Monday, December 5, 2016

I cannot say enough about how much we love our photographer!!  Bump Meet Baby Photography is so incredibly talented. I have dabbled with newborn photography for the last 6 years so I am very particular about what I like. Newborn photography is about patience, lighting, posing, editing and so much more. Every photographer offers a different point of view and I just adore what Tamara Hart says with her photos. Our newborn photos consisted of 2 trips to Goose Creek (Charleston)... 8 total hours of driving. For the first trip Blake was wide awake for the first 3 hours before giving Tamara an hour of shooting. For the second trip she was wide awake for about 2 hours followed by another 2 hours of shooting. That's 8 hours of drive time plus 8 hours in the studio. I have to say it was completely worth every second. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. I can't wait to share some of our birth photos too from Whitney Hempsey of Studio 412 Imagery.

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Official Birth Story...finally!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Please don't be mad at me. I've been in post-birth breastfeeding lala land and keep forgetting to post. If you haven't guessed it or seen it on Facebook, baby snowflake is here!! Born 1 day shy of her due date here are her stats:

Name: Blake Mackenzie
Date: October 25th 2016
Time: 4:30 pm
Weight: 8 pounds 3 ounces
Length: 21 1/2 inches long

Remember, I'm a midwife, so if I give too many labor/birth details I apologize.  On Saturday night (October 22nd) I was getting ready for bed and started to have more frequent crampy contractions. I warned my husband that baby snowflake wasn't going to stay in forever. He asked her to stay in through the weekend. I went to bed Saturday night and woke up at 4 am to go to the bathroom. From that point forward the contractions stayed regular and more painful and I wasn't able to go back to sleep.

I text my mother-in-law to have her pick Brennan up for church since I was up a lot of the night. I continued contracting all day Sunday but they never really got much stronger. I did something called the Miles Circuit, went for a long walk and rested in hopes something would change. I took some unisom to try to get some sleep Sunday night and woke up with regular contractions again Monday. They were definitely stronger than the day before and just as regular. I spent the day changing positions, going for walks, bouncing on the ball, the contractions were much more painful.

Brennan on her labor ball

As the day progressed Monday I was breathing through contractions. I couldn't find a comfortable position and knew they were the real deal. I tried a heating pad, massage, my husband coaching me to relax during contractions. I was miserable. We finally decided it was time to go to the hospital. When I got there I was 4 cm. I had been 1 in the office. I asked Vanessa (my incredible amazing midwife) to break my water to get things moving. The contractions quickly got more painful. I got in the tub and asked for my epidural. I was saving the tub for later in labor because I thought it would be a huge help but I had gotten so uncomfortable it didn't do much for me.

I got my epidural and right after had progressed to 6cm. We quickly realized that my epidural wasn't working. It started out working on one side and eventually didn't work at all. I worked through another hour of contractions while waiting for the anesthesiologist to return. My second epidural was much better.  This is where things get goofy.

For the next 11 hours I remained 6 cm. Thankfully my epidural worked well. Every hour I changed positions from hands and knees to side lying, sitting up to knee chest. Nothing helped me to dilate. After 6 hours at 6 cm we elected to start pitocin. Finally I started to feel some pressure and had changed to 8 cm and for the first time baby girl had started to come down. Quickly after I was 9 cm with a ton of pressure and needed to push. That's where the epidural failed me. I could feel everything. With an epidural you lose your ability to distinguish between hot and cold. An icecube would normally feel warm where the epidural is working. Vanessa used iced cold rags on my bottom between pushes and they felt ice cold. Seriously, the epidural was doing nothing for my bottom.

The pain was a huge motivator to push as hard as I could. I used the mirror which was really helpful because I could see her head descend every push. I ended up pushing for an hour and twenty minutes. When her head finally came out she was looking straight up to the ceiling. You may have heard it called sunny side up, posterior or OP. A lot of babies end up coming out via c-section when they are face up like this. For those of you who know what this means she was actually OP and asynclitic. I can't believe she came out! And all with a tiny little laceration. I feel like I was screaming with every push and probably traumatized my husband for life. He was a little nervous about the whole delivery but he was incredible. He was a great coach during contractions, fed me ice chips between pushes and held my leg the entire time. I am so blessed to have had a supportive husband, incredible midwife and awesome nurses.

When I first saw this photo I was embarrassed at how awful I look. Then I realized that this is real life. I'm not sure if I was screaming, crying, happy, shocked. Maybe a little bit of everything?  But this right here captures every emotion that was flooding over me when baby snowflake was placed on my belly for the first time.

Baby Blake was eventually taken to the warmer for evaluation because she had had a bowel movement prior to delivery (meconium). Her temp after delivery was 102. Both pediatricians were concerned and they took her to the nursery for blood cultures, lab tests and to start IV antibiotics. She ended up on antibiotics for 48 hours but fortunately her blood cultures were negative and she didn't end up having an infection.

Brennan came in to meet her sister a few hours after the birth. She said "aww" and quickly wanted to "pet her". She was very excited to be a big sister and has been a huge helper. I will cherish this photo forever. My entire heart is outside my body and walking the earth in these three right here.

my whole world
I will be forever grateful for the countless hours that my dear friend and loving midwife spent with me during my labor. Without the help of Vanessa and Adam I would have never been able to do this. Vanessa was supportive and encouraging, calm and empowering. My labor wasn't your average labor and she never once made me feel like I couldn't do it. It's not easy to be the midwife and the patient but Vanessa did an amazing job taking the worry away from me and convincing me that I could have the birth that I desired. Vanessa, you will always have a special place in my heart and in our family.

We have been home for a week now and life is good! I am grateful to have the help of my in-laws during this time. They have been a huge help with Brennan, meals, housework, errands, everything we need. Without them I don't know how we'd keep it together. Family is starting to visit and of course everyone is in love with Blake already. Baby Blake is nursing like a champ, sleeping well and gaining weight. Life is so good.

Thank you all for your prayers and support during this crazy adventure. I can't wait to share more of Blake's birth photos by the talented Whitney Hempsey of Studio 412 Imagery.

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Maternity Photos with Bump Meet Baby Photography

Thursday, October 13, 2016

I can't talk enough about how much I love our photographer. Brennan is in love too! Brennan lights up when we see her and she always gets such amazing photos. Here are a few of my favorites.

Check her out here:

Bump Meet Baby Photography 

Bump Meet Baby Photography on Facebook

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38 weeks

The one question I get 10 times a day is, how are you feeling?? I still feel pretty darn good!  My carpal tunnel has returned and my left hand is numb 24 hours a day. My wrist injection lasted about 11 weeks which is pretty good. i'm going to get another one next week just because I'm worried about breastfeeding with this and I know it can take a few weeks after delivery to resolve. Other than that I feel like this baby is very content inside. She likes to rub her big booty on my ribs and I swear sometimes she is strong enough that she could push me over. I was painting Brennan's nails today and she kept pushing where my arm was resting on my belly, I kept messing up!

We survived Hurricane Matthew thanks to our good friends in Augusta, Georgia. We stayed with them 5 nights and returned home just as the power was finally coming back on. We didn't have any issues during the trip there or the return trip and came back to an intact house. We are so grateful!!

Tomorrow starts my first weekend of call since being admitted to MUSC at 26 weeks. I'm on-call the next 4 days and the full moon is on Sunday. Two of my friends/coworkers are due with their little girls this weekend. Typically the hospital makes me contract like crazy but I'm hoping they get to meet their little ones first!  We already know Baby Snowflake likes drama so I wouldn't be surprised if she chose this weekend to come. I'm on call.  Full moon. 1 midwife is out of town. 1 midwife will be (tipsy) at a family wedding. And my husband and I are still in denial. We will see!

Brennan saw my camera and said "mommy, will you take my picture?"  Literally this girl would look at pictures and videos of herself all day if I let her. I'm not sure exactly what we are doing to our child to start that but at the same time I can't blame her. I could look at her all day too!

This is kinda crazy... 32 weeks on the left, 38 weeks on the right. And she has always measured at least a week ahead on ultrasound with a lot of fluid!  I can't wait to see how big she ends up being.
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Monster Matthew

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

 In honor of our 37th week of pregnancy we are braving the evacuation traffic and heading to Augusta, Georgia. Varying between a Category 3 and Category 4 hurricane Matthew is headed our way. The predictions still change frequently but the Governor of South Carolina declared a state of emergency and is beginning mandatory evacuations.

Our "zone" is not currently required to evacuate but with a toddler and a little one of the way we decided it wasn't safe to stay. Adam wasn't a fan of my unassisted home birth suggestion. Haha. We got on the road at 7:30 this morning and so far everything is moving smoothly. We are so grateful for our unofficial family that is taking us in for the weekend. Not everyone has a safe place to go during this time and we had 2. Thankful for our friends.

On a lighter noted here is the first photo we've seen from our amazing photographer Bump Meet Baby Photography!!!  Isn't this incredible?  The entire scene looks photoshopped but I assure you, it's all real!!

Help us pray for South Carolina and all those effected by this crazy hurricane. Pray his path heads east and stays over vacant waters. Today we are praising God for 37 weeks!!

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36 weeks?! Are you sure?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

I see anywhere from 15 to 25 pregnant mamas per day. I would say 97% of them are tired of being pregnant at this point. Not me. I'm so blessed to be pregnant for likely the only time in my life I'm just not ready for it to end. I am pleasantly surprised at how good I feel. Aside from an ever growing right ankle/foot, most of the time I feel great. No back pain, hip pain, pelvic pain, heartburn. I still throw up a few times a week but it's short lived and tolerable. I have been very lucky to have had such an easy pregnancy.

I want to talk for a minute about how we got here. Imagine going through years of infertility, finally getting to the point of IVF and then being blessed with an abundance of viable embryos. Our donors had, I believe, around 11 healthy embryos. They used the 2 best and got their adorable (and tall!!) 5 year old boy-girl twins. After a certain point infertility clinics will send you a letter asking what you want to do with the rest of the embryos. You can continue paying and freeze them indefinitely, destroy them, donate them to science or find a family to donate them to. Can you imagine having to make that decision? We are so fortunate that our donor parents chose life for their little embryos. Currently we have 2 remaining out of the 4 donated to us (the first straw they thawed for our transfer was empty!) and another family was gifted the other 5 little embryos.

I get emotional just thinking about this. I'm sitting here with my 6 1/2 pound daughter moving like a ninja in my belly. She responds when her sister and daddy talk to and touch her. She gets hiccups all day. She gets mad when I gently push her butt down off my rib cage. She like her hands (and feet) to be up by her face and I think she plays drums on my bladder. But without our donor parents we would have never been in this situation. They decided that giving their children's biological siblings a chance at life was more important than all of the uncertainty that surrounds embryo adoption. We will forever be grateful for them and the gift that they have given us. 

So my update: 36 weeks, 3 days. Baby girl is measuring 6lbs13oz which is 76%. She has an average side head, big round belly and short legs. We will still be shocked if she doesn't come out with long legs given the donor dad is 6'6 but we will see!

My patients always ask me how long I plan to continue working. My response: until I'm 5 centimeters dilated in labor! I'm on call the weekend of October 15 with 1 midwife out of town and the other busy with a family wedding. Oh and it's a full moon with 2 of my nurse friends on postpartum due that exact weekend! Either she will come out then because she likes drama or she will stay in a week extra and come out in November. I do hope I can continue feeling this good over the next few weeks. 

I'm sharing the 35 week pictures because I'm a slacker who forgot to post them last week. We got back from Charleston late last night from our maternity photoshoot with my favorite photographer Bump Meet Baby Photography. She is so talented and makes us look amazing! And she is so good with Brennan. Brennan told us she wanted to go home with Tamara! They were snuggling, holding hands and having a blast. My husband wasn't super excited about doing maternity photos (especially 2 hours from home after work on a Friday) but even he can't wait to see them! This is our 3rd shoot with her and she will do our newborn photos too. I can't wait! Feel free to stalk her Facebook page here. We were laughing about cheesy maternity photos (blocks spelling out the name, hands making a heart over the belly, etc). Well here is my cheesy maternity photo. I can't help it, cheesy or not I like it!  It's fun thinking about her starting as a few little cells and now here she is, 6 and a half pounds. Only God could do that.

I don't know if you all remember me asking for prayers for my friend going through IVF and then a frozen embryo transfer. Well she is pregnant with a healthy baby boy. 14 weeks and growing strong! The power of prayer is incredible. 

Please pray that we start to feel emotionally ready for this baby. I've switched my brain from "keep her in" mode to "she's going to come out" mode and I'm starting to freak out a bit. I tell women every day to trust their bodies and to trust their babies. For some reason I'm starting to doubt mine. I need to get over the "nurse curse" fear and start trusting in my ability to give birth to this baby. I need to trust in our ability to breastfeed and stop fearing all of the unknown. I'm too controlling! Adoption was a breeze. I worry about our ability to love her like we love her sister and live in fear that this baby will take away from our time and attention towards Brennan. Normal 2nd time mom fears but I need to just pray and hand it over to God. Please help me pray through this! 

I think that's all for now. I can't wait to share our maternity photos soon!!
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32 weeks and getting big

Sunday, September 4, 2016

I'm not sure how 32 weeks got here so quickly.  My mother-in-law asked me the other day what else we need to do to get ready for baby. I have no idea!  How does one prepare for a baby with 40 weeks notice? We are used to 14 days.

I remember the night we brought Brennan home we were scrambling to put together the rock-n-play after having forgotten to bring any clothes or blankets to the hospital to get her. I had a few gender neutral sleepers and blankets in the dryer and several target bags on the floor in the dining room. That was as prepared as we got. Here is Brennan's going home attire.

We spent last weekend getting boxes out of the attic and switching Brennan's clothes over to her "big girl" room. Brennan won't sleep in there for several months after baby's arrival, mostly so we have some sort of guest room for our out of town family. We went through boxes and boxes of baby clothes and have just a few loads of laundry to do to finish getting ready. That's all I've got. Our incredible double stroller has been assembled, a sweet generous friend is letting us borrow her Halo Bassinest and we are good to go. Someone please tell me if I am missing something!?

We had an ultrasound for growth this week. I'm measuring a little bit small abdominally (2cm behind for those of you who know what that means) but baby girl is measuring a solid week ahead!  She's around 4 1/2 pounds, 71st percentile.

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PinkBlush - my pregnancy obsession!

Several patients tagged me in a Facebook post by PinkBlush Maternity searching for bloggers to model their clothes. They sent me the most beautiful dress to wear!  I have purchased several items from them and I can't get enough. Their clothes are true to size, are comfortable yet flattering, and to top it all off they are affordable. Because I have a larger bust, dresses that don't have a snug empire waist make we look huge. I paired this belt with this PinkBlush dress to give me a bit more shape. It's incredibly comfortable and will be something I can wear after pregnancy as well. This dress worked out perfectly for my baby shower. Make sure you check out their website. They sell Maternity, Women's, Baby and more!!

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You guys!? I'm 30 weeks!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Baby girl is around 15 inches, 3 pounds and roughly the size of a large head of cabbage. We took our "food" picture today but my laptop died before our hospital admission so I won't be able to post that for a bit. Here is our unofficial bump pic.

Brennan talks to my belly every day and says "stay in my mommy's belly." So far her little sister is listening. I've not had any more bleeding episodes since our admission almost a month ago. I still contract but they are not painful and not regular. It's fun letting other people feel her move now. She's one strong baby. 

Pregnancy wise I have been doing great. The rest of my body is a mess! I have bronchitis and pulled a muscle in my back from coughing so hard. After 10 days I think I'm finally starting to get better. My husband wishes there was a lemon law for pregnant wives but I'm pretty sure that's just for cars. 

I was fortunate enough to be able to go back to work last week. I'm doing the office only and the other 2 amazing midwives are covering the hospital. So far it's working out really well and I'm feeling great.

My dear friend Vanessa held a baby shower for all of my work friends this past weekend. It was so great and I'm so grateful for all of my coworkers. They were extremely generous and we are much closer to being ready for another little one. I will post pictures from the shower soon. 

Please pray for my friend Lindsay. She has been placed on bedrest for preeclampsia and may be delivering her little one sooner than she expected. Praying for a safe delivery and healthy baby. She was gracious enough to recover our rocker for us. Check out this before and after. I will be doing newborn photos for her in exchange for her hard work. I can't wait to snuggle her baby! 

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Nursery Inspiration

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

When we did Brennan's nursery (at 5 months old!!) we did gender neutral in case we had another and God sent us a son. Since we are having our second little girl with no plans to have a third we decided to girlie. 

Here is the inspiration:

We went with coral walls hoping it would blend well with the bedding we had for Brennan. When someone gifts you the insanely expensive bedding you've loved for 7 years you definitely use it for your second child as well. 

The bedding:

These are the fabrics I bought to make the garland like in the top photo. Looking at the walls and blanket above the coral I got doesn't look great. I may scrap it or just add some more peach to blend it all in. 

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