Aug 12, 2015

Zoe's Birth, Part 2: 30 minutes or less

It all happened so fast, and for that I am eternally grateful.

I started pushing for 5-10 seconds at a time a little after 8 PM. After the first few, the doctor said she could see her full head of hair and asked me if I wanted to touch her. I said no thank you as politely as possible...I wanted to be blissfully unaware of the state of things down there. She asked Landon if he wanted to see and he also declined. She pushed it a little, assuming we might later regret missing out on such a moment, but finally realized we just wanted to see our baby in her full self as soon as possible.

At 8:31 PM, less than half an hour after I started pushing, Zoe Marie was born. Even as she was quickly wiped off and placed on my chest, skin to skin, I couldn't believe she had come out of me--that she was the tiny human I had been carrying in my belly for 9 months. She was so tiny in my arms but in fact not that small coming in at 7 pounds 4 ounces. I couldn't believe all of the hair on her head and how fast she began to give us a pouty lip that made my heart melt. Before I knew it, I was all sewn up (because yep, 2nd degree tear) and ready to try breastfeeding.

{Note that all these photos were taken on my iPhone since Landon's phone broke minutes before I started pushing and I didn't think to get the camera out beforehand. Sorry Z!}

She had trouble latching and I was quickly given a nipple shield to try. It worked good enough but I was determined to keep trying without using it (famous last words). Then Landon finally got to hold her and go with her to the other side of the room for all of her measurements.

After that, we had some time for ourselves with one nurse coming in and out quietly without disrupting us. It was beautiful. We let the shock of it all sink in and stared at our brand new baby girl with wonder and hearts full of pure love.

Then the messy part came: trying to walk to the bathroom, get cleaned up, and dressed. Oh my goodness the nurses that helped were seriously a blessing from God. It's true, you really aren't embarrassed in the moment but looking back, I cringe.

Next it was time to move to our room. My new nurse was another angel who continued to help me with the bathroom stuff and gave me my meds. Meanwhile, I was dying for pancakes. By this point it was nearly 11 or 12 at night and most places were closed, so my craving ended up being for Whataburger pancakes and a egg sandwich. Yum. I don't think I even ate much of it and before we knew it, we were being encouraged to get some rest. Landon learned how to change Z's diaper and swaddle her in her little rolling bassinet and then we all tried to sleep.

Nothing could have prepared me for the lack of sleep we would be getting from that point on. It. Was. Awful. Even when the nurses took Zoe to the nursery to watch her for an hour or two at a time, it wasn't enough (and they kind of discouraged that). But we made it through! The next day everyone came by and watched the Texas A&M football game in our hotel room. I started to feel slightly more like myself and changed out of my hospital gown and into comfy clothes. I had a never-ending supply of ice water that was wonderful. I got to eat and drink whatever I wanted. My only gripe about the hospital stay was how freaking cold it was. We were not prepared. It was difficult to sleep the next night because of that. I also didn't shower at the hospital because public showers really gross me out (even though another kind angel sent from heaven came in and cleaned the bathroom every day we were there) so I waited until we got home and had the best shower of my entire life. Glorious.

Seriously, being discharged was the best. We waited all morning and finally got the OK to leave sometime during the middle of the afternoon.

Even through the pain of the contractions, the messiness of the aftermath, the difficulty breastfeeding, the cold hospital, and the lack of sleep, Zoe's birth was absolutely perfect and went a million times better than I had expected. I reflected on everything hour by hour for months after, not wanting to forget a second of it.

I'd love to read your birth story/stories ... be sure to link it below ;)

Lots of hugs,

Aug 10, 2015

Week in Review

This past week is what I'm pretty sure is considered an outlier. Most weeks run fairly smoothly: a few trips to Target and HEB, the library, and maybe the mall for a nice indoor walk if we're feeling extra crazy. Outside walks in the morning after Z wakes up. Two naps. This week was not like most weeks.

It started off pretty normal on Monday. In fact, I think I was surprised at how nicely the week had started (no crying baby wake up). We played a little, Z took her morning nap, we played some more, and Landon came home for lunch as usual. While we were eating, our neighbor from across the street came over and asked if we had heard the news. When he saw that we clearly hadn't, he went on to explain how his house had gotten broken into just a few hours earlier. While Zoe and I were inside our house just across the street. And it wasn't just the type of burglary where the door was left unlocked, someone snuck in and stole a computer. Two men kicked down the back door and in less than 4 minutes came out with 2 guns and an iPad and just walked back out to their car.

If I had looked outside during that time, I would've seen two strangers walking across the street carrying a rifle and a pistol. With our baby girl asleep just a few feet away.

The reality didn't hit me at first but thank goodness everyone was okay, even his dog who had been in the backyard at the time of the break-in. Another neighbor had a camera pointed in the direction of this house and everything was caught on tape, which hopefully helped in some way although the burglars have yet to be caught. Neighbors started to talk more, security systems were installed, and everything seemed to be a little less scary...until our neighbor with the original camera footage decided to look back at past footage.

On it, you could see a beige Suburban with a black stripe parking in front of our houses at completely random times of the day and night, watching and waiting. They had tried to break into every other house across the street from us, going up to the doors and seeing if they were unlocked. There was even a time last week when Landon had been outside at dusk talking to a neighbor and these guys had been just a couple yards away, lurking in the shadows. It was terrifying to hear all of that, especially since we live in a quiet and friendly neighborhood in a safe part of town.

We hope these guys get caught (using or selling stolen guns makes me sick to my stomach) and it would be super ballsy of them to come back to our neighborhood anytime soon, especially with everyone's guards way, way up. We've had some other sketchy cars going through our neighborhood but I'm just going to go out on a limb and say these people are messing with the wrong place, especially our street, after all of these incidents. Hopefully things will quiet down pretty soon.

In happier news, Zoe had her first real play date this week which was perfect timing since she just recently learned how to crawl and has really taken off. It was so adorable, for real. I don't know very many moms in our area with babies so this was just perfect...for us and for our kids.
Z and I had a lunch date with a friend on Wednesday at my favorite sandwich place in town, and in the evening we left her with some friends to head out to Madisonville for Landon's dad's birthday dinner. This was our third or fourth time eating at the "haunted hotel" there; the food is great, they have like, 10 pies to choose from for dessert but...I don't buy the haunted thing. Partially because I would absolutely freak out if I saw anything so I don't do things there like wander around or go to the bathroom by myself.

Wednesday was the last day I got to drive my car because my stinkin' car registration sticker hadn't come in the mail for the month of August and the grace period in Texas is 5 days. Mind you, I tried to be responsible and order a new sticker over a month ago on July 2nd. No one had any answers to my questions about what address it was sent to or when it would get here so I thought hey, no big deal, I'll wait a few more days and just borrow Landon's truck when necessary to get out of the house.

Thursday after lunch, Z and I dropped Landon back off at work and went the long way home. We were stopped at one of the last stops before our house when -- BUMP -- we were rear ended. Gently, but it was enough to shake me up because all I could think was OMG what if it hadn't just been a bump? What if I had just gone the normal way home? What if Zoe had gotten hurt? What if what if what if.

{That was not bent and those scratches on the bottom were not there pre-accident. Not a big deal, but noticeable!}

Luckily, it was literally just a tap. Zoe didn't even notice. We pulled off onto a side street to assess the damage. It was right there on the back bumper (and on the other car's front bumper) but we exchanged information and went on our merry way. Did I mention this was my first "accident"? After driving for nearly 10 years? Seriously, soooo glad it wasn't worse.

Of course that meant lots of phone calls that afternoon and going back to get Landon so he could see the damage himself before deciding if it was worth it to file a claim. And then that meant no more driving for the next few days because I didn't trust myself and also because my freaking registration sticker still didn't come. Complain, complain, first world problems, etc.

The weekend was a blur of naps for everyone, yard work, cleaning, and some meal prepping. Oh and a very ambitious attempt for all 3 of us to go to mass together last night very close to Zoe's bed time. We hadn't been together in I'm pretty sure months. But she did long as she was allowed to crawl around a little and squeal with delight at the most inopportune times (the consecration. Always the consecration).
{Z's also been really into story time this in, she's not trying to eat every single page. Love.}

So tell me, was your week/weekend as exciting? I hope it was but in much different ways that didn't involve burglaries or car accidents ;) Happy Monday!

Lots of hugs,

Aug 7, 2015

9 Months

9 months in, 9 months out.
I still can't believe that this time last year I was still pregnant. It just blows my mind that Zoe hasn't been with us longer. She is the light of our life and it's hard to remember a time without her around.

She is crawling up a storm now and is easily moving from sitting to crawling and crawling to sitting. I kind of scoffed at the idea of removing everything she could grab besides toys at her level before but now I get it. Our bottom shelves are bare, our electrical outlets are plugged up, and I'm running the vacuum daily. She is getting into anything and everything and doesn't understand NO! quite yet. Or she does and she's giving us the runaround.
Before she was crawling, she was pivoting around on her tummy and sliding around on our hardwood floors. A month ago, Landon and his dad installed a sprinkler system and laid down new sod so our floors were a mess for a solid week. We must have missed some clumps of dirt that had been tracked in because while I was washing dishes on day, I looked over and saw brown gunk all around Zoe's mouth. I pried it open and yup, lots of delicious dirt was being stored in her cheeks like a little chipmunk. Over to the high chair she went where I leaned her back and started scooping it out with my fingers and wet paper towels. Yuck yuck yuck. She, of course, didn't seem to mind and has since tried to eat even more dirt. And cat fur. And cat food. Isn't it funny how babies can pinpoint the smallest speck of dirt from a mile away, crawl on over to it in a flash, and instantly pick it up and put it in their mouth? 

This past month she got her first tooth. All I can say is thank goodness for teething tablets. She loves those (we call them her happy pills) and chewing on just about anything except cold or frozen teethers. I think one or two other ones are beginning to poke through but it's hard to say since she really hates us sticking our fingers in her mouth. Can't say I blame her!
{'Do you like my new cloth diaper that I really didn't *need* but my mom said was too cute to pass up?' [I have a problem]}
The other day, she had her first real play date with a friend a few days older than her. I was shocked at how little she interacted with him since she's pretty much a ham around us. Instead, she happily played with a few toys and spent most of the time watching him play. It was pretty stinkin' adorable and I'm glad she's at a point now where she can kind of play with other babies and start to interact with them. This stay at home mama is all about the play dates.

Here are some fun statistics for the completely nonexistent baby book:

Height: 17.3 inches - She's our little shorty....
Weight: 18 pounds 13 ounces - ...And our little chunk.
Hair color: Brown
Eye color: Blue
Teeth: 0.5 (it still hasn't grown in much yet)
Words: Dada, Mama, Baba (she kind of runs them together though - dadadadada- and doesn't really distinguish between them so...maybe they're just sounds?)
Number of naps per day: 2
Sleeping: Bed around 6:30, Feeding around 9:30, Awake for a feeding more often than not around 3:00, Feeding around 5:00, Awake for the day around 7:00
Favorite food: Anything and everything. New things we've introduced her to recently for her to feed herself are salmon, teething biscuits, and those baby cheese puffs, along with the usual banana, avocado, and pureed baby food. Plus, she can feed baby food pouches to herself since she learned how to suck from a straw pretty early on. She still loves to eat!
Favorite toys: This set of bath toys that she chews on all day, everyday. 
Favorite activities: Running errands (seriously!), exploring the house by crawling, finding the smallest specks of crumbs and dirt to put in her mouth on the floor, and going on walks.

We love you forever, baby girl!

Lots of hugs,

P.S. The only pictures I got of her where the '9 Month' sticker was actually visible were super blurry. Like I said, she prefers everything in the mouth.

Aug 6, 2015

Zoe's Birth, Part 1: "Did my water just break?"

I decided to kick things of on ye olde blogge with Zoe's birth story! I typed most of this out months ago, so that's why this first part is pretty vivid while part 2 is more just stating the obvious. Oops, I hope you can forgive me. Birth stories are some of my favorite things to read on the internet so I hope you enjoy mine!

If you've read birth stories before, you know that things can get graphic. That's just the way births go, you know? Hope you don't mind the details!

Without further ado, here goes the birth story of our first born, Zoe.

On November 6th, 2014 (a Thursday), I had my 40 week prenatal appointment. We had been told the week prior that we'd get to see her via ultrasound to check fluid levels, or something like that. This was super exciting because we hadn't seen her since week 18 and even though I was huge, I had a hard time imagining a baby in my belly. The whole week before I just kept thinking we'd get to see her either way -- via ultrasound or if she decided to make her entrance into the world early.

At the appointment, there was no ultrasound. I guess my doctor wasn't worried about fluid levels anymore. There was some chitchat about when we would have to schedule an induction if she didn't come soon, but my doctor was convinced she'd come before the weekend was over. She then went on to stretch my cervix which was just about the most painful thing I had experienced to date. It turns out she was on call that evening, so if that was going to kick start any sort of labor, she'd be the one to deliver my baby. The rest of the day was business as usual and not a single contraction was felt.

The next day, Friday the 7th, was my due date! I knew the likelihood of going into labor on your due date was pretty slim so I didn't expect much. I think I slept in a little and when I finally got out of bed to go to the bathroom, I felt a little bit of a gush of something down there. It wasn't a lot, though, and I had always imagined that when your water broke it would leave a puddle underneath you or something, so I kind of just figured maybe Zoe had kicked my bladder really hard (should I preface these things with "TMI ALERT"?). I texted Landon and he decided to come home just in case.

{The only photo you'll see in this part, taken 5 days before the birth. I didn't want to remember how pregnant past this point, y'all.}

By the time he got home, I was already in major nesting mode. I figured keeping busy would surely help get the contractions going if this was actually the start of my labor. We cleaned and I got ready for the day but I still wasn't feeling any contractions. I kept feeling some small gushes but was convinced that I couldn't go to the hospital until I started feeling contractions. Around lunchtime I decided it would be smart to at least call my doctor's office and tell them there was a chance my water had broken. My doctor was gone for the day so I was advised to head to labor and delivery so they could check. I knew how these things worked: you get sent to labor and delivery in hopes that today was the day only to be sent home because nope, you weren't actually in labor yet. We packed up the car just in case (this is slightly laughable because we live less than 5 minutes away from the hospital...Landon could have easily swung by the house later on in the day), stopped by Freebirds so I could eat something filling just in case this would be my last meal before giving birth, and headed to the hospital.

We got there around 1:30 PM and my immediate thought was "where is everyone?!" The labor and delivery ward was so empty and quiet except for the nurses. I got hooked up so my contractions and baby's heartbeat could be monitored and my cervix was checked again. It was around 3-4 cm dilated at this point, maybe slightly bigger than what it had been at my appointment the day before. The nurse swabbed my cervix to do the test that would confirm if amniotic fluid was leaking out of me and what do you know, it was! We were then told I would be moved to a labor room and Landon could go get our bags from the car.

I still didn't believe the baby would come that day because I still wasn't having noticeable contractions. The machine picked them up but I felt nada. We got settled into the room and I got hooked up to the monitor and an IV (3 or 4 jabs later...). I think that's when I got started on Pitocin but there were papers to be signed and people to call and text that I wasn't paying too much attention to what was being put into my, right?

We watched some HGTV and kept saying we couldn't believe it was finally happening. My parents arrived and came to say hi, but then I was pretty tired and wanted to try and take a nap. As soon as I tried to close my eyes, though, the contractions I had been waiting so long to feel started up.

At first, they weren't too bad. The nurse came back in and asked when I wanted an epidural. I wanted to wait a little longer because I guess I'm some sort of masochist who thought feeling the pain of contractions was an important part of labor. In retrospect, if you had planned on getting an epidural anyways, GET THE DAMN EPIDURAL AS SOON AS YOU CAN.

But then out of nowhere, they got so strong and so close together incredibly fast. I tried to do everything to deal with them; I tried breathing in certain patterns, crying, squeezing Landon's hand, focusing on the TV, offering up my pain, praying the Our Father and Hail Mary over and over...but nothing was helping. I felt like such a wimp, and to think I had initially wanted to give birth naturally. HAH! I think I was just so surprised by how fast and intense they came on. This was by far the most pain I had ever been in.

At that point, I couldn't get an epidural fast enough. The contractions were so close together, though, that I would be receiving it while going through them for sure; there were no breaks anymore. The nice anesthesiologist got there faster than expected and honestly the contractions hurt so bad that I could have cared less about the needle going into my back. It didn't hurt at all in comparison.  I have no idea how long it took for it to kick in, but when it did I was on cloud nine. I felt so relaxed and couldn't feel a darn thing in the lower half of my body. It was time for another cervix check and whoa, look at that, I was already close to 7-8 cm dilated. The nurse said it was clear now why those contractions were killing me so much!

At this time, I ordered some Jell-O and apple juice, met the doctor on call that would be delivering the baby, and met some more of the nurses. Everyone was so kind, helpful, and knowledgeable. While I was still terrified about giving birth, they all did a great job at putting my mind to ease. At 7 PM, there was a shift change and I met the new nurses that would be there for the delivery. More kind and helpful souls. I was relieved.

A little before 8 PM I had what would be my final cervix check...6 and a half hours after we got to the hospital. The doctor on call was called in, my legs were held up for some practice pushes, and we were off!

Stay tuned for Part 2 ;)

Lots of hugs,

Aug 5, 2015

Beauty In the Mundane

It's been awhile...again. I honestly just didn't want to have to much of a presence in the virtual world. I stopped reading blogs. I felt like my life as a newish mom just couldn't compete in the blogosphere or on Instagram. I thought 'oh well! No one wants to see another wannabe mommy blogger documenting her boring life.' Not only that but I just couldn't make the time and I was getting so frustrated because it seemed like all the moms everywhere, no matter if they have an online presence or not, are able to do it all. I wondered how long it would take for me to get the hang of managing the house while watching Zoe while working out while running errands while making time for my marriage and myself. For a good length of time, I was even going to sleep earlyish and waking up at 5:30 to make sure I had time to accomplish my goals--and I was still struggling.

I got frustrated at my baby for not wanting to be put on a nap schedule. I got frustrated at myself for not making better use of my time. I got frustrated at God because I had all these ideas and hopes and dreams and I felt like no matter what I did, he just kept whispering 'not now' and for an impatient girl like myself, that was a lot to swallow.

It was after listening to a bunch of podcasts and reading through some solid posts on blogging that I realized two things: 1. I have a unique story that I want to connect with other moms on and 2. There is beauty in the boring and mundane (thank you Cristina for saying that or something like that on Building Bridges).

These past 9 months as a mom have not been terribly unique. I realize lots of moms struggle with lots of things (even more than I have!) for longer lengths of time. But I don't think those middle of the road stories of tough days and struggles are shared nearly as much as the good. Motherhood is hard and can be ugly at times for so many reasons. Zoe is the light of our lives but gosh she's challenged me, and she's not even a year old yet! I don't have the perfect breastfeeding story, the perfect sleeping through the night story, or the perfect routine. I can't say I'm not envious of the women who do, of the stay at home work at home homeschooling moms who seemingly to have it all together.

I hope you'll check in as I share our life with you. It's wild in the most boring way possible ;) Some days I don't put a bra on all day. Some days we go to the grocery store and Z has a meltdown. Some days are absolutely perfect and I find myself thanking God for every single second.

Really though, most of all, I want to connect with you. I want to hear your stories, what your struggling with, what your victories (no matter how small!) are. This job title we're given once our babies are born connects us all for life and I want to nurture those connections and friendships. We can all learn so much from one another and help one another see the beauty in the mundane.

And because I can't go without adding a photo to this post, here are some recentish ones from Zoe.

Lots of hugs,


May 7, 2015

6 Months

Six months later and the dust is settling, people. Knock on wood.

I had wanted to do  monthly updates from the get go but I obviously have been pretty absent on the blog. I'm hoping this will be the month that I can start doing them because what the heck, 6 months?! Half of a year?! That's how old my baby is?

When I said the dust was settling, boy did I mean it. This month has been different. Our fussy baby blossomed into an agreeable tiny human. For the most part, anyways. Bedtime can still be a challenge and if you try to get her to nap once she's overtired all hell breaks loose but for the most part, homegirl is h a p p y. See?

(Big bottom = cloth diaper, not neglectful mother)

We began to expose her to some solid foods this month. Just like her mom, she loves any and all food. She even scarfed down green beans! These meals have been more on the "exploratory" side of things because to be honest we have no idea how much to feed her at this point and just plan on waiting to hear what our pediatrician has to say later this month. She's still breastfeeding like a champ. She's started to go a little longer between feedings, but wakes up every 3-4 hours throughout the night to eat. Still. I think I'm going to freak the eff out the first time she sleeps through the night...but that might not be for a few more years for all we know. Like I've mentioned before, it's our new normal. I'm oddly at peace about.

A few months ago, she rolled over a few times and then just stopped. There was no interest anymore. The rolling was revisited this month as she learned how to in her crib. There were a few nights we'd put her to sleep but she would just coo and stay up without crying. We'd go in to check on her every now and then and eventually found her on her tummy, clearly so proud of herself. It was the cutest. Now, she's a tummy sleeper. We always put her down on her back but within no time she rolls herself onto her tummy to fall asleep. The tricky parts: she still isn't proficient in rolling from her tummy to her back and her little arms and legs keep getting stuck in the crib slats. We need to look into getting those mesh bumpers or something of the like.

There are no teeth yet but Zoe is definitely teething away. Everything goes right into the mouth. I have to keep telling myself as a first time mama that if our parents survived when they most likely put toys containing lead into their mouths, our little one will survive sucking on stuffed animals (yuck) made of artificial fabrics and dyes. She loves pulling herself up with our help into a standing position, so we invested in an Exersaucer. It's not called the "ring of neglect" for nothing; she'll play contentedly in there for ages and I usually take her out long before she's done because I feel so darn guilty keeping her in there longer than it takes to wash the dishes.

Her little legs are starting to move like crazy which is making me that much more excited for swimming classes! We signed up for a session in June. I have a slight aversion to public pools but I'm sure I'll get over it. I can't wait to share that experience with her. It won't be long before we pull out the kiddie pool for the backyard, too, since Texas summer is upon us. Perhaps she'll want more water toys than her single rubber ducky...

Things that make her smile and laugh include our cats (her kitties) and any other animal, being tickled, looking at herself in the mirror, Sophie the Giraffe, and Walmart. No, really. Out of all the stores I've taken her to, she is absolutely in love with Walmart and I have no idea why.

Zoe Marie, we love you baby girl. Happy 1/2 birthday!

P.S. For funsies...

Apr 1, 2015

Poop Problems

Yes, I am really about to write a blog post about baby poop. This is not an April Fool's joke.

I truly hope this post doesn't make its way to Z's high school classmates 15 years from now. If it does, I'm sorry baby girl. Mama needs to vent.
Who, me?

Z has not had any issues in the bathroom department since she's been born. I've heard urban legends of babies that only poop once every few days. This is not the case with our child. However, things have been abnormal lately. Without getting too graphic, it was enough for us to freak out and go to the doctor last week. No fever, happy(ish) baby, everything looked fine. Just keep an eye on it, we were told.

Over the weekend, things didn't improve. They said it was time to test her stool and to come pick up a stool sample kit from the lab. When I saw how much poop we needed to provide, I thought it'd be no problem. As mentioned above, not pooping enough has never been an issue. But days later, we were still struggling to fill up the 3 containers because guess what? Breastfed baby poop is like, 99% liquid and soaks right into any kind of diaper you use.

I called the doctor again today to see if there was a different way we could test things out. The nurse said no, they need that sample, and asked if I had tried putting plastic wrap in her diapers to catch the poop?


Okay, whatever it takes to get this darn stool sample. We've meticulously covered the inside of her diapers with plastic wrap all day and scooped/dripped/squeezed every dirty diaper into the plastic container. We still don't have one container even halfway full.

I've touched more poop than ever before in my life. (And don't worry, I've immediately scrubbed the heck out of my hands each time). We still aren't halfway closer to dropping the containers back off at the lab and I'm sure the lab will be closed Friday-Sunday anyways because of Easter so my guess is we'll have the results of the test maybe late next week? That is, if we get enough poop to get sample in sometime tomorrow.

The joys of motherhood, y'all. 5 months in and I'm already going to great lengths to collect my daughter's poop. If you thought being a stay-at-home mom is dull, you've got it all wrong.

(In all seriousness, please keep her in her prayers. One mom said it sounds like she could have E. coli or salmonella but considering she seems okay and hasn't really eaten any "real" food yet, I don't think whatever this is is that serious)