Our birth story–Kate Abigail

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset
well played, warning tag..
Hello! Well. Although I’m nine months late to this, my recollection of this incredible day does not grow dim. This girl. Our Kate. Born on a rainy Saturday morning in January.

My feelings toward birth this time around were on a whole, a lot less stressful. Maybe because our we had enough to worry about in our lives at the time? Most likely yes. But across the board, all I wanted was an anxiety, stress, tension free birth. That’s sort of a tall order when you write it out like that–sorry Kate! So stress-free meant that for the first seven months, all I considered in regard to this birth is that James and I would be present. I didn’t really think about too much past that, except signing off on the VBAC agreement and pinning a few hospital bag ideas.

Continue reading

Looking back on my second pregnancy

To be honest, I’m posting this on round two of pregnancy because I am on my way to forgetting all the details! It’s terrifying to think of what I’ll forget if we ever have another. So I wanted to remind myself of a few of its shining moments. This pregnancy WHOOPED MY BUTT. And I’ll start out by confessing that I took not one successful profile belly picture! What the what! Barring the photo in this post, I pretty much bombed (it doesn’t help when you’re throwing up all the way up to the week before). Anyways, I’m going to have to scour James phone to see if there’s any hidden gems. This is only number two, imagine if we have more .. I fear we’ll never know if I was actually pregnant via photo evidence.

Here are a few of my glances back on this pregnancy with my sweet Kate .. I loved these question prompts I found here 🙂

How did you feel when you first found out you were pregnant? We were totally surprised. While we had begun praying about entertaining the possibility of a second pregnancy, we were unaware that we were already eleven weeks along .. ha! Just because you don’t have a monthly visit of pain does not mean you are closed for business. Never messing with that statistic again 🙂 We were surprised, but we were so excited, and to find out that we were nearly into the second trimester was an added bonus.

How did you share your pregnancy news with family and friends? We pretty much told people right away and as soon as we saw them 🙂 Given we were further along, we felt more freedom to share and not hold back. With Luke, we were still figuring out how we wanted to approach the whole process so we stayed mum for a bit longer. This time, we just knew we wanted to share it with people right out the gate!

What were some of your first pregnancy symptoms? Nausea (I thought I had the flu for a few weeks in there), heightened sense of smell, could not change Luke’s diapers to save my life (poor kid).

How did you feel when you needed to go shopping for maternity clothes? I did not shop for maternity clothes this time around, except to replace my favorite maternity leggings. I carried smaller this time and also lost some of my weight I had gained with Luke (sorry body) so I wore my regular clothes longer and also used just a few old pieces from my last pregnancy.

Did you choose to find out your baby’s gender in advance? Why or why not? Yes, we are finder-outers. We loved being able to prepare, especially with Luke becoming a big brother. Although, there is an element of uncertainty with girls and they double checked her when she was born, which freaked me out for a quick second.

How did you choose your baby’s name? Mainly based on meaning, we also knew we wanted strong and short names for our kids (so far). We loved the meaning of Kate–pure, blessed. Her middle name (Abigail) means Father’s joy, we loved that too.

How did you select a theme for your baby’s nursery? Well, I’d hardly call it a nursery right now (she has a corner of our sleeping space with her shelves and books and blankets) but the decor I’ve collected for when there is a little more space.. I chose that while perusing Restoration Hardware and finding the sweetest hot air balloon painting. My mom is recreating that for me and I received a sweet bird painting from a friend, along with little cloud details. So she has an “up in the sky” vibe happening for her future space 🙂

Did you have a baby shower? Yes! Some people aren’t sure about doing it second time around but I love to help celebrate every baby’s arrival.. even if you’ve got mostly everything! It was lovely and I am so glad my friends have amazing taste in baby girl clothes–I was a little blank when I’d shop for her (I think it was hard for me to switch from boy world to girl world) and we received the most lovely things! I haven’t had too much trouble shopping for her since, heh.

How did you feel as your due date approached? Ready to meet her already. And also positive she would be late (she wasn’t)!! I think I told everyone.

Were you scared and nervous or simply excited to meet your new bundle of joy for the first time? A little anxiety because I was really hoping for a VBAC, which happened (I’ll post about it soon). But we just wanted to meet her, see what she looks like, and start incorporating her into our family.

How did you feel when you saw your baby for the first time? So so incredible. We cried, we stared, we rejoiced in labor being over (woohoo!) and then examined her every little part. Her wrinkly hands, daddy’s ears, my toes, her full head of multicolored hair.

–birth story coming soon :)–

Pregnancy musings

Check one, check two, anybody listening? 🙂 Hellloooooo! Needless to say it’s been awhile! I have really fallen behind in posting. Do you ever feel like one measly picture seems like too big of an undertaking some days? That’s most of the time for me, oof. Summer flew by, from youth camp to beach days, kids camp to vacation—and in June, just as we had decided we were open to the idea of having another baby, lo-and-behold we discovered we were 11 weeks pregnant, ooh baby! We are absolutely thrilled 🙂 We are 25 weeks along and 26 tomorrow.

This pregnancy has been difficult compared to my first with Luke. I don’t think the fact that we’re having a girl has anything to do with that.. but it might, who knows 🙂 And yes, we found out 🙂 And yes! We’re excited!! I have had nausea (and beyond) up until a few weeks days ago, and still have to be careful around certain smells. I have also become quite the expert at spelling nausea (you can only have it auto-correct to ‘Nassau’ so many times before wanting to throw your phone out the window). For some, I know that sort of sickness is the norm, and I’ve got mad respect for those people. It has run me down more than I’d like to admit, so I’ve tried to find positive things to report back to people (although for some I’ve been a broken record, thank you friend who’ve listened:). I owe my husband a billion dollars or more for all the diapers he’s changed. On another day, I’ll tell you stories about why he gladly covers that task for me (no questions asked…yikes).

I have felt energetic despite it all, and I’ve taken advantage of our close proximity to the beach more than ever, taking beach walks a few times a week. There’s a nice hill that I take down and coming back up with Luke in tow always gives me a hearty glisten. I also started using the pedometer on my phone, and yes..pretty sure I’m late to the party, but man that thing is so addicting! I keep trying to one-up myself day-to-day. I’ve kicked myself for the walks I’ve kept my phone in the stroller and missed a few thousand steps (it doesn’t register while rolling apparently). Pedometer issues developing, I’m sure, but meanwhile I’m having fun 🙂

I am so excited to bring another little someone into our family. It’s hard to believe that anybody could occupy the space in our hearts and lives that our son does now. I know that in January our world will burst a little.. I feel like so many things have already been different from before.. and in some ways, I have felt a little lost on what to expect with a little girl! But just like Luke was such a wonder to us at first, now.. he is ours, we know him, we love him and he was tailor made for our family. I know this little one will be no different. I can’t wait to discover how.

Our birth story–Luke William

I so understand why people tell you to write down a birth story as soon as humanly possible because goodness gracious, the vividness of a day seems to fade so quickly once all the excitement and emotions have died down and you have your sweet little bundle (extremely loud bundle at times!) in your arms. But even though we’re nearly ten (ten!) weeks out, it’s almost like time stands still when I think back on the day we met Luke.

I wrestled with whether or not to write out our birth story as it is a very personal life moment, but ended up deciding that I want to put it out there into the world collection of birth stories for any mamas who, like me, were searching for any insight into what it would be like; anything that can help make sense of it all before the day came. And also because things didn’t go as I’d expected, and I want to share what that felt like.

At 8am on our induction date (ten days overdue), we arrived at the hospital all showered and clean and ready to meet our son! We checked in at the desk and the sweetest nurse walked us to our room and got us all set up. She took all my vitals, prepared me for my doctor, who came in shortly after to break my water (we were seriously hoping natural labor will begin!).

By 9:30am, labor still hasn’t begun so my doctor comes into assess. I was bummed. I’d been dilated 3cm for nearly a week, and 2cm for the two weeks prior to that. Since breaking my water, I was now at 3.5cm. She decides to give it a little more time.

Contractions started by 10:30am, but they were so minimal that it wasn’t considered as progressing. My doctor decided that it’s time to induce. Now a side note.. I didn’t know a whole lot about Pitocin, now known to me as the worst thing ever.

In hindsight, I would not have necessarily changed my decision to take Pitocin but would’ve liked to know a little more about risks (and the pain! yeah, labor just is painful in general but why make it worse!?). The Pitocin is administered to me through IV and we wait. At this point, we were walking around the hallways, some friends had arrived and brought lunch because I imagined that we’d be waiting all day long (and maybe night)!

Active labor started around 1-2pm. It wasn’t too bad for the first couple hours. I kept talking throughout, trying to focus on the people around me rather than the pain. By the time 3pm had rolled around, it was getting intense. The nurse kept asking me my pain level on a scale of 1-10, and because we were only at the beginning in my mind, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t being rash and going too high, too fast. I kept in the 5-6 range, or so I thought. Turns out I would’ve told her 8’s and 9’s because labor intensified and intensified quickly (something that’s sometimes a reaction to the Pitocin, could be in my case but there’s no way to really tell..).

I was doing the breathing that we’d practiced and using negative pressure, but it came to a point where all I could do was dig my head into James chest while my friend rubbed my lower back as hard as she could. It was everything I never wanted! At one point, I was beginning to feel faint in between each contraction and thought I might pass out.

Meanwhile, the nurse is working on moving the fetal monitor around over and over because the contractions were so intense and Luke kept moving around. We weren’t getting accurate heart rates for little periods of time, but then she’d find him again and see that he was okay.

I lasted as long as could but finally felt like I was not going to be able to withstand the pain I was feeling. I told the nurse I’d like to get the epidural and we discussed the pain levels again. She said that based on what I was saying, my pain wasn’t quite at the level yet to request an epidural. I was so in pain that I could barely muster up the words to tell her that I needed it and I’ll be at whatever pain level she needs me to be at; I was reeling.

Thankfully, my friend Jennie came to the rescue and was strong with our nurse where I didn’t know I could be. She put a little fire under her and the nurse made it happen, but they needed to call in the head surgical anesthesiologist who was an hour away at the time (all the other anesthesiologists were in surgery). I would have to wait another hour and I was just praying to God that He’d help me through.

Around 6, the anesthesiologist arrives and works with our nurse to prepare me for the epidural; the nurse sends everyone out so it’s just James and I. The procedure doesn’t take too long and the pain is so intense at this point that I’m not even aware of what is happening

As they’re finishing up the epidural, almost instantaneously my heart rate drops radically and Luke’s follows right after. I am a little fuzzy but I know that the doctor tells me she’s going to do a fetal monitor to get a better reading and he’s stable but within no time, he drops again.

We were scared but I just started praying in my heart.. My doctor tells me she doesn’t want to let him go into distress again and we’re going to do emergency cesarean. At this point, I don’t really have an opinion on yes or no, it just is. This is the new plan. The anesthesiologist that was called in for my epidural “happens” (Jesus!) to be the one we need for my surgery (everyone else was tied up) and it was so the Lord that she came all the way in for my epidural!

Everything seemed like an episode of E.R. after this. I was wheeled through the hallways past my family, past my friends praying for me. I just wanted to shout to them through my oxygen mask to tell them I was going to be okay and that we’re gonna go get my baby.. but all I could do was smile through my teary eyes and continue to trust the peace God has placed in my heart. I couldn’t believe how quickly the nurses and doctors were moving—and with such ease! They made me feel like they had it covered. They were talking non-stop (thankfully..too much quiet is no good) and were such a well-oiled machine.

Because of the quickness of it all, James was unable to be by my side in the operating room, but it was all happening so quickly that it wasn’t long before he was in there with us. The nurses took turns holding my hand and I was just waiting to hear his cry. I knew what things were supposed to feel like because a coworker had explained it to me a few months before (I didn’t expect I’d be feeling it!) but it is a like a lot of tugging.. And then a huge pressure on your chest to push them out. Whew.. still is crazy to think about it all.. and how that is even possible in our bodies!

But then.. at 6:56pm, I heard his little cries for the first time (okay, loud and little cries!) and I just lost it. After all that uncertainty (amidst that peace!), I finally hear my baby! James came in his scrubs and stood beside me and they put Luke on my chest and we just cried there in the operating room. He was totally fine! A healthy little 6 lb, 9 oz little peanut. Amidst all the craziness, he was here with his ten little fingers, ten little toes, sweet little lips and nose and hair—a lot of it! A mohawk to be exact 🙂 There we were, our little family.

Luke went into the NICU to lay under the tanning lights for an hour, but after that he was all ours, forever and ever 🙂 They placed him on my chest again so he could eat, and just like he was made to, he rooted by himself. I swear I wouldn’t have even had to position him! He was so strong and it was like he knew what he was doing! God is so incredible how He makes all this stuff work!

Birth was not like I expected, but this is our story with Luke. I’m so much more grateful than before. I know so much more in hindsight (it’s always 20-20, right?) and I know more about my options and my opinions. Do I wish I knew it before? Sure..but isn’t that kind of how things works? We don’t know it all up front! Luke is our little treasure and while it took a toll on the all of us, we are here and Luke and I are healthy (and so happy! Luke’s is hands down the smiley-est baby I’ve ever seen!). And this mama can always use a good smile!

I’m so so thankful for God having his hand over us throughout this whole experience, for my doctor and nurses who truly gave everything they had to us those days we were there. Our family began the day James and I became husband and wife, but I’ll never forget the day we became three ❤❤❤

Pregnancy beauty lifesavers

i truly have loved being pregnant, and in the practice of not complaining about it, i thought i’d share some of the lifesavers that have made it a little easier on us all (yes, us!). and, i was totally inspired by miss katie! in general, i’m a very au naturale sort of person, i do not have a large amount of beauty products in my cabinets—i think i could live with one or two if i was forced! thankfully i don’t have to!

1. burts bees mama oil: this one gets to go first because i’m absolutely addicted to this stuff. the smell is delicious and not overbearing, it’s not a heavy product so the oil soaks in nicely without leaving a funky layer on. i use it on my hands, belly, feet and cuticles too!

2. clinique dramatically different moisturizing lotion: my favorite face lotion. i use it all over and it’s even gentle enough to use as makeup remover (on the eyes too). there’s no strong scent and no funny residue.

3. origins grapefruit body souffle: a wonderful family member always sets me up with the origins’ gift packs  each christmastime and this lotion continues to blow me away. it’s really like a souffle, soft, silky, light but with a gentle, wonderful scent. a little pricey so once i run out, i’m back on the aveeno bandwagon, but meanwhile, this stuff is where it’s at!

4. aromatherapy sugar scrub: i am a sugar scrub gal. i have tried them all. salt scrub, bead scrubs, seed scrubs and sugar. i have finally landed with sugar. and after spending many a dollar on brands i thought would blow my world, the one that continues to win in the end is from bath & body works, believe it or not! i love the vanilla lavender combo and it scrubs nicely and always leaves me moisturized. i use this on my arms, elbows, belly (for now) and my legs after i shave (it’s a dream i tell you). for the record, in my opinion, this scrub tops (and i’ve tried all of these): sabon, origins, the body shop, alba, st. ives and burts. yup!

5. aloe gator lip balm: i’ve been using this brand of lip balm since i was 14 (so about 13 years now! how’s that for brand loyalty?!). it’s extreeeemely moisturizing meaning you don’t have to coat it on over-and-over on your lips (but not waxy), just a few quick swipes and you’re set. the tropical scents are in-credible, but the rest are as well. they really win in the scent department. oh yes, and spf. win.

6. neosporin! to me, neosporin is like the duct-tape of the beauty/medical world! i use it for everything! and the pain relief edition..even better. hang nail? neosporin. blemish? neosporin. cut? neosporin. dry patch? neosporin. it’s like a cross between my favorite facial lotion and vaseline, but heals things up quickly. i don’t know what i’d do without my multiple tubes of it.

what are some of your beauty lifesavers?

The home stretch!

i’ve been calling these last many weeks of pregnancy the “home stretch” for quite awhile now, and little did i know i should have been reserving it for this last few days we’ve had!

<< this was 38 weeks and yes, i’m still wearing the same outfit 🙂

we are now one week overdue and i’m feeling all the emotions of everything that entails. james and i have resorted to laughing out loud at certain reactions of mine (he waits for my cue, of course) or he kindly says sorry to things he had nothing to do with in the first place.

ie the water i spilled all over the belly today (weeping!), deciding where to put the trail mix in the pantry, and i’m pretty sure i dropped something in the middle of a contraction which was, in the moment, crushing. he apologized for that too.

gosh it’s pathetic.

am i busy? i’m keeping pah-lenty busy, filling my time with turkey sandwiches (yeah, that’s right rules of pregnancy.. lunchmeat!). i’ve reorganizing all of luke’s baby stuff multiple times. it’s been “set up” for a few weeks now, but i keep finding ways to un-set it up and do it all over again.

something that i totally love is i’ve been able to be part of all the church/ministry life i’m not usually around for (because of work). then there’s a lot of peeing. and we’re on a jerry kick again. we have fully caught up on comedians in cars getting coffee, countless seinfeld episodes and much of jerry’s early standup material on youtube. we love jerry.

so for all who are interested in the centimeter stuff.. not that it should or needs to be interesting to you :)… but you know, for those who, like me, just like to read and learn about all the billions of pregnant women’s stories and experiences, blah blah blah. i’ve been 3cm for almost a week, and was 2cm for a week or more before that. progress! we did more tests this week and he is as healthy as could be, normal movement, great heart rate, still in launch position etc. which is all we really cared about. my blood pressure is even better than ever! now it’s never been bad, but i just have some weird stress-ball-ness when seeing my doctor (any doctor) and sweet nurse jackie has learned my ways and waits til the end of the appointment to take my vitals so i can chill out a little. say it with me now: high maintenance 🙂

based on all the conversations i’ve had with other moms who went two and three weeks overdue, i’m guessing i’m a little wimpy in the patience department.  we are only one week overdue at this point and if he’s still hanging out, we induce on monday the 24th, which will be the ten days past. which means hello light at end of the tunnel!! man. i have major respect for this whole process, every step has been such a miracle. and we just can’t wait to meet our little end result.

32 weeks bumpdate

hello! so i haven’t really done a whole lotta baby bump updates on here..at all in fact! besides personally jotting things down here and there or sharing with friends who’ve ask or the occasional instagram photo (here, here).
so little boy, thirty-two weeks old in my tummy, let’s share 🙂 here i am we are right now:
can i just say that it’s been really hard for me to enjoy bump pictures?! don’t take this the wrong way, i loooove how my body has had to change/adapt/stretch to accommodate our little baby, he’s truly a miracle!
but when one feels large as life (or ‘enormo‘ like one friend said—so spot on!), one doesn’t necessarily love to pose for a picture. so maybe that’s just me, but i am pressing through friends! i will try to document more, no matter how puffy eyed and blobby i feel.
and thank you to my husband who has documented to the tune of ‘no please‘ and ‘babe really‘ and ‘i will cut you’ (ok i didn’t say that except with my eyes) for the last few months. he is a champ. post to come with all those winning photos, but really i should, because they’re ridiculous and pouty but in the way that you need to share with members of the general public.
so a few notes on how we’re doing over here?
+) truly so well taken care of, so many people are blessing us with things left and right!
+) i’m hungry for: oranges, grapes, apples, water, bagels
+) childbirth class is: slightly terrifying but also somewhat reassuring
+) most active: in the morning, in bed at night or after a long day when i finally plop on the couch
+) sleep is: a precious, precious commodity at the moment!
+) fun fact: my mom told me they had a waterbed when she was pregnant with me, the horror!
+) i would’ve popped that thing so fast.
we also took a tour of the hospital a few weeks ago and saw 29 week old twins in the nicu, which was absolutely incredible. these little babies with little heads the size of a tennis ball were alive and well in their little tanning bed. we couldn’t believe that our baby was already bigger than those two. it’s incredible.
wow baby! here we go little dude!