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Four Month Postpartum Update

I’ve been meaning to do a postpartum for awhile now, but if you read my last two posts (here and here), you know life has been quite crazy!

I also wanted it to be a video update, but I’m finding that videos are much harder to do with a two-year-old who wants your constant attention and I pretty much pass out right along with her at night so free time while she sleeps is pretty much a no-go.

At any rate, I’m now 4 months postpartum. If you read Arlo’s birth story (here), you remember I had my second c-section (you can read about my first here). I was also on bed rest for two months leading up to his birth due to pre-term labor. A cause for this was never found and seems to be a fluke (fingers crossed it doesn’t happen again in the future).

My initial experience with the c-section itself was much better this time around, despite my anxiety going into it. There’s just something about knowing you’re walking into a hospital to get sliced open…sorry for the graphic description, but seriously! I was also feeling a bit discouraged because I was really hoping for a VBAC, but it just didn’t work out.

I won’t get into the details again, they’re in the birth story, but the surgery was much calmer than the first time. I was terrified, but the hospital staff and my wonderful OB made it more comfortable.

My initial recovery was much better also. I was able to hold Arlo immediately while still on the operating table and also right after being wheeled to recovery. With Lark, I had a high fever and after 16 hours of labor, an epidural, and even more anesthesia at the point I need surgery, I was exhausted and shaky from coming down off the drugs and could barely hold Lark.

In recovery with Arlo, I felt great. I was shaky, but not as bad as with Lark. I had zero pain as I still had anesthesia in my system. I think it took me longer to be able to move my legs this time with the spinal, but I wasn’t in recovery very long at all.

After being wheeled back to our room, I felt anxious about recovery again. Scared of the pain, which was slowly creeping in, and I still couldn’t move very well and was really swollen in my legs, something else I didn’t quite remember with Lark’s c-section. 

I didn’t have a fever this time, but was having awful hot flashes the entire time I was in the hospital, which they think was from hormones and anesthesia. I was sweating like a pig! It was awful!

I always hate the hospital part because any and all modesty you have goes out the window! You have all sorts of strangers coming and looking AHEM…under your gown…and because it took me a bit to gain movement back, I had to literally be rolled over and ‘cleaned up’ several times a day.

I had staples this time, which really freaked me out! But I couldn’t feel them at all. I can’t remember exactly when I finally got up, but I think it was on the second day. With Lark, they forced me out of bed within hours! This time they let me decide. Once I finally got up, I was super dizzy, obviously. I hadn’t moved in nearly 24 hours. They also let me eat right away, which was nice, because I was starving!

I had really excruciating contractions at one point, which was actually from a full bladder. The catheter was not draining properly and the full bladder caused pressure and cramping. The contractions were actually worse than any I had prior to having Arlo or while in labor with Lark. But once I was up and moving, they were able to remove the catheter.

I felt like it was easier to move around this time, maybe because I knew what to expect. I was still walking around like the hunchback of Notre Dame, but I was much more confident about moving and getting up. I needed help to get up, of course, but it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated.

Before getting discharged, I had to have the staples removed. That was interesting. I had to shower first, which scared me both times I had a c-section. Something about running water over an open wound…makes me shudder! But I did it and it was no big deal! The bonus was that I didn’t have as much numbness and tingling at the incision site as last time, so touching it wasn’t painful or irritating. And to my surprise, the horrific and giant staples I thought I had that mangled my stomach, turned out to be teeny tiny and didn’t even leave any marks.  I’m always prepared for the worst case scenario! They pulled them out with tiny clippers and it didn’t hurt until the last few and even that was just a minor sting.

I was discharged feeling sore, but still felt pretty good. I had been getting headaches, pretty significant ones. I’d compare them to a migraine. I think likely from the anesthesia, and they last about a week or two, but were lessened with the pain meds and motrin.

My pain felt more manageable this time and I was able to space out doses of meds after just a week. I took the pain meds the entire two weeks following the surgery, and continued with Motrin after that, mainly to stay on top of it because if I didn’t, I was laid up and I now had two kids to take care of!

I was sore, yes, but I was mobile and not bed ridden! I slept on the couch a couple of nights, just because I could sit partially up, which was more comfortable. For me. And I continued to have painful contractions from breastfeeding, which felt more intense than the first time around also, but I was told that happens in second, third, etc pregnancies.

So I guess I’ll go TMI on all of you and tell you that my postpartum bleeding lasted about 6 weeks, same as after my first pregnancy, and was pretty significant. But you gotta love those hospital mesh underwear and pads! ;)

At four months, I’m still pretty sore at times, especially if I let my bladder get too full. My stomach muscles are tender to the touch and it’s still hard to lay on my stomach. I was pretty good about doing ab exercises at first, but have since quit and need to get back on it!

I feel like my recovery is lasting a bit longer than last time, in that I’m having a lot of back issues this time around. I was sore last time for over a year, and then I was pregnant again so there’s always been tenderness. But this time my back is having a hard time coming around. I also suffered from SPD (symphysis pubic dysfunction) in both pregnancies which affects the ligaments in your pubic bone and cause misalignment. Last time it went away when Lark was born, this time it’s lingering and I suspect my entire pelvis is out of alignment and causing all of the issues. I had a severe back injury as a child and my pelvis hasn’t been the same since. My OB thinks that may have something to do with the pre-term labor. She’s not confident I’d even be able to deliver vaginally, even though I’d like to. I need to see a chiropractor, which I used to do regularly, I just don’t have the extra money right now to do so!

So aside from the back pain, I’d say I’m in pretty good shape, and my scar is even healing much better this time too. My periods have returned, with a vengeance, since I quit breastfeeding earlier than intended, but they’re completely out of whack and absolute misery…sorry for the TMI again, but it’s part of the process! My numbness and tingling is still less, maybe it’s because some of that surface feeling was already gone from last time. I did end up with a couple of new stretch marks near my incision, but I’m almost thinking they’re from surgery and the stretching at the surgery site, because they didn’t appear prior to the c-section and they’re very minor.

As far as postpartum depression and anxiety, I feel like I fared better than last time. I've been really lucky. I've only been slightly weepy at times, but last time, with Lark, it hit me hard when I went back to work. I felt alone in the world and wasn't prepared for how much it would affect my work life and relationships with others. I suddenly couldn't relate to people without kids, and they weren't enjoying my constant talk about my baby. This time, I was more prepared and I was able to separate it and recognize it so I didn't isolate myself as much. It's definitely tough maneuvering into motherhood, whether it's the first time or the tenth time. I wish more people were sensitive to that and didn't expect so much out of new moms. Just my opinion...

My skin allergies are behaving strangely, mainly because they’re less severe during pregnancy and the hormonal imbalance after the fact affects my skin. I’m just getting rashes and itching much easier than normal. I don’t expect it to go away completely, but I think it will calm down after awhile. I’m also losing hair at an alarming rate, which happened after Lark too, and while it’s depressing at times, I know it’s temporary.

Some days I’m still longing for maternity pants and hating denim waistbands, my belly is still loose and poochy and my back hurts probably at 85% of the time, but I’m doing really well and I’m pleased with my progress at just 4 months out! Plus, a cute baby makes all of it completely worth every bit of agony ;)

Updates on Arlo and Lark will be coming soon =)

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I quit breastfeeding.

So I quit breastfeeding.

Yep. I did.

And it sucked.

It sucked so bad, it’s taken me this long to write about it.

When Arlo was born, he was ravenously hungry, and surprisingly, my milk came in much faster than it did with Lark. I assume it’s because my body sort of knew what to do. It could have also been that Lark had JUST weaned about 10 months earlier. At any rate, I was hopeful and excited that we’d be nursing like pros in no time!

I had a much better experience with this c-section than I did with Lark’s. In that they allowed him to try and nurse immediately while I was getting stitched up. He was rooting like crazy and I couldn’t believe it! Once transferred to recovery, I continued trying to nurse, but he was having trouble both getting latched and staying latched. When I breastfed Lark, I had to use a nipple shield, which I hated because it was mainly inconvenient. Constantly washing it, fiddling with it to get it right, and forget about nursing easily in public! But I informed the nurses of this and they mentioned that might be something I would need with Arlo as well, but they were hesitant to do it right away in an effort to teach Arlo to nurse without it.

But we had issues the entire time we were in the hospital. So I started pumping and he received colostrum through a syringe, until I gave in and took the nipple shield and TADA! He could latch! But it was so painful.

Turns out, Arlo was tongue-tied. It was minor, compared to some cases, but the nursing was painful. Like INTENSE pain. A pain I have never felt before. My entire breast would throb and just ache for hours. His latch was so awful that I would literally tense up and wince in pain every time he fed, which was a lot. It literally felt like someone was squeezing my breast with a vice grip, and I’m so not exaggerating. It was never that painful with Lark. For a few days, I thought maybe I had mastitis, but I had no fevers or other symptoms, so I figured it was his latch.

Arlo also screamed. A lot and after every feeding. I’m not talking fussing, I’m talking turn-purple-lose-his-breath kind of screaming. And he was feeding constantly and had to be burped constantly, at regular intervals in between feeds. Something just didn’t feel right. I was stressed and worried and he seemed to be in pain. He was screaming so much and so often that I would break down in tears. At one point I said to my mother-in-law, who had stopped by one evening, that I just didn't know how to parent this child. And that hurt so much to say, but it was true. He was a mess and I was at a loss.

I took him to the ENT at 3 weeks old to have his tongue-tie addressed. They clipped it right there in the office, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. They had me nurse right away, and I did notice a difference, but the pain was never completely gone. I think he had just learned bad latching habits at that point.

We continued to power through for a few days, but the screaming wore on, and I was worn out. He would writhe in pain, had awful gas and had what I had determined was reflux. He had to be upright to remain calm, he’d spit up, but it would never really come up, and he’d have episodes of this vomiting where it would get into his sinuses and he’d struggle to breathe and panic and it would scare the sh*t out of me. Again, I just knew something wasn’t right. And I wanted to quit. Every day, every time I nursed, but I still loved nursing and nourishing my child, so I kept at it.

And then it happened.

He started to get scaly bumps all over his face and neck. They were red and angry and multiplying by the day…and I knew…

He had food sensitivities/allergies like Lark and my heart sunk. I really hoped he’d bypass this, as it’s stressful and sad to watch Lark suffer from food. But my gut had been telling me, and his skin confirmed it.

I took him to the pediatrician around 5 weeks and they tried to write the skin off as baby acne. Agreed he likely had reflux and/or some sort of food sensitivity, so I cut dairy out of my diet for about a week to see if there were any immediate changes. And not surprisingly, his skin started getting better almost immediately, confirming to me that it was, indeed, eczema. And I even tried a 24-hour trial on a hypo-allergenic formula to see if it made any difference. In a short 24 hours, we didn’t see huge improvement and it was extremely emotional for me to not nurse my screaming baby, because his screaming didn’t stop.

We went back a week later and the doctor agreed that it was eczema peppering his skin with bumps and suggested I cut dairy, egg, soy, nuts and red meat from my diet.

This is where I got depressed. I felt like a failure. Once again, I passed my allergy genes onto my baby and he was having issues because of it. And then the guilt set in, because I knew I had to quit and I didn’t quit with Lark. I felt like I was giving up on Arlo.

With Lark, I was able to nurse for 14 months with diet modification and supplementation with a homemade, rice milk-based formula, and it worked. But with Arlo, we couldn’t be sure exactly what food was bothering him, so I would have to cut everything. And to be honest, I just didn’t have the energy. I had a newborn and a toddler and I wanted them to be happy, healthy and have a mama that wasn’t stressed and losing her mind.

So I quit breastfeeding.

Yep. I did.

And it sucked.

Why? Because I longed to nurse my child. Because it hurt so bad physically, but even that wasn’t as bad as the emotional pain I had. Especially during night feedings with a bottle, when I could feel my engorged breasts aching for my baby. I sat in the dark for many nights with tears streaming down my face. Maybe it sounds dramatic, but we’ve been through so much with Lark and I was sad that Arlo was facing the same fate, all while worrying that not nursing him was somehow affecting our bond. I also had to pump, to keep from being in unbearable pain. Reducing the length of sessions, then reducing the sessions, until I no longer had to pump. Every time I dumped a bottle, and every time I noticed my breasts producing less, I got sad.

But with every day Arlo was on hypo-allergenic formula, he was getting better. Less gas, less burping, less panic-inducing vomit sessions. And he was smiling, looking into my eyes and really just being present and in the moment. And so was I. I was less stressed and happier.

To this day, he’s like a different baby. Rarely fussy and constantly smiling. I had been worried that we’d be kicked out of daycare because he screamed all day. Last week, the daycare lady told me Arlo is one of the easiest babies they’d ever had. Which felt good, because I was sure he’s be fussy and colicky and downright angry.

But he wasn’t. And he’s not. And he’s bealthy. And he’s happy. And I survived.

Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, all that matters is a healthy baby and a sane mama. It’s easy to get caught up in what’s ‘right’ or what’s ‘best,’ but this was a huge lesson to me, confirming to myself that only you can decide what’s best for your child and to trust your gut. I have a happier baby because of it.

So Arlo is now 17 weeks and remains on Similac Alimentum, which is ridiculously expensive and not covered by insurance. Highly frustrating as he can't eat anything else. His future with food allergies and asthma are also uncertain at this time, but with Lark’s history, at least we’re prepared. We’ve also used Dr. Brown’s bottles since we started this process, and they’ve been awesome.

For the record, I still miss nursing him, and always will. But I loved him too much to continue.

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A new adventure...

Just part of my "why," and reason I joined KEEP Collective...I'll hope you'll read it, check out my site and understand my passion for the brand and the art of storytelling through this beautiful line of jewelry...I've been talking, talking, talking about my new adventure with KEEP Collective. I signed on as a designer and love to share our product with others. We are all about the stories each and every one of you is trying to I'm sharing my first 'keep' with you today, which represents a big chapter in my story...the teal awareness ribbon represents awareness for ovarian cancer, which I fully support, but there's another cause near and dear to me also represented by the color teal, and that is food allergies. As you know, my precious Lark (and now possibly Arlo) has life-threatening food allergies, has been hospitalized multiple times because of it, and her life has been altered and continues to be daily due to this fact. It's a constant struggle to keep my babies safe. I joined to KEEP Collective to help others tell their story, and also to tell mine and possibly help my family financially facilitate the needs and care for our special, unique babies. So today's 'keep of the day' is a fox for Arlo Fox, an owl for my wiser than her age Lark, and my teal keeper and teal awareness ribbon to show our support for people everywhere suffering from food allergies, anaphylaxis and various other issues's my passion to keep telling our story, and I'm glad I can do that with KEEP Collective!

You can shop here:

ARLO spelled out in KEEP

You might be sitting there, staring at your screen asking yourself, “why is Katie clogging my feed with all of this jewelry? Why did she sign up for a direct sales company?” And a few weeks ago, I was you, only it was in regards to my friend, Melissa, who happens to be my KEEP Collective mentor, and who has shown me the beauty of KEEP Collective!

If you know me, you know I’m skeptical, sarcastic and cynical at times, but you also know that I’m highly sentimental, CONSTANTLY capturing my kids’ life moments; saving every birthday/holiday card, even though the piles just sit there and make more mess; sitting, literally in tears, sorting through my daughter’s first clothes; and trying to remember it all, commemorate it all. And KEEP Collective is just that, a means in which to commemorate my life’s moments, and wear it as jewelry. Beautiful jewelry….

But my interest peaked when Melissa divulged how much money she had made in just FOUR months of being a KEEP designer…her paycheck, her TAKE HOME money, for her fourth month was a whopping $2,700. I know, it’s unbelievable, right?! I started asking her questions, because I really just didn’t believe it, and I knew nothing about direct sales companies, I never cared to…

Eventually I signed up with her to host a facebook ‘social,’ the same thing I’ve been asking you all to do…and to my surprise, it was FUN! And I loved the product and looked forward to earning free jewelry to start my collection. In the meantime, I kept asking questions, and she kept sharing info with me, and I took a risk and signed up to be a designer, just like that…for $149, I took a step down a different path in life, one that made me uncomfortable, nervous and terrified…I couldn't afford the kit, and really had no business spending the money...

That was a week ago, and I haven’t made $2,700 EXTRA yet, but I have earned some…more than I thought I would in just one week, enough to pay for an expensive and ongoing prescription my daughter needs, or enough to pay for the special, hypo-allergenic infant formula my son needs, or enough to pay back my initial investment in the starter kit…and that’s the beauty of it, it’s extra that I can decided where it goes! Best of all, I’ve done it from my couch, with my babies in my lap, in addition to my regular job. It’s easy because it’s fun! And who knows, maybe I’ll even earn that trip to Mexico that I’m working towards!

And not even just that…today I wear one of my ‘Keepers’ on my wrist, featuring one of my children’s names (I need more letter keys so I can wear all of their names!), and every time I look down, I smile and think of his cute face and remember that my children are what inspire me to KEEP moving ahead, KEEP hearing ‘no’ and KEEP moving anyway…KEEP sharing and KEEP helping others tell their story through this jewelry that speaks to me in a way I can’t explain…I love the ‘art of story,’ the belief that everyone has their own, and the belief that everyone’s is different and their own beautiful, work of art…that’s the sentimental me that was ready to dive in weeks ago. The skeptical me was the one that hit the ‘buy’ button, cringing and sweating every step of the way, just one short week ago. And I was able to prove the skeptical me wrong, because I’ve already found success in this new business venture. 

Lark's initials and my 'all things are possible' KEEP

And yes, extra money is always a good thing, but good people are even harder to come by. And KEEP Collective has already made me some amazing new friends. A network of women who actually WANT each other to succeed and help each other in doing so.

I’d like to help you. Maybe you’re skeptical like I was, but all you need in life to succeed is a purpose, no matter what it is…something to work for. For me, it’s my family, and also the joy of seeing happy customers fall in love with their KEEP…

Maybe it sounds cheesy, or silly, or way to happy…actually, I know it does, because it did to me before I signed up…but it’s real and tangible…

Are you ready for a new opportunity? A new adventure? ASK ME FOR MORE INFO! OR host a social first, see what it’s all about…Because I’d love to help you along the way…join my team, see for yourself…if you hate it, there’s no obligation, no quotas to meet…and you’ll have $500 worth of KEEP for just $149 that’s all yours…but I predict you’ll love it, get addicted like me, and we’ll succeed together….

I got much more than I bargained for…

all I wanted was a bracelet…

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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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