A Weekend in Los Angeles

We found suuuuper cheap tickets with Allegiant Air, and flew out of Memphis on a direct flight to LA. Our goal? See as much as we could of LA, in 3 days, with a 6 month old. Ha, we realized it was a huge endeavor. But we were ready.

First, let’s talk this direct flight to LA from Memphis. You guys! Honestly this was not a bad flight at all! People like to bash budget airlines, but all I’m saying is for what we paid for these flights, (like $350 round trip for two!), we could sit in the lavatory for all I care. But really, not bad, not bad at all.

We were nervous about how Emerson would act on the flight. She honestly did SO GREAT. Laughed, smiled, and even slept some. Proud mama.Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Touched down in LAX, sang some Miley Cyrus, and went straight to get tacos at Mondo Taco near Venice Beach. We had less than 3 days in LA, so pretty much every spare minute was accounted for.

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The one aspect of the trip we might do differently next time, and definitely would have done differently had we not had a baby with us, was take uber or public transportation rather than renting a car. Our rental car was the most expensive part of the whole trip, but ultimately, it proved to be worth it, as it gave us more freedom, and the ability to leave places whenever we pleased, especially if the baby started to get fussy. With that said, finding parking at Venice Beach on a Thursday night when there’s a concert is terrrrrible. Also, my phone died and Jon and I got separated amidst the masses. Lol you guys. Everyone was totally high and I eventually just asked a group of high school boys if I could use their phone to call my husband. They asked what his name was, to which I said, “Jon, why?” And they all started hysterically laughing. Lol, am I missing something here? They had eaten one too many hash brownies FO SHO… Anyways, we all got reconnected, and took a walk around muscle beach and did a lot of people watching. It was such a nice night, and Emerson was totally content just hanging out in the baby carrier.

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It was starting to get late and actually really chilly out, so we hiked back to where Jon parked the car, and made our way across town to our airbnb in Highland Park. We chose this area because I had read it was an up-and-coming cool spot in the NorthEast section, with merging cultures and great local eateries. Also, our airbnb was super affordable and couldn’t have been better! Highly recommend this place . We crashed and all three slept so well, which was actually something I was worried about. After debating about sleep arrangements prior to the trip, we decided ultimately not to bring the pack-n-play. Even though Emerson starts off the night sleeping in her crib at home, she always ends up in our bed as I nurse her at night, so we just left the pack-n-play at home, and hoped for the best. It wasn’t ideal, but lugging that thing around seemed awful, and we didn’t want to pay extra to rent one in LA, so we took a chance and all three slept in a queen size bed. It worked. Wasn’t perfect, but wasn’t terrible either.

On Friday, we woke up, put on a few extra layers (hello zero humidity!), and walked about a mile to get coffee at this place. It was such a nice morning, and we took the long way home to take in all the scenery and HILLS. IMG_3586IMG_3601

We explored more of NorthEast LA, stopped in some cool little shops, showed Emerson the plethora of cacti and why she should always love succulents forever and ever, and had lunch at Amara, a healthy little delicious kitchen! IMG_3620IMG_3615

Because I was racing Saturday morning, we decided to keep the rest of Friday pretty low-key. We took naps in the hammock that was right outside on our private patio, and then had an early pizza dinner before turning in for the night. Ps: also reading this book, as you can see in the photo below. It’s been really great for my mental game! IMG_1013

Saturday, I raced a local 5k (more on that later, but I PR’d wahoo!), and we had such a great morning in Griffith Park! We tried to hike to the Hollywood sign, lolzz it was like 8 miles round trip so we said, “nah, we will hike to the summit.” Then half-way to the summit we changed our minds and turned around and decided to go get brunch instead. ha! Regardless, it was beautiful and awesome to see the city below. Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

We originally were going to go here for brunch, because I had heard some really great things about it, but after seeing the wait was like 2 hours, we made a game time decision to go find sushi instead. Because Los Angeles=coastal city=the sushi has gotta be good, amiright. We were not disappointed ONE BIT when we walked into Sushi by H and looked at the menu. Explosion of deliciousness in our mouths. Hands down the best and most affordable sushi we’ve ever had. If you’re in LA, GO HEREIMG_3641 copyIf you haven’t caught on yet, our trip was pretty much centered around food lol. After our bellies were full of sushi, we went back to the airbnb, took a nap, read in the hammock some more, then got ready for our best food endeavor yet. C’mon, did you think we were going to forget about In-N-Out Burger? Our entire dinner was $7 ha!Processed with VSCO with b5 preset

Because I am a bottomless pit and gluttonous soul, especially while breastfeeding and after I race, I walked to get ice cream after our In-N-Out experience LOL. I am not sorry one bit. Ice cream from this place was NOT A BAD DECISION whatsoever. So so good. Jon opted for beer instead. But howwww?

We then packed our bags and got ready for our 4:30 am wake-up call the next morning. Boo. But, wow! What an awesome 3 days. We truly packed so much into the trip, especially with our little munchkin. She did great. Besides screaming the majority of the flight home (cue eye roll….so sorry to the other passengers, yikes), we were really so proud of her and how she just went with the flow the whole trip. I think the flight home was probably just too much. Poor thing. She did finally fall asleep as we taxi’d to the gate lol. IMG_3651

And that’s a wrap! Whew, what a whirlwind of a trip, but so so awesome. We vowed when we had Emerson that we wouldn’t stop living, and we would continue to go on trips, and do as much as we feasibly could while raising our daughter. We hope she grows up with an adventurous spirit as a result 🙂  Until next time, LA!

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Baby is here! Part 1 of Emerson’s birth story.

I’m breaking up the birth story into two parts rather than trying to cram it all into one. This is part 1, where I tell the details of my birth goals, and what actually happened leading up to it.

From the moment we found out we were pregnant, I decided I would do everything in my power to have a natural birth. “Natural Birth” means different things to different people. For me, the phrase embodies going into labor on my own, laboring for a while at home, heading to the hospital when things start getting intense, and pushing a baby out without medical interventions like pain medicine or induction drugs. That was my plan. I read the books, Jon and I went to 6 weeks of Lamaze classes, I tried to stay as healthy as possible throughout my pregnancy, etc. Basically, I set myself up for success, or tried to anyway. 
 
 As my due date inched closer, I became extremely antsy. WHY ISN’T BABY HERE YET?! Like the majority of first-time moms, my due date came and went with zero signs of an impending labor. Honestly, I am sure my anxiety and impatience had something to do with the baby not descending. I just couldn’t relax! There was no dilation of my cervix, and pretty much no effacement when I went to my appointment at 40 weeks. I started to become anxious about knowing when baby would arrive. I remember saying, “If someone could just tell me how many more days it’s going to be, then I’ll be fine! It’s the unknown that is driving me insane.”

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Laser Tag at 41 weeks. HA! Doing everything to keep my mind off going into labor . . .

As part of the “natural birth” plan, we worked with a midwife throughout my pregnancy, which means you can imagine my shock when she said she really didn’t want me going past 41 weeks if I don’t go into labor on my own. (Normally midwives are much more lenient with waiting on babies to come on their own) “Wait, how will I have a natural birth, then?” became my thought process. I know that sounds selfish, but I truly had been envisioning this process for 9 months, so there was a little disappointment. I knew if I had to be induced, the dream of bringing a baby into the world without drugs would be nearly impossible. Most people I had talked to said laboring while on Pitocin or Cytotec (two drugs used to induce labor), is pure hell. So, as I inched closer to 41 weeks, I had to begin thinking about what an induction would mean, and whether my goals of a natural birth needed to change a bit. I was surprisingly okay with changing my plan. Besides, isn’t that what you hear all the time? Have a birth plan, but be flexible. The time had come for flexibility, and perhaps I was just so ready to get the baby out of me, that the drugs and possibility of needing an epidural really didn’t sound all that bad.

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It was a Sunday, and I was 41 weeks pregnant. To be frank, I was not in a good mental state. Just sooo ready to not be pregnant and to meet this baby. I’ve never felt so impatient in my life. My husband and I were on a long walk to a local coffee shop when we had a conversation about inducing the following day. We both decided in the end, it would be best, and we would trust the midwife’s discretion on getting the baby out soon for both his/her health and mine, which would mean possibly foregoing my plan of a natural birth. I was really at peace about it. I had accepted that our plans don’t always go the way we want them to, and that is OKAY. The health of the baby is the most important thing. We would go to our prenatal appt the next day, and if there was availability at the hospital, we’d induce that day.

The plan to induce the following day came to fruition, and we headed to the hospital around 11 am Monday morning. I had heard horror stories about hospitals not letting you eat once you’re in the labor and delivery room, so we made sure to get some high-quality food in my system while driving downtown ha 😀

 By the time I was checked in and all the paperwork was complete, it was 2pm on Monday. I met with the midwife, who suggested I try a manual dilation before we jump to using Cytotec. The less synthetic drug intervention the better. So we opted for a dilation technique called Laminaria, which actually consists of using sticks of seaweed that expand inside your cervix to dilate it. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. Yes, I was a little weirded out. So we tried the seaweed, with no guarantee it would work. And it didn’t. I was still just 1 cm after they took them out 6 hours later at 8pm. I honestly wasn’t disappointed. I had decided today was all about going with the flow, and I knew it was going to be a long labor, so I just relaxed and trusted the midwife. I was finally on the way to meeting this baby!

the eternal waiting game

The next step? Cytotec. If you’ve never heard of it, google it. It’s a beast of a drug. It’s a tiny pill they insert into your cervix, and once it dissolves, there’s no turning back. Woof. It can make labor contractions down right brutal for some, and for others, like the Laminaria, it may not even work. 2 hours after taking the Cytotec, at 10pm, my water broke, and no more than 5 minutes after that, contractions came on in full force.

IT’S LABOR TIME.

Part 2 will be the actual labor, how I managed it, and ultimately meeting my beautiful baby girl. Stay tuned!

Snow Day Survival: Day 2

Because we are all getting a little cabin feverish over here . . . So I actually ended up going into work yesterday, and the photo above is how I felt about it. This morning I woke up and my … Continue reading