The blog baby boy arrived nearly 2 months ago on Tuesday November 3rd at 9:15 am weighing in at a chonky 8lbs 3oz. After careful thought, some hesitation, and reliving these moments over and over in my mind, I ultimately decided that I would compose a post about how our precious Charlie came into the world. If not even for your reading, simply as another virtual journal entry for me to look back on.
As a general disclaimer: I gave birth one time. I am not an expert and don’t have any other personal reference points to compare, but can only speak for my own experiences. This is also to say that every single woman has a different experience with different and very valid feelings surrounding it all. It’s a major physical and emotional life event that looks and feels different for everyone. As a trigger warning too, I’ll be sharing a bit of somewhat graphic medical and intimate information about Charlie’s birth. Don’t worry! I don’t have photos but I’m going to write about every detail I can recall, because there is no sense in censorship if I can help someone else feel a little more prepared. I received requests anyway to share real posts- the happy and sad, the good and the bad!
So here it goes, it’s a long one. Probably my longest blog post to date:
Sunday 11/1- due date came and went, no signs of labor or baby boy. By the way, I tried all the old wives tales to try to start labor: ate pineapple, drank raspberry tea, bounced on my yoga ball for hours, went for walks… nothing really helped. Charlie was on his own schedule and did not care about being punctual for his due date.
Monday Morning 11/2- I had a scheduled appointment at my OB/GYN first thing in the morning. Because we had made it full term and past 40 weeks it was routine for me to get an ultrasound, an internal exam to check for cervical dilation, and a fetal non-stress test. They were performed in that order. Everything came back completely normal on the ultrasound and baby looked good. He was head down and even facing the right direction for birth. Upon examination, I was only about 1.5 cm dilated which was the same I had been the following week, so labor wasn’t progressing at all. Cervical exams hurt and are really uncomfortable, since women are typically already hurting and uncomfortable that late in pregnancy. My hips and pelvis had already felt stretched and strained and so the cervical exam really just added insult to injury. The non-stress test was also normal, I was contracting according to the monitor but couldn’t feel much except very mild back pain occasionally. That becomes important later. So because it appeared that baby was ready but needed a little extra help we were scheduled to be induced the next morning.
Monday Afternoon 11/2- Since there wasn’t much else left for me to do but wait until the next day, I decided to stop into work for a little bit to see my coworkers one last time, and then went over to my parents house and stayed for dinner. Throughout the day I kept feeling mild back pain but just assumed that at that point I was just uncomfortable from being so pregnant. Let’s face it, when you make it to 10 months pregnant you feel it everywhere. My mom thought otherwise, so she started to time how often I was getting back aches and gave me a heating pad to provide some relief. Her motherly instinct told her I was having back labor like she did when she was pregnant and in labor with me. At that point the back labor contractions weren’t consistent or close enough together for anyone to think otherwise. My family told me that I just looked tired by the end of the evening, from being in and out of pain.
Monday Night 11/2- We went home after dinner and my back started to hurt a lot more, so I bounced on my yoga ball for a few hours while watching TV. Then 10:00 PM rolled around and the pain became pretty regular and intense and I couldn’t get comfortable to fall asleep. I was no longer in denial and faced the facts that I was having back labor contractions. I tracked and timed the contractions on an app on my phone and sure enough it told me to head to the hospital soon. I hadn’t thought that my water broke yet so we were able to take our time loading up the car, I took a quick shower, we said goodbye to Alice and then headed in. Once admitted to the hospital the doctor saw that I had dilated a little more since the morning to 3cm. The cervix has to be at 10cm to begin pushing for delivery so we still had a ways to go. My care team and I decided to administer the pitocin drip to help progress labor since I was going to be induced in a few hours anyway. This was also decided in hopes that my water would break naturally with the progression as well. I received my epidural per my request almost immediately and that provided some comfort for the next few hours so that we could get some rest before delivery. (FYI if you get an epidural you need to have a catheter put it. It was no big deal going in since I didn’t feel anything thanks to the medication and after delivery it didn’t hurt coming out either.) Patrick, my husband, and I slept about 3 hours while baby and I were closely monitored. The nurse and doctor noticed that Charlie’s heart rate was dropping during contractions but said it was likely due to a tangled umbilical cord and that we just needed to be monitored. Pretty soon the epidural started to wear off on one side, and then the other, and I was given a few bolus doses to try to help with the pain, but alas, I continued to feel the back labor.
Now I think is the best time to state that my “birth plan” contained two items: comfort and safety. Those were the only things that mattered to me- being made as comfortable as possible and getting the baby out safely no matter what. That was absolutely honored by the team of medical professionals that cared for me and the baby.
Tuesday 11/3- I progressed to 8 cm after several more hours of excruciating back labor and nervously monitoring heart rates during contractions. My water did break at some point in the early morning hours too because I remember the nurse changing my bed pad and bed sheets. Honesty time- I was writhing in pain so much that I matted my hair in the back of my head. Patrick held my hand and tried to talk me through some deep breathing. I begged for more medication through the epidural but was unable to be given any because they thought that we could reach the point that I would be able to push soon and I needed to be able to have feeling in my lower body for that. At this point Charlie’s heart rate still wasn’t responding well to the contractions either. My doctor came in a little while later and finally said that after 10+ hours of laboring and monitoring, she believed it was best to perform a Cesarean section to deliver the baby. Several factors played a part in her coming to this conclusion:
1. The baby wasn’t able to descend further down the birth canal. His station never progressed much, even with successful cervical dilation. If you’re preparing for child birth and aren’t familiar with stations look that up. Most everyone is familiar with dilation but baby’s station is also measured, mentioned, and important. My doctor thought that my pelvis was likely too narrow to be able to vaginally deliver the baby and that he may be already stuck.
2. Because I only ever felt contractions in my back (that’s right- I NEVER had any contractions in the front during labor), that the baby had somehow turned himself around since the ultrasound the day before and was now facing the wrong direction.
3. Due to his variability in heart rates with contractions she felt that the baby might be entangled by his cord since he had turned himself around too. The safest thing to do was to have him via urgent C. section, so as to not risk any complications from developing the longer he struggled in there.
Upon hearing that I would need surgery after already laboring for so long, I cried. And not because I was really sad or upset, but because I was, of course, a little scared and also I felt relieved, because I knew that getting a spinal for the surgery meant that I would finally feel relief from the back labor and that our baby would be here quickly, safely, and SOON! So Patrick got all garbed up and they wheeled me into the OR to get me prepped.
At 9 am my surgery started. I had received my spinal and was relieved of any pain. I was glad I had gotten the epidural early on, they just used that line to administer the spinal for the surgery. Because of the IV fluids and medications my body did shake pretty violently and a lot, which was a little scary and uncomfortable. I had the sweetest OR nurses and doctors who talked me through it and told me not to fight the shakes and to just let my body do what it needed. I’m sure that my lower body and legs were restrained at that point anyway but I couldn’t feel it so it wasn’t traumatic. Something to note: Patrick was still waiting outside the OR during all of this initial preparation, but once everyone was ready to go he was brought in. He sat right by my head and made me feel safe and supported having him there. I felt no pain during the surgery: During the incision making process I felt my lower body being rocked side to side with each cut and then the separating and tears being made through each layer to get to the baby. It was unsettling but not at all painful. For a better illustration of the surgical aspect of a Cesarean delivery I highly recommend watching this video https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=utCS5rzNkfU&feature=youtu.be because it’s not an actual surgery but a really cool (and cute) simulation using Play-doh!
It all happened very quickly and at 9:15am Charlie was born. He was screaming his head off, had tons of dark hair on a substantially cone-shaped head (thanks to being stuck in my pelvis) and yet he was beautiful. It was confirmed that his cord had been wrapped around his neck, and he wouldn’t have fit for a vaginal delivery. The doctors told me I would’ve torn trying to push and then would’ve needed the c-section anyway because of his cord. I remember just sobbing and looking at Patrick and he had tears in his eyes too. I was so grateful to the doctors for being so knowledgeable and capable of getting my baby here safely and relief that everything worked out the way it needed to. I can’t imagine all of the emotions Patrick felt watching me struggle through labor and then getting to finally see the little person I had been carrying for 10 months. I saw the switch flip in an instant- he was a dad now. A proud, protective, amazing dad.
Once Charlie was born he was quickly weighed, cleaned up, swaddled, and handed to Patrick. He brought the baby over to me and I got to snuggle him face to face, skin to skin quickly before the doctors had to finish the surgery. A c-section baby daddy has vastly different responsibilities than when a baby is born vaginally. Because I still needed to be stitched back up it was Patrick’s responsibility to care for and hold Charlie in his first moments of his life. I wouldn’t have wanted or trusted any other person other than Patrick in those moments. We are so lucky he is ours.
Finishing surgery didn’t seem to take long at all, but I was eagerly anticipating being reunited with my family. Something interesting to note: the incision site was stitched on the inside with dissolvable sutures and then held together externally with steri strip bandages. My incision scar is so fine and hardly noticeable now that it is healed. As far as recovery goes I don’t have any lingering pain, just some occasional tingling and numbness in my lower abdomen from nerve regeneration, and of course the c-section “shelf” of skin and fat that forms above the incision. Small physical prices to pay to bring a miracle into the world. I’d do it all over again for the same outcome, no hesitation.
Recovery was tough but I made it through with lots of help and support. There was literally a ton of blood, sweat and tears shed for weeks. Seriously the night sweats are unbelievable. But all of the pain, discomforts, and downright shocking things that this body went through are truly incredible. We are all doing so well now, and are happily settled in as a new family.
To conclude the post I’m just going to list a few points that I learned from my own experience that I had absolutely no idea about until they happened to me.
Child Birth Clinical “Pearls”:
1. I was told by a doctor that I would have no question that I was in labor because of the contractions. I didn’t realize that it was possible for someone to have only back labor pain. I experienced no front contractions during labor and therefore didn’t believe I was actually progressing in labor until way later.
2. When an epidural is administered a weird knee reflex happens and my leg kicked out a couple of times. Though I was warned by the anesthesiologist this would happen and that it is a good sign the epidural was placed correctly I was still so surprised at how strong and violent the reflex was.
3. When I received my spinal through the epidural for the c-section surgery, it felt cold going down my spine, and then I experienced a head rush. Then I began shaking from the fluids and medication. All of those are normal effects but can still be unsettling to experience.
4. I finally did experience front contractions but it was during breastfeeding!!! I didn’t realize that because breastfeeding helps the uterus shrink back down to regular size after birth, this causes actual contraction pain. WTF! The first couple of days I was in quite a bit of pain during nursing sessions.
5. Colostrum and/or nipple ointment permanently stains clothing. Colostrum is more oily and dense than breast milk and therefore creates an enzymatic stain on fabrics. Keep the hospital gown on, don’t ruin a nightgown until actual breast milk is able to be expressed.
If you read entirely through the post and still have questions please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to speak from my own experience in order to support, encourage, and prepare someone else. Thank you all for your support and encouragement of me over the years and for continuing to follow along with me, now on this new journey and adventure of motherhood! This is my last post of 2020- I’ll see you in the new year! All my love!
It’s a wonderful feeling, feel the love in the room from the floor to the ceiling. It’s that time of year, Christmas time is here!
It’s Charlie’s first Christmas and I have all the warm fuzzy feelings going into this week. So today I’m sharing some of his professional newborn and our first family portraits. I knew I wanted to make them festive to capture this magical time of year. I hope you enjoy them!
A special thanks to Samantha, our go-to photographer- the same lovely lady that photographed my maternity shoot. She, yet again, was gracious and willing to come to our home and I couldn’t be more grateful to have these beautiful cherished moments to look back on.
It’s been awhile for me… as you all probably know I’ve been off blog duties and have been enjoying my maternity leave with my sweet new baby boy! I’ve missed spending time on the blog and sharing with all of you, but I’m so grateful that Allie was willing to work solo for a little while as I enjoyed my time transitioning into motherhood.
I have lots of postpartum, newborn, and family posts planned for the upcoming weeks, but today I just wanted to ease back into it with some winter weather outfit inspiration.
You know from previous posts that I enjoy learning and then sharing about the history of certain fashions and trends. Once I saw these patterns, particularly on sweaters, were making a comeback I was overjoyed- a whimsical and preppy dream! Fair Isle is a traditional knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colors. It is named after Fair Isle, one of the Shetland islands of Scotland and the patterns gained considerable popularity first in the 1920s.
I’ve taken full advantage of sweater weather and enthusiastically worked these into my wardrobe. I’ll share the looks I’m loving below. As always, all items are linked in the LIKEtoKNOW.it app for you to shop. I’ve also included similar items that I’m loving too! To view, you can click on the links throughout this post.
First up is this Fair Isle chunky knit scarf and beanie pairing by Old Navy. I don’t wear a lot of red very often so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to work in this festive hue. The hat and scarf were both only $6 each and I’ve layered them with a turtle neck and fleece to stay extra cozy. I also own a plaid dress coat that this scarf will look great with.
I absolutely love the tassel detail on the scarf. Because of the Fair Isle pattern, one side has more white in the knit while the other has more red, so you can flip or tie it for a number of different options.
This Fair Isle sweater is actually a great quality find from Amazon. I loved that it had navy blue, white, and cream making it perfect to work into a neutral palette. It can be dressed up with a flowy skirt or dressed down with wide leg denim and boots. I actually wore this sweater on Thanksgiving day tied over a crisp collared white blouse. Let me know which look you would wear!
And that’s all I have for today’s post! I hope you have a wonderful week ahead! Much love! ❤️
When you support a small business you’re supporting a DREAM
What better opportunity to than today to round up all of FAVORITE small business. From Make-Up Artist to Apparel to Food Favorites we’ve got it ALL, right here for you. Grab your coffee, and enjoy! In no particular order! 😉
1. ERIE APPAREL
From women apparel, to onesies for Charlie, bandanas for Arna and coffee mugs for morning brew, it doesn’t get much better than this. Erie Apparel and In Our Style have worked hand in hand the last few years and we are so grateful for all the AMAZING QUALITY merch they have. You will not regret one purchase.
Our sweet and dear friend Ariel just opened her own virtual custom shop! She is so talented and has made tshirts, sweatshirts, wreaths and more- most recently she’s made the most darling sample ornaments that are customizable, perfect to gift or purchase for yourself to decorate for the holiday season.
This is our go-to local coffee spot. Offering coffees, teas, breakfast, lunch, and more- everyone can find something they love! They sell bags of coffee beans and ground coffee which would make great gifts along with a gift certificate and a cute mug. The shop always features the most fun and festive seasonal beverages too and, most importantly, their patio is dog friendly!
Tina has been my go-to creative mind and hands for many years. She’s created some amazing custom items for my wedding, our new baby, and other memorable milestones in between. She’s always up for completing one of my projects and I appreciate her so much.
Besides delicious popcorn the staff at Popluck is equally sweet! They always have fun flavors and their sample sets make the perfect gift! We were recently surprised with a 6 pack of popcorn delivered right to our door via GrubHub in celebration of the new baby!Red Letter Hospitality: we’ve done multiple blog posts and giveaways featuring our favorite RLH restaurants like The Cork and Molly Brannigans. Gift certificates to these establishments make the perfect gift. Even during the pandemic shut down The Cork operated with a special menu for take-out orders that never disappointed!
We’ve done multiple blog posts and giveaways featuring our favorite RLH restaurants like The Cork and Molly Brannigans. Gift certificates to these establishments make the perfect gift. Even during the pandemic shut down The Cork operated with a special menu for take-out orders that never disappointed!
Helen has been a dear friend of ours for years. This summer during the pandemic she found a fun craft that has become a huge hit! Customizes canvases made of local beach glass and stones! We’ve purchased a handful of them and every time they get better and better.
We’ve known Morgan for years and she is truly one of the craftiest people we know. Anything we’ve requested her way, she blows our minds. From baked goods to matching earrings and bows for our fur babes. She is truly so talented and loves doing just about anything!
The best custom hand made jewelers! We love that these gals work so hard and immediately sell out EVERY launch release. It’s truly incredible! We’ve purchased a few of their fabulous earrings and have received so many compliments!
Amy is one of Allie’s clients in the salon. She has brought this amazing craft as a part time job for special occasion events and personal items! Each project is unique and two are never the same! Macrame is seriously an art itself and VERY time consuming. We LOVE how delicate and amazing her stuff is.
9 weeks ago today this little lady was born. One week ago we welcomed her mini goldendoodle self into our home. Andy and I did months of research on puppies. We wanted to make sure we knew as much as possible before adding our little addition.
We researched different breeds, breeders and also considered adoption. We were determined to train her well! By no means are we dog expert and have no education as a dog trainer, but I thought it would be helpful to share what has worked well for us this last week in hopes to help others! Here are a few tips that made Arna’s first week home a successful one.
When Arna entered our room, her crate was setup with the door open. Inside we had a crate pad and the blanket we had the breeder use to have Arnas mama snuggle with. She sat on that the car ride home and immediately felt safe when it was inside the crate. She is really learning to love her crate! We read that the closeness helps the puppy to adjust during their scary first days/weeks in their new home, so we decided to locate the crate in our bedroom. We have even covered the crate with a blanket to make it more closed off. We were persistent about anytime she took a nap, we would guide her into the crate to remind her this was her cave and it was a good space.
A puppy’s crate is supposed to be his safe place and her natural instincts should prevent them from having accidents in it. I totally understand that this is not the case for every pup! When we brought Arna home she weighed about 7lbs. The crate our friends, Emmy and Jesse generously gave to us, was big enough that she had enough room to turn around, but not enough room to play. Too much extra space in the crate may cause puppies to go potty on one side and sleep on the other. We always make sure her heart beat puppy 🐶 is in there with her every night. The crate should only be big enough for relaxing – not relaxing AND potty. Arna to this date has had ZERO accidents in her crate. Because what puppy or human wants to go potty in their bed. Nobody 🤣
TIP TWO: STICK TO A SCHEDULE. DAY + NIGHT
Arna came home on Saturday night and Andy and I both were able to stay home the following two days. After that, Andy had the full week to bond, train, walk, and snuggle…. a lot. Starting on the first night, she wake up every two hours to take her outside. Not because she wanted out but her little bladder was going to explode. When the business was done. We tried to not make that potty time a big deal but remind her she was such a good girl for letting us know. Returning her back to her crate with no problems. We chose this method because we wanted her to understand that night time is for sleeping and going potty – not playing. To this date she has slept almost 6 hours through the night and she’s up for good around 5-6AM
Patience is not my strongest venture. Andy on the other hand, has the patience of a saint. Bringing home a puppy is without a doubt hard, sometimes stressful exhausting and fun all at once. But she has made it so easy!!! I try to remember, Arna was taken from her mama and seven other siblings and then just placed in whole new world. We tried our hardest to make the transition easy and comfortable for her. It is going to take some time for her to learn, but she will learn. Everyday we are so proud of how much growth she’s done in just one week with us. She is so intelligent and smart. The simplest things like plopping her little butt down when we bring her food over, or she’s praised by coming on the couch or bed for a short time. She already knows basic commands like, “sit, down, shake, up, no thank you, potty, in your crate” If there’s a small piece of advice I can give to new fur owners is that Don’t lose hope! The calmer you are, the calmer the pup will be too. We give the breeder some credit of her behavior too. She has been such a blessing and a very quick learner. Yes she’s a puppy, and has her puppy moments but other than her puppy biting – she is truly perfect.
Hard to believe this beautiful little fluff has been 7 months in the making. Back in March, Andy and I were ready to add an addition to the “A team”
Today, our sweet Arna is an 8 weeks old mini golden doodle and is the most lovable angel we get to call ours.
We brought her home yesterday and we are head over heels in LOVE. She has adjusted so well to the changes and has the sweetest personality.
We are so excited to watch her grow, chew and snuggle through life and look forward to taking you with us in every adventure.
Some basic essentials I was suggested from friends, and others that were puppy “must haves” before bringing her home.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS GUY. It truly helped her sleep during the car ride home and last night without her sisters or mama. Since she was one of eight pups, she slept right next to it without hesitation. It has a battery operated heartbeat to help puppies transition and feel like they are still with their liter.
All essentials were from Amazon and will link each item below!
A photoshoot every woman should experience at-least ONCE in their lifetime.
I wanted my boudoir experience to be powerful. One I could look back on and say, Damn, that’s me. Portraits that define and show strength in myself.
A boudoir shoot can be the first step on the journey of self-love. I think we become oblivious to our own self-worth and sometimes all you need is to take a step back and give yourself some self-care and reassurance.
I came with the mindset that no matter what, it would be a powerful experience and I would love the final result and this confidence really showed throughout my photos. Positive self-talk is also so important, even if you don’t necessarily believe it. Your brain can be a funny thing and turn nervousness into confidence purely through self-talking. Remember, the camera is there to capture and celebrate you, not judge or define who you are.
Stacy in so many words makes you feel so incredibly strong and passionate about this experience. From the moment of the consultation of what I expected from her as the photographer but also the weeks and days leading up to it, I could not imagine it to go any other way. The day of two before my boudoir shoot, I was thinking of canceling it. I was nervous that I wasn’t “where I wanted to be yet” and that I was just not ready. But thankfully, that deposit I did 4 months prior gave me no turning back option.
When I got to the room and was instantly greeted with infectious excitement, smiles and hugs, I knew I made the right decision. From the moment I walked in, my attitude changed from nervous and scared to “I got this” and excitement. That is how comfortable Stacy made me feel.
One thing I loved is that I’m always the girl to try to be a little bit different than everyone else. I’m unique and have always been the one to try the bold approaches. I guess that’s what makes me an “influencer”
So I walked in with my four outfits and my hair in a messy textured bun. I’ll never forget Stacy saying to me, “okay… you’re hair is up. This is new for me.” My reply: “Good 😉 that’s what I was hoping for.”
My main reason for putting my hair up is that hair is an accessory to women, but it’s also a security blanket. Being a stylist, I see it on an everyday basis, INCLUDING MYSELF. When we don’t feel like dressing up, feel good about our appearance, or have the ginormous zit that won’t seem to go away, our hair covers the unwanted.
I wanted this photoshoot to be about ME. Not my appearance or have the perfect hair because I’m a hairstylist, but to show the flaws or insecurities I’ve been having and not hide from them ANYMORE.
I AM SO SO SO SO FUCKING GRATEFUL I DID.
I felt empowered, excited, sexy and strong…and now seeing the pictures, I am SO glad I “went through” with this. I have pictures that I will get to love and stare at for the rest of my life. I look amazing, but best of all I feel amazing. I am forever grateful to Stacy for giving me this opportunity…one I will never forget, and highly recommend all to experience.
My session was WAY past expected time, because of how much we enjoyed doing this together. She never forced me out like it was another “job site” and that she was on a strict time crunch. It was so effortless in how it all played out.
I cannot recommend Stacy enough. I feel like I gained a forever friend, and someone who will forever be a hype girl for all the beautiful woman she’s able to capture.
Your perfect time is now, don’t waste another second hesitating to book the appointment!
I say it time and time again, I will ALWAYS be open and transparent to anyone. If this is something you’ve been wanting to do for YOU, you are always welcome to reach out 🖤