She Who Fears

A Christian lifestyle blog that exists to glorify Jesus, encourage community, and build a healthy fear of the Lord

Teeth Whitening For the Holidays

Jordyn BrazilComment
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So, if I'm being completely transparent with you here, I've never been totally confident in my smile. My bottom teeth are crowded and recently I just had a baby tooth pulled (yes, I still have baby teeth) that never had an adult tooth grow in under it. My best friend is a dental hygienist and I wouldn't even let her look into my mouth despite her tooth infatuation!

When Smile Brilliant approached me about their whitening system, you could only imagine my excitement that I could totally love my smile again as well as the relief I felt that I wouldn't need anybody to look into my mouth to do it since it all takes place in your own home! 

*spoiler alert: you'll want to read to the end of this post*

all images c/0 sirberry

all images c/0 sirberry

And guys, this opportunity happened just in time for family photos season! Despite the fact that my two year old had a fresh haircut scheduled and the twins have had their outfits picked out for weeks, I really hadn’t done anything to prepare myself — cue in Smile Brilliant!

This whitening system is literally the same exact experience you’d have whitening with a dentist, but you get to do it in your own home, on your own time, at a fraction of the cost!

The process:

First you receive your initial tray kit where you make your custom molds. Once you send those back to headquarters, they make your custom fitted trays and send them right back to you. From that point, you can start whitening!

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I always started whitening right after dinner because you want about 4 hours to whiten and desensitize if you’re doing max amount of time for both processes.  

While whitening I would get all the kids ready for bed and tucked in, clean up the kitchen and house for the evening, and then either plop on the couch for my weekly Grey’s fix or work on homework.  

I’d finish whitening around 10 each night which was right before my bedtime (perfect — no chance to stain my freshly whitened chomps).  

And that's it. Literally, so simple. 

Just put the trays in and go about your normal, multitasking life!

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And guess what!! After just a few applications, my teeth are noticeably whiter — something that I can be excited about documenting via family photos. Cue the Christmas card designing and sending!!

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I absolutely recommend this system to anyone that wants whiter teeth and I’m extremely excited to be able to give a kit away to one of my readers so that they can have beautiful, pearly whites for their family photos as well!

this giveaway is for a $139 smile brilliant credit. it will close 11/27/17 and is open to usa, uk, AUSTRALIA + canadian residents. hurry and ENTER Via the link below!!

www.smilebrilliant.com/g/shewhofears

And for those of you that just can't wait, or need more than one kit -- use code shewhofears10 for 10% off!

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Cloth Diaper 102

Jordyn BrazilComment

So, if you're wondering, "102?" well, that's because I wrote a post a while ago on cloth diapering. Since then, I've added two more babies to our world of diaper duty and I've learned a whole lot more. I also frequently get asked about cloth diaper stuff and things via Instagram and so instead of writing it all out each time, I wanted a convenient place to point people to. So, all that to say, if you're in the business of learning about cloth diapers, sit back, grab a notepad, and read on.

(Also, I am in no way an expert when it comes to this stuff. I just do what works for my family. I highly recommend visiting your local cloth diapering retailer, connecting with cd mamas online or in person, or even emailing customer service of your diaper company for more in depth questions and trouble shooting -- honestly they're glad to help!)


DIAPERING A NEWBORN (OR TWO):

+ The first question you're gonna ask is "how many diapers do I actually need?" I think the recommendation is like 24 diapers per babe. With the twins we had about 54 All-In-One style diapers (and we didi diaper laundry just about every other day for the first few weeks *insert crying emoji*).

+ Next I usually get asked what kind of diapers we use/like. With Mattheus we mainly used prefolds and covers. It's a very economical option and honestly you never have to worry about leaks. The only drawback was the HUGE fluff butt, but when you spend fifty bucks once and diaper your baby for four months, a big butt really aint no thang.

+ With the twins, I wanted to simplify so we ended up only going with the AIO (all-in-one) style diaper. They're just like a disposable diaper with snaps that you wash and reuse instead of throwing away. We used a combination of GroVia's, Lil'Joeys, Luludews, and THX. I bought all of these diapers second-hand, which is a completely different and totally awesome thing in itself. 

+ "How much does it cost?" Well, that depends on how you want to do it. With Mattheus, I spent about $50. For all of the twins' diapers I spent closer to $300. You can buy all of your diapers new or you can buy them all used. There are so many things that factor into it. But in the end, no matter how you decide to do it, you pay the initial amount ONE TIME up front and then you're set. Disposable diapers add up quickly.

+ For a little more info on cloth diapering a newborn, GroVia has a great page you can visit.


DIAPERING BEYOND A NEWBORN:

+ So, I love GroVia. This is not a sponsored post. I just love the diapers. The AI2 system is so genius and simple and just fab. It's a one size diaper so as soon as the babes aren't fitting in newborn diapers anymore, they go into these. Right now I have three completely different sized babes in these diapers. They rule.

+ Our stash now consists of about 28 shells, 54 or so inserts, about 6 cotton boosters, one ONE diaper, and some prefolds.

+ FOR NIGHTTIME: Mattheus and Kuyper get a cotton hybrid plus a tri-folded prefold. Kinsley gets a cotton hybrid diaper plus a cotton booster.


WIPES:

+ I use cloth wipes in a warmer.

+ I used to make my own solution (water, baby shampoo, lavender EO, tea tree EO) but now I use Baby Bits. I'm all about convenience these days and it doesn't get more convenient than that! I was a little worried that it would become expensive to buy the solution instead of me making it, but I honestly think it's cheaper this way because I'm not using my own oils. I am also only on my second pack of them and the twins are almost five months old!


WASHING:

+ I would go into detail here about my wash routine but I don't want to confuse you. Our routines will be different. Instead I'll give you some pointers.

+ Breast-fed baby poop doesn't need to be rinsed off before throwing the diaper into your dirty paint. Food-fed baby poop does. Make it easy on yourself and buy a diaper sprayer attachment (everyone will assume this is a bidet) and a Spray Pal.

+ Wash your diapers every two to three days.

+ Use enough soap (but not too much).

+ IF YOU ARE UNSURE, CONTACT YOUR DIAPER RETAILER OR MANUFACTURER'S CUSTOMER SERVICE. They will help you figure out a routine that WILL clean your diapers without ruining them and without ruining your warranty (if bought new).

+ STAY AWAY FROM FLUFF LOVE. If you cloth diaper you will hear about this Facebook group. They are "strip" happy in my opinion. STOP STRIPPING YOUR DIAPERS ALL THE TIME. SEE POINT ABOVE.

+Honestly, it's hardly any different than all of your other laundry and simple is better. For a little more info, visit this page

40 Weeks

baby brazilJordyn BrazilComment

As many of you know, our first son was born nearly two years ago and we welcomed him earth side via a water birth in our living room after 30 hours of labor. This story, like that one, is written with as many little details as I can recall because I want to remember it -- all of it -- as long as I live. If you're not into blood and poop and well, birth, please don't read on.

When we found out that we were pregnant again, it was no question that a homebirth was exactly what we wanted to do again. 

We went to our prenatal appointments regularly and were happy with how quickly and easy this pregnancy seemed in comparison to the first. 

At twenty weeks along we went for our first ultrasound and were completely shocked when the tech showed us TWO babies. We cried tears of shock and joy and fear and love all day. 

I remember being scared upon finding out I was pregnant with twins because I knew it meant I could have to transfer my care to the hospital. Fortunately things continued to go really smoothly with my pregnancy and we were able to stay under the care of our trusted and beloved midwife as well as go forth with our planned homebirth as long as we made it to 36 weeks and the babies were in good positions for it. 


Fast forward to Christmas. My family was dreadfully sick and bed ridden, but we made it to 36 weeks. Despite how hard pregnancy began to feel, I asked the babies to wait to come until I was healthy again. 

Pregnancy became harder and harder each day in those last weeks. My belly grew, my feet and legs swelled, my body ached, my appetite dwindled, my toddler needed me, I wasn't sleeping, I was constantly in false labor, and the anticipated twins weren't coming. As my due date approached I began feeling desperate for them to make their arrival. 

After a sleepless night of painful contractions, I got up on January 26th both grateful and sad that I had made it to 40 weeks gestation. 

The family got ready for the day, headed to our favorite local coffee shop for a little pick me up, then to Costco for a speedy and much needed grocery run, and finally to what would be our last prenatal appointment. 

On our way home my contractions picked up in intensity but were still irregular so I just assumed more false labor, although I vividly remembered the tightness I felt in my back from my labor with Mattheus. 

At that point Miles headed to work and I made Mattheus some lunch. We played for a bit and the contractions stayed. I put him down for his nap and the contractions still persisted. I began to time them and they were a consistent ten minutes apart and about a minute each. I brought my sleeping boy to my room and cuddled him through his nap. My contractions stayed. I asked Miles to come home, called my mom to ask her to come get Mattheus when she got off work, and let my midwife, Diane and doula, Ashley know what was going on. The babies were coming. They had to be. 

Contractions stayed consistent and by the time my mom left with my Bub, they were about 5-6 minutes apart and 45 seconds in length. Diane came over around 6:30 and advised me to rest, so I did for a few hours. My contractions dissolved away nearly completely. Diane left and I let Ashley know she didn't need to come over. 

I felt sad and discouraged. I showered and got back into bed around 10:15pm. 

An hour later, things picked up fast. My contractions came back stronger, closer, and more consistent than before. Miles called Diane and Ashley and told them to return. 

I continued to labor in my room on the yoga ball as our assistant midwife, Suzanne, and Diane's assistant arrived. Miles and the midwives prepared for birth and Ashley stayed by my side as labor progressed. Every few contractions the midwives would have me lay on the bed to check babes' heart rates. This was probably the worst part of my labor as my contractions would suddenly become very intense and cause me to vomit. 

After a few hours of laboring there Miles asked again if I wanted to get into the tub. I avoided it the first time for fear that I would become too relaxed and things would slow down again, but I did want to at this point. The water felt SO good. The immediate relief you feel when your body enters is so amazing. An immense amount of pressure is taken away from your aching torso as being in the water lifts your belly and body. Plus, the warmth of the water is both soothing and relaxing. 

I continued to work through contractions as calmly as possible with the help of Miles and Ashley. I don't think any of us realized how far along I had progressed because of how much more peacefully I was able to deal with my contractions this time around. Whenever I would start to breathe too fast Ashley would remind me to take slow, deep breaths and instead of trying to say anything or make any noise this time, I remembered to save my energy for the pushing. I sang hymns in my head through labor (Great Is Thy Faithfulness, How Deep The Father's Love For Us, and Jesus Paid It All), visualized my contractions as mountains I was able to scale, and repeated birth affirmations in my head. There were even small moments that I would realize I had fallen asleep and been dreaming!

As with Mattheus' birth I was really afraid to poop in the tub and so the point came again when I had Miles take me to the toilet so that I could try and go. I finally had some bloody show and I knew I had been feeling pushy for a few contractions at that point but that it wasn't time. Diane asked if I wanted to be checked and by then, I was ready. 

Miles was nervous that like last time, I would still be only a two or so and become discouraged by the lack of progress, but I was already a nine and my cervix was mostly gone. Since I was out of the tub the midwives checked fetal heart rates again and I puked for what I think was the last time. 

Back to the tub.

I contracted only a couple more times before becoming really pushy. In the middle of one of my contractions I suddenly REALLY had to push and so I did and with the pop of broken waters, Kuyper's head was nearly born. Everyone rushed to the tub at that point. Diane asked if I wanted to feel his head, so I did. With the next push, his head was born. 

For some reason my urge to push disappeared at that point. I felt the burn of having a baby exiting my body and when my next contraction came, instead of pushing into it, I breathed through it. After that my birth team began to encourage me that my baby was almost here and that I needed to push him out. With the next contractions that came, despite not really wanting to push, I did, and at 3:38am on January 27th, Kuyper Shea Brazil was born into his dad's arms. He was 7lbs 11oz. His cord was fairly short so dad held him on my tum until it stopped pulsing and he cut it.

I held Kuyper on my chest for a couple of minutes after that. It was special to hold my sweet son, but I was also still in pain and needed to birth his sister. (This is a complete tangent, but it is the strangest thing to only have one baby in your belly after you've seen and felt it with two for the last nine months!!). Suzanne listened to Kinsley's heart tones. She sounded great and for a moment, everyone thought she had turned to a vertex presentation. We all got excited to potentially have a second water birth, but a quick check from Diane determined that she was still breech. 

And a contraction. It was a great thing that they came back so fast and that Kinsley was ready to be born, too.

Miles took Kuyper and the team helped me out of the water. As I walked back to the bedroom I started to have another contraction and wanted to stop but Suzanne told me I was so strong and to power through back to the room to meet my baby girl. I remember wanting to laugh and cry as I waddle "ran" to my room with the help of so many AS my body was trying to work another baby out of it.

When I made it to the room they asked me to lay on my back and, despite that being the plan all along, I wanted to cry. Laying on my back hurt and made me throw up every time I had done it previously in the night. I did it anyways. Then things became serious. 

Although Kinsley's heart tones sounded great, my urge to push had disappeared completely. With one tiny contraction I was able to give a little push. 

I heard Miles ask my midwife, "Is that okay?"

Diane responded, "Yes. She (Kinsley) has pooped in the sack."

I trusted Diane but also knew that Kinsley pooping could be a sign of distress and became anxious. Diane asked if I was ready to push. I wasn't. 

With my next contraction, despite not wanting to push, I was able to a little bit. 

Suzanne checked Kinsley's heart - she sounded good. 

However, there was a pause from Diane and my husband. Diane said, "Okay Jordyn. I'm seeing the cord now..."

I deflated into the pillow. The one scenario that called for a hospital transfer was if the umbilical cord prolapsed. Ashley put her hand on my head and told me everything was going to be okay, and Miles reassured me as well. 

Diane was serious. "Jordyn, we need this baby out in two pushes. Okay?"

I had no urge. I was scared, and I didn't know what to do in that moment. My fear turned to confidence when Ashley began telling me how to move forward. She said, "Jordyn, when your next contraction comes don't let the air out. Take a big breath, hold it, and I'm going to count to ten. Push the entire time, then let the air out."

In the next few seconds my contraction came. Miles and Suzanne held my legs. Ashley helped me hold my chin to my chest, counted me down from ten, and told me what to do and that I COULD do it. Diane told me I was doing well and to keep doing it. Without feeling any more contractions, we did it over again one more time. With no contraction and no urge to push, Ashley repeated her 10 second count and I pushed as hard as I could. That moment, Kinsley Joy Brazil entered the world via a footling breech birth at 4:30am. She was 6lbs 13oz. I cried and praised God for safely bringing my daughter into the world. She was placed on my stomach. Miles (who was crying uncontrollably at this point) held me and kissed me over and over. Everyone in the room was relieved. A huge, tense blanket was lifted and everyone celebrated. Kinsley cried. She didn't need oxygen. She was so, so good. 

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After delivering the babies I delivered two placentas that were just slightly fused and slightly calcified (When I delivered Mattheus in 2015, his had just started to calcify as well). It didn't hurt at all like it did with Mattheus' birth. I was relieved. 

I had quite a bit of bleeding immediately afterwards but two shots of pitocin, apple juice, and a yogurt helped stop the bleeding and put some life back into me. 

I tore again this time, although not as bad, and so Diane stitched me up while I held Miles' hand and gazed at my babies. 

I remember feeling like a million bucks immediately after Mattheus was born and into the next day still riding that high. I felt like I'd been hit by a bus this time and was even a little sad that I hadn't really had a chance to hold and bond with my babies yet.

But that came.

When I was done being stitched up, Miles helped me shower and then crawl into bed with my two newborn babies. I nursed them and got to really see them and hold them for the first time. They look completely different. Kinsley looks exactly like a smaller version of newborn Mattheus. Kuyper is all his own. I am smitten.


I feel extremely blessed to have had my babies at home. I know that under the care of the hospital it's likely that I wouldn't have carried my babies to term or been able to have a vaginal birth at all. I praise God for the experience and wisdom of each of the women on my birth team and all of their hard work in safely bringing my babies into the world. Mostly I am thankful for a husband who encourages me, supports me, and believes in me more than I do myself. 

If you have any questions at all about the births of any of my babies or any of my birth team, go ahead and email me! I do have two newborns and a toddler so it may take a bit to get back to you, but I promise that I will. 

My doula sent this to me and I'll end with it too. I hope that my birth story has encouraged you in "proving that when birth is uninterrupted anything is possible:

You CAN carry twins full term

You CAN have twins at home 

You CAN have a water birth 

You CAN deliver a breech baby"

Don't let your provider tell you anything about your power or capabilities. If they don't believe in you, find people who do. 

 

Learn more about my midwife Diane by clicking here, and my Doula Ashley by clicking here.