Category Archives: Motherhood

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

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

Friday was a bit of an adventure in food for me. I decided that morning that I should start taking the extra effort to pay attention to my nutrition (particularly my macros) so that it isn’t super difficult for me to bounce back when baby is here.

So I did avocado on some grainy toast with sea salt for breakfast. Avocado is always a good decision. Always.

But then, Friday was also Cinco de Mayo. I had cooked dinner all week, and I needed a night where dinner came a little easier. So I loosened my grip on that whole “macros” idea from that morning…

And Casey’s taco pizza it was! Plus, Alex found liquor-free Jose Cuervo for only $2 a bottle, so I did get to enjoy a virgin margarita. Our makeshift Cinco de Mayo dinner (plus the Blues winning Game 5 of the series) did not disappoint.

Sunday was our baby shower / Alex’s diaper party … what a day! I loved every minute of it — our friends and family went above and beyond! Here are some photos from the shower.

The weather was B-E-A-utiful, the decor was whimsical, and the company was awesome. I couldn’t have asked for a better day! I am truly amazed, and so thankful for all of the love shown for Baby Audrey already. Alex and I feel so full. <3

Oh, I had to include this sweet photo of my husband and my pup snuggling this weekend, too. *heart eyes emoji*

xo,
Jan

Wallet-Friendly Finds: Springtime Maternity

I have this thing with Spring — I love all the greenery and flowers growing back, but the rain has been annoyingly resilient over here! Regardless, Spring is a good transitional season to figure out what pieces to keep in your closet for days that range from warm and sunny, to cold and rainy. I’ve picked out some of my favorite, affordable springtime maternity pieces from different shops, and linked them for you so that you can find them!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored or affiliated post. All opinions are my own.

ZULILY

Lace-Yoke Belted Maternity Tee | Floral Off-Shoulder Top | Crochet-Accent Maternity Shorts

Zulily’s got great options for warmer days. A tee with a lace yoke can be dressed up or dressed down. Cold shoulders are definitely on-trend right now, so I thought this off-shoulder top was perfectly springy, and will make you feel a little cuter on your rough days during pregnancy. Also, dresses and skirts are a great way to go when you’ve got to endure some heat with your bump, but you cannot go wrong with a cute pair of maternity shorts. Show off those legs, girl!

MOTHERHOOD MATERNITY

Striped Maternity Dress | Black Destructed Maternity Jeans | Anorak Maternity Jacket

I have been loving stripes during my pregnancy; they do a good job of complimenting the baby bump! This striped maternity dress is honestly perfect for any springtime event.

Jessica Simpson was on point in designing her maternity jeans. They fit my body perfectly, and I am a true curvy girl. I promise there is hope for you out there! Aren’t these black distressed jeans the perfect amount of edgy? Love ’em.

And we all need a good jacket for those rainy spring days. This anorak maternity jacket is seriously so cute. It’s durable, neutral, and perfect for the season.

NORDSTROM RACK

You’ll notice that I’m on a pink kick here with Nordstrom Rack. You know what, I’m not ashamed. I don’t think I own any pink otherwise, so I think now is the time to embrace it!

Infinity Nursing Scarf | Maternity-Nursing Sleep Dress | Lattice Studded Maternity Sweater

I love this bright pink infinity nursing scarf from Itzy Ritzy — it would be perfect with a loose or fitted black dress! Plus, it is an item that you can take with you past pregnancy; you can wear it as a scarf until it is time to feed baby, then you can put an arm through it and stretch it over you and your baby as a nursing cover.

Since we are stubborn and aren’t ready to turn the A/C on yet, there have been nights where our house is near 75 degrees, which is very uncomfortable for my already uncomfortable sleeping situation. A maternity sleep dress is the way to go so that you can stay cool under the covers, but you are covered up enough to let the dog out in the morning. This one is also a nursing dress, so all you have to do for middle-of-the-night feedings is unsnap the straps.

And, for those days where it’s drizzly, dreary, and not as warm as you’d like, there is this adorable maternity sweater. The lattice sleeve makes it perfect for a transitional season like Spring. Plus, I love maternity pieces that have some sweet detailing; cute maternity clothes (that are also affordable) is hard to come by!

And that’s it! Pregnant or not, what are your staple items that you must have for the springtime??

xo,
Jan

Friday Favorites: First Trimester Must-Haves

Hi, again!

I am now into the swing of my second trimester (thank the good Lord above us) and all the good things that come with it, like a real baby bump, increased appetite, more energy, etc. So, I thought I would share the products that made my first trimester as bearable as possible, now that I am out of it. (If you want to read about my first trimester, click here!)

[Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I just love this stuff too much not to share it with you.]

Amazon.com

The Snoogle. Okay, so there are a lot of pregnancy-friendly body pillows out there. I have never been pregnant before, nor have I ever really had issues sleeping, so I had no idea what my body would like. I am glad I put my chips in for the Snoogle by Leachco, because it is great! You can sleep with it in several positions, and it curls around your body so that you’ve got a pillow in between your legs, under your head, behind your back, and supporting your belly all at once. I don’t need any additional pillows when using my Snoogle, and I will probably keep using it off-and-on postpartum (I’m pretty excited to sleep on my stomach again one day, so I won’t make any promises).

I will say that it is obnoxious to make the bed with this weird, whimsical, Dr. Seuss-looking pillow to deal with. It is also a ginormous pain to change the cover. There are no zippers or anything, so you have to basically wrestle it to the ground and slowly shove the pillow into the tiny opening bit by bit. (It reminds me a lot of when I try to get my legs into tights after a ten-month break from any sort of exercise, you feel me?) I have tried looking for a cover with a zipper to no avail, which makes me think there is an Etsy craft business idea there… dibs!

To that end, it is a great pillow. There were a couple of weeks towards the end of the first trimester where I could not find a comfortable way to sleep with it, so my husband got to enjoy it for a while! Now, I am back to using it every night to support my back as my belly grows.

Amazon.com

Gin Gins. No, unfortunately it’s not gin, it’s ginger. I know, a little disappointing but that’s the way of the pregnant lady, I guess. In grad school, my friend introduced these chewy ginger candies to me, as she usually had a bag or twelve of them around. I actually am not a huge fan of ginger, but if accompanied by sugar, I’ll definitely take it. You can usually find these at health-food stores; I’ve never tried looking for them at Wal-Mart or Target, but I know they are getting increasingly popular for their tummy-friendliness, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they became easier to find! Or, just order them from Amazon, then you only have to go to your front door to get them.

I had nausea daily for most of my first trimester. These were one of the few things I could keep down, and I could bring them in my purse if I knew I’d be away from the house at the onset of morning sickness. Gin Gins, for the win!

Target.com

BeBand. I don’t know how it happened so fast, but within a few weeks of us finding out I was pregnant, I was already unable to button my jeans. The hair tie trick was minimally helpful, but eventually my zipper wouldn’t even come up, and you could clearly see an open fly below the seam of the shirts I wanted to wear. Wanting to make it through the winter without getting frostbite through leggings, I went to Target and found the BeBand by Ingrid & Isabel. This particular company has a lot more options that you can find on Amazon, but this suited my needs just fine. It’s basically like the bottom half of a super stretchy camisole that you can stretch or roll as much as you need as your belly grows. Another plus: When I put it on, I looked exactly like the young lady pictured above. I think.

Amazon.com

Bubba Water Bottle. You probably have a trusty water vessel that helps you get in your daily water intake; if you don’t, I recommend you stop buying plastic bottle of water and invest in something like the metal cup by Bubba. These are also at Wal-Mart, and maybe even Target. The reason I recommend this particular Bubba is that the metal insulates your water and will keep your ice solid all day, no joke. I am the kind of person that will only drink water if it is ice-cold, so this helps a lot. Also, it has a straw (another necessity for me) and it fits in my car’s cup holders. The only negative with it is it isn’t spill proof; you can’t just toss it in your purse and hope for the best. But, for me, that sacrifice is worth having a straw; if I have to do so much as turn a cap, I will happily just die of dehydration.

I was much more tempted by water in my first trimester than I am here in my second trimester. However, even with having to consistently remind myself to drink water, the Bubba has made it easier.

To emphasize how serious I am about this cup, let me tell you a quick story. Last summer, we went on a vacation with my in-laws to Fort Myers, Florida. I left my Bubba cup at one of the beaches, and after I forced my father-in-law to drive twenty minutes back to the beach to find it, it was gone (because it is actual gold, guys). I bought a new Bubba at the nearest Wal-Mart within twelve hours because I just COULD NOT EVEN with any other water bottle. Yeah, I’m DEAD serious about this cup, k? *Takes a sip from the precious Bubba as we speak.*

Amazon.com

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter for Stretch Marks. Okay, before I promote this stuff, let me say… ya girl is quite familiar with stretch marks, even from before I was pregnant.  I’m not going to get into the emotional crap right now, but long-story-short, my weight gain over the course of my life has introduced me to stretch marks in a couple of places. When I found out I was pregnant, I expected that the ones I had would get worse, plus adding a bunch more to my stomach. To my surprise, I was actually kind of wrong. The popular hang-out for my stretchies are on my inner-thighs, but those have actually gone away a little bit. They decided to leave room on the stage for tummy stretch-marks, which have come up.

Okay, let me just take a moment to give you a pep talk okay? Stretch marks, for many of us, are inevitable. Do I wish I could take those cute maternity pictures where I lift my shirt up to a perfectly smooth, mark-free belly? Sure. But it happens to a lot of women, I found out. Not even just us big girls! With that in mind, take good measures, but don’t beat yourself up when stretch marks do show up, because it’s likely that they were going to arrive anyway.

So, on that note, how about some Cocoa Butter? I use this right when I get out of the shower just on my belly and hips. I don’t use it religiously, but I use it regularly enough that I am confident in its effects. I know my belly has grown over the last four months, but my stretch marks that arrived back in the beginning haven’t multiplied or gotten any darker, and I attribute that to the cocoa butter! It’s worth trying, plus the smell of this stuff is so calming to me!

Here is a short list of other things I used regularly during my first trimester that weren’t mentioned above:
– thick, warm socks (my circulation was way off for a few months there; socks helped.)
– prenatal vitamins (your doctor might prescribe you some, as was the case for me; no matter what, you want that added DHA and folic acid.)
– sports or comfort bras (underwire was a pretty big “nope” for me.)
– panty liners (TMI: it’s nice not having a period, but discharge is still a thing.)
– half-caf coffee (this is a good solution for those low-energy days, weeks, months.)
– journal (I’m already a journaler, but I whole-heartedly believe that journaling is so important when your body & emotions are going through so many changes!)

xo Jan

What did you use regularly for those first months of pregnancy?