What in the World?!

My First Figure Competition (March 2008)

My First Figure Competition (March 2008)


I always told people that I would never do it again. I said that I didn’t miss it. I talked about how I enjoyed watching other people do it, just not me. Well, fast forward two years and I take everything I’ve said back.

I was sitting at home on my bed and this random thought came into my head. The voice yelled in my ear, “Michelle, you need to compete again!” I NEED TO WHAT?! Huh? Do you realize I just had a baby last year and that my body is no longer shaped the same? What?! Have you seen my mommy pooch or my ‘close to 40’ butt? Yikes!!! Do you know how much I value a nap? What in the world?

I then found my fingers reaching for my cell phone to see when the next local competition is. It’s 9.5 weeks away. Oh boy! I begin to wonder 1) where were these thoughts coming from and 2) who will think I’m crazy for wanting to do it and talk me out of it.

So, I first call my friend Larry Jackson who trains ladies to compete. His response was, “Let’s Do It!” He said to throw on a bikini and send him a picture. A bikini? Me? I used to rock a bikini with pride, but now they hide in the back of my closet. Whew. I told him I needed to pray about it and that I’d either send him a photo in my bathing suit or some random crazy picture to let him know my mind isn’t right.

I knew there was one person I could depend on to talk me off the competition ledge – my husband. He always talked about how he didn’t like it when I competed because I was no fun to be around when I lack carbs. Surely he doesn’t want Carbless Barbie Michelle laying next to him every night. I picked up the phone to call him. His response – “Go For It!” Say what?! Do what?! Huh?

Everyone around me was supporting my decision. I thought it would be cool to try to get in shape to compete. My body is in no way the shape it used to be and my muscle defiinition has decreased. I may have to enter bikini instead of figure (which bothers me) but it could be fun.

So ladies and gents, my goal is to compete in 9 weeks. I’m hoping to bring my abs out of hiding and tighten up my glutes. I know nutrition is going to be key and I’ll be using a meal plan and the Visalus products in addition to my workouts. Wish me luck and say a prayer – I sure do need them!

One Small Step

There is nothing more precious than a cute, snuggly baby.  You know, the kind that just loves to be held. The kind that if you leave him in one spot, you leave, come back to that spot and he is still there.  Aren’t those just the most special times?

There is something else equally as special.  I’ll give you a hint: the word starts with a “s”.  No, it’s not shopping or sex or sippy cups or sports.  It’s SLEEP!  You know that thing that most single people without kids do without thought?! I think I’ve forgotten how it feels to sleep through the entire night.

Well, three weeks ago, both of those glorious things (sleep and stationary) disappeared forever.  It was 5:30am on a Saturday morning.  I was dreaming of sleeping and I heard the sound that interrupts all of my dreams.  It starts out as an innocent whimper and turns into a loud shriek.  My sweet son Maximus was up and ready to roll. He didn’t care or know that it was Saturday.  Or that it was 5:30am. Since it was the weekend, I had no problem nudging Milton to wake up and go get him.  So now the entire family was up bright and early (scratch that, it wasn’t bright – only early).   We set Maximus on the ground and for the first time he started crawling across the room.   Like a bull heading toward a target, he was on the move. And he hasn’t stopped.

Our house is a whole new world for him.  Suddenly Maximus has access to things he never knew existed.  The phone chord now calls his name.  Drawers are the most fantastic inventions.  And don’t get us started on the blinds!  All the toys spread out in the family room are now invisible.  Anything that makes mom raise an eyebrow becomes his newest obsession.  He loves life and want to see any and everything in it.

And then last week happened.  We were all playing on the floor in our bathroom and once again Maximus acted like it was showtime.  He was standing up holding onto his daddy when he decided to take a couple of steps toward mom before diving head first the rest of the way.  Milton and I jumped up and down as if we hit a game winning shot. Maximus just looked at us wondering what all the hype and hoopla was about.

So, if you notice more grey hairs on my head, not only am I getting older, but I’m chasing around a curiously inquisitive boy. He’s just 10 months old and is already growing so fast.  With two bottom teeth and two top teeth, he knows how to gnaw on one of the most sensitive parts of my body (yes, still breastfeeding). But, I wouldn’t exchange him for anything!  When those bright eyes light up as you walk into the room – you know the love is unconditional!

THAT Baby!

THAT Baby!

I was excited when I first heard the news.  Visalus was paying for me to fly to Los Angeles, CA for the National Director experience!  As I checked the calendar, I realized it was Columbus Day weekend which meant that Milton and Maximus could join me. I instantly became nervous as I realized that it would be Maximus’ first time on a plane.  And leave it to us to make that first trip across the country to California.

As a parent, you’re always nervous that you’ll have “that baby” on a flight.  You know, the one nobody wants to sit next to? Our flight out was early on a Friday morning on Southwest.  There was a one hour flight to Chicago, then a four hour flight to LA.  And, although I was nervous.  Either my breast was Maximus’ best friend or sleep was his best friend.  He was good, I was good and Milton was good.  At the end of the flight people complimented him for being a good baby.  Life was good.

Or so we thought.  Milton had to fly back early for work, so he and Maximus flew back a day early.  Alone. Solo. By themselves. Without me.  Milton just knew that everything would be easy going again.  I said a prayer for safe and silent travel.  Um, let’s just say it was an interesting experience!

Immediately upon getting on the quiet early morning plane, Maximus took the opportunity to yell at the top of his lungs.  You know that yell when a swarm of bees are attacking you?  Yeah, that yell!  And he doesn’t stop. Nothing Milton did could calm our son down.  The flight attendant even asked the gentleman next to Milton if he wanted to change seats. Yeah, it was that bad!

Right before takeoff, the flight attendant walked up to Milton and said there were a group of ladies a few aisles ahead of him.  They wanted to know if they could take Maximus back there and they would pass him around to try to calm him down.  Milton said he thought about it for all of ten seconds and then passed our dear precious son off to the flight attendant.  He heard Maximus cry a little longer, then he calmed down and then there was silence.

After takeoff, and once the unfasten seatbelt light came on, Milton walked to the front of the plane to check on Maximus.  By this time, he was asleep.  Milton said he volunteered to take him back, but the ladies shooed him away and said they’d keep him the rest of the flight.  And they did.

Milton was extremely thankful for their helpfulness and generosity.  So often, others in that situation would have just turned up their nose.  I’m thankful that Milton got their contact information.  The women actually worked together and live in Texas.  I called them a week later, introduced myself as Maximus’ mother and shared my appreciation for their help with both my husband and my son.  We followed up by sending them a gift from Edible Arrangements. Angels come into your life at various times and Michelle, Taylor and Corrie were our angels that day.  Bless them!

Week One As a First Time Mother

Who knew that once you turn one day old your schedule becomes so busy!  On Monday, all before noon, Maximus met his pediatrician, my ob-gyn, the hearing check lady, the nursery gals, got a circumcision and hospital photos.  Whew!  During the tests, they discovered that Maximus had jaundice.  And while you don’t want to hear about your child being diagnosed with anything, at least this was treatable and common with 60% of babies.  Luckily, though, instead of taking him out of the room and into the nursery under the phototherapy light, they brought in what looked like a baby sized heating pad that lit up.  He had to wear it under his onesie at all times but it at least let him stay near to us.

We were discharged on Tuesday, June 5.  Everyone said discharge would be before 12:00pm.  Milton and I anxiously watched the minutes on the clock pass.  The cafeteria called asking for my lunch and dinner order.  I said I wouldn’t need it since I would be going home today, but they took it any way.  All we needed was for the pediatrician to come in and say we could go home.   Noon came.  He (the doc) didn’t.  Lunch came.  He didn’t.  I had been encouraged to walk around the floor in order to avoid getting blood clots.  Around 1:30pm I went for a stroll.  I became more frustrated because the majority of the floor was empty.  All the other pregnant women had been able to go home with their babies.

Little old me was already sick of bed rest and hospitals and now I was the only patient still waiting to be discharged.  Sadness started to set in.  The nurse finally called my doctor and he said he was on his way.  (Now why did you have to be called to come in and release me?)  He finally arrives and says go home.  However, Maximus’ bilirubin levels did not decrease so we’d have to go home with a phototherapy bed that fit in his crib.  I felt like Maximus was sleeping under his own tanning bed.  I hated not being able to hold him as much as I wanted to, but knew the more he was under the lights, the better he would be.

Our first day home felt like we were finally family.  Ma, pa and baby were all reunited and it felt so good.  Maximus loves to breast feed and thought that he should breast feed every hour on the hour throughout the night!  It felt great to connect with my child, but it was also very tiring!

On Wednesday morning we went to hospital to have his bilirubin levels checked again.  This was done by pricking his heel and taking blood.  I knew they did this in the nursery, but to watch your own son go through the process is something else.  He just cried and cried and cried and all we could do was watch him. We came home, took some newborn pics and then Milton’s dad came in town to hang out with his first grandchild.

Thursday morning was the same thing with taking blood. This time though, they needed three vials so we watched Maximus yell three times as long.  Luckily by Friday, his bilirubin levels decreased and the “tanning bed” was taken away. Milton and I were so happy when they told us the news – it was as if Maximus scored his first touchdown and we were cheering in the stands.

Milton’s mother, brother and best friend Rob came by over the weekend.

Week one of being a new first time mother has definitely been action packed.  Feeding, crying, dirty diapers, crying, feeding, dirty diapers and just a little sleep are part of my daily schedule.  But, I have been BLESSED to have such a supportive husband that wants to also be a supportive father.  Often times, I’ll breast feed Maximus and Milton will change his diaper.  Milton also makes sure I get in a nap in the middle of the day so my body has time to rest. He loves to hold and bond with his son. We are in love and in awe with what we have created and can’t believe it has only been one week!

Frustrated Birthday!

Well, May 23 came – nothing happened.

May 26 came – nothing happened.

Remember a week ago from today we went to Labor and Delivery at the hospital.  I was 100% effaced and 2cm dilated. They said I would be back soon.  They said I wouldn’t make it to my doctor’s appointment on Friday. Milton went to work and they changed his entire schedule around so that he could be available if I went into labor. He worked all week.

Friday morning rolls around and Milton and I head to my 8:00am doctor’s appointment.  The cool thing was that they did an ultrasound on Baby Turner.  He didn’t look like he was trying to be bothered but our cutie is a cutie.  I’m not quite sure yet who he looks like.  He is estimated to weigh 6 pounds.

While in the hospital on bed rest all four of the doctors talked about how great it would be to get to 36 weeks.  My ob-gyn said the same.  So, here I am sitting in the doctor’s office just two days shorts of 36 weeks.  I’m excited because I met the magic number of 36 weeks which meant I should be off bed rest. W-R-O-N-G!!!!!!!  She said, “let’s try another week”. Are you serious?!  That’s what you’ve said the past two times I was here.  My birthday was the following day.  I asked if my husband and I could go to a movie.  She said no.  She let me go to church last week, but not the movie?  I’m not sure what the difference is.

We went back home. Most of Friday and Saturday (my birthday) I was very sad and withdrawn.  I felt I had followed all directions to get our child this far and for some reason whatever I was doing just didn’t seem to be enough.  I sulked in my bed for most of my birthday and didn’t want to be bothered by anyone. Milton hated seeing me this way (although he was very supportive) and said “let’s go for a ride and get some sunshine.”  It felt good to get out of the house.

Sunday, May 27 12:03am I start having contractions.  My contractions are usually on a pain scale of 1-10 a 2-3 but now they were more like a 4-5 and four minutes apart.  I call and they tell me to come in.  I really felt like it was finally going to happen.  We go in around 3:30am and they say they want to monitor me for four  hours.  The strength of my contractions decrease some, but I do start having major indigestion, heartburn and back pain.  Excruciating pain.  Like a 7-8.  Milton had to go back home and get me some tums.  Once he came back and I took some I was relieved and was able to sleep some.

At the end of four hours, although I was having contractions every 3-4 minutes, they weren’t strong enough for me to dilate any further so they sent me home.  The nurse once again said it could be any day now. Yeah, I’ve heard that plenty of times.

So now I’m back home, on bed rest and once again waiting.  Baby Turner is doing his own thing at his own pace.  One day my baby prince will come!

Mother’s To Be Day

Today Baby Turner has made it to 34 weeks. Each and every day is a blessing.  Although I thought I’d get off of bed rest this week, my doctor would like to keep me on for another week – so bed rest lives on.  It was a difficult transition at first because I went from being  in the hospital and having EVERYTHING done for me, to being at home and having just the opposite.  Luckily I have an AMAZING husband that has been there 100% of the way and has never complained.  I see how tired he is most nights, and a couple of times tried to help out.  But I was told to lay back down and bake a baby.

This morning, Mother’s Day, I woke up to the following post from Milton on my Facebook wall:

Michelle: I have watched you grow literally and figuratively over the past eight months. A little over a month ago, I got a call saying that you had been rushed to the hospital by ambulance because of pre-term labor. I rushed to the hospital not knowing whether our son would be OK at little over 2 lbs. You were told you couldn’t get out of bed for a month, but you used love, patience, and ingenuity to help our baby grow to more than twice his size. You beat the odds when even your doc didn’t think you could make it this long. All the while, you still ran three businesses from a hospital bed. I know it was hard and we shared a lot of tough times and contractions together, but you learned the great skill every great mom has: sacrifice. Mothers sacrifice everything they have for their kids and you are living, walking (ok, maybe waddling right now), talking proof that that nothing is more valuable. Thank you for giving our son a chance at a healthy life. Happy Mother’s Day, baby. I love you.

Of course it brought tears to my eyes. Milton helps me realize that being on bed rest is not just about being lazy all day, it’s about creating a safe haven for a developing baby.  Seven weeks ago my child try to make a special early appearance.  Seven weeks.  And for seven weeks I’ve helped slow down that process. Like Milton said, it’s the beginning of many sacrifices I’ll make.

Today was somewhat hard for me because I miss my mother.  Both of my parents are deceased and today brings up the realization that neither will be around to raise/spoil their grandchild.  My mother was one of the most amazing people you could meet.  I don’t say this just from personal experience, but everyone that met her said the same.  Even after her death, people were doing things to honor her.  Nobody can replace my mother, but luckily many of her friends have stepped in to do motherly things. Currently a group of them have started organizing a food delivery list so that Milton doesn’t have so much to do after working a 10 hour day (with a two hour commute). They have been a blessing.

What would have made my mother proud is that I reached out to them for help.  As an only child, one my my mother’s largest worries was that I didn’t reach out to people when I was in need and always tried to do everything by myself.  I’ve come to realize, though, that especially once I become a mother, I will need people’s support, love and advice more than ever.  Life is all about relationships.  Some are built over time and some are unexpected. My mother has an amazing legacy because of relationships she established with others.  I think I’m finally prepared to do the same.