Celebrating our sweet girl this weekend has been a blast! I will be sharing the details (and some recipes and tutorials!) from her party over the next week or so. For now, I just wanted to leave you guys with some cuteness! My heart can’t handle it.
Archives for March 2019
Tomorrow, my sunshine will be one. My heart can’t even take that thought, and typing it out makes it so real! (If you need me, I will be over here crying.) I have been reflecting a lot on the process of bringing her into the world and I want to share it so that someday, when she is older, she can read her story.
The journey to meet this little love was not without its fair share of loss, sadness, worry and waiting. Even still, I would do it all again to get to know her. I had the most amazing pregnancy. I would even say that in some respects it was pretty easy. It was a time of celebration and joy that I look back on so fondly (and miss!). However, as I got toward the end, my blood pressure started to do weird things. My doctor monitored me closely for preeclampsia because I would have these crazy spikes where my blood pressure would top out around 170/100, but thankfully it never went that far. Add in some very horrible sciatic nerve pain and by the 38 week mark I was just ready to be done.
Add in the fact that according to her growth scans, we thought we were going to be birthing a 10lb baby. My doctor was worried about shoulder dystocia , in addition to the issues that I was having. After a few very tearful phone calls on March 15th, he finally asked me to make the hour drive and just come in and talk through my options with him. We picked up the house, hid a key, loaded up the car- “just in case”- and headed that way.
My greatest fear in everything was my child getting stuck and in distress, so we actually went in with the intentions of scheduling an elective C-section. I had made absolutely no progress. The baby was still high and my cervix was very much closed. After a lot of deliberating, we agreed that we would go ahead and induce labor, with a very short threshold for fetal distress. If at any point I felt uncomfortable or he was worried, we would go immediately into the C-section suite and be done with it.
He asked if we wanted to schedule the induction for first thing in the morning (it was 4:30pm at that point). We figured we were ready and had driven all that way, why not just do it now! It was his on-call weekend, so the timing was perfect. Doctor Jackson called the Baby Place (our fantastic hospital! I highly recommend Advent Health if you are in the Western NC area!) and they said they were ready for us whenever we were ready. So we were given instructions to go run any last minute errands and go on a dinner date before we went in. The plan was to get there around 7pm and start the process. With the idea being that since it would take a while to get things dilating, I would be able to get a sleep aid and get a good night’s rest under my belt and then we would roll first thing in the morning.
We went to dinner, hit up Aldi for a few essentials (isn’t that where everyone goes right before they give birth?), and went to check in! Nervous, excited, ready to be done, ready to meet our little love, and ready for some TV and sleep! Little did I know…
8pm– The first dose of Cervadil was administered. I was feeling good. We settled in and were just having fun hanging out! My parents were on their way from Virginia and due just before midnight. This part was just fun and exciting! We chatted and updated our family and friends and got a video call in with my sweet Mother in Law in Indiana.
11pm– “Grandma” and “Gradaddy” arrived! We got to visit with them for a little bit, which was good for my spirits. Sometimes a girl just needs her mom. Since things were pretty much not moving other than a little bit of cramping, we sent them the last hour of their trip to our house to get some rest and take care of the dogs. Our plan was to get up with them in the early morning as far as when to head back so that my mom could be with me for the majority of the active birth.
12am– The second dose of Cervadil was administered. About 10 minutes later I was having hard and fast contractions. It was like the extra dose just kicked my body into overdrive and it went from 0-60 very quickly. Daddy jumped in here and was a life-saver for me; applying counter pressure, letting me squeeze his hands until they were purple and massaging. Almost right off the bat they were coming every 2-3 minutes and were strong. I went from 1cm-3cm pretty fast. They told me that when I hit 5cm they would “wake the anesthesiologist” and then he would come in to do my epidural about 15 minutes later.
2am– My contractions were almost relentless. It seemed like I didn’t get a break at all. One would end, I would catch my breath for a second, and then I would feel the next one coming on. I could barely think straight. I focused hard on relaxing my hands and jaw, and repeated my affirmations constantly. Daddy didn’t get a break either. Every time he sat down I was begging him to come back and help me. At this point I pleaded with the nurse to get my epidural process started. Turns out I was already about 5cm, so she agreed it was time. We were told that if we wanted my mom there for the birth, we needed to get her headed back this way ASAP because things were moving very fast. We called and they came immediately back.
3am– ish. I was so out of it at this point, just trying to survive each minute and a half wave, that I am not 100% clear on the time. But the beautiful epidural man came. I had been so afraid of this part, honestly even more than I was of birth itself, but by the time I saw him I just needed rest and relief. Once he got me nice and numb, I was able to get comfortable. The plan was for us to try and sleep (my poor parents had just driven an hour back to us), but I was too anxious and excited to sleep! This night had not gone how I had planned at all, and I was a little taken aback by how quickly everything was happening. My parents got there and we spent a few minutes with them and then just had some quiet time.
6am– I gave up on sleep. I was dilated to a 7 at this point and the hospital was starting to wake up and buzz. I decided to switch my focus to scrolling social media to pass the time. We had a little snack and waited. I was a little freaked out because it felt like my epidural was wearing off, so the nurses had them come and give me a boost, and they showed me how to push a little button to keep the dosage flowing. You better believe that button became my bestie!
7am– Dr. Jackson came in for the morning and checked on us. My cervix was at 8cm, and he went ahead and broke my water since that hadn’t happened yet. We spent a few minutes with him, gave him a gift that we had brought to thank him for everything he did for us, and he prayed over Addilyn and I. He had to go over to the office for a bit but promised he would be back to check me in a couple of hours.
10:45am– The nurses called to check on Dr. Jackson and it turned out he was in an emergency C-section. I was starting to get really anxious because it was so important to me that he be there for the delivery, and I was almost fully dilated!
11:45am– Dr. Jackson finally came in to check me. He measured me as a 9cm and said he would be back in a half hour or so for me to start pushing. The nurse took one look and told the other nurses to go and tell him to get back in there because this baby wasn’t waiting 30 minutes!
11:55am– I started pushing. This part was what I was the most scared of because I just wasn’t sure if I could do it. I remember I kept asking my mom if I would be able to, and in true mom fashion she was very reassuring. I had her on one side, Michael on the other and a seasoned nurse coaching me on how to breathe and push. My entire team was fantastic, down to the student nurse in the room (who is now a friend of ours and in Addie’s life…We love you, Morgan!). There was so much encouragement that it honestly was probably one of the easier parts of my labor! I definitely learned through this experience that you can do the things you think you can’t, and the hard things aren’t as bad as we make them in our heads.
About halfway through, the nurse put an oxygen mask on me. I still am not 100% sure of why, but she said that it was to help Addilyn so I didn’t question it. She also gave me a tiny bit of Pitocin, but it really wasn’t needed because things got moving again before it hit.
Finally, after one set of pushes, Dr. Jackson looked at me and said, “Do you need a break? She is almost here!” I asked him if she was literally right there, and he told me that she was. I decided that rather than take a break, I had one really good push left in me. I breathed deep, mustered every bit of strength I had, and gave one long, hard final push!
12:24pm– Dr. Jackson lifted my beautiful, sweet, warm baby up, the nurse unclipped my gown and they laid her on my chest. I suppose there was all of that un-fun stuff that has to happen after the baby comes out, and apparently I was given quite a few stitches. But in that moment all that I could see was her. All that I could feel was the relief that she was here and okay, and the warm glow of love that she filled the room with immediately. I kept repeating “we did it, baby. I love you!” over and over to her.
Her daddy cut the cord, and we had a good hour or so of skin to skin time, just Addilyn, Mommy and Daddy. Our hospital is so fantastic and they wait to weigh and clean them up until after that first golden hour so that you can really bond, and it was the most beautiful hour of my life.
Reflecting back on this day makes my heart so happy. Motherhood has changed my world in the most challenging and beautiful ways. I would not trade one second of it and we are so thankful for our tiny girl. Happy almost birthday, sweet Addilyn!
The moral of our story is this. Everyone wants to make mothers think that choosing to induce and/or choosing an epidural means that you will have a long and complicated labor. We are proof that that does not have to be the case at all! I had a very quick 16 hours total), and very empowered birth and I would do it all again tomorrow! (I do thank my little friend for some of the speed!). Whatever you choose, mama, will be the best for you and for your baby!
As someone who struggles with anxiety, to be honest I was terrified of labor. One of my first thoughts upon finding out that I was finally pregnant was a bit of panic at the “what goes in, must come out,” truth of it all. I tried to just not think about it, but as the day drew nearer and nearer, I realized that I was going to have to pony up and face my fears.
I decided that the best way to do that was going to be to arm myself with a few positive affirmations that I could repeat over and over again while I was in the thick of it. That seemed to work best for me in seasons where my anxiety wasn’t well controlled, so it would be a great idea to take into this experience! As you will see when I finally get the chance to write out Addilyn’s birth story, it must have helped because we had the most amazing (and quick!) induction process and delivery that I could have ever hoped for.
I read every article I could find, scoured Pinterest, took a childbirth class, and read my Bible. I had quite the list put together, but here are the ones that I actually used during my labor and they brought me a great deal of peace and comfort! I highly recommend printing these off and taking them with you!
- I was designed to do this. I am not afraid!
- One contraction at a time.
- The strength of my contractions cannot be stronger than me, because it is me.
- When I feel the strong waves, I know that my labor is progressing and normal.
- Every tiny effort that I make brings me closer to my sweet baby.
- Here comes another wave, I can ride it.
- My body can birth this baby without me. (No really, they have done studies! If you were in a coma, your body would know how to contract and birth the baby anyway! How cool is that?! Not the coma part…the birth.)
- My labor and birth are going exactly as they should.
- My job is to relax and allow my body to move my baby down the birth canal.
- I will stay calm and breathe deeply to bring oxygen to my baby.
- The pain I feel now cannot compare to the joy that is coming!
- Our baby was created in love and will be birthed in love.
Here are a few Bible verses that I held particularly close during my labor as well:
- “When I am afraid I will trust in you.” Psalm 56:3 (My life verse!)
- “Do not be afraid–I am with you! I am your God–let nothing terrify you! I will make you strong and help you; I will protect you and save you.” –Isaiah 41:10
- “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.”- 2 Timothy 4:17
What about you mamas with babies already born? Did you have any birth affirmations that I didn’t have on my list? Comment below and share the love!
Spaghetti squash may be the most intimidating vegetable that there is. It took me a long time to fall in love with it because honestly, I thought it was a huge pain in the rear end. It is impossible to cut in half without nearly losing a finger. And It takes forever to cook in the oven. Ain’t nobody got time for that. But there are so many good recipes that involve this little yellow gourd, so I set out to crack the secret! After a lot of experimentation, here is what you need to do!
- Peel off any stickers that are on your squash and then pop it into the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes (less if its a really small squash). This will soften it just enough that it won’t be so difficult to cut.
- Carefully remove from the microwave and using a sharp knife, pierce the squash in the middle in the direction you are wanting to cut it. Be cautious as there will likely be a little steam coming out.
- Hold the squash with one hand and cut it in half. You can go length-wise or width wise. Length-wise is best if you are doing a recipe where you fill the squash like a boat (aka- if there are a lot of things going into it). Based on the way the fibers run, cutting it width-wise (standing up like in the picture) will keep your “noodles” longer. This is usually how I cut it!
- Using a spoon, scrape the seeds and gunk out. It makes it much easier if you scrape around the inside to loosen the fibers and then dump the seeds out, going back to get anything that remains.
- Stick both halves back in the microwave for 4 minutes.
- After 4 minutes, check and see if the squash is soft. If you have a smaller squash, it will likely be done. If it still feels a bit firm, keep heating it in one minute increments until fully done.
- Allow your halves to cool for a few minutes, and be very careful removing them!
- Either scrape out the insides and make your dish, or loosen the “noodles” and fill them like bowls!
One of my absolute favorite things in the world is a big, fat cup of Caramel Apple Spice from Starbucks! I seriously love it more than their coffee, and I love me some coffee (hence the blog name). When we moved to a tiny mountain town without a Starbucks- and mama quit her full time job- I knew it was time to come up with a way to have one at home and without breaking the bank! My mom and I put our heads together and whipped up this bad boy and let me tell you…it is every bit as amazing! Go ahead and make one, and then come back on here and thank us. (…kidding. But you will want to!)
Caramel Apple Spice (Starbucks Copycat)
- Jug of apple cider (any kind will do)
- Aspen Mulling Spices
- Caramel Syrup (we like Hershey’s!)
- Whipped cream
- Choose your favorite mug! We like to go big or go home, so mine is a 16oz.
- Fill your mug 3/4 full of cider.
- Add the mulling spices according to the directions on the box.
- Add 1TBPS (or more to taste) of caramel syrup to your mug and stir it well. It won’t mix super great while it is still cold.
- Pop it into the microwave and heat it approx 1.5 mins, checking it periodically to get the temp you prefer. It really isn’t specific! Stir well as you check it.
- Remove from microwave and give it another stir!
- Top with whipped cream and drizzle a little more caramel on top!
- Snuggle up in your fav cozy spot and enjoy!
They don’t tell you that losing a pregnancy, especially your first, changes things. They don’t warn you that it robs you of your innocence. That it makes you painfully and keenly aware of how fragile life is and how truly miraculous it is when a life is created. And how quickly it can be taken away.
They don’t tell you about the fear to look at the pregnancy tests. They don’t caution you that you will feel hesitant to get excited. That your extreme and utter joy will also come with a very healthy dose of anxiety, and fear of getting attached. Fear of telling anyone, just in case things don’t work out. Fear of what your doctor will say at your appointment.
They don’t tell you about how you will obsess over blood work and levels. That you will spend hours on end googling other people’s hormones on the same day as yours and freak out at the discrepancies. That you will insist on doing every little thing possible to try and sustain your pregnancy. (Thank God for a patient and understanding physician that walked me through this process!)
They don’t warn you that you won’t be able to breathe at your first ultrasound. That you will literally have to force yourself to look at the screen. And that even once you have seen that little blip of a baby, you will still be afraid to believe that it’s real. That you will be afraid to get attached, no matter how much prayer you have covered this child with.
They don’t tell you that you will keep that nervous, panicky feeling for every ultrasound the entire pregnancy. That you will feel guilty about that nervousness because you are a believer and you are supposed to just trust that it will all be okay. That you will obsess over your baby’s heart beat and making sure it stays within an acceptable range. (Side note: a home fetal doppler did wonders for my anxiety! It was hit or miss finding her until about 14-15 weeks but it made things SO much easier! We had one very similar to this one and it was worth every cent! Here’s another great, but more cost efficient, one! )
They don’t warn you that your anatomy scan will literally feel like an eternity. That you will be ridiculously anxious that something will be wrong. That you will count the days until your child reaches the point of viability like they are the longest days of your life. Or that days where your baby is less active will send you into a tailspin.
They also don’t tell you the immeasurable gratitude that you will feel. That the symptoms that most pregnant women complain about will be beautiful signs that your prayers have been answered. That your little miracle is thriving inside of you. And it will make those hard days when you feel like you could throw up for hours so much easier. That you will be oddly grateful for every ache and pain and pinch and pull.
They don’t tell you how much more you will appreciate every little thing. Every milestone. Every passing week and new experience. Every kick and hiccup. The first time your husband can feel her sweet movements. Because you know what it feels like to want those things and lose. You will cherish every single day just a little bit more than the last.
They don’t tell you how much this experience will carry you through labor. It will make each contraction welcome, as it brings you closer and closer to meeting your miracle.
They don’t tell you that all of your waiting and your pain makes it so, SO much more sweet the moment that you hear that first cry. That they lay that tiny, warm body on your chest. The rush of relief that everyone is okay. They don’t warn you that all of those emotions will rush back to you in that first meeting and that all you will be able to feel is the most perfect and complete love. That the pain of your past will carry you through the hard parts (hello, sleepless nights!). That every anxious moment will be worth it. They don’t tell you, and they should! So I will.