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Arlo Fox - A Birth Story

Long time, no has been...crazy... But our sweet, little guy arrived on July 21, 2015 at 7:37 am via c-section at 38 weeks. He's perfect, healthy, and so warm and snuggly.

If you follow my blog or our YouTube channel, you'll know I suffered from preterm labor issues starting at 28 weeks and was placed on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy. Luckily it was modified bed rest, and I wasn't completely confined, but it was still emotionally and physically draining.

I went through weeks/months of pain and just generally being uncomfortable, all the while worrying about my little guy and whether or not we'd make it full-term.

Toward the end, I had so much anxiety about everything...about having surgery, about the pain I'd been experiencing, about bringing a new baby into our home with another small child already many thoughts and emotions. I was also having random episodes of labor, yet again, and was progressing some and became hopeful about going into labor on my own and having the possibility of a VBAC.

But it didn't happen. And I felt so discouraged and cheated. I just so badly wanted the chance to try and birth a baby the "normal" way again. Not saying a c-section is any easier, though some might think or say that. But I'd been through it once before and was dreading the procedure itself as well as the recovery. For some reason, having a scheduled day to have your baby seemed so anti-climactic and very stressful worrying about needles and being numb, etc...I don't do well with that kind of thing. Now don't get me wrong, I was so excited to meet our little dude and so ready for this long and hard pregnancy to be over, but it wasn't happening the way I'd hoped. It just felt odd to go through so much physical work and then have someone be like "we're gonna just go ahead and take him out."

So the morning of my c-section had arrived. And I was so nervous. Walking into a hospital knowing exactly what was about to happen was so strange. And dealing with being away from Lark for multiple nights was making me really emotional. They checked us in and had me change into a gown right away. We had some really awesome nurses that morning they got me prepped for surgery. My first IV didn't take, and I hate those things! They hurt! So she had to do it again and was going to put one into my forearm on the underside and for some reason, that REALLY freaked me out and caused a panic attack. I had her put it into my hand instead, which, I'm sure didn't feel any better. They monitored baby for a bit, and managed to catch some of my contractions on paper.

All was fairly uneventful. Doctors came in to check on things, nurses were scurrying about, the anesthesiologist came in to explain the spinal to me and I proceeded to freak out, yet again...I swear, I stress more than is necessary. It was all routine and people were there, just going through the motions, while I sat and had a million thoughts running through my brain.

The time came to wheel me into the operating room. They freak me out. They're so bright and cold, medical equipment everywhere...for lack of a better word, was go time.

Sitting still and forward for the spinal was really hard because it was uncomfortable and I was having contractions at the time. But surprisingly, it wasn't NEARLY as bad as I'd prepared myself for, which is typical in my brain goes to the absolute worst scenario in every stressful situation! They did hit a bone at one point...OW!...but the pain was very quick. I sort of panic when numbed, because I don't like the feeling of not being in control of my body. The whole process was very quick, which I was thankful for and my angel of a doctor and a sweet nurse stood beside me and held each hand, which helped a ton. They tried to distract me with conversation, and it sort of worked, but not really...HA!

I was numb pretty quickly, but it felt much different than the epidural I had with Lark. I could feel a lot more this time around, not pain, but pressure and touch at some points. James came in shortly after and the entire procedure felt like it went so fast. Before we knew it, Arlo was out! She held him over the curtain for me to see and he was so tiny, like Lark! And he had a head full of dark hair! I was so happy and so relieved at that moment that everything was over and he was here after everything we've been through during this pregnancy. Oh, and he peed all over me when she held him up...

They cleaned him up and checked him out a bit and then I got to have skin-to-skin with him right there on the operating table while I was stitched up. I was really grateful for that few minutes since I didn't get that with Lark at all. I'm still shocked at how fast things went. When I had Lark, the c-section came after 18 hours of labor and became an emergency situation in a sense. I was so out of it and there's so much I can't remember, so this experience was so much different. I was able to be present in the moment and while I had more time to panic about all of it, it was still so much smoother and I could enjoy parts of it. Don't get me wrong, my labor and delivery with Lark was a wonderful experience, especially since I was able to go through labor with her, but I was so exhausted and loopy by the time they did the c-section that I was completely helpless.

We were wheeled back to recovery and I felt pretty good. Coming down from the spinal was easier on my body than the epidural last time. I got the shakes and a really bad fever last time to the point where I couldn't even hold Lark. I had the shakes again this time, but it was very minor. I don't know how long we were in there, but it wasn't long at all. Shorter than the 2.5 hours with Lark. This tiny boy was so angry in the first moments after being born. He has a good set of lungs, that's for sure! But my, he was so handsome and looked so much like Lark. They have the same nose and mouth and I was so afraid of having two babies and often wondered how I'd find room for another in my heart. And just like everyone said, your heart just grows and makes room. I was smitten from moment one and so enamoured with my SON! The little boy who had me so scared and anxious because I don't know how to raise boys! But for him, I'll do anything.

We were wheeled back to our room and we still had our amazing nurses, who got to know me very intimately, unfortunately....there is no modesty in childbirth, and especially not in c-section recovery when you don't have control of your lower half for quite some time. I was at their mercy for everything! James, Arlo and I spent some time together and then it was time for his sister to meet him...

I was so nervous about how it would go and I got emotional before James brought her in. But as soon as I saw her, it all washed away. She was timid and unsure, but did pretty well, considering. She brought him a football and even managed to snuggle him and give him kisses. I've never been more proud. These two perfect creatures that James and I created together, sharing their first moments in this life...they're going to be great friends, I just know it!

Overall, this experience was amazing. My surgery, recovery, everything has been so much better. It's definitely hard transitioning into two babies from one, and while Lark is adjusting pretty well, she has been a lot more emotional and stubborn, which is to be expected. She loves Arlo and loves helping with him. She's obsessed with his feet and always wants to see them if they're covered up. She rubs his head when he's upset, which is A LOT! She's just so gentle and sweet with him. She's much more needy of me, and he's needy of me as well, which has been hard at times and I get upset because I can't be everything to everyone, but I'm doing my best and trying my hardest to give them both the love and attention they need. I know it will all even out eventually, one day at a time...

Arlo is precious and tiny...he had a minor case of jaundice, but luckily we made it out of that. He's constantly hungry and I'm exhausted! But he's not the best at breastfeeding and we are still trying to find our groove. He loves to be held and snuggle tight, which is both wonderful and terrible at the same time...he won't stay asleep on flat surfaces, or sometimes anywhere but my arms. We lost a lot of sleep in the first few days until we found a solution for sleeping at night which involves him sleeping in a boppy type of pillow that actually has a lap harness to hold him in place. Probably not recommended by professionals, but hey, it's working! He's fussier and generally more high-maintenance than Lark ever was, which is hard with a toddle who is also extra needy, but he's starting to be awake more and alert during the day, which is helping him be a happier little dude. He's really strong and loves lifting his head already. He has too much strength that his little body can't quite control...he's gonna do big things in this life...

I'm so excited about adventures to come with Arlo Fox. My heart is so full.

I know this video is long, but I had to be sure to encompass everything we went through...and still didn't cover it all! But please enjoy...

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29 Week Pregnancy Update my usual fashion, I'm finally posting a pregnancy update, but it's late. I filmed this update at nearly 30 weeks (29 weeks, 6 days) so I'm really kind of only a week late! I'm technically 31 weeks now, and I'll be filming a new update in the next couple of days.

I've also not been able to take a chalkboard shot lately. Partially because I haven't had husband hasn't been around to take the photo...and most recently, I can't really go up and down the stairs and it's set up in our basement currently. So I snapped a quick shot in our living room with our point-and-shoot camera...(scroll down past the photo for the video)

I've also included a bit more in this update. My gender thoughts, my birth plan and info on my preterm labor issues that I posted about previously. Enjoy!

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Baby Boy Clothing Haul - Target, GAP, Old Navy and more...

Coming to terms with boy's clothing has been difficult for me. I know, totally first world problems and so not important...but I can't help it! I have a hard time with frogs, dogs, fire trucks and footballs on boy's clothes. I just can't do it! I'm finding I like more 'plain' items, lots of stripes and really unique, atypical prints and patterns.

So I've been slowly accumulating things for our baby boy and have amassed quite a pile! It's sort of random and he still needs a lot of basics, but I'm finding a lot of cute little things for him at my favorite stores. Baby GAP is a front-runner for me, for baby boy and for Lark. I've bought a bit for her as well lately, and may film a girl's clothing haul too. Target is always a win, in my opinion, and you can't beat the prices.

I decided to film a haul of things I've found for him lately. You can watch below. Also, if you have any favorite stores or online shops that have cute and trendy boy's pieces, drop me a note!

(you can find links to specific items or websites in the description box on YouTube)

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Shit just got real...

On Friday morning, I went in to the OB office for a last minute appointment after not feeling well...what happened after that was something I could have never been prepared for...

It all started Thursday afternoon when I began having episodes of nausea. A few people at work had been dealing with stomach flu, so I was concerned I may have caught something, or I thought I had maybe eaten something bad. James and I went to watch our niece's little league game and I was having a hard time even sitting still there because the nausea just kept coming in waves. We headed downtown after that to grab a bite to eat. I thought eating might help a bit, since I was hungry as well. I couldn't really stomach what I had ordered, even though it was something I normally love. But I still never felt feverish or weak, like I have anytime I've had stomach flu. I was

Later that night it turned to painful stomach cramping, which I was sure was going to turn itself into some major visit to the porcelain throne...but again, nothing ever transpired. I was trying to get things prepared for going out of town for the weekend. We were supposed to head back down to Saginaw to watch my stepson play in a ball tournament, since he's still living in Saginaw until school is out. But I couldn't really focus on anything because I wasn't feeling right. I was really anxious and just trying to find ways to distract myself from the stomach pains and wishing I'd either puke know...

At some point late in the evening, I laid on the couch and dozed off for a bit. James woke me later to head to bed. I couldn't get comfortable at all and when the stomach pains were coming, I was now also getting back pain. I sat up in bed and said, 'something is not right.' I came out to the couch for awhile, watching who knows what on tv, thinking that these pains were feeling an awful lot like contractions. I have been dealing with Braxton Hicks for months now, but they had never been terribly painful. So this was alarming. I decided to time them, because they'd come and go, waxing and waning in intensity and pain, and I began to get worried. They were about 10-15 apart for almost 2 hours and I kept going back and forth in my head about whether or not I should drive myself to the emergency room. They finally crept to a distance of an hour apart and I decided that with it being close to 5 am, I'd try and sleep and call the OB when they opened, just to give myself peace of mind, because I was certain I was just overreacting.

I was awoken around 6, yet again with pains and pressure, but still considering going to work. Once I reached the OB nurse, they wanted me in just to check vitals and what-not. Better safe than sorry, especially at 29 weeks. Things had somewhat calmed at this point, mostly just Braxton Hicks, but still pretty often.

As soon as I got into the office, the pain started again. My back hurt so badly and it seemed liked hours that I sat in that waiting room, waiting to be called. The nurse could tell I wasn't in my right mind. I had no fever, and my blood pressure was good, both of which she said was great. Baby's heartbeat was also good, and he was moving around, but that also aggravated my aches and pains! We were thankful for movement though.

The doctor decided to swab for labor, which involved a pelvic exam. Good times while you're in pain! She said she'd get results in a couple of hours. She said it would be a good indicator of whether or not I would give birth in the next two weeks.

She decided at the end to check my cervix for dilation. Generally she's a really calm, almost monotone person. As soon as she got herself all up in there (sorry to be graphic here, no, not really haha) her face immediately changed and she quickly started cleanup while saying, 'Well, you're dilated to 2 cm, so what's going to happen now is you're going to go straight to the hospital. The nurse will take you over and I'll be right behind you.'

I immediately started to panic...thinking, 'I'm only 29 weeks and my baby is going to die.' Dramatic? Maybe, but I'd never dealt with premature labor and certainly knew nothing about preemies and babies being born this early. It was such a scary moment. I got dressed and called James, who was home with Lark, my precious angel whose face would not leave my mind at that moment. I just couldn't bear the thought of something bad happening. I was in tears and he and I were both in shock...

I did decide to vlog parts of that day...

I was admitted and there most of the day. I was given steroids to help the baby's lungs in the event he were to be born. That shot was a literal pain in my ass and burned like a mother-something! I had to have a second dose 24 hours later.

As you saw in the video, I was able to come home, but I was basically on strict bed rest for the night until they saw me the next day. Still having contractions, the doctor was still concerned and has basically instructed me to be off work for this next week, to be safe.

I've been so stressed out. Thoughts in my head about permanent bedrest and how we can't afford it...heartbreak over not being able to hold or pick up my baby girl, who knows something's wrong and gets distraught at times and wants her mama...paranoid about her being in other people's care with her health and allergy issues and the thought of something also happening...thoughts about Brennan, 2.5 hours away and not able to be with us...thoughts about the baby in my womb, who I learned has a pretty good survival rate, but could still have long would be in the NICU? would Lark be without me for an extended period of time?...everything was caving in on me, and it was really scary.

Luckily, I had James, who is literally the most kind and patient person I have ever known, and members of his family, OUR family, willing to go above and beyond to accommodate us and make sure I was taken care of and safe.

So I'm home. Still pregnant. Still stuck on this couch. Still experiencing all the symptoms of early labor. But the baby is still cooking, and we are hoping it stays that way...

Preterm labor is much more scary than I could have ever imagined, and my heart goes out to moms everywhere who've dealt with this, or even regular labor and delivery, because being a mom is hard. It's beautiful, but it's hard...

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FINALLY...A Gender Reveal...

It's been quite a few weeks since we found out baby's gender. But with our life kind of being upside down and my husband still being gone a lot during the week (not anymore! Yay!) it's been hard to find time to get this reveal finished!

So...without further ado...

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20 & 21 Week Pregnancy Update

I'm feeling accomplished and caught up! Cranking these updates out this weekend. I always have the questionnaires filled out, but finding time to film and edit during the week is difficult at the moment!

Here is my 20 and 21 week update!


How far along?  21 weeks

Total weight gain/loss? About 8-10 lbs

Stretch marks? None yet...

Sleeping? Sleeping better, but waking up some still.

Best moment last week? The usual...just spending time with my girl, and with my husband on weekends. And hitting that halfway mark!

Movement?  So much! This baby is a mover!

Food cravings? All junk all the time! And coke, but cutting way back because I think the caffeine is causing issues:

Symptoms? My newest symptom has been Braxton hicks contractions for the last two weeks, which I had a lot with Lark, but not until much later. OB was a bit concerned, and I've been instructed to take it easy, which is hard because I'm alone with an active toddler during the week. Trying to have her walk more now that the weather is a bit better and snow has melted a lot. SPD has been kicking up too...

Gender? We know now!! But haven't revealed yet!

Labor signs? Nope.

Belly button in/out? In.

What I miss: this question is getting redundant...isn't it obvious?! My husband and my family being together!!!

What I am looking forward to: still the warm weather so Lark can get outside and get some exercise!

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18 & 19 Week Pregnancy Update

Playing catch up, as usual, with my pregnancy updates...quite a few weeks behind at this point, but here's the update for 18 and 19 weeks!

18 Week Update

How far along?  18 weeks

Total weight gain/loss? Officially up 3-4 lbs from my starting weight. It's fluctuating at the moment...

Maternity clothes? Duh. Stretchy pants galore these days!

Stretch marks? None yet...

Sleeping? Better! But still always tired...

Best moment last week? Just the usual 'weekend with my husband' happies...

Movement?  Tons...still on a pretty regular schedule. Thinking it can probably be felt from the outside now, but every time I try, little pea stops kicking!

Food cravings? The usual...

Symptoms? Tired...nausea is pretty much gone! Unless I eat too much. I've already hit that point where my stomach is running out of room for food and I get uncomfortable very quickly...I feel like the SPD I had last pregnancy is slowly creeping its way back in. Not looking forward to that! Still a randomly itchy face and other weird spots on my arms and legs. Sinuses are still screwy and I've had a recurrence of headaches!

Gender? Next week!!

Labor signs? Nope.

Belly button in/out? In.
What I miss: sunshine and warm weather! 

What I am looking forward to: our anatomy ultrasound next week! It's been a minute since I've seen the babe and I'm anxious to see how we are doing and hopefully find out gender!! 


How far along?  19 weeks

Total weight gain/loss? Between 3 and 5 lbs

Maternity clothes? Lots! Need to order more pants and some spring items though.

Stretch marks? None yet...

Sleeping? Oh my. Lark has been really sick and we've barely slept! So still very tired!

Best moment last week? We had an ultrasound and found out gender this week!

Movement?  Lots! Still at fairly predictable times of the day.

Food cravings? The usual still...and Starbucks iced chai!!

Symptoms? Nothing new of note. Haven't been sick at all, so that's a bonus!! Skin is still being wacky and my hair is sprouting new strands lately (sadly, most are gray!) 

Gender? We know now!! But haven't revealed yet!

Labor signs? Nope.

Belly button in/out? In.
What I miss: oh gosh...broken record here, but my husband...

What I am looking forward to: daylight savings and SPRING!

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