Arlo's Birth Part 1: Labor and Delivery
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Hello everyone!  I feel so out of the loop right now but I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things and wanted to update you all with all the craziness of the past three weeks.  Also wanted to get Arlo's birth story written down while it's fresh in my mind so that I can always have this to look back on.  The reason I made this a two parter is because the drama was far from over when he was finally born.  I had some complications with birth that I'm still trying to heal from and I wanted that to be a separate story.  Also, way too long to read all at once, unless you really want to. So here's part 1 for ya.  The story of my labor and delivery of our sweet boy.

At 39 weeks I was super ready to have this baby!  Our birthing center only takes normal, low risk pregnancies between 37-42 weeks.  I was terrified of somehow going over and missing that window!  I was determined that he would come early or at least on time.  I was due November 26th, the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  We already had plans to do Thanksgiving with our close friends and I had already bought all the supplies to make my favorite dishes.  At that point I said, ok let's just make it through Thanksgiving then you can come on little guy!  Monday night, the 20th we starting getting all our ducks in a row before the busy week took over.  We finished packing our bag for the birthing center, I washed and blow dried my hair, actually shaved my legs, and downloaded a contraction timing app.  

I'd been having Braxton Hicks contractions pretty regularly for the past few months.  It was normal to have them all night and for them to feel pretty strong.  Tonight didn't feel any different but I pulled out my new contraction timer just to test it out.  My Braxton Hicks were consistently 10 minutes apart for the whole evening.  Still, this felt like most other nights recently.  But I remember telling Ryan "I don't think we have to worry about this baby being late.  I feel like it could be soon."  He said "Like before Thanksgiving soon."  I didn't think so.  "Nah, we will get through Thanksgiving."

I finally put my app down and went to bed, Braxton Hicks still going.  Every hour or so throughout the night a contraction would wake me up.  This had never happened before.  They felt the same, but with a little crampy feeling, kinda like period cramps, or like you really need to poop!  I told myself I probably had gas.  That morning Ryan got up and left for work around 6:30 am as always.  I usually slept a couple more hours before leaving for work at 9:15.  But this morning I couldn't go back to sleep.  So crampy!  Around 7am I started timing again.  These cramps contractions were about 6-7 minutes apart.  I called Ryan and let him know, but still didn't want him to panic or rush home.  I had a full book of clients and even still planned on going to work at this point! haha. I knew that these were contractions, but that didn't mean I was in labor or progressing in any way.  I'd had two friends recently having painful contractions on and off days and even weeks before giving birth.  Not going to get myself or anyone else excited.  I called my midwife and she said it sounded like I could be in early labor but to keep her updated and get ready to come in to the birthing center when my contractions had been 3 minutes apart for at least an hour.

By 8:30 I called Ryan and told him to come home. I still wouldn't say "This is it!" but they were getting more painful and I at least needed someone with me to keep me calm.  I also called into work and advised them to start moving my morning clients while I "got this under control" lol. Ryan got home and we tried to watch tv to stay distracted.  That didn't work.  I tried bouncing on my ball.  Nope!  Laying down.  Nope!  Standing is all that felt ok.  We called our parents and let them know what was happening but not to head this way just yet.  They are 5 hours away in AR and I didn't want them half way here just to have this fizzle out. I still wouldn't admit that I was in real labor but I remember thanking this better freaking be it because this hurts!  I thought early labor(if that's what this was) would be a breeze.  Something I wouldn't have to focus on.  Ryan reminded me to not use all my coping skills I'd learned right now, and to save them for when it was more intense.  But this was intense! Finally he convinced me to go on a walk.  That was great!  We walked around the block a few times, stopping for each contraction and hanging onto each other.  The weather was beautiful that day.  60's and sunny, not a cloud in the sky.  After a few rounds I wanted to keep going but we decided to go back inside because I didn't want to waste any more energy.  It was now early afternoon and at that point my legs were already getting weak from standing all morning.  

When we got back inside things seemed to pick up even more and I decided to get in the shower.  Contractions were even more intense and getting closer together but still sporadic.  Some 2 minutes apart, some 6, but on average 3-4. I couldn't focus anymore.  I was already feeling tired.  How on earth could I keep going?  How on earth is this going to get more intense and can I really handle this?  By this point I was already making some kind of noises during each contraction, trying to keep my sounds to low groans, trying to breathe while bracing myself against the shower wall.  I begged Ryan to call the midwife again and see if we could go ahead and come in.  I couldn't imagine getting in a car like this but definitely didn't want to wait till it was any worse.  Since I had tested positive for GBS and would need antibiotics in an IV during labor, she told me to come on in just to be safe.  Also it was 3:30 in Nashville which means we had about 30 minutes before we'd get stuck in traffic for an hour.

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Between contractions Ryan helped me get dressed and get into the car.  I felt like I might die if I did anything but stand during each contraction so the car ride was TORTURE!  I lifted myself as far out of that seat as possible with each one.  About 20 minutes and 5 contractions later, we pulled up at Baby+Co and were taken to our room.  After I let another contraction pass the midwife checked me(which hurt like hell!) and I was dilated to a 3.  I had mixed emotions.  It would have been great to be further along but at least I knew I was getting somewhere. This was real. This was it!  But 3 down, 7 to go was something I did not want to think about at this point.  She confirmed that I was in early labor but told me it was early enough I could go home for a while and come back later if I wanted to.  OH HELL NO!  There was no way I was getting back in that car.  

So Ryan and I got "comfortable" in our birthing suite.  I tried to get in the shower but the water wouldn't get hot!  I tried to lay down in the big comfy queen sized bed but that wasn't happening.  I just wanted to stand but my legs were shaking and giving out already from doing that all day. I think at that point I ended up on the toilet for quite a while.  At least it was a lovely heated toilet. After we got to the birthing center I really lost all track of time.  I don't think I looked at a clock or my phone the whole time, which I'd highly recommend.  While each contraction was it's own challenge, and in a way there was a feeling of "omg how long can this go on!?!?!", looking back, it really flew by.  We did nothing else but focus on getting through laboring together and at least now, looking back, all that time kind of runs together.  Ryan was so calm and comforting and kept me fed(chocolate chip cliff bars), hydrated(a sip of water between every contraction), and motivated with his kind and encouraging words.  

For a few hours it was just me and Ryan in the room but at some point once things progressed a bit more, they hooked me up to my IV of antibiotics and either our midwife Heather, or our nurse Grace, were in the room with us the whole time.  Once I was in a good active labor I moved to the tub.  That felt great!  And by "great" I mean "I think I can survive a little longer here." It's crazy how different it was than I expected.  How much harder.  But I was doing it!  Somehow it just got more and more intense, but very gradually, to where I almost didn't notice or have a chance to panic.  All I could do is focus on getting through each contraction.  Low groans and moans turned into something much louder, but I tried my best to keep my sounds productive and remain in control of them.  This is probably the only thing I remembered from birth class in the moment.  One thing that became very clear is that all the coping skills that we'd learned(essential oils, massage, breathing, using the tub or shower...) served a different purpose than I'd expected.  There is nothing in the world that was going to ease the feeling of a contraction.  I just had to survive them, one at a time.  But all of those other things were very important tools to help me relax between each contraction, which I did very well for a while.  While I still had 2-3 minutes between contractions I would lay in the tub and relax every muscle in my body.  I actually don't think I've ever felt better in my life than I did in those 2-3 minute breaks.  So relieved for a contraction to be over, in an amazing warm bath, breathing in lavender, with my husband saying nice things and massaging my head.  Haha, amazing!  And it was 100% necessary to have the physical and emotional strength to handle the next contraction.

At a certain point I started to get too tired to relax.  Contractions were too close together and my body wouldn't stop shaking long enough to calm down.  Enter: nitrous oxide.  When all the tricks we had up our sleeves stopped working, I was given the nitrous mask to hold and breath during contractions and to relax in between.  This worked wonders when it comes to getting me to calm down a little longer. 

Of course all good things come to an end, and there was a point where the nitrous stopping working as well.  Contractions were so intense and so close together, I was just about over it.  Honestly ready to give up.  But there's no off button you can suddenly push.  This was happening whether I liked it or not!  It was around 11:30 and our parent's had arrived and were in the lobby.  This gave me a little comfort to know I had even more cheerleaders just in the other room. My midwife asked to check me again.  I actually said no at first because I didn't think I could mentally handle it if it wasn't good news.  She insisted and when she checked me I was at a 7.  I tried to shut off my brain and just go into survival mode.  I have no choice, I have to get through this.  At this point she could tell I was fading.  I cried and said I don't want to do this anymore! She told me that she did not want me to look back at this experience as a traumatic one, and if I was in too much pain they could call an ambulance to take me to Vanderbilt to get an epidural.  I said no!  Even though that sounded great, I wanted to have my baby at the birthing center and bottom line, I wanted immediate relief and there was no way I was getting back in any kind of car like this! 

Right after she checked me and we had this conversation I had a massive contraction, I stood up off the bed where'd shed been checking me, hung onto Ryan's shoulders and in that moment my water broke.  All over Ryan!  As soon as that happened the contractions changed.  Even the very short space between them was hurting and I felt the urge to push.  Was this transition?  Had I already been through transition?  Heather immediately checked me again and I was at 10!  I'd gone from 7 to 10 in that one contraction and was ready to push!  I don't want to say pushing felt good, but it was doable.  It was crazy intense but it was progress, it was a light at the end of the tunnel, it was knowing that this is almost over that gave me the mental energy to push with all the strength in my body.  Between each push they checked the baby's heart rate.  After just one or two rounds of pushing the baby's heart rate had dropped low enough for concern.  They calmly told us that just to be safe they were calling 911 to get an ambulance to take me to Vanderbilt just in case he ended up needing help.  The ambulance was minutes away but she told me we could try and get the baby out before they pulled up.  With the next contraction I pushed with all I had in me and definitely made some progress but the EMT's were ready for me and we had to go.  Not a stitch of clothing on, Ryan helped me into a nightgown and onto the stretcher.  Forced to lay down(my least favorite position) and legs literally strapped down to the stretcher, I was wheeled out through the lobby, past my parents, and into the ambulance, all while trying not to push and making some pretty scary noises I'm sure.  

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My midwife hopped in the ambulance with me but Ryan and my family had to drive there separately.  I found out later that Ryan had gotten lost and ended up at the VA emergency room instead of Vandy!  Thank God he found it after that and made it on time, and thank God I didn't know about that until after the fact!  One excruciating ambulance ride later, I was being wheeled into a labor and delivery room at Vanderbilt and lifted onto the bed.  Minutes later Ryan was by my side again and I was pushing.  Baby's heart rate had returned to normal even before we arrived so we weren't super worried anymore, just ready to get him out.  One more round of pushing and he was almost out.  My midwife was still running the show and helping me every step of the way.  At that point she pulled out a scary looking device and started talking about how they needed to cut me to allow him enough room to come out, at that moment I had another contraction and pushed him right out!  Close call with the almost episiotemy, but ended up with my perineum fully intact!  Only a few minor tears inside.  

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I thought I'd cry when I saw him.  Ryan thought he would too.  But we didn't.  They put him straight on my chest and I just looked at him in shock and relief.  I just remember saying "I did it! I did it!" and "It's over!!!"  I've never felt so much relief in my life. Ryan was all smiles as we looked in amazement at what had just shot out of my body. There he was, all slippery and writhing on my chest.  I didn't even think to look at what color hair he had or anything like that.  I was just shocked.  This actually happened.  I actually did it, all naturally, and we were all ok, and there was a tiny person here that wasn't here before. 

I was so thankful the pushing went so fast.  Our parent's on the other side of the wall said they heard it happen.  A giant scream from me, then a tiny cry from Arlo.  Arlo Simon Hart was born at 1:08am on Wednesday, November 22nd, the day before Thanksgiving.  He was 6 pounds 15 ounces, and 20 inches long.  

Even after all that, I'm so happy I made it through an all natural birth.  One thing I took away though is that I really don't think I could have done it in a hospital setting.  It was hard enough at baby+co where I had a whole beautiful suite to move around in, try out different positions and had every tool for relaxation at my disposal. In that small hospital birthing room, there's no way. And with drugs so readily available, I would have given in for sure in the moment, even though that's not what I wanted for us. 

At first I had so much relief.  Everyone kept telling me, it's almost over, once he's out, all this goes away.  I was so glad I'd made it.  But unfortunately it was not even close to being over for me.  That's why there's a part 2 to this thing!  Details of my rather dramatic postpartum experience coming soon.

Much love,

Caitlin

My 9 Pregnancy Must Have's

Hello everyone!  It's been a while.  Between getting ready for baby, still working full time, and attempting to maintain some kind of social life, I've been a little busy!  But I thought I'd pop in and share with all of you a few of the things that have made my life a lot easier these past few months.  From clothing items to books, if you're an expecting mama I'd highly recommend making a few of these purchases. 

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1. MATERNITY LEGGINGS

I tried not to buy a ton of maternity clothes and stick with flowy dresses as long as possible, BUT if you have to buy one thing get a pair of maternity leggings.  I wear them with everything and they are SO COMFY!  I also bought maternity yoga pants, a pair of jeans, and a few maternity tank tops(the kind that are just extra long, so I feel like I'll still wear them after birth) and that has gotten me through the majority of my pregnancy.  

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2. A COMFY BRA

By about month 5 I had to switch out my favorite victoria's secret bras for something a little more practical.  One of my biggest issues during pregnancy has been rib pain, even in my second trimester, so I had to start wearing something loose or I just couldn't stand it.  This "sleeping bra" from Medela has been AMAZING!  I bought a few and it's all I wear.  Even if you aren't pregnant, if you want something comfy and minimalistic, go get one!  It can also be used for nursing when the time comes.  Got mine at target for about $16.

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3. MATERNITY SPANX

I bought these babies early on and have used them til I worn them out(just this week I wore a hole in them).  I got a nude pair and wore them under everything.  Surprisingly they feel amazing just because they keep everything supported and also acted as a slip under any dress once slips didn't fit.  About $50 but well worth it.

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4. EXERCISE BALL

This has been great as I'm nearing the end of this pregnancy.  There are times when there's literally no comfortable position but I can lay over the ball and just let everything hang for a while to get some relief.  It's also a nice spot to just sit and bounce and I plan on using it while laboring at home in the early stages.  You can get a ball and pump together for under $20 most places.

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5.  SACRAL BELT

This is something I had before pregnancy but there have been times I would not be able to function without it!  I already had low back issues, particularly around my sacrum and pelvis, so with everything loosening from the hormones even in my first month I had crippling pain.  This belt sits low on the hips around the pelvis and tightens to literally hold everything together.  It has been a life saver!  In my first trimester it did the job my ligaments could not by holding everything together while I got chiropractic adjustments and giving my own body a little time to strengthen and heal.  Now in the third trimester it's an amazing way to provide that counter pressure that feels amazing as the baby is pressing down so low on everything.  I recommend this serola brand belt.  You can find it on their website serola.net for $44.

6. BELLY OIL/LOTION

This one has been a bit of an experiment.  While I'm honestly not super concerned with getting stretch marks, I did want to see if I could do anything to make the stretching process a little easier on my skin.  This stretch mark oil from Clary Collection mixed into my Grape Stem Cell body lotion from Ilike Organics has been my go to since day one.  I am three weeks away from my due date and no stretch marks yet!  For me that's saying a lot because I have stretch marks all over my body!  Got my first set as a teenager and have had them pop up every time I gain a few pounds all my life, so I really expected to get them.  I picked up this oil(which smells AMAZING) from my friend Laura Lemon's local Nashville shop Lemon Lane, where they cary tons of amazing natural body products.  It retails for about $20.  I chose the Grape Stem Cell lotion from the line I cary at where I work at Pure Organic Salon+Spa because it's an anti-again body lotion.  This means it helps your skin naturally boost collagen and elastin production which is exactly what you want when your skin has to stretch and heal.  At about $76 the stem cell lotion costs a pretty penny, but this is pro quality, super concentrated, organic, anti aging skincare, and if it works, well....it might be totally worth it to some.

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7. INA MAY'S GUIDE TO CHILDBIRTH

If you read one thing during your pregnancy please make it THIS BOOK!  The first half is a collection of beautiful and positive birth stories.  The second half presents more technical information but in such a loving and non-scary way that it is really an enjoyable read that leaves you feeling empowered, informed, and ready to rock birth!  You can find this book online I'm sure, but I got mine used at my favorite discount book store, McKays for about $3.  And I'm pretty sure there were about 5 more copies when I was there.

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8. PRENATAL YOGA

Ok these last two aren't really products but have been amazing resources during my pregnancy.  Prenatal yoga has not only been a way to prepare my body for labor and delivery, but a great way to connect with other women going through the same struggles I'm currently facing.  At Blooma yoga studio in Nashville, pre and post natal is all they do so every instructor really has a heart for working with pregnant women and mothers and providing exactly what we didn't even know we needed.  Every class starts with a circle where we all share a little about ourselves and our pregnancies and have a chance to talk through whatever we may need to that day all before stretching out all these crazy aches and pains.  If you're in the Nashville area make sure to check them out.

9. BABY+CO

Last but not at all least, my amazing birth center Baby+Co.  I feel SO lucky to have a place like this in my town.  Where do I even start?  How about these gorgeous, cozy rooms!  Every room comes with big comfy queen sized beds, an amazing deep tub, pilates bars, water therapy rooms(aka the fanciest shower ever!), different sized exercise balls, essential oil bar and diffusers, and plenty of space and freedom to give birth in whatever way feels best.  Birth in the center is all natural but I'll have access to different natural pain relief methods not available in hospitals.  I'll be assisted by the very best nurses and midwives as long as everything goes smoothly, and if I need anything more than they can offer I'm a quick transfer away from Vanderbilt hospital, right across the street.  In addition to amazing prenatal support through all my visits, they include a six week birth class that has been incredible.  A week was spent on early labor, active labor, transition and pushing, post natal recovery, infant care, and breastfeeding.  We feel so much more prepared after taking this amazing class with our incredible instructor Angela Graham.  Baby+Co also offers plenty of extra classes and support groups before and after baby that we plan on taking advantage of.  If you're even thinking about becoming pregnant I highly recommend you tour this beautiful space.

 

Any other ladies have anything they'd add to this list?  Let me know what worked for you!

Caitlin

Caitlin Hart
8 Tips To Creating Your In Home Gym: By Guest Blogger, Cait Elizabeth

Hey guys!  Excited to share with you a fun post by a guest blogger.  Cait Elizabeth, of Cait's Cozy Corner, is a mom, fashion, and fitness enthusiast from Atlanta, GA.  Hope you enjoy her fun tips to get healthy at home!

8 Tips To Creating Your In Home Gym

Have you ever walked into someone’s home and thought “Wow, this gym is something I could definitely use in my own home!” Of course, you actually can make your home gym more functional and aesthetically pleasing at the same time. Do we all really think that we can squeeze that treadmill in the corner of the room next to the huge pile of laundry? Sure, you may need a certain amount of space to dedicate to working out but creating your state-of-the-art gym can be super expensive! Anyone with a basement or a spare room with extra weights and a yoga mat can make their room look awesome! Today I’ll be sharing 8 ways to add function to your home gym!

  1. Media - I’m one to always need something to watch or listen to when I’m working out. The days I forgot my headphones is a sad one but thank goodness for having the option to watch a show I’ve been meaning to keep up on, or the news. With your own home gym, you’re able to watch what YOU want - or even jam out to your favorite tunes ( yes I’ll blast Backstreet Boys )! Make sure to mount your TV in a place that accessible from every corner of the room ( like a small corner ) so you don’t have to strain your neck one way to watch.

  2. Paint Colors - When I first walk into a room, one of the things I notice right away are the paint colors. Do you want the room to feel inviting and fresh or bold and out there? For me, my in home gym needs to be a mixture so I enjoy colors that are pleasing and not over the top like a bright yellow. Think of light greys, whites or blues and then add some accent colors to speak to your personality!

  3. Rubber Flooring- I need this type of flooring for my gym. I hate slipping and sliding over the floor at times ( if I tend to do more yoga ) and rubber flooring is just a game changer as far as helping my shoes and body stay in place. I also love that it has a lot of give to it so I’m not scuffing my floors when doing a few circuit trainings.

  4. Fan- Despite that your home may have central air, getting super sweaty will always happen so putting a fan or two in small corners like where your treadmill or weight area is key. Keeping cool is essential when getting your work out in.

  5. Add Luxury- Of course I want my in home gym to be functional but also girly too. I love adding some fresh flowers and great pieces to make it a bit more luxurious too. For any of my design needs I always look to Premier Surfaces Chattanooga based in TN. The company specializes in gorgeous countertops made of granite, marble, soapstone and more! They are the only company to win Atlanta’s Consumer’s Choice Award every year since 2008; a prestigious award that is voted by thousands of local residents so you know you’re in good hands when thinking of wanting to customize some counter spaces for that extra storage you need in your gym! Make it pleasing for you and your guests!
  6. Personalize It - Of course, you want your gym to reflect you and your style when it comes to the decor. Inspirational framed messages are always an inexpensive option and you’re probably going to want some sort of music to cover up the sound of your heavy breathing!

  7. Cooler - No one wants to be extremely parched and run upstairs to grab water. Why not have a cute water cooler in your gym and fill it with cold refreshing water bottles to enjoy and for your guests to use if they want to come over!

  8. Keep It Clean -  Remember, this is YOUR space. If it gets a little cluttered from time to time, invest in some cute baskets or boxes that you can easily throw your gym equipment into. The key here is that you want to enjoy your time in your workout area. Don’t add another hurdle to your workouts by forcing yourself to clean up pre-workout.

What would you include in your very own home gym?

3 Healthy Summer Mocktails for Mamas-To-Be

Everyone loves to sip on a special beverage once in a while, especially in the heat of summer.  If you're like me and avoiding alcohol due to pregnancy, or just for your own health, it gets a little boring drinking water when everyone else has a fancy cocktail.  That's why I came up with a few drinks that are easy to make, low in sugar, and so tasty you won't feel left out of the party for one second!

Watermelon Jalapeno Margarita

Ingredients:

2 cups cubed watermelon, frozen

1 fresh jalapeno, seeded

Juice from 1 lime

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  

Add lime juice and/or water for desired flavor/consistency.  

Serve immediately 

 

Peach Basil Iced Tea

Ingredients:

4 tea decaf teabags

Pure liquid stevia

3 Peaches

1 bundle of basil

Directions:

Brew tea according to package.

Slightly sweeten tea to your preference with a few drops of stevia

Cut peaches into slices and add to the pitcher

Roughly chop basil and add to the mixture

Refrigerate for a least a few hours(or overnight) so that the tea soaks up all the flavor of the peaches and basil. 

Cranberry Limeade 

Ingredients: 

2 parts sparkling water

1 part pure, unsweetened cranberry juice

1/2 part limeade(I like simple truth brand)

Lime wedges

Directions:

Pour sparkling water, cranberry juice, and limeade over ice.

Top with extra lime juice and a lime wedge.

Enjoy!

Caitlin

Dermaplaning

I've offered a lot of different skin treatments over the years; microdermabrasion, peels, ultrasound  facials, LED light therapy, and dermaplaning.  Of all of these things dermaplaning has had a very unique response.  People are terrified of it once they read about the process, but once they do it they are addicted!  I have more people that get that done every month than any other skin treatment I offer.  So I thought it would be the perfect thing to write about and share pictures of the process to show that it's totally not a scary thing.  

Dermaplaning is the removal of dead skin and baby hairs on the face by using a single use, stainless steal blade.  "What!?  You mean you're going to scrape a layer of my face off with a scalpel!?" is the general response.  But no, it's not nearly as intense as most people imagine.  It's not unpleasant, and not "a layer of your face", but over time and repeated treatments it will help diminish scaring, large pores, fine lines, hyper pigmentation, and give you overall smoother softer skin.  

I offer dermaplaning as an add on to any of my facials or as a stand alone "dermaplaning facial" which is kind of like dermaplaning with a mini facial.  The reason I don't offer it alone is that I want everyone to leave with the best possible results and that means taking time to at least do a quick mask after the treatment and finish with some good products so that no one leaves irritated or dry.  Also, whatever results you might get from the masks and treatments in a regular facial are greatly multiplied after dermaplaning because the products can sink in much deeper and do their job without being stopped by all that dead skin on the surface.

Want an even better treatment?  Once you're used to dermaplaning I recommend adding an enzyme peel after.  This is going to give an even better exfoliation and this is where you will start to see the real results.  For some people with very dry skin and a lot of buildup, dermaplaning can be like beginning to unravel a sweater; you could just keep going all day with no good stopping point.  An enzyme peel will help dissolve and perfectly smooth any remaining dry skin flakes that weren't quite ready to come off, leaving you with perfectly smooth skin.  I try to do this myself once a month!

After dermaplaning, optional enzyme peel and/or other specialized treatments, and masking, we will finish up with products like serums, eye treatments, and moisturizer customized to your skin's needs. It's actually a very relaxing treatment, and not the scary experience that a lot of people imagine.  Immediately after this treatment your skin will feel softer than you thought possible!  And after continued treatments we can really start to tackle some deeper issues, or simply maintain that youthful glow.  As far as aftercare, just make sure to stay out of the sun for a few days and protect your skin with an spf.  Most people don't have any redness or irritation at all.  So if you're ready to give it a try, you know where to find me!

 

Caitlin

Goodbye First Trimester!

I have to apologize for not being as consistent with this new project as I had hoped, but as most of you know I got some big news shortly after starting this endeavor so I've been a little distracted.

In late March my husband Ryan and I found out that we are going to be parents!  Wether or not a pregnancy is planned or a surprise, I think it's hard not to be in disbelief.  Is this real?  Am I making this up?  Can this little plastic test(or 10 of them!) really tell me something this life changing?  But as soon as we saw this little person on the screen in our first ultrasound it was real!

So what now?  So many things to plan and prepare for.  So many questions on what I can and can't do.  At the time I didn't even have a Dr. but I knew I wanted to do an all natural birth and possibly in an nontraditional setting.  So we decided to do all my prenatal care and birth at a wonderful birthing center with the help of the best midwives and nurses.  The wait between finding out we were expecting and our first appointment seemed like forever!  I called them probably way too much to ask all my questions but was frustrated to find, no one really had the answers I wanted.  As most of you know I do things as naturally as possible.  I don't take drugs unless absolutely necessary, I eat healthy foods and take lots of natural supplements.  So as I started to feel sick early on(especially when I got a bad cold on top of the pregnancy sickness!), I reached for my tried and true remedies.  I'd never noticed the big warning label on everything in my "medicine" cabinet "WARNING: Ask a Doctor before taking if pregnant or breastfeeding."  So many calls to a nurse were made but there are no answers here.  No one has thoroughly tested oils and herbs on pregnant women.  Even when I grabbed my go to kombucha, which always gives me energy and relieves nausea, I find out it's off limits because....we just don't know!  On top of that, the list of approved drugs for pregnancy are things I already try not to take.

So needless to say I spent a few miserable weeks reading lots of books that said lots of scary things and made me want to lock myself in a padded room to keep my baby safe from all the horrors of the world!  After a lot of soul searching, researching, and asking other mamas who I respect, I have been able to relax a little bit.  I think a huge part of pregnancy and health in general is listing to your body.  I knew what I needed when I needed it!  At this point is doesn't matter as much because I'm out of the first trimester and feeling much better haha.  SO GLAD this period of sickness and confusion is over!  But I'm hoping I can continue through this pregnancy staying relaxed and listening to my body.

The first trimester is definitely hard.  I wasn't nearly as sick as some of my friends but it's a tough time with lots of emotions and uncertainty.  I am so happy to finally be settling in, feeling energized, excited, and focused on the connection I'm building with my little one.  

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Spring Beauty Tips

It's that time of year!  Time to do a little spring cleaning to our beauty routines.  My approach to spring and summer beauty is based in simplicity.  Start with healthy skin and top it off with minimal makeup and fun colors.  Vogue agrees with me.  Among Vogue's top beauty trends for spring of 2017 were the "no makeup look", an emphasis on cheeks, and bold lips.  Here are my tips on how to achieve these easy looks.

SKIN  

The base to any good beauty routine is healthy skin.  I recommending starting with the basics; Cleaning, toning, and moisturizing.  For skincare junkies like me, or those looking to address certain issues, you can add products like exfoliants, masks, serums, or eye creams.  I'm a strong believer in organic skincare, not only because it's healthy for our bodies, but because it works!  When we use organic ingredients our skin actually knows what to do with it.  Our bodies, and in turn our skin, know how to regulate and protect themselves.  In an ideal world we wouldn't need skincare at all, but we don't live in an ideal world.  Every day we are exposed to toxins and environmental pollutants not to mention the food we put in our bodies(which is directly related to inflammation in our skin).  So my focus is getting my body and my skin back to it's natural state of regulating and healing itself, and organic skincare helps me do just that.  Also when you clean up your diet and avoid unnecessary toxins in your daily life it will definitely start to show in your skin.  In addition to a good at home routine, regular facials can be an amazing way to see even more results in your skin.  

"NO MAKEUP" MAKEUP

Sometimes even with the best skincare routine we still need a little help to look this effortless.  Here I used all Limelight products.  Gina beige foundation, glowing blush on cheeks and temples, creme brûlée enduring lip color, and a touch of mascara.

GLOWING CHEEKS

For this look I used a dab of Limelight's waterproof concealer mixed with a couple drops of "Must Dew" facial oil for a sheer foundation alternative.  I topped that with "glowing" blush in a "C" shape across my checks and temples, then just a bit of their "perfect blush" right on the apples of my cheeks.  This glowing blush combo as been a major hit and seems to work for everyone.

BOLD LIPS

A bold lip is a super easy way to look instantly put together without doing much at all.  Here I used Limelight's enduring lip color in "Candy Apple".  One of my go to colors when I'm feeling fun.  These enduring lip colors offer a fully pigmented look that dries matte and lasts hours while still feeling creamy and hydrating unlike similar brands that tend to get dry and flakey.  It really is the perfect lip product. 

 

What does your skincare and makeup routine look like?  And is it changing with the seasons or do you feel stuck in a rut?  I can help!  connect with me for personalized skin and makeup help anytime.

 

Caitlin

Skin, MakeupCaitlin Hart
Aloe

We've probably all got a bottle of aloe vera gel stashed somewhere for the occasional sunburn.  I know I was a regular user as a fair skinned kid who couldn't stay out of the sun in the summer.  But do you really know all the vast benefits this plant has?  And are you using it correctly? 

Ways to use it

Aloe vera does two main things, reduces inflammation and deeply hydrates at a cellular level. This means it's amazing for topical use on skin irritations but also internally for inflammation in the body and to aid in increased hydration. 

Topical Uses

  • Burns
  • Rashes
  • Breakouts
  • Allergic reactions
  • Bruises
  • Rosacea 
  • Eczema
  • Hydration
  • Anti Aging
  • Stretch marks
  • Dark spots

Internal Use

The source of all disease in the body is inflammation.  That's why it is imperative to our health to live a lifestyle that reduces inflammation instead of causing more.  You can eat an anti-inflammatory diet by eating alkaline foods and refraining from inflammatory foods like caffeine, alcohol, processed foods and sugar.  As a dietary supplement you can buy a good quality liquid aloe very juice or water(I recommend "George's").  I take a 2oz. shot each morning and evening.  Using aloe internally can also help with skin disorders since we heal from the inside out.  Benefits of taking aloe internally are so vast because healing inflammation helps with any problem you can dream up, but here are a few key things aloe may help with...

  • Digestive disorders
  • Dehydration
  • Joint health
  • Ulcers
  • Cancer prevention/treatment
  • Diabetes/blood sugar control
  • Acid reflux
  • fibromyalgia
  • IBS
  • Crohns disease
  • Rosacea
  • Acne
  • Anti aging

The list goes on and on and on!

Where to get the good stuff

Aloe vera is very east to grow year round indoors as a potted plant.  For external use this is the best source!  Simply remove a leaf when needed, slice it in half lengthwise and rub the inner leaf on the area of concern.  Most drug store aloe gels contain very little actual aloe. Instead they have other medicated ingredients to mask symptoms, like lidocaine or menthol.  If you must buy prepackaged aloe, make sure it's from your local health foods store and is 100% pure aloe.  But buying a plant is definitely the best way to go.  Plus, they look super cute in your home!

For internal use I recommend grabbing a gallon of "George's 100% Aloe liquid" from your local health food store, or online.  It's pure, fractionally distilled aloe without all the pulp so it literally tastes like water.  This stuff is liquid gold!

Those are my favorite ways to use this incredible little plant.  What's your favorite way to use Aloe?

Caitlin  

HealthCaitlin Hart
Launch Day

Launch day, and week, was an overwhelming success!  A small group of women gathered in my home last night to help me celebrate the start of this exciting new business.  I opened a few bottles of wine(and plenty of cheese) and we got to work trying out makeup.  I'm so beyond excited to say that after just one week in business I got my first promotion last night!  Even more exciting is that I added two new members to my team this week.  These two girls are powerhouses and are already working their butts off.  I'm absolutely thrilled to get to work with them.  Over all this has been such a positive experience and I've only just started.  So I'm about to buckle down and get to work planning two more launches for my team members in addition to hosting more makeup demos of my own.  I am still looking to add more team members in the Nashville area and all over the US so if this sounds like something right up your ally, reach out and join the party!  Getting to work with amazing women all over the country to empower and teach other amazing women is an absolute dream.

Caitlin 

Here we go...

First of all, thank so you much for joining me in this new exciting project!  I'm taking this year to work on really digging into myself and what I want to do.  I just love being an esthetician and all that has come with that.  Lashes, skincare, relaxation, makeup, health and wellness.  My real passion really comes down to being a teacher.  Nothing makes me happier than sharing the knowledge I've learned to help women tackle skin and health issues, or simply making them feel beautiful with a new set of lashes or some new makeup.  I'm constantly learning wether it's in school, a weekend class, or from those around me.  So what better way to get all of this information to you than a blog?  Today the launch of this new project coincides with the launch of my new business with Limelight makeup.  I'm so excited to get started doing makeup lessons with so many of you around town and show you what I've been working on.  This will be a place for me to share all that I know from beauty, to healthy recipes, to my favorite local spots to eat and shop.  I'm so excited about this year and this new project.  Love you all for your incredible support so far!

Caitlin