Our Little Gender Reveal

One of my goals this month was to find out the gender of this baby. It’s not super fair to call that a “goal”, but it was something I was anxiously waiting for! Well, last week we went and had our gender sonogram, and if we’re friends on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll already know, but…

It’s a GIRL!


We had our sonogram on Thursday, and invited my Mom, Kip’s Mom, and Kip’s sister to come with us. We brought Rosie and Sam too, so we felt like quite the parade walking through the halls and into the sonogram room. Haha. At first when the doctor went over the baby’s legs, I thought I saw something there… and then the angle changed and the picture settled on a shot of two obvious little legs. I felt dumb because my first impression was that it was a boy, but then suddenly I didn’t see anything there. The doctor was just kind of staring at me like, “Do you not know how to tell the difference?” Hahaha. Finally he said, “So… it’s a girl!”


Rosie had already been saying the baby was a girl, so our shock and excitement was strange to her. Her expression kind of said, “Yeah, guys, I knew that already… I’ve been trying to tell you!” And Sam asked if it was a baby fish. So. He obviously understands what’s going on here. 🙂

I had decided at the last minute that I wanted to do a gender reveal party if we could, because, why not? I’ve always shied away from doing anything like that, because everything felt cheesey and overdone. But I’m trying to embrace the cheese this time around, and I’m so glad we did it!

I kept calling it a mini-party because the only people there that didn’t know the gender were my Dad, sister, aunt, uncle, nieces and nephews. My Mom managed to keep the secret from my Dad for two days, and then he showed up and within 2 minutes tricked Kip into telling him it’s a girl. And then I accidentally spilled the beans to my Aunt before we ever did the reveal… which I’m still laughing about. WE ARE NOT GOOD AT SECRETS.

Ps, the cupcakes had little bees on them. /theme.


Anyways, I made cupcakes and only made one pink in the middle… so when everyone took a bite only one person got the gender reveal! My nephew, who apparently didn’t know I was pregnant until that day, got the pink cupcake. It was really fun to watch and see who got it… I wasn’t even sure which one it was. If we ever decide to do a gender reveal party again, I think I will have to find out at the party too, so I don’t mess it up again. Lol!

Now that we know it’s a girl, it’s time to think of a name… which may very well occupy my time for the remaining 20ish weeks until we meet this babe! We have two names now that are in the running, but suggestions are welcome! 😉


H

July Goals (Also, hey, I’m pregnant.)

I’m approaching my 18th week of pregnancy, which means I’m well out of the first trimester woods. Out of the three pregnancies I’ve experienced, this has been the hardest one yet. I was super sick from week 6 until about week 14. We survived on a lot of take-out, a lot of help from Nana, and a lot of Curious George & Octonauts.


I’m thankful to be feeling better, though my energy levels crash pretty easily. Before we got pregnant this time, I felt like I had finally found a good routine that kept our house running. The kids were hardly watching any TV, they were playing together well, and household chores had begun to find their assigned time during the day. And most days, I got everything done that I wanted to. I can’t lie, that felt pretty stinking great. I knew that being pregnant meant I was about to walk right back into the fog I felt like I had only recently walked out of, and I still know that it’s all worth it.  I am just really missing that sense of accomplishment and peace that a routine brings!

random photo from Sam’s birthday, pre-baby 3. 😉 

I don’t want to wish the year away, but I am already so ready for Winter for more than one reason. Mainly because I am due December 4th ;), but also because I miss the cold weather. I am not naturally a lover of summer (I’m trying really hard not to say “I hate Summer”, but there it is), but if I spend the next few months just waiting for them to be over, I know it’s going to draaaaag on. So, I want to try to take it a month at a time, trying to enjoy being pregnant and the opportunities that only Summer brings.

July Goals:
Buy the kids a kiddie pool and maybe a sprinkler 🙂
Fix my front flower bed (It is seriously embarrassing at the moment.)
Make my back porch less crowded & more enjoyable
Visit the public pool! (I grew up swimming at the same pool, so I think it will be weird/cool/fun to take my own kids there!)
Figure out bedroom arrangements for Rosie + Sam + new baby!
Find out the gender of baby #3! Eeeeek!
Potty train Sam. Maybe.
Get a haircut
Take steps back to a normal routine, starting with running the dishwasher every night & unloading first thing in the AM

Samuel’s Birth Story [One Year Later]

One year ago today, we welcomed our sweet baby Sam into the world. It took me almost a year to finish writing these memories out, which is an excellent indicator of how this past year has been: busy. 🙂 The best kind of busy there is! I am getting ready to take my babies out for a birthday cupcake, but for those who are interested, here is Samuel’s birth story. 🙂


This is my perspective on our second natural birth at a birth center. It’s meant to be an encouraging birth story for those who might be feeling nervous about natural birth. Details are polite but still truthful. Haha. Honestly, if you aren’t interested in birth I’m not sure you’d make it all the way to the end anyway… soo…. 😉 Here ya go!

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I’m willing to bet that almost every pregnant woman convinces herself her baby will come before his or her due date. No matter how much we tell ourselves we won’t do it, by the time 37-38 weeks rolls around… we’re at the end of our rope and wondering, “Why on earth am I still pregnant?!” (And for those that actually deliver early- I salute you!)

Samuel’s due date, March 26th, came and went. We even entered a new month and even the Braxton-Hicks contractions had died down.

During this time, several Texas Spring storms popped up and rolled over our little bitty farmhouse. What does that have to do with a birth story? Well, try (finally!!!) having consistent contractions for nearly an entire day, only for a tornado warning to sound just North of where you live. Mmm, nope. I have been scared of storms/tornadoes since I saw the movie Twister as a kid. Scarred for life, I tell you. Kip came home that day to a hormonal + overdue + terrified mess of a woman. So, he did what any man would do in this situation… basically, whatever the insane woman wants. He loaded us up in the car, we picked up my Mom from where she was staying down the street, and we drove South until we were out of the storm clouds… and conveniently in a Chick Fil A parking lot. 😉 Kip still says he thinks it was all a dramatic ruse to eat CFA for dinner. To make it up to him, we also went to Cabela’s where I had to borrow my Mom’s shirt because I left our house in such a hurry… I was only wearing an undershirt & no jacket. Seriously, y’all. I can’t make this stuff up.

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Saturday morning, April 5th arrived. We had plans to meet with family for breakfast at IHOP- just what my overdue soul needed: pancakes. I rolled my round self out of bed to head to the bathroom and… um, what was that? Yep, water- breaking? Leaking? Not sure, but Iknow (seriously hope) I didn’t just pee my pants.

After some deliberation and realizing I was having zero signs of active labor, we determined to keep our breakfast plans, despite my family’s refusal to deliver my baby at the International House of Pancakes. I told them not to worry (as if they’d listen), and sent my midwife, Kathaleen, a text letting her know what was up. She asked us to come to the birth center at noon.

Our visit with Kathaleen was simply to check to see if my water had actually broken or if I was doomed to be embarrassed about wetting my pants for the rest of my life. The visit got pushed back to 12:30, then 1:30, then cancelled, then rescheduled again… for various reasons. Kip and I dropped Rosie off at home with my Mom, and went to walk around the Mall and like, buy oil for the car or something. Idk. Apparently it was important at the time. 😉

As we walked around the mall, I must have looked like I was about to pop. Literally everyone was looking at me. Really cool for self-esteem. Finally, we left and at 3:00 PM we arrived at the birth center.

I had a full exam. Kathaleen checked and said my water was leaking (Whew! Not pee!) but maybe not completely broken, and that I was dilated and effaced more. She told us, “We’ll bet on having a baby tonight.” And I just hoped and prayed she was right.

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The appointment lasted longer than we anticipated, so I think we finally got home at around 5:00 PM. We sat on the couch with Rosie, ate some dinner, and (by my request) rented “Hairspray” online. Yep. You know, the one with Zac Efron and John Travolta? Kip would never tolerate this movie any other day, but I love it and I figured being in labor was a good excuse as any to get my way. 😉 As I ate dinner and sang “Good Morning, Baltimore”, I noticed my contractions were picking up significantly. They came about 10 minutes apart and were definitely becoming, well, noticeable. I just chilled, did normal evening things, and sat on the exercise ball.

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At 8pm, I took Rosie to her room, cradled her one last time as my only baby and told her tomorrow morning she’d wake up and be a big sister. My heart is in my throat just thinking about it. I truly wanted to stay in that moment with her forever, even if I was the only one who felt the depth of it. But, I sang “Jesus Loves Me” once through and put her in her crib for the night, trying to slip out of her room before another contraction hit.

I came back to the living room to finish my movie. The intensity of the contractions picked up, probably because I felt more relaxed knowing Rosie was asleep. I sat back down on the exercise ball, and with each contraction I would kneel on the floor and lean forward onto the couch. Kip was right with me for each one, applying counter pressure to my lower back, which helped soooo, so much. It almost made the pain go away… Almost. (Note: during my first labor, I sort of just sat & waited for labor to happen to me… This time, I was armed with more knowledge on how to make my contractions more efficient. Kneeling, leaning forward, squatting, etc, really, really helped! Instead of letting labor happen to me, I labored.)

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My wonderful Mother-in-law drove three hours and arrived around 11 PM to stay at the house with Rosie. I didn’t know how long this labor would be, so I decided to try to get some sleep. (Ha.) Kip and I laid down for about an hour, and contractions picked up more… enough to let out a low moan for each one. I sent Kathaleen a text around midnight and said I would feel better if I could come to the birth center soon. She told me to come when I was ready. I was definitely ready.

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We waited for a contraction to pass, and made the 5 minute drive to the birth center. During the short trip, I believe I had two contractions. That freaked Kip out a little, haha. I could still talk and smile between them, so I was a little afraid I wasn’t very far along into labor and that we’d be in for a long night. To my surprise, when I was checked I was dilated to a 5 and about 80% effaced! I was so, so thankful. Halfway there!

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My mom and our sweet friend Carol arrived shortly after we did. They kept us encouraged and lighthearted even though they were sacrificing their sleep to be with us. I drank a huge, very strong cup of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea with way too much honey and walked around our birth suite. The music I had chosen for this night played in the background. About two hours went by like this, where we could have conversation between contractions, but when one hit I needed to focus on getting through it. I originally planned for a water birth, so I got into the big birth tub and labored there for a while. Shortly after that was when labor really picked up. I needed all my mental energy and focus, during and between contractions. Even the slightest distraction between contractions could throw me off for the next one. The room got quiet, except for my moaning and Oceans playing in the background: “I will call upon Your name, and keep my eyes above the waves. When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace, for I am Yours and You are mine.”

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Every few minutes I would feel the energy of my muscles tightening, slowly getting stronger and stronger until it peaked at the moment I thought it wouldn’t end, and then it would slowly fade out. During each one I would say aloud, “Just this one, just this one. Just finish this one.” Each contraction was one step closer.

After a couple hours in the birth tub, my fingers were pruny, my feet were falling asleep from being up on my knees, and I knew these distractions would hinder my labor. A water birth was not worth making things last any longer than they needed to! Also, I realized… I had to go to the bathroom. I was not about to do all that in this tub. And that’s all I’ll say about that. (Any Mom who has birthed a baby understands what I’m getting at here…)

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So, I asked my Mom and Carol if they minded stepping out for a bit. (And this is where the pictures take a break…) I needed to get out of the water, but wasn’t sure where exactly I would go… and I knew walking half-naked with others in the room would distract me as well. They sweetly stepped out and I automatically missed my Mama. But I had asked them to be there to pray, and I knew that’s exactly what they were doing. Looking back, I am glad I took the initiative to remove even the slightest distraction, because Samuel came very quickly after that! But i’m ahead of myself… 🙂

I moved to the bed, had one contraction standing next to it and couldn’t handle that. It was just too intense. I got on my hands and knees on the bed, had another contraction, and couldn’t handle that either. Someone got me a birth ball to lean on, and this is about the time the I can’t‘s and the just get through this one‘s started mixing together. Donnellyn, another attending midwife and one of the sweetest women I’ve ever met, grabbed my hands and told me, “Hannah, you CAN. You CAN do all things through Christ who gives you strength, and I need you to tell me that.” I knew that was true, but it sure didn’t feel that way. She held my hands while I pushed. All of the sudden, I felt Samuel make a huge move downward through my hips. I will never, ever forget that feeling. Not painful, but strange. Encouraging. Empowering. Humbling. I felt grateful. 

Side note here: I’ve said this before, but birth is the most amazing experience. The words “hard” or “difficult” don’t even begin to cover it. I have never been so absolutely certain that I can’t do something, and yet, I do it. I have to. It is the deepest, darkest place I have ever been in my soul. And then suddenly, light… and it is finished. Momentary affliction that results in an eternal 8 pounds of glory… Reminiscent of 2 Corinthians 4:17: “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison…”

I moved onto my side on the bed and began to push. Now, with Rosie, I had to have a very minor episiotomy. I tried to push for two hours and it just wasn’t working. A tiny bit of help and she was born almost immediately. I think a few things contributed to this, mainly the fact that I was lying flat on my back, coupled with sheer exhaustion. I knew this time around I wanted to avoid being on my back at all costs. I never imagined I would give birth on my side, but someone suggested that position for pushing, and I thought, “Sure, whatever! Just get this baby out!”

At this point, things felt kind of insane for… I honestly don’t know how long. Samuel’s heart rate began to drop. Suddenly I had three different voices telling me to do different things. “Breathe deep, Hannah.” “Puuush, push, push!” I couldn’t do both at the same time! An oxygen mask appeared and was placed over my face. I finally decided to listen to Kip. He was whispering “Breathe deep for our baby, Hannah. I need you to breathe for Samuel.” I took deep breaths and waited for a contraction to come again. I heard baby Sam’s heart rate pick back up on the monitor. I didn’t have to wait long, another contraction came and I reached to feel my baby. He was soooo close.

Because of the local anesthetic during the episiotomy for Rosie’s birth, I never felt the “ring of fire” so many women have described. But here it was. To push into pain, to lean hard into it because you know you have to for it to ever end… is the deepest, strangest mental battle I’ve ever faced. I gave everything I had, and suddenly I felt him- he was out! Or so I thought. Why wasn’t everyone celebrating? “Is he out?!?” I asked. Someone told me, “His head is out! One more push and you’re done!” I immediately thought, “THAT WAS JUST HIS HEAD?!”

And then, just when I thought I had already given everything, God supplied one more gust of energy to feel his shoulders and then the rest of him come into the world, right at 4:02 AM.

It took maybe 30 seconds for them to put him on my tummy, but it felt like forever. I just kept asking “Is he okay?? Is he okay??” Everyone assured me he was. They put his sweet, squishy self on my tummy, and he just looked up at me with an expression that said, “What the heck just happened?!”

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I told him, “Hi, I’m your Mama!” Birth assistants put a little hat on him, and I asked for my Mom who was already making her way in the door with Carol not far behind. 🙂 And, remember that little story at the beginning about my fear of storms? Not even kidding, less than 10 minutes after he was born, I looked through the skylight above me and saw lightning, heard thunder, and then… the power went out. I thought, “You have GOT to be kidding me!” Thankfully our birth center kicks butt and the power came back on almost immediately, and a small thunderstorm passed over us very quickly. But ugh, that small moment of despair!

As everyone came to admire and check on Samuel, I was just absolutely exhausted. Kip cut the cord, and I slowly maneuvered myself to be semi-upright on the bed. I remember my thighs and abs were just killing me…. so sore from all that squatting and pushing, and I was uncontrollably shaking with adrenaline. Our wonderful midwives very quickly began applying essential oils to help me deliver the placenta, but it just wouldn’t come. I tried to push, but I had no energy left. The minutes were ticking by, and we were getting too close to an hour with no placenta… I was looking at a possible hospital transfer straight in the face and I just couldn’t believe it. All of that work we just did to have a beautiful natural birth, only to end up in a hospital? No way. We resorted to a shot of Pitocin in my leg, which didn’t seem to help much either. Everyone prayed. Donnelyn put her hand on my knee and prayed in the name of Jesus that this placenta would deliver in that exact moment. And you know what? It did! Right at the one hour mark. Samuel had just started to nurse really well, and Praise the Lord, I think that did the trick!

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Once we got cleaned up, fed, and a bit rested, Samuel and I got to take the most amazing herbal bath. My quads and abs didn’t actually relax until we did this. Oh it was soooo nice, and I’ll never forget how Samuel just laid his head back in the water, totally relaxed, and fell sound asleep. It was so precious and made me laugh so much!

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After a few hours, we loaded up our new bundle and arrived home around 7:30 AM, just before Rosie woke up for the day. And like that, our whole world changed. For the better.

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“Overdue”

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Photos taken by my Mother-in-law on my due date, yesterday. Yep, I’m officially big enough for Rosie to saddle up and ride my belly.

Had contractions last night and this morning that actually hurt, but they have subsided as of now. I’m on my way to a checkup with my Midwife in about 30 minutes. I suddenly found myself paranoid last night that Samuel might be posterior, so I’m praying for an encouraging visit that reveals that he’s right where he needs to be!

Just a short update. I still appreciate and strongly desire your prayers.

“Your grace abounds in deepest waters,
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide.
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me,
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves.
When oceans rise,
My soul will rest in Your embrace,
For I am Yours and You are mine.”

Trusting (because what else can you do?),
H

34 Week Bump

trim healthy mama pregnancy

34 weeks.

My first pregnancy, I had a new bump picture almost every week. These have been few and far between… because, well, the times when I get dressed and look decent enough for a photo op are rare. 😉

In the last week or so, I have reached the “I am so done.” phase. I try so hard not to complain, but every once in a while it kind of builds up and overflows. :/ My husband is so sweet and encouraging, and lately has kept me laughing so much I have hardly had time to be too grumpy. 😉 For the first time my left hip is kind of constantly hurting, which makes me waddle and moan like an old woman. Or a whale. Yeah, whale sounds more like it. 😉 I think it is because this baby is so low! Rosie was always up in my ribs, but not this little boy. He’s getting ready to make his entrance!

Sidenote: Rosie has picked up on what makes Mama moan and grunt… So, now when I drop something on the floor or grab the hard-to-open jar of coconut oil, she usually beats me to the “urrghhhhh!” noises. 😉 It is hilarious and embarrassing. What am I teaching this girl?!

Last night, I drank coffee on our drive home from visiting in-laws in a desperate attempt to stay awake/sane. (Edit: haha, it sounds like I meant sane from visiting in-laws. I meant from the long drive with a sick, fussy babe 😉 For the record, I have wonderful in-laws!) I’ve not had coffee much recently, and especially not in the evening. The result was me up late cleaning our disastrous kitchen and thinking about the last 6ish weeks of pregnancy ahead. I determined, in my over-enthusiastic state, to do my best to make these last few weeks good. I am tempted to throw myself headlong into a pit of despair. Really, I am. But who wants to live with that person for over a month? Not me, and not my family.

Life is about to change in a big way. I am enjoying every family Walmart trip, every dinner, every night of (mostly) uninterrupted sleep, and every impromptu walk around Cabela’s while it’s just the three of us. Soon, we will be four and things will not be as easy or simple. But who ever wanted easy, anyway? 🙂 Our lives are about to grow, our love about to multiply, and our purpose deepen. Samuel, baby, Mama can’t wait to hold you. 

Looking forward,
H.

First Pregnancy Update

Here it is, my first pregnancy update! 🙂

It took a little while for me to be excited about being pregnant again. Don’t get me wrong- we were always excited about another person in our family, but first-trimester nausea and initial shock kept me from remembering the things I enjoyed about my first pregnancy. Once I got past  those things and started pulling out my old maternity clothes… I finally got the warm fuzzies. 🙂

We interviewed a new midwife last week, and I have to say- I am incredibly excited and thankful to have found her and the birth center we chose this time! With Rosie, we met several midwives at a birth center in our town, but we never knew who would be on call when delivery day came.  In the end, it was a midwife we had never met! (You can read all about how that turned out here.) This time around, we are hiring a midwife. In her words, she will be at my birth unless she is “dead on the side of the road.” We pray that doesn’t happen! 😉

All that to say, we got some blood work done a few weeks ago, and those results showed I would now be 11-12 weeks pregnant. Well, after talking to the midwife, we realized that by my cycle I should be about 13-14 weeks pregnant- same as my older sister!!! Kathaleen, our midwife, scheduled a sonogram for tomorrow so we could determine a more reliable due date. We are so excited to “see” our little baby for the first time! We don’t plan on being able to determine the gender quite yet, but if we can….. 🙂

On another note, I am excited to share that I have been reading what is becoming a top seller on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Trim Healthy Mama! The authors, Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison, were kind enough to send me a copy to read and review. I’m excited to implement the lessons they’ve learned throughout my pregnancy. I’m still in the middle of reading the book, but I’ve already tried some of their recipes and ideas in the kitchen. I can tell I have much more energy and a generally better attitude when I’ve eaten the way they’ve suggested. I can’t wait to finish the book and share what I learn with you all!

Anyone else pregnant? Or have two babies close together? I’d love to hear from you and keep up with you!

Love,
H