#formymemories

I am not a tech-savvy person by any means. I missed the boat there. Part of my goal with this blog is to further my knowledge and skills in the process! I had been having trouble with my Mac for a while. It kept telling me I had no space, start-up disc full. I’d delete documents and a bunch of pictures now and then. I couldn’t understand why the messages didn’t stop! The other day, I prepared to print pictures by the mass to put into photo albums, knowing this would be a fun way to reminisce with the kids. Low and behold, the piece of junk wasn’t working (I sound 80, I know)! A more knowledgeable friend helped me figure out that the 8,200 pictures and 300 videos on my Mac was likely the problem! I am probably making myself a target for cyber-theft by sending this confession out into virtual space… Anyhow, the reminiscing and realization of my current lack of tech skills motivated this post.

I think it’s safe to say that most people understand that the effort we put into healthy living and physical activity in particular, will benefit our quality of life as we age. However, I am not sure it is as common knowledge, the impact exercise may play on our mind as we age. Along with aging come changes to the brain which cause decline in cognitive function. Studies suggest that exercise can help prevent atrophy and degeneration within parts of the brain related to memory (Gregory, Parker, and Thompson, 2012).  Smith (2016), highlights consistent positive effects of combined physical activity in combination with cognitive activities or “brain fitness” on cognitive health of aging adults. Though there are cross sectional and longitudinal studies which support the benefit of exercise on brain health, researchers emphasize the need for larger scale studies following the impact of lifestyle and health behaviours of individuals from an earlier age for the potential to prevent age-related cognitive decline… We can sit around and hope that we don’t end up with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or any other diseases related to cognitive decline. We can hope that the pharmaceutical industry finds a pill to “fix” symptoms related to such diseases. We can also do everything in our power to try and prevent or diminish effects of age related atrophy or degeneration.

I challenge you to go out and get some form of exercise every day this week! Try and get a bit of “brain fitness” in daily too! If you can combine the two, even better! Go for a walk, try and learn a new skill, try a new form of physical activity, learn a new form of dance! For your sake, and that of your children, please remember that you are strong enough to make sure you do everything in your power NOW, to enjoy the moments and memories in your future.

Tag your daily exercise and brain fitness on Instagram with #formymemories

Love Thea

References

Gregory, S. M., Parker, B., & Thompson, P. D. (2012). Physical activity, cognitive function, and brain health: what is the role of exercise training in the prevention of dementia?. Brain sciences, 2(4), 684-708.

Smith, G. E. (2016). Healthy cognitive aging and dementia prevention. American Psychologist, 71(4), 268.

Kang, S., & Kang, S. The study of exercise and health services platform for prevention of dementia. Cluster Computing, 1-6.

Voelker, R. (2010). Effective Prevention Remains Elusive for Cognitive Decline and Dementia. JAMA, 303(24), 2462-2462.

Before

I sit here, typing this post, watching Sex and the City. Sex and the City is one of my favourite shows to watch when I want a little extra motivation or when I feel anxious about getting older. I love stories about strong, independent, successful women. I needed the encouragement today as I plan to post my Before pictures in this post!!

I’ve created a 6 week fitness program for myself, which I am beginning today! I am three weeks postpartum now. Though I am happy about how fast my pregnancy weight (and then some) has come off, I am not yet where I want to be. I DO feel amazing though, especially considering how little sleep I’ve been getting. Maybe I’m still on a high by suddenly being able to bend over again and tie my shoes, lay on my stomach, climb stairs without becoming winded…. But my fitness goals are to overcome years of neglect. This past year, this pregnancy, has been particularly hard on my body. I spent several weeks of this pregnancy on bed rest orders due to bleeding in pregnancy. After that, I had a ten pound lifting restriction. I occasionally indulged in fried and fast foods. My blood pressure rose again during this pregnancy. I began taking Labetalol 100mg, twice daily. After Brynn’s delivery, my pressure increased still and I began having terrible head aches and blurred vision. I had to increase my dose to 200mg twice daily. I gained about 25 lbs during this pregnancy, and am now down 35 lbs. Thank you breast feeding! I am fitting into clothes that I haven’t fit into for a couple of years, but like I said, years of neglect….

So here we go! Posting these is WWWAAAYYY the heck out of my comfort zone!! And I have dreaded it for the last week, put it off for the last couple days, looked for excuses, talked myself out of it… but, as I said in my first post, this is about growth and accountability for me. SO here they are!

Happy TGIT!

Thea

Birth Story!

He finally arrived! Mr. Brynn Herzog was born one week ago today, February 14, 2017! Our little Valentine weighed in at 8 lb 4 oz. and is doing great! I say finally, however, his official due date by LMP isn’t until February 26th. Through this entire pregnancy I’ve had the feeling he would come early. For some reason I expected him much earlier than this… no logical reasoning for this I guess… but my body had felt ready to deliver for well over a month. I found this pregnancy to be very challenging. I will explain some of the reasoning behind this in another post, but in summary, I was just so exhausted all of the time and experienced a lot more pain than I did with my first pregnancy.

SO, when I began having contractions Sunday evening, I was over the moon! I had done everything I could think of to induce labor on Sunday. Therefore, when I began having contractions 10 min apart around 21h30 on Sunday, I made sure my bags were ready to go and I tried to get some sleep! They weren’t terribly strong, so I did have a couple scattered hours of sleep that night. But I was pretty excited to be having regular contractions so it was difficult to sleep. I went to my scheduled prenatal appointment at 09h00 on Monday morning, hoping to hear that I was magically 8cm dilated! On the contrary, I had not started dilating and was reminded that contractions could stop and I may very well go til the 26th (or later…). I went home and my contractions seemed to grow further apart and then occasional. Before bed I decided to do a few jumping jacks and squats out of desperation…

An hour after I went to bed, our daughter woke screaming. My husband went first to see her, as he was still up. She seemed inconsolable, so I got up to go see her. I walked into her room and my water broke! We called my mom to come stay with Naomi, and left for the hospital! I thought things were going to move fast now, as contractions started again by the time we got to the hospital at around 23h00 on Monday night. They grew closer to about 3 min apart! However, as the night went on, they became further apart again. After another sleepless night, the nurse came in for an assessment and I had not had a single contraction for about 90 minutes. As you can imagine, I was pretty upset! Our family MD came in at about 10h00 and asked if we wanted to induce. So we gratefully moved to a labor and delivery room as fast as we could get there! Within about an hour, my contractions were on top of one another and excruciating. Epidural was in place about 20 minutes after that. I was 5 cm dilated at this point. Within one hour of my epidural, I was 10 cm dilated and ready to go! Our little man was born at 13h29! It felt SO LONG AWAITED, but he came so quickly at the same time!

We are SO thankful he has joined us on the outside, happy and healthyJ We had great care with some AMAZING nurses and an incredible young Resident who delivered! We are finding our new routine and have been able to get some sleep the last three nights!

Love Thea

My Revelation

I had planned to post something else for today, but I had a revelation last night that I needed to share. When I was young, I used to have this recurrent dream. It wasn’t a dream exactly. It was a feeling. I would wake with a feeling. It became very familiar and made me feel terrible. I remember that the only way I could describe it was that it felt like I was falling and there was nothing to grab onto. The last night that I had this dream/feeling, I had gone down to my parent’s room and told them about it. Told them that it gave me a bad feeling like something bad would happen and there was nothing I could do about it. I remember my dad prayed for me, and this haunting dream/feeling hadn’t been back since…

Last week I mentioned that I have a two-year-old daughter. Miss Naomi is a bright, healthy, busy little girl. I think she is, for the most part, a fairly reasonable toddler…. Can those words go in a sentence together?! However, I believe she inherited a special breed of stubborn, from her father, naturally… Come 8pm daily I am tense and have no interest in anything other than putting my feet up with a glass of wine…Yes-I have abstained from my hs (before bedtime dose) wine for my pregnancy 😉

However, since the Christmas break, I have made many changes in myself and our home that I knew would make me feel better. I can’t say these were new year’s resolutions. They were more like ‘I’ve had lots of time off to think while being sick during the holiday season and with baby coming, I should make these changes’ resolutions. I’ll get into those more at a later time. Important to this story, I wanted to work on my relationship with Naomi and how I parent her.

In this regard, I feel we have come a long way! My patience has grown ten-fold. Maybe this is in part due to me going onto maternity leave from school, and now from work. My general stress levels and schedule could just be significantly lighter, better enabling me to cope. I see that Naomi is responding to this and coping better as well. I am not seeing the same tantrums, we have been talking and ‘de-escalating’ any threatening blow-ups. Last night, during our bedtime ritual, between potty and bath time, this is exactly what happened. She was about to throw a huge melt-down over not wanting to bath due to the band-aid on her toe; which would have thrown me into “smarten-up, I don’t have time for this” mode, which would have in turn made her RAGE in her two–year-old, autonomous state of mind. She’d have gone to bed crying, and likely, I would have too…. Instead, I pulled my new found mom skill-named distraction, and starting quoting Disney movies to get her into the tub! She was smiling and laughing, and I ended up with tens of hugs. At one point she grabbed my cheeks between her two little hands and adoringly said, with a smile, “I love you mom”. Then she gave me a kiss. OH MY GOSH! My heart melted! It felt like we had been working together and just fought off a scary monster! But an old haunting feeling stabbed me in the gut…. Not a contraction!! 😦

Just as I was about to fall asleep last night, the haunting feeling nagged at me again. I recognized it this time as the haunting feeling that would wake me from sleep as a child. Laying there, unable to sleep, I began thinking that this feeling is what lack of control feels like. I had it often as a child… then it disappeared through adolescence and early adulthood. I think it found me again looking into Naomi’s little face last evening when I thought about how much I loved her and what I would ever do without her now that she’s in my life. I can do as much as I can to protect her and keep her safe. But she will make her own decisions. I will not be able to protect her from everything. And some hurt is bound to happen that helps us grow into the strong personalities that we can be. I never used to be afraid of death myself; I thought when my time is up, that is in the Lord’s hands. NOW, the thought of not being here for my daughter (and her little sibling) is absolutely haunting!

I think I’ve finally realized this feeling and what it means for me…. I am hoping I can learn to cope with it and that I don’t start waking every night with these terrible feelings! It really makes me think about how important it is for me to live in the moment and enjoy every day as we are gifted it. Makes me so glad that Naomi and I are getting along easier. I reflect upon how important our relationship is and how I want it to be a healthy and close one. You live and learn, but I’d like to try and make sure as often as I can that I go to sleep each night without regrets…

Has anyone experienced feelings like this, or should I be seeking professional help for anxiety?? :/

Love Thea

 

 

My first blog post!

Today is the first day of my first maternity leave and the beginning of a new adventure for me! Motherhood?… No, this isn’t my first rodeo. A little about myself… I am 28 years old. I have a wonderful two-and-a-half-year-old daughter and I am expecting baby #2 this month. I am a wife of 3.5 years to my busy grain cleaner/welder/farmer husband. I work as a Registered Nurse in an Emergency Department. I am also currently on maternity leave from my Master of Nursing thesis program. I have been working while enrolled in University for the last ten years. For the last year or so, I have been realizing that I have lost myself somewhere in the last five years. I think that a lot of women or mothers begin to feel this way at some point…? Maybe everyone does at some point in their lives.  I love my family, I love my work and my patients… but something is missing. There is a part of me that is unfulfilled. I don’t do any of my hobbies anymore. It feels as though I don’t do much for myself at all anymore. Many who are wives, mothers, or nurses are probably thinking, “Yes, this is normal honey”… but is it? I see plenty of mothers who seem like they have figured out the art of balance, who seem genuinely happy. Why can’t I have that?

I think that I have kept myself so busy and over-expended serving others the last few years, that I haven’t been looking after myself. I am so excited to have the opportunity to take a maternity leave over the next 12-18 months to focus on my family and myself. I didn’t take a maternity leave with my first child. I felt that it wasn’t good timing with work. Five years and fifty pounds later, I am desperate for a change. I want to feel happy with what I accomplish in a day. I want to feel energized and motivated again. I know that feeling this way, better about myself, will enable me to be a better wife and mother as well.

Who/where was I? I’ve always loved helping others. I used to help people work toward health and fitness goals. I was always an active person, playing various sports, running, and getting some form of physical activity for myself daily. I was truly happy and had endless energy. I took the time to cook healthy, satisfying meals and spent time with friends. I felt balance.

I finished my first degree in Spring of 2011, a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, Exercise and Sport Studies with a CSEP Certified Exercise Physiologist designation. I went on to Nursing, as I felt my Kin degree provided limited career opportunities. Though becoming a Registered Nurse provided me with countless career opportunities, it can be draining, time-consuming, and all-encompassing.

And so here I am… about to enter a new chapter in my life. I want to use this time to become active again, learning how to make it work with two children. I want to meet some personal goals, learn how to navigate social media, and find myself in balance along the way! I’ve decided to share this journey as a form of accountability. I’d love to hear back from you and learn from or about who is reading my blog!

Love Thea

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