Weekly Wins

Three posts in a row?? Who am I? 
I'm back with another edition of my weekly wins!

~I got out for a walk every day this week because the weather has been so nice out! And yesterday it was with my new neighbor friend and her two kids. It was nice to get in the exercise and also have some adult chatting time.

~I started a new book and actually read more than one chapter! So happy Im getting some reading time in now more and more.

~Ella has slept for 7 and 8 hour stretches at night this week! All the praise hands for long, almost normal stretches of sleep!
~I got a much needed massage on Wednesday and it was wonderful! Plus I found a masseuse who was phenomenal--I'll totally be going back to him!

~Ella is FULL of smiles now and SO alert! It makes every day so much more engaging and rewarding. And just downright cute!
~I have a FabFitFun box arriving soon and I can't wait for the goodies!

~Brittany and I got a chance to chat for a while yesterday morning--so glad that we have each other!

~I figured out whats wrong with my blog background and contacted the designer. Apparently they can't fix it bc of an issue with Photobucket but they're willing to give me a new template for free. Just need to find the time to install it and fidget...oh, and actually pick one out. So keep an eye out for a new look here at some point!

~My mom was able to come and spend the day with us on Wednesday again. She got in some good quality time with Ella, including story time!
~We have a week at the lake with family this coming week and I'm excited for a change of scenery and having more helping hands around. The house is supposed to be gorgeous and has its own dock. Oh and did I mention a trip to a winery?? Yes please!

~Lastly, my baby is two months old today! I can't believe it! We also have her two month appt today which means shots. Pray for her (and me) that they go ok! I'm nervous about the after effects!

I'm probably gonna be MIA next week just soaking in the family time so Ill catch you guys around after! Have a great 4th!!

Ella's Birth Story

On the eve of Ella turning 2 months old (how is that possible already?!?), I finally got her birth story written!
On Saturday, May 28th I went to my friend Bree's baby shower in the afternoon. While there, people joked about other showers they'd been to where someone went into labor and I jokingly told Ella not to think about doing that. I was having some minor contractions throughout the shower but nothing crazy. I won one of the baby shower games which ended up being a scratch off ticket which I pocketed to scratch off at home.
It was also one of the hottest days we'd had yet, and on my walk back to my car when the shower was over, I started having more intense contractions. On my 20 minute drive home, where I encountered traffic (of course), I had 4-5 contractions and was really feeling them.

We were supposed to go to a cookout at a friends house but we thought it best to wait for a bit once I got home to see what happened with the contractions. In the meantime, MG scratched my scratch off and we'd won $100! That has never happened before! My contractions started slowing down so I thought it was just a "practice run" and felt ok to go to the cookout.

We hung out, and had dinner at our friends' place with two other couples. It was a really fun night with tons of laughter (to the point of tears), but I was feeling more contractions, and after dinner they became more and more intense. One of the girls must have noticed my face because she asked if I was ok, and I told her yes, but asked her to get my phone so I could start timing my contractions. After about another 30 minutes, I told MG I thought it was time to go home since they were getting more and more uncomfortable.

When we got home, I called my doctor's office and spoke to the midwife at the hospital who told me to shower and try to relax and nap, and that if things got better--great! And if not, to call her back.

They did not get better. I was having a really tough time getting through the contractions. So we packed up our bags (all while Cooper paced around us wondering what the hell was going on at 10pm when we normally are going to bed). Luckily we had a friend who was around and came by to stay with Cooper for the night, and around 11 we made our way to the hospital.

I was having contractions every 2-3 minutes and said to MG in the car there that I hoped this was it, because if this was FALSE labor, I didn't want to know what REAL labor felt like. When I got to the hospital, I went to the main desk and the woman could tell what was up. I had my ID in hand to expedite the process, but they didn't even ask for it--they just got a wheelchair and whisked me up to the in-take room where they took my vitals. MG went to move the car since we'd parked in a wrong area (funny that we didn't remember much from our hospital visit in the heat of the moment haha)

They checked me and told me I was 3-4 centimeters dilated. MG got back to my intake room and we both had the "this is really happening" moment. They asked me if I'd wanted an epidural as part of my birth plan and I told them that was the ONLY part of my birth plan, so they took my blood and got that sent off to the lab so I could get my epidural asap. Meanwhile I was just trying to make it through the contractions. MG was an amazing support and held my hands, rubbed my back, etc. I was shaking so much from the intensity of the contractions and was warned that might get better or worse after the epidural. At that point, I didn't care, I just wanted it to feel better.

They put me in my labor/delivery room and soon after the anesthesiologist was there to give me my epidural. I can't remember being so happy to see someone with a needle before.

After he gave me the epidural, I was a happy camper. It was after midnight at this point, and around 2am they checked my dilation again and told me I was 5 cm and the midwife asked if I wanted her to break my water. I said sure because...why not?

Then they told me to rest, which is easier said than done when they are in and out of your room all the time. They rotate you from side to side every hour or so. And since I had GD they were testing my blood sugar every hour with finger pricks too (so fun). So, needless to say, I only got about 30 minutes of light sleep over the next few hours.

Here's where my one and only complication came into play. Every time they rotated me to my right side, one little spot by the top of my leg/groin area on the left would "drain" of the epidural and I could feel EVERYTHING in that one spot.

So they had someone come in and give me another dose of the epidural which worked....until they rotated me to my right side the next time.
They gave me a second dose of it. Same thing. The guy had warned me that he couldn't give me another dose or I wouldn't be able to feel to push. 

The anesthesiologist came back in to try and pull the epidural needle out a bit in case it went in wonky, and then gave me another dose of the epidural. It worked! Until....

Around 7 when my midwife came back and checked me and told me I was 10 cm dilated but baby girl was still sitting up really high, so they sat me up and let me "labor down" a bit. They said I'd start pushing around 8-8:15. MG had gone out to get some things from the car and came back to the news that things were going to start happening in the next hour or so!
ten centimeters!!! and last photo of just us two
And while I was laboring down, the epidural stopped working in that one little area again, and I was told it was too close to pushing to get another dose. I won't lie, I cried, thinking I was going to feel EVERYTHING in that spot. Luckily it was only a small area, but still.

Around 8:10 I was having a lot of pain in that area and the nurse suggested we start pushing because she said it would be more productive than just dealing with the pain. So we started at 8:15 and actually I will say, being able to feel the contractions helped me to know when to push. And it wasn't that painful when I pushed through it.

Everyone kept telling me after each set of pushes what a good job I was doing, and the progress I was making. Someone had mentioned that they had a mirror around and I started to get curious what all of this "progress" looked like, so I asked for the mirror--something I never thought I'd do. But, it actually really helped me to push because I could see what a good push did and it motivated me.

They gave me oxygen between pushes, and it's crazy that when I wasn't pushing, it was like everything was normal. We were having conversations with the nurses and the midwife. And then when a contraction would come, I'd focus and push, and then go back to talking. MG said he was shocked at how quickly I recovered between pushing.

After less than an hour and a half, at 9:38 on April 30th our perfect peanut was born. Her head came out and the cord was wrapped around her neck, so the midwife just pulled her out with the contraction and the most beautiful baby was placed on my chest.

Surprisingly, I wasn't the one with the tears in my eyes--MG was. I was just so in shock and in love with this little baby I couldn't cry. But boy did I fall in love with MG more in that moment. 

We ooh'ed and aah'ed over Ella for the next hour while I delivered the placenta, and got stitched up. I only had a small 2nd degree tear, thankfully.

All of a sudden they were offering MG the scissors to cut her umbilical cord, and then weighing her.
They gave me some time to recover while my regular room was getting ready, and then loaded me and baby girl up into a wheelchair and whisked us off to our room where we spent the next 2 days getting familiar with our baby girl.

Unfortunately because of my GD, they had to prick our baby girl for blood draws to monitor her blood sugars and make sure they weren't too low. They did this for a 24 hour period (I think they checked 3-4 times during that time...that time is kind of a blur) and she passed every time. They also monitored her jaundice because we had different blood types and that can cause jaundice. She also passed this, which was nice. For some reason, she wasn't allowed to be bathed during the first 24 hours until she passed those tests which no one ever explained to me, but we were happy she passed and was good to go.
It seemed like all of a sudden, we were putting clothes on our baby girl, and loading her into her carseat to go home and start our lives as a family of three (plus Cooper)!
It's still crazy to me to think about that day. The whole experience was totally surreal. And beautiful. 

A Call For Help?

Hmm I just realized that that title sounds more serious than this post is about, but I realized last week that something is going wrong with the background of my blog--those cute grey and white stripes have been replaced by an ugly message saying that the photo isn't available anymore?

Does anyone have blog experience with this? I'm still running on the blogger platform and was wondering if anyone knew how to fix this? If so, please reach out to me because I'm at a loss.
And I don't really have a ton of free time to screw around with it as of now.

Thanks in advance!! 

(WHW): Miles of Smiles

Happy Wednesday friends! Sorry for being more absent than usual--its just been hard to get posts written during the day and in the evenings I'm holding a sleeping baby (and typing my post one handed like I am now lol)

What's hap-"pinning" over here lately is that miss Ella has begun smiling. We had gotten some here and there around week 6 but they are much more prevalent now and so much fun to get! Its pretty much my mission all day to get at least 20 smiles now haha.

Baby smiles are the best but when it's your baby and you're the one who knows the ways to make her smile, it's like nothing I can describe. 

In other events, I've been getting out and about throughout the week to run errands or to meet up with my fellow new mom friends. Last Friday I met up with my friend Bree at the mall with our babies and did several laps around with the strollers to get some exercise since it was so hot out.
I've also learned to multi-task. Like wearing Ella in her carrier to get her to calm down/sleep...combined with eating my own lunch! lol

MG and I made it out for another Friday pizza dinner with Ella in tow and even ate outside because the temps broke. Another quiet, happy baby dinner in the books!
We also got to spend the day with my friend Crystal last week because she can work from home.It was a help having an extra pair of hands, someone to talk to, and get to catch up. Ella really liked their time together too :)
We even managed hosting our couple friends for some grilling this weekend. I love summer grilling and getting to spend time on the deck! 
Dave also seemed to enjoy him some Ella haha
Lastly, I took advantage of Loft's 40% off and free shipping this weekend and placed an order. I know you're shocked by this lol. Packages arriving Thursday and Friday!!

Now it's your turn to link up and share What's hap-"pinning" with you!!

{WHW}: Currently

Currently, I'm....

Reading ...
 I finished No Way Back by Andrew Gross on Monday thanks to probably the best day at home with baby since I've been at home alone during the days. It wasn't that great, and I'm moved on to Landline by Rainbow Rowell. Hoping I can get some more reading put into my days when baby naps.
Watching ...
We finished Friday Night Lights on Monday and man, I'm sad. It was SUCH a good show and I fell in love with the characters. They were basically a part of our family for the last 6 weeks haha.
We tried watching House of Cards and Orange is the New Black on Tuesday night and neither of us were into them. With our currently political situation, watching corrupt politics in my "off time" just isn't appealing, and OITNB--the first episode anyway--just seems like a ridiculous joke. Maybe this is all because we are coming off of Friday Night Lights which was just incredible. 
At least there is always Bravo....:)

Tonight my mom is taking us out for a belated Father's Day dinner--place to be determined. Other than that, we tried this frozen artichoke salmon bake the other night that we saw at the grocery store and it was actually really good. Will totally get it again for a night where you just don't want to cook

Looking forward to ... 
heading to the lake for a week over 4th of July with MG's family. I love our trips away with his family, and I'm going to love it even more that there are ten plus sets of hands to hold baby. And my one SIL is already planning a winery trip which I'm alllllllll about! #momjuice

Enjoying ...
that I FINALLY made it to the new moms group yesterday. After attempting it the previous two weeks, and falling short due to a super fussy baby, I threw my hands in the air and just went with it yesterday despite having a rough morning. It was nice to get out of the house, be around other moms, and just hear that I'm not alone in this new season of life. Ella made sure to scream the entire way home though, just to keep things interesting lol

coffee and water. I think I would die without coffee at this point (but I'm being good and only having one cup in the morning). 

that I got my dress for my best friend's wedding. I was deciding between three dresses, and found one that fits really well and leaves some room to eat dinner haha. 


how quickly the Summer is gonna go. Now that school is officially out (as of this Friday), I feel like summer vacation is now real--not just maternity leave--and with all of the fun things coming up like weddings and trips, I just know it's going to fly by.

Wanting ... 
a massage. I really need to get one of those scheduled asap.

Wondering ...
If people have stopped reading my blog because it's basically all baby/mom related lately. Not that it really matters, because this space is for me, but I was just curious.

Needing ...
to write Ella's birth story before I forget the details (although, let's be real, I probably won't ever forget that day). I haven't gotten to it and I keep remembering to do it during times that I can't--like in the shower, or when she's crying. One of these days...

Wearing ...
new clothes that I got from Old Navy, now that I'm back to normal sizes, and...you guessed it...Loft! The shirt I posted yesterday is one I normally wouldn't have picked out, but am loving it and have gotten compliments on it every time I've worn it.
I need to get a strapless bra that can fit my nursing boobs in it since my other ones don't work, because......HUGE.

Add caption
Grateful For...
my mom and friend both living close enough that they can come by for the day. My mom's coming today and my friend Crystal is coming for the day on Thursday--so glad that she has a work schedule that allows us to spend some time together!

Now it's your turn to link up and share what's hap-"pinning" with you!

Hot Hot Hot Weekending

I'm still keeping with this whole posting about my weekend on Tuesdays because I can't get it together on Sunday nights....

this one was really nice despite the insane heat and humidity we're getting in VA!

The highlights included:

~a stop in by my SIL, oldest niece and my BIL's sister and oldest daughter on Thursday afternoon on their way to a lacrosse tournament in Richmond. Everyone enjoyed getting in some baby Ella time
~MG was off on Thursday to watch Ella while I did my diabetes test (still waiting on results), and I went to work to say hi and pack up some of my things before my office gets moved over the summer.
I saw one of my Assistant Principals who barely even acknowledged me. Considering I haven't heard ANYTHING from my principal or two AP's since I had Ella, I'm a little disheartened about going back to work. I realize just how little they actually care about staff outside of work. Not looking forward to going back in the Fall.

~Friday was a pretty good day at home with Ella--who started off the morning napping super cute in her boppy--
 and when MG got home, we went out to dinner at Chuy's (perfect place for a baby because it's LOUD and they sleep through it...and if they don't, it's LOUD and no one cares about a crying baby haha)

~Met up with our neighbors for a going away get together for two of our neighbors who were moving. I love that we have so many sweet families in our neighborhood, but was sad to be losing two of them.

~Saturday we ran to Costco to pick up prints of Ella's newborn photos and then stopped in to the mall to return things to Loft. Getting out more and more with baby girl is getting easier.

~In the afternoon, my friend Kelly came by with her husband to meet Ella, and brought her the cutest summer clothes ever. I immediately washed them and put them on her the next day. It's sad that Ella's summer wardrobe is way cuter than mine haha
~Sunday morning we ran our normal weekly errands and then watched a bunch of Friday Night Lights because it was too hot outside to do anything.
~Later in the afternoon our friends Bill and Jackie stopped by to meet Ella, and Im pretty sure they were totally in love with her
~We had a low key Father's Day at home--MG has a massage to look forward to in the next week. 
 ~Had several moments throughout the day where I was thinking about and missing my dad. I know he's around, watching over us, and smiling. Just wish Ella could have gotten the chance to meet him here.
The biggest highlight after Father's Day was that miss Ella slept 6.5 hours Friday and Saturday night and then Sunday night she slept 7 hours! I love our good little sleeper!
For any new moms and moms-to-be, I HIGHLY recommend the TakingCaraBabies online class for sleep--it has been awesome for us!

Hoping your weekend, and start to the week, have been great!

My Newborn Essentials

Today I have my repeat gestational diabetes test and 6 week follow up--keep positive thoughts for me that everything looks good and I pass. I'm not looking forward to fasting, drinking a super sugar drink and then getting my blood drawn for 2 hours. I'll be so glad when this whole thing is over.

In the meantime, I know a lot of mamas have shared their baby essentials for different stages and those posts totally helped me when I was putting together my registry and trying to figure out what I needed. So I thought I'd round up a list of things that I couldn't do without!

Sleep swaddle--
Specifically this one. Ella sleeps so well in this swaddle and helped us from the very beginning. It was a late night Amazon Prime, one-day delivery order during a particularly sleepless night and has been a saving grace for us since!

Changing Pad Cover Liners
 I got a cute changing pad cover for our changing pad that matched our decor. What I didn't think of was what happens when baby inevitably craps all over it. So we got these washable ones to put over the changing pad cover--so it's a cover for the cover lol. They've worked out really well and we've gotten a ton of use out of them. Sometimes several in one day because....shit happens.

Sound Machines...specifically these two (one for travel and one for home)

 White noise is your friend when you have a newborn...it's good for calming baby, getting a baby to sleep, and continue to sleep through the night. I got the Dohm and it's just not loud enough. After taking a newborn sleep class, this Homedics one was recommended by the teacher because it stays on (and also has a timer if you want to use it), and it gets LOUD which is actually helpful for baby. The travel one is only $10 and is surprisingly good for being so inexpensive. Perfect for on the go!

Rock and Play with the auto rocking--
This has also been an essential for her sleep (and in the beginning we used it during the day, too). All of my mom friends told me to get this for baby and I'm glad that we did.

Burp Cloths--
We have about 10 of these around various rooms in our house (maybe more)--and the best ones? Cloth diapers. You can order them in a 10 pack for pretty cheap (like half of what's marketed as "burp cloths") and they are super absorbent. The burt's bee's ones are good as well, but about double the price. Ella didn't spit up until about 4 weeks but when she does, wow! It's nice to have a burp cloth around haha

Ergobaby 360 carrier (with an infant insert)--
This is suuuuuper helpful for when you have a fussy baby who just wants to be held and your arms and back are giving way. And, 9 times out of 10 it leads to an instant baby sleep. It is actually very easy on the back and helps you free up hands to do things while baby naps on you...or just sits and is calm.

Infant Optics video monitor--
We didn't use this until we started attempting naps with Ella, but it's been great since then! You can rotate the camera from the remote, you can talk to baby through the remote, and the video/audio is really clear. Plus, the price point is pretty great for a video monitor.

OXO wipe container--
I didn't get a wipe warmer because I was told it wasn't necessary, and really, after the first week, baby pretty much got used to them. The container keeps wipes wet, and also has a heavy insert to make it easier to pull wipes out with one hand without the whole package coming out.

Baby bath tub--
This one has been super easy to put into the sink, fill up, and drain. We used the sling initially before we could submerge her (before the cord fell off) and it worked great too. Ella sits comfortably in here and is now enjoying her baths which is a big win for her, and for our eardrums :)

Slow flow nipples--
I had some slow flow nipples from other bottles, but they weren't slow enough of a flow for how little Ella was when we started giving her bottles (2 weeks). These have been great, and come in separate packages, so you can put one in a diaper bag and not have to worry about it being "contaminated."

There are still a ton of other things that I use, but these have proven to be super helpful and used almost daily if not daily.