Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Moving, Again.

Now that I've had almost 24 hours to process this, I can say with a lot of mixed emotions that we are moving, again. Yesterday, Hubs got a call requesting his leave packet for our PCS. To his knowledge we weren't going anywhere, since we have barely been at Fort Benning for a year. But sure enough, the Simmons family is heading to Fort Riley, KS in late January 2016.

This definitely came as a huge surprise, since we were under the impression that he would be finishing out the last two years of his contract here at Benning. Yet, this is the life. We will have been here for a total of 14 months when we leave.

I am feeling excited, sad, nervous, frustrated, and a slew of other emotions. He will be getting out of Tradoc, and moving back to a normal unit, which means more tank time. This makes my husband's heart happy. We'll be roughly the same distance from Michigan as we are now, which makes me happy. We'll get snow there, we are excited to travel, and we will get to experience a part of the nation that we've never seen before. But, we'll be leaving Benning.

I never thought I'd become this attached to a place that I was only at for a year, a place that we didn't really care to go to in the first place, a place that really hasn't been that great. But when I look at all we will be leaving, I am definitely feeling sad. We'll be leaving the house we brought James home to. We'll be leaving some great neighbors and an amazing church family. We'll be leaving our friends and Adalin's (who haven't already left for a PCS or ETS). We'll be leaving some great local shops that I love going to. We'll be leaving the hospital that James was born in. We'll be leaving our amazingly huge yard in the boonies, and adapting to on-post living. We'll be leaving the "Chattapoochie" river, and all Adalin's jokes about it. There is so much I have enjoyed about this place, I can honestly say that I'll be sad to leave, especially this soon.

I'm frustrated that I'll be moving my business once more, after finally feeling settled here like I wanted. It has only been the last couple months that I've felt like I had built an awareness and decent clientele. It had been a rough year getting started in this area, and now I am faced with doing it again. While it certainly stinks... this is the life.

I'm doing my best to focus on the positive, and work through all the steps to make this PCS go smoothly. We will be letting the Army move us this time, unlike last time when we moved ourselves with the help of family. Since we have a 15+ hour drive to Riley, we will be breaking up the drive and do some sight seeing. We're going to stop in Memphis and probably somewhere in Missouri. I'm excited to cross a few more states off my list that I never thought I'd go to, like Arkansas. Moving on post, after having such an enormous yard, is going to be a big adjustment- especially for the dogs. But we will take it in stride, and look forward to good times in the future.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Doing Things Differently

A lot of people have asked me what we're doing differently with James compared to what we did with Miss A. The differences are really endless, but there are a few that I think stand out more than others.

Adalin was an amazing sleeper. Starting at just before three months, she was sleeping through the night consistently. James is... not. He will be four months old next week, and usually sleeps from around 8:30 until 3:00ish without waking, then nurses on and off from then until 7:00 or so when we get up. Because he's not sleeping through the night, and because I'm nursing (another difference), he is in our room. Not only is he in our room, but half the time he's in our bed. Some nights he'll go back to sleep in his bassinet once he nurses. Other nights, he wants his mama... Rather than fight him and lose sleep, I just let him snuggle. It was a pretty huge adjustment, but it works well for us.

Nursing is another difference. James had a pretty good latch from the start. We battled an over supply for the first two or three months, but in the last few weeks my supply has regulated down. James has only had a handful of bottles in his almost four months of life, and is certainly not a fan. While it's easier, since his food source is always with me and there aren't any "supplies" to pack in the diaper bag... it's proven difficult when I need to be away from him. Leaving for sessions, quick grocery runs, and other mommy outings is more challenging since he is really not a fan of the bottle.

I'm also delaying the start of foods with James. I started cereal with Adalin at 14 weeks, but plan on waiting until six months with James. I'm also reading up on baby lead weaning, and may skip purees or mix purees and solids depending on what he likes best.

Cloth diapering is another major difference with our experience with little man. I never even considered cloth diapering Miss A until we started at 16 months. With James, he's only been in disposables for his first week of life, and after a medical test that made his urine radioactive for a few hours (no kidding!). Other than that, his booty has been in cloth, and I love it. He's only had one diaper rash, after his vaccines at two months. It's cheaper, and more eco friendly too!

With Adalin, I felt like we needed all kinds of baby things. She had a swing, two bouncers, a floor mat, a bumbo, an exersaucer, a jumper, a walker, and all sorts of little hand toys. With James, I'm trying to cut back. He has his MamaRoo, which saves my butt when he wants to be bounced. He has the mamas&papas floor seat, and his floor mat. I still have the jumper from Miss A, which we'll likely be breaking out in the coming weeks or months... but I'm trying to not go overboard. James likes to be held and paid constant attention to, so I am not planning on paying for toys he won't use frequently. I've also invested in more "natural" toy options for him, like wooden teethers and rattles. I also got him an amber teething necklace to wear to hopefully avoid constant Tylenol dosing once he starts teething more.

Baby wearing is another big difference. I had a cheap baby carrier with Miss A, but it left her legs blue after minutes, and hurt my shoulders and back. I invested in an ergo around 14 months with her and loved it. So far with James, I've tried a Moby wrap (which I didn't care for), a Sakura Bloom ring sling (which I loved!), a Tula (which we love!) and the same Ergo I had with Adalin. I'm looking forward to see how our babywearing journey grows and changes through his infancy and toddlerhood.

There are lots of other differences I could discuss, but these are the biggest. I enjoyed how we did things with Miss A, but am also enjoying experimenting and trying out different parenting styles with James to see what fits our family best. Knowledge is definitely power.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Baby J: 10 Weeks Old

I totally dropped the bomb on our actual two month update, so here it is almost two weeks later... Little man's two (and a bit more) months old update!

Baby J: Little man is officially 13 pounds! He's been in six month clothes for about two weeks now. We are starting to get a pretty decent sleep schedule now. He'll usually sleep from 11:00-4/5:00, then nurse for a few minutes, and then sleep til 8 or 9. He usually falls asleep in my arms around 8 or 9 but wants to nurse one more time before he's down for the night. He become incredibly alert and talkative through the day. At a lactation consultant appointment yesterday, she said he has the behavior of a six month old with his curiosity during nursing sessions and in new places (not to mention that he's huge and chunky!).  

Milestones: Last week James started reaching for his toys on his play mat. This week he's gained enough head control to use his Mamas & Papas Baby Snug. Miss A outgrew her Bumbo very quickly, so I thought we'd give this different seat a try with James. So far, we love it! He's also currently napping in his crib. The last few times we've tried this, it's only lasted 10-15 minutes, but we're (a little) past that point right now! (Not two minutes after I typed that... he woke up)

Miss A: She's still quite the helper. This week has been more of an emotional one for her. She has highs and lows, but we're still making progress. She loves to play on the floor with him and talk to him when he gets chatty.  It's very entertaining.

Daddy: We're officially in new territory with Jimmy and James. He'd deployed at this age with Miss A, so he's starting to experience firsts that he didn't get to with her. He's been working on bottle feeding James occasionally, and is having fun playing with him at night when he gets home from work.

Nursing: I'm so happy we've made it this far with minimal problems. As I'd mentioned, we had a lactation consultant appointment yesterday. She said James is growing faster than the expected rate for this age. His latch is pretty good, but we're still fighting a forceful letdown and oversupply. I've been pumping 5-6 extra ounces a day, and have donated part of our freezer stash to a local mama twice now. I'm hoping my letdown will ease up in the coming weeks, but I did get some cool nursing cups that catch leaks so I can save the milk instead of throwing it away in nursing pads. They feel a little weird to start, but I'm adjusting to them and am excited to be saving a little more milk.

Weight Loss: I'm stuck at a plateau again. I was loving our double jogging stroller until I hurt myself from doing too much too soon. It's definitely a workout pushing two kids up and down hills. I'm ready to get back into running, but apparently my body needs a little more time to heal. I'll be giving myself a few more weeks before I start pushing too hard again.

God Bless ♥︎ Victoria

Monday, September 14, 2015

Baby J: 8 Week

Baby J: Little man is weighing in around 12 pounds now! He's still in 0-3months clothing, but will likely move to 6 months next week. He's been sleeping great most nights, with the exception of a few nights last week that he slept all day and partied all night. He is starting to be so much more alert and interactive, especially with the dogs. He and Gunner are starting to bond a lot more this past week. 

Milestones: He's becoming more and more active. He's starting to use his arms and legs more. He likes to hit daddy in the face in the morning, and kick mommy when he's nursing. He also grabs sister's and mommy's hair, often. He loves to watch his nightlight projector at night, and is gaining more and more head control by the day. He still hates tummy time, but is starting to appreciate his play mat a bit more. 

Miss A: We are finally to the point of more good days than bad with Miss A. She's still completely and utterly obsessed with her brother. She is starting to make me a bit nervous now, since she thinks she can "help" when brother is fussing. I don't mind her giving him his paci, but she likes to cover him up with blankets, and has started trying to pick him up these past few days. That makes me crazy nervous. Other than that, she's doing so great with him.

Daddy: I am so excited to watch him these next few weeks. He deployed when Miss A was only 10 weeks old, so I am over the moon that he gets to experience Baby J for his entire first year. We'll be in Michigan for a few weeks, but he still get to see so much more with James.

Nursing: I can't believe we're already almost to two months. He is such a boob man, and is starting to recognize words like "mama milk" and "hungry" and will give us quite good smiles for those words. He loves to snuggle on my chest, especially in the early hours of the morning. He is very much a mama's boy, and hates the bottle still. He did drink two bottles last weekend while I was at sessions, and will be drinking more in the coming days since I'm getting some mama time a few times a week.

Weight Loss: I'm down to 1-3 pounds left to pre-James weight, and about 20 from my goal weight. I purchased a jogging stroller yesterday that will arrive tomorrow (thank you, Prime shipping!). I'm incredibly excited, and nervous to get it. I found a cheaper option that I could have purchased, but after reading lots and lots of reviews, I decided to splurge and go with the Schwinn Turismo Double Swivel Stroller. It was $85 off on Amazon, so I went for it. It has great reviews, and comes with an infant insert to keep little man nice and cozy. It also has trays for each side, and individual awnings for each side... This way, Miss A can't pull it off of Baby J when she wants to play with it. I'm so ready to start jogging again and get back into shape.

God Bless ♥︎ Victoria

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Baby J: Five Weeks Old

Baby J: Little man is weighing in around 11 pounds, and is turning into quite the boob man. He loves to nurse, all the time. He is sleeping pretty well at night, and farts like a grown man. He's happiest in the morning, and is pretty grouchy from 8-10 almost every night. He's still in 3 month clothing, but I think those days are coming to an end pretty soon. Sleepers are getting tight, and some onesies aren't fitting like they used to already. He's becoming a lot more expressive and vocal too! 

Milestones: In the last week, little man had his first x-ray, and renal scan. There has been concerns about his kidneys being dilated more than "normal," so the doctors wanted to get more tests done. All the tests came back either normal, or close to normal, which means no surgery or more tests for a while. One doctor wants to wait to repeat tests until a year, but also to keep him on antibiotics for a whole year... Another wants to repeat the tests at six months to see if he's made improvement.

Miss A: This week has been slightly better than last week when it comes to behavior, but she's still not back to our sweet girl quite yet. She still tries to push the limits, and intentionally breaks the rules and tattles on herself. Hopefully she's on the right path back to her sweet self! She is definitely a big helper when I need a burp rag, paci, or something else like that.

Nursing: We've officially made it over a month! We're past the point of bleeding and sore nipples, engorgement, and all the other struggles the first month brought us. He still spits up a lot, partially due to a fast letdown, but we're working through it. He did finally drink from a bottle this week as well! 

Weight Loss: I finally lost another pound, having 3 pounds to go to pre-baby weight. I would like to lose at least 15 more, but hopefully closer to 25 to get to my final goal weight. I did start mild workouts this week, so I'm hoping that helps me tone up and lose some more.

God Bless ♥︎ Victoria

Monday, August 17, 2015

Baby J: Four Weeks Old

How on earth is he already four weeks old? Time is soaring by so quickly, I can't stand it!

Baby J: Our little man is chunking up! We didn't have a weight check today, but I'm guessing he's close to 10 pounds now. He's growing like a week. He's sleeping pretty well, up usually two or three times per night, around 1-2, and around 4-5, but sometimes once more if he goes to bed earlier than 10:00. He's still sleeping in the bassinet in our room, which is way different than how we did things with Miss A. She slept in our room for two weeks, that was it. A big part of that decision is that our house is set up differently now, and I'm admittedly too lazy to make the trek to the nursery in the middle of the night. He's got some crazy post-bath time hair that cracks us up too ;)

: Last night, little man slept for 5 hours straight, which was a first. He's also starting to make more eye contact, especially in the evenings when he's most alert. He's becoming more and more verbal too, lots of goos and ahhs :)

Miss A: Oh, my sweet Miss A. Where have you gone? This past week has been extremely trying with Miss A. We've dealt with more behavioral problems in the past week, than we have in the past year. She's become destructive, and testing every limit we set for her. Last night around 11:15, she came out of her room crying and asking for cuddles. We know she's finally realizing that babies require a lot of attention, and she doesn't have 100% of my time anymore, so the adjustment is taking its tole. Jimmy cuddled in her bed for a bit, but when he got up to go back to our room, she had a meltdown. She ended up in our room, which never happens, since she doesn't sleep when we're around, but we thought we'd try. To my surprise, shortly after midnight she racked out. Again, to my surprise, after I fell asleep, she got up and went on a demolition spree in our room. She put lotion and soap on lots of things, including some of our favorite cloth diapers, she found some medicine bottles (thankfully they are childproof) and stuck them in the bassinet, she hid my phone and water, and rearranged several other parts of our room... I woke up hearing her try to get my chapstick from next to me. This was less than an hour after she fell asleep. She immediately said "I'm sorry, I'm being bad." I really hope that this is just a phase that will pass soon. I really want our sweet girl back. She still adores her brother, and always wants to cuddle him, which just warms my heart.

Nursing: We are really starting to get the hang of things! I'm only having to pump once a day or once every other day to keep engorgement at bay. Little man is latching like a champ, even when 85% asleep. He's become quite a bit more efficient, and usually only nurses for 15-20 minutes, compared to 30-40 minutes a few weeks ago. He tends to cluster feed at night, from about 8:00-10:00, but then sleeps for 4ish hours, which is great for me getting some rest.

Weight Loss: I'm still hanging around the 27-28 pounds lost mark, with 4-5 to go until pre-baby weight. I'm really, really looking forward to being able to work out again.

Feelings: Today, I'm feeling emotional. Our tiny baby isn't nearly as tiny already, and will be a month old on Thursday. On top of that, Wednesday he goes in for testing on his kidneys since the ultrasound the doctors did the day after he was born showed that they were still dilated more than normal, and that he may have some sort of blockage. They ordered two tests, one that requires an IV, and another that requires a catheter. Neither of which are we looking forward to, and neither of which are fun for a baby. I'm a bit of an anxious wreck, but I know that he'll be okay. I just hate watching our kids get poked and prodded at. We appreciate prayers for skilled, knowledgeable doctors, and good test results that won't result in surgery for our baby boy.

God Bless ♥︎ Victoria

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Baby J: Three Weeks Old

Here's our three week update!

Baby J
: Little man is up to 9lbs 2oz as of yesterday. He's gaining weight like a champ, probably because he loves to eat. We had been dealing with some pretty intense spit-up for the last week or so, and got a formal diagnosis of reflux yesterday morning. Last night was a hundred times better than previous nights, so it's safe to say that the baby Zantac is helping him already. Here's to hoping it will give him some comfort, even if it doesn't stop the spit-up. 

Milestones: In the past week, Baby J went to the commissary for the first time, slept for almost 5 hours straight once, and has grown into one size cloth diapers! He also went to church for the first time, and slept through the whole service. It was amazing being back at church after almost a month of being absent. We attempted giving him his first bottle, but he wasn't having it. So for now, he's strictly on mama. 

Miss A: She is doing so well with him still. We have had a steady stream of visitors in the house until today, so this week will be the real trial to see how she's adjusting. She is still super obsessed with "her baby" and always wants to hold and snuggle him. She is a great helper getting the paci for us if he's fussing, burp rags when he spits up, and other random things as we ask her. She has truly stepped up to the tasks at hand. She is still a bit rambunctious around him, especially during floor time, but we're all learning together. 

Nursing: As I mentioned, little man was not a fan of the bottle yet. Nursing is going really well. We're finally getting passed the cracked and bleeding nipples and engorgement. I'm still fighting oversupply a bit, but pumping once a day or expressing in the shower has proven sufficient this week. He loves his boobie snuggles after nursing. 

Weight Loss: I've hit a plateau at 27lbs down. I still have about 5lbs to go before pre-baby weight, but I know it will come off with time. I'm really looking forward to being able to work out again. Only a few more weeks!

Feelings: I can't believe how fast things are going. Yesterday at his appointment, the doctor said "Since he's 21 days old..." 21 days?! Let's just stick with three weeks, it sounds like less to me. I can't believe more than 20 days have already passed since little man made his arrival. Maybe it's the sleep deprivation talking, but I just can't get over how quickly time is passing. I've definitely been more emotional with Baby J than I was with Miss A. It's likely since I know what to expect, and how quickly all these "firsts" and "lasts" will come, but I can't help but feel mixed emotions each time he does something new. I'm so proud of this little chunky man, but goodness... Time, slow down. 

God Bless ♥︎ Victoria

Monday, August 03, 2015

Two Weeks Postpartum

They say time flies with your first baby, and goes even faster with the second. That couldn't be more true for me. I can't believe that little man is already two weeks old. The last fourteen days have been a whirlwind, but I've enjoyed (almost) every minute of it.

Baby J: Born at 8lbs 4oz, he's now passed his birth weight! He weighed in at 8lbs 8.8oz at his two week check up today. He loves to sleep, all the time. He also likes to party at 2am. He's in 3 months clothing already, which makes me super sad. He still fits in our newborn cloth diapers, but the one size diapers are fitting as well now. He had his first bath at home yesterday and loved it. He was super alert and calm through the whole thing. He loves to cuddle (especially on mommy's chest) and doesn't care to be swaddled.

Milestones: I drove to post by myself with two kids for the first time today. Little man did well in the back seat without mom. I was an anxious wreck most of the trip, and missed my exit to go home, so ended up taking the long way around... but we all survived.

Miss A: Our sweet girl is adjusting to sisterhood well. I'm not sure if it's because I have less energy, or if she's actually amped up her personality, but she has been super hyper all the time the last week or so. She's bouncing and talking all the time. She loves to help with "her baby" and is always asking to hold him. She asks me daily if brother can sleep in her bed so they can cuddle. She is going through some attention withdraw the past few days, and has been acting out to get more. I know this phase will pass, but it's been a little exhausting.

Nursing: I'm so happy to say that little man has been exclusively breastfed so far. We haven't had to do bottles either, which feels amazing since I was exclusively pumping and bottle feeding at this point with Miss A. The fact that we've made it this far without supplementing makes me feel incredibly accomplished. I love knowing that my body is capable of nourishing our sweet boy and giving him everything he needs. Engorgement finally passed, but we're still dealing with some cracked nipple pain from bad latches at the beginning. we are definitely making progress now though.

Weight Loss: I'm down 27 pounds so far! I have about 5 pounds left to get to pre-(this) baby weight, and about 25 to get to my end goal. I weighed more than I would have liked to when I got pregnant, so I'm working to get back to my most healthy weight.

Feelings: Everyone has told me to not decide if you want more kids while you're pregnant, especially at the end of the pregnancy. Now that we're two weeks postpartum, I really don't know if we're done or not. My husband would likely still say yes, that two kids is enough. While most of the time I feel pretty done, but I have definitely had moments when I look at this sweet, squishy, cuddly little baby asleep on my chest, and want more... lots more. But then I think about everything else that comes with another child, and level my baby fever. I did have a dream that Jimmy got a vasectomy without talking to me about it first, and was livid when I woke up... but I know without a doubt that that would never happen. Overall, I'm feeling incredibly thankful and blessed in my life right now. I have so much to be grateful for at the young age of 22. Two beautiful children and a supportive, loving husband, what more could I ask for?

God Bless ♥︎ Victoria

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Birth of Baby James

I woke up last Sunday at 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant, and felt so defeated. After over two weeks of consistent prodromal labor, with contractions between 5 and 15 minutes apart almost every day, I was pretty sure that this baby would simply never come. I'd had my membranes stripped the previous Thursday, but didn't show any signs of progression. I had walked up and down our street more times than I could count, but still... no change.

So Sunday morning, after another sleepless night, I decided to research using castor oil. I'd heard horror stories, but I'd also heard that it worked around 50% of the time to induce labor. I knew that if my body truly wasn't ready, that it wouldn't do anything, but I was so desperate to help those early labor contractions make a change and kickstart active labor. I found an article about gently using castor oil to induce labor, rather than using the traditional "chug and pray" method. Instead of drinking a full four ounce dose at once, this article recommended taking 1.5oz, waiting a few hours, then taking another 1-2oz. It was supposed to lessen the negative side-effects that would have me tied to the bathroom all afternoon. I was convinced, and decided to give it a try. I sent my husband to the store to pick up castor oil and orange juice in hopes that it would do something.

At 11:00AM, I took 1.5oz of the dreaded castor oil, mixed with a glass of orange juice, and laid down to attempt to take a nap. Around noon, I woke up to some mild contractions (like what I had been experiencing for weeks), but thought nothing of it so I went back to sleep. At 1:00, I woke up again to somewhat stronger, closer contractions. After an hour or two, they hadn't eased up yet. This got me a little excited. I alerted our sitters and photographer that I would likely be going in later that evening to get checked out, but wasn't in a rush. But by 4:00, they started getting more painful, and closer together. I started having to pause what I was doing during the contractions, especially if I was sitting down. We packed up Miss A, along with our hospital bags, and headed into Columbus.

After dropping Miss A off, things definitely kicked up. When we got to the hospital, I sat for a 20 minute monitoring strip to see how consistent my contractions were: every 3-4 minutes. While they still weren't super painful, they were definitely a step above what I had been experiencing. A doctor came in to check me, and informed me that I was indeed progressing. I was dilated to 4cm and 50% effaced. The hospital policy recently changed for grounds for admittance from 4cm to 6cm, so they told me to go walk for two hours and come back in.

We didn't want to go all the way home, since we live a solid 40 minutes from the hospital, so we went to Sonic and got milk shakes instead. I didn't want to be that pregnant lady that walked laps around Walmart in the middle of the night to get labor started, but nothing else was open at 9:30 on a Sunday night... So we went back to the hospital and explored the hallways, discussing what we considered to be art,  and which pieces on the walls we found to be most interesting. I hadn't seen much of the hospital before, so it was kind of fun exploring while it was empty.

We went back up to L&D at 10:00 to get me checked again. By this point, contractions were strong. I couldn't talk through them, I couldn't walk through them. I moaned and cried through them. Sitting for the monitor was brutal. It felt like my back was breaking from the back labor. Imagine my frustration to find out that contractions had slowed to 7 minutes apart, and that I was still at 4cm. They were sending me home. In complete devastation, I cried. I did not want to go home. I wanted to have this baby. But, we went... I cried through contractions all the way to the car, and all the way home, for the entire 45 minute drive.

Once we got home, I hopped in our garden tub in hopes that it would help ease my back labor. Unfortunately, our tub was about 5 inches too narrow, or too shallow, to cover both my belly and my back, so I was still in quite a bit of pain. I tried using the birth ball to relax my hips, but nothing really seemed to help. Since contractions were still about 7 minutes apart, I decided to lay down for 6 minutes at a time, try to find a position to get through the contraction comfortably, then lay back down again. It made for an incredibly long night.

Four hours later, around 3:00 in the morning, I got back in the tub. My back was absolutely killing me. I soaked, swayed, rolled, and did everything else I could think of to get the pain to ease up, but it stayed strong. I woke up my husband and asked him to call L&D to see what they recommended. Even though the contractions were still 7 minutes apart, they told us to come in again and get checked out. I asked Jimmy to make me some eggs since I was starving and hadn't eaten anything since dinner. While I finished my epson salt soak, he made me some eggs, took care of the dogs, and talked me through contractions.

When I finally got out of the tub, the contractions became a lot more painful. I sat on the birth ball while I ate my eggs. The only thing that seemed to help relieve the back pain was hip compressions from Jimmy. It was 100 times better, but still pretty painful. Once I finished my eggs, I grabbed a strawberry popsicle and headed to the car.

I told him that there was no way I was sitting in the front seat (or sitting period), and that putting a seatbelt on wasn't going to happen. So I knelt backwards in the backseat, hugging the head rest, eating my popsicle. When we got about a half mile down the road, I had an intense contraction. A mile or two later, another one came. I remember Jimmy saying "I don't think those are 7 minutes apart anymore." They were certainly not.

Things heated up quickly. In a matter of minutes, contractions went from 7 minutes apart to about 2.5. They were strong and not letting up. It got to the point that moaning and breathing through them wasn't helping. I was screaming, loud (My poor husband). Jimmy laughed through the contractions as I hollered, but he was calm and driving as fast as he could to get us there safely.

Once we crossed over into Georgia, about 20 minutes into our trip, I screamed "Stop the car and help me!" He pulled over to the side of the road and yelled back, "We aren't having this baby on the side of the road. I know nothing about delivering a baby, do not tell me to pull over unless that baby is between your legs." While that wasn't the reaction I was hoping for, it's what I needed to hear.

Down Victory Drive we went, at 70mph (it's a 45mph zone)... Screaming my head off through each contraction, I felt something run down my leg. "I think my water just broke, or I might have peed..." Jimmy laughed again, out loud this time. I felt so much pressure, and was trying to resist the urge to push since I didn't really want to have the baby in the back of my car either.

A few miles down the road, I remember seeing flashing lights reflecting on the ceiling of the car. "Well, they got me..." I heard Jimmy say. We were getting pulled over, two miles from the hospital. I yelled at him, "Let me out of the car!" He contested, rightfully so. With all of the cop-hating going on these days, getting out of the car at a traffic stop in the dead of night probably wasn't the best idea, but there was no way I was going to sit there while the cop ran our plates and took his sweet time getting to the car. So, I yelled again, "Let me out of the car!"

I hopped out and started screaming at this young cop, "I'm in labor!" as another contraction hit and I started yelling through it. I guess the look on the cop's face was pure horror. An older cop hopped out of the passenger side of the squad car and said that they had called an ambulance for me. There was no time for that. We tried to get them to let us go, but they wouldn't because if we crashed they'd be held responsible... So we waited. As I stood there, crying and barefoot on the side of the road, another contraction hit and my water broke. I had to push. The pressure was insane and I couldn't hold out any longer. I remember asking Jimmy to help me take my underwear off, but he wouldn't. Apparently public indecency wasn't something he wanted his wife charged with... Then I bit him (I don't remember that part too well, but he swears it happened).

After what seemed like forever, a few more squad cars showed up. I kept yelling at the cops, "How much longer?!" and "This baby is coming NOW!" Finally, more lights... It was a fire truck. Why on earth were they sending a fire truck?! Minutes later, an ambulance finally showed up. One of the EMTs got out and said "Hey look, her water broke." I could have punched someone.

They loaded me into the back of the ambulance while I was screaming away, and looked down to see a scalpel. An episiotomy was very high on my list of labor fears, so I started panicking "Don't cut me! I do not want to be cut! Do not cut me!" A fire fighter standing at the door calmly said, "No sweetie, we're not going to cut you. That's the last thing we want to do. That's to cut the umbilical cord." While an ambulance was a step up from the side of the road, or the back of my car, I still didn't want to deliver outside of the hospital. I wanted Jimmy to get in the ambulance and go with me. The cops wouldn't take our car to the hospital for us (again with the liability nonsense), so Jimmy was forced to follow us. They closed the doors, and off we went, in the wrong direction.

The ambulance driver was trying to take me to a different hospital, more than 10 miles away, and one that I'd never been to before. The other EMTs finally were able to set her straight and we pulled a u-turn in a parking lot and headed the right direction. When we got to the hospital, they wouldn't let Jimmy park in emergency parking, so I was wheeled up to L&D without him. He went and parked, and ran up as quickly as possible. We got to L&D at 5:30AM.

Our awesome photographer was waiting for us there, and came in the delivery room with me right away. Jimmy got up to the room minutes later. I remember them wanting to hook up monitors, check my blood pressure, getting an IV set, and all sorts of other things, but all I wanted to do was get on my hands and knees, and push. They kept saying "You need to let us get the monitors on," or "We have to do this, that, and the other thing..." but I wasn't having it.

Since I'd been seen by midwives my whole pregnancy, I wanted a midwife to deliver our sweet boy. I was just elated to find out that the midwife on call was still 20 minutes out when I felt even stronger urges to push... A male doctor (whom I had heard horror stories about) walked in our room, when I turned and freaked out "I do not want a male doctor! Get out!" He didn't come back...

All the while, a nurse was trying desperately to get an IV in my hand. I didn't want one to begin with, but definitely not while I was pushing. She eventually got it in, but had it turned off... I'm not sure why they even gave me one in the first place. Once they finally placed the IV, I rolled over on my hands and knees, since that was the only position that seemed to help with the pressure of back labor. I didn't want anything touching me. The IV cord was ran over my back, the monitor straps were draped over me, my dress and bra felt too tight. I didn't want any of it. I ended up stripping down buck naked for a sense of relief.

The resident who had checked me earlier in the night was seated at the edge of the bed, ready to deliver our little man. Jimmy was at my right side, holding the monitor on my belly with one hand, and pushing on my back with the other. With every contraction, I pushed. No one was telling me to, but I had to. There was no one screaming "push! push! push!" to three counts, no one telling me to keep going, no one trying to control what I was doing. It was just me, following my instincts.

With a strong contraction, I hollered and pushed. The resident finally said something, "you need to keep pushing honey!" I told her I couldn't, as I was completely out of breath, and exhausted. That's when she surprised me, "Well you need to! Your baby's head is out!" Then I hear Jimmy say, "You need to! Our child's life depends on it!" What?! His head was already out?! With one more big push, our sweet boy entered the world.

After a few moments of getting him wiped down and breathing properly, I was able to roll over and he was placed on my chest. We were able to delay cord clamping, and Jimmy was even able to cut the cord. The doctors allowed us to have the "golden hour" undisturbed, waiting to take all measurements and do any tests until Baby James had breastfed and had an ample amount of skin-to-skin time.

Jimmy was able to carry him over to the scale and oversee all the newborn procedures. He weighed in at 8lbs 4oz, and is 20 inches long. I was able to get up and walk shortly after delivery. We were able to bond as a family without the presence of tons of doctors and nurses hovering over our shoulders. It was incredible.

While his birth was anything but what I expected, it was everything that I'd hoped for. I got the natural, unmedicated birth that I wanted (even if I was begging for morphine when we got to the hospital). Baby James has a birth story that I will never forget. He's such an amazing baby, so cuddly and squishy. We are so in love with this little baby.

Miss A got to come meet her baby brother a few hours later, and is completely smitten. She loves to hold him and play with his little fingers. They already have a great bond that I can't wait to watch grow. Our family is so blessed. God is good.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

39 Week Bumpdate

How Far Along: 39 Weeks 1 Day

Size of Baby: About 8 Pounds

Gender: It’s a Boy! 

Nicknames for Baby: “Baby James” and “Kade" (which is Gaelic for Fourth)

Total weight gain/loss: 29 pounds gained still, but it's been fluctuating. I weighed 4 pounds more at my appointment last week, but then weighed the same as I did at my ultrasound last Tuesday today. 

Symptoms: Heartburn, hip pressure, contractions, all sorts of things.
Cravings: Sweet things, specifically cheesecake. 

Maternity Clothes: All the time, definitely the only clothes that make me half comfortable.

Stretch Marks: Big and itchy.

Sleep: I miss it, so, so much. I haven't slept well in a matter of weeks now.

Best Moment This Week: Getting closer to our due date! Only 6 days away now.

What I Miss: Not being pregnant, I can't wait to be able to touch my toes again!

Movement: Still all the time. Last night I woke up to him playing hacky sack with my ribs. That was fun.

Nausea Triggers: Just lots and lots of heartburn! 

Belly Size: Definitely huge, and low. I feel stretched to my limit.

Nursery: Still haven't made much progress in the last few weeks. It's functional and ready for baby boy, but not entirely decorated or organized yet.  

Workouts: Lots of walking and spending time on the birth ball.
Labor Signs: Tons and tons of contractions, and I'm dilated to 1cm. I had my membranes stripped today, so hopefully that kickstarts something :)

Belly Button: Flat

Wedding Rings: I took them off Sunday, and put a different ring on so I don't feel naked.

Mood: Super, duper ready to be done. I'm hot, uncomfortable, and impatient. But I know it will be over soon!

God Bless ♥︎ V 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Getting Antsy

We're down to single digits to my due date, and I am more than ready to have this baby. The last few weeks have been trying, to say the least. With the temperatures in the mid-to-upper nineties for the extended 10 day forecast, I see the next few weeks being spent inside, going crazy.

I can say that a week ago, I really didn't see myself being pregnant today. I was having consistent contractions every 20 minutes (and every seven minutes the following day!) and was experiencing tons of pressure and pains. I thought for sure that baby boy would have been here before the end of last week. Yet, here I sit, with my big ole belly, uncomfortable as can be, still pregnant.

While I'm still over a week before my due date, I'm incredibly anxious. I'm ready to go into labor, I'm ready to push out this baby, I'm ready to bring him home. I don't remember feeling like this with Miss A, but there were a few crucial differences with my pregnancy with her: she was high risk, and we didn't know what the outcome of her diagnosis would be. She was happy as a clam in my belly, and I was okay with keeping her in there. Secondly, I was induced, so I knew which day she'd be coming. I could count down, and I knew weeks in advance (three weeks, to be exact), when I'd be going to the hospital. There wasn't this unknown waiting game... Being a control freak, I was extremely comfortable being able to count down and prepare for her birth.

This pregnancy, since it's my goal to go all natural, it's a different ball game. My whole pregnancy, I've joked that Miss A's wild side would send me into labor long before my due date. This daredevil child of mine knows how to keep her mommy on her toes, and how to induce minor heart attacks like it's her job. I joked that I'd be lucky if I made it to July, let alone to my due date. Even though she still scares the pants off me on a daily basis by jumping off furniture, claiming there's giant spiders in her playroom, and all sorts of other crazy things.... I'm still pregnant.

Another big difference is how I'm carrying this baby. I carried very internally with Miss A, so my belly wasn't huge. She hung out high and tight, and I wasn't particularly uncomfortable. I didn't have more than a handful of contractions before I was induced, didn't experience much hip pain, and didn't even get stretch marks until 37 weeks. This baby, has been a completely different experience. I'm carrying low, outward, and have developed triple the stretch marks that I did with Miss A. I contract, a lot, and have oodles of hip pain and pressure. It's a totally different ball game.

I'm trying so hard to let God have this pregnancy, and to surrender control to him. As much as I want to be able to count down, to know exactly when this baby is coming, and to finally get a little relief and lose this baby weight, I really want to let things play out how He intended them to. I hear stories about women going two, three, even four weeks past their due dates, and I cry. While I know, I won't be pregnant forever, the idea of potentially having five more weeks of pregnancy is enough to make me hide in the bathroom and sob. Shoot, the idea of having three more weeks of pregnancy makes me cry. I know that God has a plan, and won't let me be pregnant for too much longer, even if it is a lot longer than I'd like. It's been difficult for me to just relax and let things happen, but I know that it's what I'm supposed to do. I know that God made my body to do this, even if I am uncomfortable, hot, sticky, and super hormonal.  

So, here's to the last few days or weeks of my pregnancy. Especially if this is our last baby, as we're currently thinking, I don't want to rush the process. If this is the last time I'm going to be pregnant, I want to "enjoy" it while I can (even if that does mean eating half a package of Chips Ahoy cookies while crying and locked in the bathroom).

God Bless ♥︎ Victoria

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

38 Week Bumpdate

How Far Along: 38 Weeks

Size of Baby: Estimated 7lbs 9oz at today's ultrasound

Gender: It’s a Boy! 

Nicknames for Baby: “Baby James” and “Kade" (which is Gaelic for Fourth)

Total weight gain/loss: 29 pounds gained. 

Symptoms: Heartburn, hip pressure, contractions, all sorts of things.
Cravings: Nothing too specific this week

Maternity Clothes: All the time, definitely the only clothes that make me half comfortable.

Stretch Marks: Definitely growing. They're not going anywhere. I have far more now than I did at the beginning of this pregnancy, and I'm pretty okay with it. Growing a human is hard work.

Sleep: It's scarce. I contract a lot at night, which makes it hard to sleep. Between that and peeing all the time...

Best Moment This Week: Seeing baby boy during our ultrasound today! Crazy to think that the next time we see him, he'll be here ♥︎

What I Miss: Being in control of my emotions and my body

Movement: All the time. He's super active!

Nausea Triggers: Not bad, just heartburn all the time. 

Belly Size: Feeling huge. Still bigger than I was with Miss A

Nursery: Nothing done since last week, but we're pretty much ready for him. 

Workouts: Lots of walking and spending time on the birth ball.
Labor Signs: Tons of contractions, regular and spontaneous. I contracted 7 minutes apart from 4AM to 10PM yesterday, and really thought I was in early labor, but... nothing today :/ 

Belly Button: Flat

Wedding Rings: Still on! Fingers are more swollen. The rings are about to come off. 

Mood: Super irritable and ready to be done. I'm so ready to meet this baby! I've been discouraged this past week, especially with ever-present contractions that aren't sending me into active labor. I'm having what's called "prodromal labor" and let me tell you, it sucks. Contractions went from 40 minutes apart for 2 days, to 20 minutes apart for 3 days, to 7 minutes apart yesterday. They got strong last night, and I thought for sure, it was the "real thing." Then, it stopped. I've had a handful of decent contractions today, but they're irregular, and certainly not as productive as I'd hope. The worst part is the continual hope that the next contraction might be the one that sends me into active labor. But... it wasn't. So we wait! I'm impatient, but I'm doing my best to remain optimistic that this baby will come on his own, and hopefully sooner rather than later ;)

God Bless ♥︎ V 

Monday, July 06, 2015

Touched Out

When I first found out I was pregnant with Baby #2, I joined a couple online support groups for pregnancy, breastfeeding, and cloth diapering in our new city. We found out I was expecting just a matter of days after settling into our new house, so the vast majority of my pregnancy has been spent here in Columbus. I am so incredibly amazed by the amount of support that's available here, but I'll save that for another post.

One of the groups, the breastfeeding one, had a few threads about being "touched out" at the end of the day. I'd never heard that term before, and found it to be kind of weird. These women were describing how they were so done being physically touched, by their children, by their pets, by their spouses, at the end of the day, that they just wanted to crawl out of their skin. I didn't really understand where feeling like that would come from. Miss A wasn't particularly a cuddly baby. We never really co-slept, we didn't baby-wear until she was into toddlerhood, and she very rarely would fall asleep in my arms. She liked her space, and it worked well for us. Fast forward a year or so, to my now almost three year old: Whole. Different. Ball game.

At about 34 weeks pregnant, I started understanding what these threads I'd read were talking about. Miss A absolutely loves to snuggle, climb on me, hold my hand, sit in my lap, talk to me, be in my face, show me things, join me in the bathroom, ask me to join her in the bathroom, share my food.... you get the idea. While I love that she and I have such a close, strong relationship, I am going crazy. She wants me, all the time. I always saw memes about toddlers "finding you" in the bathroom (hands shoved under doors, waiting impatiently outside for you, sitting on your lap on the toilet, etc.), but Miss A never really bothered me in there. Lately, I literally can't sneeze in another room by myself. If she can hear me, she will follow me.

The dogs, especially Gunner, have also become incredibly attached to me in the last trimester of this pregnancy. Mia has been a little more snuggly this whole pregnancy, but not to the point of driving me insane. Gunner, on the other hand, has taken his obsession with my belly to a whole new level. This is our dog who will bolt out of the room if you mention the "b-word" (bath). He will not go near the bathroom, let alone in it. Well, now that I'm emitting these awesome pregnancy hormones full force, this dog.... will literally put his head in my lap while I pee. I can't stand up from the toilet without pushing him out of the way. He's constantly at my feet. He follows me from room to room while I do house chores. He's always there.

I have no bubble anymore. As I write this, there's a dog at my feet, and a toddler just inches from my lap (only because my computer is in "her spot").  I don't honestly know what a personal bubble is anymore. My morning wake up consists of Gunner's nose in my face, on my ribs, or pushing on my belly. I put the dogs outside, and they immediately want back in to sit at my feet. The first thing Miss A does in the morning is crawl up in my lap. Usually, even 90% of the time, I absolutely love our morning cuddles, but the past week, I just don't want to be touched. If I can get up and try to be productive, she will follow me, along with a parade of dogs. I am going insane.

(Then sweet moments like this happen, when she just wants to touch my belly, and it warms my heart. I still crawl, but my heart is so happy with how much she loves "her baby" already.)

My poor husband gets the extra crappy end of the stick on this one. By the time he gets home at the end of the day, I want nothing to do with physical contact of any sort. I feel like a whale, so I'm already ridiculously uncomfortable in my own body... So cuddling or any form of physical contact just makes my skin crawl. I love the idea of snuggles on the couch, intimacy, even just holding hands... but the moment that contact starts, I itch, I tingle, I need to step back.

I feel guilty. I feel like a bad mom, and a bad wife. I feel like I shouldn't be bothered by these things, but I am. My heart and soul wants to take advantage of these last few weeks (or days?) as a family of three, and as Miss A as an only child. I want to feel close to my husband, and for him to know how much I love and adore him. I want to be comfortable with my body. But the fact is, I'm not. I am uncomfortable 24/7, physically and mentally. I can't sleep, I can't move easily. I literally feel like a beached whale. I'm not happy with how my body looks, as I carry around 50+ pounds more than my "goal weight." Even though I've only gained 30 this pregnancy, I weighed more than I would have liked from the start. I can't touch my toes, I can't bend over, I can't sit/stand/lay comfortably at all. Being uncomfortable with my own body makes it incredibly difficult for me to be comfortable with other people touching it, even my husband and child.

I know that "the end is near," as we're a mere 16 days from my due date, but then the needs of a newborn will begin. Breastfeeding is absolutely a goal of mine, and I plan on actively pursuing it much more intensely than I did with Miss A. I know that my sweet girl is still going to need just as much attention as she does now, even in the presence of her little brother. I pray that losing this big ole belly, along with some baby weight (and pre-baby weight?) will help me feel content in my body again, so I can stop depriving my husband of affection.

I know that I'm not alone in feeling these things, but it doesn't really make it much easier. I am so ready to feel like myself again, to love on my husband and my two babies, and love every moment of it, without feeling like my skin is crawling.

God Bless ♥︎ V

Friday, July 03, 2015

37 Week Bumpdate

How Far Along: 37 Weeks 2 Days

Size of Baby: About 6 1/2 pounds

Gender: It’s a Boy! 

Nicknames for Baby: “Baby James” and “Kade" (which is Gaelic for Fourth)

Total weight gain/loss: 28 pounds gained. 

Symptoms: Contractions! They're irregular, but definitely getting stronger. There's also a ton of pressure in my hips still. He's definitely making his way down.

Cravings: Nothing too specific this week

Maternity Clothes: All the time, definitely the only clothes that make me half comfortable.

Stretch Marks: Growing more this past week. These final weeks have also brought on an itchy belly, which makes the stretch marks even more fun. 

Sleep: Between getting up six times every night to pee, and all the pressure in my hips, sleep is incredibly hard to come by. 

Best Moment This Week: It's been a pretty boring week. I suppose just getting closer to baby boy's arrival has been the best moment of the week.

What I Miss: Everything. Not feeling like a whale, being able to have a drink, being able to lay on my stomach, being able to sit with my legs together... Everything.

Movement: From my pelvic bone to my ribs, he kicks, punches, rolls, and does some form of ancient martial arts. My belly gets a little lopsided sometimes, it's quite entertaining. 

Nausea Triggers: Not too much this week. I haven't been nauseous, but definitely suffering from heartburn still. 

Belly Size: Still super big. He's definitely growing. I'm definitely bigger and lower this pregnancy than I was with Miss A. 

Nursery: Some more minor cleaning, but nothing crazy. Hoping to accomplish the last few things to do this weekend. 

Workouts: Walking and hanging out on the birth ball. I can't do much else at this point, but I am SO looking forward to being able to actually work out again.

Labor Signs: Contractions, but not regular or close enough to send me into actual labor yet.

Belly Button: Flat

Wedding Rings: Still on! I made it to our anniversary like I'd hoped. If I get any hand swelling this week they'll be coming off. 

Mood: Irritable and anxious. I went into full witch mood yesterday, but am feeling a little better today. I'm so ready to have this baby and get back to my normal self.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Getting Closer

I can't believe that we're just three and a half weeks from my due date. These past few days, I've had tons of pelvic pressure, spontaneous contractions, and fatigue. Last Thursday, I was 80% convinced I was going into labor, but the contractions finally let up after a few hours.

It's nearly impossible for me to get comfortable, in any position. Baby boy is low in my hips. If I sit on my birthing ball for more than 10 or 15 minutes, I swear he's going to fall out. Not really, but it certainly feels like it. Getting sleep at night is getting harder and harder. I've been waking up 10-15 times per night, trying to get comfortable.

I'm getting anxious about delivery. The biggest part of me really wants to just go into labor already and bring this sweet boy into the world. I know it's still a bit early (36 weeks 5 days today), but I'm so anxious. With the discomfort I've had this past week, I'll be very surprised if I make it to my due date. Honestly, at this point I'm hoping not to. I will go crazy with this hip pain for three more weeks.

Small parts of me are still wanting him to hang out for a while. At this point, my husband and I have decided that we'll likely be done having more kids after this baby. After a high risk pregnancy with Miss A, and all of the additional testing this pregnancy to ensure that nothing is wrong, it's incredibly stressful. Ignorance is definitely bliss when it comes to pregnancy. While I'm so grateful for the extra care we've received this go around, it has made it hard to sit back and enjoy this pregnancy. There are so many "what if's" that swirl around my head thanks to the doctors' constant "high end of normal" comments. I know that he's safe in my belly, and I'm content keeping him there. Then my hips start hurting again and I'm ready to give him his eviction notice ;)

It is a surreal feeling that he could come at any time in the next month. July is a busy month for our family, between our anniversary on the 1st, and family birthdays every week until August, I know it's likely he'll share his day with someone.

I'm feeling relatively confident about delivering this time. Since I was induced with Miss A, I don't really know what to expect as far as going into labor, what natural contractions will be like, and how long delivery will take. I keep psyching myself out, every time I have a braxton hicks contraction (which is still several times per day), I get all excited. Maybe this is labor?! But it's not, yet.

I'm still wanting a natural birth. No IV meds, no epidural, nothing like that. I want to labor in a tub if the hospital has them ready in time, if not then I'll likely hang out in the shower as much as I can. I plan on moving as much as possible too. Birthing ball, walking, stretching... anything to keep my mind occupied through contractions. I want to do this on my own terms this time.

For the next few weeks, I'll be doing lots of walking and hanging out on the birthing ball. My next appointment isn't for almost two weeks, so we'll see how much progress I make between now and then.

God Bless ♥︎ V