Sunday, April 7, 2024

Welcome to the World

We welcomed our sweet little girl into the world in early February and I have been dying to get her birth story recorded here but man oh man, having two under two sure makes getting anything else done a challenge! Things are going so well overall though and we are just over the moon in love with our little girl. Her arrival was everything I’d hoped and been praying for over the last 9 months. I know birth stories aren’t for everyone so feel free to skip this post if that’s you. But for those who, like me, are sort of birth nerds, enjoy the story of how our sweet Riley Jean entered the world. 

To get to her actual birthday, we’ve got to back up a little bit for some other details. When I went to my 36 week appointment, it was the first appointment that my midwife offered a cervical check. My biggest concern as I neared the end of pregnancy was making sure we had care for our son when we went to the hospital. I am surrounded by the sweetest of friends all willing to step up and help but the ease of having my mom here and not having to worry about calling someone in the middle of the night or dropping him off somewhere was important to me. So even though I knew it didn’t really mean anything at this point, I went ahead and said yes to the check, figuring she’d tell me I was 0cm and I could go on with my plans of having my parents come the weekend before my Tuesday due date. 

Well that is not what she said. She told me I was actually about 3.5cm dilated already and about 65% effaced so making some progress. She basically reiterated what I knew- that it didn’t necessarily mean labor was imminent. But also told me that I should be ready for labor at anytime now. Basically it could be tomorrow or in another month but be ready! Well this changed things- I was about 4cm with JB when labor started and I went from 4-10 in about 2 hours. So the news of being 3.5 cm at 36 weeks and 3 days made me a bit wary of waiting until almost 40 weeks to have my parents here. So we made a change of plans and decided my mom would come by herself at 38 weeks and my dad would join once baby arrived. 

Week 37 appt- 4.5cm, 70% effaced- convinced I’m going into labor any minute (spoiler alert I was not)
Week 38 appt- 5 cm- 75% effaced- mom is in town, starting to feel impatient that I’m so far along but labor isn’t starting. 

Overall I was feeling really good physically! I am very fortunate that pregnancy really treats me well! I wasn’t having any contractions or other pains and while I was definitely feeling more pressure, it was nothing that was making me overly uncomfortable. I was certainly grateful that a lot of the hard work of labor was essentially being done without me having to put in any effort. I mean I was halfway there basically and hadn’t had a single contraction that I was aware of. But nevertheless I was starting to feel antsy just from the idea that it could be, and in theory would be, anytime but it just wasn’t happening. 

Mom and I walked A LOT each day, including some extremely steep hills to try and encourage things along. If I was sitting it was on my birth ball. I ate dates, drank the raspberry leaf tea, continued chiropractic care… all the things I could do to be sure my body was as ready as it could possibly be. My midwife told me I could try pumping to get things going if I was anxious and after mentioning this to hubby we both agreed I would try it when I hit 39 weeks, which happened to be hubby’s grandfather’s birthday so we thought that would be a fun birthday for our daughter to also have! 

So that Tuesday I woke up early (at 4am to be specific) so I could pump before hubby went to work. We were trying to keep him from having to go in and come home if it was successful in starting labor. While my midwife wasn’t sure when I would go into labor she felt very confident that things weren’t going to take long once they got going. This made sense since I was already halfway there! So we didn’t want to waste time waiting for hubby to get home from work if we could avoid it. Pumping brought on contractions but nothing that stuck around so hubby suggested a walk around the neighborhood. Nothing like a nice brisk walk at quarter to 5, in the pitch black, when it’s 34 degrees out to make you wish you’d feel a contraction. We enjoyed a cup of coffee together and then he headed off to work since nothing appeared to be happening. 

Wednesday we were up early again for another power walk (or waddle) around the neighborhood but still to no avail. I will say that while I am not a morning person by anyone’s standards- the three early mornings with hubby leading up to labor are really sweet memories for me and I’m grateful at his insistence on 4am wakeups.

Thursday, when my early wake up call rolled around, I decided to give the pump a try again. It brought on some inconsistent contractions again but this time when I stopped pumping I noticed they kept going which was different from before. So I was watching the time and noticing the contractions seeing if they were in a pattern and if that continued and got stronger. I was very hesitant to say this was it- I wanted to be sure. I did feel confident enough to tell my husband not to go to work for now. My first contraction after pumping was around 5:30 and I told my husband I wouldn’t call it labor unless I was still having contractions at 6:30. And I was.  I refused to sit down this whole time because I was worried if I sat down or stopped moving they would stop so I just swayed at the counter, paced around the island and wandered the kitchen. I ate a bowl of cereal so that I wouldn’t be starving if this was labor and I skipped the coffee to take it easy on my belly. 

I was keeping track of the waves using a contraction timer just to see how far apart they were and how long they were lasting and by about 7 they were consistently 5 minutes apart and lasting close to a minute each. Hubby said we should probably think about heading to the hospital but I wasn’t ready. I really wanted an unmedicated birth and I knew staying home as long as possible would help with that. The app I was using also wasn’t saying it was time yet either. Hubby said not to worry too much about that and we should go ahead and go, I could tell he was ready and not wanting to dawdle (like the midwife told us), but I was stubborn and said no. Later on in this story, I’ll be thankful that he kept asking if it was time!

Even though things were consistent and seemingly at that 5-1-1 rule- they were so manageable that I just knew it couldn’t be time. I was worried getting in the car and being in triage would cause my body to slow down and I’d end up being told I wasn’t really in active labor, they’d want to break my water or start pitocin and these were all things I wanted to avoid. So I told hubby I was waiting for the contractions to be more intense. I said we could maybe leave around 8:30 if things kept going this way. But right around 7:40 I had a contraction that all of a sudden was more intense than all of the others. It was still manageable but it just felt different and I told hubby you know what, I think you’re right-I think we should go. It was only that one, not a pattern of increased intensity but something just said- that was different, this is real, it’s ok to go. I knew they wouldn’t turn me away since I was so far along and that contraction reassured me that this was the real deal and I didn’t need to worry about getting there and having them try to intervene or move things along for me. My body was doing its thing and we could head over.

I had hubby snap a quick picture of me before leaving- something I’d forgotten to do with my first and was bummed about later on. So at 7:42 he took this photo of me…not knowing that just 2 hours later we’d have our girl in our arms.  

We were out the door by about 7:50 after a last hug and kiss for our big boy. I had been so worried about the car ride since I’ve heard it’s just the absolute worst and while the contractions I had in the car were not my favorite they continued to be manageable. It was during the drive that I put on my Christian hypnobirthing affirmations and then my labor playlist to help keep me relaxed. Like I had worried, my contractions did slow down just a bit. I can actually remember praying for a contraction to come when 8 minutes had passed without one and it did! Once I was at the hospital they did pick back up to about 5 minutes each- I think my body just was not a fan of the sitting position I was in and once I was up and moving again they picked back up. 

I walked in to the hospital check in desk while hubby parked so I wouldn’t have a long trek and went ahead and started getting checked in. They sent me up to L&D and told me hubby could meet me in triage (they always take mom back first without dad for a few minutes at our hospital). As I got out of the elevator and was making my way to the labor and delivery doorway, which admittedly is only about 50 feet, a nurse spotted me as I was breathing through a contraction, trying to walk but struggling to keep moving just a bit. Contractions? She said and I nodded, smiled and she took my arm and said come on back. Her name was Courtney and she was just the absolute best. My contractions were still hanging out at 5 minutes apart and while they were feeling pretty intense they were super manageable and truthfully I wasn’t in that much pain. 

So as I started to get into my hospital gown, I began to worry that I had been right before, that I was here too early and things weren’t progressing as fast as people thought they would. Courtney got some basic info from me about my contractions, and I let her know I had been 5cm at my last check (6days ago at this point) and then told me she was going to do a cervical check and see how things were going. I was now convinced she was going to say I was still 5cm or worse that I was somehow less than that- that my midwife had been wrong but I was definitely not 5cm. Labor can make you think some crazy things. 

Courtney let me know I was 8cm and I was floored. 8cm?! I should be in transition or I was right about to hit transition, the notably most uncomfortable labor stage. But nothing had really changed for me- things were still about 5 minutes ish apart maybe 4 at times. They were about as intense as they had been since I decided to go in to the hospital. I was amazed at how things were progressing. These were all things I had prayed for over my pregnancy. I continued to listen to my Christian Hypnobirthing affirmations, a track of encouraging scripture and my labor playlist- just kind of alternating between them every few minutes. 

After my initial check, Courtney got some details from me about my pregnancy so far and my birth wishes. I told her I was hoping for an unmedicated and very low intervention birth and she immediately was supportive. No one that was around for my birth ever questioned my desires. No one suggested I do things differently from how I wanted and no one was anything less than 100% supportive and I just could not have asked for a better team- something else I had prayed for was excellent supportive nurses and Courtney and Ashley were definitely an answer to that prayer. 

We moved from triage into the labor room where I got a new nurse- Ashley who was just as wonderful! We did some monitoring of baby girl to check her heart rate and how she was handling contractions. This part did mean I needed to stay in the bed for 30 minutes because when I would try to stand or move they would lose her heartbeat on the monitor. It wasn’t my favorite position but I just kept my playlist going and relaxed through it and it was over before long. At the tail end of this, my midwife arrived to check in on me. She let me know things looked great progress wise, that she was here if I needed her. She said I seemed to be doing great but that if I wanted her to stay and labor with me she could do that or I could just call her if I needed her. The fact that she was willing to stay with me was so amazing to me and just shows the wonderful care I received. However I did feel like I was doing great and was just kind of in my zone with my headphones in so I told her I’d let her know if I needed her. She let me know that she did have one other mom laboring who was at 7cm so if for some reason we ended up delivering at the same time, the laborist working that day would deliver one of us. I jokingly said, so its a race to see who gets to 10 first right? She assured me the laborist on call was wonderful and very natural supportive. But as she left, I prayed again like I had for months that my midwife, as opposed to an on call midwife or laborist, would be the one to deliver this baby.  

After she left we finished our monitoring of baby girl, everything looked great and I was able to get up and move freely at this point. I got the birth ball and was sitting on that just kind of rocking and swaying as contractions came, leaning on the bed. Ashley had stepped out to just let me do my thing and said she’d be back to check on me shortly. Shortly after this I decided I needed to go to the bathroom. I stood up and as I made my way to the bathroom I was feeling a little “pushy” as I’d heard it described in so many birth stories I’d read. I kind of ignored it but then I thought back to something my sister had told me about her birth stories and how towards the end she would end up in the bathroom convinced she needed to use the restroom but really she needed to have a baby. So I decided that I should call a nurse in and have them check on me to be sure I don’t accidentally have a baby on the toilet. So thanks for that sister! 

Hubby called the nurse button and asked someone to come back in. Courtney came in a few minutes later and by this point I was having a contraction that definitely felt like I needed to push. But I was still kind of in denial that anything was happening (because again, it was intense but not overwhelmingly so and I just didn’t think this could be it). So I told Courtney I just wanted her to check me because I might need to push but really I probably just need to go to the bathroom. And she looked at me and was like nope, it’s the baby. So she asked me to get on the bed so she could check and it was at this point that I all of a sudden realized how much pressure I was feeling because the idea of getting up on this bed and laying down seemed truly impossible. And I told Courtney as much. I just couldn’t do it. She was so kind and gentle and said she would help me, that if I couldn’t be on my back she could help me get down on my side. This was more manageable although still proved difficult. But we did it and Courtney said I was completely dilated.

By this point my midwife, Katie Beth, was walking in the room- I assume a nurse called her. And I think Ashley came back in at this point too. I know she was back by the time I delivered but the exact details get just a smidge fuzzy for these last few minutes. Courtney told her I was fully dilated and that I had been feeling like I wanted to push. Katie Beth let me know to just push as I felt I needed to and that they were going to be getting things ready around me. I told her what I really needed was to be in any other position than I was right now. She helped me off my side and into a hands and knees position on the bed and this immediately felt better and I could feel myself pushing. The other noticeable change was that I was vocalizing much more. Up until this point, the only real noise I’d been making was just breathing but now, I was almost unintentionally moaning/grunting through the contraction. Like my body couldn’t not make those sounds, they just came out as the contraction would start. When Katie Beth heard this change she just immediately encouraged me saying that I was doing great and just push when I felt like it, baby was coming soon. 

As she helped me move into the hands and knees position she told me I could stay this way if this felt comfortable and that she would pass the baby through my legs to me once she arrived. I was so grateful that there was never a mention of needing to push on my back- they just let me do what my body felt was natural and not only let me but really encouraged it. In these maybe 5 minutes (seriously from me asking hubby to call the nurse to this point of me being on my hands and knees ready to push was so quick)- everything had picked up. And this is the one point of my labor that felt overwhelming and like maybe I couldn’t do it. And that is what I said. Things had gone from calm, peaceful and only mildly uncomfortable to extremely intense in a very short amount of time. When the next contraction hit, I felt the baby really move down- it is such an odd sensation to be able to feel where baby is in your pelvis. And it just felt like there was no way she could come out- it just didn’t feel possible to make room for her. 

So as this contraction hit I told everyone I can’t do this. And everyone in the room told me I absolutely could. And they encouraged me to push into the pain, that it meant she was almost here.  I had heard that a lot in birth stories I’d listened to as well- that you pushing into the pain as opposed to trying to shy away from it actually made it better.  So I determined that I would do that with the next push and I did…and my water broke! I honestly had kind of forgotten about my waters at this point until I heard the splash. And I’ll admit I was mildly disappointed that this effort did not push baby girl’s head out but I did find that pushing into the contraction was better than trying to hold back- not great, but definitely better. I vaguely registered that my midwife noted meconium in my water. I can remember her telling me that the delivery team was here but that I didn’t need to worry because everyone in the room was supposed to be here. I did not register exactly what she meant at the time because honestly I hadn’t even realized that more people had come in. Because of how I was positioned, I was facing the wall so all I could really register was hubby in my left peripheral, Courtney in my right and I could hear Ashley and Katie Beth talking to me. There could have been an entire marching band behind me and I wouldn’t have known I don’t think. I was just in my birth zone. Now I realize that they had called in the NICU team because of the meconium- just as standard procedure in the hospital- in case baby girl had aspirated meconium and needed breathing support. I’m glad I did not register this at the time because it would have alarmed me but all I could focus on was getting baby out. 

With the next contraction I pushed and thought to myself that I just need to keep pushing because if I don’t get her head out this time, I’ll just have to do this whole crowning part again. Looking back this would have been the “ring of fire”. And it definitely was the hardest part of labor but was so quick it was not as horrible as I’d heard it could be. I know they tell you to not push to hard during this part to prevent tearing and I guess there are people who can not push during this part but I absolutely could not.  Once her head was out, there was a brief pause before one more push to get her shoulders and body out. And then the last few minutes of discomfort completely disappeared and I was just nothing but happy! 

I’m not sure I could ever adequately put words to the feeling of those moments immediately after birth. The pure joy, the overwhelming love, and intense pride is just unlike anything else. 

This birth was absolutely everything I had prayed for. My sister gave me a prayer journal 2 Christmases ago and the journal is meant to be a 5 year journal. Each daily page has space to write for 5 years. So on January 1 2027 I can look back at what I prayed on January 1, 2023 and so on. And I cannot even wait to read through my prayers next year as I am writing new ones. I can’t wait to read myself praying for this labor, birth and baby and know that those prayers were answered so fully. 

So at 9:41 am, a mere 4 hours after contractions began, Riley Jean made her arrival into the world. This is where I’m extra thankful that hubby kept encouraging us to get to the hospital. There is less than 2 hours between that picture hubby took before we left and Riley being born. We were at the hospital only about an hour and a half total before her arrival so had I waited too much longer at home I could have been welcoming her on the side of the highway instead! 

After some skin to skin it was time to get her measurements. Hubby and I had been sure that she was so much smaller than JB (who had weight 8lbs10oz). Certainly she wasn’t more than 7lb10oz- if that. The nurse laughed at us and assured us this baby was AT LEAST 8lbs and we just couldn’t believe her. But sure enough she ended up being 8lbs 9oz and 19.5 inches long- almost the exact same size as JB. I guess you just forget how small they are at first- even when they’re not very small! Then it was time to get cleaned up and head down to our postpartum room.

Postpartum recovery at the hospital went great. I had two more fabulous nurses, no major complications and hubby and I just relaxed with our newest love for about 24 hours. And then we were out of there as soon as they’d let us leave. 

I am so grateful for how her birth unfolded and for the sweet growth of our family. These first two months have been busy but also so sweet and special. 

Monday, January 8, 2024

Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Oh My!

The fall really got away from me! When I checked to see when I last posted and saw it was all the way in the middle of October I was fairly surprised. I knew it had been a while but that was a pretty long while. So I have a few things to get caught up on. And I better do it now before we add in another little cutie that will need her own updates as well! We are in the final weeks until baby girl arrives and I am both so excited for her to be here but also a little overwhelmed at the prospect of how everything is going to change. But it’ll be here before we know it and we can’t wait! 

So going way back to where we left off with all the pumpkins. We had the best time enjoying some Halloween festivities with our little guy. He’s really still too young to appreciate or understand trick or treating so we figured we wouldn’t be trick or treating in the neighborhood. That felt too much like hubby and I just asking our neighbors for candy. 

So instead we opted to take him to the Aquascarium event being put on by the aquarium. It was a few days before Halloween and he got to wear his costume and see all of the aquarium creatures while also picking up some candy along the way. He loves the aquarium so this seems like a great option for this in between year. 

JB made the cutest little monkey and while the trick or treating aspect was a bit confusing, he overall had a great time!


And on actual Halloween, even though we didn’t participate in the trick or treating- we did head up to the neighborhood costume contest/parade. This time our little monkey had his banana with him thanks for our pup Bo and we walked in the parade. I think we were robbed that he didn’t win but it was fun anyways. 

Right after Halloween we had some family photos done. We have used this photographer for JB’s newborn photos, a family shoot ahead of Christmas last year and again this year. 

And because I had a pretty solid bump at this point, these doubled as both family photos/Christmas card photos and maternity photos. I didn’t do maternity photos with JB so it’s nice to have some professional shots of the belly this go around. It was a bit of a hot mess, at least it seemed that way to hubby and I. 

Since the time of day we were doing the photos is not always ideal for him. He was a bit cranky and doesn’t really understand what posing for a photo means so was pretty resistant to any of the posed photos of the three of us. But somehow our photographer worked all her magic and captured some of the sweetest photos. I’m so happy to have these from this precious time. 

Thanksgiving rolled around shortly after, and we celebrated by having my grandmother over. She doesn’t live far so it has worked out each year we’ve lived here for me to go pick her up and bring her to our house for a few days around Thanksgiving. It’s great to have her here and so fun for her to get some time with JB too. My in-laws cam the day after Thanksgiving for the rest of the weekend which was also great! I managed to not take a photo on Thanksgiving but we did snag one the next day when we put up the tree!

 We ate plenty of food and all just followed JB around. Unfortunately at the end of the weekend he began not feeling well which then began about 2 weeks of illness in our home. JB had RSV and was truly just pitiful. And just a few days later I began coming down with it myself as well as the hubs about a day or two after that. And let me tell y’all this virus just lingered and lingered. 

But as we were finally feeling better we were able to sneak up to visit my sister’s family for a few days. We dropped off Christmas gifts, got to check out their new neighborhood, visit a local brewery and the cousins got to spend some time together which is always so fun!  

And I got to see one of my best and oldest friends. She was hosting a little Christmas favorite things party and so I timed them trip to be able to see my sister and go to the party too! It is always the best to see her and the weekend was great, even if it flew by.

By the time we were back from this trip it was pretty much time to start gearing up for Christmas! We visited Santa, which went slightly better than last year but he is still more of a fan of Santa from afar than up close.

We were going to be hosting my husband’s family (parents as well as his brother and sister in-law and their pup) for the actual holiday which meant a full house! This was so fun to have a household full of people to enjoy the Christmas magic with a little one. 

JB had the best time on Christmas, he was so excited about every single gift and it definitely took us a while to get through everything just because he had to stop and play with everything for a bit before looking at anything else but it was the best time watching him  be so excited. 

He doesn’t understand the concept of Santa yet but he definitely recognizes Santa and likes to point at him and say “ho” whenever he sees one. Next year I think he’ll be more aware of the magic of Santa which will add a whole new layer of fun. He also loved anything snowman related this year and loved painting out every single on in our neighbor’s yards during our daily walks. 

As the Christmas frenzy died down, we just spend the last days of the year getting the house back in order, doing a few little projects to get organized and start gearing up for baby, We are eagerly looking forward to all 2024 has in store for us. Hubby and I will be celebrating our 3rd anniversary in another week and then will be joined by our little girl not too long after that.We can’t wait to watch JB become a big brother and expand our hearts even more for this little one. 

Happy 2024 everyone!

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere

It is full on fall over at our house and it has been such a fun start to the season. As I predicted, JB absolutely LOVES pumpkins. He thinks they are just the best. We hit up the pumpkin patch on the first of October which always feels like official fall to me. He was in heaven, looking at all the pumpkins. Just wandering from one to another, trying to pick them up, giving them hugs and pointing them all out to us. He couldn’t get enough. And frankly, neither could I of his sweet excitement. 

The pumpkin patch we visited has wagons for you to carry your pumpkins and that might have been the best part. He loved getting to ride in the wagon, pulled by his daddy and carry his little pumpkins. He held his little mini pumpkin the whole way home too.

And since getting the pumpkins set up on the porch, we take pretty regular trips out there to check on them. And by check on them I mean, pick them up, rearrange, try and stack them, and give hugs to the big ones.

And because one trip to the pumpkin patch just isn’t enough, this past week we headed back for round two. This time with a friend and her kiddos. It was just as fun second go round. He was still excited to check out all the different types of pumpkins and we came home with 3 more. And this time we also got to check out a few of the fun things in their kid zone. 

I also of course need to add in what you probably just noticed from this new picture… his haircut! Our sweet boy got his first big boy hair cut and looks all grown up now. I was quite emotional about it at first but he is just too cute and I love it. 

He got to experience his first bounce house! It was hilarious to watch him try to figure out how to maneuver but once he got oriented, he didn’t want to get out! There were also a few wagon rides. One in the kid zone that produced the world’s sweetest most joyful smile.

And of course a ride through the patch while we picked out the pumpkins. I love the way he holds on with both hands the whole time. Even when I handed him his mini pumpkin, he took one hand off to grab it, set it down and then immediately back to holding on. But he loves it! And getting out was his least favorite part of the day. 

Speaking of pumpkins, there is one more pumpkin in our home…oh wait that’s not a pumpkin just my belly! But some days it feels like a pumpkin! I’m over halfway through this pregnancy and overall it has been such smooth sailing. I’ve continued to have minimal symptoms which I’m so grateful for. Although, I’ve been feeling that acid reflux creep in and if you read along with JB’s pregnancy you know that was a huge pain for me last time. Hoping it doesn’t get as severe with this little gal. I’m back to seeing the chiropractor and that’s been great for any aches and pains so we are just trucking right along.

We’re starting to get JB’s big boy room organized. Slowly. Very Slowly. But we moved out a desk that was in there to give him a play nook and we added a bookcase for all of his great books! Now just to find some cute sheets, and get his toys organized, and get bed rails and move his clothes and so on and so forth. This doesn’t all have to be done right away as we’re not intending to move him until a few months after baby sister arrives but we want him to be able to hang in the finished room before the move some to be comfortable there. 

This pregnancy is flying by and I can’t believe in right around 4 months we’ll have a second little pumpkin to love! We are so lucky! 

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Catching Up

It sure has been a while since I’ve been on here. And believe me, it’s not for any lack of desire to write. I have plenty of want when it comes to my personal writing. What I seem to have been lacking in the last several weeks is the time, energy and brain space. I do write for the mom blog at Caden Lane and so lately if I happen to find the time and energy, it goes there. But here I am, with a few free minutes, a freshly brewed cup of (decaf) coffee and a napping toddler and a newfound burst of energy. So I’m writing. 

Before I go any further, my most important piece of information to catch you up on is that…I’m pregnant! Now most of you probably know this because you either follow me on social media or you read my momma’s blog and this information has been out there a few weeks. But alas, I still feel like I need to make an official announcement here. Even if I dawdled to do it until I was 18 weeks. WHAT? Almost halfway and I can’t even believe it! We cannot wait for our newest addition and to see JB as a big brother. 2 under 2 will be wild but oh so sweet!

When I tell you that we have been through the wringer in the last few weeks I am not kidding. JB and I both got Covid and let me tell you that taking care of a toddler while you’re ill and pregnant is a STRUGGLE. And then as soon as you just barely begin to round the corner they then get sick and become extra clingy and needy- well it makes for a long week. We then unfortunately lost my uncle the following week, and while it was wonderful to get to see family that we hadn’t seen in quite a while, the emotional toll was heavy. And then to top it all off, as we thought we were getting back to normal, our little guy ended up with hand, foot and mouth disease. This is the absolute worst. He has been so pitiful in his discomfort and there really isn’t much to be done but wait it out, give lots of snuggles, popsicles and all the new activities we can think of while cooped up in the house.
Even sick, he sure is the cutest/sweetest boy I know!

So aside from all of this craziness, what all has been going on? 

I’ve been growing, growing growing! This pregnancy has been pretty different it seems to me but largely I think that’s due to having a toddler to chase after. With JB’s pregnancy, we moved right at the beginning (around 8/9 weeks) and I wasn’t working so I had all kinds of time to just soak up and enjoy pregnancy. I read all the pregnancy books, took 3 different online pregnancy courses, practiced Hypnobirthing sessions, took all the naps etc. And it seemed to take FOREVER for the pregnancy to pass, in an enjoyable way but nevertheless I felt like I’d been pregnant forever by the time he arrived. This time around I am shocked every time I realize I’m a week closer. When I say out loud that I’m almost half way I just can’t believe it because it seems to be flying! 

Otherwise though, my pregnancy has gone very smoothly. I had minimal nausea at the beginning and my main symptom was just being absolutely exhausted. During most of my first trimester, I napped when JB napped just to be able to get to bedtime without falling asleep standing up. As I hit the second trimester I slowly began getting more energy back and feel like I’m finally in a good space- although I don’t turn down a nap if I can find the time! I haven’t had many other symptoms yet and for that I am so grateful. I did bust out the pregnancy pillow last night as I can start to feel myself getting a bit more uncomfortable and achy but otherwise feeling good! 

We found out we were expecting a girl a few weeks ago which was such exciting news! Hubby and I actually did an at home blood test when I was about 8 weeks along and it also said girl, but I wasn’t fully willing to believe it until I had it confirmed via ultrasound. JB may not know what’s coming, but we are very excited to be adding a little girl into the family. 

Don’t let his face fool you, JB loved it! It was just very sunny up there.

We had my parents in town not long ago as well and got to do some sightseeing in our own city. There have been several things in the area we’ve been wanting to do and my parents hadn’t had a chance to see much of our city either so it was the perfect opportunity. We decided to go checkout the incline railway. It is a super steep ride up Lookout Mountain and you are greeted with some beautiful views at the top! And of course a stop at Clumpies ice cream was a must! 

JB was a huge fan of ice cream and it kept him occupied while we waited for the train.

We took a day trip over to Knoxville recently and took JB to the zoo. We have family in the area and so we got to see my grandmother and aunt and uncle and then enjoy a day at the zoo seeing all the animals. JB LOVES animals so he really enjoyed it! 

And just before we got hit with HFMD we celebrated my 33rd birthday. We mostly took it easy, which was honestly exactly what I needed. I got to sleep in a bit thanks to hubby, read a whole book during JB’s two naps, do my nails and just relax. We also got to have a date night just mom and dad. It was our first time leaving our little one with a sitter and it went great! It was so nice to be able to go out and celebrate together and just enjoy some one-on-one time that can feel few and far between in this season. 


So while a lot of days have been filled with exhaustion, crankiness, illness and cleaning/sanitizing, there are so many moments of joy, and excitement as we walk towards the next season of our family. I’m so grateful for the little life we’re building, even on the days that are hard. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to squeeze in several more posts between now and baby girl’s arrival to keep up with both the excitement and the day to day of life. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

One Year

I am obviously extremely behind in getting this one posted…seeing as baby boy is now almost closer to 14 months then 12. Whoops! It has been crazy around here and I keep trying to work on this draft and getting side tracked by other things. But let me just tell you that our first year with this little guy was nothing short of delightful. He is truly the sweetest, most precious little guy and we are just so lucky he’s ours. 


Weight: 23.5 lbs putting him in the 70% for his weight. He is still delightfully round with the sweetest cheeks and solid thighs and I’ll be so sad to start seeing those little baby rolls fade away as he looks more and more like a little boy and less and less like a baby.

Height: 29.5 inches…he grew 10.5 inches this year :) But he is still hanging in the 30% for his height. 

Likes: Walking…he is on the move! And now that he’s figured it out, he is loving his new found freedom with this new mode of transportation. And we are busy as ever chasing him around. He also still loves to be outside- pulling/pushing his lawnmower, playing in the water table, digging in the dirt, swinging, going for a walk, he loves it all. He loves to run at me to give a hug and likes to climb all over everything. He loves to look at books, and play with his toy tool box. He loves to climb the stairs and play with Bo as much as Bo will allow. He likes to play peek-a-boo in his tunnel or with his hands (he puts them over his ears instead of his eyes and I can’t get enough). He loves to say Bo, ball and dada and loves to eat snack especially fruit of any and all kinds. He loves music and will bounce to the beat and as always still loves his nightly bath. 

Dislikes: I honestly can’t think of many because he is just the happiest little guy. I mean he still doesn’t love having his face wiped and every now and then diaper changes lead to a fit but mostly if he’s unhappy it’s because he’s tired, hungry or not feeling well. I have noticed a little bit of frustration as not getting what he wants start to come out so I’m sure we’re entering that phase now that he’s a little more aware of what’s going on around him but he is still usually soothed pretty quickly. 

Eating, Sleeping, Playing:

He is doing better with his early mornings and is usually pretty consistently sleeping till at least 6, often closer to 6:15/6:30 even depending on when he went to bed. That may not sound late but we’ve had a lot of mornings that started before 6 so as long as we make it to 6 I’m pretty happy. He usually goes to bed around 7:30, give or take a little on either side but that is his sweet spot. And he is still napping twice a day, usually around 9:30 and 3ish just depending on our schedule that day. He is a champion napper at this point, and we’re very lucky! I’m hoping he’ll want to move to one nap in the next few months but this is working for now so we’re not messing with it. He eats 3 meals a day plus snacks, has dropped all formula feeds and gets regular milk now. He loves most food and is overall a pretty good eater. He’s been going through some phases of less eating some weeks and more others, wanting to boycott meat for a while then right back to it but all in all he eats well and we’re hoping he keeps it up! Some of his favorites are bananas, clementines, berries, broccoli, sweet potatoes, peas, corn and carrots. Loves the produce! Some of his favorite things to play with right now are his little toy toolbox/shape sorter, his sports balls, stuffed animals like his monkey, reading lots and lots of books, his toy lawnmower and tractor outside and bubbles. 

Favorite Moment of the Month: 

His birthday party of course! I wrote all about his birthday party in a blog post I wrote for Caden Lane, so feel free to check that out here. But we had a farm themed party for him, complete with a petting zoo. He loves animals and was so excited to see all the animals in his yard. And definitely loved the cake. We loved getting to celebrate our guy with so many people that love him and us so well. 

I honestly can’t believe we’re here. We have a toddler! The year was simultaneously the longest, fastest year of my life. I loved every minute, even the ones I wished would hurry up. I feel so lucky to be his mom and while part of me mourns the infant stage that we’re leaving behind. I know I will find even more joy around the corner in this next season.