I figured we were doing it all natural and waiting. Wrong.

The evening I went in I was a bundle of nerves. I had stressed myself out so much. I had read too much about being induced online. I had worked myself up. We checked-in at the hospital and they got us into our labor and delivery room and started prepping me. They checked vitals and everything else. My temperature was hovering around 99 degrees the whole time. Something was off. The lovely nurse who was with me that night then tried putting my IV in and blew up the first vein. Everything was off to a great start. She couldn’t find a vein in my arm so she ended up putting it in the back of my hand which was painful and made it impossible to do anything with my right hand. Carlos and I tried sleeping that night and I waited for the medicine to start my contractions.

They started the next morning after they started me on Pitocin. At first these were fine, a little painful but not bad. I got my new nurse in the morning, the nurse who I needed more than anything that day. She was a sweet older woman. My plan was to go all natural aside from the induced labor. Around 11am, I had my first painful contraction. I thought I was fine, but my heart rate set alarms of. It went up to over 200. My nurse came in and was shocked, she held my hand and asked what scared me. I said I wasn’t sure. That is when we all decided collectively that I was going to do an epidural. Though I wasn’t yet feeling physical pain from contractions, but my body wasn’t handling them well. I needed to do something that would keep myself and my yet to be born son safe.

They sent me my second angel, the first being the nurse. This one was David, the anesthesiologist. He calmed my nerves, explained everything to me. He then assuaged my guilt for getting an epidural. He reminded me that medical improvements have made give birth safer. That an epidural isn’t this evil thing people make it out to be. That if epidurals existed when the cavemen were around, they would have chosen it to. His calm, kind demeanor helped tremendously.

I labored all day. My nurse was determined for me to give birth during her shift, she wanted to be with me. Luca had other plans. Throughout my labor everyone kept saying “He’s sunny side up” and my husband and I kept asking what they meant. They told us he was facing up and we asked what that meant for him or for me and no one would answer. Looking back I’m sure they just didn’t want to stress me out. My doctor came to visit me twice, and during both those times she was absolutely horrible to this sweet nurse who really was taking on quite the motherly role with me. I was frustrated. At the end of that nurses shift she sat with me a long time and the nhanded me off to a sweet younger nurse who was training another nurse too.

Around 10pm I was finally dilated enough and those lovely nurses were doing everything they could to try to get Luca to flip over. At 11pm, the doctor on duty came in. That’s when she dropped the bombshell that we would probably be looking at a c-section. I started sobbing, no one had mentioned this to me before. I had never even had a major surgery. I lost it. The doctor looked at me and said “Why are you upset? Why are you crying?” Immediately I hated her. The nurses weren’t pleased with her either, I could tell. I told the doctor I wanted to keep trying and she said “Well, let me know when you get tired of trying” and left. I tried for a while longer, but felt broken. 30 minutes later this horrible doctor sent in some assistant who said, “She wants to know if she’s done trying yet.” I broke completely. I told those sweet nurses I couldn’t do it anymore. I sobbed until I couldn’t cry anymore.

David came back, to give me more stuff for the c-section. Local anesthesia among other things. He talked me through the c-section, calmed me down. Helped Carlos get ready to also go in with me to the surgery, talked us through everything, When we got to the operating room, David still was with us. On my right side, making sure I was ok. Telling me what was happening to my body, I was shaking uncontrollably, I thought I was cold but I guess it was adrenaline from some drug they had given me. At one point the curtain had slipped and I could the operation happening in the reflection of the light fixture above me. It was a lot to witness… luckily David once again saw what had happened and fixed the curtain. Within minutes my son was out, and Carlos was holding him. They brought him to me so I could see him and then they both disappeared while I was sewn up.

My husband said it felt like forever until I was wheeled into the recovery unit. I was finally able to hold my son. It was well after midnight and I was exhausted and starving. The sweet nurses sat with us in the recovery unit.

The next morning, my nurse from the day before, who was stationed in the labor and delivery unit came ot find me. She gave me a hug, she couldn’t help it and I was glad she did. It was mid pandemic, hugs weren’t a thing but she knew what I needed.

We ended up being in the hospital for 6 days because Luca was jaundiced. It was challenging. Every day they told us we couldn’t leave I would cry. I just wanted to go home. Had it not been for the amazing nurses, I don’t know what I would have done.

Giving birth is crazy beautiful, but there are major challenges that I feel are swept under the rug. Should you have a birth plan? Sure. Should you put all your hopes and dreams into that birth plan? Absolutely not.

Luca will be a year in a few days, so soon I will be sharing all the lessons I ave learned about myself in this first year of motherhood 🙂

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I’m here…I’m back.

Hello. Hello, blog. I’m still here.

Sometimes I have to remind myself of that. I’m still here.

This past year has been the best and the hardest year. Actually, the past 18 months have been the most challenging.

On March 10, 2020 I found out I was pregnant. It was such great news. That week was also my last week of my Master’s program and the week before Spring Break. I was so excited and so nervous for what was to come. On March 12th I got a text saying we were going on Spring Break early and for 2 weeks because of Coronavirus. On March 13th I got a text saying our last class for my program would be virtual. On March 15th, we went to brunch for my friend’s birthday. We hugged at the end of the brunch, a group hug in a rebellious act against this COVID-19. By the following week our state had essentially shut down.

No one knew, but my husband and I, that we were pregnant. On that Monday the 16th we had our first doctor’s appointment and ultrasound. It was one of the last ones my husband would get to attend. I would not have a baby shower, I would announce my pregnancy via text message and video chat. I would not see my own mom for months. I would not teach inside my classroom for a full year.

Luckily, I got to have my son, with my husband present. Luckily, I got to spend the first 5 months of my son’s life at home with him while simultaneously teaching. This meant that I now have students who love and are as attached to my son as family because they saw him nearly every day on our video calls.

I missed out on mom groups though and so I was feeling very isolated. Between being in lockdown and the sadness that comes with missing all the pregnancy firsts I started losing myself. I stopped writing. I stopped cooking and baking for pleasure. I just stopped existing as Jessica.

So now, nearly a year after my son was born, I’m trying to find who Jessica is outside of the stresses of teaching and outside of just being mom. Mom is my favorite job title I’ve ever held, but it’s not my identity and grappling with that has been a struggle. I’m looking to bring back the blog to document finding myself again. I think it’s relatable not just to moms but everyone post pandemic (during pandemic? Is it ever going to end?) I have started working on the physical. I’ve lost 17 pounds in the last few months, but I also gained about 45 during pregnancy. I want to feel better. I want to reconnect with my creativity. This is not just for me, though a big part, but so I can be my best self for both my son and my husband who are my whole world.

If you connect with this, give me a follow and come along with me on this journey of self-discovery and getting back to the root of being Jessica.

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Teaching in the Time of COVID-19

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The past few weeks have been a roller coaster. Are we teaching in person? Are we teaching remotely? A combination of the two? For how long? When? I’m pregnant; if I have to self-quarantine before having my baby, can I? Will I lose my job if I want to protect myself and my newborn’s life?

There is nothing in the world I want more than to be able to be in the classroom and give hugs and high-fives. This is not the reality we are living in, though. As I read through the requirements for in-person learning, I cried. Kids can’ t be close to each other; they can’t work with each other; they can’t share materials, etc. It seems scary and sad and not like school.

Luckily, we got the news that we would start the first quarter remote. Again, I’m pregnant, and I was terrified of being in a classroom and getting sick. There is so little known about the effects of COVID on pregnant women and newborns that I didn’t want to risk it. However, what came next were the comments in news stories about my district going remote. Yes, I do try to avoid the comment sections, but sometimes I cannot help myself. This was the most heartbreaking. Hearing that parents thought we weren’t doing our jobs. Some, including some senators in my state, thought they should be getting our pay for doing our jobs. Now, this wasn’t all parents, of course, but these voices were the loudest.

Here is the thing, since the school building closed in March, I’ve worked hard trying to connect with my students and create something they could learn from home. The trick was I had to develop things for students I knew wouldn’t have access to tech and the internet but also supply students who did with additional resources. We all knew that what happened at the end of last school year was not learning; it was survival.

Now, we are entering a new school year, and we know there has to be learning. We cannot let our kids continue without learning. So many teachers, myself included, have continued to work throughout the summer and even more so recently to try to figure out ways we could do this better should we have to be remote. Luckily, my school has put in a lot of money to ensure students can have technology at home to complete online learning. This will be my 7th year teaching at this school. I have always taught in the same classroom, mostly the same material, with a slight change last year. We were not tech-heavy, we barely used technology at the school. So, I am recreating six years’ worth of lessons, mostly from scratch. Last week I worked on a couple of lessons that could be done remotely and were interactive for students. It took roughly 5-7 hours to develop 2- 2 1/2 activities/lessons. This is for one of the grade levels I teach, and this does not include the actual teaching part. So for the parents who think teachers aren’t working right now, we are working incredibly hard. We aren’t sitting and sipping mimosas by a pool right now; I’m not watching shows on Netflix, I’m doing the best I can to provide for my students.
Now I know I can’t speak for all teachers here. I think the majority are working tirelessly, I know some probably are throwing in the towel, but they were doing that long before COVID-19 they just hid it well. I also know that there are a good majority of very supportive parents out there that know we are doing the best we can. It’s a scary, unpredictable time for all of us. It’s not convenient or even possible for some parents to stay home with their children, I get that, and I worry about that. That is a sign of a bigger broken system that wasn’t prepared for a pandemic. It is not a sign that schools are failing.

The best thing we can do in this situation is to try and pause, understand different perspectives, and stop the finger-pointing. That hasn’t helped anyone. We need to take care of each other the best that we can and get through this with grace, love, and patience. This isn’t forever. Teachers choose this career because we love what we do. It isn’t for the summers off; it isn’t for a paycheck, it’s because we love it. This is not where we thought we’d be; it’s not where we want to be. We want to be in the classroom with our kids doing hands-on projects, giving high-fives, and laughing together. But, we need to stay home to protect ourselves, families, and students. Sometimes what we want and need don’t align. Sometimes the things we need or want aren’t what is best for everyone. Occasionally, we have to make tough choices. Yet here we are trying to make the best of a hard situation and hoping that eventually we will be seen and understood.

Stay safe, friends.

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Why People Hate Yoga

Today, I was doing some yoga in my living room and about halfway through a thought popped into my brain. I remembered how before my yoga teacher training I HATED yoga, at least I thought I did. Then when the Breather for Change program popped up in 2018 I felt a very strong calling to go through the yoga teacher training (YTT). I don’t know why, but I have always felt this weird pull to complete yoga teacher training despite the fact that usually 20-30 minutes through a yoga class I want to roll up my mat and walk out. Every. Single. Time.

Even throughout the yoga teacher training, I kept thinking, “Why the hell am I here? I have no business being here.” Don’t get me wrong, Breathe for Change was one of the best experiences of my life and it was the only moment that I felt in complete alignment with everything. My anxiety decreased and I really felt happy and connected. That is not to say there weren’t moments where I was in complete self-doubt, because there were…constantly.

After the training, I didn’t jump into teaching yoga. I attempted to create classes for teachers at my school and my efforts were blocked. I also wasn’t pushing for it very hard. I was and still am working on my Master’s degree, teaching 5th (and now 6th) grade fulltime and then I started planning a wedding. To say that yoga fell by the wayside was an understatement. It became a nonexistent part of my life.  I didn’t even practice on my own. The few times I did practice that resentment returned.

Recently, I’ve been being called back to yoga. A little voice keeps telling me I need to practice and I need to teach. I started practicing again, sometimes at the gym and sometimes at home. The last time I was at the gym a woman my from my YTT was subbing for the normal instructor. I took this as my sign.

This morning as I was practicing, halfway through that feeling of “just stop, it’s too hard, you hate this” came back. As I continued through my flow I realized why. I’m not used to just being in my body and not thinking about every little thing. That yoga is slow and makes you feel every little muscle you are using. It makes you focus on your breath and be in the moment. You have to focus on the moment. My mind and body are used to going a million miles per minute and in yoga, I have to hit pause. I have to focus on myself. This is why yoga makes people uncomfortable and people hate it. We aren’t used to hitting pause and living in that exact moment. We don’t want to feel into our bodies too much, we want to live in our heads. If we move fast enough and keep our minds and bodies busy enough we don’t have to really feel much.

This is exactly why humans need yoga. Especially in the fast-paced Western world, we need to learn to be in one moment, focused. We need to feel into our bodies and listen to what we need. This is hard. I realize now though, that for the last two years (probably longer) my mind and body have been in constant motion and that’s why yoga is calling me. I’m not sure what this means or how this will manifest in my future, (the free teacher/community yoga class is still rolling around in my brain though) I just know I need to be more consistent with it and more patient with myself. That’s all yoga asks of us, to allow for patience, to hit pause, and be present.

Posted in About Me, Uncategorized

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

The past few months have been difficult for me. There have been a lot of highs and lows. I’m a full-time 5th-grade teacher which I love more than anything. I’m about to start my Master’s degree in Education Leadership and Policy Studies. However, recently, I learned that I haven’t really taken care of myself all that well. I went to the doctor and learned that I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and then I also had a cancer scare. Luckily, the abnormal cells were just inflamed cells. However, this made me re-evaluate how I was taking care of myself. I realized I was overworked, eating the wrong foods, not getting enough sleep and definitely stressed out.

I was also officially diagnosed with an anxiety disorder which is exacerbated by PCOS and definitely exacerbated by the wrong foods and not having enough sleep.

This is what lead me to want to research how to take better care of myself and hopefully help other people take care of themselves. Whether you have some kind of illness or just want to feel better overall, hopefully, this blog will help you. I’m going to be posting my trials and tribulations and discussing what works and what doesn’t…for me. I’m not a nutritionist, I’m not a doctor, I’m not a fitness guru. I’m just the average human being, teaching smaller human beings and wanting to live a happier healthier life.


Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton