Tuesday, December 30, 2014

medical student family

As 2014 draws to a close I can't help but think about all of the changes and challenges that our family has experienced this year and the past 4 years. I used to be hesitant in sharing that my husband was a medical student because of some of the assumptions that are carried with it. But after the birth our second son I have realized that not only is he the student but we are going through medical school as a family. When my husband began medical school I was living in Minneapolis, Minnesota and completing my dual degree graduate program in Public Policy and Law. We were a newly married couple and at the time we thought it was a great idea to both pursue our dreams in separate cities. We were both late bloomers in finding out what made our passions tick and had experienced a lot of life before we met each other. But once we met each other we were both well on our way to pursuing our goals. Naturally we didn't want to interefere with eachother's dreams but we also knew we wanted to journey this life together. And that's when the idea of still getting married but independently pursuing our programs in different cities took hold. 

After months of traveling back and forth via Mega Bus (fun times!) and weeks on end of only Skype and phone sessions we realized that not only was this a huge challenge but we didn't want to go on apart from each other. My husband was in the thick of his first and most challenging year of school and my heart sunk every time I would hear him say, "there's no way he could get through another day of this." It hurt. At that point, I did not hesitate and knew what I had to do. I knew that I would have to postpone the pursuit of my profession to be at my husband's side. I sacrificed something that I had worked very hard towards. However, being with my husband and starting a family was more important to me than completing that program. It was more important to us. I withdrew from my program and moved to Milwaukee. 

After a year of working in Pediatric Genetics we had our little Gabriel and believe it or not that's when the most challenging part began. My husband was finishing his second year and beginning his third year which is easily the busiest of all of medical school. After the first and second year (that's made up of 9 hours of daily lectures and endless studying) third year rotations began. What's unique about medical school is that there are no summer breaks and after the first two years lectures are replaced by clinical experience. I remember holding newborn Gabriel and my husband coming home after a 24 hour OB shift absolutely exhausted. I would sneak out of our room with Gabriel so that he could sleep and have at least 5 hours of uninterrupted rest. I had no idea what I was doing and in those first several months my husband missed so much of Gabriel's life. However, we were in this journey together and I was at peace knowing that I was there, present and that we would get through this as a family.

There were moments where I thought that having our babies during medical school would somehow hinder my husbands ability to suceed. But there was no doubt in our minds as we quickly approached our thirties that we had to carpe diem and start our family. For us there would never be a "perfect time" and what was once the last priority in our lives became our most wanted desire. When I had those break down moments where exhaustion took hold my husband never failed to remind me that it was because of my support as his wife and the unconditional love from our boys that he had made it this far. We have had moments full of laughter, tears and long periods of silence. Moments where we have had to cling to each other's love and trust not only each other but in the unexplainable grace of a love bigger than us.

I have never regretted leaving Minneapolis and in becoming a mother I've found a new passion that is slowly beginning to unfold new goals. Now that 2015 is just a couple of days away I am so excited for what's next for our little growing family. We have plenty of milestones to look forward to, match day, moving, and graduation. And as we look forward to all of that we will also begin a new chapter of residency that I'm sure will bring a new set of challenges but also triumphs. I will not lie and say that these have been an easy close to four years because they have not been. However, we have seen so many more triumphs and moments of pure joy like the birth our sweet boys, finding my love for all things creative, my husband excelling in his studies, clinical experience and then being inducted into the AOA Honor Society. 

I embrace this new season of our lives because it is a part of our journey. A journey that we have chosen to live together and experience as a couple. On our wedding day a good friend of ours gifted us a book and she placed a bookmark on the following quote:

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.”  'On Marriage' by Kahlil Gibran 

I'm reminded of this as we ring in the new year because I find solice in these words. I whole-heartedly support my husband as he finishes his four years of medical school and I am so incredibly proud. His triumph is my triumph but at the same time it does not define neither of us. We stand together as pillars in order to hold our family together. That is our greatest success. 

I hope this new year brings much joy and success to your life but that you may always remember the definition of true success. 

Abrazos, Keila

Monday, December 29, 2014

Dear Anthro...

Dress | Anthropologie | Patent Leather heels Carlos Santana | Similar | Earrings old Target

For the holidays Anthropologie hosted a giveaway on Instagram where anyone could post an item from their website and wish for it using the hashtag #dearanthro. I'm not really big on entering giveaways because as I tell my husband I never win! But to my surprise a week before my birthday I received a comment from Anthropologie stating that I won the dress that I posted. I was so shocked and excited! I had finally won something and it was absolutely stunning. I am so happy that I chose this dress because it is the perfect LBD and it's even nursing friendly! It also has a sort of spanx underneath and ribbing that provides extra support and keeps things in place ;) I feel completely comfortable, elegant and vibrant in it after having Cristian only 6 weeks ago!  I would have definitely purchased this dress if I found it at the store (I do recommend sizing down if you buy it online). 

I hope you have a fantastic Monday!


Saturday, December 27, 2014

I need this recipe from my bro-in-law! best french toast ever

Christmas Breakfast!

photo bomb lol
Cousin Esther :)

Auntie D!

It's so hard to believe that Christmas came and went! And as our family grows I wish we could make it last a little longer. This year 7 of my 9 siblings and families were able to gather to celebrate (we really missed our two brothers and their families that weren't able to make itπŸ˜”). However, it is still a huge deal since some of us are scattered around the country. The older I get the more I cherish these gatherings because we aren't sure exactly when the majority of us will be able to meet again. It was so wonderful to spend time with all of them at various times and see all of the older cousins meet their newest cousin, Cristian. A few of whose births I attended! It is so wild to experience how fast time goes by. And seeing them hold Cristian reminded me how important it is to embrace the moment as much as possible. 

It's also really great to start our own traditions like a big breakfast in our matching Christmas pajamas! (You can shop for them here). I'm not sure how long I can make the pj tradition last as the boys get older but right now they have no choice, haha! I hope you are all enjoying this Holiday season and enjoy every minute because they go by so fast! 


Friday, December 12, 2014

easiest decoration- fill a clear vase with small ornaments! I didn't know what to do with this random star so I put it on the top lol

Cristian's first ornament!

Gabriel's second!

I picked up this cute banner at Broadway Paper

Here's the youtube video I used to make this bow topper

Homegoods and Marshalls have the best seasonal candles!

these two have our hearts!

I love decorating for Christmas and this is the last year we will be decorating for it in our apartment. I'm going to miss this place! We'll be headed to be with family in the twin cities this year so all of our decor may just have to stay up for a little while longer but I don't mind ;)  I also didn't want to buy a topper so I youtubed how to make a Christmas topper bow and used some ribbon I had left over from last year. I really loved how it turned out and it was very easy to make. The best part was that it didn't cost me a penny! 

Hope you're all enjoying this Holiday season!  


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Cristian's Birth Story

 *I apologize in advance for grammar errors- I'm running on very little sleep! 😁

It's been pretty quiet around here for the past few weeks and you can probably guess why! Our sweet baby boy entered the world on November 16th! I figured since I still have the days events fresh on my mind I should share his birth story before all of the details get fuzzy ;)

Firstly, I honestly could not ask for better timing. Although I was past my expected due date everything worked out for the best. If you were following my Instagram I'd been giving daily updates of our labor. A couple of days before he was born I decided that I would unplug a bit and stay off of my social media accounts (Instagram/Twitter since I don't have a Facebook) and take some time to decide what we would do concerning induction. The night before he was born (Saturday 15th) my husband and I had a serious discussion and we decided that I would be calling my OB on Monday morning to discuss my induction. Although I was partially disappointed that I would have to be induced I knew that it was the best decision and that I could not wait any longer. My body had reached the point of full exhaustion. I felt as if my bump weighed so much and I could not handle the pressure any longer. I just couldn't imagine my body stretching any more! That night when I went to bed I was fully at peace and I knew that we were making the right decision. I was fully expecting to be induced and I was very happy with our decision. 

On Sunday morning at exactly 5:04 am I woke up with the most intense contraction. It was so strong that I had to grab on to the co-sleeper that we had set up by our bed and I broke the side bar! I waited until I breathed through the worse of it then I woke up my husband (who always sleeps with ear plugs!) and told him I am very sure these were the real deal contractions and that it was time. We began to count the contractions and they were intense at about 10 minutes apart. Once they started to get closer at about 7 minutes apart we called my inlaws for them to arrive and take care of Gabriel. They are about 2 hours away so we knew we had some time to labor at home and get Gabriel all set for his grandparents. It was so cute once Gabriel woke up because he would see me breathe through my contractions and he knew something was happening! By the time they came my contractions were about 5 minutes apart and we decided to call and head to the hospital. We said our see you-laters and it was the hardest thing I had to do that morning. I cried because I would miss our baby boy even though we were very excited to meet our second. It was the second time we would ever leave him with someone taking care of him other than my husband or me! I knew it was the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one. And as exciting as that was it was also very heartbreaking. I'm sure a lot of my second-time momma reader's can relate to the experience!

We arrived at the hospital at around 9:30 am and once I was all set in labor and delivery my cervix was checked. At that point, I was at 3.5 centimeters and still experiencing very close intense contractions. We both explained my natural labor plan to the nurse and care team and they were all aware and on board. Since it was Sunday my OB was not able to attend the delivery. However, when I met the resident doctor it turned out to be someone my husband worked with during his OB rotation! It was neat but also a bit awkward because instead of meeting her over a Holiday party she would be delivering our baby! But after that initial meeting I felt really comfortable and ready since she was fully capable of doing her job and was very easy to talk to. We were ready to have our baby!

 I also could not have asked for a better labor partner and supporter. If it wasn't for my honey bun's support I know it would not have gone as smoothly as it did. As with Gabriel's birth I was overcome with so much emotion with him by my side that at the end of it all I loved him even more intensely than before! During the contractions I began to walk a lot as well. One huge difference between Gabriel's birth and Cristian's was how I handled the contractions. I knew what to expect and I knew it would get worse. I kept my breathing deep and short. I was also unable to sit down. It was very painful to do so and I ended up standing for a lot of the labor. I only laid on the bed for the time they had to monitor both Cristian and my heartbeat. I am so incredibly grateful that throughout the entire labor and delivery both our heartbeats were where they should have been. My contractions then grew stronger but my bag of waters were still in tact. At around 6 cm my nurse came in and asked whether or not I would like to have my water broken to help speed up the process. And I said, yes! haha! At that point they confirmed it with my OB's partner and she was okay with it. The resident doctor came in a little while later and broke my water. It didn't hurt at all but instead relieved a lot of the heaviness I had been feeling. It felt like a ton of warm water came out of me. Once she finished she mentioned that he came down very smoothly and that I would start to feel the pushing pressure shortly.

And was she right! I progressed from 7 to 10 cm in about 30 minutes. However, towards the end my cervix needed to thin out a bit more and she had to manually stretch it while I was contracting. And yes-it was as painful as it sounds! In fact that was probably the most painful part of the entire delivery (aside from the tummy pushing after I delivered the placenta). She did that about 3 times and by the last time I felt the biggest urge to push and I told her. She then checked and I was good to push! I yelled yay! Haha! I was ready to push our baby into the world. I asked everyone to let me know when the contraction was happening so that I could take advantage of the natural push my body was letting out. And once they said it was happening I pushed with all the energy I had! While I was pushing my husband told me I could wait until the next contraction to push again. But I was on an energy high and simply could not wait because the pressure to push still continued even without the contraction. With that same initial push I delivered our baby boy, Cristian Donald Leist. It was 3:20 pm. He came out very quickly (within seconds) and I think the first thing I said was "Hi buddy!" I was so overcome with joy and I could not stop telling Ben how beautiful he was. He was placed on my belly immediately and I was able to see his big brown eyes! And for the second time I was given the absolute gift of becoming a mother. 

He was on my chest for a minute or so and they asked if they could take him to help him cry. Since he was born so quickly he ended up with a lot of amniotic fluid still in his system. It took a day or so for all of the fluid to leave and that helped him breastfeed a lot easier. Once they carried him away I delivered my placenta. They weighed him and he was 9 lb 5 oz and 22 inches long! They were all in shock, haha! I was pretty shocked too but it explained why I felt like my body couldn't possibly stretch any more. We had a very big boy in there and I am not the biggest person either at 5'2.5 tall! After that I was able to hold him and breastfeed for a little while and that is always such a sweet experience. 

I am so incredibly thankful and blessed to have been able to experience the natural labor I had hoped for. But even more than that, to have a healthy baby boy who continues to grow and thrive. Our faith and our love for each other saw us through another birth and continues to strengthen us as we grow as parents of two littles. Words fall short and I'll just have to live the rest of my life demonstrating my gratefulness while we raise our boys! 

My husband was able to snap all of these pictures once Cristian was born and I still cry when I look at them! I'm pretty sure that will not change throughout the years! 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read our birth story & if you have any questions about natural labor etc. let me know below! I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Happy, Happy throwback Thursday!


Get a load of that bump! And that was a forced smile in between my contractions that were 2-3 minutes apart 😝

So much JOY! and Pain, haha!

Gabriel meeting Cristian for the first time!

Our hearts are full!