14 February 2018
Friends, on this day of love, I’m so happy to share that our hearts are growing and growing!
We are overjoyed that another little baby will be joining our family in August! YAY, indeed!!
It seems like it might be easier to take a second baby in stride, but knowing how precious our sweet girl is to us makes me even more grateful for and awestruck by this blessing. It was hard to imagine what our love for a child would feel like before we had June, and certainly how much fun it would be to be a mama — but now I know!! This time around, I’ve loved anticipating all of the good stuff that’s coming (like movement soon!), and it’s been nice to feel a little more prepared for the hard stuff, too.
That being said, keeping my expectations low has been my biggest challenge so far with baby number two. Y’all know how I feel about expectations – I live and die by them, as there are few things that more strongly affect my happiness and overall life satisfaction.
Last time around, pregnancy and life with a newborn was pretty much a gigantic blank slate. Specifically, I never had illusions about how wonderful the newborn phase would be. In fact, I expected it to be hard, frustrating, and exhausting, with a steep learning curve. I wasn’t depressed about this; I just figured it would be something we’d have to get through, and it would get better every day.
And then, we got a dream angel baby who did all the things. And it was SO WONDERFUL! Because I had low expectations, every good thing felt like a revelation. Even the smallest victories and happy moments were a delight.
For me, the key to repeat this experience again is not to have another dream angel baby (though I wouldn’t be mad about that!), it’s to again have truly low expectations. Easier said than done, but I am committed to experiencing this pregnancy and new little for just who he or she is!
Alright — on to the things you really want to know! :)
How do you feel? At 15 weeks, I am feeling good, though still tired in the evenings especially! The week we found out was truly awful – I had terrible back pain (something I’d never even heard of as a pregnancy malady!) and spent pretty much the whole week moaning and nauseous on the coach. John made an emergency run to Target for ginger tea, an extra heating pad, sea-bands, chicken noodle soup, and all the rest — we joked that the cashiers surely must have thought we were first-time expecting parents :) Since that week, though, it has been smooth sailing, with very little queasiness or anything else to complain about!
Are you going to find out whether it’s a boy or a girl? Yes! Yes yes yes. We can’t wait to find out in just a few weeks! My very favorite consignment sale is actually at 19 weeks and 3 days, and I’m considering using my one-time pregnancy diva card to schedule our ultrasound appointment a bit early, ha! My shopping needs will be very different based on the results, so I feel like this is justified :)
Does June know? We have talked about the baby in front of her, but haven’t really had a sit-down chat, and she’s never brought up the subject independently. I don’t think she understands much at this point. I’m sure we will be discussing her big sister status more intentionally as my due date gets closer and there is a belly to point to!
I’ll end the same way I did my first pregnancy announcement. We are grateful. We are trusting in God, who has equipped us with everything we need and has chosen us uniquely for this baby. We are trusting in each other, as we have for the last thirteen years. And we are trusting that all that is to come is the continuation of a beautiful story. Looking forward to sharing it, friends!! Happy Valentine’s Day :)
Biggest thank yous to our dear friend Graham of Anagram Photo for these sweet photos of our growing family!! He snapped them in his backyard a few weeks ago and then Sam served us the most delicious lo mein for lunch, so all around it was a blue ribbon day :)
5 June 2017
My dear friend Kristin (she of the recent baby shower) recently asked for my thoughts on our five must-have baby registry items, as well as five items we wish we hadn’t registered for. I’ve written several posts about our baby favorites (six weeks, five months, eight months, one year, fifteen months), but it was a fun challenge to narrow things down to the absolute essentials! Since Kristin is having twins, I’m sure it feels like extra pressure to choose the right things (times two!), so I was happy to offer a few opinions. Here they are, and I’d love to hear what you think, too!
Five must-have baby registry items:
1. An Ergo. From her fifth day of life to about a year old, June rode in our Ergo 360 several times a week, if not every day. It was our baby wearing apparatus of choice by far – comfortable for both John and I to wear and satisfactory to June. She even rode in it at several photo shoots!
2. A Rock and Play. The Rock and Play has been called baby crack, and I don’t disagree. June slept in this for almost all naps and overnight from birth to about five months, and I credit it with forming solid sleep skills from the start. I was worried that the slight incline and vibration would spoil her for crib sleeping, but when it was time to transition, she did so with nary a peep.
3. Water Wipes. My sisters-in-law recommended these super gentle wipes as being perfect for the first few weeks, but we’ve been using them for 17+ months and are still going strong! I love that they are literally just water and some fruit extracts, and they never pill or tear.
4. Swaddle Me swaddles. After we stopped swaddling June in the hospital blankets, we moved on to the Swaddle Me. I’m not convinced it’s the best option out there, but it’s the best one we found and I’d definitely recommend them! We did have to buy a new one each month because the velcro wore out and she was able to bust free, but they’re priced reasonably enough and work well enough that we were willing to do it.
5. The Ikea high chair. To me, this high chair is pretty much the apex of form, function, and price. It is sleek, not overwhelming in a space, super easy to clean, and $20 (!!!!!). Winner on all fronts. There are lots of cute stores on Etsy (like this one) that sell cushion covers and tray place mats if you want to jazz it up a little, too.
Honorable mentions: Our stroller (we LOVE it, but I think strollers really need to fit your lifestyle and so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend ours to everyone), the Lotus travel crib and bassinet conversion kit (again, LOVE it, but maybe only worth the investment if you travel a lot!), and these cloths (love them, but, well, they’re just cloths :))
Five items we wish we hadn’t registered for:
1. Cold weather gear. We registered for (and received) a fleece bundler, several hats, several mittens, and a fleece car seat cover. We live in North Carolina, for goodness sake! While we did use the hats and mittens, we never needed the bundler or car seat cover even though June was born in the winter. I think they were purchased because they were so darn cute, but I kind of wish I’d prioritized registering for items that we would have used more often.
2. Wubba nub. June never seemed to need a pacifier, so the cute Wubba Nub we registered for and received is still in its packaging. I know tons of folks love these guys, but we clearly could have waited to see if it was necessary instead of registering for one.
3. A kind-of-ugly activity gym. We got this one, which is fine and June liked it, but there are much prettier ones out there! If I had a do-over, I’d definitely go for this Land of Nod one.
4. Velvet hangers. We fold almost all of June’s clothes, so we very rarely use hangers — and when we do, I prefer plastic or wooden, because everything gets stuck on the velvet ones (which I know is the point, but turns out it’s annoying in practice!). Lesson learned: try to decide how you’ll set up the nursery before you register.
5. Diaper pail. When we didn’t receive the pail we’d registered for, we decided to forgo one altogether. All diapers go in our kitchen step trash can, which has worked perfectly for us!
Kristin and I would love to hear your baby must-haves, if you’re a mama!
Affiliate links are used in this post!
8 May 2017
My dear friend Kristin is pregnant with TWINS! These babies are long-awaited and eagerly anticipated — and personally, two of the miracles I have most steadfastly prayed for. It makes sense that they have also been much celebrated! Last week I got to be a part of throwing Kristin’s first mini shower, and we came up with a fun game I wanted to pass along. Baby shower games can be so cheesy and lame, but this one was a definite crowd pleaser!
My friend Jess and I brainstormed twenty questions and printed up a simple score card. The questions were:
1. Who was the more well-behaved child?
2. Who asked who out on your first date?
3. Who said “I love you” first?
4. Who cried more on your wedding day?
5. Who is the better gift giver?
6. Who will be more intense about researching baby items?
7. Who will be more nervous in the delivery room?
8. Who will be the master swaddler?
9. Who will change more diapers?
10. Who is more likely to forget the babies somewhere?
11. Who will call their mom most often for advice or encouragement?
12. Who will be more likely to enforce the rules?
13. Who will have better voices when reading stories?
14. Who will plan the twins’ birthday parties?
15. Who will be the more laid-back parent?
16. Who will help with math homework?
17. Who will insist board games be played by the rules, even if the twins always lose?
18. Who will do the driving on family road trips?
19. Who is more likely to be an overenthusiastic sideline parent?
20. Who will cry more on college move-in day?
I read the questions one by one, and everyone wrote down either Kristin or Kyle for their answer. Then, we asked Kristin what her answer was, and if you got the same answer, you got a point!
For extra fun, I had also sent Kyle the list of questions in advance and he had recorded his answers on video, which we played after each of Kristin’s answers. (I asked him to record each one in a separate clip, name them according to the question, and upload them to Dropbox to keep it simple!) Kyle’s answers were SO sweet; I think incorporating the dad in some surprise way is always so fun and meaningful for the mama!
Any other baby shower games or activities you’d recommend? There are surprisingly few good ones and I’m always eager for suggestions!
P.S. We were at Making Things Happen when Kristin told us the news, so our wonderful photographer friend Amy Nicole caught it on camera. So good!
P.P.S. For those of you who know about my extreme skill at guessing baby genders – I am thinking two girls for Kristin!! But, I do admit I have never guessed twins before… we shall see! :)
8 May 2016
What more fitting day to share the story of June’s birth than my first Mother’s Day? I am so grateful for the little muffin who made me a mama, so grateful for this story, and so grateful for the One who wrote it. Thank you for allowing me to share!
Throughout my pregnancy, I never really knew what to say when friends asked how things were going. Aches and pains? Not really. Cravings? Nope. Complications? Nothing to report! Thankfully, the whole process was blissfully “boring,” and for that I am grateful. However, we did get our dose of excitement at the very end, starting at my 38-week appointment on January 4…
Two weeks earlier, at my 36-week appointment, my doctor reported that June was head down and that I was not dilated. I opted not to get checked at 37 weeks, and so was curious to see what we’d find at 38. After a quick check, he relayed that I still wasn’t dilated. He also said I was measuring small, and so decided to do an ultrasound. Thankfully, the ultrasound showed that June looked great and that the amniotic fluid was adequate. Unfortunately, it also showed that she was in a breech position.
To be safe, he had me take a non-stress test (which I passed with flying colors – yay!). (For those who aren’t familiar with a non-stress test, in my case, it involved sitting in a comfy armchair and getting hooked up to a fetal heartbeat monitor for 20 minutes. Despite the stressful circumstances, it was quite peaceful sitting there and listening to her!) My doctor also scheduled me for another check a few days later, on January 7… and scheduled a c-section for the following week, a few days before my due date. (I was NOT pleased about this for many reasons, but he didn’t want me to go full term because of the risk of cord prolapse if my water were to break on its own.)
My emotions were a little strange at this point. I still believed there was a chance June could flip (after all, she apparently had flipped between 36 and 38 weeks!), and my doctor had said that if she flipped at any point before the c-section, we would call it off and let things proceed naturally. So in between working harder than ever to wrap up things at work and keeping John, our families, and our doula up to date, I drank TONS of water (I knew low amniotic fluid would be a reason for an immediate c-section, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to stay extra hydrated), and tried some of the moves to encourage flipping on this site. Without a definite “yes, you ARE having a c-section,” I couldn’t or wouldn’t wrap my head around that possibility and wanted to remain hopeful that I would have the birth we’d been imagining and for which we’d been planning. On the positive side, this meant I remained quite calm; on the negative, it meant I was pretty much in denial.
Thursday rolled around, and I was pretty sure June had not changed position – she felt the same as she always had, and they had warned me that if she did flip it would probably be fairly painful. My appointment was at 9am, and this time, John came with me.
It all happened pretty quickly — my doctor took a look at the ultrasound, confirmed she was still breech, and then told us that my amniotic fluid was too low and that we had to head to the hospital, because she was going to be delivered by c-section that day.
And then I started to cry. I felt very powerless at that moment — I wasn’t a doctor, so it wasn’t like I could look at the ultrasound and argue that no, it actually would be okay to wait a few more days. I knew if she was breech she would have to be delivered by c-section, but I did not feel at all prepared for it to happen that day. I wanted a few more days to wrap things up at home and at work, and to wrap my mind around what was happening. As I sobbed in the car outside the doctor’s office to John, I just kept saying, “I’m not ready, I’m not ready.” I also was very concerned that June would be small and unhealthy, which I think stemmed from my doctor saying she was measuring small and also that she would be delivered before 39 weeks. (I had actually said to John the day before, “What if she’s only four pounds when she’s born??” Not terribly likely, but that was where my head was at.)
That half hour was my most intense mourning period for the birth that might have been. I had thought I was going into labor with open hands, but it had never occurred to me that I might have a c-section. I had done a lot to mentally and physically prepare myself for labor, and I was looking forward to experiencing it with John by my side. I wanted this ultimate and uniquely womanly experience, painful though it might be. And besides, everything I had read about c-sections (which admittedly was not much) made them seem bad, painful, and almost shameful — plus with a terrible recovery to boot.
Eventually I regained my composure just a bit, and John called our doula to let her know what was going on. She encouraged us to go home before heading to the hospital, which we did. We had brought some of our hospital supplies with us to the appointment, but only halfheartedly, as again, we didn’t really think we’d be admitted that day. We spent about an hour at home, finishing packing and getting the cats prepared for a few days without us. I also took a shower and re-did my makeup, telling myself I was going to flip the switch on a positive attitude and put the kibosh on crying. We took this photo right outside the hospital:
Of course, tears again sprang to my eyes as we checked in (“this is not how I thought it would be!”), and then again when the nurse showed us to our room on the delivery floor. After she shut the door behind us to let us get settled, I asked John to pray over all three of us, which he did. When our poor nurse returned and started going through the intake procedures, I again started to cry. She was confused at first, but so kind and encouraging after we told her a bit about our circumstances. Thankfully, those were my final sad tears of the day :) Two things she said that began to help turn my outlook around: you can always have a VBAC next time, and you’re going to meet your daughter today! We also texted our families to let them know what was going on, and their love and enthusiasm helped us get more excited and lifted the emotional weight a bit.
The next two hours passed fairly quickly as I had blood drawn, got hooked up to the fetal heartbeat monitor, received two bags of fluid through an IV, was briefed by the anesthesiologist, and had to drink a nasty liquid to avoid reflux during surgery, among other preparations. We got to listen to our girl’s heartbeat the whole time, which was the best soundtrack we could ask for. Then, after a last check via ultrasound to make sure she was still breech, John and I walked back to the operating room hand in hand.
We parted ways at the door, as husbands have to wait outside and get suited up in full sterile gear while the final preparations take place. I took my seat on the operating table under the bright lights and realized I felt very calm. This, I believe, was a supernatural peace, one that I was so grateful to receive… I don’t believe it was a coincidence I had declared “peace” my word for 2016 just a few days earlier.
So there I sat in my bubble of peace as all sorts of people bustled around me – there must have been ten different ladies and gents in there, from the surgical assistants to the nurse anesthetist to the baby nurse. One gave me two heated blankets to keep warm since it was so cold, and then our anesthesiologist put in the spinal block, which wasn’t painful. They lowered me back onto the table, put up the surgical drape, and before I knew it, they got started and John showed up next to my head, squeezing my hand.
The first sensation I remember feeling was what felt like someone roughly kneading my stomach. This was not pleasant. After just a few minutes, though, we heard a little gurgly cry!!! June was immediately brought to the warmer, and John left my side to go to hers. He reappeared a minute later, assuring me that she was “so cute!!” Another wave of relief washed over me, as I figured if he was talking about her level of cuteness, she probably had two arms, two legs, and weighed more than four pounds :)
We had asked for as prompt and as much skin to skin time as possible, and thankfully our hospital was receptive to this. June was placed on my chest just a few minutes after she was born, while they were still delivering the placenta (I think? Couldn’t see, so I’m not really sure what was happening down there that whole time!). Unfortunately, a few minutes later, I started to gag (a side effect of the anesthesia), so they took June back over to the warmer briefly. They used the time to clean her up a bit more and take some measurements, then brought her back to me once I had stabilized. We stayed that way for maybe half an hour more, admiring our sweet girl and marveling at what had just happened. She was here! She was beautiful! She was healthy!!
As I think back on June’s birthday, I find so much beauty in it all, but especially in this: that morning, I was so desperate to delay her arrival by just a few more days. As soon as we met her, though, I wouldn’t have wanted to delay her arrival by even a minute. Perfect timing, indeed.
Happy Mother’s Day to the mamas, the moms-to-be, and the mothers at heart.