Jan 14, 2016

I'm Pregnant! + First Trimester Recap

Well, it's true, and I'm so glad I finally get to share it loud and proud! Our family will be growing by another little one this coming July. We are so excited...and I'm so excited to be entering the second trimester already. Yay!

As I've mentioned on here countless times, we were quite open to more children and although we had learned a new NFP method after Zoe was born, it was kind of hard to put it into practice and we didn't really care so...we weren't really trying but we definitely weren't preventing anything, either. I was just coming off of breastfeeding and had really hoped that doing so would help me lose some stubborn weight I had been holding onto since my pregnancy with Zoe. Ideally, I would've gotten to a better place with my weight before we got pregnant but since we weren't trying too hard not to get pregnant, God had other plans ;)

I think I'll share some "secret posts" I had typed up soon after I found out just for fun that go into more detail of the early days of pregnancy. In short, I took THREE tests that came back negative on different days before I saw that little plus sign on the fourth, so I was really surprised to say the least. We told our families right before Zoe's birthday on November 7th because I really don't like keeping secrets and always feel like if something were to happen with the pregnancy, I'd be talking to our families about it anyways so what's the harm in sharing sooner rather than later.

{Kirleigh took notice early and was always there to cuddle}

The first few weeks were that pretty uneventful stage where I wasn't really feeling sick yet...so I kept questioning if there was in fact a baby in there at all. But soon enough, I started to feel the rush of fatigue, nausea, and food aversions just like with my first pregnancy. It was all so similar and I felt like such a pro knowing what to expect and what my body was doing.

Then, the Monday night before Thanksgiving, I noticed some bleeding. It wasn't anything super crazy but it was definitely enough to be shocking; I hadn't had ANY spotting or bleeding during my first pregnancy. Zoe was already in bed for the night, so we had to call Landon's parents over to watch her while we went to the ER because I thought for sure I had miscarried. Well...we went to an emergency care center. Not an actually hospital ER which was a dumb move on our part because the doctor, while very nice and clearly experienced in other areas, wasn't as helpful and reassuring as we had hoped. I thought for sure I'd get an ultrasound but instead they wanted to do a urine sample to 1. make sure I was really pregnant and 2. see if it had been caused by a UTI (um, nope!). When the test equivalent of the one I had taken a month early came back letting me know yup, I'm pregnant!, they STILL wouldn't do an ultrasound to check the baby. Instead it was time to check my hCG levels via blood which would have been fine I suppose...if they had a lab right there. But they didn't. So we had to wait hours for it to be transported back and forth to an actual hospital with an actual lab to get our results. By this point I still didn't know what to think and I was too tired to stay awake waiting. Sometime around 1 AM they came back with the results: surprisingly high hCG levels, which was a good sign. Luckily, I had a scheduled appointment with my OB the next day. She was shocked they didn't give me an ultrasound and that they made us do a urine test. We were also reprimanded for going to a fake ER instead of the one in our hospital where an actual on call OB would have been there to perform an ultrasound. We learned our lesson!--and the baby was there, heartbeat and all. That moment with Landon and our OB seeing our baby for the first time was about 1000% times better than the first time we saw Zoe via ultrasound when the technician had zero cares and we were over here, first time parents, as excited as could be.

From that point on, things remained uneventful for a good week or two. Then Zoe and I got hand, foot, and mouth disease which was super fun. We were betterish by Christmas and most of my nausea and food aversions were gone so I could eat normal fun Christmas things. Hashtag priorities.

{A HA-YUGE bump in comparison to week 14 round 1, dirty mirror and all. Keeping it real, folks.}

Since then, things have been on the upswing. It's way different this time around, chasing after a toddler all day instead of taking tons of naps and lying around. It felt like a miracle when I went real, full blown grocery shopping last week for the first time and was able to get vegetables and eggs without gagging. Before then, I had been walking into the store with Zoe and putting literally whatever I could stomach into the cart...which was a whole lot of random junk food.

I'm looking forward to the second trimester and all that it has to offer (energy maybe?) and of course for the gender ultrasound which we'll be having the day after Valentine's Day! We're already discussing names--listening to the Fountains of Carrots podcast episode with Kate from Sancta Nomina REALLY got my juices flowing (sidenote: I'm totally into grandma names/British grandma names but Landon's not soooo...) and we've even already agreed on a few we like. This time around we're planning on keeping the name a secret from everyone until he or she is born so we can have a little something for ourselves :)

One last note: I feel like the baby is already sitting super low on me. My bump is crazy noticeable already and it definitely is not defying gravity. And when I sit in a chair, I can already feel my stomach in the way like last time but it wasn't this early. Am I going crazy? I don't know but I'm a little nervous about it already being so low! Even when we got an ultrasound last week, the heartbeat was found super low on me. Goodness!

If you have any fun baby name suggestions, please let me know! I'm all about the unique and Catholic baby name ;)

Jan 8, 2016

2016 Goals

Happy New Year! I hope your 2016 has been full of good stuff and not a cold like our family has been passing around an cannot kick to the curb. It's put the brakes on starting the year at full speed but clearly that's what we need so I'm trying not to complain.

I got a little mom time at Starbucks recently to do some planning for the new year and I'm pretty excited with what I came up with.

I'm not a big fan of resolutions. I AM a big fan of goals but even those have been hard for me to follow through with most of the time. My attention span is short and while I should be focused on something 100%, I start learning about something else that I NEED TO TRY RIGHT NOW and then I'm in a hopeless situation trying to balance all of these interests at once when I have approximately 4 hours a day to either spend with my husband or doing stuff for myself when Zoe is napping or asleep at night.

I've always had a lot of interests and thus a lot of goals but I also haven't been very good at focusing on them since having Zoe because some things seem impossible during this season of life. I want to do fun crafts to decorate our house, but I'm sleepy. I want to read hundreds of books, but I cant read unless the dishes are done and oops, what do you know, it's bed time and I'm sleepy. Basically, it's hard for me to focus and see the importance of these interests for many reasons but mainly procrastination and laziness. I've wanted to spend time figuring out my God-given talents and gifts but really haven't made that a priority, even though I know they have to do with creating. And of course God wants us to make time to create since He is the ultimate Creator!

So! My word for 2016 is EXPLORE. And I will spend each month exploring something I have an interest in. Each month will look different and the results of each month will look different. I love little 30 day challenges and I think creating my own in a way will be a great way to explore what's been on my heart, try it out, and if I don't care about it as much as I thought, I can toss it to the curb at the end of the month. If, however, I discover I absolutely love doing something, I can find a way to incorporate it into my life in a realistic way.

I've chosen each month specifically for different reasons which I'll probably explain at the beginning of each month. I also have a few alternative topics in case I get to that month and have absolutely no interest in that topic anymore. I've also combined a few because it made sense to me. Here they are:

January: Decluttering
February: Organizing and decorating
March: Marriage and family
April: Garden and outdoor decorating
May: The community and travel
June: Parenting and preschool education
July: Reading
August: Photography
September: Exercise and health
October: No-buy month!
November: Cooking and baking
December: Giving

Alternatives include: Feminism (from the original, Catholic perspective), logic and reasoning (NOT my strong suits), and music (not creating music--I have zero interest in that--but discovering new genres and artists).

There are other goals that I'm trying to work on now that I want to be more regular, not something I just do for a month and then stop. These goals focus more on a lose daily and weekly schedule. Daily, I feel so much better if I get up before the baby and read the daily readings and some other spiritual reading. I feel even better if I can get some housework out of the way! At night, I love going to bed with a fairly clean house and reading or talking to Landon before a bedtime of 9:30ish. In between waking and sleeping, getting a load of laundry completely done and focusing on cleaning a room a day makes cleaning feel more manageable.

Weekly, I want to carve out time for what I feel is important. I like to spend some time planning out my week and meal planning on Saturday or Sunday. With The Bachelor back on, a group of girlfriends and I have a fairly regular "Girl's Night" on Monday or Tuesday, which is always needed. Since having Zoe, I severely neglect things like painting my nails or doing extra skincare treatments, so I want to incorporate a weekly "pamper" night for myself. Friday night is date night, even if it's just at home on the couch. I also want to find a permanent hour in the week to spend in Adoration because I know that's my favorite way to pray, but I just don't make the time for it like I used to.

For the month of January, I'm trying to get more used to Snapchat and sharing my daily life. I've wanted to make YouTube videos for a long time but 1. I'm a scaredy cat and 2. I know NOTHING about making videos so I figured this would be a good way to try it out in a less scary way. It's fun but I really struggle with the whole living in the moment vs. documenting EVERYTHING thing so I'm trying to work out a balance that is good for me and our family. Because if Zoe sees my phone she will not rest until she gets it into her grubby little baby hands and homegirl is by my side 24/7.

I'm learning accountability is a HUGE part of keeping to your goals so I'm hoping to share my experiences each month as a way to be held accountable. I also want to hear your goals or resolutions! Let me know what you've decided on so I can hold you accountable, too :)

Jan 4, 2016

The Hardest Thing I've Ever Done

All of this sounded really profound as I "wrote" it in my head in the middle of the night as we were up with a sick baby. Hopefully it translates in my semi-sleep deprived state ;)

Being a mom has changed me. I think all moms feel that way, but at this point, 14 months after Zoe's birth, it feels really real. I've realized that being a mom is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

To all the non-moms out there, I hope this post doesn't scare you off. I have absolutely zero regrets about "settling down" and starting a family "early". And if God grants us 5 more children I will openly welcome those gifts. But gosh, is it hard.

My pregnancy wasn't too bad. The birth itself wasn't too bad. The sleepless nights though--I understand why that's a form of torture. Landon and I were recently talking about those first few months and how they felt so long, like we wouldn't make it through. It sure did feel like that at the time. 

Since then, things have ebbed and flowed. There have been relatively quiet times where Zoe is content and I seem to get my old life back and it's awesome. That is, until she starts teething or gets sick and needs us ALL THE TIME and I realize things will never be the same. That acceptance took me a long time and was something I fought because I really really thought I'd be able to keep myself and motherhood separate and it would be wonderful. Thank goodness I figured the truth out, that that's nearly impossible but that's okay, especially since I was called to motherhood as part of my vocation and as much as I resisted for so long, God was patient with me until I figured out motherhood is such of big part of what makes me truly me. 

Things were relatively quiet for a while until December; Zoe was starting to walk holding onto things, she was becoming so much more interactive and learning lots of new words. It was great! But early in the month, we went away for one night as a family and she had a seizure. It was hands down the scariest few moments of my life. I didn't know what to do (um, check to see if she has a pulse and is breathing!), I couldn't remember how to pray, I didn't even want to be near her in case she was about to die because at that moment in the middle of the night I really thought we were going to lose her as dramatic as that sounds. I've seen a lot comparisons lately that say having a child is like watching your heart walk around outside of your body and I get that now. 

Thank goodness this was our first serious medical issue we had encountered since she was born, nearly 13 months later. And thank goodness it was most likely due to a fever and not any underlying issues. But sitting in that ER with Landon while my baby girl was so sick and being poked and prodded by everyone was enough to do me in. All I could think was there is no way I could go through this again, with Zoe, with Landon, with any other children we might have. As you might be able to tell, up until recently I had never had to go to an emergency room or had any sort of health emergency. I totally understand now that this was NOT a life or death situation but for someone as sheltered as myself in sure did feel like it at the time. 

A few days later she developed a rash. Hand foot and mouth. And then lucky me, I got it too. Meanwhile the timing couldn't have been worse. Landon was so busy at work and our parents could only help so much. It was the first time I was really sick at home in charge of a sick toddler. It felt impossible and as always, all I could think was 'how the heck could I do this with 2 kids? with 3? with 5?!' 

We got through it though. When I realized it was okay to have selfish prayers of 'Jesus, there's no way I can do this without you. I need your help NOW' and the weekend came all was well again. In hindsight the virus barely seemed to affect Zoe besides that initial fever. I'm sure it sounds trite to those who have been through much worse but that week was the hardest week I've had in a long, long time.

Since then, I've become more anxious about being home with Zoe all day. Landon helps out so, so much when he's home in the morning, at lunch, and in the evening that I feel like I won't make it when he's gone. Zoe's walking now and let me tell you, if you don't have a child that is mobile yet you don't know what you're in for. She is go go go go GOOOOO all the time when I just need to sit down or have 2 minutes to myself to regroup. It's exhausting. It's hard to see past this season of life where one day in the future, I might actually have the energy again to stay up and work on a project or read. I'm ready for bed long before Zoe is most days. But then you have to decide if getting up early and/or staying up late to have alone time or time with your husband is worth the lack of sleep. Usually I think it is and then I regret it all day the next day. 

(You might be seeing a common thread that I am one of those people that, no matter how much caffeine I consume, does NOT function well on lack of sleep.)

The innate selflessness of motherhood has changed me. I am miles upon miles away from perfect (I definitely will sit scrolling through Twitter while she clearly wants me to get on the floor and play with her and I could still learn how to be way more selfless with other loved ones) but when you're a mom you have no alternative. Even if we were in a position where Zoe could be in daycare, I'm sure I'd miss her so much that I'd want to get up with her and stay up with her morning and night even if I was exhausted and had zero time to myself. That girl is part of me. When it's just me, and Landon's at work, I'm the sole one responsible for her health and happiness. There's very little room for selfishness and as an only child who has come and go as she pleased her whole life, doing whatever I want whenever I want to, it's been a hard and long change. I still don't think I've fully accepted that change in my life yet.

It makes me sad when I read or hear about how women don't want to be mothers or really, they don't think they could ever be mothers. I'm here to say if I can do it, you can do it too. It's hard. Every family has their own individual challenges as I'm learning but I firmly believe for the majority of women, this is our calling. This is where we thrive even if it takes a long time to learn the ropes. This is where I've felt the most fulfillment out of anything I've ever done in my life. I don't think there's anything narcissistic about it because I'm not raising a mini-me. I'm raising a tiny human (who I still think barely resembles me!) with my husband who is totally her own person and whose interests we will nurture to the best of our ability.

I'll continue this difficult path of motherhood for as long as I'm called because I have no doubt in my mind that's what I was born to do. I'm no natural--I don't think many women are. But I'm learning it's one of those scenarios where if you do the work (and you have to, there's no choice!) it will be so, so worth it to walk this path with your family and with God.

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 great...as 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 week...as 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 body...smart, 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,