29 April 2015

Michael's Birth Story || Part Two

In case you missed part one, you can find it here!

*I don't think I put a shirt on until Michael was about 8 hours old, so many photos from his birth weren't internet appropriate. You'll have to forgive me because many of these photos don't necessarily correspond to the story.*
We left off with the contractions intensifying around 10am... 
Around that time I abandoned my bed for a slightly more comfortable position, standing and swaying/pacing. Quickly I remembered why labor sucks ha! Isn't it amazing how nearly the instant you deliver your child, all the pain is forgotten? I think I even took a moment to share some expletives with my mom.
Anyway, I asked for my epidural at this point. 
At about 10:45am Molly text me saying she was walking into the hospital and would see us soon. She arrived just a few minutes before the anesthesiologist did. I was so relieved to have her back! 
awesome nurses
My beautiful, talented, and loving friend Molly. 
The anesthesiologist did his thing, got my epidural going and was on his way! Molly checked me as he was leaving and discovered that I was at 7cm! (So 4cm to 7cm in an hour.) Finally some progress! About as fast as she got her hand outta there, I told her I was feeling burning and pressure. Another contraction came, more burning. Then another... Molly decided to go for it and check me again. Bam! 10cm and 100% effaced. It was go time! 
She called the doctor in and it was time to push! My first push, not very impressive. But, just three pushes after that, at 11:47am our beautiful son was born!
baby born at 36 weeks
With his umbilical cord wrapped tightly around his neck. Twice. 
There was no ceremonial cutting of the cord. No reaching down and "catching" my baby as I had so cherished with Mallory. No immediate skin to skin.  Just my son being whisked over to the warmer by the NICU team. 
I laid there, with tears running down my face, looking over at Kyle and what I could see of my son. I was terrified. What is wrong with him? What if he was really not ready to be born? Why couldn't my body just cooperate and keep my baby safe? Dozens of scary and negative thoughts were flooding my mind...then I heard "Amanda, he's ok! He is in great hands." Molly was snapping me out of it. She was able to keep me from assuming the worst and slipping into a panic. I don't know how many times she said "he is ok" but I believed her. Then, Kyle finally looked up at me, grinned and nodded. Michael was fine. 
baby born at 36 weeks
The NICU team did a couple of other things with the baby and let Kyle "trim" the umbilical cord as a consolation then brought him over to me. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but suffice it to say it was an incredible moment. 
preeclampsia birth story
preeclampsia birth story

preeclampsia birth story
Our incredible moment was disrupted by my doctor telling Molly that "it's been thirty minutes, we are going to need to get her in the operating room." Ummmm...
Apparently Michael forgot to pack his bags before he vacated the womb and left the placenta behind! (Or because I went from 4cm/20% effaced to baby in my arms in two hours--whichever reason seems more practical to you ;)) You could tell by the atmosphere in the room that this was not an emergency. Nobody was freaking out. I crave calm in situations like this which is exactly why I wanted Molly there. Calm is contagious and calm is what I got! Anyway, Kyle had time to ask the questions he needed to and I had time to snuggle and breastfeed my baby. Perfect! 
Just as the anesthesiologist came back in to load me up for surgery, I asked for 5 more minutes. There was one more thing we needed to do--get my mom! I have learned over the years, thanks to cancer, that my mom needs to see what is going on in order to not panic and well, I just needed a hug from my mama! She was in the waiting room with Mallory receiving what were surely cryptic text messages from Kyle about what was going on. I sent Kyle out to trade places with her for a second so I could personally tell her and show her that everything was perfectly fine. 
big sister t-shirt

dad during childbirth
Ok now we can go get that placenta! Oh wait! "Molly, you're coming, right?" She was. Phew! Off we went. Kyle and Michael stayed in our room to do some skin to skin and have Michael's initial check up. 
The surgery was uneventful, just how I like them. Aside from becoming friends with the anesthesiologist and taking my friendship with Molly to a whole. new. level. (having your legs spread and hanging in the air exposing your bare ass AFTER childbirth will do that), there is nothing exciting to report. Molly took me to the recovery room and immediately called to have Kyle and Michael brought to me. 
dad during childbirth
Kyle taking the task of completing birth certificate paperwork VERY seriously. "How do you spell Michael? What's your middle name? Do we live within city limits? You may want to double check all of this."
I guess I don't really have a  romantic way to end this post. As far as "birth" goes, at this point the placenta is out which concludes my birth story, right? ;) We spent a total of 3 days in the hospital while Michael completed a few additional tests because he was premature. He only lost 3oz during our stay in the hospital, and by his 3 day weight check was well past his birth weight! (So thankful to have a good eater this time around!) My blood pressure has already stabilized and I'm off all medications for that. I think that's it!
newborn going home

little brother t-shirt
Welcome to the world Michael Robert!

27 April 2015

Michael's Birth Story || Part One

First, I have to thank you for your congratulations! I was so excited to come home and share with you the news of Michael's birth. :) We feel so very fortunate to have a healthy baby boy at home!
As you may already know, I had been dealing with gestational hypertension for the better part of the third trimester (you can read a little about that here) and we had recently scheduled my induction for Monday April 20th. 
Of course, Michael had other plans...
Lets start with week 35. That Monday evening I had about 4 hours of contractions, but by the time I got around to timing them, they stopped completely. I didn't think much of them until my OB checked me a day or so later and informed us that I was already 3-4 centimeters dilated. We were all so excited about this, since going into labor naturally was more favorable than induction, even if it was a little early. My doctor warned that because this was my second baby and I had already made a little bit of progress, we should not lollygag once contractions start up again--get to the hospital pronto!  
35 week baby bump
Sure enough, Saturday, at 35.6 weeks, the contractions got rolling again around 4am. Around noon, I decided we better go get this situation checked out (how's 8 hours later for "pronto" haha.) At OB triage, we learned that I was still only 3-4 centimeters but baby was now 5 miles away from cervix so all of those contractions were doing approximately nothing. Cool. Homeward bound. 
Those contractions never stopped...
36 week baby bump
By Tuesday I was feeling pretty crappy, running the gambit of symptoms of high blood pressure. I went in to my OB for a quick check to make sure everything was still ok. My blood pressure was in fact elevated so they ordered some blood work and a 24 hour urine collection and sent me on my way. I was a bit concerned about that decision because it felt like a repeat of Mallory's birthday... I desperately wanted to avoid the sense of urgency in delivering my second child.
The following day I invited my friend Molly and her baby over to spend the afternoon with us. Molly's son is just a week and a half older than Mallory, so it's always a good time for everyone when we get together. Anyway, Molly is a labor and delivery nurse and quickly grew a little uneasy with my symptoms. She encouraged me to trust my intuition and continue advocating for myself if I felt something wasn't right with my body. Something certainly wasn't right...
When Kyle got off of work that evening, I had him meet me at OB triage once again. They immediately hooked me up to a fetal monitor and began serial blood pressure checks. My first few readings looked something like this : 137/99, 144/102, 158/91, etc. Kyle and I went into game time mode as there was no way my OB was going to send me home with numbers like that. We sent my mom and Mallory to eat and go about their evening. I asked my friend to swing by and let the dogs out and gave Molly a heads up (Molly and I had previously made arrangements so she would be my nurse during labor and delivery.)
birth story
preeclampsia birth story
After about an hour of monitoring, my OB came in and told us that it was baby time! She told us we had bought as much time as possible and baby needs to come out in order to keep both of us safe. She checked me; still 4 cm dilated. With that information, the plan was simply to move over to a labor and delivery room, start pitocin, receive some medicine to control my blood pressure and get this party started!
preeclampsia birth story
Molly arrived around 9pm to get me all situated in our new room. I remember feeling so excited as she started my pitocin! Surely this would be a fast labor since I was already sitting at 4 cm and this was my second baby. I braced for things to get intense pretty quickly. Molly, Kyle and I chatted and laughed as she did my admission "stuff." The mood was good, so so good!
birth story
The hours started rolling by, but the contractions didn't. Well, I was having them, they just weren't painful or regular. Around 2am Molly decided to check me -- still 4cm! Ugh. Molly decided to go home for a few hours to get some sleep since it was apparent that Michael had no plans of arriving that night.  You know Kyle didn't have any trouble catching some zzzzs, but I find something so joyous about watching the hours go by on the clock in L&D just basking in the anticipation of my baby's arrival. 
preeclampsia birth story
Around 7:30am, after almost 12 hours of labor and absolutely nothing to show for it,  my doctor decided to stop the pitocin and give me an hour break. She wanted me to have some breakfast and take a shower. The plan at this point was to restart pitocin and break my water within the hour. 
My doctor came in a little after 9am and broke my water. At the time I was still just 4cm dilated and completely comfortable. 
Side note : My OB strongly recommends that her patients with high blood presssure receive an epidural during labor and delivery. The medication in the epidural actually lowers your blood pressure a bit, not to mention that pain management will help to keep those numbers down. I was advised to inform my nurse once I "started feeling the contractions." My thought was that because I'd been "feeling" contractions for over a week now that I would just wait until they got uncomfortable... Wrong choice! 

Around 10am my contractions finally started to increase in intensity and regularity. I informed the nurse that we may want to start to get the ball rolling on the epidural. Little did we know how quickly things would happen...
Stay tuned for part two!
You can find Mallory's birth story here.

18 April 2015

Our Boy Is Here!

 Michael Robert
 born April 16, 2015 at 11:47am.
6 pounds 
19 inches

Michael was born at 36.4 weeks due to my high blood pressure. (This just so happens to be the exact same gestational age at which we met his sister.) Both Michael and I are healthy, happy and home

Kyle, Mallory and I want to thank you for the outpouring of well wishes on Instagram this week. We are feeling so loved! 
Things will be a little more quiet around the ol' blog for a couple of weeks...but not silent. ;) I have a few things planned plus I can't wait to share his birth story with you.
Hope you are having a fantastic weekend!

14 April 2015

Sephora VIB Sale 2015

Who isn't excited for a good sale at Sephora?! I mean nothing at Sephora EVER goes on sale, so when it does, we. must. capitalize! Here are the things I'm eye ballin'...

makeup must haves

1. hydrating eye cream by Bobbi Brown || This was actually on my Nordstrom wish list about a month ago, but due to budget constraints didn't make the cut. ;) I've used up multiple samples of this eye cream and really enjoy it! It can be used at night time, but I especially love it underneath my make up since it has a built in primer. 

2. Clarisonic replacement brush heads || Why not use this time to stock up on some staples? Switching to the Clarisonic brush head for acne prone skin has been a game changer for me, even though I wouldn't describe my skin as such. I think it just gives me a deeper clean. 

3. foundation primer-radiance by Laura Mercier || I received a sample of this stuff in one of my recent Nordstrom orders and looooved it! This is one of those primers that could possibly be worn on its own, it's that good.

4. everlasting liquid lipstick by Kat Von D || As you know, I'm a huge fan of my Kat Von D liquid lipstick in the shade 'lolita' -- it's so matte and stays on forever! A few months back I swatched the shade 'outlaw' and was obsessed! 

5. naked2 pallet by Urban Decay || Can you believe I don't own a single Naked pallet?! Not a one. This one is definitely my favorite so at a discounted price, I do believe now is the time. ;)

6. brightening violet powder by Besame || I don't remember where I first heard about this stuff, but it gets rave reviews. I've been using this stuff to set my under eye makeup and while I'm happy with it, I've have been looking for something with a little more brightening punch. 

7. naked illuminated by Urban Decay || Oh my goodness! I tried this on the other day and it is stunning!! If you don't like a little glitter, then this highlight won't be for you...but oh is it beautiful. 

8. NARS kabuki its brush || Pretty sure that everyone I watch on YouTube uses and swears by this brush. The one thing my new Sonia Kashuk brush set is missing is a contouring brush, which pretty much means I need this one, right?

9. almond smoothing & beautifying supple skin oil by L'Occitane || Another YouTuber favorite right here. I love almond scented anything and actually prefer oils to traditional lotions, so I'm really excited to give this a try. Tiffany D talks in greater detail about this stuff in her recent video

sephora sale codes
Use promo code "VIBLOVE" to receive 15% off your online purchase!

If you aren't already a beauty insider, sign up here!

Tell me. What are you getting?!

10 April 2015

Friday Favorites + Baby Update

Happy Friday! Oooooo do I have some good stuff for you today. Eeek!

one || Mallory and her "shoe phase."First it was her snow boots, but since it's spring she has decided those are soooo last season and she's on to bigger and better things with her rain boots. She will bring them to us at random to be worn around the house. She loves the extra stomping power. Too funny! (Clothing not required to rock rain boots.) 

two || My new make up brushes. After two separate trips, I was able to finally get my hands on these babies! I've only used them a couple of times so far, but I'm really enjoying them! The price simply can't be beat--plus, how pretty are they?!

sonia kashuk makeup brushes

three || This blush. Over the past couple weeks I've gotten not only this Milani Baked Blush in Dolce Pink, but also the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush. Being totally honest, the Milani Baked Blush is ten times better! I love the color pay off and the staying power, not to mention the price point is perfection! Highly recommend Milani Baked blushes. 
milani baked blush dolce pink
four || Kyle's work schedule. So I can safely say that it is a small miracle that Kyle's work has been so flexible this past month. He has been totally accessible to our family during my time on bed rest and for that I'm so so grateful! Suffice it to say that the Army rarely, if ever, cares about whether your soldier is needed at home...we've been lucky for sure. 
five || Baby Woody will be here in about a week! Ahhh! After beginning to have "real" contractions this week and having remained pregnant long enough to require my group B strep test to be repeated, my OB decided to sneak a peak to see if I had made any progress. Turns out I'm walking waddling around at a solid 4ish cm!! That of course means Baby Woody could arrive at any given moment! We would be so excited to go into labor naturally, even at this stage in the game, because it would mean baby is ready and my body is ready. A natural start to labor could even mean avoiding the nasty drug magnesium! Major, MAJOR bonus. My doctor did suggest scheduling induction for 37 weeks if baby hasn't arrived at that point. I will be 37 weeks 9 days from today! There are several advantages associated with Baby Woody making it to 37 weeks, namely giving his brain more time to develop. We would love to avoid repeating the breastfeeding issues we experienced with Mallory who was born at 36 weeks and 4 days. Of course, in the end, we just want baby and mama to be safe...that's why we pay the doctors the big bucks. ;)

35 week pregnant belly
Most recent belly shot at 35.3 weeks.
I think that's all I had to share with you today... 
Make sure you are following me on Instagram for the latest and greatest of Baby Watch 2015!
Have a fantastic weekend!

08 April 2015

Why Bed Rest Doesn't Suck

Before I dive into a pretty light hearted post about the "bright side" of being put on bed rest, I want to be clear about a couple of things. Kyle and I feel eternally grateful to have been given the opportunity to have children. Yes I've been put on bed rest and yes it is really freaking inconvenient. However, there are far too many couples in this world longing to start a family of their own but can't -- that's just not fair.  We have a happy, healthy 17 month old daughter and our unborn son is doing juuussst fine. That reality is not lost on us. 
Ok. So, at this stage in the game I am nearly 36 weeks pregnant and have been on "bed rest" for about six weeks. (Read how it all started here.) When bed rest first became a topic of conversation at my OB appointment, dozens of thoughts began racing through my mind. "How does one do bed rest with a toddler? Is that even legal? Well, that's why kids have two parents...oh wait! Army. HA! Better call my mom STAT! What the hell am I supposed to do with myself until baby is born???" Etc. 
As usual, it is quick and easy to see alllllll the ways being on bed rest sucks, but lets not harp on the negative. The doctors felt bed rest was necessary, for not only the safety of my baby, but for myself as well--that's reason enough to find the silver lining, right?  
All but the first week of my bed rest sentencing has been spent at home. Although, I think whether you are on bed rest at home or in the hospital, the perks are quite similar. 
Here's how I see things...
bed rest during pregnancy
one || Online shopping. Uhhh duh! What else did you think I'd start with?! You can verify with Kyle if you feel the need, but I have certainly been using and abusing this bed rest "perk." Can you say "proceed to checkout?" Don't mind if I do... ;)

two || TV/YouTube. Let's take this time to get good and acquainted with Netflix and YouTube. I'm proud to say I'm fully up to date with all of my favorite YouTube subscriptions and started watching Scandal. #coolmomalert #notreally
three || The actual rest part. We know there will be a point in the not so distant future with a new baby and those seemingly endless sleepless nights when I'll think "phew! I miss being on bed rest! I'm spent." I've been trying to think about my future self and find some kind of appreciation for this "down time." 

four || Bonding time. Even if this is your first child, but especially if it isn't, this is a fantastic opportunity to bond with your unborn baby! Sitting around all day has provided me with the opportunity to cherish those kicks, jabs, rolls and hiccups. I'm so thankful for that!

five || Spousal appreciation. Kyle has stepped up to the plate in a big way during my time on bed rest. He has played the role of both mom and dad while still going to work and without complaining...much ;) This is what teamwork is all about in a marriage. Plus, I'd like to think that my being out of commission has also helped Kyle to appreciate the things I do around the house and for our family. (At least that's what I'm telling myself, ok?)

six || Time with family/friends. Hopefully you are also in a position to be uplifted by friends, family and loved ones during this time. Whether they are helping with childcare and housework or simply providing emotional and psychological support, enjoy being surrounded by these people! I know that asking for help is hard, but in this case, there is simply no choice. Choose to see the positive in this aspect of bed rest and realize that normal life will be back soon enough. In the mean time, I'm surrounded by people who care about me... not too shabby!

seven || Organization/Planning. Ok, so I can't organize the linen closet or clean out the garage, but I can "clean up" in other ways. Do you need to move all of your computer's photos to an external hard drive? What about rework your family's budget/finances? Have a family vacation brewing for after baby is born? PLAN AWAY! Nothin' but time baby, nothin' but time. 
eight || Hobbies/Education. I have tried to focus more energy on my blog since being put on bed rest. Blogging has offered me a positive and productive distraction. Whether it's taking an online class or reading up on photography, whatever you're interested in (that can be done from a seated/laying position) do it! Enjoy it! 

nine || Get to check on baby more often. During a normal pregnancy, it is not uncommon to see your baby at 20 weeks and then not again until you are holding them in your arms! That isn't typically the case for those of us on bed rest. For instance, in the past six weeks alone I've seen my baby on an ultrasound at least three times, not to mention hearing his beautiful heartbeat during those twice weekly NSTs. Major perk in my book!
ten || Keeping yourself and baby safe.  That is the entire point, right? ;)
Have you been on bed rest? How did you make your time suck less? Share some of your advice!

07 April 2015

Graphic Tees For Spring

One of the things I'm learning as I blindly fumble through my "fashion crisis" is that I really love graphic t-shirts. They can be dressed up with a skirt and some heels or styled more casually with some distressed boyfriend jeans and sneakers. I find that black and white are graphic tees are generally the way to go as they are the most versatile. The biggest issue I have found with purchases graphic tees is as soon as I find something I like, they are sold out! These babies can't stay in stock! For example, just as I was getting ready to click "checkout" on this one...poof! GONE! #firstworldproblems

Here are a few of the tees I'm hoping to get my hands on before it's too late...

women's graphic t-shirts

one || two || three || four || five || six

Have you seen any good tees lately? Tell me quick!

02 April 2015

Preparing Your Pets To Meet Your Baby

Sometimes, just the thought of introducing your human baby to your furry babies can send a hormonal pregnant mama into an anxiety riddled tailspin! BUT, I promise that when simply done thoughtfully and purposefully, this introduction can be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. 

Fortunately, Kyle and I didn't have any really serious concerns when it came to introducing our dogs, Schatzi and LT, to our first baby. We were still cautious nonetheless. We did lots of reading early on in my pregnancy and came up with a plan. 

Here is what has worked for us ::

set up baby gear early || In order to make sure we weren't making lots of changes for the dogs at once, we were sure to acclimate them slowly over time. Months before I was due, we started putting together baby's furniture, swing, pack n' play, etc. Not only did we assemble all of the baby gear but we left it out where the dogs had access to it.

allow your pet explore baby's things || We gave our dogs the freedom to sniff around and explore baby's things. Just as a new sofa or kitchen table, these items are new and permanent fixtures in our home, maybe even an indication of change to come. Regardless, we gave the dogs ample time to get used to the new gear before we brought home the new roommate. ;)

exchange linens after birth || This was by far the most common bit of advice we encountered during our research! Have dad bring baby's already worn hat, blanket or onesie home from the hospital for the dogs to smell. We didn't let our dogs "handle" baby's clothes, he just held it out for them to smell. Once the dogs appeared uninterested in the clothing, we then placed them in either the crib or swing. Be sure to watch the dogs after you do this! They could give you a good opportunity to correct them from for "grabbing" the clothing out of the crib or swing. (Our dogs remained uninterested though.)

be deliberate with your actual introduction || When it is time to bring baby into your home, make sure you brush up on your dog language, aka body language and evaluate your family's "pack" dynamic. In our home, the dogs follow commands best from me, however they are more responsive to Kyle's correction. We decided that it would be best if I held the baby (showing the dogs baby is mine) while Kyle brought the dogs in to meet her (controlling them and easily making a correction if necessary.) We chose baby's room for the introduction as that is "baby's territory." (Not that the dogs aren't allowed in there but simply because it was full of baby things.) Kyle came into the house first and let the dogs out back while baby and I came inside. I put the baby down on the floor in her room while she was still in her carseat and went to greet the dogs myself. After being in the hospital for a couple of days, the dogs would be excited to see me too. Once I had sufficiently greeted them, I went back to the baby's room, got her out of her seat and held her on the floor. Kyle put the dogs on their leashes and walked them into the room. I was extra mindful to be calm as the dogs feed off of that energy. As we expected, the dogs each sniffed and licked the baby's face briefly, then went about their business. Perfect!

follow through || Even though the introduction went well, our work wasn't done. There was still a serious adjustment period ahead for everyone! We made a conscious effort to continue giving the dogs appropriate attention and exercise. Just because our main focus is on the baby, that doesn't mean the dogs are any less important or in need. Of course, we continued watching the dogs' interaction with baby and baby's things. Things like destroying clothing or toys, general misbehavior, urinating on baby or baby's things, etc could be signs of an adjustment issue that needs to be addressed immediately.  

Above all, watching our daughter (and soon our son) develop such a special, meaningful relationship with our dogs has been an incredible experience for us as parents. Our children are lucky to grow up with such loving furry friends. 
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