Feb 13, 2017

Heidi's Birth Story: Part 1

[WARNING: Long winded-ness ahead! I've been slowly writing bits and pieces of Heidi's birth story for months (she's 5.5 months old now, oops?). Probably more info here than needs to be shared, but I want to remember it all. Every minute detail. Plus, maybe this will encourage other overdue mamas to HANG TOUGH. You can have the birth of your dreams, maybe just a littttttle later than you planned. We plan and God laughs, amen?]

Mallorie Owens Photography - 31 weeks

Being overdue after carrying around a tiny human in your uterus for 10 months just plain sucks. There's really no other way to describe it. I LOVED being pregnant, don't get me wrong, but having moved 3,000 miles cross-country at 8 months pregnant, I was DONE. I wanted to meet our girl SO BADLY and I wanted to have my body back (famous last words, my postpartum body has challenged me more than my pregnant one, go figure). I was so stressed from our move that I was almost positive I'd go into labor early. In preparation for that, my mom bought her plane ticket as soon as we settled in California and planned to be here to help support us into parenthood for 3 whole glorious weeks...a few days pre-due date and the rest postpartum. My due date was August 28th and Mom arrived to California on Wednesday, August 24th. A sight for sore eyes, that woman! I kept thinking to myself the days before she arrived, "Heidi, just stay in until Grandma gets here...then feel free to come whenever!" Interestingly enough, Heidi (and the good Lord) had other plans for making her grand entrance into the world. She made us wait 7 whole agonizing days past my due date before introducing herself...and for what it's worth...the whole experience was more perfect than I could have ever imagined.

40 weeks 5 days

In the days leading up to Heidi's birth, I did everything...EVERYTHING...to try and coax her out. The day my mom arrived, I started drinking red raspberry leaf tea twice a day and taking evening primrose oil capsules. If my midwives suggested it, I did it. I so hoped to be one of the magnificent pregnant women who do one thing differently and BOOM...baby! Nope. Turns out, babies really do come whenever they're good and ready and I'm living proof. I walked miles around our neighborhood each day, we ate spicy foods (and loads of basil and oregano, too), I bounced my brains out on a birthing ball, had sex, got a pedicure, baked and ate my weight in these
labor cookies, and even got acupressure foot massages...but NOT A BLEEPING CONTRACTION. Pretty much did everything short of reaching up there and pulling her out myself. We clearly had a stubborn gal on our hands.

Miles and miles with this bump!

As the days crept on, I started to get really discouraged. My midwives never did any cervical checks until I was in full on labor and I couldn't have my membranes swept because I was GBS positive (we didn't want to risk prematurely breaking my water and start my 18 hour labor clock ticking without my body being ready for it to tick--I wanted as few labor interventions as possible, so induction terrified me. Pitocin contractions are like contractions on steroids, or so I've heard. #nothankyou). So, I had no clue where I stood in the whole labor process and I was left to let my body work when it was ready. That would have been all good and fine had the peanut gallery not started to psych me out. The incessant well-meaning questions from every person I ever knew-- "In labor yet?" "Did you have your baby?" "I keep waiting for pictures on Facebook, she here?"...KILLED ME. I knew everyone was just as excited as we were, but the added pressure seized my uterus up like a prune with every new message. I ending up having my mom run interference. Don't text me your questions, go through my secretary and check Facebook for updates! Annnd we waited some more.

Enjoying the Preggo Pizza -- supposedly "labor enduing" -- yeahhh, didn't work. 

On Friday, September 2nd, my dad and sister flew into town. They'd bought their tickets to coincide with Labor Day weekend thinking Heidi might be here by then. Needless to say, we were all a little panicked when the weekend began and she wasn't budging. They both were due to fly home on September 6th, so I had a teeny-tiny window to have this kid, otherwise their visit would have been a total waste (ok, not a total waste...but a big fat bummer, to put it mildly). As if I needed more pressure put on my uterus to do work. We spent Friday and Saturday of that weekend preparing last things for baby and showing my family around the local area. We ate at a couple fun restaurants and watched a lot of movies...it was nice! But in the back of my mind I was constantly thinking of Heidi. I wavered back and forth between being SO READY to meet her, panicking about how long this might drag out, and being paralyzingly terrified of the imminent pain of labor. I tried not to let myself go there too often, but the fear of the unknown added a whole other layer of crazy to an already crazy time of life. The mind is such a powerful thing when it comes to baby birthing, so I did LOTS of praying. And eating See's Bordeaux candies. My two saving graces. ;)

Can I just pause here and say, choosing to deliver at a birthing center and have my prenatal care given by midwives was the best decision we ever made through this whole pregnancy journey. One of many silver linings about moving to California that I've clung to. My prenatal care with my OB in Florida was good, but looking back, it could have been better. Especially given how awesome Heidi's birth ended up being with zero medical intervention and total control on my part. But, I'll get to that later!

Early morning on September 4th, I woke up to very mild contractions that felt like typical menstrual cramps. I'd had Braxton Hicks off and on for weeks, but never any cramping. Braxton Hicks always just felt like abdomen tightening to me, although they'd gotten stronger from 39 weeks on. I didn't really think much of these cramps, but being 7 days overdue, I figured I better start tracking them just in case. D was sound asleep (as were my mom, dad and sister in various rooms in our house), so I grabbed my phone and started timing them on an app while hidden under the covers. I didn't want to cause any undue panic if this wasn't go time. Heidi seemed nice and comfy, so I wasn't very hopeful.

From 2am-5:30am I timed those mild contractions...they never amounted to much, most were 10-12 minutes apart and lasted 45 seconds. By the time 6am rolled around, they disappeared altogether. I was pretty annoyed, but not surprised given my track record up to that point. Back to square one we went, or so I thought. I decided I couldn't lay in bed and wallow any longer, so I got up and went downstairs to find my parents already awake. I mentioned the mild contractions I'd been having, but we all shrugged them off, decided I'd probably be pregnant forever, and started our day.

The morning of my non-stress test...and my last bump photo!

Prior to this at my 40 week midwife check-in, I was told if I hadn't gone into labor by 41 weeks, we'd do a non-stress test to see how baby was doing. Being Labor Day weekend (the irony isn't lost on me), I had an appointment directly at our birthing center for the NST at 11am since the midwives office was closed. Our birthing center is roughly an hour from our house (yep, we're crazy!), so while my dad and D went out to grab us all breakfast, I scurried upstairs, showered, and dressed for our appointment. I thought about those mild contractions on and off while getting ready and so wished they would start back up again. As I pulled on my jean shorts, I halfheartedly thought..."what if this is the outfit I wear the day I meet my daughter for the first time?" Looking back, I wish I'd worn something cuter. Like I'd care what I was wearing when it was go time! HA! We ate our breakfast, Heidi got lots of good luck belly rubs from my family, then D and I made our way to the birthing center for my NST.

On the car ride there, I starting having mild contractions again. Still far apart and hardly more than a handful of uncomfortable pings of pressure. In the back of my mind, however, I thought it was odd they'd picked up again. After days of total nothingness, here were some true signs of labor progress. At that moment, D and I started to become hopeful we'd meet our daughter within the next 48 hours. We spent that car ride daydreaming about the days to come...reminiscing over my pregnancy journey...praying for our daughter and for a smooth delivery. Little did we know this car ride would be among the last few quiet moments D and I would get together, just the two of us. I wish I would have relished that time more.

We arrived to the birthing center, got checked into a room (snapped above photo), and the nurse hooked me up to the monitor to watch Heidi's heartbeat and to see if I was having contractions. No surprise that my contractions were showing up on the monitor and interestingly enough, were registering about 6-7 minutes apart. In some cases, 5 minutes apart. However, they were still quite mild. After the 20 minute monitoring session was over, the nurse returned, confirmed I was in early labor, and told us that since I was still talking through my contractions we'd best go home and rest...it could still be a while. When she said that, my heart sank. I just KNEW we were close to go time, but now we had to make the hour drive back home with no baby. She did, however, go ahead and schedule my induction date for the following Sunday...my 42 week mark. I was already manic at the thought of having to be induced, but a whole week away! KILL. ME. NOW.

Funny thing about scheduling inductions...they also tend to be bonafied eviction notices. Heidi must have heard about her scheduled fate because as soon as we arrived back home from the NST, things got interesting! 


Sep 1, 2016

Heidi's Southwest-Inspired Nursery

I really should stop saying I'm going to do so and so on the blog on a certain date because that date always ends up passing by without my promise coming to fruition. I am the blog procrastination Q-U-E-E-N these days. Lucky (or unlucky) for me, little miss is now 4 days past her due date (KILL ME NOW) and I'm frantically trying to fill my free time with anything but thoughts of why this little babe is so darn stubborn! With all this waiting time, I finally have a moment to share Heidi's nursery with you all (silver lining?). Maybe she's been waiting for this post and NOW she'll make her grand entrance to the world? Wishful thinking, I know. This girl has a mind of her own and seems perfectly comfy with her current set up. She really should read this post and see what goodness is waiting for her on the outside...am I right?

Friends, this nursery was a true labor of love. One that I toiled over via Pinterest and Instagram while on our 3,000 mile road trip...making pin boards and trying to envision something stylish, yet girly, for a room I'd never stepped foot in. I knew what sort of nursery I wanted in our Florida house, but this rental in Cali, my mind jumped from theme to theme. I was all over the place (both literally and figuratively). Thankfully, a dear friend created a private pin board of fun things for Heidi's nursery and it was full of Southwest-inspired touches from Aztec-patterned blankets to cactus prints and boho rugs. I wasn't sold on the idea until the moment I saw THE room and found THE rug. It all fell into place from there. 

Crib: DaVinci Jenny Lind 3-Way Convertible Crib | Crib Sheet: LittleMoose by Liza  | Rug: Suzani Rug via Rugs USA | "Greatest Adventure" Wood Wall Sign: WilliamRae Designs | Cactus Pillow: Pottery Barn Teen | Red Fox & Fuzzy Ostrich Stuffed Animals: JellyCat | Faux Fiddle Fig Leaf Tree: Hayneedle | White Faux Fur Rug: Hobby Lobby

A sweet, feminine take on Southwest style for a new start out West. Seemed super appropriate for this new chapter of life and now this nursery has easily become our favorite room in the house! Not hard to see why, it's the only room with new everything...and everything all in its perfect place. I love to sit in the glider, morning light streaming in, and think about the sweet sounds that will someday fill the room. It's where I come to pray for Heidi and the kind of person she'll be, the kind of life she'll lead. It'll be the place where lots of beautiful memories will be made. Gives me chills just thinking about it all. But on to the details!

The crib and crib mattress were the only two pieces of the nursery we brought with us from Florida (thanks, Mama B!). The rest, well, I had 7 weeks to scramble and shop for once I'd landed on a theme. Needless to say, most of my third trimester meltdowns were nursery-related. Amidst unpacking boxes and trying to get the rest of the house functional, all my heart wanted to focus on was this tiny 12'x13' room. I ended up hating almost every decor option at stores like Babies R Us and BuyBuy Baby, so most everything I ordered from places like Etsy, Target, and Amazon. Because of that, we spent a good amount of time waiting for nursery mail to arrive week after week. Talk about frustrating! I got to be REAL good friends with the UPS, USPS, and FedEx men. They probably thought I was a hoarder with all the packages they were delivering. As we rounded the corner into week 39, all pieces were delivered and tiny details hung and polished. Nursery complete!

**the Moses Basket is a family hand-me-down...my mom used it for me and my sister, my Aunt with her daughter...and now our little Heidi. :)

Moroccan Pouf: Maison Marrakech | Glider: Wayfair | Pillow & Throw: Target| End Table: Nate Berkus for Target | Heidi Book: Amazon 

I'm not sure why I felt the need to get this room 100% finished before Heidi's arrival. Part of me thinks it's because I had a beautiful home ripped out from underneath me (dramatic, much?) and I wanted this one room to be PERFECT. She deserves it...heck, I deserve it. The other half of me was nesting so hard I couldn't see straight. Either way, I'm so happy it's done and that it all fell into place so much more seamlessly than how I typically decorate a room. Totally a God thing. Probably ridiculous to say out loud, but He's been in the details of every aspect of our move and this pregnancy...nursery was no exception.

Changing Pad Cover: Grace and Cruz | Herringbone Gray Lamp: Target | Dresser: IKEA Hemnes | Hexagon Wall Shelves: West Pine Company | Pink Candle: Paddywax Heirloom Candles | Gold Filament Dresser Knobs: World Market | Tiny faux succulents: World Market | "No Whining" Print: Hammerpress | Ceiling Light Fixture: Target (now discontinued)

And now we wait. Wait for girlfriend to drop it low and make her grand debut into this crazy, crazy world. I'm BEYOND ready to see her face and snuggle the crap out of her. And ready to be done being pregnant. Am I allowed to say that? Who knows...but I am. We've tried ALL the old wives tales and "labor-inducing" foods ever suggested and big fat GOOSE EGG to it all (for my next trick, I'll stick my thumb up my rear and whistle Yankee Doodle from a mountaintop--that should do it!)...so save your comments. Sorry, that's sounds harsh, but the sheer quantity of unsolicited labor advice I've gotten these last couple weeks has me wanting to murder well-meaning humans. Baby rage is still alive and well in me...save yourself! I've decided all those who've gone into labor after eating eggplant parmesan or spicy food or getting pedicures have done so out of pure coincidence. Their bodies were already ready for baby and mine's just...not. Not yet, at least. She's gotta come out by 42 weeks, so come hell or high water I'll be birthing a babe before long. I just need to not psych myself out during the agonizing wait. Easier said than done, right, mamas?

Custom Book Ledge Shelves: Dunn Rustic Designs | Hanging Wall Planters: Amazon | Yarn Wall Hanging: NW Urban Cottage Shop | Ivory Striped Swaddle Basket: Pottery Barn Kids | Woven Rattan Book Basket: Target

Oh, and I should mention, that ADORABLE Aztec Alphabet Print was designed just for Heidi by my amazingly talented graphic designer of a cousin. I found something similar on some website wanting a bagillion dollars for a wrong color print, so I asked and she worked her designer magic. Couldn't be more in love with the result! Don't worry, we won't teach Heidi from that alphabet, but it's one of my favorite fun details of her nursery. Had to shout it to the world. Thanks, Linds! Another BIG shout out to the husband for putting all the furniture together and hanging everything on the walls. There's a special seat for you in heaven, I just know it. ;) D also hung the pendant light after a heck of a fight with it. He's come a lonnggg way, folks. Proud wife right here.

Longest (and most rambling) nursery reveal ever? Likely so. But I want to remember every tiny detail until the day I die, so blog it all, I said! And I finally did. You're welcome, you've made it to the end, and thanks for reading. ;)

Side note: if you've got some good baby vibes, prayers, positive juju, and/or love to send our way, we could use it! I need this baby girl in my arms, like, yesterday. COME ON, HEIDI! We are SO ready to meet you!

Aug 10, 2016

Bump Watch: Week 37 [& a PinkBlush GIVEAWAY!]

[Items in this post c/o PinkBlush Maternity, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the businesses that support this blog!]

In case you were curious, we're safe and sound in our new home in California (have been for almost a month and a half now--crazy!), we're unpacked, and we're 3 weeks until baby (also #CRAZY). I would have updated you all sooner, but...ahem...see items above. It's been a bit crazy around here, as you can imagine. I really thought I'd be better about blogging my pregnancy journey, but thanks to Snapchat, Instagram, and my own personal journal, I've felt less a need to sit behind a computer screen and type about it all. Freeing, actually. There might be something to this whole "micro-blogging" thing. 

In other news, see that gorgeous floral robe up there? I've basically been living in that thing since the day PinkBlush Maternity mailed it to me. Want a sneak peek into my hospital bag? Well, there you go...that robe will be one of the first things I pack! It's incredibly soft and just darn so beautiful to look at, really. Makes me feel super feminine and as far as the hospital goes, it will likely keep me from feeling frumpy and disgusting post-labor. Perfect for late-night feedings too, I imagine. I'm going to squeeze every ounce of use out of it possible! Want one of your own? It's your lucky day! Head on over to my Instagram and enter to win $75 to PinkBlush! Annnnd...you don't have to be pregnant to win! PinkBlush also offers non-maternity items that are just as beautiful. More info on Insta...so go and win you something fabulous.

Since it's been, oh, 17 weeks since my last Bump Watch post, without further adieu....

Baby's the Size of: a winter melon, whatever the heck that is.

General Thoughts/Feelings: Feeling all the feelings right now. Excited, nervous, terrified, joyful, peaceful, prepared, not prepared...you name it, I rotate through it on the daily. On one hand, I can't stand the wait to meet her...but on the other, I'm nervous about having a human being to take care of and worry about for the rest of my life. I know, we should have thought about that 9 months ago, right? We did, believe me...but as reality sinks in, those moments of doubt bubble up as well. 

I'm also selfishly sad about it no longer being "just the two of us" with regards to D and I. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to add to our family, but I'm still mourning the loss of life as a team of 2. It's a weird feeling. We've had almost 16 wonderful years of it being just us, more than most get before little ones arrive...but I can't decide if that makes this all easier or harder. I know Heidi will bring us more joy than we could ever imagine and I'll get over it once she's in our arms, but let's face it...jaunting off to Napa or LA or Hawaii won't ever be an on the whim event. Our days of throwing a suitcase in the car and jetting off will become slightly more complicated (although we're gonna do it, dang it!). Have baby, will travel, yes? Just things I ponder on when the insomnia hits.

As for labor, I'm only slightly freaking out about it. I feel prepared thanks to our 5 week birthing class and my super supportive midwives...but everyone handles pain differently, so it's hard to gauge how hard this might actually get. I feel like I have nothing to compare it to, so the unknown is...scary. That being said, every time I start to feel the panic rise up, I remind myself that women are doing this everyday, I am built to do this, and the pain will be a mere blip on the radar of my life compared to the sweet gift I'll get at the end. Mind over matter, am I right?

Food Aversions: Not a darn thing I won't eat. Well, except the things I still can't eat. Although I've given up on avoiding feta and blue cheeses. Pregnant rebel here.

Food Cravings: Deli sandwiches...which I can't have. I've decided an Italian sub be my first meal after she's born. That and a spicy tuna roll and glass of wine. If the nurses offered to hook me up to a wine IV while I breastfeed, I'd do it. As far as everyday cravings go, I'm still in love with fruit and my sweet tooth has taken over my daily breakfasts. I used to be a hard boiled egg and toast chick, but these days, cinnamon raisin English muffins have been on my mind non-stop. And Sunday morning banana pancakes have become a new tradition. I'm not mad about it. ;)

Health/Fitness: I've been trying to keep up with walking along with doing some of the stretching and breathing exercises we've been learning in birthing classes. I feel like I've spent this pregnancy more active than normal, but in different ways...all of it mostly centered around moving and unpacking. That whole process took us WAY longer than it's ever taken in previous moves, but I also had an extra person in tow. Going up and down stairs now feels like running a marathon, so doing it 20+ times a day had me beyond exhausted during the thick of unpacking. Braxton Hicks kept me in check though. As soon as they'd amp up, I'd hit the couch. 

Doc Appointments: I have my 37 week appointment on Thursday (they're weekly at this point), but at my 36 week appointment, we got to see little love via ultrasound and confirm she's head down (yay, Heidi!) and nice and comfy along my left side. Explains why I've been feeling lots of rib kicks on my right side. Girlfriend may have a professional soccer career in 18 years. Everything else measuring right on track for my due date and no issues to worry on (thank the good Lord!).

Weight Gain: Total for the whole pregnancy = 17lbs. Not too bad if I do say so myself. My goal was to keep it under 20, so I'm happy even though I've definitely noticed a decline in muscle tone. I'm looking forward to a couple rounds of 21 Day Fix after the all clear 6 weeks postpartum! Also, no belly stretch marks! We still have 3 weeks to go, but I'm optimistic.

Symptoms: That whole idea of pregnancy coming full circle and reverting back to 1st trimester fatigue, hunger, and just feeling not quite that lovely...yeah, I'm there. No nausea or anything of that sort, just plain uncomfortable in too many ways to count. Hard to get up, hard to sit down, belly feels heavy all day, and I still have limited eating and breathing room. My emotions are back on high alert again, but I'm trying to enjoy these last few weeks because it's all gone by too fast!

Sleep: Pregnancy insomnia has worked its way back into my life again. I had a bout of it the beginning of the 2nd tri, but now it has me wide awake from 3am until 5am...and sometimes I never get back to sleep. I attribute it to not being able to get comfortable and turn my brain off. Naps have become an essential part of my day needless to say.

Movement: She's running out of room in there, but every evening it's like she saves all her energy up to give me a slightly uncomfortable after dinner dancing show. D's always telling her to "behave in there!" It's adorable.

Baby Items Purchased: ALL OF THE THINGS. I feel like we're bleeding money at this point. What's one more swaddle blanket?
 Nursery is alllllmost done...just waiting on a few pieces of decor to arrive and we'll be set. 

Best Moment Recently: FINALLY getting to park in one of those "expectant moms" parking spots! I dutifully snapped a photo and felt like I'd completed some sort of pregnancy rite of passage. 

What Does Daddy Say?: That he's so ready for me to stop buying furniture and nursery decor that he has to put together! Bless him, he's been such a warrior picking up my slack, and then some. Lately (as the reality of labor sets in), he's been worried about how he can help me in the delivery room. How to soothe and comfort...what will I want, what will I hate? I keep reminding him he'll likely see a version of me that I'm not sure I've ever seen before myself...so let's just take one moment at a time. We'll figure it all out along the way. Our nightly prayers consist of his hand on my belly and lots of prayers for me, Heidi, and the preparedness of our home and marriage. I quietly pray for him and the changes coming his way. He needs them just as much as I do. So grateful for such an incredible husband to share this journey with.

Looking Forward To: Seeing her sweet face for the first time in the flesh. Holding her. Smelling her. Seeing D love on her. Having my mom in town for 3 weeks (bless her). And getting my body back...in certain ways, at least.

Another memorable moment the last 6 weeks? Our beautiful maternity session with Mallorie Owens Photography. THAT LIGHTING! I still die over it. I've shared a few sneaks on Instagram from the session, but I wanted to share another here to showcase the PinkBlush maternity maxi dress I wore for the second half of our shoot. It was 100 degrees outside that day and this dress was perfect for showing off my then 31 week bump while keeping me cool in that darn heat wave! Now who wants to enter that Insta-giveaway, hmmm? DO IT. More from our maternity shoot to come...someday (my famous last words, huh?).

WHEW! Long post, guys...thanks for sticking 'round. This is likely my final pregnancy update before Heidi arrives, so soak it all in, folks. That's what I'll be doing these last few weeks. CANNOT believe we're officially on baby watch! EEEK! This pregnancy has FLOWN by. I hear the song "You're Gonna Miss This" playing in the background of my mind from time to time...and to tell you the truth, I so totally am.
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