What I learned from each of my pregnancies

Shepherd:



I am so thankful that I got the once in a lifetime, enjoyable experience of being pregnant with my first baby. I don't take that for granted. I had an easy pregnancy and I truly soaked it all in, everything was new and exciting. That's why I say "once in a lifetime." There is just nothing like that first pregnancy and first baby. 
What I learned from his pregnancy was in hindsight. I didn't know it then, it took time and reflection to know it. But what I took from my first pregnancy, is that I HAVE to advocate for myself, I HAVE to educate myself. No one else is going to care about what you want as much as you do. When I was pregnant with Shepherd I assumed that doctors and nurses knew more than me and that they would not steer me wrong. Now I know better. No doctor or nurse knows me better than I know myself. Not that I should have a medical degree, that's not what I'm saying. But no one knows or cares about whats important to me as much as I do. I saw "red flags" with my OB for Shep but as a first time mom I thought that was just the way it had to be and assumed they all knew better than me. (My first red flag was when I met my OB for the first time, she told me I would probably have to have a C-section because my mom had one.) From his pregnancy I also learned (in hindsight) that I can say no. I can ask questions. I can ask questions and not be OK with their response and ask someone for a second opinion. And its awkward saying no to a doctor, but now I do it all the time. Because I learned that sometimes you have to. 

Major:



If you've followed this blog for awhile, you probably know how disappointed I was/am that I had to have 3 C-sections. But I've chosen after years of reflecting, that it all worked out for my good. Just like God says it can, if you let it and if you look for it. If I hadn't had a C-section with Shepherd, I never would have had to fight for my VBAC with Major. And that VBAC is one of the things I am most proud of in my life. Because I'd never thought of myself as strong, just because I hadn't been through many things that were hard. But now I know that I can persevere, that I can advocate for myself, that I can accomplish hard things. Having a VBAC was very healing for me. And if I hadn't had a VBAC with Major, and Breaker had been my 3rd C-section instead of my 2nd, I think I would have felt like I was done after 3 kids. But instead I felt like I could handle another pregnancy and I got my Chapel.

Breaker:




We found out I was pregnant with Breaker, 12 hours before I got on a plane to move across the country, while Joey was already in Utah. God's timing is perfect. If we had found out any earlier, I think we would have questioned if Joey should take the job and if we should move. I'm really proud of myself for going through an entire pregnancy and delivery and having a newborn, all on our own.

Chapel:




I hesitate to share this, but it literally brings me to tears. It is so good. Y'all know I'm long winded, so get ready.
I saw a midwife for this pregnancy, and towards the end I had to pick an OB to perform the C-section.
*Because of what I learned from Shepherd's birth...about the importance of advocating for yourself and that I can say no to anything, I knew this was my decision and I could meet every single doctor in town if I needed to to find one I liked. *
I said I would prefer a female doctor, so I met with another one in the practice.  I hated her. That's a strong word for someone I spent 5 minutes with, but I really just did not like her at all. I saw my midwife again at the next appointment and told her and so we set me up to meet the only other female doctor in the practice. I was relieved that I really liked her and chose her to deliver Chapel.
At my 37 or 38 week appointment, I met with her again and she told me that she unexpectedly would have to be out of town on the day of my C-section and I would have to choose another OB.
I cried. I asked her when she was getting back in town, could I wait? She said she knew I would be in good hands and I could meet the other OBs in the practice to find one I felt comfortable with.
That night I went home and Joey and I were talking about it. He said should I call the office tomorrow and ask again if I could deliver around her schedule? Should I push a little?
But I said, no, I am going to choose to believe that maybe this is God intervening for me, maybe He is protecting me and I'm not going to fight it. I said I would trust that it would all be ok.
My next appointment I met with Dr. Greene, and I immediately loved him. I cried because I was so relieved. I really think he is an angel on earth. He was so calm and nothing phased him. Every appointment I had with him before and after the birth I would cry and also after I had so many weird little issues, I was always worried it was something awful and he was so reassuring. He just had a very calming demeanor and with my crazy I needed that.
OK, so here is where it gets interesting. When I was scheduling my 6 week follow up appointment, they said Dr. Greene would be out of town. So I asked if I could see the female OB, (who was supposed to do the surgery but had to unexpectedly be out of town.) Well the receptionist says, "she no longer works here." I thought that was strange and ended up just making my appointment with my original midwife. I got in the car with Joey and told him about it, and I teared up telling him. I knew in my gut that God had been protecting me from something.
I decided to do a little sleuthing and search that OB's name on one of my Facebook mom groups. I found a post about her leaving the practice, with one comment alluding to she had been fired. Another commenter said that she knew what had happened, and she didn't want to make it public but if any patients of hers wanted to know, to private message her. The commenter who said that, I recognized. She was pretty well known in town and in the "birth community" and I trusted that she wouldn't be spreading gossip. I decided to message her and see what had happened. She told me that my OB, who was supposed to deliver Chapel, had been fired for lying about being board certified. That she had failed her exams multiple times, and lied.
She had been in practice for over a decade, and she gets caught 2 weeks before she was going to cut my body open and deliver my daughter. Everyone I've told this to is focused on how she got away with this, I really don't care. I'm just thankful for what I know was God intervening for me and answering my prayers for protection over this pregnancy and delivery.
So from this pregnancy I have a testimony of trusting in God's timing. I don't try to force things "my" way. If something doesn't work out, something else will. Maybe its for a good reason I'll never know. But I have prayed prayers of thanks that God let me know this time, so I have this story to tell.

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What Chapel Wore - Month 1

Long time blog readers may remember me talking about how I am awful at letting my kids wear their cute clothes. They seriously have so much (so many?) clothes, but I always put them in play clothes because I'm saving cute clothes for something special. Which is so dumb! I know! Its not even like the "cute" outfits are expensive or special. I just always put them in something ugly because I think I should save cute stuff for when we're going somewhere or they'll be in pictures.
All three of my boys have multiple cute outfits they never once wore because they grew out of them because I would let them wear them. Now I've about given up on them because they all want to dress themselves and they insist on only wearing gym clothes. 

But I've COMMITTED to being better with Chapel! So I feel like if I take a picture of her wearing an outfit that makes it worth it. 
For much of her first month she just wore onesies underneath her Miracle Blanket swaddle.

I never want really fussy outfits for newborn babies because they are swaddled all the time. 
Here is Chapel's first month of outfits!








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Naming Chapel



When deciding what to name Chapel, our other option was Vivien. We have a running list of names in each of our phones, but Vivien has always been our only girl name. We have always loved it, but it was just a little too popular right now. Vivien was actually the girl name I've had picked out for my entire life, after Vivien Leigh who played Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. 
But one day I was driving and passed a little tiny country church, and I was like "Chapel" and so that was her name. 
If she had been a boy we were talking about the name "Kentucky" with the nickname "Tuck."

Chapel's middle name is Raines and that is for Joey's mom. Raines was Rhonda's maiden name. We actually considered Raines when we were naming Breaker for his first and middle names.


Now, if you know me you know I hate anything "fluffy." I'm not an inspirational quotes person, I'm not an "everything happens for a reason" person. Its just not my thing. I'm not into the things a lot of people will believe or tell themselves to make themselves feel better. I like reality and what is true and I honestly don't have a lot of patience for anything else.  
So this is not typically something I would get behind, but...
Joey's mom absolutely loved babies, and she loved all of her grandsons. She would always talk about when she would get a granddaughter and couldn't wait to buy all of the girly things. 
So when we found out we were having a girl, I really never expected it because I honestly thought we could only make boys. But at the same time I can honestly see Rhonda up in Heaven begging God for a granddaughter. And it is so her personality that she would have asked for them to share a birthday. (Chapel's due date was the day after Rhonda's birthday.) So I don't know that that is exactly how it works, but no one does. I could believe that Jesus would be up in Heaven talking to you about whatever and hear you go on about wanting a granddaughter for your birthday. So while its a little fluffy for me, that is SO Rhonda. 
So Chapel's middle name is for her Nana.

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taking Chapel home

After a few days in the hospital, we packed up and headed home as a family of 6!











My friend Lindsey's family has a wooden stork that they pass around whenever anyone in the family has a baby. When I saw it I was obsessed and my brother in law made one for me. How cute!?! I just am so sad we didn't have it when all of the boys were born. It is literally MY HEART thinking about one day Chapel having a baby and putting this stork in her yard and taking pictures with it just like we did. That is seriously the stuff that just makes me so happy. I love traditions. I wish I had it, but when I was born someone rented a big sign and I have a picture of my parents standing in front of it with me. I think it was a stork too. If I find the picture I'll share it here.





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Breaker Blue is TWO



Still playing Catch Up with my blog posts! Breaker turned 2 back in March and it was a little overshadowed by having a brand new sister!
We celebrated his day with cake and balloons with family.


Breaker is the funniest little thing. He will not be left out. He loves his big brothers and wants to do everything they're doing. We think he may be our wild child. He's just a liiiiitttle bit naughty ;)
 And gosh he's just so good looking. That dimple will melt your heart. His wild ponytail. Gah I could eat him.

He is the best sleeper. He goes to bed around 7:45 and all you have to do is rock him for a minute while you sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, then you lay him in his bed wide awake with his "friends" and a few extra pacis and he goes right to sleep. He sleeps straight through the night and when he wakes up he is happy to lay in bed and just talk to himself until someone goes to get him. I'm telling you it is a DREAM and I'm also telling you it is a dream that will not last. His older brothers are the worst sleepers, but they've all been amazing until they realize they can climb out of the crib. Breaker hasn't caught onto that yet so I'm just hoping this phase lasts as long as possible.
He takes one long nap around 11am and usually sleeps about 2 hours. But again, hes happy to lay in bed when he wakes up and talk to himself and play with his stuffed animals. Sometimes we will hear him downright cackling in laughter. He's so sweet.

He likes a sippy cup of milk as soon as he gets out of bed and his show of choice is Peppa Pig. He loves George.
 His favorite food is eggs.
He wears size 5 diapers and is about to grow out of 2t clothes. Breaker, Shep and Major all currently wear the same size shorts lol.
He has the fattest feet and I have the hardest time finding shoes. I finally ordered a pair of Extra Wide New Balance shoes that he will probably grow out of soon. They velcro across and his feet are so thick the velcro will barely reach.
He loves to read, loves trains, loves being outside, loves bubbles and dumping water in the bathtub. In the bathtub he always gets two cups and very seriously dumps the water back and forth between the two.
I've said before we have a million nicknames for our kids, some nicknames for Breaker are: Judy, Ju, Juju, Juju Bean, Judy Blue, Breaker Bug

Some of my favorite pictures of Breaker over the past year:










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Judy

Breaker also answers to "Judy." Which we know is probably really confusing when people hear us call him that in public ;) And everyone thinks he's a girl anyway because of his hair, then we're calling him Judy haha.

So when Breaker was like 8 months old, he wore the same size diaper as Major and he just had a big butt. He looked so funny with this giant diaper and a big ol booty, so we started calling him Big Booty Judy. And sometimes his grump comes out so we say he's being a Moody Judy. The nickname just stuck and we all call him Judy as often as we call him Breaker. But if you ask him his name, he does say, "Break" so there's that. 

This is the face of a Big Booty Judy:


And this is the face of a Moody Judy:


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Breaker Blue - 18 months


This is so behind but I still want to post it since I did for Major and Shep.
I'm trying to think back to Breaker at 18 months.
This was when he self weaned from breastfeeding. I was pregnant with Chapel so that makes weaning off nursing very easy.
At 18 months he was taking one long nap a day, and bedtime around 7:45.
He loved Taylor Swift and would dictate only listening to her on every car ride.


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a few more hospital pics

I kind of love being in the hospital and being taken care of for a few days. Every other time I've had a baby I've practically begged to stay an extra day. 







My mom's birthday fell while I was in the hospital, and the boys picked out a birthday cake for her...dirt cake with worms ;)


"Push presents"







I loved Chapel's sweet going home outfit. I got it from SK Creations on Etsy. They have a really cute instagram account too.




And just for fun, all four of my babies in the hospital. I love traditions and anything that all of my kids can do...I plan on someday framing all four of their newborn hats they wore home from the hospital.


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