Coming Out of the Newborn Fog & PPD

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Happy 3 months to this sweet, precious soul that God blessed our family with on August 7, 2016. We officially survived the newborn stage. I say “survived” because I’m actually beginning to come out of one of the unhappiest, darkest times of my life. Everyone always asks how baby is doing, but here is why you should always ask how Mom is doing.

The night Ron was born, he was the little light in the middle of a dark stretch of time in that hospital in labor and delivery. The hospital had already lost one precious baby and they were about to lose another. They didn’t let us know what was going on until after our sweet Ron was delivered. It was a very somber couple of days and all I wanted to do was hold on to both of my boys and go home. We finally got to leave and I began to feel much better after we got back to our home.

The first month was exhausting, but little Ron and I bonded immediately and got closer each day. I had a little bit of the “baby blues”, but it was nothing compared to what I had with my firstborn. A little time went by and I actually said to my husband and parents, “Wow I just really feel pretty good and think I’m in the clear with being negatively affected by the crazy hormones!” I said that because they all know that I had a few signs of PPD when MB was born. Around week 7 postpartum with baby Ron, the hormones hit me like a freight train. Nobody tells you about the second wave around the second month PP that can get you. I began to completely come unraveled. I was more anxious than I have ever been in my life to the point I would shake like a leaf as soon as I would wake up in the morning. I couldn’t eat. I’m 5’7 and had gotten down to 117 lbs. I had headaches, was dizzy, and didnt want to interact with anyone. My biggest fear was not getting enough sleep. I was making something out of nothing and became so worried I wasn’t going to be able to get sleep that I was literally making myself sick. At this time, Ron was already only waking maybe twice per night and going right back to sleep, so obviously there wasn’t even an issue. Thank God for my husband. Oh my gosh I can’t even begin to tell you how this man held me together. He’s the one having to go to an office everyday but HE stayed up until 12:30-1:00 every morning to “dream feed” our baby so I could get a longer stretch of sleep. He bonded with our brand new baby during this time because he felt so bad for him. He knew I was sick. I don’t ever want to talk about that time again or even give details of it because it’s just dark and it’s ugly. All I know is that I’m lucky to be a type of person to where if something is getting to me and bothering me I literally cannot hold it in. I began to feel like I would literally burst open if I didn’t express myself to my husband, my parents, and my brother. My husband and my parents literally (almost physically) had to pull me out of this funk. And thank God they could.

We are 13 weeks postpartum now and I feel like me again. Little Ron is honestly one of the “easiest” babies that I have ever come across, which left me confused on what my problem was. Postpartum hormones are no joke though. Eventually I will detail this situation out, but for now it’s too soon and it’s too real. If you have experienced this, you know that. If you do experience this, you need to talk to you’re husband, doctor, and family. If you have a family member who just had a baby, always ask how mommy is doing. She’s been through so much physically and emotionally and if you have never had a baby, you have no idea.

Happy 3 months my precious man. I’m truly so happy to be able to enjoy you and everything you bring to this family.

Tips on Feeling Your Best While Pregnant

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Pregnancy is a rollercoaster of ups and downs.  Fluctuating hormone levels and physical changes to the body can contribute to the highs and lows of pregnancy for most women.  Regardless of who you are or what size you were when you got pregnant, there will come a time during your pregnancy where you just feel like you need a little pick-me-up.

Personally, I been lucky with both pregnancies as far as my health and the health of my baby goes.  However, this time around I have dealt with a few more emotional issues than I did the first time around.  I can probably contribute this to being more nauseous, having to take artificial hormones for the first 8 weeks, and being way more exhausted this time around.  All-in-all I can’t complain, but I did want to let you as the reader in on what has personally worked for me to help me overcome these things.  If you are pregnant, try out some of these tips and let me know if they work for you!

1.) TIPS FOR DEALING WITH NAUSEA/VOMITING

Like I mentioned above, nausea and/or vomiting can be an enormous obstacle for you to overcome as an expecting mother.  What I have found to work is cold, almost frozen beverages.  Water is extremely important during pregnancy – especially your first trimester so I would put Crystal Light Pure (sweetened with Stevia aka considered safe during pregnancy) in my glass of ice water.  This allowed me to get enough fluids during the crucial first trimester.

Eat small snacks throughout the day but try to make them as healthy as possible.  Try saltine crackers, fresh fruit smoothies (I use Shakeology), and cold fruit.  It is extremely important during your first trimester to eat healthy because of the crucial development of baby.  Your baby during this time is forming his/her organs and systems that will eventually turn into a fully functional human being.  What you put into your body plays an enormous role.  Each time that I have been pregnant, I have felt like I could have done more to eat healthy during the first trimester.  I am always paranoid that something will be wrong with baby because of my “not-so-perfect” food choices due to being sick.  Proteins are KEY.  Do whatever it takes to eat healthy meals and snacks – especially during the first trimester!

Be active outside.  When nausea hit me like a freight train, all I wanted to do was get some fresh air outside.  I would go on a jog or a walk and believe it or not, this did wonders.

2) FIGHTING FATIGUE

Fatigue is a HUGE part of why some women cut out their workouts and give up on making themselves presentable during pregnancy.  Do not let this ruin you!  On the days that I found myself almost too exhausted for even breathing, I would get my booty up and workout for 30 minutes.  I go on runs, lift light to medium weights, and do squats and lunges.  I promise you, this helps every time.  The couch may still be calling your name at 8:00 pm instead of your usual 10:30, but at least you feel better and more alert while the sun is still shining!

During the second trimester, a full belly from eating a meal will make me overly exhausted in an instant.  I have found to prevent this, eat several small meals throughout the day instead of large meals.  This will help leave some blood elsewhere instead of running to your organs to aide in digestion!

3) TIPS FOR FEELING YOUR BEST WHILE GAINING WEIGHT

This is huge and can truly affect how you feel no matter what size you started out at.  During pregnancy, you are guaranteed to see at least a 15 lb. gain on the scale – that’s just part of it.  You will see your breasts enlarge, your stomach begin to look like you at a basketball (or beach ball lol), your hips widen, and most likely you will begin to notice your arms and legs become softer in appearance.  This is when many woman can truly begin to feel insecure and down about their appearance.  I have actually struggled more with the physical changes in my body this time around than I did with my first child.  I don’t know what the reasoning is because I’m actually in better shape this time around, but insecurity creeps up quickly these days.  Those who know me know that I am in no way an insecure person, so for my physical appearance to get me down so quickly is considered odd in my case.

Quick and embarrassing story… Most of you that follow along know that my husband and I do the Beachbody workouts.  Well, he has recently started a 90 day workout called Body Beast.  He and I were talking about this workout and how I can’t wait to do more challenging/intense workouts again.  Michael then began to tell me about how he was thinking about doing one of Tony Horton and Autumn Calabrese’s workouts after he was finished with Body Beast.  This sounds ridiculous, but I immediately thought about how in shape Autumn is and how pretty she is and I IMMEDIATELY broke down in tears!  Haha y’all that is so NOT me on a regular basis.  I am usually extremely confident and don’t let silly, shallow things like this get to me!  This just goes to show you how low that some of my “lows” have been.  Don’t get me wrong, there are countless times where I feel absolutely beautiful with my new pregnant body, but thanks to hormones most likely, there are times where I am slightly more insecure about it than I used to be.

What I always try to remind myself is that I am carrying a little miracle – an actual human being that God entrusted me with.  When I remember this fact, I also remember that I must do everything in my power to create a healthy environment for this human being to grow.  That environment is my body.  Stress and unhealthy thinking don’t make for a healthy environment and that is usually all it takes for me to snap out of it.

To feel the best about your physical appearance while pregnant, simply take care of yourself.  Choose healthy options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.  It’s ok to have some comfort food every once in a while.  Afterall, you have earned it mama!  Workout your body.  Physically, this is one of the best things you can do for you and your baby.  Women who workout are shown to have healthier pregnancies.  Their babies are healthier, and they are able to bounce back more quickly after giving birth.

4) GET UP AND GET DRESSED!

This will do wonders for you as a pregnant woman!  Pregnancy is not the time to let yourself go.  This is probably the most important 9 months of your life!  Get yourself together and look great while enjoying it!

During pregnancy it is so easy to let yourself go because you are tired, you don’t feel your best, your muscles and joints ache, your gaining weight, and the list goes on.  I like to make sure I get up and put at least a little bit of make up on, do something cute (but quick) with my hair, put a smile on my face, and walk around town with confidence!  Doing this wakes me up and helps me feel like I am still beautiful even though I ache all over and I have put on 10 lbs.  If you are married or in a relationship, this is especially important because after all, you have a significant other that you should still “try” for every single day of your life.  This is something that you should do regardless if you are pregnant or not!  You have a partner, you love them, you want them to think you are beautiful… act like you care about your appearance for them!  This will make you feel amazing in return, and the compliments from your partner are pretty awesome too!  I’m not saying curl your hair and look like Barbie everyday.  Nobody has time for that on an everyday basis.  There are many days where I am wearing workout clothes but I at least put some foundation, blush, lip gloss, and mascara on.  I also brush my hair and put it up in a cute ponytail!  My husband actually prefers this 9 times out of 10 anyway!  Just do it.  This will automatically help you feel like you went from a 3 to a 10 in 20 minutes.

5) EAT AS CLEAN AND HEALTHY AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN

This tip is crucial for both you and your  baby.  Think about it this way… You are growing a human being in your body, right?  What do you think that human being is being formed from?  God didn’t just put all of the right nutrients in your body to form that baby, he entrusted you to take it from there.  My point is, your baby’s body is basically being formed from what you put into your own.  Yes, the baby will draw from the good nutrients as much as they can, but you should make it much easy on them by putting healthy foods and liquids into your body throughout your entire pregnancy.

I understand cravings.  During this pregnancy, I have craved key lime pie (and I’ve had my fair share), PB & J sandwiches, and Cheez-Its like it’s my job.  I have definitely indulged in these things probably more than I should, but I also make sure that I take in way more healthy options than junk because I want my baby to be as healthy as he can be.  Too many women take this time to eat as much as they want, whatever they want, when they want it and I think it’s because they think, “Oh what the heck. I’m already gaining weight faster than I ever have before in my life.  I’ll just lose it after the baby is born.”  That thinking is wrong.  Do you know why?  It’s wrong because they are excluding the baby’s health from this way of thinking.  Now is not the time to eat whatever you want.  Now is actually the time to eat healthier than you ever have for your baby’s sake.

I like to choose options like raw veggies, steamed veggies, raw fruit, eggs, Greek yogurt, organic chicken, beans, rice, whole wheat pasta, etc…. Just to name a few.  I try to stay away from consuming pre-packaged items as much as I can.

6) MAKE TIME FOR YOU

It is so important during pregnancy to remove as much stress as possible!  If something is stressing you out, cut it out and do something for YOU.  One of the greatest ways to do this is to take time each day to enjoy something you love.  For me, these things include: going on a date with my husband, having a lunch date with MB, blogging, playing around with hair and makeup, jogging, going to the beach, or watching a marathon I love such as The Walking Dead!  Just do SOMETHING that makes you happy.  The baby will be happier and so will you.  After all, you do deserve it.

7) WORKOUT

You guys are probably sick of hearing me talk about working out all of the time, but this is so important during pregnancy.  The old way of thinking is to not overdo it physically.  In fact, my poor parents are forever worried that I’m working out too much!  I have spoken to my doctor in depth about fitness and working out and I am cleared to continue on as long as I’m gaining weight appropriately and baby is healthy.  So, I workout 6 – 7 days/ week about 25 minutes per day and doing this has literally gotten me through this pregnancy with a smile on my face.  Here are a few reasons why:

  • The endorphin rush has actually been greater for me during pregnancy than when I’m not.
  • This immediately puts me in a good mood.
  • Exhaustion is decreased significantly.
  • I’m probably one of the only pregnant women not suffering from constipation at all.
  • My weight gain is right on track. (This wouldn’t be the case in a sedentary pregnant woman.)
  • I have less aches and pains.
  • My vitals have been perfect.
  • I’m more likely to birth a baby with less body fat. (We all love chunky babies, but in terms of health, babies born with less body fat are healthier.)
  • Birthing my baby will most likely be easier for me.
  • I will most likely be able to avoid a C-section.
… and the list goes on and on.
I began to get extremely long-winded as usual, so I actually had to go back and delete about 50% of what I typed!  I hope that this reaches someone who is in need of a little “boost” during their pregnancy when it comes to feeling great and being able to enjoy the pregnancy.  Pregnancy is such a special time and I feel like each woman should be able to enjoy everything it has to offer!  If you or someone you know has any questions about any of the information above or simply wants to chat about their own experience, don’t hesitate to email me at stunninglysouthern@gmail.com!
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One Love of my Life Turns 3

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If you are a parent, you probably know exactly why our children’s birthdays are so bittersweet.  Gosh, I just cried and cried at the thought of writing a post dedicated to my little king of our castle because I feel like the past three years have slipped by so quickly.  I can’t help but wonder if perhaps I could have done something to better stay “in the moment” with him, or maybe given him more of myself than I have.  These are just “mommy thoughts” as I like to call them, or maybe most likely “pregnant mommy thoughts” because of the extra emotion that I feel at all times.

Many times I blame myself for letting his first year and a half slip past me because of the way that I started out parenting him.  When he was born, or when your first child is born in general you have no idea what you are doing.  Simple as that.  Even if you babysat kids and babies all of your life (which I NEVER did by the way), you still really don’t know how to care for a very small, very dependent human being 24/7.  This takes experience.  Because of the fact that I had never babysat a child, or even changed a diaper, I relied heavily upon advice from others on how to parent my precious child and I will never forgive myself for doing so.  Do you know why?  What I did was basically worry about schedules; when he should eat, when he should sleep, bla bla bla because that is what I was told I should do by people around me when I should have been listening to his cues.  Do you know what that did for mine and MB’s mother-son relationship and his well-being?  Absolutely nothing.

I did this up until he was about a year and a half old.  The first year and a half of his life, I let him cry, I tried to “fill him up” too much at night so he would “sleep through the night”, AND I wouldn’t pick him up every time he wanted to be picked up because people kept telling me I was spoiling him (oh my gosh please.. I could literally throw myself into a brick wall for that one).  Do you REALIZE what that did to myself and my child?  I do not think we had a true relationship until I stopped all of that and listened to my heart as well as his instead of everyone else around me.  My heart ached like I was doing something horribly wrong for his first year and a half and I sit here day in and day out trying to make up for being that kind of parent.  I didn’t feel like I was loving MB, I felt like I was trying to make everything convenient for my husband and I because that is what the books and “research” (don’t even get me started) said to do, right?  I knew in my heart how selfish everything I was doing sounded.  Some of the things like this….

“He’s 9 months old and it’s 3:00 am and crying probably because he’s hungry or scared.  He shouldn’t do this at this age, should he?”

“He’s 4 months old and has been crying for 20 minutes because he doesn’t want to nap but so and so said we shouldn’t go get him up.”

Really?  Are you KIDDING ME?  What does this all sound like to you?  It sounds like me trying to make the BABY revolved around MY needs and what I want.  Reasons for being awake at 9 months old are: he’s hungry or scared OR he has a messy diaper.  How would you feel if someone didn’t help you if YOU were hungry or scared or messed in your pants?!  Quite frankly I’m appalled at my actions for his first year and a half of life and I can’t help but beat myself up over it every time that precious boy looks me in the eyes.  I, as well as others around me consider myself a very intuitive person and for me to go against my intuition for that long because of what others said I should be doing makes me a complete idiot.  I realized that around the time MB turned about one a half and I have loved on that child as much as he wanted, when he wanted ever since.

MB’s 3rd birthday is such a happy time because I feel as though this past year, between age 2 and 3, he has grown tremendously and really has transformed from my chubby cheek baby into my handsome, strong, extremely intelligent, and independent little boy.  Aside from my pregnancy, that is why I have been grieving so much this year.  I wish I could take back the first year and a half of his life when I didn’t spoil him like I do now because some things changed around two and a half that I wish had not.  When MB hit that age he no longer NEEDED me like he once did.  He didn’t want to be held all of the time.  He quit sitting in my lap when I would read to him or watch his favorite show.  He stopped holding my hand as often.  He stopped letting me kiss him and hug him as much. Sidenote: OMG I’m seriously crying a freaking ocean right now. There’s more but I literally can’t think about them but I may hyperventilate and that’s just not good for my current pregnant situation.  I hate that those things are gone and I try so hard to hold onto them and I just can’t because he’s GROWING UP.  That’s what these babies do.  They grow up, and they grow up FAST.  We want those 10 pm, 12 am, 2 am, and so on wakeup calls when they are babies to go away because we are so tired, but once they are gone so is that time with them.  MB will occasionally have a bad dream and will cry out to me.  I can’t stand that he’s having that bad dream, but I jump out of my bed no matter what time it is and rush to his side because that is more time I get to spend with him when he actually NEEDS me.  I get to snuggle him and be his mommy and he my baby and I wouldn’t give those moments back for anything in this world.

This was a long-winded post, but if you are a parent you get it.  I’m also not trying to hate on someone else’s style of parenting whatsoever.  You do you and what is good for your family.  I get being tired.  Trust me.  I worked full-time with a newborn and I realize that adds extra stress and exhaustion to the situation.  I wish I could come take care of your own children for you but I simply cannot!  However, today on my baby’s 3rd birthday I do ask that you listen to your own heart when it comes to your children because I know firsthand what it feels like when you don’t.

To MB: HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the love of my life and the person that has truly taught me to love in a way I never thought was possible.  You, your daddy, and your new (brother OR sister!?!?!?!) mean the absolute world to me and I would literally give up anything I could for each of you.  Maybe one day you can look back on this as well as the thousands upon thousands of pictures I have of you and realize exactly how loved you have always been.  Please, always stay the sweet-natured, rule follower, loving little human that you are and PLEASE always love your mommy with your whole heart.

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The Fun Side of Pregnancy

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I have had several of you gorgeous ladies message me and check up on me lately so I figured I would post a pregnancy update PLUS some!  Oh by the way, please excuse my roots in ALL of my pics.  I haven’t done anything to it since October because I really haven’t had a reason to!  I don’t care to damage my hair with highlights just for shopping around town.  Not my thing!  I am getting it highlighted in May because of all of the trips we are going on this summer, so at that point I will feel like a whole new woman!

I am now 18 weeks pregnant, well 19 weeks tomorrow (Friday) and this pregnancy has definitely been fun because of MB!  Haha he has been very observant in my .. well.. physical change!  It makes me laugh typing this because he has DEFINITELY noticed my growing belly and “boo boos” (boobies) so he calls them!  He has called me “big mommy” and oh so much more!  It’s all with love though so it’s super cute.

I will say that what they say is true!  I feel like the belly definitely gets bigger more quickly the second time around!  I have struggled more this time with the changes in my body than I did with my first pregnancy for some reason.  Maybe it’s because I’m more sensitive this time around.. because oh I definitely am!  Who knows why, but all I know is that I am eating the best I can and I workout like a madwoman!  Literally I’m working out 6 days/week for at least 25 minutes each time so I’m in shape – I swear!  Haha I think the second time around is just different on the body.  I swear my body literally says, “I don’t care how in shape you are!  I’m going to throw you some EXTRA maternal fat stores for baby ____ !”  Who cares though!  I’m doing what I can and I, along with my baby are healthy as can be!  So here are a few updates!

Weight Gain: Yeah, I said all of that above but I really have only gained about 7 lbs.  I just look soft this time around!  My hubby actually likes it though.  He says he wishes that I would be this weight when I’m not pregnant!

Baby’s Current Weight: 8 ounces!  This baby is growing RAPIDLY!

Baby’s Health: Baby is doing so well!  We have been able to see him/her move a lot during ultrasounds and have seen all of the organs and body parts!

Baby’s Sex: Well… we have known the sex for 2 1/2 weeks so far and we are waiting to tell our family REALLY soon!  Most of my family has been super sweet and excited about it and I know these people (grandparents plus Uncle Josh and Aunt Morgan and of course my long-time friend and supermom Ashley ;)) are going to be excited and surprised to find out baby’s sex!!! We have a cute surprise for them =). The rest of you will know soon!

Cravings: I am literally hungry almost every second of everyday this time around.  I was not like this with MB!  I don’t know what it is but I literally feel like I could eat ALL. DAY. LONG.  Don’t worry, I don’t let myself!  I think about pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes and know that will cause way too many complications.  I am craving eggs and cheez its!  Eggs.. Oh my goodness I have eaten hundreds ever since I got pregnant!  I literally CRAVE them all day every day!

Eating Schedule : 7:00 am egg and oatmeal for breakfast. Protein is KEY for a growing fetus! 10:00 am snack: I usually do some yogurt and veggie sticks or a boiled egg. 12:00 pm lunch: turkey, cheese, kale, avocado wrap with veggie straws or a salad (or both)! 3:00 snack: Shakeology, fruit, or both!  6:30 Dinner: We try to include a good portion of protein in this meal for me.  My body literally is CRAVING it this time around!  And dinner is usually anything and everything under the sun so I’m not even going to try to give an example.

Clothing: This is something I wanted to touch on and will do a more in-depth blog post on real soon!  I have had so much fun shopping for pregnancy!  So many women can’t stand the changes in their body during pregnancy, but I am literally obsessed.  Like I have said before, I think pregnant women are the absolute cutest!  There is nothing cuter than being a 2-for-1!  It’s just so sweet!  So here is what I have been dressing in throughout my pregnancy:

  • First Trimester: Didn’t really have any changes whatsoever to my body other than about a 3 lb. weight gain on the scale so I just stuck to my regular clothes!
  • Second Trimester: I have been purchasing some super cute maternity clothes from ASOS.com.  I have just been doing that because they are cute, not because that’s all I can wear!  I can still wear all of my pants from pre-pregnancy, but am now needing longer shirts and dresses that don’t cinch in at the waist.  I love spring fashion so being pregnant this spring has been a little bit of a bummer as far as fashion goes because I mean, I LOVE crop tops and two-piece sets!  It’s ok though because I have found several awesome non-maternity items that are SO cute with my stage of pregnancy right now.  I love body-con dresses, t-shirt dresses, and long, fitted t-shirts with jeans!  I have found several options from ASOS like I mentioned above as well as Lulu’s plus some boutique clothing.   This relaxed dress I am in came from Lulu’s.
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I plan to do a super fun post real soon on dressing the bump with several examples out of my own closet!  I have also bought several swimsuits for this summer that I will do another post for!  So if you are pregnant or plan to get pregnant, look for these fun posts!

Love you all and thanks for reading!  Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to catch new posts!

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Baby on Board!

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“For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him” 1 Samuel 1:27

… And boy did we.  Many of you may remember around this time last year when I posted about our struggles with infertility.  Well, it has been a long road but we overcame every obstacle and ended up with the best news ever the week of Christmas.  Yes, we found out 5 days before Christmas that I was indeed 5 weeks pregnant and I can’t even begin to tell you what a relief it was.  In the past year I have had the pleasure of corresponding with many of you who read my infertility post.  We have shared stories of decisions we have had to make with our doctors, heartaches, and success stories and I can honestly say “thank you” from the bottom of my heart to those of you who have reached out to me with love and kind words.  I have spoken to many of you since the day I found out that I was pregnant and explained what we went through as well as what to expect for those who have been having the same infertility issues.  There are women all over that struggle with infertility and for that, I wanted to share a quick story on what we went through as well as what to expect once you become pregnant.

As many of you know, my husband and I had our first child March 25, 2013.  It only took about 2 months for us to get pregnant with our baby boy.  I always wanted children closer in age because my brother and I were 21 months apart and even as brother and sister, I felt we had a solid relationship that grew into a friendship as we grew older.  All of that to say, Michael and I decided to get rid of the birth control and began trying to get pregnant in August of 2014…

Once about 5 months went by, I began to wonder what was going on.  {You can refer back to my post titled “A Little Something I Wanted To Share” if you are curious about my thought process at that time.}  I called my doctor probably around month 6-7 to try and schedule an appointment with her so she could begin running tests.  I was told that they wouldn’t even consider looking at this as an issue until we had been actively trying for at least one year.  At around month 8 of trying to get pregnant, I began having continuous bleeding for about 2 1/2 weeks.  This got me a doctor’s appointment, which is what I wanted so it was pretty much a blessing in disguise.

The doctor’s appointment consisted of an ultrasound of my ovaries and uterus, all of which looked perfectly fine.  They also did bloodwork to check my hormones, which also looked 100% normal.  We talked it out with my doctor and went back and forth about my everyday lifestyle and habits.  The only problem my doctor saw at the time was that I was slightly underweight for my height, and that perhaps I didn’t have enough body fat to maintain a pregnancy which is why it had not yet happened.  After all of this, we talked about changing up my workout routine and incorporating more healthy fats into my diet.  She also told me that if it still had not happened in a few more months, we would come back in to begin looking into further testing.

Before we knew it, it was August of 2015, AKA one year and still no pregnancy.  So, we made our doctor’s appointment and came back in for a conversation with my doctor.  Little did I know there was so much more testing to be done!  At this point, they needed to test Michael.  I won’t go into detail,  but you all probably know what that consisted of.  His results were perfectly normal.  I honestly can’t remember if we did more blood testing or not on myself, but what I do remember is that I was not comfortable with the test that she wanted to do on me.  I cannot for the life of me remember what it was called, but the test consists of inserting radioactive dye into my uterus and looking to see if the fallopian tubes were open.  I actually just looked up the term and I believe it’s called a Hysterosalpingography“.  Well, I was not comfortable with this test especially after talking with a good friend of mine about it.  I understand that it would be a very small dose of radiation, but any radiation can increase the chances of cancer significantly.  The problem was, my doctor (at the time) would not prescribe Clomid to me until she made sure that my fallopian tubes were open and everything in my uterus looked fine.  Needless to say, I was devastated.  Long story short, after a few more months of back and forth with my doctor, my husband saved the day by talking them into prescribing Clomid without having the testing done and she agreed to prescribe me the medicine at the beginning of my next cycle.  Keep in mind, my cycles are anywhere from about 33-60 days long, so now we are at 14 months of trying to get pregnant.

So here we are in December 2015 with my period supposed to start at any time so that I can begin Clomid.  During this time I really toned down my workout routine.  I went from intense p90X workouts everyday, to working out just 5 days a week.  I also changed up my diet and incorporated more good, well actually and bad fats into my diet in order to gain more body fat.  One or two days were p90X, the rest were light, 3 mile jogs throughout my neighborhood.  Well, I woke up at the end of December one morning and began feeling nauseous at the site of food, the garbage, pretty much everything.  We took a pregnancy test (or maybe 3 haha) and sure enough, I was 5 weeks pregnant and didn’t even have to begin my first dose of Clomid.  What made it even more special was that my sweet parents were coming into town to stay the week for Christmas!  I was ecstatic to say the least.

We went to my doctor’s appointment, confirmed the pregnancy, and I was put on progesterone suppositories to help my body sustain the pregnancy.  For those of you that it took over 1 year to conceive, your doctor will probably do something similar for you.  If they don’t, I would bring up the topic because we are at greater risk for miscarriage.  The progesterone has honestly left me feeling like complete crap with a whirlwind of side effects, which is why I haven’t done much with my beauty blog lately.  However, I will say that working out regularly (5 days/week)  has kept me from going completely over the edge!  All of this will be a blog post for a later date.

Many of you won’t really care to read this post, and that’s fine.  This one isn’t for you right now.  Many people said throughout the entire time I was trying to get pregnant, “It’s just not meant to be right now”, and that honestly annoyed the you know what out of me.  When you see a future for your family and it keeps being pushed off and delayed, it’s a very frustrating feeling.  However, I can honestly say that it probably, in fact, DID happen at the best time that it could have because of different changes occurring in our lives for the better.

I am an open book on subjects that I believe may help or inspire people in some way, which is why I decided to put my story out there when it comes to this topic.  The response I received after my first post on infertility back in April of 2014 was one for the books.  Because I put my story out there, I have met others via the internet going through the same thing.  Some continue to go through it and some, like myself, finally had their dreams come true.  Whatever your story  be, I hope that you too continue to push until you find some answers.  I was not going to stop until I found some.

Be looking for some fun and exciting posts coming up on pregnancy workouts, as well as feeling beautiful throughout your entire pregnancy!  I am so excited to be able to share my journey will all of the new moms and moms-to-be out there!

**Muah!**

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The Consequences of Tanning: My Story

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Like most pre-teens and teenagers, I spent many hours covered in tanning oil and basking in the sun in all of it’s glory.  That was just kind of what you did as a teenager, especially here in the south.  Fair skin is particularly prominent in my dad’s side of the family.  You will find that most of us on that side of the family have moles, freckles, and are naturally pale in color.  Some of us on this side tan better than others, but all-in-all, we are considered fair skinned.

Despite my mother’s best efforts to get me to wear sunscreen, I didn’t.  I didn’t just skip wearing sunscreen every once in a while, I never once put sunscreen on my skin during my pre-teen and teenage years.  My mom constantly warned me that if I didn’t wear my sunscreen, I would get skin spots, wrinkles, and melanoma.  She would even point out spots on her skin that were caused from sun damage every time I would march back in the house with a sunburn to try and prove her point.  Don’t get me wrong, my body would tan.  This sounds horrible, but I would let myself burn a few times because I knew that once that second time of burning was done, I would begin to turn a gorgeous golden color.  I never turned a deep, dark brown color like Adriana Lima would, but I loved my color and loved my body with a tan.  It made me feel thinner, prettier, and made me feel like a golden goddess!  I even began using the tanning bed while in 9th grade.  Little did I know that my decision to start tanning would completely change my life 10-12 years down the road.

What makes me now look like a total idiot is the fact that I began having pre-cancer cells in my body from sun damage as soon as I began tanning.  When the doctor performs a biopsy and finds precancerous cells in a mole, the doctor has to then go back in and take out borders around that initial mole to make sure that all precancerous cells have been removed in that area.  My first precancerous spot was found on my head.  I had not even hit age 15.  I continued to tan in the sun and the tanning bed without a single care in the world.  By the time I was 20, I had to have a minimum of 30 spots removed from my body.  Not all, but some of these were precancerous as well.  I do not remember much from these days of having places removed from my skin other than having to have regular dermatologist checkups as well as two surgeries where I was put to sleep because of the ridiculous number of spots on my body that looked suspicious.

We think tanning is glamourous, and it is at the moment, but as you get older and the consequences of tanning begin to catch up with you, it turns into the ugliest, most expensive, and heart breaking thing in your life.  The picture below is an example of what tanning 10 years later can look like…

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This is my most recent bout with precancerous cells found in my body through a biopsy of a mole smack in the middle of my chest.  My dermatologist performed the pathology himself on this mole and talked to me in detail about what is going on.  When you have a skin biopsy done, the pathologist will rate the sample either: 1) Benign (no cancer cells found) 2)Mild 3)Moderate 4)Severe 5)Melanoma.  This particular spot was rated “Moderate”.  This spot has internal and external stitches.  There are 10 stitches externally and I have no idea how many internal stitches there are.  My doctor told me that he believes this procedure should get it all, but he has had biopsies comes back that contained even more severe cells below the biopsy.  Do you know what?  I had another spot on my skin rated “Mild”.  Luckily, I won’t have to have stitches on that one.

My point is, I have dealt with this for half of my life.  I will continue to have to deal with this for the rest of my life.  No, I have not officially had melanoma, but had I of let several spots on my body just sit there instead of going to the doctor, I would have eventually had a diagnosis of melanoma.  In the future, I very well may have a diagnosis of melanoma because of my poor decisions as a teenager and young adult.

Melanoma doesn’t just cause you to have ugly scars from skin extractions all over your body, it can kill you.  By the end of 2015, an estimate of over 73,000 new invasive cases of melanoma will be diagnosed.  An estimated 9,940 will die of melanoma.  One person dies from melanoma every 57 minutes.

I know these are facts that nobody wants to think about.  I, myself, never considered the repercussions of the time I spent in the sun.   Skin cancer does not just show up in blonde hair, blue eyed, fair skinned individuals such as myself.  Skin cancer can show up in African Americans, Hispanics, and basically every other race on God’s green Earth.  In fact, it can even be more invasive in other races; it is just more prominent in Caucasians.

Sun damage is absolutely hideous.  It causes wrinkles, dark spots, and skin cancer.   It’s painful.  It’s expensive when you begin trying to reverse it and it never goes away entirely because the damage is at the cellular level.  It will most definitely cause you to age quickly.  Later in your life, if  you end up starting to have biopsies done on questionable areas, it will cost you thousands throughout your lifetime.  Do you know what else?  Some of the most dangerous spots on your body are in places that you would never expect.  I know from experience.   My honest and heartfelt advice to you: wear your sunscreen. Get spray tans instead of getting in the tanning bed!

I am going to attach a few educational pieces that I found helpful below.  I must say, my doc was pretty impressed with my knowledge on this topic!  Please read these to find out what to look for and how to get help.  If you have any questions about my experience, or want to find out more you can email me at StunninglySouthern@gmail.com.   I have had way more experience with this than what I put in this blog post, but hopefully this is enough to make you think.

Much Love!

Whitney

Resources:

http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts

http://www.dermatologyspecialistsal.com/dermatology_cancer.html

 

 

Toni Riales

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I wanted to take a beauty-related post and give a shout out to the gorgeous lady up top!  Toni Riales is so remarkably talented in the sense that she can take an idea from her clients and turn it into more than you could have ever imagined!  Toni specializes in fashion/commercial photography, but also works with other professionals in the business world who may need polished and professional images to use for their advertising, website, and personal needs.  She is located in Mobile, AL, but is available to travel to work with clients and agencies in any other market.  If you need professional, creative, or unique pictures for your business website, actor/model headshots, or just for your personal needs, Studio TRP should be your first stop.  I know I will be going back!

We took over 400 pictures in 4 hours with 3 different makeup looks but I figured I would just stick a few in here to give you a sample of Toni’s work!  For more stunning samples of her work, head on over to her website, Instagram, and Facebook to see more of her work.

Photographer: Toni Riales

MUA: Alexandrea West

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Go-To Cat Woman Halloween Costume

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Spooky enough for you?  Happy Halloween ladies!  Or soon-to-be…

I wanted to put together an outfit, hair and makeup tutorial for you ladies that may be in a bind to find a last minute Halloween costume.  I am cat woman for Halloween A LOT.  Why?  Well, it’s cheap, sexy, and EASY to do!  Did I go and purchase a $50 cat woman costume?  No, why would I do that?  Cat woman is easy.  Liquid leggings, leather, and high heels are IN right now so throwing together a last minute cat woman costume is about as easy as it gets.  Here is what mine consists of…

  • Cat woman ears plus mask
  • Liquid leggings
  • Leather peplum top
  • Black high heels
  • A sleek hairstyle and cute braid
  • Dark Makeup

Now that you know what my costume looks like, how about a hair tutorial?  Check out this YouTube video below.

I wanted this hairstyle to be sleek, which is why I wanted it straight.  I now have Bellami Hair Extensions that are SUPER long so I did end up curling the bottom of the hair so that my natural hair blended well.  I pulled back the front in a sleek style and pinned it underneath the chunk of hair that I teased then put into a fishtail braid.  Of course I had to include a braid in my cat woman hairstyle!  Now on to makeup…

I recently learned how to do somewhat of a Smokey eye that I am extremely pleased with.  I also learned that I can use this same technique with different eyeshadow shades and end up with a gorgeous look.  This is an easy look because I literally used a total of 5 eyeshadow/liner products on my eyes.  The key is to blend, blend, blend.  Blend until your eyelid hurts because if you don’t, you WILL look like you have a black eye.  Honestly, this look stays pretty ugly until I get a full face of makeup on.   I start out the YouTube video below with a completely clean face.  I never apply my foundation, concealer, or anything else until I finish my eyes because of the fall-out of the eyeshadow.  Here are the steps below so that you can skip around the video instead of watching every step.

  1. Eye primer – This step isn’t included in my video, but I used a primer from Urban Decay Cosmetics.
  2. I put tape on the sides of my eyes to help me achieve a more dramatic look.
  3. Apply an eyeshadow that is around the same color as your skin over the primer.  I learned this from “Batalash Beauty”.  It helps smooth out the primer to give a nice, clean slate to start.
  4. Start with a transition color in your crease.  I started with a brownish/orange color.  For a blacked out Smokey look, I transition from browns to black.  I am using the Morphed 35N palette for this entire look.
  5. Next, I used a brown transition color a little beneath the orange and piled it on in the outer corner of my eye.
  6. I then took a black Urban Decay pencil and (sloppily) applied this to my upper lash-line.  I blend that color upward toward my crease.  Blend, Blend, Blend!
  7. Take a black shadow and blend all over the lid focusing heavily on the outer corners.
  8. Line the lower waterline of the eye and smudge down and out.
  9. With your smudge brush, take a brown shadow and smudge and blend along the lower lash-line.
  10. Apply a thin line of eyeliner on top of eyelid.
  11. Apply a highlight to upper brow and inner corners of eyes.
  12. Apply mascara and lashes and your done!

You can get a better idea of what I am doing in my YouTube video.  I don’t have a full face of makeup until the very end, which kind of pulls the whole thing together! It’s over 8 minutes long, so skip around and hopefully you can learn.

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Hopefully you learned something that you can try on your own today. I promise, at some point I will invest in a better camera so that my tutorials will be higher quality. One day, one day. =)

I hope you all have a HAPPY and SAFE Halloween! Muah!

Alabama – Where You Can Go To Get Gorgeous

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Can we just start out with the fact that I finally have my computer back (Hallelujah)!  MOVING ON…

I had a fashion/fitness photoshoot last week with professional fashion/commercial photographer, Toni Riales Photography, located in Mobile, AL.  Toni is AHHH-MAZING and I will soon have a post dedicated to her and my makeup artist, Alexandrea West.  You guys, I’m not going to just blog about anyone and any product.  If I don’t like it, why waste my time unless a group of people actually want a review on it.  So, until then, please do yourself a favor and click on their links that I have provided within this text and at the bottom of this post to see their work.  If you are a working or aspiring actress, model, blogger, heck even an insurance agent; Toni and Alexandrea can have you looking like a celebrity.  Not even kidding.  However, we will come back another time in the near future.

I want to talk a little about what I did to prep myself for my photo shoot.  Aside from drinking gallons of water (which is pretty typical for me anyhow), taking care of my skin and hair, working out, eating healthy, and shopping (!!!), I knew I didn’t need to forget my tan.  No, not a tanning bed tan.  If you do go to the tanning bed just stop now.  Save yourself!  No, really.  Not only did I need a beautiful glow, I needed an EVEN tan because well, part of my photo shoot was in a bathing suit and you will be able to see about 80% of my skin.  A long time ago I stopped going to a machine to get sprayed because I always felt the color didn’t last, it wasn’t the prettiest color, and most importantly it was rarely 100% even on my body.  It was never even enough for me to feel comfortable wearing a bathing suit in if you know what I mean.  All of this to say I called this lovely higher-end, luxury skin spa that I had used in the past here in Enterprise, Al – LUXE Airbrush Skin Spa.

I have met and spoken with the owner, Kalina (who is strikingly gorgeous BY THE WAY), several times in my community and had previously gotten a spray tan before.  That first tan was the most gorgeous tan I ever had, so I knew I needed to contact her about concocting something for my photo shoot that would looking pleasing on camera.  LUXE uses Fantasy Tan, which in my opinion is the most gorgeous spray tan out there.  Kalina uses one machine to spray the body and a totally separate machine to spray hands, feet, and face for an even and beautiful looking tan.  We spoke about my photo shoot and she also wanting to get me in to do a facial.  Of course I was absolutely ecstatic!  Can I just humbly say that my face and the color of my body looked 100% camera-ready on the day of my shoot thanks to Kalina and LUXE Airbrush Skin Spa.

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Ladies, if you live in Alabama around the Dothan/Enterprise area, or are just coming through town, do yourself a favor and stop by the most fabulous luxury skin spa there is.  LUXE Airbrush Skin Spa provides:

  • Specialty facials
  • Chemical peels
  • Derma-Planing
  • Aromatherapy Paraffin Hand/Foot Treatment
  • Waxing of all types
  • Massages (Swedish, Deep-Tissue, Prenatal, Hot Stone)
  • Professional Makeup Application
  • Spa Packages
  • Private Spa Parties
  • Now offers hair services

Kalina, owner of LUXE Airbrush Skin Spa, has a nursing degree, business degree from Harvard, AND is one fabulous esthetician who has definitely found her niche in making other women look and feel absolutely STUNNING!  If you are looking to try new professional skin care or a new brand of makeup, LUXE carries:

I had the privilege of trying each of these products and they may very well become a staple in my skincare/makeup routine.

Very soon, I am scheduling another photo shoot with Toni Riales Photography for my headshot.  Not to try and become a model (I’m too old to just be getting into that), or an actor, but to send it off to attempt to become a walker on The Walking Dead!  Yes, becoming a walker would absolutely help complete me haha!  Anyway, before I do that I am definitely coming back to Kalina with LUXE to help beautify me again.  Please visit the links I have listed below for LUXE Airbrush Skin Spa, Toni Riales Photography, and Alexandrea West Makeup Artist.  You won’t be sorry!

LUXE Airbrush Skin Spa Facebook

Luxe Airbrush Skin Spa Website

Toni Riales Photography

Toni Riales Photography Facebook

Alexandrea West Website

Alexandrea West Facebook

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A Little Something I Wanted To Share

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Life this past year at The Cornett house has been fun, interesting, different, and exciting.  We moved to a totally new area that we knew nothing about and did not know a single person.  We took on a new business opportunity that took a lot of prayer, faith, and trust for both of us to even consider.  We moved here with a quiet, stationary one year old who is now a very talkative, outgoing, active, lovable, and strong-willed little two year old!  Needless to say, it’s been a year, and a great one overall!

I wanted to blog about what has been going on because I know there are several families out there going through this, and it can be frustrating to think we are the only ones.  I also am writing about his because if anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears =).

I grew up in a family of four.  There was my dad, mom, and little brother who is 21 months younger than me.  My brother and I have been close throughout our lives, and because of that I always wanted at least two children near the same age.  Without going into detail, my (menstrual) cycles have been irregular my whole life.  In fact, I went on birth control when I was REALLY young just to regulate me.  I had some cysts on my ovaries when I was younger, but nothing concerning to my health.  I did have doctors tell me that it MAY be difficult for me to get pregnant in the future, and that has always been in the back of my mind.  When Michael and I decided to start trying, it took no time at all!  At that time, we weren’t using any kind of app to track my cycle or anything.  It literally happened within 2 1/2 months and we were both shocked.  When I took that PG test, I felt like I was dreaming!  We were both ecstatic.  I had a fabulous pregnancy and delivery with zero problems.  A few hours after delivery, I told Michael I’m already ready for number 2!

When I became pregnant with MB, I literally was hoping for twins so that I knew they would be close in age.  I know you people with twins are probably thinking, “Is she crazy?”, but I did!  Twins didn’t happen, so I knew that I didn’t want to wait forever for #2.  Well, we moved, got a little settled in, and at the end of August of last year we decided to start trying again.  We weren’t and still aren’t where we wanted to be financially, but there’s no telling when the “right” time would be.  We knew we were going to try and have more children regardless, so might as well plan on cutting the budget for some things and make it work!  I was so excited and just knew it would happen quickly like it did the first time!  I even had a handy dandy app this time to help me track everything!  Well, a couple of months went by and nothing happened.  I was already starting to talk to my best friend about everything pretty much on a daily basis to get tips on what I should be eating, supplements I should be taking, etc… She has given me every piece of advice under the sun, but does always say, “Whitney, it just may not be what God has in store right this moment.”  So, around 6 months of trying I became down right frustrated.

Well a couple of months later, (8 months of trying) something weird happened with my cycle, and I called my doctor AGAIN thinking something was wrong with me.  I’m such a high-anxiety person, so I had all kinds crazy thoughts going through my head!  My doctor agreed that I should come in, so I did.   My family and I went in and they did an ultrasound to look at ovaries, and everything else.  Turns out, everything looks fine!  So, my doctor met with us about what else could possibly be going on.  She decided to do blood work and test my hormones to make sure everything looked good there, and it did.  My hormone levels are 100% normal.  We spoke with my doctor about my weight and how often I work out.  My husband has been concerned all along that I didn’t have enough body fat to sustain another human, and that maybe has been the issue the whole time.  The doctor recommended having a BMI of 20 to get pregnant and be able to keep the baby.  I do currently fall below that number.

Our plan now is to have me gain at least 5 lbs. or so to see if that helps.  I am also supposed to cut back on the intensity and frequency of my workouts.  The nurse and I spoke about fertility treatments, but I need to wait until around August to even begin.  I really do not want to go that route if I don’t have to because taking meds or artificial hormones is never a good idea for the body.  All-in-all, we now know I’m healthy, my immediate family is healthy, we were given the most perfect little baby boy that I could have ever dreamt about, and that is what is important.  I am working on what I CAN do to try and get pregnant, but if it’s not God’s will right now it will not happen.  I have always considered adoption, so if this continues then we will probably look closer into that down the road.

I saw the picture that I shared below because I saw it on social media and it just really hit home for me with this particular situation.  It just may be that what we “want” is not what is best for now for reasons unknown.  For now we are just going to continue to pray that it will happen when it is supposed to.  My husband and I have both gotten to where we don’t even talk about getting pregnant anymore, and I deleted my fertility tracking app.  I just wanted to share because I know others are dealing with this same issue, and it stinks.  So, any advice for us is welcome =).

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