Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Our baby girl joined the family on Monday, February 5th, at 7 p.m., weighing 8 pounds even and measuring 20.5" long.  For blog purposes, we'll call her Baby R.

I've always heard that every pregnancy (and subsequent labor and delivery) is different, but having only experienced one before, I didn't realize how true that was!  Or how traumatized I was by my pregnancy, labor and delivery with S2.  I went in prepared for the worst and was pleasantly surprised when Baby R was only 4 days late (vs. 7 with S2), I only truly labored for 8 hours (compared to 44 with S2), and my epidural actually did its job.  Amazing, I tell ya!  Oh, and no horrible pregnancy swelling or PUPPs rash like with S2 either.

I'm still on the road to recovery.  I'll spare you the gory details *cough*3rd degree tear*cough*, but it's so nice to just be at home, able to spend this time with my littlest girl.

Here's her birth story, punctuated with cute pictures, because I can't help it.

Around 4:30 a.m. on Monday, I woke up and needed to go to the bathroom.  I always needed to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night so I didn't think anything of it.  I went and noticed something in the toilet (again, sparing you the gory details), and I got a little excited but didn't think all that much of it.  I went back to bed but couldn't fall asleep and around 6-6:30, the smoke detector started beeping from a dying battery.  S1 got up and was fidgeting with the thing (you better believe we replaced the battery right then - you never know when you might have a rogue Crock-Pot!), and meanwhile, I'd had a couple of mild contractions, pretty similar to Braxton Hicks so again, I didn't let myself get too excited.

I got up, helped S2 get dressed for school, and told S1 about my mild contractions but that he should go on to work and I'd let him know if they got regular.

I got some breakfast and sat on my yoga ball, watching all the morning talk shows, having contractions that were 7-8 minutes apart.  I put make-up on and fixed my hair, just in case this was it. Well, around 11 a.m., the contractions got steadily longer and closer together.  Around 1, I called my OB office and made an appointment to get checked at 2:30.  S1 came home, got all of our stuff in the car and off we went!

At the doctor, I was 4cm dilated and my midwife asked if I felt like I wanted to go home and try to walk around to get to a 5, or if I felt like I needed to go on to the hospital.  I said, "HOSPITAL!"  At this point, my contractions were still bearable but definitely getting stronger.

We got to the hospital around 3:15, where they started bloodwork and an IV, and the anesthesiologist came in to talk to me about my epidural.  I was finally able to get an epidural at 5:30, after I'd had sufficient IV fluids and my bloodwork came back okay.  The epidural worked fabulously on my right side, but only took at about a 70% on the left side.  I could still feel my contractions but the painful edge was taken off.  I'm pretty sure that's how an epidural is supposed to work, because I could still feel when I needed to push, it just wasn't excruciatingly painful.  The worst part was I was feeling the contractions the most in my left upper inner thigh.  It was such a strange feeling - definitely not where you'd think you'd ever feel contractions!

When the midwife came in to check me after I got my epidural, I was at a 7, wahoo!  She said to let them know if I start feeling pressure all the time, even between contractions, because that might mean it's time to push.  I let the nurse know that I was feeling that pressure maybe 20 minutes later and she checked and I was an 8-9.  By 6:30, I was ready to push!

But.  Baby's heart rate was dropping down into the 80s and the midwife and nurse were a little bit freaking out.  My midwife called the OB on call into the room because she thought he might need to use the vacuum to get her out.  (My OB practice has 4 midwives and 8 doctors - you can choose to either see the midwives or OBs, but there's always one of each on call at the hospital, so the OB can step in if needed.)  My nurse started moving me back and forth onto each side because they felt like the baby had gotten herself into a weird position and if they could get her to move, her heart rate would improve.  Well, luckily, it worked and I was able to push naturally, without the OB having to use any extra equipment.  It was kind of scary, and as such, we have no video of the birth because S1 stayed at my side the whole time.  Sad, but also, we have a video of S2's entire birth and I've never watched it because, gross.

So anyway, like I said, I could still feel my contractions, so with each one, I pushed 3 times, as hard as I could.  I was determined to get this kid OUT OF THERE.  I was much lazier with S2's delivery, but I wasn't messing around with this one.  On the 5th contraction, her head was almost out, when I had to stop pushing to wait for the next one.  That was the worst part - I could feel that she was almost here and it HURT and I just wanted to keep pushing.  Well, finally, the 6th contraction came and she was out in the world!

I feel like Baby R's birth is what it's supposed to be like.  I always try to go into a situation with no expectations whatsoever (because then you can't be disappointed, amiright?), so I was pleasantly surprised when her birth was relatively (dare I say!) easy.

She is the cutest, sweetest Baby Love and I can't believe she's finally here.  We are so excited to have our two girls and feel like our family is finally complete.

S2 told us the other day that she loves our big family now, "Me and Mommy and Daddy and Baby and Abbie [the cat]."

I love our big family now, too.

34 weeks?!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

I will be 34 weeks pregnant tomorrow.

((cue wide-eyed emoji))

((also, do they make emoji keyboards for computers? if so, I need one))

This pregnancy has been similar and yet different than my last one, 4 years ago.  It's easy to compare apples to apples because my due dates are only 2 weeks apart from each other (2/14/14 with S2 - she was born 2/21 - and 2/1 with this bambino).

I carried the baby weight lowww with S2 and lowwwwwwwww with this one.  I can't wear pants that don't have a full belly panel... simply because there is no room UNDER the belly and ABOVE the unmentionables for any kind of waistband to go, even the stretchiest of kinds.  I tried wearing regular pre-pregnancy leggings the other day and when I took them off, the waistband was a twisty, wrinkly, foldy mess.  Quite funny really.  Or not.

I took weekly pregnancy photos with S2.  Remember?  Aww, they were adorable.  I've taken 3 with this baby, and none since like, week 18.  Sad, really.  But also, I don't love taking prego photos of myself, and also I don't have a good spot to take them, and also I'm good at making excuses.  Don't worry, baby, I'll take plenty of photos of you once you're OUTSIDE the womb.  Photos like these are the best I've got:

Look at us riding the Polar Express! So fun.

I am like, tired.  For real.  I think it has something to do with growing a baby and ALSO caring for a 3 year old.  For some reason, that just tends to wear a person out.  Plus I've had pretty bad back pain this time, which I don't really remember having before.  The back pain means I have to do the bare minimum and then lay on the sofa at night.  Being horizontal feels like heaven after being vertical all day.

This baby MOVES.  As I'm typing this, she is trying to escape by any means necessary.  I hope that means she will make haste getting out of there when the time comes.  (Please, dear Lord, do not let me have another 44 hour labor & delivery.)

We have a name but we didn't decide until I was 27 weeks along.  We just COULD NOT pull the trigger on anything.  Whereas with S2, we had her name before we even knew if she was a boy or a girl.  I think the second time is just harder because there are so many other things to consider.  This little one's name is unique but not weird (you've definitely heard the name before, and I definitely didn't make up the spelling or add an unnecessary "y" anywhere).

Let's see... what else?

Oh, let's talk clothes.  So I saved all my maternity clothes from before, but it turns out when you wait 4 years to have another baby, those clothes that you wore previously just aren't so cute anymore.  Sure, I've worn some of them, but those items that I considered "staples" last time have mostly been hanging in my closet untouched.

One thing that you simply can't go wrong with?  A long sleeve t-shirt with lots of stretch and ruching on the side.  Gap Maternity makes the best ones.  This one and this one are the BEST maternity items for the LEAST amount of money.  While we're on the subject of clothes, I want to know why all maternity brands think pregnant women want to wear boatnecks and half sleeves?  I, for one, wear neither.  Boatnecks are annoying beyond measure (because helloooooo your bra straps show on your shoulders because the neckline extends out so far) and half sleeves are okay but really, what's the point? Just give me short or long.  Anyway, I digress.

S2 is so excited about having a baby "sistah."  I think she really understands and will be a big help to me when the time comes.  This baby will be born right before her 4th birthday, so in order to make it special, we've already scheduled a fun day centered around our big girl.  Baby sistah will just have to come along for the ride. :)

Wait, did I tell you guys that we're having another GIRL?  After typing that last paragraph, I realized that I'm not totally sure I announced it here on the blog!

Look, here's our cute gender announcement pic that we posted on social media:


Anyway, I think that's about all I've got for today.  We have a busy rest of the week planned, what with Christmas and all!  Lots of gingerbread house decorating, cookie baking and last-minute shopping to do.  It's the most fun-derful time of the year!!

christmas decor 2017.

Friday, December 8, 2017

So, I was just looking at my post history from 2017 and all I can say is... sad.  This is only my 6th post for the year.  It's been a rough one, with being pregnant with our second baby, taking care of our first baby (who, sadly, isn't a baby anymore, but instead a 3.5 year old who suddenly has opinions on everything?!), having a fairly demanding job, and just generally being exhausted all the time.  I'm 32 weeks prego (hoorayyyy!) so the finish line is in sight.

Anyway, I thought I'd at least pop in and show you our Christmas tree and mantel!  I love looking back on my Christmas posts to see my trees from each year, and I have to say, I'm kind of in love with this year's tree.

Remember when I posted about the greatest post-Christmas deal of all time?  Well, here's the 10.5' tree in all her glory!  In case you don't remember, I paid $80 for this pre-lit tree, a huge box full of ornaments and the tree topper. #youcanbejealousnow :)

As I was taking these photos, it was snowing outside.  Snowing!!  In North Carolina!!  In December!!  I mean, this never happens.  It was so exciting, leaving work early, coming home and snuggling in our PJs, drinking apple cider and watching it snow.  If days and nights like these don't make it feel like Christmas, I don't know what does.

We haven't gotten to pull out our Polar Express train since S2's first Christmas, so it was so fun setting it up this year.

Our elf, Jack, is up to his daily antics, riding the reindeer on the mantel.  S2 loves finding him every morning!

See, snow!!!

One of my resolutions for the new year is to break out the "real" camera more often.  After all, we'll have a sweet baby that we need to capture alllll the photos of.  This is just a start because I love Christmas bokeh (and this chick).

I hope to stop by again before the year is through, but in case I don't, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

it won't be like this for long.

Monday, August 21, 2017

I think 4 months is the longest I've ever gone without blogging since I started back in 2010.  But I tend to go radio silent when I'm just trying to survive.

But I thought I'd pop in real quick because S2 has something to announce...

Oh, by trying to survive, I meant morning/all day sickness.  There were a few weeks where it was touch-and-go but I'm mostly on the other side now thank goodness!  I've been more of a slacker about taking weekly pics this time (because I've had a 3-year-old to chase around in between trips to the toilet... not a lot of time left for pics).  But I am going to try to get better about it now that I'm feeling better.  

We find out the gender in 2 weeks (my gut feeling says girl, but as time goes on, I've been getting a little less sure of that), so we're definitely looking forward to knowing!

This is how I announced it on social media:

Sigh. That video gets me every time.  It's hard to believe that come February, we'll have another little baby to love.

I do have a lot of fun things to share - our deck got a little makeover in the spring, S2 got a new big girl bed, and our foyer has gotten a little decorating love lately.  I'll try to get back here before another 4 months passes by... :)

craft room curtains.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Remember back in August when I posted my craft room mood board? Here's a refresher:

I finally made a little progress and got the curtains hung! Do you know how hard it is to take a photo of a window? This is the best I could do. You get the idea.

In person, they make such a big impact and go a long way to making the room feel more finished, especially considering that the window was totally naked before.  I had to get the longest length - 108" - which is no small chunk of change ($218 + $50 for this curtain rod), but they are really nice quality and are blackout (not that I need blackout drapes in the craft room, but it opens up options of where I can use them in the future).  I'm still looking for a nicer table and need to get the Disney art finished - I have all the supplies, just need to make time to get it done.  

Progress, people, progress.

s2's room: gallery walls

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hi friends!

Recently, I've done some decorating in S2's room and I have to say, I'm so pleased with it.  It was one of my goals for 2017 to hang some stuff on her walls, so yay, mission accomplished!

We're starting to think about transitioning her to a "big girl" bed, but haven't quite pulled the trigger on that yet.  When we do, all this will have to change again, but it's cute for the time being.

View from the doorway:

I found the pennant letters at Hobby Lobby, and the city prints hung in her nursery at our old house.

Originally, I had the growth chart hung in the middle of this wall between her closet and bathroom, but I moved it to one side so I could hang some art and photos around it for a little gallery wall.  I think it's so cute!

"Sweet Beautiful Girl" canvas found at HobLob. "S" from TJMaxx.

The wall kind of has a Disney-theme going on, and I kinda like it. :)  T-minus 9 days until we see Mickey again!!

When she does move into a twin bed, I have NO idea how we'll arrange her room.  That big window on the back of the house is great, but it really cramps my style as far as figuring out the best layout for her furniture.  I'm trying to talk S1 into converting our dining room/office into a playroom, so that her play kitchen could go in there and free up some wall space in her room.  We'll see what happens  when the time comes. :)

a toddler's cinderella birthday party.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Hi and happy APRIL to you.  Sorry guys, didn't mean to just fall off the face of the earth there.  February and March were so CRAZY BUSY with work and life and sickness (we all took turns with strep, general colds, and the stomach bug - yuck) and I'm just now coming up for air.  Although apparently allergies are kicking my butt this year?  I've never really dealt with seasonal allergies before but my luck has run out and I'm living on allergy meds.  Getting old sucks, you guys. ha.

So back in February we threw S2 a Cinderella-themed third birthday party.  It was kind of a last minute decision (both deciding to have a big party and then deciding on the theme) so I kept it pretty simple.  S2 has loved Cinderella since our Disney trip back in September so it made sense to make her the star of the show...

My friend Crystal is a master cake baker so I enlisted her help with the Cinderella doll cake and it turned out SO WELL.  Everyone loved it.  I also had her do some cupcakes too because I was afraid the doll cake wouldn't feed everyone but I was mistaken - the cake fed all 30+ people and then some.  Just a note if you're thinking about doing something similar.

Our girl loves playing outside more than anything in the world so we turned the kids loose on the deck and they ran around playing - no set activities planned.

I put some popcorn in some paper cups and called it Bibbidi Bobbidi Popcorn because why not?

Funny story, on her actual birthday, a few days before her party, I was putting her to bed and she got upset because she thought we forgot about her Cinderella party that we'd been hyping up for weeks.  We had to explain that today was her actual birthday but that her party wasn't until the weekend!  Poor thing was so confused, haha.

The one thing I "cooked" for the party - pretzel rods + blue candy melts + white nonpareils = Magic Wands!  They were delicious too!  I'm still finding nonpareils on the floor 2 months later, I kid you not.

I did two craft projects.  The first one was a big number 3 in the party colors.  Here's the tutorial:  grab a piece of white foam core, draw a big 3 on it, cut it out with an Xacto, crumple up some tissue paper squares and hot glue them on the number randomly.  Hang with fishing line.  Instant cuteness!!

Second craft: a banner with the party theme emblazoned on it.  I used a circle cutter but you could also use your Silhouette (or trace around a bowl).  I did use the Silhouette for the letters and connected them all with yarn.

I will say one thing, Amazon and Oriental Trading are lifesavers when planning a party.  Everything in these photos came from one of those two places.

Midnight Kisses, of course!

This sums up our girl, for the most part. :)

She was not interested in blowing out the candles at ALL, but that's okay because this photo of me blowing them out for her makes me look like I have some KILLER cheekbones so I'll take it.  #thankyoucontouring

She is so happy and full of energy and just the absolute light of our lives.  I have no idea what life was like before she was in it.

We don't take nearly enough family photos so every one that we get is just priceless.  Even if a certain 3-year-old refused to smile.

Overall, the party was a big success and our girl was loved and spoiled, as she should be.  Speaking of which, we're taking her BACK to see Cinderella's Castle in a couple of weeks!  She asks almost everyday if we're going to see Cinderella's castle today and we have to tell her not yet, but soon!  It will be a quick trip but so fun - I can never stay away from the Mouse for long, I get withdrawals.

Photography by Nicole Ansalvish.  I wish I had thought of hiring a photographer to capture her first and second birthdays because MAN it was worth every penny!!  And I actually have photos to mark the occasion instead of running around crazy and trying to remember to snap one every now and then.  Do it, hire the photographer, she'll only turn 3 once. :)