My Precious Evelyn

To my dear, sweet, perfect Evelyn,

Do you know how incredibly precious you are to me little girl? Oh my! Truly, words fail, but in true Stephanie fashion, I’m going to try and let a slew of flowery words describe how I feel about you. You are such a joy, Evelyn!! As much as I do remember life before you (because it really was so sweet!), I don’t even think about what happened before you were here, because you fit so perfectly and sweetly into our family, it was as if something was missing from our story before you were written into it.

I am a true second-time mom with you, as you can totally tell by lack of monthly updates, ha! But, my sweet baby, rest assured, I am HEAD OVER HEELS, ABSOLUTELY CRAZY, IN LOVE with you!

I’ll be honest and admit that I was expecting you to be a very chill, laid back baby. Lydia was pretty mellow and always happy, and you were the second kid, so I thought you’d follow suit. I was wrong ūüėČ You had a hard first month. Please know that I am not complaining…but you did not get the memo about being chill. You cried a lot, but really, not without reason. You loved (love) to be held and to eat. If I can quickly comply with either of these requests, you are a happy girl, but if and when you needed to remind me that you’d rather be eating or being held, you let me know you were not pleased. I will also say that you liked to be held by ME. You really like your mama…which is perfect because I really like you too!

You are now four months old and although you still like what you like (being held ranks very high up on your list!), you are also so stinking joyful! You feel your emotions deeply, but thankfully, you are happy and excited so much of the day! You smile with your whole body and making you laugh is one of my favorite things ever! When you do cry, you really get your lower lip into it and stick it out so pitifully! And the tears…oh my gosh! Girl, you can be dra-ma, but you are also so easily soothed. Your favorite place to be is still my arms, and I’m soaking in your sweet little body before it gets too big and mobile!

You love to sleep, and will typically give me a few cat naps and one long nap during the day. You’re ready for bed about 7 pm, but often don’t actually get put to bed until after 8 pm. You are still swaddled, but you try to break out like a crazy person. If and when you get your little hand gets free, you cannot help but flail it around and desperately try to suck on your fingers. You wake yourself totally up and only go back to sleep once you are swaddled once again. You are sleeping in the Rock N Play in our room, and I typically lay down with you to nurse you to sleep. You CAN put yourself to sleep, but I actually really like the forced time to stop the rest of our life and just focus on you. We don’t really get a lot of uninterrupted time just the two of us, so being able to put you to sleep is one of the best parts of my day. You still wake about every 3 hours during the night, but after your first wake up, I lay you beside me and we sleep well next to each other. You’ll easily sleep until 9 or 10 if you get to snack every little while in the morning. Pair that with your daddy coming home after his shift and making Lydia breakfast, you and I get to be lazy-bones-joneses every once in a while and it is lovely!

As much as everyone tells us you are tiny, you feel huge compared to your sister! You are nearly out of 3 month clothes, and a slew of blow outs caused me to move you up to size 2 diapers already! You hated the bottle with a passion when I first went back to work (we even had you evaluated by a Speech Pathologist because you’d gag so badly!), but now you easily take 17-18 ounces of milk while I’m gone. I’m typically pumping 16 or 17 ounces, so I’m able to meet your need pretty well if I add a few pumps in throughout the week. You love to nurse and you do so frequently during the day. I still have a pretty forceful letdown, so you occasionally struggle with that and I cannot leave the house without breast pads!

You’ve been quite the social butterfly and have enjoyed visits from all 3 sets of grandparents!

I went back to work right at 12 weeks and you’ve had great days with daddy, grandma Phyllis, our wonderful babysitter (Miss Stephanie) and our fantastic nanny. Mostly your daddy and I juggle our schedule, and I will forever thank Jesus that we are able to allow me to only work part time! I am currently only signing up for my 7 shifts a month. The more chaotic and busy our life gets, the more valuable it is for me to be home to help our lives continue to run smoothly. That is not to say I am a very good homemaker, but life does sure seem to flow better when I am at home!

I started this post nearly a month ago! Life is BUSY!! You sure keep me on my toes my sweet girl, but you are so, so worth it! Part of me feel so badly that I haven’t been able to document every little detail of your life the way I was with Lydia, but my darling baby, please don’t ever think it is because I am any less crazy about you! I simply only have so much to give, and sitting down to document the precious details of your days is just not a priority. Plus, it’s pretty hard to type while holding a squirming baby. I can tell you that your favorite activity of all time is being held, and I am happy to oblige you as much as possible. Side note, mama is getting pretty good at doing things one handed…cooking…chopping…blow drying…texting…grocery shopping…

Evelyn Margaret, you are feisty, and strong willed, and hard, but I am absolutely smitten with you! You bring me so much joy and my heart literally starts to hurt because I love you so much. Thank you for being my baby. My girl. My sweet, sweet stinker. I love you with every bit of me.

xoxoxo

Mama

 

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Welcome Sweet Evelyn!

Well good gracious, I’ve fallen off the face of the blog-o-sphere again! I had high hopes of actually documenting the end of my second pregnancy, but right at 34 weeks (33 and 6, actually), this spunky little lady tried to make her grand entrance and I spent a weekend in the hospital (I should really write about that experience! I’ll sum it up though: Ben is an amazing partner and I am so glad he is the father of my children and, also, I’m SO THANKFUL I did not have a 34 week baby. So thankful!) and after that, I spent the next few weeks laying low and enjoying as much time with my big girl as possible.

The last few weeks of growing this baby were so sweet. I was so painfully aware that this beautiful season of just Lydia and mommy were ending. We had playdates, went for coffee, watched movies and spent many afternoons snuggling together with a much-needed mommy-daughter nap. I tried my very best to revel in our one-on-one time and I loved every second.

Eventually, however, I was ready to be not pregnant anymore. We had two things we wanted to check off before sister came, Frozen on Ice and Halloween, but after that, I was READY. Ben started his FMLA on November 1st and his parents were coming the 10th, so I needed to get this baby out! Plus, it’s really painful to be more pregnant with your second baby than you ever were with your first! I started the last 5 days with “I’ve never been this pregnant before!” (Um…dramatic much??)

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The day of my 39 week appointment (at 39 & 4) I spent the morning yelling “GET OUT” to my belly and feeling about 1,000 months pregnant. When my Midwife asked if I wanted to schedule an induction, I said “Yes!” as quickly as possible and we scheduled one for Sunday (40 & 1). When I left the hospital after my pre-term labor, I was 2 cm and 90% effaced, when my MW checked me at this appointment, I was 2.5 cm and 90%. I had been having no contractions and didn’t feel like anything was going to happen anytime soon. The MW “lightly” stripped my membranes and¬†I took myself on a date for a “I’m-still-so-freaking-pregnant” milkshake.

On the way home from my appointment (about 4 pm), I noticed a bit of cramping, but it was not painful and it was pretty far apart. I was encouraged though, that during the 45 minute drive home the cramps continued. I arrived home to a sleeping family at home, so I decided to pump for a bit to see if it would encourage these cramps to progress to something good. I didn’t necessarily have much luck with just pumping, but when Ben woke up, he suggested we skip our small group and opt for a long walk instead (I think my¬†crazy pregnant lady eyes were freaking him out!). About 6:30 pm Lydia, Ben and I bundled up and took a few mile walk. We grabbed dinner and ice cream, where I had my second frozen treat of the day, because: so freaking pregnant.

The cramping had continued on our walk, and they were coming a bit more consistently and by 10 pm I was encouraged that maybe these cramps would progress to actual contractions and not just putter out like I thought they would. Suddenly, I had this weight on me that I needed to hold Lydia. I haven’t held and rocked her to sleep in forever, but tonight, I needed to. So, Ben played video games and I savored my sweet girl as she fell asleep on my lap for the last time as my only little love. I put her into her bed at 11 pm and spent an hour on the exercise ball. At midnight, I noticed I was having to stop what I was doing because my cramps were turning into painful contractions. They were about 30 seconds long and 5 minutes apart. Ben started to take notice at this time, and he decided it was time to pack his bag (mine had been packed for weeks). By 1 am we were both totally packed and all of our stuff was by the door and we were going to try and go to bed.

I was having trouble focusing on much anything other than how uncomfortable the contractions were and found only a little bit of relief if I was rocking on the exercise ball. My sleeping was out of the question. By 2 am, my contractions were averaging just over 3 minutes apart and they were painful. Ben was getting nervous because prior to this point, I didn’t feel super rushed, nor did I seem to think getting Hannah here to watch Lydia was urgent. But, he recognized my more guttural grunts and groans and knew our time was close (his eyes were as wide as saucers when he said “I remember these noises. This is how you sounded last time!”). We made the decision to call Hannah and ask her to come because it did seem as though I was indeed in labor and our girl was coming (in hindsight it’s so crazy that I am so unaware how close I am to actually meeting my babies!). Considering our 45 minute drive to the hospital, my Midwife had instructed us to head to the hospital when my contractions were 3 minutes apart, or definitely by the time I started throwing up.

Ben went to get gas in the truck and I had the super strong urge to call my mama because I knew only she would get what I was going through at that moment. Suddenly, I felt so sad that I was leaving Lydia. Not the actual fact that I was leaving Lydia at our house, but that I was effectively changing her life forever. She went to bed as my only baby, and she had no clue that she’d wake up with another person stealing my attention and my heart. My poor girl! It was nearly 3 am and I woke my mom from sleep, but she encouraged me, in the way only a mom can, and we chatted between contractions until Ben got home. I vaguely remember her being a bit squealy and excited every time I groaned in pain…I was not echoing her exuberance ūüėČ

Right after 3 am Hannah walked in the door, and as I heard her enter, I ran to the bathroom to lose my stomach. I proceeded to throw up three times and I think my husband was as white as a sheet as he practically threw me in the car!

Things were starting to get really intense and I was feeling all the pressure of the baby’s little body in my lower back. I couldn’t position myself in a way to offer relief, especially in the truck! I had 9+ contractions on the ride to the hospital, and my sweet husband made the 45 minute drive in just under 30 minutes. How he was able to safely drive, I don’t know, but I’m so glad he did. He dropped me off at the entrance to the ER as he parked the truck, and as I walked in, a contraction hit and I couldn’t help but cry out during the whole thing. Talk about making an entrance! I think I said something like “I’m here!” and tried to play it off like I was totally in control, but I most certainly was not! The receptionist called L&D and a few minutes after Ben arrived, the nurse came down to get us settled in a labor room. I bellowed down the hallway as my contractions hit, and they were coming more and more frequently.

As luck would have it, my Midwife was on call that night and when I saw her I gave her stripping skills props for starting this whole process! I got settled into my room and when the MW checked me, I was 6 cm and 90%. I felt like I was doing a whole lot of work for only 6 cm! “We’ll have a baby soon!” my Midwife said and I clung onto the phrase: “Second babies just fly out!” but I felt like I was doing a lot of work for a baby that was supposed to be flying.

The nurse could not get an IV in me, nor could the other 2 that tried (well, one nurse did get one, but then she proceeded to forget to tape the darn thing to my skin and then when I told her it wasn’t secure, she pulled it out as she was assessing it. I wanted to cry!). I was sitting on the exercise ball with Ben in a chair behind me applying pressure to my lower back as they were poking. The contractions were over a minute long and coming with only 30 second breaks in between and I felt like I was being ripped open along my spine. It was absolutely awful! After about an hour (right around 5 am), they checked me and I was only 6.5 cm! I started to get so frustrated! I was in so much pain and that 0.5 cm was such discouraging progress! They decided to bring the on-call anesthesiologist in to try for an IV and I was just hoping for a little relief in the form of a little dose of Fentanyl.

The anesthesiologist got the IV on the first try and while she was working, I asked how long it would take for me to get an epidural and feel relief. She promised me relief in 45 minutes, and when I realized the little dose of Fentanyl I was finally able to get did nothing except make my eyes dizzy, I decided I needed a break from the pain and asked for the epidural.

My midwife entered the room a few minutes later and asked me to get in the bed so she could check me before we proceeded with the epidural. “I just can’t do this anymore” I said to Susan (the MW) as she helped me in the bed and she smiled and said something along the lines of “I know, that’s what I wanted to hear!”(It’s probably so much easier to recognize transition when you’re not actually in transition!)

The doctor wheeled her drug cart into the room as Susan was checking me, but Susan quickly waved her out and said “You can take that away, we don’t need it. You’re 8.5 and complete, let’s have a baby!”

I was in shock! I didn’t feel any different or like I had any progress, but I was just ready to be done! During my appointment earlier, Susan and I had discussed how I wanted to labor and what positions would help me avoid tearing. She was strongly advocating for birthing while on all 4’s on the bed and other positions that would offer less pressure on the perineum. However, at this moment, when I was ready to start pushing, she changed a bit and her business became about getting this baby out. I don’t know why she asked me to push this way, but I can only trust that it was to allow me to safely birth my baby without damage to either of us.

I was having such bad back labor because the baby was posterior. I don’t know for sure, but I THINK I was able to start pushing and subsequently not deliver posteriorly because Susan helped finish off my cervix and helped turn the baby. Her and I never discussed the details of it, but I do know that I would not have had a natural birth without her help!

I was lying on my back in the bed and Susan instructed me to pull my knees up to the sides of my chest and bear down as hard as I could. I felt the baby engage and so much pain took over! I screamed, but Susan’s voice “Don’t yell! You can’t breathe when you yell!” broke through the deafening burning and as another contraction hit, with Ben and the nurse holding my legs, I took a breath and pushed with all of my might. With Lydia, I felt this intense, overwhelming need to push. I didn’t feel that this time. I was pushing with my own strength, without any help from my body. It was very different.

With the next contraction (#3), I had so much pressure and burning on my vagina I was sure I was about to rip in two! I reached down to put counter pressure on my labia when I felt something huge and squishy. In the chaos of my mind, I was horrified that my vagina had exploded or something! “What is that??” I panicked and asked Ben. Just like he was able to with Lydia, his words somehow made their way through my completely overwhelmed brain and he said “Babe, that’s her hair!” Until this point, I didn’t know I was close to delivering. That terrible feeling in my vagina? The ring of fire. What a fitting description!

With the next contraction, Susan told me to do a half push, and then, with a scream I could’t hold in, I heard “reach down and pull up your baby!” and I lifted my perfect little baby to my chest. OMG. Hallelujah! She was here! Her wails filled the room and I struggled to comprehend what had just happened. 15 minutes earlier I was going to get an epidural, and here, 4 contractions later, I was holding my baby!

Her cord was short so I couldn’t lift her higher than my belly, and as the chaos started to still, things were still sinking in with me. Everyone in the room was quietly working and I still had her on my belly. “What are we doing?” I asked Susan, because I really was totally unaware of what was going on, to which she told me they were letting the cord stop pulsing like I had wanted. It had been about 2 minutes, she said, so I said “Let’s cut it! I want to hold my baby!” and quick as anything, Ben had scissors in his hand and I was able to bring my sweet second daughter to my chest.

She gave us some beautifully strong cries, and then quietly settled onto my chest and began to nurse. She had a shallow latch, but seemed to know exactly what she was doing, and as the Midwife and her assistant stitched me up (I had another 2nd degree tear, which seems to have been a bit bigger than the first) I let myself soak in the beauty of that moment. I JUST HAD MY BABY!

There is truly nothing more awe-inspiring than that fact settling in. Both of my experiences of birth were so incredible, but during the actual birth, I am so unaware of any semblance of detail and fact. I’m just trapped in this whirlwind of chaos and pain and there is no establishing order. And then, with my baby on my chest, I can finally catch my breath and finally process the beautiful, incredible, amazing thing that just happened! It’s like the adrenaline settles and find myself in exhausted bliss. What an amazing experience!

 

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BabyBigTime #2 Born November 3rd, 2016 at 5:55 am, 7 lbs (even) & 19 3/4 inches

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13 Hours Difference!

13 Hours Difference!

 

After about an hour in the delivery room, they weighed and cleaned Evelyn and loaded us up and moved us to our room on Mother-Baby. After changing into my tank top and robe, I wrapped Evelyn (who was not yet named!) in a swaddle and laid down for a nap. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this baby yet…I think I was just too exhausted to really process any real emotions or comprehend the fact that this tiny human was indeed mine, just the same way her sister was. I really just needed a bit of sleep.¬†Despite that, I wasn’t ready to stop touching this baby, so I swaddled her up and laid her in my bed and finally fell asleep with my head on her still little body.

After a short while, the pediatrician came in to do his assessment of my new baby. He politely asked if he could examine her, and as I handed my sweet babe to him and her placed her in the bassinet (that was RIGHT NEXT TO my bed), I had this overwhelming feeling of love! All of a sudden, I knew that I NEEDED her and that she was so completely mine!! I felt like I couldn’t breathe and it took all of my mind to remain composed as he did his quick assessment. The second he shut the door after leaving, I scooped her back up into my arms and the enormity of love and gratitude filled me up and I savored her sweet body against mine.

Ben slept for a bit longer and I texted family and friends. Ben eventually woke up and we began the process of narrowing our 12 (yes 12!!) names down to 3. Lydia was coming shortly to meet her sister and we knew she needed to know her name!

As much as Lydia had been a part of experiencing my pregnancy with me, I really didn’t how she’d act when she met her baby sister for the first time. When Hannah texted saying she had arrived, I put Evelyn in the bassinet and made sure the photo we had brought of Lydia was taped against the side so Lydia would see it when she arrived. Ben met the girls in the hallway and waiting for them to get to the room was the longest moments of my life! I was anxious and excited and nervous! I did think Lydia would want to see me right away, but no, my tutu-clad girl pushed the door open and said “Where is the baby?” as her eyes began frantically darting around the room. She spotted the bassinet and ran over to look at the baby. She didn’t want to hold or touch her, and she really didn’t want anything to do with me, either. I proceeded to scoop her up anyways, but she quickly retreated to the couch in the room with her iPad and cookie I had saved for her. Ben and I visited with Hannah as Lydia took a little time to observe and process in her own way.

We were able to engage her a bit when we started talking names and she enjoyed being a part of the process. Although she wasn’t crazy about our choices (and she was less than impressed that we weren’t going to choose Anna – and change her to Elsa…a request she made multiple times!), she did eventually concede when we decided on Evelyn Margaret. We didn’t tell her that Margaret was after Ben’s grandmother and NOT¬†Daniel Tiger’s little sister ūüėČ

Evelyn means “wished for child” and she most certainly was. Oh, how I wish and prayed for her, and as He always does, God was so faithful! Our perfect and precious Evelyn was such an answer to so many prayers.

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The girls visited for a while, and then Ben took them to dinner at Chik-fil-A in order to spend a little fun time with Lydia and to get me a milkshake (I was on a roll!). I ordered my own dinner and cleaned myself up a bit and then just sat on the bed and enjoyed the stillness with my newest baby. My sweet, perfect, completely wanted and absolutely prayed for, Evelyn Margaret.

BakingBabyBigTime2.0: 32 Weeks

Well…surprise, surprise! Mama’s slacking and I have no bump photo this week. I’m also 5 days late posting this update, so I’ll just own it and try to post some pictures this weekend when we’re all fancied up for my sister’s wedding!

Size of Baby: Size of a squash! I think I said something cute about how Lydia would cost $15 dollars or something if I bought her at New Seasons. Funny how the budget is so different when you’re working full time and I spend all my extra money on cute things for my kid. I’d expect to pay more like $5 at Freddy’s for this baby – and I’d love eating it just as much as the expensive one from New Seasons! ūüėČ

Cravings/Diet: Well, I finally broke down into tears on the table at my Midwife’s office last week. I am so miserable and tired of the constant¬†discomfort in my bowels. Without going into too much detail, it’s been a constant and violent storm that switches between one extreme and the next – sometimes in the same day, which doesn’t even seem possible! She recommended I make some more dietary changes and have a salad every day and I’ve been trying. I’ve also been trying to cut out a ton of sugar, but really, there’s nothing as satisfying as an ice cream at the end of the day. As much as I want to say that I’ve made great dietary choices, I will fully admit that the $0.50 Frosty I treated Lydia and I to the other day was probably the best thing I’ve ever put into my mouth.

What I Love: BEING ON MATERNITY LEAVE!! I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders knowing I don’t have to go back to work. It was just getting to be too painful and I was so absolutely exhausted by the end of the day that I could hardly function to get myself home. Then, I’d spend the next day and a half on the couch just recovering from work. Ugh! Throw in my “I’ve gotta go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW” feelings, it was a miserable place for me to be and I feel like a whole new woman being home! Now, if only they process my freaking paperwork and my MW lets me stay out the whole time, I’ll really feel carefree!

What I Miss: Bending over without fire coming up my throat. Regular bowel movements. Tying my shoes.

What I’m Looking Forward to Most: Our family getaway¬†this weekend! My sister is getting married and we’re going to visit Crater Lake for a few days on the way home. Ben has been working like a mad-man lately and I’m so excited to spend some much-needed family time together, away from the looming to do list at the house and the constant demands of his job. For us to just enjoy being together. I’m so excited!

Worries: I had a growth ultrasound this past week to rule out sister being a little peanut like Lydia was, and they found that her right kidney is slightly dilated. I don’t really know what that means (not sure I want to google it) but I guess it often self-resolves. Either way, they want me to see a Perinatologist in the next few weeks to monitor progress and growth. I’m sure I will google it, and will probably have some moments of freaking out, but I’ll have to remind myself again and again the the Lord has a beautiful and perfect plan for this little girl, and whatever potential challenges come our way, we’ll take them with stride and will be so absolutely grateful for any and all moments we are given with her.

…ok…I just googled. Sounds like at worst it could be Hydronephrosis. I could totally deal with that. I sure as heck don’t want to have to, but in the grand scheme, we’d totally be ok.

Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, sciatic pain, round ligament pain, constant urination and a desire to watch an excessive amount of TV while mowing down on some ice cream. Seem to be following the “How to Be Pregnant” guide to a T!

Sleep: Last time I loved my Snoogle, and this time I want nothing to do with it! I am preferring a pillow for my head, on for my belly and one for my legs. Get those suckers tucked in just right and I’m out for the night…or for at least 3 hours until when I have to get up and use the restroom. Thankfully, I don’t even really notice these middle of they night trips to pee, they are just part of the routine and I go right back to sleep. I should also point out here that Lydia is maybe the world’s best kid and will easily entertain herself in the mornings and let me sleep until 8 or 8:30. She’s a gem!

Movement: Baby girl is head down and enjoys pushing her bootie out to my left and practicing lots of flutter kicks! Water polo star in the making??

The Belly: Large and In Charge! Much to my horror, the stretch marks keep coming (“why are those cracks on your body, mama?”), but watev, I’m just thankful for the opportunity to birth another baby. At the end of the day, really, truly, that is what matters most! Stretch marks, messed pants, and burning esophagus aside, I am just so blessed to get to be a mama!

Milestones: Hmmm…I bought a car seat base so now I actually have everything I “need”? Granted, everything is in the attic in boxes, but it is technically in my house, so that has to count!

Gender Predictions: We confirmed our little girl is very much a girl on her ultrasound last week – Ben may have been holding out hope for a change, but he’s pretty settled into the idea of two sweet, tutu wearing little humans in our house!

Best Moment of the Week: Last time I was pretty mushy with these, but this time, I’m too tired for mush. My best moment was at the chiropractor. She pulled out this ginormous pillow with holes for my head, boobs and belly and I got to lay on my stomach – painlessly! – while she rubbed my spine and worked on my lower back. I can’t wait to go back! I’m also considering booking an hour with that just that pillow!

Pictures to come!

 

Baking BabyBigTime2.0: 31 Weeks

Better late than never, right??

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Another pregnancy, another awkward bathroom photo!

Size of baby: Size of a coconut!

Cravings/Diet:¬†Since I have passed both of my Gestational Diabetes tests this pregnancy (hallelujah!), I’ve been a super terrible eater! Before I was pregnant, I was absolutely loving any roasted vegetables, but once that tiny little line popped up on my test, the very thought of vegetables is repulsive! It’s been a long, fiber-lacking 31 weeks! I have however, devoured any and all forms of carbohydrates, with very buttery english muffins being my carb of choice these days. I don’t even know how I’ve somehow broken even with my initial pregnancy weight (Oh, wait, yes I do…the early pregnancy bloat and weight gain was incredible and caused the intake nurse to point out many, many times that I was “obese”. GRRR…). Thankfully, I seem to be over my Hershey’s Cookie and Creme bar phase, and the dollar chicken sandwich phase of the first trimester is long gone as well.

 

What I love:¬†I really do love being pregnant! I love feeling this sweet girl move all around and I love going through the bit of baby things I’ve been collecting and imagining the tiny little peanut that will soon be using them. Newborns are just so intoxicating!

 

What I miss:¬†I miss beer. Like woah! It was a long summer to not have an icy cold one! La Croix just doesn’t cut it!

 

What I‚Äôm looking forward to the most:¬†¬†Maternity leave! This has been a much, much harder pregnancy than my first and I’m anxiously awaiting the day my Midwife releases me from work.

I’m also super looking forward to my sister’s wedding next weekend (what?!?!!) – BUT – not for reasons you’d expect…yes, yes, I’m excited for her actual wedding and I’m super happy for her, but today, right now, what I’m looking forward to most is the freaking In-N-Out cheeseburger that is calling my name! Oh yeah! Medford, OR has an In-N-Out and this preggo has a date with a Double-Double in her near future!

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Worries:¬† I worry so much that I’ll be messing up Lydia’s sweet little life when we bring the baby home. I know we are giving her the best gift by giving her a sister, but, in my moments of doubt, I worry about¬†how she will adjust. It hurts me to think that she will miss the first part of her life, where Ben and I had no one else to shower our affections upon. I worry she’ll miss me, or choose Ben more. Truth be told, every time I worry, I really do almost instantly see the opposite and am excited for the prospect of her being a big sister, of her bonding with her daddy more, of our family instantly expanding with more and more love. I am so excited for every little thing, but I do worry too.
Symptoms: Man, oh man! So many freaking symptoms! Maybe your second pregnancy is¬†just a reminder of all the less than glamorous aspects of your first pregnancy. My¬†two current worst offenders are heartburn and sciatica. I’ve started acupuncture to help¬†with both of these, but I haven’t noticed a difference yet (it has helped¬†with my bowel functions though, which is wonderful!). I remember thinking I had to pee all the time last time and feeling like it was the worst thing I was dealing with. I still do have to pee now, but it doesn’t seem to be as annoying as I thought it was before.

Sleep:¬†Love it, gotta have it! I don’t even notice waking up the once or twice I do anymore. I’m just so loving every chance I get to shut ¬†my eyes!

Movement:¬†Oh, yes! Baby girls is an active little thing! She moves all the time, and I still think it is the coolest feeling! Every time I’ve thought “I haven’t felt her in a while” she starts to circle all around within moments. Such a good little baby this girl is! I’ve felt hiccuping this time around, which is not something I remember feeling with Lydia. It’s a strange, almost seizure-like rapid sequence of movements and they’re not my favorite because they feel really weird. All the other rolls, kicks and stretches are much appreciated and adored though!

The belly:¬†Large and in charge! People seem surprised when I say I’m 31 weeks – like maybe I should be bigger? I think it’s just because I have hips and my babies are just a bit more sunk into my body rather than sticking straight out. I tried to compare a photo to last time and I think I’m carrying a little lower than last time, but it’s hard to tell, both bellies are pretty similar.

Milestones:¬†I don’t know! Maybe when I do one thing to get ready for this baby I’ll feel like I’ve hit a milestone. So far, I’m in a stage of happy denial with a to-do list that seems to grow daily

 

Gender Predictions:¬†We are thrilled about the aspect of a second girl! Truth be told, Ben was really hoping for a boy. Not because he doesn’t want another girl, but just so he can have the opportunity to have a son. His face went a little pale when the ultrasound tech said “Girl!” and he had to give himself a minute to let the reality of having teenage girls for almost 10 years sink in, but in true Ben form, he was texting his friends our happy news before the jelly was off of my tummy!

 

Amusing comments from the general public:¬†None to speak of. Portland is a very family friendly community for the most part, and I’ve yet to experience any even remotely resembling¬†rudeness from anyone.

Best moment of the week: Maybe last night. Forewarning: this is a sappy mom moment. The last 6 months, Ben has been working nights and last night was his last night shift of the year. For lots of reasons, but mostly because her and I love it, when he is at work, Lydia has been sleeping with me. She¬†will happily sleep in her own bed if asked to, but she considers it a special treat to sleep¬†with mama (so do I!). As I was¬†going to work yesterday morning the thought hit me: this was our¬†last night¬†for a mama-daughter sleepover before I’d be sharing my bed with two sweet girls (i.e. I’ll be sleeping on the couch). I got a little choked up at the thought and made sure to try and¬†snuggle her extra tight as she fell asleep beside me and I let¬†the sound of her sweet little breath lull me into dreamland. I never want to lose sight of the incredible, beautiful blessing motherhood is.

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Knocked up, Again!

Well, in keeping with my theme, I’ve fallen off the face of the blog-world and have been busy enjoying my real life. I’ve been enjoying it so much, in fact, that I’m adding to my joy and am so thrilled to say we are expecting our second blessing! Soon, actually!!

I’m 31 weeks pregnant with our second daughter.

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I am so impressed with myself that I was somehow able to document so many details the first time around, and my hat is officially off to the mamas who are able to continue their pregnancy updates with every subsequent child. Rockstars! I am just not that mama!

We are absolutely enamored at the prospect of another baby girl, but somehow, her impending arrival seems so much more hard to believe than last time. I can’t really fathom that I actually get to have another tiny little precious human to keep! I get to do all the crazy newborn stuff and be filled with all the gushy new-mama joy AGAIN?? Seriously, pinch me, I’m so excited!

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That being said, like every other mother of more than one child will probably attest to, I’m also feeling some grief. Please, please don’t get me wrong – I am 100% in love with the idea of expanding our family and this little baby is so, so, so loved, but it is so bittersweet to know that as I welcome another baby, I am putting to rest this beautiful season where my first baby was literally my whole world.

Lydia is the most incredible treasure and I couldn’t possibly sum up my feeling for her with words. She is mine and being her mother is the best, most indescribable gift! I am so thankful I’ve had the last 3+ years to do nothing but shower her with all of me. And, likewise, I’ve been so abundantly blessed getting to do life alongside her! She is my best little buddy and my constant, happy shadow. As much as I am aching to start this next chapter in our lives, my heart breaks a little to close this current one, because it has been the sweetest in my whole life.

Speaking of my sweet girl, she is going to rock being a big sister! I fully intend to deal with some sibling rivalry, but right now, she is ready! Every day she asks me what the baby is doing and frequently asks to see pictures on my phone on how the baby looks this week. Sometimes, when I find myself feeling anxious about disrupting her perfect little life with the arrival of a new family member, she eases all of my burdens with a simple statement such as “I love our baby so much!” and it’s as if Jesus Himself is speaking to my heart and telling me that our little family will navigate this transition with grace, love and so much joy. We are so absolutely blessed!

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So, without further aiedu, I introduce, our precious second daughter…BabyBigTime2.0!

Version 2

 

2 Years Old

I finally logged into my WordPress after a nearly 2 year hiatus (oops!) and found this draft. I don’t even remember writing it, but I’m so glad I did. I wish I would have finished because, as I say here, I really do cherish all the little details of my precious baby when she was so very little. So, in order to preserve my sacred memories, I’ll publish this partial blog and try not to weep when I picture my girl at just barely 2 years old…

Oh, my sweet, sweet Lydia!

You are 2 years old! How can it be? Time is a sneaky sucker. It just hits you out of nowhere and takes your tiny bundle of baby and turns it into a busy little toddler overnight!

What a joy you are, my darling girl! How I wish I would have kept up with your monthly posts. I really do regret not writing down every detail because I know I will always treasure knowing you did this at this month or that at that one. However, what I do not regret for one moment, is all the time I’ve spent playing with and loving on you, my sweet girl. You are my little buddy and I will treasure the opportunity we’ve had to spend so much time together!

I want to bottle you up and keep you this little forever, but I also want to watch the beautiful show that is you growing up and experiencing the world. Motherhood is so bittersweet. In the very same breath I can wish for the smell of your newborn head and pray for the young woman you will become. You, my precious daughter, hurt my heart so good.

So, how do I summarize your second year? So fun!

Lydia, you are such a joyful girl! You have a smile that lights up the darkest of days, and you are the star of every show. I can’t even tell you how many times your daddy and I have sat in the quiet of our room, reminiscing about the events of the day and we’ve said “Lydia was the star tonight!” Somehow, all eyes end up on you!

You are so smart! You love to count and you are particularly found of the “one-three-five” order of business (“wwwaaannn, freeee, five, free, five!”). You also are learning the alphabet and call anything with just words (like magnets with city names, or a small figurine with a word) “abcd’s”. You know all your colors, but sometimes get confused with orange (“lello!”). Purple is “poo puh” and white is “color white” every time.

You love to read books, and your affinity for particular ones has changed throughout this year. In the beginning of the year you could not get enough Snuggle Puppy, but as you’ve gotten older, you seem to prefer books with human characters, especially babies. You love to tell the babies in the books goodnight, and you’ll happily kiss all the characters night night.

Oh goodness, girl, you are your mamas daughter: you love your babies! You have three babies whom you love the most (two Correlle ones and a water baby), and Sophie the Giraffe has finally become popular as another one of your babies. You love to put your babies to bed, and will find any “night night” to do so with. Though you have plenty of blankets that will work for putting your babies to bed, any of mamas cardigans, kitchen towels or your Minnie Mouse washcloth seem to offer the children the most snug of bedtimes. If your baby is particularly lucky that day, you’ll offer your beloved binkie, but only for a moment. You are usually sure to point out to me that you are sharing so nicely! You love to wrap your babe in my sweater, hold it against your shoulder and say “shhhhhhhh” before slamming it into it’s crib. Such a sweet little mama you are!

Another thing you love: singing. Particularly when mama makes up songs. Not just any songs, or songs that mama makes up, but songs you make up. “Baby Hannah Song” is a big hit, as is “Hannah and Delilah Song”. Want to hear the lyrics? “Baby Hannah song, Baby Hannah song” and¬†“Hannah song, Delilah song”. Whatever your request, I try to oblige, after all, I’ll happily sing “[Insert word here] Song” for the rest of forever if it makes you smile the way it does!

Speaking of the Hannah’s, you are obsessed! Most conversations throughout the day somehow involve Baby Hannah, and if not Baby Hannah, then for sure Hannah and Delilah.

Happy Birthday Darling

To my sweet, precious baby,

One year ago my life forever changed. As you entered this world, my every dream came true! With your precious life you gave me the sweetest gift: motherhood. My sweet Lydia, I love you!

I had no idea how much being your mother would change me. I had no idea how deeply or fiercely I’d love you. I couldn’t imagine the emotion that would rip at my heart at the mere thought of something happening to you. You are more than I ever dreamed. I love you so!

Every parent says it, but I feel I must echo it too: time has flown by. Yesterday I was memorizing the creases of your still-pruney fingers and soaking in your newborn smell, right? Wasn’t it but a moment ago I wrapped you gently into your carseat and brought you home for the first time – how has it truly been a year? How are you no longer a baby, but a busy, smart, adventurous, beautiful toddler? I will never take for granted every time you rest your head against my chest and I feel the rise and fall of your body as you fall into dreamland. You will forever be my baby. My joy. My heart.

I feel unworthy to deserve such a sweet blessing. Thank you Jesus! Thank you for this girl – she is my whole world.

Lydia, I wanted you as long as I can remember. You are the fulfillment of a lifetime of prayers and supplications to our Heavenly Father, and you have beautifully blown every hope and dream out of the water! I knew I’d love my baby, but I had no idea how much. Jesus knew.¬†In His perfect time, He blessed me with the most perfect gift and I will cherish you with every breath.

I pray you never, not for one moment, doubt how very loved you are. How treasured and cherished you are. How wanted you are – by me, by your daddy and by our sweet Jesus. You are so loved sweet girl!

As I lay beside you tonight and listen to the sound of your dreams, I will thank the Lord for the gift of you. For one year with my sweet angel baby, and for a lifetime of birthdays more. It is such an honor to be your mother. Words truly fail! You are my joy.

Lydia Clara, I love you, I love you, I love you.

Happy first birthday my darling!

xoxo,

Mama

Family Photos

I will always regret not having newborn photos professionally done when Lydia was teenie tiny. However, the fact is, money was tight and it was more a priority for me to stay home as long as possible than it was for us to have photos of her.

As much as I would have liked to preserve the precious little details of my freshly-baked daughter, I mostly want a photo of our family, the three of us, that is beautiful and frame-able. Well, when my friend Kelly offered her photography services to us, I jumped at the chance. She is just starting her business and is using friends to help build her portfolio.

We met on a cold Saturday morning at Jenkins Estate in Beaverton and she masterfully captured my family amidst the beautiful fall foliage, and took my squirmy, freezing baby in stride (seriously freezing – her lips were turning blue!). You would never know she wasn’t an absolute pro – especially when you see the work she did!

I am in love with these photos so much!

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Gah – I’ve stared at this image for hours and I just can’t get over it!

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I mean, common’, right?!? Is that not the most perfect baby you’ve ever seen!

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Be still my heart!

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I will forever treasure these photos! I love that Kelly captured the spunky, feisty, beautiful little personality of my sweet baby. I love the admiration you see in Ben’s face as he looks at her, and I can’t help but smile when I see how much I look how I feel – absolutely overwhelmed with joy for my precious family!

I can’t recommend Kelly enough – she has given me a gift I can never possibly repay her for!

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Letters to Lydia: 11 Months

One more left, sweet girl! How is it that you are nearly a year old?!? I’m just gonna go ahead and ask for grace because I’m probably going to randomly burst into tears all month because my tiny little baby is getting so big! IMG_1742_2 See? So big! IMG_1735_2 You are on the move, too, so things like monthly photo shoots are not your thing anymore! This month you have had your first cold. Oh, it was miserable! You were miserable, congested and coughy for a week and a half. It was a pretty gnarly virus! You couldn’t breathe, so you couldn’t sleep which means daddy and I didn’t sleep either. Poor pathetic little sick¬†girl! IMG_3113 This picture was taken at the start of your illness. I didn’t take you to the doctor because you were sick, but because I found two bruises on your leg after you had been in daycare. My logical mind told me that they were normal bruises that come with wobbly babies and busy toddlers, but the over-reacting/I’ve-seen-too-many-hurt-children part of me needed a second opinion to be sure. Your pediatrician assured me that they were not concerning at all, but supported my decision to bring you in. I have always loved that she respects my profession, as well as my status as a first time mom – I have a hard time balancing the two roles! I will mention it here, but have decided to not go into it further on the internet, but after the bruises and a few other issues, we decided to find a different daycare situation for you, and so far, our new option is working out very well! Despite feeling crappy, you were never in a bad mood. You are joyful all the time! Sure, you are starting to be more vocal if something we do displeases you, but for the most part you are happy and content and love to bask in our affection. IMG_3208 I feel like most of this month was spent nursing you back to your normal, playful, self. So, we spent a lot of days snuggling together – and even though I was sad you were sick, I was happy for this little perk! IMG_3165 You also celebrated your first Halloween this month! You woke up feeling a bit better, so mama decided to go forth with the Halloween play-date she organized with the babies from my work. You all were the cutest little bunch of creatures we ever did see! IMG_3150 You had fun at the party, but by the time we headed home I could tell you were beat. I was really hoping to get a picture of you at a pumpkin patch, but I decided to nix the patch and took advantage of the display at New Seasons. You were not feeling having your picture taken, but at least I have it for the memory-books, right! IMG_3158

Babies first Halloween / the cutest Cheerleader ever!

Daddy was sworn in this month, which gave him the opportunity to work full-time. This gave us lots of time alone together on my days off! One little tradition I’ve started is going to breakfast together, just you and me. I find that if I’m motivated by food, I’m more willing to get my bootie up and go for a walk! So, every once and a while, especially on the mornings you wake up earlier than I’d prefer, I’ve bundled you up and loaded you in the stroller and we’ve gone for a walk, with a pit stop at breakfast. You are my little doll and we eat together, do a little grocery shopping and then walk home. I could just as easily share a meal with you at home, I know, but for some reason, this feels special to me. I love knowing that we can do special things like this for your whole life. #sappymommoment

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This has been the month of exploration for you. I say that meaning that you have discovered mobility and you are all for it! You can walk, but you still prefer to crawl, though I’m sure that’s changing any moment now! You still stand all the time, and you’ll take a few steps with encouragement. You are still quite unsure to move your feet when you’re not holding onto anything, but you can do it! Does that mean you officially can walk at 11 months old??

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Let’s make this another short recap, shall we? Onto the highlights!

Height/Weight: No length, but 15 pounds, 6 ounces

Diaper Size: 2

Clothing Size: 6 months in Carter’s and 0 – 3 in Gap

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Health: I am so happy that you made it until 11 months before getting your first cold, and I tip my hat to all the parents who have to see their poor babies suffer on a regular basis. I felt helpless watching you struggle to breath! I cringed every time you coughed and I wished more than anything that I could feel crappy in your place. However, after 10 days, the sun returned and you were back to my healthy girl – ¬†I am so thankful! I’ll only add that your cold gunked up your eye and it’s now worse than ever.

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Diet: We’re still breastfeeding! I think we’re going to make it a full year and I am so thankful for that! I’m still adding an ounce or two of Almond Milk to your bottles just to stretch my supply further. You are still nursing every 3 or so hours while we are together, even through the night. You’re also starting to prefer nursing over your pacifier, to the point that if you are not ready to be done, you grab your bink and throw it violently to the ground! Little missy has a bit of a temper, no?

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You also get table food whenever we are eating. We’ll give you bites of whatever we are having, and let you munch away on puffs as well. You love your puffs! At first you weren’t interested in them, but now you can’t get enough! I’ve bought two cans just this month! You also suck your pouches of food down whenever I give them to you, but I try to reserve them for when we go out and you’ll need some distraction in order to sit in the high chair for our whole meal. You do great at restaurants, though, and daddy and I are trying to enjoy that fact while we still can!

Sleep: Ahhh‚Ķsleep. Not good, my darling. I’m afraid your sickness through us all for a loop and you are waking up quite a few times every night. You usually go down around 8, then wake at 10, and again at 1. I’ll bring you to our bed now, but only because I’m so tired! You’ll then rouse to eat around 3 and then 5 before getting up for the day between 7 and 8. Ugh! That’s a lot of broken sleep for mama! I’m hoping this trend does not continue much longer, I would love to count on a few 4 – 5 hour stretches!

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Motor Skills: Walking! Still hesitantly, but you can take unassisted steps!

Nicknames: Lovie, sugar bear, smidgens, and Liddie bear

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Favorite Things: You are loving your VTech walker and as much as your daddy and I didn’t want blinky toys, this thing was worth it! You push it around (and look like a little grandma!) and are a woman on a mission! You can’t steer though, so you can only go until you crash into something (the ottoman, the plant, the wall‚Ķ) but you are speedy and your skills are developing so quickly because of it!

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You also love people. Anyone who will give you love and attention is your favorite! You have not feared anyone, and as long as you can see me or daddy, any stranger anxiety stays at bay. You are a little social butterfly!

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My darling girl, you are the light of my life! I love you more than words can say and that love only grows every day! Every moment I am with you is a dream…you are my dream!

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I love you sugar baby.

xoxo,

Mama

Nursling Photos

Recently a local photographer contacted a moms group I am in to offer her services to breastfeeding moms with a complimentary “Nursling” photo shoot. She was hoping to expand her portfolio and also to honor the act of breastfeeding for local moms.

I was cautious, but feeling brave in that moment, so I volunteered.

I wasn’t sure what to think. I don’t love my body, and any photos I have seen of me nursing Lydia have been overwhelmed by huge masses of boob. Ick!¬†I couldn’t picture how our photos would be lovely, but I went anyway. I was hopeful, but honestly, doubtful.

Cassandra was super sweet, and she wore her one-year old in a Mai-Tei wrap while she shot, which was awesome, I thought. We chatted about “hippie” mama things, Lydia nursed and she took photos and before I knew it, we were done.

A few days later, she sent me my little portfolio, and I was absolutely stunned.

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These photos were beautiful.

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Who was this ethereal mother gazing at her child and nursing so effortlessly? These photos didn’t have blobs of flesh flopped haphazardly onto a baby, they had lovely images of a woman nourishing her child. Beautiful and natural, like we knew what the heck we were doing, my baby and I.

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She captured Lydia’s curiosity and feistiness, and my utter adoration of her.

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These images made me look as beautiful as I longed to feel – and helped me really embrace that the act of breastfeeding my sweet baby is truly a beautiful, wonderful, natural, lovely thing.

Breastfeeding has certainly empowered me and made me feel more strong and powerful than anything else ever has. It has given me confidence – in my choices, in my mothering, in myself, in knowing that I am giving my baby a precious gift. I have felt so maternal and strong while nursing my babe, but never really beautiful, not really. You see, I have struggled with my beauty my whole life. I can have confidence in my gifts, acts and skills, but beauty in my skin, I have always lacked.

Until today.

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As I look at these images, I see a woman who is doing something that she is supposed to be doing: loving her baby with her whole self, and in that I see my true beauty.

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Beautiful.