Friday, January 18, 2013

We're expecting!

It's not a secret anymore! We're expecting at the end of July!

We're so excited and no it wasn't an NFP fail haha, but that's another story. I found out on my 25th birthday. Ben thought it would be funny if that were to occur so I went back to take the test. I didn't think it was a possibility so I didn't even wait for him. When I saw that other window start to fill in I screamed, "You better get back here!" He was in the middle of making dinner, but I told him dinner could officially wait!

This is Bina (my sister's name for the baby; it's a hybrid of mine and Ben's names) at 12 weeks.

We've had a blast telling everyone over the last few weeks. All the reactions were priceless though I was sad we didn't get Ben's parents' on camera. :( Enjoy!

Kelsey freaking out at our news! She's a photographer, but on Thanksgiving we took her pictures. At one point Ben says, "Hey, take our picture." She's about to when she says, "Ben, get your hand off her stomach. That looks weird." Ben says, "But it's baby's first picture." She freaked out!
Yeah! Our baby is going to have the best aunt!

This is what we got Ben's parents with the 8-week ultrasound picture. It looked more like an alien then haha.

This is the frame we got my mom. Love them both!

Mom opening her present. Love my dad's face.

Love Ben's smile.

Thank you Kelsey for these pieces of art!!

My mom goes on repeat when she's really excited. It was definitely the reaction we were expecting, but I never thought she wouldn't believe it for so long.

Emily, my sister in law, is 20 weeks pregnant so I'm so excited we get to be pregnant together! She is thrilled her three boys and soon-to-be girl will have a cousin!

And we gave the grandparents pink and blue flowers :)

So there you have it! The secret is officially out to everyone!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What About Miserable Cycles?

I recently received a comment to my page, "My Story: A Recovering Birth Control Addict" that said, “What about girls who have miserable cycles...? Not everyone's problem's can be solved with  'vitamins, diet, and exercise'.... what advice do you have for young Catholic women in that situation? I agree that birth control is not a 'miracle pill' but what other options are there for ovarian cysts, 10-day periods, and severe PMS/PMDD?."

What an excellent series of questions. Though each portion of your question could be an entire paper, I'll attempt to address them as best I can from my training as an NFP instructor and personal experience. 

I hear you on the miserable cycles. My cycles were miserable - like longer than 10-day periods (a LOT longer), horrible pain (to the point of vomiting and never leaving my room), and cycles of all lengths (do I hear 65 days anyone?)! So I know from my experience that diet (cut out things that have hormones added to them! You are messing with your body’s natural hormones!), exercise (I’m not a marathon runner. I'm a 30-40 minute walker.), and vitamins (fish oil, Omega-3s, fatty acids) do in fact help get your cycles under control. I’m proof!

But I do completely understand that for women with severe conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis, the pill can seem like the only option. In fact most doctors will tell you something to that effect, but that's unfair that a doctor would make you feel like that. The pill DOES NOT CURE the problem! It masks they symptoms. 

For example, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, such as anxiety, water retention, weight gain, bloating, fatigue, headaches, and even depression, most often occur during the post-ovulatory phase of a woman's cycle also known as the luteal phase, which is the timeframe right before a woman begins her period (usually 11-15 days). The cause for this is thought to be an imbalance of the proper amounts of hormones (estrogen, progesterone, etc.) and often manifests itself in a woman's cycle as a short luteal phase. However, if you are on the pill, you'd never know that because the pill tricks your body into a perfect 28-day cycle. You never fix the problem; you just mask it. If, however, a woman was charting she could see that her cycle had a poor temperature rise (an indication that ovulation has occurred) and fewer than necessary (for fertility reasons) days between ovulation and the beginning of her period. This is an indication that her progesterone levels are too low and estrogen is too high, something that can be fixed with nutrition and vitamins. How so? Take more B vitamins. A lack in B vitamins means your liver cannot "effectively inactivate estrogen, and estrogen rises." Also by eating dietary fiber, which comes from plants, estrogen is also blocked and helps hormone levels return to normal. Hello possible cure to PMS! 

So you can see that when I say diet and vitamins, I don't mean just anything. You have to learn the root causes and the dietary supplements that help correct those causes. And it's not hard. I received all that information from Marilyn M. Shannon's book, "Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition." It is my go-to resource! She has whole chapters dedicated to PMS, endometriosis, and so much more. A whole section of her book is dedicated solely to good nutrition, specifically nutrition related to a woman's reproductive cycle. And that's what we need ladies!

Obviously some problems go further than this. So what are your options. I’d say find a doctor willing to work with you. So many of us go to the same doctor and just listen to one point of view. I’ve been there, and especially as a 13-year-old girl, I had no idea I could ask to see a different doctor. But under most health care plans you have several options of doctors. Unfortunately, you don’t always have a NFP-only or NFP-open-minded doctor. I haven’t found one in my local area, but I did find a woman who was willing to hear my point of view and work with me. Find someone who at least is willing to do that or better. And if you need to go even further, there are options such as the Pope Paul VI institute and NaPro technology. Look into them if you've exhausted all other options. These are both dedicated to fixing a problem and not just masking it.

Finally, you have to commit and become knowledgable about your body. Popping the pill everyday is super easy, but it's not worth the costs. A woman shouldn't have to choose between the nasty side effects of a crazy cycle and the nasty side effects of the pill, not to mention the serious abortifacient properties. I pray that someday our medical community will put more effort into finding ways to help women overcome these serious issues without jeopardizing other parts of their health, but until then we do have other options. It's more than "diet, exercise, and vitamins;" it's about knowledge and the power that comes with to change your health for the better.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Life Teen: Addicted to Birth Control

Today marks a little bit of a dream come true for me. I've been published on!

I was shocked when I received an email from asking if they could reprint my blog page "My Story: A Recovering Birth Control Addict", and I of course immediately said yes. is an awesome online resource for teenagers (specifically Catholic) regarding all things "faith." It's a true honor to have my story posted to its pages.

I have an idea of how they ran across it since I'm friends with one of their authors who also recently wrote a great post about birth control for and is a frequent author for the site, Alison Griswold. Check out her work! It's informative, quirky, and right on target.

This month on they are focusing on birth control so check out some of the other posts and check back all month for more information about birth control in general, the church's stance on contraception, and more. And more importantly pass this information onto teenagers and the parents of teenagers because it is so important. If this was a topic that had come up more during my teenage years I might not have stayed on birth control for as long as I did (I'd like to think that anyway haha ;) ). Spread the word because there is a lot of bad information out there about what the church teaches and the moral, healthy alternatives to birth control! Let's spread the positive message that natural family planning, responsible parenthood, and chastity have to offer, which is one of hope, commitment, health, respect, and love.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Walk-in Gift

In passing I suppose I may have mentioned (out loud, in the isle of lights at the home improvement store, while standing next to my husband) that ever girl with a walk-in closet needs a chandelier to go with. It's just one of life's little perks if you should be so lucky. Well I have a walk-in closet, but not the chandelier. For Christmas, my amazing hubby read my mind and took care of adding some bling.

See?! How pretty is that. Makes waking up in the morning and heading to the closet to get ready for the work day just a bit more fun.

He spent almost four hours putting the thing up though. He had to access the attic (luckily there's access in our closet), unmount the can light, install a ceiling brace to hold the weight of the new light, and then actually install the light. It was a process and I have no idea how he knows how to do all this. Truly I'd still be living with spindles if it wasn't for his handiness! Someday I'll make him write down some of the technical stuff he does to make our house a home.

So there's my Christmas present, but the real gift is my wonderful husband <3 (total cheese, I know)