Our birth story–Emma Genevieve

Sort of looks like she’s throwing up a peace sign ✌️
Oh this little lady. She gave me a doozy of a pregnancy but I could not ask for a more wonderful birth. I was praying that things would be smooth. We’d had a VBAC with Kate, so as the days rolled closer to my due date, I was nervous I would go late (a large part of why my first birth going towards emergency c-section). We met with our doula Corrie in the weeks leading up to birth and went over natural induction possibilities if it went to that. She reminded us of our last birth (including things I couldn’t even remember!) and helped us prepare for this one. And my heart was set on fire a bit with excitement, anxiousness too, but mainly this huge desire to meet our little girl!

So as the days rolled by and I was coming close to our due date (September 4, Labor Day). I was figuring out ways to relax and give my body high levels of oxytocin, especially at night since I knew my body liked to go into labor at night (which is super common I guess!)—so lots of cuddles with the kids, James, shows that made me laugh or cry, long evening showers.. Two days before my due date, on Saturday, I woke up to consistent contractions, not super painful, but consistent. It was supposed to be the hottest day of summer so I was not looking forward to laboring like this. Around noon the contractions stopped. It went on to be the hottest day ever. Even at 8 in the evening, I was dripping sweat down the back of my neck.. EW. My theory is Emma knew she did not want to labor with me in this unpleasant state! I didn’t have any more contractions that day or the next morning/afternoon.

Then around 10:30pm on Sunday evening, they came.. these were the contractions I knew. Strong, consistent, oof.. the real thing. I started timing around 10:30pm on the dot and as soon as they came, I started making sure my bags were ready. They came every 3-5 minutes and they were progressively getting more intense. Over the next hour, each contraction felt like it was doubling on itself in intensity—this was happening fast! James had been ready at every ache or pain for the last two weeks, so I told him that this time I think we’re working on the real thing so he started getting his ducks in a row too.

I took a long shower right away and was instantly way relaxed. I was taking on each contraction in the bathroom because it just felt like the right spot. Since the kids were sleeping, I had a beach towel that I’d grabbed to stick my face into if I needed to be loud (and I did..). By 11:30pm, I knew that we’d need to go soon. It had only been ONE HOUR. But I knew that I didn’t want to endure these contractions in the car.. just no. By midnight, we were in the car and driving away. We called the birthing center slash hospital on the way and thankfully they had rooms available. We arrived and as quickly as we could, got upstairs and checked in.

The nurse checked me and I was 4 cm dilated but could be (sorry for this) stretched to a 5 (that totally grossed me out the first time I heard it and it’s my body ha). She continued to admit me and I was pressing through as much as I could with these INTENSE contractions. She also let me know she was going to be off soon so she wouldn’t be with me through this whole thing and she’d introduce me to the next nurse (not so fast my friend). I had my towel still (lol) and was being pret-ty loud, but man, they were weighty. Corrie was there pretty soon after we’d arrived so she and James had already began to help me make it through each contraction.

Meanwhile I was getting an IV in my arm (to my dismay.. former c-section protocol) and my stubborn veins caused me to get pricked SIX times before they got me set up. I’d went potty (pee) at some point and later, Corrie let me know she had thought my water had broken when I did that. Not long after, the doctor had popped in and as she was leaving, she’d asked if I’d said I needed to push or go number two and in that same breath, I was asking if I could go to the bathroom. In the next moment, I had the most intense urge to PUSH. So much so that I think they were worried this baby was going to splash out at my feet! Or at least I was! All I could think about was meeting our little girl! Once the doctor heard this and my urge to use the restroom, she got the nurses moving and everyone got into “let’s do this!” mode.

Mind you, it was probably around 1:20am, we’d only arrive fifty minutes earlier!! I’d uncomfortably gotten on the bed so she could check me and she said it’s a good time to push. My body didn’t feel like it wanted to quite as much once I was in the bed but the urge was still strong enough so with about 5 pushes (I believe..), I gave my all and WHOOSH, Emma made her debut! I forgot how incredible the body feels instantly!! We were in heaven. All I could say was “you’re really here!!”. I had forgotten the sweetness of that initial cry and the elation of seeing that precious tiny squished up face.

I still cannot believe how quickly everything had happened. My nurse (who was supposed to leave!) hadn’t even had the chance to admit me so as I’m holding my new baby, I was answering questions about if we have a cat in the house (lol). Our first few days were so sweet, and Emma has joined our family soooo well. Our kids have so much love for her. Kate cheers whenever she wakes up from a nap and Luke has these silent loving moments with her where he wants to hold her and just look at her. We’re all so in love.. I couldn’t ask for more. Love you little Emma!!

Oh yeah and in case that sounds too pristine, there’s a lot of spit up, poop and leaking boobies. Woop woop!

Sibling love

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IMG_2447.JPGThese pictures make me so happy. I love watching this brother-sister relationship unfold. Oh Luke and Kate. Sometimes they totally play together—sharing, hugs, cuddles, basically the sweetest moments that make you wonder how in the world there’s that much love inside their hearts for one another. Luke loves to hug Kate (we have to help him that he doesn’t yank on her head..) and Kate, well she is the queen of little gentle kisses.

Then. Other days.. Kate hits Luke (who initially laughs) and smacks him until he becomes super upset (not understanding why he’s not laughing anymore), he won’t share his tent with her, they angry grunt at each other during dinner, etc. I would say it’s more sweetness than it is strife, but growing up solo (no full siblings in the house, that is..) as I did, something that’s often on my mind is how to make room for those foundational moments of sibling love.

Their siblings are the first they will learn to love through thick and thin. Things we help them know at this time (I hope) will be signposts and bumpers for future friendships in life. And, most of all, I pray they will find incredibly deep friendship in one another, and hopefully not solely on how nuts mom or dad are 😉 Though, I’m sure that’ll be somewhere in the mix.

Either way, I savor these sweet moments of love (especially if I capture one!)..

Pregnancy update 38 weeks!

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We’re in the home stretch!! I feel huge and can’t wait to meet her. Luke was late and Kate was early so we know it’s ANY day and that is sometimes the most excruciating part.. when?! Trying to enjoy time with the kids before life makes a major switch up on us. Luke is excited and asks every day if she’s coming today. Kate is more unaware and just knows the baby is in my tummy (and apparently hers too, ha). We did finally buy some diapers so there’s that. I even packed my hospital bag this morning, boom! I have a couple other things in my online shopping carts to get but haven’t but the bullet yet and verdicts still out on whether we want to buy a bigger car (yikesss), but meanwhile we are updating our car seats so we can fit three across. I hear fitting three across is a short lived pipe dream, so I guess more to come on that one..

The hormonal feelings are intense with this one. I am definitely trying not to evaluate too many larger life decisions in the midst of my current state! .. I have had many moments where it all sinks in—the last days with Luke and Kate as they are, at this age, with life like we’ve known it. I felt this so strongly with Kate’s coming too, and was so worried about my time with Luke and what that would look like once she came. It wasn’t like I thought (thankfully!) and once the fullness of life for all of us took over, I found that I didn’t “miss out” on anything with him like I’d worried about! Their relationship has added to one another and at the same time, made me appreciate my individual relationship with each one even more. I think I read somewhere that your heart just grows bigger, and I would say I experienced that. But meanwhile I’m still soaking them in 🙂

HOW FAR ALONG: 38 weeks

SIZE: A watermelon! Sounds about right. 

SLEEP: Varies. Lots of bathroom breaks, also a migraine here and there and then just the fact that I literally cannot get myself out of the bed and must roll out because of the beached whale status.

SYMPTOMS: Once it’s at this point, what isn’t a symptom?! I’ve got back pain, nausea from time to time, leg cramps, thigh cramps, hugeness up there, crazy pelvic pressure down there, swollen feet, contractions after days on my feet. 

FOOD CRAVINGS: Salads with celery, carrots, purple cabbage, tomatoes, seeds, blue cheese and rotisserie chicken all shredded up, dressed with olive oil and balsamic. And a big hunk of bread. To be exact 🙂

STRETCH MARKS: Yes but apparently my body was too used to stretching and only a couple have appeared.

MOVEMENT: All the time! The kind where she’ll kick me in the right spot and I will instantly have to pee. 

NAMES: Emma :)! We are still landing on her middle name but have sort of put it on the back burner til we meet her and see what we think!

CAN’T WAIT FOR: Sleeping on my tummy, not swelling, going in a hot tub!

First day of preschool!

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We have a preschooler! A junior scholar to be exact. We are so excited for Luke’s new adventure .. he is totally ready for this!! But we also had no idea what big balls of emotion it would make us! Geez! And it’s only been one day HA.

We can’t wait to see how he grows through this. I have moments where I think that maybe we should just rethink all this social interaction and branching out stuff so I can harness all his amazing moments and memories for myself. But I know that who he is needs this and it will do him well. Sharing these little people who encapsulate a big part of our world is both hard and wonderful.. watching them grow through it, though, is the most amazing part. So go go go little man!

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Pregnancy update 22 weeks

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One of my only pictures with my bump at 22 weeks 🙂

I’m lucky if I can write anything down this time around so here goes nothin! Our little girl is growing and yes, we know that she’s a she now! We are excited to have another little sister for Luke and for Kate to become the big sis. She is little so she will most likely not remember life without her little sibling. That’s so wild for us since we didn’t grow up with siblings close in age. So we don’t know quite what to expect, but we’re excited for them!

Life has been a little tricky to figure out this time as I’ve continued to be pretty sick.. there is definitely a lot less opportunity to rest since our kids are in such a busy stage! Kate is just in between a year and a year and a half and Luke is freshly three. Some days are pitiful ha, but then there are days that are better. We just take it one moment at a time so I don’t get discouraged by all my nausea and barfing (😬).

HOW FAR ALONG: 22 weeks. Based on the ultrasounds I’ve had, we may be off by a few days.. not sure. Due Labor Day!

SIZE: A banana apparently, or ten inches long. Her limbs are apparently really long, which I have no idea if that means anything as of now.

SLEEP: The nighttime bathroom breaks are calming down a little so I’m able to sleep more.. it’s already hard to get comfortable, so lots of turning, twisting etc.

SYMPTOMS: I have been nauseous for (what feels like) the entire pregnancy.  Although, I think the first month I wasn’t (or I would’ve suspected sooner). There are good days and bad days but if something catches me wrong in the morning.. a smell or phlegm in my throat, I am going to fight it all day. I think I’ve passed the afternoon nap stage (until later..) but depending on the day, I’ll get super tired. Also some sciatica pain but it’s not unbearable. I sound extremely cranky ha.

FOOD CRAVINGS: Today?? Bagels. But I’ve been craving oranges and sometimes turkey sandwiches. Also ginger beer.

STRETCH MARKS: I got some towards the end with both pregnancies and think a few didn’t fully disappear between Kate and this pregnancy.. fun. Just gettin real here 🙂

MOVEMENT: A lot of movement but I’m usually moving so much that I only notice at night or when I’m lying down 🙂

NAMES: We’re not sure yet!! Starting to spend more time on this now that we know the gender (girl!).

And baby makes five!

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A family of five, that is 🙂 Sooo here we go! Our third small person is on the way. I’ve actually found it a little hilarious to try and figure out unique ways to share each pregnancy. With Luke, we were very choosy and careful about how and when we shared, and unknowingly kinda secretive. I think we just didn’t know what to do in hindsight! With Kate, we were further along when we confirmed everything, so we felt like there wasn’t much to wait on. Continue reading

Five sweet Easter traditions with littles 

5 sweet easter traditions with littles.pngHolidays have taken on a whole new level having kids in the mix. I love seeing how the kids (okay well Luke so far, ha) interpret special occasions and it’s made us think a whole lot more about how we celebrate. Actually, it was still totally special before kids too, I probably was much more rested and possibly (certainly..) better dressed 😉 But as a child rearing, less rested and less well dressed person, this is our new world to explore. Continue reading

12 favorite children’s stories (and my wishlist)

12 favorite children's storiesLuke is really taking in story-time to the fullest right now. Most evenings, we’ll come into the bedroom with a bang. Having conquered dinnertime with it’s endless multitasking–pesto pasta, peel the oranges, fix Kate some cheesy toast, dishes clean, dishes dirty, fill the water, put out the dog, no show, yes show, no chocolate, yes chocolate, etc–and dinner is won. Bravely, we march, or rather wrangle, our way to the bathtub.

Luke is gloriously proud that he can now undress himself without me (as am I!) and put his toys in the bath, plug it up and place the soap carefully on the edge of the tub. Bath time roars on with laughter, cries, scrubbing, rinsing, nearly a thousand questions and then drying, toothbrushing and running the house naked. We take it step by step, then into to the bedroom and the pajama, diaper, lotion, vapor balm wrangling continues until that solemn, perfect moment of flashlights, a stack of books and a dark room full of quiet, under the cover coziness. Continue reading

Late night essay


Arm asleep, drool on shoulder. Snotty, congested breaths, chests rise and fall. Various limbs nestled tightly with mine, comforted in the closeness. All other beds in the house emptied in the span of a few sleepless hours over a tearful bargain for ours. A haggle often lost by us, I’m sure the record is staggering. Such is the predicament of the midnight hours with our sick children. Continue reading