I decided to separate my tanya talks posts from my other posts about parenthood and babies. I’ve created a separate blog called My Bache.
Feel free to check it out!
I decided to separate my tanya talks posts from my other posts about parenthood and babies. I’ve created a separate blog called My Bache.
Feel free to check it out!
After 6+ weeks of being a mom, I wanted to jot down some learnings and revelations I’ve had along the way. I know, I know… the days of me talking about friends, traveling and food are suddenly a thing of the past.. errr let’s not get carried away there.. but yep, it’s safe to say my focus has shifted right now.
So here are a few things I have learned:
So these are my thoughts today. Each day my list of learnings change but these stood out today in particular.
Babies. Gotta love them! I love my Mila Bear. Best thing that’s ever happened to me.
Although I never documented a whole lot during my pregnancy, I felt very moved to write my birth story to remind myself of God’s sweet miracles, about the strength I sometimes forget I have, and last but not least to look back on an experience which showed me just how amazing and strong my daughter was, right from the beginning.
\m(i)-la\ as a girl’s name is a variant of Milagros (Spanish) and Milena (Czechoslovakian, Slavic).
The meaning of Mila is “miracle”.
At 36 weeks I had a routine sizing ultrasound to measure the baby’s approximate weight along with anatomy measurements at Evergreen’s Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic (MFM). The clinic measured our baby to be on the larger side with a concerning larger stomach. Immediately following the appointment, I had my weekly appointment with my OB, Dr. Robertson, who had already seen the report before I reached her office and started the conversation with me about her concern for Mila’s size. Dr. Robertson in her very Dr. Robertson way informed me that if these measurements were true, she would not be too aggressive with a vaginal delivery.
Translation: be prepared for a C-Section as it may come to that.
Prior to this appointment, I had several conversations with Dr. Robertson and her views on C-Sections. I learned how hard she worked to avoid C-Sections if and when at all possible. In fact, the friends of mine who had Dr. Robertson deliver their babies batted a 100% vaginal delivery rate, which was a far cry from other friends I had who had different doctors at the Evergreen Women’s Clinic where Dr. Robertson practiced. Most of my friends had to have C-Sections by other doctors there. Around my 32nd week I remember asking Dr. Robertson about the hype of “scheduled C-Sections,” and could I please have one since it sounded straight forward and with several of my friends having had C-Sections, I figured I was headed for one anyway. She assured me that I did not want to have a C-Section and that vaginal deliveries were by far the best for both baby and mom. She said, however, when patients like myself come in wanting scheduled C-Sections, how this always annoyingly ruined her C-Section rate. Point taken, I guess a scheduled C-Section was off the table. Haha!
The next week at my 37th week doctor’s appointment, Dr. Robertson said she had still been thinking about my ultrasound results and that she wanted me to go see a specialist who she knew in Bellevue and who specialized in measuring babies [more accurately]. From there she would be able to tell better if she was as big as MFM measured or smaller and then we would figure out our delivery game plan. I went and saw Dr. Case in Bellevue who told me Dr. Robertson informed him that she suspected the baby to be on the smaller side and not large. I was shocked as well as upset because this was the exact opposite of why I thought I had to go see him and so I was really confused. Dr. Case took baby girl’s measurements and confidently said, yep, this baby is not big but on the smaller side with a tummy that is measuring smaller than normal as well. I asked what that meant and he said the concern would be that the baby is possibly not thriving in utero as well as she should which had nothing to do with me, what I was eating, etc. but that this can happen sometimes.
I was worried sick…
I was very confused with first hearing our baby was in the 80th percentile to now her measuring in the 18th percentile so the next day at MFM during one of my NSTs I broke down and told the nurse what happened and how confused I was with the different data. This discrepancy was just too huge! The nurse seemed concerned and told me at this stage I should not be going through this stress and went and looked for a few doctors who agreed I needed to be measured again right then. They measured me big yet again (still the 80th percentile) and since I had an appointment with Dr. Robertson the next day I planned to show Dr. Robertson the test results and tell her how upset I was with the discrepancies and how did this impact my delivery?
Well, by the time I saw Dr. Robertson the next day, she had seen the results already. Plus apparently there was some scolding by MFM for her sending me to a specialist (not trusting their data). Then she told me, you know, I did the right thing – he’s simply more accurate! She told me that we’ll just have to wait and see and that the proof will be in the pudding. I told her I still believed Mila would be an average sized baby at around 7 lbs. and Dr. Case had suspected between 6.5 – 7 lbs. Size aside, I asked her how this impacted the delivery and she said we would proceed with trying for a normal vaginal delivery – that Mila’s vitals and brain activity was just fine so no need to do an intervention.
Fast forward to my 39w3d appointment with Dr. Robertson, and Elena the nurse prepped me that Dr. Robertson would likely want to discuss an induction plan at this visit. As soon as Dr. Robertson entered the room and examined me, she said ok – let’s talk about some options here since you’re not dilating or showing labor signs yet. She spelled out some options which included:
a. induce me that weekend where I could schedule the induction with her in delivering my baby (basically getting to have MY own doctor deliver vs. a random doctor on call)
b. wait for natural labor to begin on its own over the next week
c. wait till she got back from being out of town in a few weeks and induce me then
I asked her if I could have my baby on my birthday (January 24th), lol, and she said she wasn’t very comfortable in waiting that long because she said if the baby is not thriving as Dr. Case pointed out, it’s better to have the baby on this side of the womb where she can get strong. Scared and nervous, I agreed with her recommendation of an induction that weekend. I told her I always heard terrible things about being induced and how painful and awful it was and she said inductions clearly had a bad rap. Then it hit me on the drive home. I agreed to getting induced in 48 hours!!!
I felt uncomfortable with this plan. I was scared. I heard horror stories and had seen documentaries which highlighted the evils about Pitocin. I went home and called Vinit, as well as started messaging back and forth with a few friends about it, talked to my doula, etc. Some friends told me to go with my gut feeling on this and other friends tried to get me more comfortable with the induction idea based on their own experiences. Stacey told me this was sounding more and more like her experience with her second child and told me to trust my doctor and that it would be ok. Stacey also had Dr. Robertson before having her children in birthing centers and so she understood how much I trusted my doctor, as well as Dr. Robertson’s competency.
It also turned out, according to my mom; she never experienced natural labor herself. She was induced with all her babies and some of my mom’s pregnancies went on to 42 weeks without a single labor sign.
Saturday I went to get the balloon catheter inserted to begin the dilation process, which is a natural way to speed up dilation and a procedure Evergreen is one of the few places which performs this. Then Sunday I was admitted to the hospital at 5:15AM and I was pretty stinkin’ nervous.
Well, I was immediately put to ease with the most amazing nurse, Arla. She was so fantastic! She was this really positive, sweet, helpful nurse who calmed my nerves completely. She started the Pitocin very gradually and the contractions were manageable and comfortable. Around 11am, Dr. Robertson arrived at the hospital, checked my dilation which was a lousy 2cm and broke my waters (which were clear – no meconium [poop]) and right around then my Doula showed up as well. Vinit, the doula and I started walking the halls to get labor going and at this point the Pitocin was at a 5 and I was still pretty comfortable. This wasn’t so bad after all! Labor? Yeah right! Ha! BUT then it started… after walking the halls and chit chatting with the doula and Vinit feeling like I was absolutely fine, suddenly the contractions started getting more intense.
After about an hour of increasingly worse and worse contractions, as I walked, I had to stop in the halls, hold on to the rails and lean over where the doula tightly tied a [pretty] scarf around my hips and told me to sway my hips side to side. It was an amazing technique and worked well every time…. Of course until the next contraction hit… and the next. We decided to change things up and go back to the room and rest, as I kept saying how tired I was, and the contractions just continued to get more intense over the next hour. Shortly after the contractions started becoming more painful, they stopped the Pitocin completely because my body took over and was laboring on its own. Arla and my doula listed off numerous natural labor tricks we could do to relieve the pain except that with how quickly I was progressing, I went straight for requesting the tub – the last pain trick I was told of their labor trick arsenal for bad pain. I got in the tub hoping for relief which wasn’t working until Vinit turned on the jets which helped some, and there was the doula, Arla, and my husband coaching me through each contraction. Still, the contractions were coming on stronger and were getting more and more intense. My head was throbbing and I was just trying to breathe through them though quickly losing focus.
After a while in the tub I looked at Arla and said, please, I need the epidural – I’m ready. She knew I wanted to wait as long as possible, so she actually didn’t call it in right then and at the time I remembered making that mental note. We then moved back to the bed and the contractions were now out of control. I was in serious pain and I remember saying the words, “someone, please help me, please make this stop” and I lost all focus of breathing at that point. The other hard part was the contractions were only giving me about a minute break in between if that, so the down time was not allowing me to regroup before the next one hit.
A few minutes passed and I repeated myself to Arla to please get me the epidural and she confirmed if I really wanted that. I said yes! She checked my dilation and I was 5cm dilated at that point (I swore I was at a 10! LOL!) So she called the anesthesiologist who was actually there to administer it within a few minutes and who had been told I would be wanting the shot at some point as I made that clear earlier that day. The anesthesiologist walked me through exactly what he was doing and gave me the shot.
Did the epidural hurt? Not at all. The contractions were far more painful. I honestly didn’t care about large needles at that point when the contractions were getting out of control like that.
A few other things about the epidural: you can’t feel your body waist down and you can’t drink even water after you get it – its ice chips there on out. Within 10 minutes my contractions calmed down and within 15 minutes I was a very happy girl again.
I hands down have a newfound level of respect for those of you out there who have birthed a baby without the epidural. I have always considered myself to have a decent pain threshold but gave myself permission ahead of time to use it if I wanted it. However, the women I know out there who have not, I wholeheartedly bow down to you – that is simply awesome!
For the next several hours I dilated more and more pain free and the epidural actually sped the dilation up for me. Finally I had reached 10cm. Now it was time for the next phase: to get this baby out. But wait… I was exhausted, had not eaten and could not even drink water! How was I going to push a baby out now?
I started pushing but was so tired my pushes were incredibly pathetic! Nothing was happening! Dr. Robertson was waiting for me to progress (I was her only patient that day) and she came into the room to check on me sporadically (also watching and monitoring us from her office) as well as gave pushing tips. Nothing was working though.
In addition to wanting to avoid a C-Section, the other goal I had that day was to deliver Mila on 1.13.13. At that point, I wasn’t sure that was going to happen…
Then suddenly, something terrible happened. Mila’s heart beat started to drop whenever I would turn on my right side or when a contraction would hit. After observing this pattern, the nurse and my doula suspected there was a cord problem. No one was sure of the severity either, but when the contractions would stop, her heart beat would shoot back up to her normal heart rate again so everyone knew something was wrong.
Shortly after this started, Dr. Robertson came into the room and told me she had been watching this and she didn’t like this. We all knew where this was headed — me to the operating room. She wanted to monitor me a little bit more and actively worked with me to push a bit harder but the room was getting more and more tense as the heart rate drops were continuing through each contraction.
Time was passing and I was still pushing and nothing was happening. At one point we saw baby’s heart rate land in the 60s which was very scary and the nurse acted quickly by providing me with an oxygen mask (which I wore for the remainder of the delivery) to help keep the heart rate up which it did a little bit. Truth remained; we needed to get this baby out though. Vinit was holding one leg, the doula holding another leg and Vinit started getting really excited because Mila’s head was starting to show just a tiny bit so he kept telling me we were just a few pushes away from having her out! That made me super excited but when he’d say this, I’d look around the room at others who had looks of shock and doubt with my husband’s encouragement so I was convinced things were not progressing as much as he might have wanted me to think – still it was cute.
The doula gave me a mirror so I could see a tiny bit of Mila’s head and that motivated me quite a bit! Well, then the contractions started getting worse and as I pushed the epidural button for more doses, it no longer worked but this actually worked to my benefit since it’s amazing what you try to make your body do when pain is a driving force behind it, plus feeling contractions again helped with push timing. After a while, I told Dr. Robertson I felt light headed and like I just couldn’t push anymore and she added glucose water to my IV which woke me up a bit more. I was also burping non-stop from about noon on that day so as I would push I’d have to stop in the middle and tell everyone I had to burp. Dr. Robertson ordered me some meds to help with that in my IV as well she said that the burping was probably very distracting for me, haha!
Time was passing and nothing was happening so Dr. Robertson came back to me with another one of her options talk – the talk everyone was thinking and expecting, but that no one wanted to say. She said, OK, here’s what we can do. Let’s try the vacuum and we have only 1 shot with 4 pushes to work with. If we can’t get this baby out within 4 pushes, I’m going to have to go after her. And yes, that meant the C word – the word I was surprised we had waited to hear which told me I had a wonderful team dedicated to a natural vaginal delivery in that room. But she finally said it and I knew things were worsening. I also knew I didn’t want a C-Section more than ever, being so close… all this laboring had to count for something!
I agreed to the vacuum, the doctor stated the risks as she was required to, and then I proceeded to fall asleep again and when I woke up the room was full of several doctors and nurses (try like 12 people in the room) staring at me, prepared for Mila’s delivery. Dr. Robertson explained that when the next contraction hit, we would use the vacuum and that I needed to push as hard as possible since this was our last shot! We waited… and as my contraction started coming on, everyone in the room was yelling PUSH, COME ON, PUSH!.. I remember. I felt like I was on stage performing and for the health and safety of my baby, I had to PUSH HER OUT! She just needed to come out!
So I pushed once, I pushed twice, I pushed three times with nothing yet, then on the final and forth push, I pushed as hard as I could and there came Mila! She was out! To this day, I honestly don’t know how my body did it with feeling exhausted the way I did except I DID DO IT. Somehow I really did it!
As I looked around the room waiting to hear Mila’s cry, everyone looked shocked (I thought) because I was able to do it but then I realized there was something else going on. Something was still wrong. When Dr. Robertson pulled Mila out she was in fact entangled and the umbilical cord was tightly wrapped around her neck. Although we wanted delayed cord clamping to give Mila as much of the cord blood as possible, without hesitation and in an instant, Dr. Robertson cut the cord immediately as soon as the head made it through realizing it was tight around her neck, but still, something else was wrong.
After pulling Mila out, a flood of water followed her out full of meconium! No one had expected that as when breaking my water, the fluid was clear. This meant she likely sucked in a lot of meconium.
Several doctors immediately grabbed her; put her on another station and still, I heard no baby cry. I heard tons of suction and I was staring at Vinit trying to read his face with what was going on and he looked like HE was about to cry – I found out later he was panicking with not hearing her cry and didn’t know if she was okay. After 30 ever so long seconds of just hearing suction and no crying, I finally heard her Mila’s sweet, sweet, beautiful cry. It was the SWEETEST cry I had ever heard. Oddly as everyone was scurrying around (yet the room felt dead silent), I remember thinking, I’m in good hands, I’m in good hands, I’m in God’s hands, I’ve prayed so much for a healthy baby, and I know I’m in good hands. These doctors will take care of us, they will. And it was true. I was in the best hands with this capable maternity staff. And shortly after, my Mila Rose was in MY hands and in MY arms, safe and sound and all was well in the world again. I had my baby – this long awaited baby. We did it! And there she was!
The next words which followed out of my mouth were:
“YES! I MADE IT BEFORE MIDNIGHT! I had her on 1.13.13!” which made everyone in the room laugh.
Mila Rose Jain was born 1.13.13 at 11:48PM
weighing 6lbs 13oz and 21.5 inches
With just 12 minutes to spare…
So here’s what happened as it was explained the next day by our Doula and nurses, Marg and Arla, who stopped by our room to meet the baby…
When Mila descended, my darling little girl brought the umbilical cord with her which was wrapped around her neck. This can be common and usually not a huge deal except in our case, each contraction tightened the cord more and more around her little neck and this went on for hours. Well, as the cord tightened, this caused Mila distress and she pooped meconium behind her and then ingested a lot of it. We were incredibly lucky however, she did not aspirate on the meconium as none was found in her lungs, though they showed us half a jar of the meconium water which had been suctioned after the birth and before they let her breathe. In fact, they prevented her from breathing until they could get all the meconium out of her stomach and airway or else it could have gotten into her lungs if not completely suctioned out of her.
The doctors and nurses all told me this was a pretty traumatic entrance for Mila and yet she had not a single scrape or bruise on her head from the vacuum. She looked perfect. What this did mean though was that other things such as her being a little bit frantic the next few days as well as very red and then eventually getting jaundice after 48 hours with some feeding challenges, contributed to what I kept being told was a complicated delivery and entrance for this little girl. Days that followed where we had pediatrician visits, etc., the first thing doctors would say after reading our report was, we’re so sorry about the birth, this is a tough little girl who had a very tough beginning, huh? I didn’t realize how tough it was until doctor after doctor continued to say this but do concur – she is one tough little fighter.
The interesting part about all this was since week 20 I was paranoid that Mila’s cord was going to cause her problems. I felt this way because her ultrasounds started picking up on a lot of activity with her and the cord. She liked to suck on the cord, during one ultrasound she was wearing the cord like a feather boa around her neck – she was obsessed with this cord so I started to worry about her entanglement with the cord pretty early on. Towards the later NSTs when they would check fluid levels the first question I would ask during the ultrasounds were, “is the cord positioned OK” and half the time I was told yes, it was fine but then at other times I was told it was near or behind her neck.
Several friends had to listen to me talk about my suspicions with her cord being a problem but everyone kept saying the same thing – this was beyond my control and not to stress out about it.
As a friend pointed out later, this was simply mother’s intuition.
Weeks have passed and I still get goose bumps and flashbacks when I’ve had to go to Evergreen after having Mila. I find myself completely gracious and emotional about our experience there January 13th and all the people who played a part in bringing us this healthy little girl into this world. I have a huge amount of gratitude for every person, every doctor, my encouraging husband, Arla and Marg my nurses, of course my wonderful doula, and my hero Dr. Robertson who acted quickly and competently that day.
I have been a patient of Dr. Robertson’s since I was 18 years old. She’s always been the very best doctor to me, almost always being right about things. So of all the doctors I ever had, I have trusted her always and we were so thankful that she was the person, my very own doctor who I adored so much, whose capable hands caught my baby that day. Any other doctor would have had me in the Operating Room hours earlier… every single person I talked to, including my doula, agreed on that.
I have toyed with wanting a water birth or birth center birth for the next baby (and we thought about it briefly even for this baby). My opinions of the benefits and wonderful experiences people can have with those alternatives have not changed – I’m still a huge advocate and fan for such alternatives. For me, however, after having a delivery with the complications we had, I cannot imagine being in other hands than those of Dr. Robertson and the maternity staff at Evergreen.
As for Dr. Case and his measurements? So yes, maybe he was right, however, one thing Dr. Robertson admitted they were wrong about was Mila’s tummy size. Her tummy size was actually very proportioned to the size of her body, not being too small or too large.
She was perfect. My Mila, my Mila Rose, my Milu Singh.
Xoxos and happy, healthy babies to all…
I’ll be 39 weeks pregnant tomorrow and that is it. We’ve just about made it! What a ride this has been. I don’t remember what it’s like to feel un-pregnant and yet at the same time there are mornings I wake up, turn over and as I get out of bed am reminded of this baby who has still yet to make her appearance, causing me grunting and huffing just so I can sit up. It feels like a lifetime yet at the same time, it feels like just yesterday I was surprising my husband with the big news while he was traveling.
Well, now things are coming to an end and it’s just days till I get to meet this sweet child. It’s true that you definitely love your baby with all your heart right from the start, even before you meet. I never understood that before but it could not make more sense now. You go through days of dreaming what she’ll look like, how she’ll be, who she’ll become. This experience brings you back to the very basics of life where you pray for nothing other than her good health and that everything will be alright. After all, nothing else…nothing… really matters.
Whenever it was an ultra sound day, I would dress up in a special outfit because it would be my time with my daughter, time where I would get to peak at her and see what she was up to and how she was doing. There was nothing more amazing than those dates I had with her during the past several months. Some might think I even purposely went in a few extra times with excuses just to see her. I don’t think I have to answer that.
The best advice I got during this time was from a friend I hadn’t seen in months but who so eloquently explained motherhood and this life changing experience to me. I still look back on what she wrote and get goose bumps. She said:
“I know how overwhelming it can all feel. It’s like the whole world with all of its pleasures and burdens has been delivered onto your lap and into your heart. And everybody will tell you what you are supposed to do. But remember, your body and spirit have been active in the process of creating this life, and God will give you the wisdom you need to take care of it. My best advice is to trust yourself. There is a divine reason God gave this life to you.”
So now we wait.
Soon I know I will miss all her kicks but in turn I’ll have her in my arms.
Soon the hiccups which used to wake me up in the middle of the night will be an adorable reality right in front of me.
Soon her nursery chair I already rock her in will be used to read to her, sing to her, feed her, and put her to sleep.
Soon there will be no more questions, no more wonders, I will know exactly what she is like and I will not want her any other way.
Soon I’ll have no reason to spend time just staring at my belly just to see a tiny foot or hand poking through, I’ll get to touch that tiny foot and hand with my own two hands.
She is my daughter. I will protect her, guide her, love her, fight for her, teach her, listen to her and do my best to understand her in all ways possible. I am forever grateful this past 9 months was made possible and that is something I’ll never take for granted.
I pray and hope she loves her life on this side. She has no idea just how long we’ve been waiting for her and how much she is already loved and adored.
Vinit and I had contemplated several places for what would be our anniversary/baby moon trip this year. We wanted to do something special and go to a place where we could not go with kids, taking advantage of our last few child-free months. We also wanted to pick a spot where we weren’t distracted by site seeing or a fast pace but where we could focus on us, each other, our health, and getting grounded and centered.
Vinit in particular leads a very chaotic life with so many things going on and he more than even me needed some down time whether or not he realized it. For me, as a soon-to-be-mother, I really wanted to enter motherhood with a calm mind, a happy heart and a healthy attitude so that I would be able to project all these things onto my child and be the positive source I’ve always wanted to as a mother. Vinit and I have been writing “promises” to our future baby girl and all of these parental demands of ourselves have been things we’ve included in some of my promises to her.
So, we considered a number of places. My heart always wants to go to Europe and Vinit’s first choice was Mexico – obviously these choices violating some guidelines we had set out for this trip. We poked around at some other options and realized those were places we could/would probably want to do with kids so we decided against them, too.
My friend Sanaz had been known to take amazing trips focused around yoga, health, self-exploration, fitness and getting centered and suggested Miraval to us. We were quickly sold on the sound of it, not having an exact idea of what to expect but booked our trip in June and we were set to go! It also helped that Miraval had a summer special at the time we booked which made the cost of going to Miraval half of what it normally would have been (yeay)! So all worked out and seemed great with plans in the making.
Fast forward to September and it was finally time for our trip!
We were greeted at the Tucson airport by the Miraval staff, given canvas tote bags which included a steel water bottle and some introductory information, then hopped in the shuttle and an hour later we arrived at the breath-taking resort. We toured around the campus with a guest services host and took a quick walk-thru through the grounds to get familiar with where the spa, gym, restaurant, activity center, yoga/meditation centers and other class areas were. We were also informed early on that the resort was a cell phone-free resort. Oh man! That almost caused us both instant anxiety right there but it completely made sense why. The reason was they wanted to encourage you to disconnect as best as you could to get the full experience and benefits of Miraval so they had one designated spot for cell phone usage and of course your room was permitted.
That evening we swam laps outside in the pool, devoured the happy hour with healthy appetizers, met some nice other fellow guests, attended a class on the realities of weight loss and had a wholesome and well balanced dinner!
Our dinner was fantastic! For starters, we had a black bean soup (130 calories) and wood stone pizza. For our entrée we both had the porcini mushroom buck wheat pasta (270 calories) and I ordered a side of garlic mashed potatoes. For dessert I had the dark chocolate taco filled with white chocolate mousse (135 calories) accompanied with berries and Vinit had the Soy ice cream dipped in pecan praline (200 calories). We came back and watched “Cocktail” in our heavenly bed which rivaled the Westin’s Heavenly bed and we were very happy and feeling relaxed already.
We were off to a good start and we had only been there a few hours.
So this is how it works, folks…
In your bag of goodies, you are given a schedule which outlines daily classes from as early as 7am to as late as 7pm. Classes range from anything such as Gratitude Meditation… to Yin & Yang Yoga… to Spinning… to Water Tai Chi… to Ways to Increase your metabolism… to Photography… to Nutritional classes, to Make up application, just to name a few! For most of the classes you just show up but for some of them with limited seating, you have to pre-register.
On the Miraval campus there is a juice bar, a coffee bar which also has an assortment of snacks. There is a daily happy hour in the late afternoon as well so in between meals you will not go hungry – something very important to me these days, ha! The pool areas (I think there were a total of 4-5 pools at the resort) also have food and bar service as well.
You were not obligated to do anything. This experience is whatever you wanted it to be so you could take a full day’s worth of classes from 7am-7pm like Vinit tried to do most of the time, or you could take 4-6 classes a day with some nap and leisure time in the middle like I tried to do, or you could have laid by the pool all day if you wanted to like we saw a few people do. I will say classes were always full so people definitely came to Miraval to gain more tools than anything else.
So, in a nutshell, that’s how it works.
**The experiences below are some of the highlights and do not include all of our classes/experiences in its entirety.**
The next morning Vinit woke up early while I slept in and he did the Power Punch and Pile class which had a little bit of ballet in it. He was shocked yet proud of himself for having done the class and actually said it kicked his butt quite a bit. Ballet? Who knew? We later went off to breakfast and I had an egg white omelet with spinach & cheddar (150 calories) along with Muesli with milk, fruit, and nuts, cottage cheese with berries, and grain toast. Vinit had the tofu scramble with corn tortillas (190 calories), oatmeal with berries, nuts and raisins. There was a menu you could order breakfast items off of or you could go to their breakfast buffet which had some great, healthy items there too.
After breakfast, I went to the gym to do weights and the treadmill and Vinit attended the Chi Gong class, which he ended up loving. We went for our first spa treatment where I had the mother-to-be massage and Vinit had the deep tissue massage and it was AWESOME!
Lunch was fantastic, Vinit had a vegetable enchilada and I had a roasted vegetable quinoa, veggie chili, chicken and barley, salad, and we shared a chilled melon soup and stir-fry noodles. For dessert we had berry bars (50 calories). Vinit also went to the juice bar and had an acai berry protein smoothie and some white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.
As much as we were eating, we both noticed because the food was so healthy we were not feeling heavy and tired and both our metabolisms were on high speed.
We attended the Move It class which was supposed to be a cardio class in the pool which was one of my favorite classes. I discovered that water activities were incredibly gentle on my body and bigger tummy and yet I was getting a great work out at the same time. After the class I laid out by the pool and read while Vinit attended a TRX (like cross fit) class. We quickly grabbed snacks at the daily happy hour then went to the Loving Kindness Meditation Class which was pretty outstanding.
In the meditation class we had to silently recite a few phrases with regards to a mentor, a friend or person we knew, a person we were having difficulties with and ourselves. I felt very emotional during this time, to my surprise. I’ve never really held on to hurt feelings before but I realized the last few years that when someone hurts me, I didn’t let go the same way as before. Instead I found myself putting up a wall and losing a lot of compassion for the person along with the ability to forgive as easily as before. During this meditation class, as I recited phrases about having compassion, wanting love, being kind, having an open heart and wanting peace and wellness for people I’ve had difficulties with, it made me realize those walls have been quite unproductive and only kept in negative energy which hadn’t served me well.
These feelings left me with something to think about. It’s not to say you can allow people to take advantage of your heart or kindness but I think you can be careful and still forgive and want good unto others.
As for the person I don’t know… as baby girl kicked me throughout the meditation, well, I could only think of her for those meditation recitings. She was definitely included in this practice on this day.
We went straight to dinner afterwards and I had a pear soup (50 calories), filet mignon with gratin potatoes and green beans (400 calories) and the molten chocolate cake (ordered to-go which was devoured in bed later on in the night, oh and only 200 calories). Vinit had the portabella tostado with garlic and herbs for his starter (200 calories) then moved onto a southmex vegetarian meal including beans, kale, cabbage, tomatoes, and a whole slew of other things with it. For dessert he had the blackberry gelato (75 calories).
We were not starving as you can see. Not by any stretch of the imagination and yet our calories, fat and carbs were pretty reasonable.
We got up earlier the next day and we hit breakfast around 8AM. Vinit wanted to attend the rise and shine yoga and I had a spa treatment at 9am. Vinit ended up loving the yoga class and mentioned wanting to continue the practice after we returned home. We met up afterwards for a breathing and meditation workshop which was wonderful and then I went back to the room to rest while Vinit attended the pilates mat class. It wasn’t even noon yet and we had already done so much! We later had lunch which consisted of the amazing buffet and then off we went to a posture optimization class which was fantastic. Again, the class focused on breathing which we found as a component in most classes here and was fantastic.
We definitely took it easier the rest of the day and ended up at an activity course around intuition.
The instructor’s name was Tejpal except well… she wasn’t Indian! She was from Paris and after making a career change from the corporate world to life coaching and healing, she was a highly regarded instructor at Miraval. The class was pretty great but what blew us away was the very end of the class. She told us to all pick up a tarot card and she’d pick 3 people from the class to explore further. So we did and I picked “Creativity” and Vinit picked “Knower.” I was barely paying attention at this point, looking forward to dinner, when she selected the first person. She asked the person what her card said and proceeded get specific about the person’s life which well… none of us knew if she was right or wrong as the person didn’t really react to it. Then she picked the second person and told once again was very specific with her saying things like “why do I see horses?” Well apparently the woman rode horses and she continued to give advice to the woman on what our real calling was in life. Then she moved on to the final person. Her card read “sorrow.” She looked at her and said, “Why are you so sad?” And the woman burst into tears and started sobbing and in a quiet voice replied, “I can’t get pregnant.” I immediately choked up wanting to hug this woman right then and there being in my 6th month of pregnancy and feeling so incredibly sad for this poor woman. Tejpal offered some coaching and told her to find ways to use those motherly instincts by suggesting a few things then also advised her to focus on other things. She then said, why do I keep seeing a piano in your life? The woman replied she in fact did have a piano sitting in her house that she never used. Tejpal said, well I think you need to take up playing the piano, it is going to make you happy. She said not to mention you are musically inclined already – you enjoy music with other people. The woman replied she played music professionally with others. Yes.
At this point I was scared. While she in no way claimed herself to be a psychic, I could not believe how she provided specifics the way she did and so told Vinit we needed a private session. I chose the card “creativity” which is a pretty obvious one for me and I didn’t need the validation of a person like Tejpal to confirm my creative tendencies. I was just curious to know what she thought and what else she had to say about my life.
We booked a private session with Tejpal for the next day and I could barely sleep all night, curious to know what she was going to tell us.
The next day I had a spa treatment, took a dance class and did some more meditation while Vinit had a schedule of his own.
That afternoon our appointment finally came and the first thing Tejpal told Vinit and I was that this was our appointment so what questions did we have for her. I immediately jumped in and said, well, I picked the card “creativity” yesterday and I just wanted to know what you thought of that. She said, yes – you are in a field that you need to stay in because it is a good career for you, but you need to do more dancing. You’re a dancer. You in fact, can help other people by teaching them through dance. Have you taught dance before? I said yes. She said, dance more. You need to be dancing more. It’s your thing, it’s just who you are.
Then she moved on to Vinit.
Vinit told her he was looking for some career advice and she expressed in so many words that his ideal group or company is one which is small. That’s where he’s going to make the most impact. She went on further and said being an ant in a large organization is not going to be a place where his strengths will be recognized and that he’s going to do bigger things being part of something smaller. Vinit talked about kouply and the work he’s done there to which she had some really insightful opinions on. Then she moved in a different direction with Vinit. She said, you are very kind. In fact you’re too kind and your heart is unique. You need to put up boundaries otherwise you are going to have people walk all over you. She said your heart is big. She said learn to say no. She repeated this to him a few times, “Saying no to others means you’re saying yes to yourself.” So, create some boundaries. I affirmed what she said about Vinit was pretty correct as he has got to be the nicest guy I know and have ever met. I can honestly say this with 100% truthfulness.
Then she came back to me. She said, now you are innovative. You love solving problems. In fact you might invent something that can help others or make things easier for people in a particular area. She said; use your support system around you because you have several ideas. Use people around you to bounce your ideas off of and Vinit can help you by being critical of your ideas. He can ask all the tough questions and challenge you to see how well your ideas can hold up.
But she reassured me, I was an inventor, an innovator.
She touched on me getting anxious about things at times and even went further as to where I learned that which I won’t go into details but felt she was pretty accurate. Then she went back to Vinit. She told him his passion is in helping others. So she asked him the question, “alright – you have 20 million dollars. What would you want to do with your life?” Vinit responded without hesitation, “help others” and she said, exactly. She told Vinit that she felt strongly about him getting involved in causes relating to the medical field and research which would help people and Vinit said he was already and actively doing this a little bit. She told him truthfully, she felt with his heart and his goodness, she felt strongly about his ability to impact others and society in such a positive way. She actually recommended classes for him that she herself took in becoming a healing professional. I was very impressed that someone with her abilities saw the same qualities she possessed in my husband. I was flattered.
I’m giving the highlights of our session here but some other life coaching advice was given which we found extremely inspiring and motivating.
After we pondered the session with Tejpal afterwards together, we then attended a photography workshop which taught us how to use our camera (finally!) and oh what a difference a few basics can make! Late that evening, I attended a skincare basics course and found it very useful and realized I need to be using sunscreen every day which I do not. After the course, we went to dinner and had some delicious, healthy food: I started out with the lavender salad (45 calories), wood fire pizza and for my entrée I had the veggie strudel (how many entrees do you know have 180 calories??) and for dessert I had the vanilla bean flan (130 calories). Vinit had the same except a lentil soup for his starter instead and the mint ice-cream chocolate cake roll. We were stuffed as pigs as usual.
It was a good day. An awakening and insightful day.
Vinit woke up early to do a Miraval challenge where he had to walk across a log 35 feet up in the air. The purpose of this challenge was to have people face their fears head on with this experience, though not in the literal sense of course since not everyone is afraid of heights. Some people cried, some people were confident then cried later, but everyone he said, reacted to the experience a little bit differently in trying to simply “let go.” He really enjoyed this and wished he had done other challenges offered daily but next time.
Meanwhile, I enjoyed some solo cabana dining for breakfast and had a bowl of muesli, a spinach omelet and toast. We met up after breakfast and went to the gym to work out for an hour then Vinit attended the Extreme Core class while I lounged in the spa’s quiet room and read magazines in their oversized comfy chairs. The spa was gorgeous and the quiet room was serene and peaceful. I read an article that it was a 6-year project in the making to remodel the spa by a NYC designer and captured the right elements of mindfulness, consistent with the Miraval experience completely. After an hour or so of lounging, I went back into the women’s locker room at the spa which was divine to say the least, and took a shower and got ready.
Vinit and I met up for lunch and we had veggie quesadillas and dried fruit and nut couscous, then he grabbed a smoothie and I grabbed a mocha from the juice bar and left in the shuttle for the Tucson airport.
Sad. Heart broken.
This vacation was a very different vacation than either of us had experienced before and it felt amazing. I’m not sure if I’m going to do justice to how this experience made me feel but I guess to sum it up, here were are a few of those thoughts and feelings:
· Breathing. I have never given breath/breathing any thought and learned how much of a difference something as simple as the proper breathing techniques can make in terms of focus, clarity and feeling balanced.
· Meditation. Although I never really questioned the benefits of meditation I have not explored it and tried it either. I can definitely say this experience taught me how to create my own personal meditation practice and I plan to continue it.
· Fitness. I’ve been out of shape for so long. I haven’t been overweight, so I’ve been able to convince myself that working out can take the back seat until I do become a little hefty, however, after going through this experience where you are mindful about what you put into your body, how you treat your body, how you love your body, fitness is one of the key components that are essential for self-care and vitality in staying healthy and happy. I was reminded that with fitness, the benefits are far more than just physical.
· Food. A bit like fitness, I’ve not watched what I’ve put into my body in recent years as closely because I figured as long as I wasn’t fat, why restrict myself? After being at Miraval for even just a day I started thinking about the things I had fed my body at times and was well…I was a little bit mortified. At Miraval, mindful eating meant staying away from bad oils and fats, sugary, starchy foods contributing to my lack of energy I have had over the past several years. When you fuel your body with good food, it’s amazing to see how differently your body works and operates. I’m pregnant, too! I saw a huge difference in energy levels and honestly, even happiness.
What an amazing detox!
Miraval is all about being mindful about how we treat ourselves and then provided us with tools to use after we left so that we could apply these practices in the real world. People of all walks of life come to Miraval for different reasons whether it was to emotionally cleanse, or spiritually rejuvenate, or for us, to detox and work harder at leading healthier lifestyles. This retreat was worth every second, every moment, every BREATH, and every penny.
We will be going back. In fact, of all the guests we were of the minority who were there for the 1st time. Many were on their 6th, 8th, 10th visit. There’s no question about it this was only the beginning of a journey for us in many ways and we agreed this is something we’d love to continue to do here on out for that periodic rejuvenation we found extremely beneficial personally.
I have to say, my husband is the cutest and such a good sport. Vinit was adorable in being excited to try new things whether it included ballet or having to do the challenges without me for obvious reasons, but he loved every moment of it and probably benefited from this even more than I did (as I had some physical limitations). While we were there, there were other men, in fact we got to know a retired professional NFL player very well who was there with his wife for the first time celebrating their own anniversary, often times you found some of the men in the gym or at the pool. By the way, this new friend of ours did many of the classes Vinit did which was super cute, as he was a pretty manly big dude. It was great!
So that was our trip! It was so full of zen, happiness and peace.
Cheers to being mindful in all ways that you can be. I look forward to returning to this heavenly place again one day and am full of gratitude for having the most amazing experience I was able to have there.
This was the perfect baby moon I could have asked for and I feel incredibly refreshed and rejuvenated.
~This post is dedicated to Yogi Singh Jain~
Born 3/3/12 in Sammamish, Washington.
We picked up Yogi Singh this past Saturday at 8-weeks old and our lives have forever changed. There’s no doubt about it, he’s a lot of work, but nothing has ever seemed more worth it thus far, than our Yogi Singh. Vinit and I agree, if we love a puppy this much, we might be the most overwhelming and smothering parents ever with a baby someday. Yogi + baby? Oh gosh, TOO MUCH!
Yogi is cute. He’s feisty. He is lovable. He’s playful. He’s super adorable. Just when you think there’s no hope in training this little cutie, he shows you his heart-warming puppy dog eyes and you suddenly realize this world cannot be half as bad as you might have previously thought it to be, to produce such a little cutie like him. We are in love. Even with the 1230am, 230am and 5am potty times… IN THE RAIN and IN THE COLD, we are indeed very smitten. Even with the first night we had him where he was having diarrhea every hour on the hour, not sleeping and being very sad with out his siblings, we were still overjoyed to have him. Even with his teething and biting and jumping, we love him just the same. Yes, he’s a puppy, there is no question about that. A puppy who needs to be trained, and we are currently working very hard on that.
One friend advised us before getting Yogi, “expect to have no social life once you get Yogi” and they were right, being new puppy parents themselves. Our social life is non-existent except for Yogi visits by friends, but coming home to see our baby means everything to us.
As you can see, we love him very much.
I am beyond excited and thrilled to have our first born be Yogi Singh. I haven’t felt this much excitement and happiness as well as protective mamma-bear-ness for anything in a long time. As far as his dad goes, Vinit is the best dad ever to him. When Yogi cries at night, it’s his dad who calms him down and sleeps next to his crate on the floor until he falls asleep. It’s also Vinit who does not hesitate to run outside in the rain and cold in the middle of the night when Yogi has to go potty. A few nights ago during crate-training with him, Vinit was very emotional to hear Yogi crying and whimpering for a prolonged period of time and I wasn’t sure who needed more comforting. So, I had to hug both of them simultaneously. Vinit has shown so much love for this baby of ours, a puppy he was very uncertain about getting in the first place. But seriously no joke when I say the best dad ever…
Now all our carpool and nighttime conversations are around Yogi Singh and the things he does which makes us laugh or the things he does which are not exactly cute, but how much we still love him no matter what. While this is a lot of work we are going through since he is a puppy, we also realize he will grow up very quickly and those puppy days will be long gone.
Saying all this, if you are considering a puppy, here are 10 things to keep in mind before making the big leap to get a puppy, based on our recent experience.
1. Will you accept a lifestyle change and be willing to focus on being with him and training him in all of your free time?
2. Will you be able to be with him during the day or have arrangements for him to be with someone else during the day?
3. If he has accidents and pees and poops throughout the house, will you be able to accept this as puppy behavior and not get mad at him?
4. Can you commit to a routine and schedule with him in terms of eating, playing, sleeping and potty time?
5. Will you wake up with him throughout the night if he whines to go potty?
6. Can you be disciplined about training him, not giving in just because he’s cute but because you have to do what’s best for him?
7. Will you be able to provide him with lots of love and affection and reward him when he does things right?
8. Do you have a lot of patience? I mean, serious boatloads of patience?
9. Can you commit to not ever giving up on him, no matter how bad the day might be while teaching him?
10. Will you accept he is a puppy and will therefore act as such?
We are not perfect parents by any means but we know we want to do the best job we can in providing him with the best life we possibly can. He has already taught us so much about ourselves and we are learning invaluable lessons from him. I can’t imagine our life any other way now… he’s our little baby doll and mera bacha.
The only question I continue to ask myself during this whole process is, “…remind me why didn’t I do this sooner??”
He makes us really happy.
Yogi Singh Jain, bred from Shedless in Seattle.
Today I was chatting back and forth with Vinit via GTalk when I decided it would be nice for me to wait for his kouply meeting to end and give him a ride home rather than him take the bus. Although he encouraged me to go directly home anyway after work (we carpool every day), I felt bad that most of his day commuting was via Microsoft shuttles. So I decided to hang out at the kouply headquarters while he had his kouply meeting.
In case you are not aware of where the kouply headquarters is, it is located at Starbucks in the Barnes & Noble store in Bellevue. You will often find kouply employees gathered around discussing features, making live code changes and conducting feature prioritization sessions.
So this is where my Vinit is at in the evenings… all of the time.
When I arrived, I found a cozy chair and booted up my laptop, trying to be as non-distracting as I possibly could. After 20 minutes of connectivity challenges with multiple wireless repairs and a few reboots, a woman sitting next to me asked me how she could connect her laptop to the wifi there at Starbucks, too! Being I was having terrible challenges myself, I thought this was the perfect time to see if my issues were isolated to just me, or to the broader public.
I tried connecting her machine to the AT&T wifi and had no luck, seeing the same errors being thrown I was seeing on my own laptop. After a few minutes I decided to consult with the big guns and interrupt their meeting by walking over to the kouply employees (techy nerds). I told the kouply guys that both myself and this lady were having the same issue and we were not sure what the problem was. One of the kouply employees said I simply had to enable/disable my adapter and it should be fine, or delete the AT&T wifi network from my list and then re-add it. In the meantime, the woman started chatting it up with the guys, saying they looked like good people to ask, and Vinit fixed her connectivity in no time. She thanked him then sat down.
Now with my machine, it was still in progress with being fixed and Vinit did a few tricks and voila, my laptop was working too – yeay!
I walked back over to the cozy chair, sat down and the woman started telling me how nice and sweet “those guys” were were for helping both of us. She said it was a smart move for us to go over to them and ask them for help since they were so nice and sweet. She continued on a bit more about how charming and nice and sweet they were and I smiled and agreed, then realized, she had no idea I was married to one of them. It was right then Vinit walked over, grabbed my chai, took a big gulp and I instantly realized how strange that must have seemed to her so I turned to her and said, “actually, I’m married to this one…”
She laughed and exclaimed how cute that was and that she was even going to suggest I go back over and “talk”with them since they seemed so nice and sweet but that she noticed my wedding ring so she stopped herself. Little did she know, I had already noticed that exact trait in one of them more than 5 years ago now.
The three of us were all laughing at this point and she asked how we met, and was even a few steps ahead of us in reciting our story by saying “don’t tell me – you two met at Microsoft, right?” She kept telling us we were so cute and we were both laughing as well as blushing a little bit, too.
This story made me smile so big so I just had to share. It is very flattering when even strangers want to set you up with the person who is already your spouse… talk about the perfect validation!
So cute! I love it!