Goals That Last

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Our own personal Danny Zuco! 😉

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Like father, like son

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Kisses for Levi who was a trooper in this cold weather!!

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We love my sister, Olivia for taking some pictures of our family!! Speaking of  which, the New Year is approaching, so Joe & I took this opportunity to review our past family goals & make new ones for 2015 (can you believe it!?). We came to the conclusion that we didn’t master many of our 2014 goals, mostly because we forgot about them. That is why I used my own advice this go around:

  • Make it simple! Our goals aren’t very detailed. They’re general so that there is room for flexibility given each unique circumstance
  • Categorize. We broke them up into the following categories for more clarity: financial, spiritual, physical/health, & fun
  • Post it! When you have a daily reminder of what you want to accomplish, there is a greater chance you will
  • Take it easy. This is when you should really use the advice to “know thyself”, and set reasonable goals so that when you accomplish them, you will feel on top of the world & ready to advance to more challenging ones!
  • Work your way backwards. We realized that goal setting isn’t about doing… it’s about becoming. We started by listing off traits we would like to possess, such as discipline, positivity, & thoughtfulness. Then, we thought about the kinds of actions that would allow us to gain these characteristics…voila!

In actuality, it doesn’t have to be a new year to begin goal setting. Each day, no, each moment is an opportunity for self-improvement!! Just remember, you can achieve anything you want to in this life, so go for it! I hope these tips are helpful. Happy goal setting!!

❤ Aubrey

What are some of your goals & ambitions?

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Conquer: My Birth Story

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Last bump pic woohoo!

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Prepping the birthing pool & filled with excitement

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My pregnant, happy mama!

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Cade couldn’t resist… 🙂

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His face when we told him it was my turn…

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Seeing my sweet child for the first time ❤

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This picture describes it all: so happy, exhausted, & a little crazy looking!

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Way to go, Dad!

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Newest Grandfather!

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“My baby” is all he says 🙂

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Cutest Grandmother!

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Cousin Ford who is 4 days older

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Levi Aaron Kashiwagi – our angel 🙂

It feels like it was ages ago that I birthed my sweet Levi, although it has only been 9 days! Okay so taking it back to Friday morning, the 28th of November: I woke up realizing that I was 4 days past due, so I went to the gym hoping to rattle Levi up a bit! I was feeling good. Maybe even a little too well for my liking. 😉  I went about my day as usual & then it happened…

4:30 PM – I felt mild menstrual-like cramps & told Joe it was show time. At this point, I had some nervous energy! I kept feeling this way until…

7:30 PM – We arrived home from a dinner date with another couple & planned to play games, but by…

8:00 PM – I wasn’t feeling up to it. I called Ann, my midwife, to let her know that the contractions were about 5 minutes apart, lasting 30 seconds each. She told me to let her know when they were 2-3 minutes apart and lasting 40-45 seconds, & to take a walk to help determine this. Thus, we played Catch Phrase while walking around the neighborhood (still on the date!).

8:10 PM – The contractions were precisely as Ann said to look for so we eventually went to my parent’s home to set up for the birth. Being home with my siblings definitely helped these ever-increasingly painful contractions become bearable, and I took my last bump photo ever with Levi (bitter-sweet)!

8:45 PM – I was changing positions on the couch, floor, or exercise ball during contractions to try to stay comfortable.

9:55 PM – I let Ann know to come over since I knew the pain was becoming less tolerable, meaning Levi was getting closer with each contraction!!

10:15 PM – Ann arrived & immediately instructed Joe on how to place pressure on my lower back during contractions, which helped alleviate the pain a little, but was mostly just comforting. 🙂 I was surprisingly still my positive, upbeat self, cracking jokes in between contractions. 🙂 I never felt one ounce of fear the whole time! I knew that I could do anything with the help of God, Joe, and my loved ones. I asked Joe to give me a priesthood blessing of comfort. He blessed me with the ability to remember the purpose of the pain, & believe in myself. I know the words that were spoken came from God, & they helped me tremendously.

11:15 PM – Contractions were more intense, & that’s when I felt my worst fear coming on: throwing up. I hadn’t thrown up in 10 years – & that’s no exaggeration. Fortunately, it came on so quick that I had no time to wish it wasn’t happening. I felt so much better afterwards, & told everyone that I felt like a rock star for going through with it! I kept saying, “If I got past my fear of throwing up that easily, I can do anything!” I was seriously on cloud 9 & so proud of myself, so my contractions were mentally a breeze after that! I truly believe that pain is 100% a reflection of one’s mental state, so I chose to be mentally tough throughout the whole process.

12:00 AM – Ann suggested I enter the birthing pool, but immediately began to shiver because I really like my baths hot! She led me into the shower where Joe & I stood in our swimming suits. It felt amazing and I vocalized this fact to the crew right away, saying, “This was the best idea ever!!!” I faced the facet during my “off-time”, then turned to embrace Joe through contractions while we continuously swayed. This was my saving grace! I was still able to smile & talk with Joe at this time.

1:00 AM – I got tired of standing so we transitioned into the pool again which was now warm. Ann felt Levi’s head coming, & allowed me to do so as well. I couldn’t really, though, because the contractions were intensifying. I threw up again, not feeling as cool this time, but still pretty awesome. 😉 I didn’t yet feel an urge to push, & my hard contractions were getting to be 8-10 minutes apart (which is not optimal for the actual labor part!).

3:30 AM – Shower time again! I was very reluctant, because the shower was my best bud that night. I repeated personal  affirmations in my mind such as, “this is easy”, “this labor is but a small moment in the grand scheme of things”, & “I am strong”. I remained mentally stable. Joe told me how amazing I was & that it was almost over (although Ann would sometimes correct him because she didn’t want me having false hope 😉 ).

4:00 AM – At this point, I was moaning & praying for God’s mercy & grace. I told Him that I could definitely do this, but that more help would be appreciated because I was exhausted. The fact that I had an 8-10 minute resting period in between contractions was God’s blessing to me, I believe, because I was able to stay in check mentally, physically, emotionally, & even get some shut-eye (as crazy as that sounds).

4:30 AM – Ann thought things were piddling out, so we got out of the shower & onto the bed where her & Joe rubbed me. She told me I was probably only half way there (and it had already been 12 hours!!!). Right when I laid down, I felt a strong urge to push & was doing so, while Ann encouraged me to hold off on pushing unless my body was really in need of it. Let’s just say that my body was extremely ready to push, so I let go of all resistance and just let my body guide me.

5:00 AM – I was in “yelling mode” at this time because it felt so nice to just let it out. Ann told me that I was directing my energy to the wrong place, so I thoughtfully listened & didn’t vocalize from that point forward. My water burst & we were all shocked because my contractions were still 8-10 minutes apart!! I asked almost sarcastically, “so I guess we aren’t doing a water birth, then?” Ann confirmed. It was the real deal! My family gathered around.

5:30 AM – I slept in between my spaced out contractions, even while in active labor!! That is practically unheard of. I was on my side & Ann told me she could see Levi’s head! Joe continued to place pressure on my back & I can remember how cute his face was when seeing Baby L entering the world. Next, I remember resting about 8 minutes while L’s head was crowning; it was truly amazing how my body knew exactly what to do and when. I let it take the reins. 🙂

5:40 AM – Ann told me to push out Levi’s shoulders, which I did. He plopped out & was placed directly on my chest, wailing & looking angelic. I was whimpering, so happy & dazed by it all, while stroking my gorgeous son for the first time. Everyone was cheering & Joe was a proud father by the looks of it! I delivered the placenta after a couple attempts & then Joey cut the cord.

Conclusion – We did it!!! In my opinion, the labor went so smoothly due to some key factors: daily exercise, a predominantly healthy diet, chiropractic help to align my back & pelvis, plenty of sleep, a positive outlook, & divine guidance. I had my Heavenly Father, Joe & Levi laboring with me the whole time! I have a testimony that I was never alone & am so thankful to the Lord for our amazing birth experience and to all those He sent to help me. Now I get the privilege of raising Little L. I made a promise to God that I will teach him the ways of the gospel and be a righteous example to him. I love my son and our little family! ❤

Thanks for reading! xo Aubrey