27 Weeks…and the dreaded glucose test :(

Last Sunday marked 27 weeks!!  I can’t believe in another week I will already be in my 3rd trimester!  YIKES!  This pregnancy is flying by…and I am so NOT ready for baby boy!  Good thing I have another few months left!

I was able to check ‘decide on a nursery theme’ off our list in the last couple weeks which has been good because now we can get going on putting his room together!  With M I knew all along what I wanted her nursery to look like, but this time around I struggled to find something that I really loved.  We ended up deciding on a basic navy, white and light blue pattern of stripes.  It’s super cute and I can’t wait to share the final product with you!  Hubby and my mom have all week next week off so once we get through Christmas, it’s operation put together baby’s room.  As excited as I am for this, I’m not going to lie I’m also a little sad.  You see in order to set up his room, we have to move the crib in there…which means moving it out of M’s room!!  Can it be possible that my baby girl is really ready to be in a big girl bed?!  AHHH!!!!  That makes this mama a little sad!  But we’re trying to get her excited about it (and get her used to it wayyyy before he gets here) so pray for us that the transition goes smoothly (both for M and mommy and daddy! :))

Anywho, yesterday I had my 4-week check up with my midwife.  Everything went great and baby boy is growing and his little heartbeat sounded fabulous.  Hooray!  Along with my check-up I had to have my blood drawn to measure my hemoglobin levels and for the glucose test.  Now, in my humble opinion this whole glucose test thing is one of the worst parts of pregnancy!!!!  I’m serious!  I hate it!  That drink is just plain terrible!  I may or may not have had a bad experience with M (I failed the 1 hour, had to do the 3 hour, threw it all up about an hour in, had to reschedule and go back a couple days later to do it all over again, only to throw up again…. sigh…. long story short I got through it and passed, and lived to tell the story! :)) but perhaps this contributed to my dread and doom these last few days leading up to it yesterday.  So I did a bunch of research ahead of time and talked to my midwife, found out I needed to schedule my appointment early in the morning (because apparently your body processes things better early in the day), ate a protein full breakfast, may or may not have only drank 3/4 of the crap and away I went to my appointment.  I was determined to pass this time on the first try!!!………  and then I didn’t. 😦  So… it’s off to the 3 hour test next week…wish me luck!  Does anyone have any tried and true tips or tricks for me?!  PS – did you know that nearly 1/4 of women fail the 1 hour test, yet only 2-5% end up actually having gestational diabetes!?  UGH!

27 weeks

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It’s been awhile… here’s what we’ve been up to!

Well hello there strangers!  It’s been awhile since my last post.  We’ve been pretty busy around here getting through the start of the holidays with the month of November and Thanksgiving, followed by my very favorite time of the year CHRISTMASTIME!  I decided I needed to set aside some time to reconnect with you all on here and fill you in on what’s new!

The biggest (and most exciting!) thing is the announcement we made to our friends and family at the end of October:

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That’s right.. we’re pregnant… with a little BOY!

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We’re so excited for him to make his arrival this spring.  My official due date is sometime the last week or so of March.  Although if he follows in his big sister’s footsteps, don’t expect him to be here until at least the last couple days of the month, if not the first part of April!!!  But, a girl can hope he’ll be on time, right?! (I don’t know what I say this, I know that he’ll arrive at just the right time for him, regardless of the date on the calendar!) 🙂

M is very excited to be a big sister!  She frequently talks to him in my belly, assumes anything blue is for “baby brother” and has even mastered saying his name.  She’s going to be such a big helper when he gets here!

So there you have it, my excuse for not blogging lately!  (it’s a good excuse, right?!) But seriously being pregnant while chasing after a 2-year-old and almost 5-month-old (I watch my niece during the day) wears a girl out!!  I can’t really complain though because other than a 7ish week bout of all day sickness (what’s this just in the morning business?!?!), I’ve been extremely blessed in that my pregnancy has been a breeze and has flown by so far!!!

So bring on the pregnancy posts, updates and baby bump pics!!

25 weeks

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Any Day Now Baby K!

So I’m about to be an aunt for the first time!!!  And I can’t wait!!  M was the first grand baby on both sides of our family, so while my brother and sister and my hubby’s sister have had a niece and gotten to be an aunt/uncle for a couple years now, this is brand new for me!  I think it hasn’t actually fully hit me yet.  Mostly because I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that my little sister is about to be a mommy!!  We’ve shared a bedroom, laughs, tears, food, clothes, make-up, and now mommy-hood!  I cannot wait for her to embark on this new journey and know that she’ll be the best mom ever to that little girl.  I’m so proud of her already!

She’ll be 39 weeks Saturday and yet as of last week, she and her husband hadn’t gotten around to taking maternity pictures yet.  So, in typical big sister fashion I told her that she had to have some taken, and whether they wanted them or not I was taking some for her!! 🙂  Now keep in mind, I am by no means a professional photographer, but I had a little help from Pinterest for inspiration.  Here are a few of my favorites!

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Isn’t she beautiful?!

Stay tuned for news of my little niece’s arrival!  Oh and by the way, she’s currently breech…so we would LOVE for your prayers that she would flip in the next week! 😉

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To Take the Class or Not…That’s the Question…

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Childbirth education classes.  Are they all they’re cracked up to be?  Are they really that important, necessary, worth your time?

It’s been a little bit since I’ve posted in my pregnancy series.  In keeping with the sequencing of preparing for baby, it seemed the next logical post should address the idea of childbirth education classes and their importance to pregnant mamas.  Let me just start out by saying that whether you’re planning, or hoping for, a natural delivery or medicated, vaginal birth or cesarean section, childbirth education classes are a MUST in my opinion.  The ultimate goal is for mamas (and dads) to have the confidence to make their own choices and decisions during the childbirth experience.  This confidence comes directly from educating oneself and being fully prepared for what is about to occur during that beautiful time.  Childbirth education classes don’t just educate; they can relieve stress and anxiety by explaining the ins and outs of labor, inform mamas of their options, teach relaxation, breathing and pain relieving techniques, create and foster a bond between mom and dad in preparation for baby’s arrival, inform dad about the process, support he can give and his role in the birth of his child and prepare new mamas for what lies ahead.

“Taking a course is not a requirement; you’ll get to give birth no matter what,” says Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting (Workman Publishing). “It’s just that they call it ‘childbirth preparation’ for a reason: it helps prepare you. It takes the mystery out of it. Information is empowering, and what you don’t know can scare you more than it should.”

Although most doctors, midwives and doulas across the country recommend their patients take some sort of childbirth education/preparation class, more and more women are choosing to forgo taking the class in exchange for doing their own research on the internet (which might explain why you’re reading this post in the first place! ;)).  According to a study by Listening to Mothers II: Report of the Second National U.S. Survey of Women’s Childbearing Experiences (Declercq, Sakala, Corry, & Applebaum, 2006), researchers found that only about 56% of women expecting their first baby took a childbirth prep class and 9% of experienced mamas took a class.  However, 82% of women included in the study claimed to have wanted more information about the birth process.  These statistics are startlingly alarming for maternity doctors, nurses, midwives and doulas.  Basically what it means is that although women admit to needing/desiring to be better informed, they are not following through with taking the classes that can give them this knowledge.  This leads to women in the delivery room who are not prepared, have no information on breathing or relaxation techniques (think this might have something to do the fact that 81% of first time moms have an epidural!?) and who have to rely whole-heartedly on their provider for advice and what to do.  Not only does this cause more work for the provider, but it also creates an experience where the mama is unable to take charge of her birth and make informed decisions on behalf of herself and her baby where she is in control.

Benefits of Childbirth Education Classes

  • Build mama’s (and dad’s) confidence in herself and her ability to give birth
  • Educate on the process of labor including stages, what to expect, duration of each stage, etc.
  • Inform mama on signs of labor, when to call your caregiver/go to the hospital or birthing center, what to do if your water breaks, how to time contractions, false labor vs the real deal
  • Give parents the ability to discuss and dispel fears and concerns not only with the childbirth educator, but also with other couples with similar concerns
  • Educate on pain management techniques including breathing, relaxation, massage, aromatherapy and pain medicine options.
  • Not only teach about breathing techniques, but also give mamas an opportunity to practice these techniques ahead of time so that she feels more prepared for labor
  • Inform dads (or birth partners) on support to give laboring mamas, what to expect and what role to take in the childbirth process (things to do, get, be in charge of, etc.)
  • Build a community of support by getting to know other couples in your class that are going through the same thing you are
  • Inform mamas of what to expect before, during and after labor, both physically and emotionally.  Including recovery information and tips.
  • Educate new parents about care of newborns – safety, feeding, diapering, overall care, how to identify illness, how to deal with fussiness, etc.
  • Give parents an opportunity to tour their birthing facility (if classes are taken at the same location) – this reduces anxiety, gets you familiar with the surroundings and eases tension when labor actually starts because you’ll know exactly where to go!

“Prepared childbirth classes remain a valuable experience for individuals who participated. In the present study, the majority of women who attended classes viewed childbirth educators and prepared childbirth classes positively. Women who attended classes were more satisfied with their labor and birth experience and felt more prepared compared to women who did not attend classes” – “Patient’s Perspectives on the Role of Prepared Childbirth Education in Decision”, Lamaze Institute

Types of Childbirth Education Classes Offered

  • Lamaze® International: a contemporary curriculum that supports birth as normal, natural, and healthy and empowers expectant women and their partners to make informed decisions.  For more info: http://www.lamaze.org
  • The Bradley Method®: helps women prepare for a natural labor and birth without the use of medication or medical interventions.  For more info: http://www.bradleybirth.com/
  • Hypnobirthing®: teaches mothers that if you remove fear and tension, severe pain does not have to be part of labor. Intense relaxation will enhance natural birthing instincts that lead to a calm and serene birth experience.  For more info: http://www.hypnobirthing.com/
  • Birthing From Within®: prepares mothers to give “birth-in-awareness,” not to achieve a specific birth outcome.  For more info: http://www.birthingfromwithin.com/

Where Do I Find a Childbirth Education Class?

Or talk to:

  • Your caregiver – doctor, midwife or doula
  • Your birth facility – hospital or birthing center
  • Friends and family
  • Community resource centers

So there you have it.  Some of the ways that educating yourself ahead of time through childbirth education classes can help before, during and after your childbirth experience.  Can you find some of this same information on the internet??  Probably, and in fact people like me would be without readers if no one used the good ol’ World Wide Web to educate themselves.  However, there is something to be said about having that back and forth conversation and relationship while learning, the ability to ask questions and get expert advice, building and fostering relationships not only between you and your spouse/birth partner, but also among other couples preparing to take the same journey as you and the educator who is a certified expert in this content and obtaining hands-on skills and practice that can only be achieved through childbirth education classes.

I get it, you’re thinking that all that breathing crap is hooey when it comes time for labor and yeah, yeah it will all go out the window when the pain gets tough… but I’m here to tell you that that isn’t always the case.  Take it from a girl who “breathed” her way through a natural childbirth.  Furthermore, don’t you suppose those breathing and relaxation techniques might come in handy later in life??  For example, when the baby has colic and won’t stop crying for hours, or when your toddler has pushed you to the limit??  Besides, these classes are about WAY more than just breathing (as we’ve already established)!  So if you haven’t done so already, do some research and get yourself signed up for a childbirth prep class.  Trust me, you won’t regret it…but if you don’t, when the going gets tough right around being dilated to 5-6…you’ll wish you had! 😉

“We could all use a little Lamaze in our life endeavors.  Between each push, remember to breathe.” -Unknown

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References:

American Pregnancy Association

Lamaze Institute, “Patient’s Perspectives on the Role of Prepared Childbirth Education in Decision”

Listening to Mothers II: Report of the Second National U.S. Survey of Women’s Childbearing Experiences

 

Wait… You Mean My Due Date is Just an Estimate?!

Everywhere you look in our society, whether it be on social media sites among our circles of friends or celebrities in the tabloids, women (and men for that matter) appear to be under some sort of screwed up notion that your due date is this magical day on the calendar when poof! your baby is ready to be born.  What they apparently fail to realize is that in fact this isn’t the case at all!

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M was born a week late.  I was teaching at the time and therefore only had 12 weeks of maternity leave to be at home with her.  Consequently I worked up until the day that she was born.  This meant 2 weeks (because people started asking/commenting a week BEFORE my due date..SERIOUSLY!?) of getting comments like: “What? Here again?” “No baby yet?” “How are you feeling, any signs yet?” “When are you going to get induced/how far past your due date will they let you go?” or my favorite, “You’re still here/still no baby?!”… YES I’M HERE, IF I WASN’T YOU WOULDN’T BE TALKING TO ME RIGHT NOW AND DO I STILL LOOK PREGNANT TO YOU, THAT MEANS NO, NO BABY!!  I hated it!  I mean I know that all of my coworkers at the time meant well, but it was seriously so annoying.  Just because I was nearing my “due date” didn’t mean that the baby would be born by that day!

So let’s set the story straight, due dates are simply an estimate.  In fact, most research states that a due date is typically within a 2-4 week window of when the baby will actually be ready to be born. According to the American Pregnancy Association, only 5% of babies are born on their actual due dates.  However, 80% of babies are born between weeks 37-42.  Due dates are typically determined based on the 1st day of the mama’s last menstrual cycle.  Providers assume that she has a typical 28 day cycle and ovulates half-way through on approximately day 14.  The problem with this method of determining one’s due date is that not all women are the same.  For me, for example, my due date with M was August 31st.  However, I got pregnant using an ovulation kit and therefore knew the exact date of conception (which was on day 21 by the way…).  When I calculated my due date on my own using the date of conception, I came up with September 4th… not so far off from her September 6th birthday.  Given this and the fact that she was born supposedly a week late weighing just a little over 7 lbs, I’m incline to believe the estimate of my due date was just a little off.

My mom has a similar story with me.  I was due August 1st and was born August 17th (over 2 weeks late supposedly) and yet I only weighed slightly over 7 lbs as well.  Kinda small for a baby 2 weeks late, huh?!  Then again since due dates are only an estimate made based on a generic formula that’s supposed to fit all women, maybe I wasn’t actually late after all!

Some people think that their ultrasounds have all the answers and can give them a more accurate due date.  Well I’m sorry to break it to you, but that thinking is wrong as well!  Prior to 18-20 weeks of pregnancy, ultrasounds have a margin of error of roughly a week and a half of predicting accurate due dates.  Between 18-28 weeks, this margin of error jumps to slightly over 2 weeks and by 28 weeks of pregnancy, ultrasound due dates can be off by over 3 weeks!!!  Apparently ultrasounds only give you an estimate as well!  Are you noticing a trend here… let me spell it out for you, your due date is a ESTIMATE!  (Let’s face it, there’s only 1 person who really knows when your baby is going to be born and it would do you good to remember it should be all on His time!)

So, why do I get so fired up about people’s over-reaction to their impending and heaven forbid passing of their due dates?!  First off because I was one of those women.  The one who had her baby past her due date and therefore had to be subject to all the annoying, unending questions.  And second (and more importantly) because of the number of women having elective inductions based on an “overdue” baby.  What happens when that 40+ week baby is actually only 38 or even 37 weeks along and isn’t ready to be born yet….. ahhh… now we’re getting somewhere.  But, that’s a post for another day… stay tuned! 😉

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A Birth Plan??

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Let’s be honest… childbirth never goes completely as planned.  Labor is one of those things that has so many influences, invariables and unknowns.  So, why write a birth plan?

As you’re preparing for baby’s arrival, in addition to your registry and packing your hospital bag, writing a birth plan is one of the things you’ll want to set time aside to do.

Why write a birth plan?

Birth plans can give women a voice and sense of empowerment over their childbirth experience.  I think that sometimes as women we are made to feel that we have no say in what happens to us in a medical setting during labor and childbirth.  We feel forced to abide by hospital protocol and routine and are given little choice in the matter.  However, this isn’t the way it should be.  More and more women are taking back their labor, educating themselves on their options and making informed decisions about their care and that of their newborn babies.  A birth plan can help you convey your wishes to your doula, midwife, OB and nursing staff prior to and during labor, in turn setting you up to have a more positive experience and help you to feel more of a sense of control.

Is a birth plan for me?

A birth plan is for everyone!  Regardless of your thoughts, wishes or expectations, it is a good idea to write a birth plan to make sure that you are on the same page as your caregiver, spouse and other family members that will be present.  Birth plans are even necessary for those of you with a planned C-section, as you still have a say in some of the things that will take place and especially in terms of care for your newborn baby.

First things first!

Prior to writing your birth plan, be sure to do some research to find out what hospital or birthing center protocols are out of your control.  This way you won’t have added stress later when your wishes aren’t obeyed during labor.  You should also be sure to have all of your questions answered by your caregiver ahead of time so that you’re well informed going into the writing process.  Finally, be sure that your spouse takes an active role in writing your birth plan, as he will likely be the one carrying out your desires as the intensity of labor jades your rational thoughts and actions! 🙂

Things to consider:

Labor

  • Who do you want to be present in the room?
  • How often do you want to be monitored for contractions/checked for dilation?
  • Do you want an automative IV upon arrival?
  • Presence of visitors, both medical and non-medical (friends/family)
  • Movement restrictions
  • Pain management resources (bathtub, birthing ball, walking the halls, massage, etc.)
  • Do you want pain medication? Would you like it offered or only requested?  Offered at what point.
  • Ways to progress labor in the event of it stalling (medicine, non-pharmacological, etc.)
  • Do you want to wear your own clothing, listen to music, have special requests for lighting, etc.?

Birth

  • Number of people present (including family and medical staff)
  • Are you will to have an episiotomy or would you rather the natural tear process?  Do you want to be notified of a repair (stitches) if need be?
  • Is there a certain position in which you want to give birth?
  • Do you or your spouse want to help “catch” the baby?
  • Who do you want to cut the cord?  Prior to or after it stops pulsing?
  • Do you want the baby brought to your chest immediately or after s/he is cleaned up?

Baby Care

  • How much skin-to-skin contact do you desire?
  • How soon after birth do you want medical procedures performed?  Who will accompany baby during initial procedures/check-up?
  • Do you want the baby to undergo all initial medical procedures? (Circumcision, vitamin K shot, eye gel/drops, hepatitis vaccine)
  • Do you want to be present for initial testing and baby’s first bath?  Do you have specific bath products you would like to be used?
  • Do you plan to breastfeed or bottle feed?  Do you want a pacifier offered?

Postpartum

  • How soon after delivery until you’d like to be able to be up walking around, eating, IV removed, etc.?

In general:

  • Your birth plan should be no longer than 1 page
  • Take the time to go over your birth plan with all those who will be present ahead of time, including your caregiver
  • Be sure to have several copies with you when you go into the hospital/birthing center (for your spouse, doula, OB/midwife, nursing staff)
  • Don’t just copy and paste information unless you understand what it’s saying and agree with it
  • Unless you have a medical background, write your birth plan in “normal” language, not medical terms

One last (important) note…

Although it’s a good idea to plan ahead and write a clear plan for how you want your labor and childbirth experience to go, it is important to remember that labor is unpredictable and each woman’s experience is unique.  Be flexible and willing to deviate off of your plan if need be.  In an emergency or abnormal situation, getting too hung up on your birth plan can just cause added (unnecessary) stress.  Remember, at the end of the day you want to have a safe experience that results in a healthy mama and baby.  It’s an added bonus is everything goes according to “plan”! 🙂

Here are some great resources!

There are lots of examples of birth plans floating around the internet for you to use as inspiration.  Here’s My Birth Plan that I wrote for M’s birth (disclaimer – there are things that I would change now before I use this birth plan for the next baby).  You should also check out Earth Mama, Angel Baby’s birth plan template – it’s a super easy step-by-step generator for creating a personalized birth plan.

Whether or not your labor and childbirth experience actually follows your birth plan, taking the time to educate yourself, take a stance and advocate on behalf of you and your new baby empowers you as a woman and allows you to take the first step in taking back your childbirth!

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**I’d love you hear about your experience!  Did you write a birth plan?  Was it followed?!  Comment below and tell me about it!!**

 

 

Photo Credit: http://www.foodfitnessandfamilyblog.com

Birth Affirmations

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Have you heard of birth affirmation flags, posters, cards and videos??  If you’ve kept up with reading my blog entries, I’m sure you can easily tell at this point that I am a huge advocate for natural childbirth and a woman’s innate ability to give birth to a baby as her body was created to do.  Therefore, although this idea of birth affirmations is new to me, I love it!

There are several ways a pregnant mama can immerse herself within the power of birth affirmations.  Here are just a few ideas:

  • Print a variety of birth affirmations on small index cards.  In the days and weeks leading up to your childbirth experience, begin and end your day reading a card to serve as a simple reminder and ease your mind.

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  • Create a video or slideshow of birth affirmations to watch during the early stages of labor.  Here’s a beautiful one from Indigo Midwifery in Albuquerque:

  • Print out and make a banner of birth affirmation flags to hang in a visible spot in the room during labor.

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  • Come up with a list of your favorites and have your hubby or doula read them to you in between contractions.

So as you start to wonder if you can really do it.  This thing called childbirth.  Pause and think about this:

“300,000 women will be giving birth with you today.
Relax and breathe and do nothing else.
Labor is hard work, it hurts and you can do it.” 
-Unknown 

If that’s not enough to remind you of your strength and power read through a few of these quotes and affirmations:

“If I had my life to live over, instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished ever moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.” -Irma Bombeck

“For you created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” -Psalm 139:13-15

“We are made to do this work and its not easy…I would say that pain is part of the glory, or the tremendous mystery of life. And that if anything, it’s a kind of privilege to stand so close to such an incredible miracle.” -Simone in Klasson 2001

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9

I think one of the best things we could do would be to help women/parents/families discover their own birth power, from within themselves. And to let them know it’s always been there, they just needed to tap into it.” –John H. Kennell, MD

“We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” -Laura Stavoe Harm

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” -Isaiah 40:28-31

“Just as a woman’s heart knows how and when to pump, her lungs to inhale, and her hand to pull back from fire, so she knows when and how to give birth.” -Virginia Di Orio

“The power and intensity of my contractions cannot be stronger than me, because it is me.”

“From birth I have relied on You; You brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you.” -Psalm 71:5-8

“The whole point of woman-centered birth is the knowledge that a woman is the birth power source. She may need, and deserve, help, but in essence, she always had, currently has, and will have the power.” -Heather McCue

 

“My body knows how to have this baby just as my body knew how to grow this baby.”

“Birth is an easy and natural occurrence for which my body has been perfectly designed.”

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And if all of those still aren’t enough to have you convinced, remind yourselves of this simple yet powerful fact… “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” -Philippians 4:13

Your body was made for this very act.  And you can do it.  Trust me.  But more importantly, trust in yourself! ❤

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