Hi friends! Happy Wednesday.
Today you’re going to meet one of my friends from college, Samantha! She is the sweetest + we have had a few discussions lately about pregnancy/exercise/mommyhood. After asking her a few questions, I thought…why not just have her come on the blog!
Ames: Hi Sam! Please introduce yourself for BalancedAmes readers!
Sam: Hi Everyone! I am a 30 yr old momma and wife. I am passionate about many things but to name a few: spending quality time with my family and friends, my career, fitness/health, and doing my part to making this world a better place. I love trying new things to challenge myself. You can find me shopping (in any form), running, enjoying wine, yoga-ing, and playing with my crazy loving boys. I can’t forget to mention my first baby….Theo is my 6 yr old shitzu. He has had a lot to deal with with two small boys joining the family but he has been great.
Ames: You just gave birth to your second son, Calvin Anthony. Congratulations! How does a family of 4 feel?
Sam: All at the same time I am overwhelmed, overjoyed, emotional, anxious, excited, and best of all EXHAUSTED :). I love my little family but we are busy! We have Rowen who was 20 months when Calvin was born end of December. Rowen is a full of life toddler who is quite busy and keeps us on our toys. Calvin on the other hand is already more spicy than his brother and at 4 weeks! It is a learning curve juggling two kids. As a mom you want to give all your love and attention equally and make sure everyone (including my husband) feels loved and cared for. Throughout my pregnancy I was worried about bringing another little being into the world. I had so much love for my first born and I thought, “how in the world would I love another child as much as I do Rowen?” As a mother that thought is terrifying. I will tell you, the love for my second came effortlessly. Your heart only expands with more love, especially when watching my toddler hug and kiss his little brother. HEART MELTED. The new challenge is carving out “me time”. Between the boys sleep schedules (lack of sleep schedules), husband working long hours, and wanting to spend time with everyone, that has been my new obstacle. It will take a little time to figure out what will work for us.
Ames: How did your pregnancies go? Were they different? What was your approach for working out // eating during pregnancy?
Sam: At some points I LOVED being pregnant and at other times I would think “when is this over”. My first pregnancy was pretty easy. I was able to be active and engage in exercise until the very end. I found a studio that focused on prenatal and postnatal exercise. I did mostly barre and yoga. The studio called Blooma even has baby wearing barre and yoga so you can continue once your babe arrives. My running routine had to end towards the 25th week and I turned my cardio into incline walks and cycling. The second pregnancy was slightly more difficult for me in the sense that my muscles were already stretched not too long before, and I was showing sooner. There was a lot more pressure which made running difficult. I turned to mostly toning, yoga, and weights. With both babes I had braxton hicks and they became pretty intense towards the end which made me slow down and take an easy with my workouts. Ames: Yes! My sister was just telling me about research she was reading that said it takes A FULL YEAR for abdominal tone to return after a baby. So what you said makes total sense and is a reason that moms show sooner with baby #2, especially if the kiddos are close in age!
Ames: I know your birth experiences were different between the two little guys. Can you share?
Sam: I had two VERY different experiences. My first little guy Rowen, was stubborn and was frank breech. I tried all tricks including an external version, chiropractics, acupressure, and crazy pelvic tilt exercises. We ended up scheduling a C section at 39 weeks due to his position. I’m thankful for the option to be able to deliver a healthy baby, even when they do not cooperate.
The second time around I was hoping for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I had made a plan with my OB and was deemed a good candidate. There are risks for uterine rupture, repeat section, etc, but I felt that I could do it. My second baby Calvin was much more cooperative on the front end and ended up coming 3 weeks early! I had a very smooth labor starting at 1:30 am and he arrived by 6:30 pm. I succeeded in the VBAC! A very special detail for BOTH of my deliveries is one of my best friends from college (Britt Celt) delivered my boys. We were lucky enough for her to be working when Calvin arrived and she was able to schedule herself to be a part of Rowen’s birth. It was very special to have such a close friend support us through two of the best days of our lives. Ames: That is SO sweet and special.
Ames: What encouragement would you give to mommas that have a C section? I ask this because I know so many mamas struggle with this.
Sam: I will say I was very discouraged when I found out I was going to need a C section. My husband and I had attended labor and delivery classes teaching us how to cope with the labor and delivery. A C section was not in my plans and barely in my vocabulary. Like I mentioned before my first born was breech and he was not going anywhere. I tried it all, but he was not going anywhere! He had his own plans and I had to be ok with that. My OB was amazing and made a plan with me to make it the best possible experience it could be. I had a bose speaker with a playlist, a clear drape so I could watch him be “born”, delayed cord cutting, and he was placed directly on my chest. Even if a C section is not in your plans and it ends of being a detail of your birth story, it’s ok, your end goal is a healthy baby. I too had to change my perspective and look at what really mattered. To all my fellow C section mommas, BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF. You just grew a beautiful life. You not only did that but had a major surgery. It is amazing that you are expected to take home a newborn and continue daily life after such an undertaking…not to mention with little to no sleep. Take one day at a time and LISTEN to your body. I was impatient when it came to resting and wanted to get back on the horse regarding activity and exercise. In the end I think I prolonged my recovery due to not taking it easy. Everything will fall into place and you soon will be running or yoga-ing before you know it. Ames: Sam! I’m just over here crying while reading Rowen’s birth story, have I mentioned how much I love birth stories? I also love the advice about taking it easy. SO IMPORTANT!
Ames: What is your full time job? Did it become harder to be a child life specialist when you had your own kiddos?
Sam: I work as a Child Life Specialist (CLS) at U of MN Masonic Children’s Hospital. When I started my career I worked with the inpatient kids and in the Emergency Deparment. As a CLS my job is to educate, prepare and support kids through new and difficult procedures. We want to make sure all kids cope appropriately during a medical stay and are not traumatized by their experience. We engage kids in medical play regarding new cancer diagnoses, surgery, transplant, and even end of life situations. I will say working with families during end of life situations doing things such as hand molds, ink prints, and sibling teaching was tolling, emotionally and physically. I always looked at it as an honor being able to be apart of such a private family situation. Our job was to navigate the family through the grief experience and support everyone from parents to siblings. BUT….once I had my first son, my perspective changed. I always felt empathetic but never REALLY had the perspective of a parent, it was was HARD. When I came back from maternity leave I was lucky enough to change move my role to an outpatient clinic position. Here I prepare kids for surgery, transplant, lab draws, etc. These kids are all well enough to visit clinic (no end of life situations) and I feel the teaching and support provided in clinic by CLS is just as important. I love my job and feel it makes me a better momma when I bring my own children to the doctor by knowing how to advocate for their needs. Ames: I just cannot imagine working with children and parents at end of life and I’m saying this as someone that does work with adults at the end of life. Thank you for doing what you do, then and now. Your work is SO important.
Ames: What is your BEST advice for working mommas? I know so many mommas dread going back to work after maternity leave, is that how you feel?
Sam: I too dreaded going back to work the first time around. I would sit and rock Rowen for hours at a time, emotional and slightly anxious. Ames: Same, I barely put Maxwell down that last week of maternity leave. I loved every minute I had home with my baby, but I also knew I loved my job. Maybe some day I will be in a position where staying home would be the best option. Right now working and getting adult time makes me my best self. I feel that I am a better momma with time away. Right now Im on my 4th week of leave with my second and I know Ill be ready to go back at the end of 13 weeks. My biggest advice would be to take care of YOU. You are important, and you won’t be able to care for anyone else until you are your best self. As a working momma your time is not your own anymore. I do long for the days I could head to the gym post work with my gym bag in my car, or sleep in and head to the gym at 10 am on a Saturday. Now I sometimes get up at 4:30 to fit in that workout and get interrupted by a crying baby at 5, or fit in a yoga session at 9pm once everyone is settled. You fit in what you are able and thats ok. Delegate chores and responsibilities if you can because you can’t do it all on your own (even though we try) :). I am lucky enough to be married to a man who although is extremely busy with work and pulls long hours and nights, is willing to help with household chores and share the responsibilities of parenthood.
Ames: I was just in a conversation with someone about how WE need to talk about the stuff that matters…it’s up to us to help change. How has being a biracial family impacted you? Do you and Lance feel like you need to prepare your sons differently than if you were not a biracial family?
Sam: Amy, this subject is very near and dear to my heart. I will say I was raised in a community with little or no diversity. I was not the most cultured kid and definitely had a lot of growing to do. Once I met my husband my eyes were opened to a whole new world. Yes it is 2017, but walking hand in hand as a mixed couple, people still stare and give looks. We have had to leave certain social situations because negative racial comments or threats have been made towards my husband. It is crazy! I honestly did not know people still acted like that (at least I thought not where I lived), but I was just ignorant and not observant. The world right now has a lot of work to do, and we are trying to do our part. We have made some choices on where to live and where we would like our children to go to school due to being a biracial family. We feel it is important for our kids to be exposed to diversity and be surrounded by kids like them. We live in the Twin Cities and at this moment a little far out in the suburbs. We hope to buy a home soon which will be located closer to the City limits. Most importantly we want to teach our children love and tolerance. We know they will encounter some difficult situations at some point. We hope that by equipping them with kind words and the right morals it will allow them to do the right thing and be kind to others. Ames: Thank you for these words.
Ames: Favorite healthy meal?
Sam: Sushi. I know sushi can be a mixed bag,but a great plate of Sashimi or a roll with a lot of fresh fish, Avocado, and brown rice can’t be beat! My mouth waters just thinking about it.
Ames: Favorite splurge?
Sam: Chips and Guacamole and a great Margarita. Ames: YES girl! SAME!
Ames: Favorite healthy snack?
Sam: Banana and Peanut or almond butter. It usually healthy…but in the amounts I eat it Im not sure 😉
Thanks SO much Sam for coming on the blog and telling your story! I’m going to post the BalancedAmes Beat the Boredom Treadmill workout a little bit later this morning, so check back for that! I’m heading to the gym later to do it, check out my Instagram story to see how it goes 🙂