Author Archives: Jan

Audrey’s One Month Old Update

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in, but I figured Audrey’s first month of life was a good enough reason to come on and update you!

I’ve been asked similar questions by a lot of folks this month, so I will answer them here as a sort of baby update and postpartum update in FAQ’s.

How is she eating? Audrey is breastfed a majority of the time via pumped milk in a bottle, with the occasional formula supplement. She had problems latching right after birth, so we developed a routine in the hospital of using a nipple shield to attempt breastfeeding, followed by formula to supplement, and I’d pump to initiate healthy production (a routine that was great for those early days in the hospital… not realistic at all when we got home). Audrey had a tongue tie that we did get clipped early on, but it did not help with latching (I’m still glad we did it; tongue ties can lead to speech problems later on in life, along with needing painful and repetitive procedures).

Attempting the breast was stressful, tear-filled and exhausting for both me and Audrey. I finally decided to put away the fight and the feelings of guilt that I wasn’t able to nurse naturally (similar to the guilt I felt needing to have a c-section) — I’ve realized that a huge part of becoming a parent is putting aside your “ideals” and ignoring those voices in your head that tell you that you’re doing it all wrong. Just like with the c-section, the need to pump and supplement was so much easier to accept because I wanted her to be healthy and happy, regardless of what I wanted.

Now, I pump 7-8 times per day to provide her with breast milk for most of her feedings, supplementing with formula every now and then when it is more convenient or if she needs to sleep. The truth is, I feel just as bonded with her on the other side of a bottle as I would if she were directly on my chest. God bless women who can nurse their babies naturally; direct nursing (or my attempt at it anyway) actually brought on resentment, depression, and chaos for me, so bottle feeding (with or without breast milk) is what makes us both happy! (Plus, Alex is able to help out with feedings … a huge blessing for us!)

How is she sleeping? Her stretches of sleep at night are getting longer and longer, where we will only get up once around 2 or 3 am to feed her, then not again until 6 or 7 am. It’s awesome! But, this also means that sleeping during the day is spotty for her. She is easily over-stimulated and distracted so it is hard to put her down for naps. (However, as I type this, she is going on her third hour of sleep in the middle of the day … seems to be the calm before the storm!)

What fun things have happened this month? She is growing so fast! She’s able to hold her head up for a while when we hold her or when she is on the floor for tummy time. She is showing signs of beginning to smile in response to stimuli.

Audrey has already gotten out of the house a few times this month. We brought her to church a couple times (and she slept through the whole service), and she’s been out for trips to see family (my Grandma’s 87th birthday, a lake day at my aunt and uncle’s house).

She has already pooped and thrown up on me, so literally nothing grosses me out anymore.

So many family members and friends have visited us to see her and to just make sure we are fed, which has our cups overflowing with gratitude.

What’s my favorite part of being a mommy? Seeing a sincere curiosity in her eyes is amazing. We have been watching her take everything in as her vision and reflexes / responses get more and more refined every day. It’s pretty cool!

I also have just loved seeing Alex come into being a daddy. It happened right away in the hospital; as I laid on the operating table, waiting to see the baby, Alex was watching her intently, holding her gently, and smiling from ear to ear … which he still does every time he sees her.

How is recovery going for me? Great! I am already below my pre-pregnancy weight (a huge benefit of breastfeeding) and my incision has healed up nicely. I will be back at work in about a month; until then, I’m eating and resting when I can, and soaking up these early weeks with my baby during the day.

xo,
Jan

Welcome, Baby Audrey!

Audrey Marie, with the sweetest face we ever did see!

Our sweet baby Audrey made her arrival on Monday, July 3rd, 2017 at 8:12am via a scheduled c-section. She weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces and was 19 inches long. She is healthy, freaking adorable, and has changed our lives forever. I am giving as many details as I can remember because I want to remember this story down the road, and I’ve always loved reading/hearing people’s baby delivery stories! (Note: Her eyes are closed in many of the photos because she is already a super-sleeper! I’m sure you’ll see many more photos of her pretty eyes in the near future.)

Watching Alex become a daddy has been, by far, one of the greatest joys I’ll ever experience.

Why a scheduled c-section?

When I was 36 weeks pregnant, Audrey was still breech and I had some decisions to make because we were coming close to her due date. My doctor offered to do an external cephalic version (ECV) at week 37; this is a procedure where I would’ve been kept on monitors at the hospital while they tried to manually turn the baby from breech to head-down position. I considered it for all of maybe 30 minutes; after running through it over and over with Alex, we decided it was a no-go. My OB was very honest with me about the ECV — she said that first-time moms have less than a 50% success rate with ECV’s because of the tightness of the uterus. So we would be paying for a hospital visit with a huge risk that the procedure wouldn’t even work. Moreover, she said that there is also always the risk that, if baby’s heart rate dropped drastically during the procedure, I’d have to have an emergency c-section right then. What an anxiety attack waiting to happen! I was not necessarily excited about the idea of scheduling a c-section (I was pretty animated about having a vaginal birth from the beginning), but if I could be sure that we had a safe way to bring baby into the world (and give her until week 39 to grow, instead of risking it at week 37), then I was going to do it.

I cried for a couple of days over the idea of a c-section but, again, I knew in my heart that my “picture perfect” delivery experience was all in vain if it risked her health and safety. Standing here on the other side of the c-section now, I wouldn’t trade the delivery experience we had for anything. I wish I could go back in time and comfort myself with this four weeks ago.

Basically all we did for four days in the hospital was stare at her in awe!

Delivery Day!

So, a scheduled c-section it was. Our surgery was at 7:30am on Monday, July 3rd. We were told to arrive at the hospital two hours early for pre-op preparation and monitoring. I had to abstain from eating or drinking anything after midnight the night before my surgery. People told me to get lots of sleep … yeah right. It felt a lot like the night before my wedding day: the anticipation for the events to come was so overwhelming I could barely even let go long enough to close my eyes. So I probably got … four hours of sleep, tops.

We spent July 4th in the hospital — an Independence Day I’ll never forget!

Once we made it to the hospital, I was put in a gown and on monitors to watch my contractions and baby’s heart rate. I was given an IV for fluids and my OB checked Audrey’s position on the ultrasound — still breech (which, at this point, was relieving; if she had flipped, they would’ve sent me to labor and delivery to start Pitocin and I would’ve had a much more miserable waiting-game delivery experience).

I was brought into the OR first so that they could prep me and administer the spinal block (not nearly as bad as the IV needle, I can promise you that). After I was numb, they hung up a drape, brought Alex in, and the rest is a little bit of a mystery (which I’m sure was intentional on their part). I didn’t feel any nausea during the procedure; just tugging and pulling in my abdomen and a little bit of shakiness from the morphine.

Here she is, less than an hour old!

I don’t know how much time passed by — Alex kept me distracted and comforted, as did the nurse anesthetist. She’d warn me when there was going to be a particularly startling push or tug, and she let me know when she could see the baby emerging. “Oh, I see a foot!;” “We’ve got two feet!;” “You’re going to feel one big push and she’ll be here!”

Audrey’s c-section birth was even more beautiful than I could’ve asked for!

They invited Alex to look over the drape to see her. He was speechless, and his face showed a combination of shock and awe (he said he was caught off-guard by all the vernix coating on her skin, but simultaneously fascinated by seeing the baby in real life right before him). Suddenly, I could hear her cry and immediately I started yanking on Alex’s hand and bawling my eyes out. They wiped away a lot of the cheesy vernix from her skin, wrapped her up and brought her to me. The next ten or fifteen minutes were absolutely blissful, even with my body strapped to the table and being shaken and stirred — I didn’t notice any of it. That moment was so incredibly indescribable and emotional… I’ve been a little weepy when I think about it ever since!

Sometimes, when she’s sleeping, we get to see the most precious little smirk.

So here we are with a healthy, precious baby girl! We are still figuring everything out, but we are amazed every moment at how much has changed because of her, for the better. Alex and I have bonded more, our self-centeredness has all but disappeared, and we have grown so much in gratitude for the life God gave us and the people He has put in our lives to support us and love us well.

So, welcome to the world, baby Audrey. We are so, so in love with you, and we cannot wait to see what’s in store!

There’s those pretty eyes!

xo,
Jan

Nursery Tour, Plus What I Registered For

Welcome back to the blog, folks. It won’t be long before we are welcoming our baby Audrey into the world, so I decided to take some photos while I scramble around, preparing for her arrival. You’ll see her nursery plus the other spaces she will be occupyWelcome back to the blog, folks. It won’t be long before we are welcoming our baby Audrey into the world, so I decided to take some photos while I scramble around, preparing for her arrival.ing. I will point out what I registered for, plus put links to the things you see wherever I can!

The nursery is still a little bit in progress, but everything major/important is done. The color we painted her walls is Sweet Salt Air by HGTV/Sherwin Williams. I opted out of painting her room pink because, with all the pink accents I knew she’d end up with, it just seemed like it’d end up being a little overwhelming. With the light aqua color, it feels a bit more whimsical and fresh.

My parents repainted an old dresser that they had and added new knobs. I love it! What a special piece to keep in Audrey’s room. On the far side of the dresser is the Diaper Genie we registered for. Some folks might count this as an unnecessary item, but I remember when my mom had my younger brothers, and we were ALL thankful for the diaper genie!

On top of the dresser, we’ve got a SkipHop Elephant Soother that plays soothing noises and projects a nightlight onto the ceiling. This isn’t the soother we registered for, but I actually am so thankful that we got this one! It was thoughtful (since Audrey’s room has a subtle ode to elephants) and it is a great all-in-one machine. Another item we asked for that you see on the dresser is a Safety 1st humidifier.

The white distressed metal … thing … is something my mom found at a local thrift shop. I found the sweet canvas at Hobby Lobby.

Okay, here we’ve got the changing table area. Instead of a made-to-be changing table, we already had this refurbished dresser thing that is the perfect height for changing. This meant, however, that I needed to register for a safer changing pad that has four sides, instead of just the two. (The one I’ve linked for you here looks to be quilted; ours is flat waterproof, but either would work really.) What stinks about this changing pad is that there really isn’t a way to get a cute changing pad cover on it, so I have washable changing pads to use on it to make it a little softer, instead. I’ve heard lots of reviewers of this changing pad say that it serves as a good napping spot because it makes baby feel safe and cozy… almost an alternative to the (in my opinion) overpriced Dock-a-Tot. Inside the changing table, just FYI, I’ve got packs of extra diapers, wipes, and breastfeeding/pumping supplies.

To the right of the changing pad, you might be able to see our baby monitor camera (I’m linking you to a similar one; ours is Motorola, and it’s a little different from this one, but it has very similar specs). We are still needing to put some shelving above the changing table, which is where we will mount the monitor camera to get the best view of the crib. This baby monitor is practically the Cadillac of monitors, and my philosophy when registering was to register for the nicest items that I probably wouldn’t have spent money on myself, otherwise. Trust me, your loved ones want to get you quality gifts!

The framed graphic on the wall is another one from Hobby Lobby.

We didn’t register for this hanging diaper organizer, but it turns out I was going to need it. The underneath storage in our changing table is not convenient or sufficient for multiple changing sessions a day/night; I’d be opening the curtain and bending over, up and down constantly throughout the changing. I wanted something that had all the necessary items within arms reach without having to buy another piece of furniture. This looks like it is going to work great! Obviously, I don’t have it stocked up yet (that is on my list), but it’s got room for diapers, a few onesies, and I’ve already got diaper genie replacement filters, a few pacifiers, diaper cream, etc. in there.

For her crib area, I registered for a few things, though I don’t imagine she will be sleeping in her crib for a few months. We registered for the crib mobile through Babies R Us; it is seriously perfect in her room, and it might be one of my favorite things in here! We also registered for the crib sheetsmattress pads, and the boppy pillow, which a loved one had personalized for Audrey. (Note: The boppy pillow will definitely be used before the crib will be — we are bringing it to the hospital, in fact. For now, I am just storing it in the crib.)

Another item near the crib is her SkipHop diaper bag (which is actually a backpack). I’ve already got it packed for the hospital; stay tuned for a post about what I’m packing in our hospital bags!

On the wall to the right are two pieces that have a little bit more sentimental value. The framed photo is actually the guest book from the baby shower that my mother-in-law helped put together; the guests signed little circles which made up the balloons being held by the elephant. Here is the design for the graphic, and the circles are just punched out of scrapbook paper and taped to the page!

We registered for room-darkening curtains. because it is important to register for practical items, too! Note, these are not black-out curtains — I’ve heard that, if baby takes naps in the nursery, you don’t want to trick them into thinking it is night out when it really isn’t because then they will have a difficult a time sleeping longer at true nighttime. I don’t know about all of that, but I can basically follow any line of logic until it doesn’t work for one reason or another.

We are still in need of a side table — don’t worry, we aren’t just going to let the lamp sit there on the floor, all sad. My mom found this lamp and the letter ‘A’ on the wall from a thrift shop.

The glider was also on our registry, and I’m already obsessed with it. Every time I sit in it, Rain (our dog) jumps up on the ottoman, so I guess she likes it, too! Fun little note here: the quilt on the back of the glider was mine when I was a baby!

On the floor in the closet, I am storing things that I don’t think I will need right away. We have an extra diaper bag from Thirty-One, a stroller storage bag from SkipHop (it has cup holders in it … score!), and some toys for older babies (singing dogFisher Price classic trio, and a play gym).

In the tote, I’ve already got clothes stored that are sizes six months and up. If I could go back, I probably would’ve also registered for big storage totes, because it turns out, you’ve gotta make some room for baby and keep as organized as possible! This is only the first of many totes I am having to put together, goodness gracious!

At the top of her closet, I’ve already got some little outfits hanging (all NB up to 3-6 months). I did register for nursery hangers. On the top shelf are boxes of diapers that are in bigger sizes (Alex had a diaper party and, surprisingly, we got more 3’s and 4’s sizes than NB and 1’s, so I had to make some room to store them).

On the other side of her closet, we’ve got YES, more diapers. But, I’ve also washed and folded her blankets (many were handmade for her), extra sheets, flannel receiving blankets, and muslin swaddle blankets.

Outside her closet, we’ve got a tote full of toys and all the books people brought to her baby shower. We still have yet to sand and paint the bookshelf, and I’m considering getting a hamper that closes to keep the stinky stuff contained.

So, that is her nursery. But, she really won’t be spending a ton of time in there, especially in the beginning. So I took some pictures of other spaces I have prepared for her too.

For the first few months, we plan to have Audrey bedside in her bassinet over night, so I’ve got a little “station” put together.

This is the Dream Suite Bassinet from Graco. The top flips upside down into a waterproof changing table, though I don’t know if I’ll have the energy in the middle of the night to use that feature. So, in the lower storage, I’ve got some washable changing pad liners and extra bassinet sheets. I’ve also got some burp cloths for nursing, and I’ll be adding some extra sleepers / onesies and swaddle blankets to the bottom so that I’m not running back and forth to the nursery to get them.

This storage caddy from Thirty-One was personalized and given to us by a friend. Each “changing station” in the house has basically the same items in it: diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, hand sanitizer, disposable nursing pads, nipple cream, etc.

Much like her crib, I don’t anticipate we will be utilizing the bathroom for her very often in the beginning except for me to retrieve health/first aid items. But, we did register for lots of fun things you see here: bath robe, towels and washcloths, bath toys, baby soap, first aid kit, thermometer, and Nose Frida.

Last, but not least, we have a spot in the living room with her Graco swing + bouncer and another diaper caddy.

Again, everything in this diaper caddy is pretty standard. I wanted to point out one more item that I registered for multiple of and have them in different spots throughout the house: WubbaNubs. I’ve heard they are the best, and you can never have too many on hand!

Okay, friends, that’s all! Whew! A couple more things we registered for that you don’t see here (either because we don’t have a reason to have them out yet, or they are already in my car):

And, to end this post, I’ll leave you with a photo of our sweet pup, who has been a little weird about all the changes, but still always willing to cuddle and play.

Stay tuned this weekend for a post about what I am packing for a scheduled cesarean at the hospital! We are over the moon excited to meet Audrey.

xo,
Jan

9 Months Pregnant! (And Other Happenings)

You guys, I hate being inconsistent with posting here. But my life right now? Very inconsistent.

Audrey’s due date is in one month! My 8th month of pregnancy was the busiest and craziest month since probably the month before we got married (nearly three years ago). I figured I’d bring in some photos from the last month since I haven’t posted in a while.

My sister-in-law graduated high school! We are so proud of her — she’s even already finished a semester of college because she finished her high school classes early. Some of Alex’s family came into town to celebrate, and we threw a fun graduation party for her.

At 33 weeks, my OB told me that I was measuring 3 weeks ahead. There were a lot of possible reasons for this, so he decided to order an ultrasound for the baby to get measured and to check amniotic fluid levels. Baby’s measurements were normal for 33 weeks (approximate weight was 4.5 lbs, in the 44th percentile) and the fluid levels were normal. The only notable explanation for why I was measuring so big was because she was frank breech — her head was up towards my chest, and she was folded in half at the hips. So, of course, all we could see in the ultrasound was her legs. We did get a top-down shot of her head, and the ultrasound tech showed us that she does, in fact, have some hair!

As of now (almost 36 weeks) she is still breech; I am doing some stretches / exercises to encourage her to turn around. Every other day, she will flip to be more sideways than breech, but she hasn’t turned all the way yet. Doctor said they will discuss options for turning at 37 weeks if she’s still breech.

Memorial Day weekend, Alex organized and went on a bachelor trip, so I got to go to the lake house with my parents. We had pretty good weather most of the weekend.

We did have one big storm blow through … look at that wall of clouds! Yikes.

Even though the water was frigid, I decided to take my first pregnancy swim. Cold, but worth it! (My swimsuit is a tankini from Target. It’s not maternity, it’s just two sizes larger than I’d normally buy. The Target employee told me they hadn’t gotten any maternity suits in this year *eye roll* … I could go on and on about how unimpressive Target’s maternity selection is.)

Alex returned from his bachelor trip towards the end of the week after Memorial Day. Then, a couple of days later, we made a six-hour road trip to attend a friends’ wedding for a weekend. I am so happy to say that this exhausting trip will be my last one for this pregnancy — It is getting too risky to be far from home, and it is getting tiring to be packing, unpacking, and trying to get comfortable in beds that aren’t my own. The doctor even highly encouraged me to stop travelling at 36 weeks. Yes ma’am, no problem!

I am looking forward to the next month; I am going to try to really soak it up and enjoy it because I know I’ll miss being pregnant after baby arrives. There is still quite a bit left to do before she gets here… maternity photos, pack the hospital bags, finish washing and sorting her clothes (foreseeably a never-ending task), install the car seats, and many more things that my pregnant-brain can’t remember.

Every little chore exhausts me. Just walking up and down the stairs to retrieve a basket of laundry requires I sit down to recover afterwards. Regardless of how difficult and uncomfortable life is getting at this point, I am thankful to have such a great support system and I truly can’t wait to meet our baby girl in just one month!

xo,
Jan

Friday Favorites

What’s been goin’ on this week, you guys?! Boy, it has been hot over here. I’m halfway excited about it, and halfway ‘yikes, how am I even going to summer while I’m so huge and swollen?’

Here’s what I’m loving this week…

Monday ended up being a very busy, exhausting day. My mom and grandma cam over to help me do laundry, get the nursery together, and clean the house a little bit. I could not have gotten all this stuff done without them — I am very grateful!

Along with that, I am so grateful for baby laundry. (Now, everyone remind me that I wrote that I was grateful for laundry when I am drowning in it in a few months!) Dreft is what I imagine heaven smells like, and having all these clothes to wash just reminds me how loved Audrey is already. <3

On Monday night, we got back from our birthing class and chilled out in Audrey’s room, like a couple of weird people! If you have kiddos or you’re pregnant, you probably know these strange, anticipatory behaviors. We oogle over how little the newborn diapers are, we turn on the baby swing sometimes just to watch it, and we spend a lot of time in her nursery, even though she isn’t here yet. New parent syndrome is real, and it has already started!

I ordered and picked up three books from our township library this week; all of them are about French parenting methods. I already started French Kids Eat Everything (mostly because it is due sooner that the other two books), and it has been very inspiring so far. I’ll write a review for you guys whenever I’m finished!

Alright, and finally, I am STILL loving my ’90’s playlists on GooglePlay Music. Third Eye Blind has been in my repertoire since high school, really, so it was hard deciding on a song to share with you this week. I hope you love this little kick-back hit of theirs!

xo,
Jan

Weekend Snapshots

This post is a little late, but better late than never! (I actually don’t really live by that philosophy… I’m too type A for that… but I’m trying.)

Paint Color

On Friday, my mom had the day off from work, so we decided to paint the nursery. I wasn’t able to get up and down the ladder, or crawl around to tape the baseboards, but I NAILED IT with the big paint roller.

This was Rain’s general demeanor the entire weekend. She’s a bit confused about all the time and effort we’ve been spending on this room … she will understand soon. Poor girl!

Here is where the color scheme is going for the nursery. My parents painted that old dresser for me, and replaced the knobs. I love how it turned out!

On Saturday, we had the whole day to get a lot of tasks done in and out of the house. I love having an open weekend day!

Our Saturdays usually start with Alex making breakfast. I love this tradition — most mornings, we are rushing around, making and eating breakfast separately and on-the-go. On the weekends, we usually have a morning where we can take our time and, as Jack Johnson would encourage us to do, “wake up slow.”

And, of course, the pup gets spoiled on Saturday mornings, too!

Saturday night, we enjoyed a ginormous bonfire at a friends’ house. Two of my friends right now have very little baby girls, so it was nice to sit and talk with them for a while. I looooove bonfire season (which is basically just the months of May and October around here).

And of course, Sunday was Mother’s Day. We celebrated with both Alex’s family and my family, and we got our mamas some sweet gifts (including wine, because HELLO). It was VERY warm outside, but perfect for the holiday spent with family.

Many people wished me a Happy Mother’s Day, and I am very appreciative! However, I’m not quick to call special events like this “firsts” while baby is in utero; instead, I considered this Mother’s Day Zero, and next year will be my true first! I can’t wait!

xo,
Jan