Major William is here!

January 23, 2014
7:53 pm
6 lbs 12 oz
20 inches

I'll be back to posting again soon.  I'm going to enjoy this first week having my little family all snowed in together.  Major is just the sweetest little thing.  I can't get enough.  Joey has the week off work, and the four of us are just getting ourselves situated.  Major is doing great, other than a little jaundice.  We were able to do light therapy with him at home, and are praying his jaundice levels go down soon.  We have a little LED light panel that has to stay on him at all times, so its always underneath his outfit.  We have to take him every day to the hospital to get labs drawn.  I'm thankful its not so bad that he needed to stay in the hospital.  Thankful for healthy babies, it could be worse. 

And since its basically all I've talked about for months, I'll go ahead and tell you that Major was a successful VBAC!  It all worked out better than I could have planned.  God has bigger dreams than you can dream for yourself.  I'll share all the details soon.

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers as we became a family of four!

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what will my baby look like: round 2

I surprisingly had pretty good luck with this in the I thought I'd give it another shot!
(Yes I took a picture of the computer screen with my phone)

Introducing my Major:


Or here was another option.  Hmmm.

Option #3

You never know, they've been close before ;)
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Bringing a baby into the world


I have a pretty one track mind these days.  I feel like a broken record and all I'm thinking about is baby baby baby.  I'm a planner, and while I know things change, I can't help but feel better about everything if I at least have put some thought into every tiny little thing the things that matter.  No really, if you all knew the things I think about in my head, I know no one would want to be around me ;)

So to recap.  Shepherd's birth had every intervention you could imagine.  I saw red flags all throughout my prenatal care, but didn't know enough to realize it.  At my 12 week appointment, the first time I met my doctor, I mentioned my mom had me via C-section.  I didn't tell her why, she knew nothing about me, she hadn't even seen me standing up.  But because of that comment, she told me, "oh then you'll probably have a C-section."  RED FLAG.   As I neared 39 weeks I was told my only option was induction or C-section, because I was going to have a "huge baby."  People have huge babies everyday.  Why would my doctor think if that was the case that I couldn't?  (FYI Shepherd was tiny and has been in the 5% since the day he was born).  The day before my induction I called to see if I could please put it off another day, and they told me no.  Really?  What were they going to do...not let me have the baby?  I had made clear over and over to my OB that I did not want to end up with a C-section.  So the fact that she induced me when my body had shown no signs of being ready, knowing that that actually drastically increases my chances of a C-section makes me so angry.  At the hospital I was immediately pumped full of drugs and fluids and pitocin.  My contractions were awful because of the pitocin, and I ended up getting the epidural at I think 2-3 cm?  Meaning I was confined to laying on my back, which makes it hard for the body to make any progress.  I had only been in labor maybe 8 hours when my doctor declared me "failure to progress" and therefore in need of a C-section.  One of the main reasons for induction in the US is macrosomia (big baby) and the #1 reason for C-sections in the US is "failure to progress."  But how long does labor take?  Certainly in most cases more than 8 hours.  Yet, I wasn't going quick enough, so my doctor told me I would have to have a C-section.  Its scary when you're in a hospital and don't know anything, and your judgement is cloudy from all of the drugs.

Because of all of the interventions I had with Shepherd's birth, I think it contributed to a lot of issues postpartum.  Now I have no way to know this for sure, but Shepherd was born at 6 lbs 9.5 oz.  I've since learned that all of the fluids I received during labor, could have inflated his birth weight.  So when he was losing weight, they told me he was losing too much.  All babies lose some weight after birth, but I just can't help but think Shepherd seemed to be losing too much because his weight to begin with was incorrect because of the fluids transferred to him.  Because he lost too much weight, I was told I had to supplement with formula, something I had no intention of doing.
Which leads me to my next postpartum issue.  Breastfeeding was very hard for us in the beginning.  Something common with C-sections.  My biggest goal out of everything was to successfully breastfeed, so when I'm being told that I'm not producing enough milk and he's not gaining weight and I would have to supplement, it was devastating.  For weeks I was waking up every 3 hours to nurse, he wouldn't latch on, so I would pump, then give him my expressed milk in a bottle.  I also can't help but think breastfeeding would have been easier from the beginning if I had a vaginal delivery.  I'm very proud of the fact that with all of our early issues, Shepherd was exclusively breastfed and is still nursing at 20 months.

I'm not saying all of these things as the gospel.  Obviously I have no medical background, I'm just sharing my experience and what I've learned to be true for me.  And while I wish my OB had handled me differently, I don't completely blame her.  I firmly believe we are all responsible to do our own research to make the best decisions, and I regret not realizing at the time all that I know now.

Not being happy with the way I experienced Shepherd's birth, I'm putting a lot of thought and research into how we will bring Major into the world.  I have already switched from my OBGYN to a midwife.  I've been going to the chiropractor.  I've been to centering visits with a doula group.  I have planned to have a doula with me for Major's birth, and she helped me create a birth plan before I go into labor.
I just need to do everything I can to optimize my chances for a successful VBAC.  If for some reason it doesn't work, I don't want to look back and think, "what if I'd done that or known that."

Which brings me to my decision/indecision to have an epidural.  This is literally something I started wavering on at almost 39 weeks, which is an awful idea if I decide to plan for a natural childbirth.  When I do all my research, I can't ignore the risks associated with an epidural.  And I firmly believe it is my responsibility to research all of my options, pray about it, and make the best decision I can.  I'm also concerned about it increasing my chances of a C-section.  I just don't want to do all of this preparation for a VBAC, and because I'm scared of pain to have it not work.  But I am scared of the pain.  I don't know what I'll do.  Right now my plan is to prepare as best I can to go med-free, for that to be my goal, but if in the moment I want the epidural then thats ok too.

In bold type on my birth plan, my biggest thing is that I want everything explained to me in laymen's terms.  I want to know exactly what is happening, and why.  I want there to be medical evidence for something happening, not just because its the way its always done.  I also wrote that I want time to privately discuss my options with my husband and doula.

I am so thankful for modern medicine.   I do not take for granted that these are things I get to obsess about and make decisions about.  I'm beyond thankful for good health, and realize for some people the only way to safely deliver their baby is via C-section, and thats amazing!

Having a baby is a HUGE thing.  We plan every other event in our lives.  We take months and months to plan a wedding, why would I not put time and attention and energy into planning for the birth of my child.  Obviously I know just because I have a "plan" its really just a "wish list."  Whatever needs to happen to get Major here safely is my top priority, not making myself happy with a certain birth experience.  But I had to find the best midwife, the best plan of action, so that I know I at least did that.

I have a few verses written down, that I want to have in my head to concentrate on during labor.  One of those is:
"There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
1 John 4:18
I want to remind myself that all of my motivations for a drug-free delivery are based in LOVE and not let my fear of "what ifs" get in my head.  This was something my doula said to me when I was talking to her about how I wanted to go without an epidural but I didn't know if I could because I was so scared.

Aside from Major's actual labor and delivery, I'm also planning ahead for the first few days...weeks...after he is born.
I'm someone that needs space around myself, if that makes sense.  When Major is born, I need time with him.  I can't share him immediately.  I want time to bond, without feeling rushed.  There are studies showing that mothers who don't have time to bond with their babies after delivery can have a hard time adjusting.  We plan on just having the two of us there (Joey and myself), and then a few hours, or however long we need after he is born, we will have visitors.  When Shepherd was born, I felt so possessive of him.  I didn't want anyone else to hold him or really do anything.  I don't know if thats normal for all new moms, but I just needed my time to be used to him, before I could give him up.  Even taking a shower made me sad, because I didn't want to be away from him.

I feel like I'm being a broken record, but I guess its my blog and I can obsess if I want! ;)
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Everyday 2014: Week 3

These pictures are all pretty boring, but I figured I'd post them anyway.  Nothing too exciting going on when I'm this pregnant.

Jan 10:
Real life.  Note the piano in the corner.  Joey found it in the attic and decided to pick it back up.

Jan 11:
Saturday pedicure.

Jan 12:
Shep's first time in his new big boy car seat.

Jan 13:
Mondays are for The Bachelor.

Jan 14:
Bouncing on my birthing ball, getting ready for Major.  
And Shepherd must like this picture, because somehow in the 2 minutes it took me to put him in the car yesterday, he put a filter on this picture and uploaded it to Facebook.  I've got to stop letting him play with my phone!

Jan 15:
Shep went with me to the chiropractor.  I went to make sure Major is in a good position for birth and opening my pelvis up as much as possible so he has room!

Jan 16:
My current reading material.

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on doulas

When I say I have a midwife instead of an OB, and I hired a doula, people are literally asking me if I'm giving birth at home in my bathtub.  
No, I'm delivering at the hospital!

I talked a little here about why I switched to a midwife, and I am so happy with that decision.
So, doulas.

A doula is:
"a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after the birth."
Studies show that when doulas attend births, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier, and they breastfeed more easily.  There are fewer interventions and women are less likely to request pain medication, and rates of C-section are lower.

She will not "take Joey's place" but instead will help him to better help me.
She will not perform any type of medical task, she is there for support.
My plan is to labor at home as long as possible, so she will come to our house when I'm ready for her to help me, then go to the hospital with us.

My main hesitation when deciding whether I wanted a doula at Major's birth was my concern for privacy.  I was worried I would want to have some time where its just Joey and I.  But then I thought about how many nurses will be in and out no matter what.  Also, a doula is planning on being with you from start to finish.  If I say, "hey I need a minute to myself," I'm sure she will be happy to go have a minute to herself as well, to rest or get something to eat, or whatever!

This list I found is what really sold me.  Because everything on the list is what I want.

10 Reasons to Hire a Doula:

1. A better birth experience for everyone
2. Continuous support
3. Assistance in creating a birth plan
4. Informational support
5. A decreased use of interventions
6. Emotional support
7. Experienced and trained in childbirth
8. Doulas are for birth partners too
9. Physical support
10. Breastfeeding support

Informational support was especially important to me.  I am a researcher.  I research everything to death.  But I can't know everything, and with Shepherd so many "interventions" happened that I didn't know enough about to decide whether or not I wanted them...especially in the moment.  I want someone who knows more than I do, and who knows my birth plan.  When I'm in labor, if any medical intervention comes up, our plan is to have some privacy to discuss my options and whether or not something is necessary.  What I've realized is that a lot of times, at the hospital the staff is just going through the motions, doing things to laboring women just because thats the way its always been done.  And I'm not ok with that.  I want there to be medical evidence behind everything happening to me and everything going into my body, and potentially transferring to my baby.

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Major's Nursery

We finished up Major's nursery last night, so I thought I'd share some pics.

Of course with my husband we had to have some plants!  This elephant planter we bought on My Habit.

 Love this little elephant.  Melissa and Doug brand we found on sale at Home Goods.
Joey painted the "L" and used stencils to put the MW on.
  The painting above his crib I painted myself!
The marionettes were a gift from our friend, Veda.  She sent them to us after she went on a trip to Prague!

Ikea spice racks for book shelves.  Shepherd may have already pulled the lower one off the wall 3 times.
 My sister in law, Caity, got both Shepherd and Major this adorable name puzzle for Christmas!
Pictures of Joey and I when we were little.
"Listen to your Mama."  Good advice!
The wooden giraffe was a gift from my friend, Tara, from Haiti.  She lives there as a missionary and she got Shepherd an elephant for his room!
The music scale at the top center is a "B Major" scale!  My husband's idea.  The upper right is a picture of my Papaw, who Major is named after.  Upper left is a picture of a pirate ship we got out of one of Joey's old nursery rhyme books.

P.S. Shepherd's nursery
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over the weekend.

Well the last of my to-dos are done.  Major can come whenever he wants and I'm ready for him!
My official guess for the due date is January 20th.  That was my Papaw's birthday (who he is named after) and wouldn't that just be poetic?

This weekend we tried to just soak up family time and give Shepherd all of our attention, and fill his little days up with fun.

This past Saturday I went to the fire department and had Shepherd's new car seat installed, so Major can have his infant car seat.  Something like over 90% of car seats are installed incorrectly, so I leave it up to the fire department, who are trained in car seat safety and installation.

I also went and got a pedicure, which just seems necessary to me.

It was nice to be out alone.  I went to lunch by myself before running my errands.  I literally crave alone time, and rarely have it anymore.

Sunday the weather was nice so we went on a walk.  Trying to get Major moving ;) I love this picture of Shep and Blue, they love each other!

We put the finishing touches on Major's nursery, so pictures coming soon!

P.S. This was taken at 38 weeks + 3 days:

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our word for 2014

This is the 3rd year Joey and I have decided to choose a word for our year.

2012 we chose "grow" and focused on growth as a family, as a couple and individually.  With Shepherd coming into our lives, we became a family of 3, and had to figure out how to parent together.  There was a lot of growth and 2012 was pretty close to perfect in my book.

2013 was one of my favorite words, "Purposeful."  
I do think after a year of having that in the back of my mind, I am a more purposeful person.  I've focused on who I want to be, and what do I need to do to be that.  What do I want my children to remember me for, to appreciate me for, to come to me for.  I want to be intentional with Shepherd.  I don't like ending days feeling like I just got through it.  Every night before Shepherd goes to sleep, we talk about what he did that day.  Its rarely anything too exciting by anyone's standards, but these days I'm filling up are nurturing to his mind and soul and I cherish them.
"What did we do today?! We got up and said, "hi Blue!" and we waved at Daddy when he left for work!  What did we eat for breakfast?  Did we have blueberries?!  Did we go on a walk?  Did we see birds and kitty cats?  Did we read your favorite book?!  Did we wait at the door for Daddy to get home and he rang the doorbell and we said, "yay Daddy is home!!"  Did we take a bath and count our rubber ducks?  Did Daddy fly you around like an airplane?" 
I know the days are long but the years are short.  This year I focused on living these long days with purpose.  I anticipate looking back with longing of this time when my babies were little, but time will pass no matter what.  The best I can do is fill each day with joy, so I don't have any regrets.

I'm rambling, but I really just feel so lucky to have the life I have.  I don't want to ever take it for granted.  I don't like to complain about things that I've prayed to have.  I prayed and rejoiced for Joey's job, so I'm never going to complain about his hours.  My biggest joy in life is getting to be a stay at home mom, so I'm not going to complain about it, even though some days its hard.  Some days its really hard.  Honestly one day last week I cried on and off for hours because I was so mentally and physically exhausted and just wanted to be alone.  But those days are few and far between, and I wouldn't trade my life for anything else.

So, our word for 2014.
We chose Focus.
We narrowed it down to a few things to focus get too broad and it loses the point.

God, our marriage, Shepherd and Major, health.  In that order.

God first.  Thats the foundation of everything.

Our marriage second.  Yes that comes before our children.  If our marriage fell apart, the lasting effects on our children would be immeasurable.  So we focus on that, with our babies right behind of course.  I want to be better this year at carving out time to spend with each other.  I want to make date nights a priority, even though its so hard for me to leave my babies.

Shepherd and Major.  We will have to adjust this year to being a family of 4, having a newborn again, Shepherd not being an only child...lots to be intentional about.

Finally, health.  I want to lose all of my baby weight, and Joey has been paying for a gym membership for about 2 years that he's been to maybe a handful of times.  So since we can't get out of that contract (don't ask...grrr) he is going to be taking advantage of it!
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Everyday 2014: Week 2

January 4:
We went to dinner with some friends to celebrate my birthday a little early.

January 5:
After church lunch at an empty Fazolis.  Hence why Shepherd is running around the restaurant with his shoes off.

January 6:
My birthday!  Also the polar vortex hit Lexington...the high for the day was 0 degrees with wind chill -30.  Needless to say we stayed inside all day.  Shepherd loved singing Happy Birthday.

Jan 7:
Had my 38 week check up on Major and got to see his sweet face.

Jan 8:
Very happy to have an empty car.  I love my little sidekick, but running errands alone is the best!  

Jan 9:
I'll never get tired of my peaceful sleeping baby.  Also, is my child the only one who sleeps in his crib without any blankets, pillows, stuffed animals...anything?  That blanket was just there randomly, it usually isn't.  He just doesn't like anything in there with him and sleeps fine, but I feel like I'm depriving him or something.

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Random Ramblings

I had my 38 week appointment with Major on Tuesday.  I mentioned I was nervous about the ultrasound, because I didn't want them to think he was too big for me to have a VBAC.  Well he was right on track and the perfect candidate for a VBAC.  Thank you Lord!!  6 lbs 7 oz, which I think was probably accurate.  Shepherd was born at 39 weeks and weighed 6 lbs 10 oz.  So while I think ultrasounds are probably off a little, this seems to make more sense.  So now, for a VBAC I just have to go into labor on my own, before 40 weeks + 6 days according to the hospital, which would be January 29th.
My midwife also suggested I start doing squats a few times a day and watching tv at night on my hands and knees to get the baby into my pelvis and ready for birth.  So I look really cool.  And if you're interested, google "evening primrose for labor."  Hey, whatever it takes.  So theres that.  

My grandma has been staying at our house since Sunday.  We love having her come visit.  Shep thinks she's about the funniest person he knows, and Joey said he'd be fine if she just moved in.  I love my grandma!  Today I got to go out and run some errands by myself, since I had her here.  So nice to just quickly run in and out...or in some cases roam around way too long, since there isn't a toddler ready to leave ;)

Last night we had a visit with my doula.  I am so excited that I decided to hire a doula for Major's birth!
I'll do a separate post on exactly what a doula does.  Lexington has a doula group here called The Birth Haven, which is how I found my doula.  Every 2 weeks they have a "centering visit" where you go and there is usually a speaker or topic covered, then afterwards you can meet with your doula and talk about whatever.  This week I brought my birth plan and went over it with her.  And I love my husband, because while he is so supportive of all my choices and everything I'm doing to have a better experience for Major's birth...there is a lot of girl talk going on at these meetings and he said he's never heard the word 'cervix' used so much.  Haha, he's a trooper!

My doula asked me if I was mentally ready for Major to come.  I said I have a few loose ends I need to have ready, and then in my head I'll be ok for him to come.  Those two big things are I need Shepherd's new car seat installed and I need the Arms Reach co sleeper purchased and set up.  I joked that as soon as those two things happen my water will break.  Well the cars seat is ordered and will be here Friday and I went today and bought the co-sleeper, just need Joey to put it together.  The Arms Reach co-sleeper is basically a small pack and play, but it can be attached to the bed and adjusted to be the height of your bed.  I want Major sleeping right next to me, but not actually in bed with us.  The AAP recommends room sharing for 6 months, which is about how long Shep slept in our room.  However with him I had to get out of bed every time he woke up in the middle of the night, and it was even more exhausting.  With the Arms Reach, I can just sit up and get Major to nurse him.  

These pictures show off Shepherd's new haircut.  I sent Joey to take Shepherd to get his hair cut with these pictures to show the hairdresser:

Instead, he decided to tell the hairdresser to just buzz the whole thing.
I cried.
I don't plan on ever cutting his hair again!  He is still cute, but this is not his best look.  Sorry Shepherd!

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I celebrated my 28th birthday yesterday.  It was a very low key day, considering the weather:
We stayed inside all day.  28 will be remembered as the year my birthday fell on the coldest day ever...I could have gone to the North Pole to warm up.  Although, the good thing about being 9 months pregnant during the Polar Vortex, is I'm always hot anyway so the blizzard temps don't bother me.

My grandma came to stay with us for a few days, so she got to celebrate with me.  She helped with Shepherd all day so I got to relax a little bit!

Since we didn't want to get out in the cold, Joey brought home Texas Roadhouse for dinner.
(The night before we had a date night at Red Lobster as my birthday dinner.  I'm really fancy.)

 Here is a close up of my cake.  I don't think Joey should plan on a second career as a baker ;)

Side note: I love butterfly clips.

And my favorite birthday present...the return of The Bachelor!

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