Monday, November 28, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide for Her / My Wishlist

Happy Cyber Monday (night) friends!

I wanted to share a gift guide for the ladies in your life that will hopefully spark some ideas for friends, sisters, moms, or yourself! This list is actually a mix of things I have (and love!) that I think would make great gifts, as well as some things on my own personal wish list this year. I meant to get this posted before Black Friday (whoops) but I wanted to go ahead and share it ASAP because some of the items listed are still on sale through the end of the day - so if you're a night owl/procrastinator like myself, there's still a few hours left to get some great Cyber Monday deals!

Holiday Gift Guide Part 2

Holiday Gift Guide Part 1

Quin Hot Chocolate & Vanilla Bean Marshmallows - I think fancy food items make great gifts this time of year, because it's fun to be able to treat people to more gourmet items they might not normally splurge on. This hot chocolate and (amazing) marshmallows from Portland artisan candymaker Quin are so good - paired with a cute mug, it would make such a sweet (pun intended) gift :)

Chatbooks - Two things I love (Chatbooks and Rifle Paper Co) joined forces and these cute hard cover books and would make such a great gift! They are running a 20% off promotion with the code 'MERRY20' through the end of the day, but they're pretty reasonably priced anyway if you don't have time to make a book tonight :) (And you still have awhile to be able to order and still get them by Christmas which is great if you leave things until the last minute like I tend to do...ha)

Blanqi High Waist Support Leggings - So I can't totally vouch for these since I haven't actually received them yet, but I did order myself these leggings as sort of an early birthday present and I've heard great things! Their amazing half off sale continues through the end of the day, so if it's a great time to order them if you're in the market for leggings or want to gift them to a mama friend!

Portland Gear Hat - I posted a picture on IG of me wearing one of these hats this weekend, and they're still on sale through the end of the day! They're wool which I think makes them super cute, perfect for throwing on for those hair days when dry shampoo just won't cut it.

Kendra Scott 'Tessa' Earrings - I've seen these druzy studs on lots of gift guides around the interwebs recently and my husband knows they're on my Christmas list this year :) (And they're on sale, along with a ton of other items from Nordstrom, through the end of the day!)

Gold Cake Plates - I think fun dishes make a really great present this time of year, and they're great for hostesses gifts too! My mom got me this cute 'I Love Cake' plate from West Elm when she was in town, and it's currently sold out online but I've linked some that are similar :)

Peppermint Bark - I love peppermint bark and Williams-Sonoma makes some of the best. As far as I'm concerned, you can never go wrong with this as a gift!

The Cozy Life - This book, all about the Danish concept of Hygge,  looks like a perfect read for a rainy Pacific Northwest winter.

Lindsay Letters Canvas - I have one of her Christmas prints and literally want everything from her website. One of her canvases or prints would make such a lovely gift :) (And they have a great sale running through the end of the day for Cyber Monday, details on the site!)

Rifle Paper Co. Paradise Gardens Calendar - As I already mentioned, I love all things Rifle Paper Co. and I've had one of their calendars for the last few years. I thought this floral design was gorgeous for 2017, so it's definitely on my list this year! (And it's 30% off right now!)

Wood Watch - I have a Jord wood watch and I wear it all the time and always get compliments on how unique it is. Their Frankie series of watches would make a great gift and they're 10% off for a few more hours today with the code CYBER16!

Letterfolk board - I got the 'Writer - Gray' for Christmas last year and love it!

ABH Lip Gloss in 'Vintage' - I got this lip gloss during the VIB sale earlier this month, and the color is really pretty and I think it would be flattering on a variety of skin tones. It smells so good and it's a higher end product that's not crazy expensive, so it would be a perfect stocking stuffer!

All Birds Wool Runners - Cam actually got these shoes for his birthday and now I really want a pair! They're supposed to be super comfy and I just think they're really unique and would be perfect for running around with the kiddos. (I love all the colors but the Natural Grey is my favorite.)

Sugar Paper Planner - I still love writing things down in a paper planner and I've used a Sugar Paper (for Target) one for the last few years. I actually already bought myself another gold one for next year, but I thought this spotted version was super cute too.

Amazon Fire TV Stick - We have this for streaming Hulu/Netflix/HBO and we love it! (Plus it's $10 off until the end of the day!)

Aztec Pattern Letter Board - I do love my bigger Letterfolk board, but I wanted a smaller square board for Charlie's monthly photos. I recently got this adorable patterned one from the Etsy shop Vermillion Drive. I met the owner Courtney through one of my friends and she's super sweet and offers lots of really cute frames if you're looking for a more unique look for your letterboard.

Down Throw - Cam's parents got me this throw for Christmas a few years ago and we seriously use it all the time. It's so warm and comfy and it would make a perfect gift that anyone would love. (And it's currently half off right now, which I'm assuming ends tonight!!)

Cooking for Jeffery - I have all of Ina's cook books and they're the ones that I use again and again. Her recipes are simply the best and I just love the concept for this particular book - it's definitely on my Christmas list this year!

Personalized Necklace - Cam knows that a necklace with both boys names is on my Christmas list this year and my friend Stephanie says great things about this shop. (And they've been having an awesome sale that goes to the end of the day, no code needed!)

Classic Style Pons Avarcas - I have a pair of these in Taupe that I've worn a ton the past two years, they're just such a great versatile shoe! I love them so much that another pair is on my list this year :) (And you can save an extra 20% thru the end of the day with the code 'PONS20PONS' at checkout!)

Gift Cards - Some people may think they're impersonal, but I personally LOVE getting gift cards. Since I have a December birthday, it can be a little hard to think of a bunch of things I want for my birthday and Christmas, especially this year adjusting to life with a newborn and a toddler. Gift cards allow me to treat myself to something at another time (and they're a great way to take advantage of after Christmas sales!) and it's kind of like getting a gift twice. This year, my top gift card choices would definitely be Nordstrom, Sephora, and of course, Starbucks :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Holiday Style for Postpartum/Nursing Mamas

Oh hey, third post this week! I mentioned in my post yesterday that I'm feeling more inspired to blog lately, and so I'm just going with it! But I specifically wanted to share this post before Thanksgiving in case anyone is looking for ideas on what to wear for Turkey Day tomorrow!

Heading into the holiday season after (very) recently having a baby presents a special kind of challenge. However, it's one that I feel more equipped to deal with being this is my second go-round dressing a postpartum mom bod. I feel like I have a much better idea of what works for this weird period of time when you're tired of wearing your maternity clothes but you're not really ready to shop for new clothes and you want to look semi-pulled together but you need clothes that are functional and allow easy access for a newborn that wants to nurse constantly. What the heck are you supposed to wear?

That's why I thought I'd share the pieces I've been wearing since Charlie's birth as they're some great staples that can help get you through the holiday season. Often times when you see articles in magazines or blog posts about dressing for the holidays, they usually involve heels, sequins, and party dresses. And while I really do love all that fancy stuff, that's just not the season of life I'm in this year and the social engagements I have on my calendar are toddler birthday parties, not black tie galas. Basically if something is so fancy that I can't wear leggings to it, we're probably not doing it this year. Ha. That's life with a newborn and a toddler for you :) But the good news is unlike all those sparkly "holiday" clothes that typically don't get too much wear after New Year's, the pieces below are all pretty basic and can be worn all winter long.

Untitled #47

Tops
Normally I love wearing dresses but when you're nursing, they aren't super functional for breastfeeding in public. So I find that I end up wearing longer tunic style tops with leggings vs. an actual dress since I find that to be more functional. (Although three of the "tunics" pictured are actually dresses I think, they're just short on me since I'm 5'10'' and so I wouldn't wear most of them as a dress anyway)

I picked up this lace dress (pictured top left) at my local Anthropologie where it was actually less than it is online since they were taking an additional percentage off the sale price. This one is long enough for me to wear as a dress, but I plan on wearing it with leggings and I feel like it's something that could be worn all year long. I liked that it had a button front because it allows easy access for nursing and I thought the drawstring waist was flattering.

I have this Lush top (from the Nordstrom BP section - pictured top center) in the green color pictured as well as in two other colors and I LOVE it and kind of want to get more colors. (I also mentioned it in this post) It's just a great staple top that's easy to dress up or down, and paired with a nursing tank underneath, it works well for breastfeeding. I think the longer length is very flattering and I like that it's a little longer in the back, so it works well with leggings. (I'm wearing a patterned version that's unfortunately no longer available online in the photo in this post so you can get a better idea of how it looks on) It's currently on sale at Nordstrom and for the price, it's such a great shirt!

I picked up this red buffalo plaid dress at Target the other day, because while I have some plaid shirts already, they're all not long enough (on me) to be worn with leggings and I'm not in a place that I want to wear actual pants at the moment. This one is perfect with leggings and the button front allows easy access for nursing! This one is long enough to wear as a dress, but I had to size down since my Target was out of the size I wanted, so it's a little shorter and better with leggings :)

I found this long black shress (aka the term my friends and I used in college for long shirts that we would wear as mini dresses when we went out...glad those days are behind me, ha.) that comes in a few colors and I think pairs well with tights or leggings. The cut is kind of swingy and I thought it was super flattering on, plus I liked the cutout detail in the back. I plan on wearing it through the holidays, but I think it will also be perfect for traveling as well!

(Also, I didn't include it in the collage because it's a little bit more basic but this one button cardigan from Bobeau makes a great nursing shirt! I recently got two at Nordstrom Rack and I love them!)

Bottoms
As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm all about the leggings these days!

I recently got these Target-version Spanx high waist leggings (pictured bottom left) and really like them! I love that they are seamless, but because of that, they almost seem more like tights, so I definitely think they need to be worn with a longer shirt or dress. They definitely feel like Spanx though, so they're kind of tough to get on but do a good job of sucking everything in once you do.

I also got a pair of legging pants from LOFT Outlet recently that I love, they're thick and kind of more like pants than some leggings, but since they have an elastic waist band and no pockets, they still require wearing a longer shirt IMO. The ones I got are slightly cropped and have small black velvet polka dots on them, making them extra holiday appropriate. However, I couldn't find those online but check in store if you have a LOFT Outlet near you! These seamed ponte leggings from regular LOFT (pictured bottom second from left) look really similar (minus the polka dots) and LOFT is having an awesome pre-Black Friday flash sale today (Wednesday) where everything is 50% off online with the code 'BERRYGOOD.' 

I kept seeing moto style leggings all over Instagram lately, and so I finally decided to pick up a pair! I got these plum moto leggings from the BP section at Nordstrom and I love that they're something a little bit different from normal black leggings. (I'm wearing them with the Lush tunic in the photo in this post) The fabric is pretty thin so they are not super opaque in the back when you have them on (aka wear a shirt that covers your bum) but I think they're super cute!

I'm not a big skirt person, but with nursing, a skirt/shirt can be a better option than a dress. I was in Hanna Andersson this weekend and picked up a super cute buffalo plaid skirt with an elastic waistband that I know will be getting a lot of use throughout the holiday season (and beyond). However, it looks like the skirt isn't available online, but if you have a Hanna in your area then definitely check in store! However, they have a shirt in the same buffalo plaid material (pictured above) as the skirt I got that's still available online and looks super cute! (This shirt from LOFT is a similar pattern, also super cute, and on sale right now if you're looking for a long sleeve option!) I also included this plaid skirt from J.Crew Factory because it's a very similar silhoutte to the skirt buffalo plaid skirt I got from Hanna Andersson, and would also be super cute for the holidays. An elastic waistband is your friend when you've just given birth :)

All of these pieces are flattering yet super comfortable, so they're perfect for Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas shopping, or whatever else you have on the calendar over the next few weeks. Throwing on some fun jewelry can help things feel more festive and since babies and toddlers love to pull on things, I'm all about stud earrings and these glitter ones (pictured above) are perfect for the holidays! A plaid blanket scarf also works to help make an outfit seem more holiday-appropriate, plus it can double as a nursing cover!

I didn't go through and check everything but I know many of these items, particularly things from Nordstrom, are marked down already for their pre-Black Friday sales and chances are other things will be going on sale on Friday. I know that the point of Black Friday sales is supposed to be for Christmas shopping, but hey, it's also a great time to treat yo self! (Seriously, who else can never find clothes except when they're supposed to be shopping for something/someone else? Tell me I'm not the only one!) I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and I'll be back next week with some gift guides so stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Currently: November

Some recent favorites from my Instagram this month! (@inthepinkandgreen)

Happy Thanksgiving Week everyone!

As you might expect, I've taken a little bit of a break from the blog the past few weeks, beyond sharing Charlie's birth story. November kind of flew by, but now the holidays are upon us and I'm feeling inspired to blog once again. I'll be sharing a little bit more of an in-depth update soon on how the transition from one to two kiddos has been going, but for now I just wanted pop in and share a "Currently" post for this month since I've been pretty consistent about doing those every other month so far this year :) (I also shared an 'October in Review' post last night which is basically a photo dump from my phone of pictures of Henry before Charlie was born in case you missed that!)

Feeling: Happy and much better than I thought I would at three weeks postpartum :) Don't get me wrong, I am definitely tired. But when I was pregnant and chasing around a toddler, being tired was sort of my baseline before Charlie was born anyway, so getting up in the night with a newborn isn't as much as a shock to my system as it was the first time around. Like I said, I am planning on writing a more in-depth post about how things are going day to day around here, but overall, I'm feeling good!

Wearing: All of the leggings! Thank goodness leggings are still in style because it makes this postpartum period much easier. I'm always on the hunt for the best pair and I'm tempted to try out the Blanqi high waisted ones since they're having a big Black Friday sale - has anyone tried them? Also, I recently tried on the new Zella high waisted leggings and sadly was not a fan. (I didn't like the way the seams hit on my legs) However, I recently picked these Spanx leggings up at Target and really really like them so far! Also, I have some new items in my closet that I've really been loving since Charlie's arrival, but I'm hoping to share those in another post soon!

Watching: Westworld, which is a little crazy but we're enjoying it. We've also been watching The Crown, and at first it was a little slow for me, but I've really been enjoying the the episodes as we get further in. I think it's very well cast (particularly the Queen) and I really enjoy seeing the family dynamics play out. We're also loving This is Us! Cam was very skeptical at first and didn't think he would get into it, but he totally has...ha. We're also still watching The Mindy Project, Blackish, and Shark Tank but always looking for new shows to check out - I've heard good things about Divorce, so we might check that out next. And then yay for Gilmore Girls coming out this week, I can't wait!

Cooking: Last week, I made a batch of these pumpkin brown butter oatmeal scotchies with Henry and we loved them so much that I decided to make another batch for the Friendsgiving dinner we went to this weekend. Definitely a perfect recipe if you're looking for a cookie to make for Thursday! For Friendsgiving, I also ended up making cornbread stuffing, but I did it in the crockpot; I used this recipe and it came out great! Doing stuffing is such a great way to save space in the oven on Thanksgiving, and it's also perfect if you have to transport it somewhere like I did this weekend! Finally, I ended up making this dip on a whim for Friendsgiving and it was surprisingly good! I put the fresh cranberries in the food processor and just pulsed it a few times to chop them up and the rest of the dip came together really quickly. Cranberries, jalapenos, and cream cheese sounds like a super weird combo but everyone loved it!

Making: Plans for Henry's second birthday party! Honestly, I wasn't planning on doing a party for his birthday this year and we were just going to do a more low-key celebration since I wasn't sure how I'd be feeling so soon after giving birth. But since I'm feeling much better than I expected, I recently decided that I do want to do a party after all :) After deliberating between multiple themes, we decided on Elmo/Sesame Street since Henry loves Elmo, plus he's super into letters/numbers right now, so I feel like it should be pretty easy to put together. (I say that as I scroll through the 30,000 Sesame Street birthday party ideas on Pinterest...ha.)

Enjoying: Using Instagram Stories...ugh. I know, I know, I can't even believe I'm saying it, but I do! I've always loved Instagram and was super resistant to using Snapchat because I thought the concept was really stupid. But I finally caved and downloaded it awhile ago so Henry could play with the filters...ha. And I'll admit, Snapchat did grow on me after awhile, but what I never liked was how you can't tag or search for people. When Instagram came out with their "Stories" I thought it seemed really silly and like they were just blatantly trying to copy Snapchat. However, recently when I've tried to use Snapchat it has as been making my phone die, even if I have like 50% battery. Super annoying. So for that reason, I started using Instagram Stories instead and I kind of hate to admit it, but it's grown on me. I like how you can pull photos/videos from your camera roll (without having a border around it saying "From Camera Roll" like on Snapchat) and I love how they've recently let you start tagging people in your IG Story. I'm still not a fan of the fact that Instagram went away from a chronological feed, but I like that IG Stories allow me to share random things like I would on Snapchat without having to make people follow me on an entirely new platform and all of my content is in one place vs. using two separate apps. Is anyone else enjoying IG Stories or just me?

Eating: Lots of yummy dinners that friends have brought over to us which have been so helpful during this transition! You don't realize how much you appreciate someone bringing you a meal until you have a newborn! We've also been getting quite a bit of takeout as well, specifically pizza...not mad about it. (If you're in SE PDX I'd highly recommend Scottie's - it's our new go-to place for ordering pizza!) And it's nice that there are so many more food delivery options in Portland now compared to when Henry was born, plus there are multiple services to have groceries delivered. If I never leave the house this winter, that's why - ha!

Wanting: To get decorated for Christmas! I feel like so many people I follow on social media have had their trees up and their homes decorated for Christmas for weeks now, so I'm itching to get going! However, my husband falls into the camp of not wanting to decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, which I get, although I understand why people decorate earlier too because it's nice to be able to enjoy it for longer! Growing up in Michigan, we always had an artificial tree as did almost everyone we knew, so if was fine to put them up well in advance. But here in Oregon, it seems like almost everyone (including us) gets a real tree and the tree farms/lots don't even open until the day after Thanksgiving. I'm so looking forward to going and cutting down a tree this year because I think Henry is going to be much more into this year. He has a this Daniel Tiger Christmas book he's been reading, and he loves the page where the family is decorating their tree so I'm pretty excited to do that later this week :)

Wishing: That I had more time to blog because I feel like there is so much I want to share these days! I've got lots of holiday posts I'd love to put up, posts about life with two kids, and a bunch of other things I'd love to talk about. And although my time to blog is definitely more limited these days, I feel like it's something that I don't want to just give up so I'm trying to squeeze it in when I can! So if there is anything you'd like to see me post about, let me know!

Loving: Our Christmas card this year! It took me forever to decide because Minted has so many cute designs, but we finally got it ordered. Looking forward to sharing it here on the blog next month!

Needing: To stop going to Starbucks so much. It's seriously a problem, and an expensive one at that...ha! I really don't mean to go so much, but when it's cold and rainy and I happen to pass a drive thru, it's soooo hard to resist. Not to mention there is a Starbucks in the grocery store and Target, so it's just hard to avoid. And yes, I'm a marketer's dream and those silly red cups really do make me want to get Starbucks that much more! (Although, I've seriously gotten the cup with the deer on it almost every single time so far. It's to the point where it's a joke with Cam and I because if I get Starbucks it seems like I'm destined to get the deer cup...ha!) I'm always curious to know what people order at Starbucks because I like trying new drinks, so I thought I'd share what I usually get. My normal (aka non-holiday order) is a grande flat white (which is basically similar to a latte, but I like it better) but lately I've been getting it with an extra shot, because life with a newborn warrants the extra caffeine. If I want to order something more "fun" then I'll get the holiday spice flat white (which I like because they use an actual spice vs. a syrup) or a peppermint mocha (except I only get 1 pump of peppermint and 2 pumps of mocha for a grande instead of the normal amount of syrup). Occasionally I'll get a Chesnut Praline latte or a Caramel Brulee latte, but with half the normal pumps of syrup.

Hoping: That we're able to stay well this holiday season. I get so excited about this time of the year and have lots of fun things I'd love to do with Henry, but it's also the season where so many germs are going around. Last year, Henry ended up getting Hand Foot and Mouth disease and then Cam got it, so were pretty much home bound for a few weeks in December. It seems like with a toddler that colds are pretty unavoidable this time of year, but especially with a newborn in the house, I'm really hoping that we can make it through the next few weeks without anyone getting too under the weather!

Listening: To Christmas music! I've got multiple Pandora holiday stations that I alternate between and I love having it on when we're hanging out around the house :)

Looking: Forward to Thanksgiving, I've got a lot to be thankful for this year :) I'm also looking forward to my birthday, which is a week after Thanksgiving (I'm turning 30! Eeek!) and then Henry's birthday, which is a week after mine. Lots of fun things going on this time of year! 

 

Monday, November 21, 2016

October in Review

It's been awhile! I haven't had as much time for blogging over the past few weeks, but I'm ready to get back in the swing of things and have lots of posts I'm looking forward to sharing!

However, I'm been consistent so far this year sharing these "Month in Review" posts of photos from my phone that I hadn't shared on Instagram, and I didn't want to miss October. I thought Charlie would make his arrival closer to mid-October, but he ended up just squeaking by to be an October baby. So basically all the photos from October are of Henry, enjoying his last month as an only child :)

Thankfully he loves playing in his little play area in our kitchen :)
He's big into changing diapers lately :)
Fall is the best :)
Rainy day hiking fun with friends
Henry having fun at his cousin's birthday party. LOL.
I went to get him out of his crib on this particular morning to find him sitting lined up with his animals
Hayride at the pumpkin patch!
Little Oregon boy picking pumpkins in the rain
October was a super rainy month here, but still pretty :)
There was a lot of focus on my belly last month as we prepared for baby brother's arrival!


Doctor Henry listening to his toy pumpkins heartbeat
Playing with trains
Cam carved Henry's pumpkin before my due date to make sure it was done before I went into labor...LOL

Once my parents were in town and I was overdue, I didn't really take many pictures
But we did go out to eat a lot! This honey poundcake with fresh pears from Sweedeedee was awesome!
Enjoying a rare sunny day
One of our last photos as a family of three!
October seems like ages ago now, looking forward to sharing more about life as a family of four soon!


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Charlie's Birth Story

Hello, hello! It's been a little while since I've blogged last because we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of baby boy #2...and in case you missed the announcement on Instagram, we welcomed our second son into the world last Monday (10/31/16) and we couldn't be more thrilled!

I wasn't sure how long it would take me to get around to sharing his birth story, but I wanted to write this post before I start to forget the details. With Henry, it took me a quite a long time to actually write out his birth story because his birth, although incredible and happy, was also very painful and somewhat traumatic; he had to go to the NICU right after birth, and recalling all the details made me quite emotional. Thankfully this time around, everything went much more smoothly and so I feel like it's a lot easier to sit down and write it out. Here's the story of how we met our sweet Charlie...

 

Leading up to my due date, I was fully expecting that I would go into labor early. Henry had only been four days late and although I felt good throughout this pregnancy, this baby just felt big and so I figured this time around that I'd end up giving birth before or at least very close to my due date. My mom actually came into town two days before my due date (10/18) and at my midwife appointment the day before my due date (10/19) I was between 2 and 3cms dilated (and she swept my membranes at that appointment), so I figured it would happen any time. But then my due date came and went and nothing happened. No labor signs, nothing. And while it was nice to have some extra time with my mom, I started to get antsy pretty quickly.

My dad got into town a few days after my due date (10/23) and still no baby. And over the next week, I basically became more and more agitated every single day that I didn't go into labor. Sure, we were doing fun things like going out to eat, I had pretty much finished everything on my pre-baby to-do list, and it was nice to for my parents to get to spend time some extra time with Henry. But it was also very mentally draining being overdue. I never really understood why people complained so much when they went past their due date, after all, it's is just an arbitrary day and all along you're told that the baby can come well before or after. Yet there is something about that day passing and still being pregnant that becomes really exhausting. When I was a little overdue with Henry, it really didn't bother me too much, mainly because I think I was more nervous about labor and having a newborn, so I was fine with having a few extra days of being pregnant. This time around, we were much more ready and just so excited to meet our son that it made the waiting that much harder. On my due date, we had the house all clean, lots of food prepared for Henry for while we'd be in the hospital, and everything was ready to go. But as the days went on, I was constantly trying to keep everything in that state - staying on top of laundry, restocking Henry's food and diapers, yet not being able to make any plans for the following day in case I went into labor - it was so annoying! Meanwhile, I was getting texts from friends and family checking in and while I of course appreciated the concern, it definitely didn't help my frustration at still being pregnant. And coupled with the fact that I was getting more and more tired with each passing day from not getting great sleep thanks to being so pregnant, I just started to get really worn out. Plus, I was trying to do everything I could to make myself go into labor - lots of walking, I went and got a reflexology massage, and I was eating all the foods that are supposed to bring on contractions. Still nothing.

At the day before I was 41 weeks (10/26), I went in for some routine fetal monitoring as well as an appointment with the midwife. Everything looked great with the baby and the midwife said I was almost 4cms dilated. My body was clearly ready to go into labor, but I just needed something to get contractions going. She swept my membranes again, and I hoped that would do the trick...which it didn't. We did go ahead and set a date for the following week for me to be induced, but she was convinced it wouldn't come to that and assured me that I'd more than likely end up going into labor on my own. She also mentioned that the hospital had been crazy busy with babies lately and to the point where they had been diverting people to other hospitals, so that kind of made me nervous for when I did go into labor. Once you go past 41 weeks, the midwives like to have you do fetal monitoring at twice a week to make sure that your fluid levels aren't too low and that everything is ok with the baby. I came back two days later (10/28) for more monitoring and met with the midwife on call for her to sweep my membranes for a third time and she said I was almost 5cms dilated. And honestly, that freaked me out a little because I knew that being so dilated could mean that when labor did start, things could progress incredibly fast. The midwife said that the baby, although head down, wasn't quite in exactly the right position to put enough pressure on my cervix and that's most likely why I hadn't gone into labor yet. She suggested that I use my breast pump to try to get contractions going and suggested a few different types of squats and lunges that might help coax him into a better position. Over the weekend, I pumped a bunch of times and didn't seem like it was doing much of anything, but I still remained hopeful that I'd go into labor on my own.

Every day after my due date, I'd go to bed hoping that I'd go into labor that night. And when I'd wake up in the morning still pregnant, I'd feel kind of mad, frustrated, annoyed, and almost a little bit like a failure? I know that probably seems totally crazy, but I had been following a few other bloggers on social media who had a similar due date to me and when they all had their babies, it's hard not to feel like what the heck is wrong with me! However, when I woke up on Sunday (10/30) I didn't feel mad about still being pregnant, I felt genuinely sad. Up until that point, I had truly been thinking that I would spontaneously go into labor on my own, but it was that day where I finally resigned myself to the fact that it was not going to happen that way. And it wasn't so much that I had a problem with being induced, it was more so the realization that the picture I had in my head of how I assumed things were going to go was not going to happen. I felt so mentally and physically drained that I felt like I wasn't even excited about giving birth any more, and that made me feel depressed. (I realize now writing this out that it probably sounds super dramatic, but at a week and a half past my due date, I wasn't exactly thinking clearly!) I basically just stayed in bed and cried for a few hours that day (like I said, being overdue makes you crazy...ha) and that actually made me feel better. Over the weekend, I had called to move my induction up from 11/2 to 11/1 because I realized if I made it to November and I was still pregnant, I wanted this baby out ASAP. So on Sunday, after wallowing for a few hours, I accepted that this little boy was going to be a November baby and felt better that the end was finally in sight.

Monday morning, I felt good because I knew it was my last day of being pregnant. I figured I'd soak up time with Henry, make some chili for dinner, hand out candy to trick or treaters, and go to bed early before my induction the next day. I got out of bed around 8:30, got a cup of coffee, and was not having any signs of labor at all. A few minutes later, I had a contraction but didn't think too much of it and went to get Henry dressed. Around 7 minutes later, I had another contraction (I had my contraction timer up at this point) but again, didn't really think I was actually going into labor. 10 minutes later, I had another contraction. Hmmm. I literally only had those three contractions and then all the sudden, I started having contractions 2-3 minutes apart and they weren't stopping. I started freaking out a little because everything was happening so fast, plus traffic at this time of day from our house to the hospital can be really bad, and I really did not want to have a baby in the car on the way. Cam was on a conference call in his office and so I texted him from Henry's room saying he needed to be done with his call now. A minute later he rushed upstairs and he knew it was go time. On my fifth contraction or so, I called my parents (who at this point were staying at a hotel) and told them they needed to come over ASAP. I rushed around packing a few minute things, tidying up, and making sure we had everything all ready for Henry, all the while having contractions every two minutes. When my parents arrived, Cam and I immediately jumped in the car and headed for the hospital just before 10am. Thankfully traffic had cleared by that point and my contractions, although frequent, were not too painful yet.

I had Cam take one last bump photo before we left, this is 41 weeks + 4 days :) I'm actually wearing the same exact thing that I wore when we went to the hospital for Henry's birth, except this time I'm not wearing any makeup since I learned from the first time around that wearing non-waterproof mascara to give birth is a pretty bad idea. LOL.
Very last picture as a family of 3 before heading to the hospital!
When we got to the hospital, a nurse came and met us at check in to take us up to the labor and delivery floor. In the elevator, he mentioned that things were actually super quiet at the hospital that day, which made me feel better. The midwife practice at this hospital where I was delivering consists of about 10 different midwives and whoever happens to be on shift is who delivers your baby. And although this is the same hospital where we had Henry, the midwife who delivered him, who I loved, had since left the practice. But when we got up to labor and delivery, the midwife who was on shift came to meet us and it turned out it was my favorite midwife who I had had the most appointments with this pregnancy. Seeing her was a huge relief and made me feel like everything was really happening exactly as it was supposed to. At this point, I was having pretty frequent contractions that were becoming more intense. Because things were so quiet in labor and delivery that morning and because I was obviously in active labor and so far overdue, they didn't even bother having me go to triage or checking to see how far dilated I was. They just went ahead and got me settled in a room since I was definitely being admitted and not leaving that hospital without a baby, ha!

By 11am, I was set up in my room and the nurse and midwife were working on getting all of my intake information. My water hadn't broken yet, and they went ahead and got me set up with an IV and started the first dose of antibiotics because I was Group B Strep positive this time around. (I wasn't with Henry, but this time I was and although I was a little bummed at first, it ended up being no big deal at all) Throughout this pregnancy, I had told the midwives that I would most likely want to get an epidural this time around (I didn't with Henry) unless my labor was progressing super fast and there wasn't time. And although my contractions had come on very quickly, they were holding steady and I wasn't feeling any urges to push. I remembered from last time that things would need to get a lot more painful before the baby was actually born, so I went ahead and let them know that I definitely wanted to get the epidural. At this point, they still hadn't checked me to see how far dilated I was and they thought it made sense to get the epidural first since it was something I definitely wanted. The anesthesiologist and one of the anesthesiology residents came in around noon (I think? Some of the timing is a little hazy...) and explained all about the epidural. My contractions were getting a lot more painful at this point so I was just like whatever, just hurry up and do it! Sitting still for them to put in the epidural felt like an eternity, but I go through it with Cam's help and once it was in, they told me I should start feeling relief and it should increase with each contraction over the next twenty minutes. I did feel some relief, but not the amount I was expecting and my contractions were still so painful that I was literally screaming through some of them. Since I didn't have an epidural before, I didn't know how long it would take to kick in but the midwife and the nurse were like yeah, something is not right here. The anesthesiologist came back in and saw how much pain I was in and was like ok, so looks like the spot where we put it didn't take and so if you want the epidural, we're going to need to completely redo it. WTF.

At this point, I suppose I could have said not to redo it and that I'd just go on without it, but I was in a lot of pain and had already made up my mind that I wanted the epidural. And as much as I didn't want to have to endure having it put in again, I did not want to go on without it. However, I told the anesthesiologist that there was no way I could sit up and have him put it in like he did before, and so he said he could do it while I was lying on my side. The next twenty minutes or so were brutal. They had to take all the tape off my back and redo everything for the epidural. I was having painful contractions and trying to be still while curling up in a ball so he could find a good spot on my back to put it in was horrible. I was covered in sweat and Cam and the nurses were basically having to hold me down so the anesthesiologist could do what he needed to. Finally, FINALLY, he got it in and I started to feel some relief from the pain. Apparently the spot where they put it in the first time just didn't work for my back for whatever reason and so they moved it up higher and that did the trick. They gave me a very strong dose of meds and by 1pm-ish or so, I couldn't feel any contractions at all. However, we could see them on the monitor and they were still happening and not slowing down at all. At this point, the midwife finally got around to checking me and I was 7cms dilated. Hearing that made me SO glad that I got the epidural because I knew if I was in that much pain going from 5-7 cms that going from 7-10cms and pushing would have been rough. At this point, the midwife said that I should get some rest and we'd just wait for things to progress. I tried to take a nap, but was too excited, so I ended up texting some family and friends and FaceTiming with my sister. LOL.

We didn't take any photos at the hospital until after I got the epidural the second time, everything was pretty busy up until then!
 The epidural made me feel a little out of it but also so amazing that I literally wasn't feeling any pain and so the next couple of hours flew by. The midwife came to check me another time or two and at one point, she and one of the midwife students basically tried to adjust the baby's position a little to make sure he'd have an easy time coming out. Around 4pm or so, she checked me and I was 10cms and ready to push, however, my water hadn't broken yet. And it just so happened that at that exact time, there were two other women who were also ready to push as well. I was seriously feeling so good from the epidural and not having any urges to push, so I told the midwife that I was cool to just chill for awhile while she dealt with some of the other people in labor. I figured I had waited this long, what was another half hour or so...ha! At this point, my water also broke but I still wasn't in any pain so Cam and I just sat there and chatted, knowing that our son would be here really soon.

So excited that we're finally going to meet this baby boy!
Like I said, the epidural made me a little out of it. Ha.
 Around 4:40 or so, the midwife came back and it was time to have a baby! I started pushing right around 4:45 and thanks to being able to rest the past few hours, I felt like I had a lot of energy for pushing. With Henry, I got to the hospital around 8pm and labored all through the night and had to start pushing in the early hours of the morning. But this time, it was the middle of the day and so I just felt a lot more awake and ready to do what needed to be done. I pushed a few times and the midwife and nurses were trying to coach me not to push too hard or too fast, but to sort of ease the baby out gradually. Pushing with the epidural was still painful, as I don't think anything can really take that pain away. However, it was way less painful than pushing was without one and I felt like I could actually breathe in between pushes. I also didn't throw up at all when I was pushing this time which made a world of difference from last time where I literally puked every time I pushed. (It probably helped that I had ramen for dinner the night before and had only eaten a banana the morning I went into labor so my stomach was pretty empty!) I pushed a few times and then all of the sudden his head was out. After that I pushed another time or two and they had to help maneuver his shoulders out, but at 4:58pm, after only 13 minutes of pushing, Charlie was officially born!



Seeing him come out and having him immediately put on my chest was such an emotional moment and because I wasn't so delirious from pain and puking, I felt like I could really be present to take it in. One of my first thoughts when they were pulling him out and putting him on me was oh my goodness, he's so big! He wasn't crying right away, but they put him on me and started rubbing him down vigorously and he started letting out cries. Pretty soon, he was intensely crying and boy, did he have a set of lungs! With Henry, there was some meconium in the fluid when my water broke and he had the cord wrapped around his neck, so we didn't get to do the delayed cord clamping like we planned and I didn't even really get to see him until 10 minutes after he was born or hold him until like an hour after he came out. This time around, my hope had really been that I'd get to have that skin to skin time right after birth and just enjoy my baby and so getting to do that was so amazing. With Cam right by my side, I was just holding him and crying and just so, so happy he was finally here! After a few minutes, Cam got to cut the cord and we were just soaking in this perfect, squishy, amazing baby and just so thankful to have another son.


After about an hour or so of holding him on my chest, I just couldn't wait any longer and told the nurse I had to know what he weighed. I knew that he was bigger than Henry and most likely over 10 lbs, but when they took him across the room to the scale and it said 10lbs 9oz, we were all a little shocked! (That's over a pound heavier than Henry!) He also measured in at 22 inches long, which is half an inch longer than his big brother. Being 11 days past my due date and being that Cam and I were both big babies, I knew he'd be big, but it was still pretty amazing that I had given birth to a baby of that size!

The only not so great thing that happened after Charlie was born is that delivering my placenta was a little bit of an ordeal. After it came out, I was still bleeding quite a bit and had some trailing membranes that didn't seem to want to come out, and so the midwife had to work for quite awhile dealing with that. In addition to being so happy I had the epidural for pushing out such a large baby, I was also really happy I had it because dealing with the midwife trying to make sure she got out all these membranes would have been super uncomfortable without it.

Once that was all squared away, we were just enjoying cuddling with our sweet baby, as well as letting our families know he had arrived. My parents had been at our house watching Henry during the day, but after Charlie was born, Cam's parents came to take over and my parents came to the hospital around 7pm. They got to see us briefly while we were still in the room where I delivered, but then shortly after we moved up to our room on the Mother/Baby floor.



Soon after we got to our new room, Cam's parents arrived at the hospital with Henry. Throughout my pregnancy, one of the things I was most excited about was that moment of Henry meeting his baby brother. All throughout my pregnancy, we've been reading books about being a big brother, we got him a little baby doll, and we'd talk to him about the baby. Still, I knew he wouldn't really "get it" the way an older child would and although I knew that he probably wouldn't have some huge reaction upon meeting his brother in the hospital, I was still super excited for that moment of having my boys together for the first time. In the weeks leading up to Charlie's birth, I ended up deciding to get Henry these doctor scrubs for Halloween. I knew we most likely wouldn't be taking him trick or treating this year, since I assumed we'd be home with a newborn. I thought theses big brother scrubs would be cute for him to wear around the house to hand out candy, and just a fitting costume for him this year that he could also use to wear around the house as PJs. I never could have anticipated that he'd actually be coming to the hospital to meet his brother for the first time on Halloween night, so the scrubs ended up being absolutely perfect, especially since all the nurses were also wearing blue scrubs just like his. When Henry came in, my parents and Cam's parents were all in the room and it was a little bit of a blur because I just started bawling my eyes out almost immediately. Henry seemed a little shy and unsure of what was going on, but Cam brought him over to sit on the bed with me and had our first moment as a family of four. Like I said, I wasn't expecting Henry to have some big reaction to the baby at first, it was more the fact the realization that we had two beautiful, healthy sons and we were all together for the first time that just made me very emotional. Especially after waiting for so long for Charlie to come, I just felt so happy and thankful and it was just a special moment.

 






After a minute or two, Henry pretty much lost interest in the baby and became way more interested in all the equipment in the hospital room....ha! So many things to check out for a toddler. LOL.


Being able to have both of our parents there to see Charlie on the day he was born was also really special and I'm so glad that worked out!




As for his name, we chose Charles Richard for a few reasons. When I was pregnant with Henry, we ended up deciding on his name pretty quickly and we didn't really have other top choice names that we debated between. So this time around when we found out we were having another boy, it was kind of back to the drawing board to think of a name. And although there were names that we liked that were more Biblical or more trendy, we really wanted a name that went well with Henry. Since his name (Henry William) is very traditional, Cam through out the name Charlie at some point after finding out it was a boy. At first, I didn't really love it, mainly because it was a name we had never considered before and was kind of out of left field. But as time went on, it really started to grow on me and I really liked the way Henry and Charlie sounded together. (And although we don't plan on calling them this except maybe as a joke, Hank and Chuck go pretty great together too. LOL.) Also, Charlie is a family name on Cam's side and I really like the idea of using a name that has some sort of family tie. For the middle name, we knew pretty early on that we'd be going with Richard since that's Cam's middle name, as well as his grandfather's name. We thought that Charles Richard went well together, and also went really well with Henry William. As with Henry, we opted not to share his name on social media until after the birth in case we had a change of heart, but we had told many of our family and friends that it would most likely be Charlie. And then on the day I went into labor when they asked if baby boy had a name, we felt good about Charlie being the right choice. We definitely plan on calling him Charlie, we did put Charles on his birth certificate and I like that he has the option of using a more formal name down the road if he wants. Plus, I feel like Charlie is just such a sweet, all-American name and I think it suits this big guy perfectly!



Reflecting on my experience this time vs. last time, I'm so thankful for how everything went. I know some people might be wondering if I regret not having an epidural with Henry and I really don't. His birth story was such an intense experience that truly took every ounce of strength I had, and I almost feel like going through that immense amount of pain helped to forge me in to the new role that I would have to take on as a mom. As I mentioned in his birth story, the midwife I saw after Henry's birth really helped to put the pain I experienced with his labor and birth into perspective and helped me see the value in going through something really hard because it's something that I would be able to draw strength on as a new mom, knowing if I got through that, that I could get through anything that motherhood might throw at me. This time around, I was going into this birth from a much different place. I'm already a mom, and I really love it. I felt like this experience was not so much about going through this tremendous life change, but rather getting to really experience the joy of being a mom in a few way. When I was in labor with Henry, I remember thinking (and screaming LOL) when I was pushing that I didn't think I could do it. This time around, I knew I could do it and I think that confidence going into Charlie's birth was really what made the biggest difference, even beyond getting the epidural. But I'm really really really glad that I made the choice to get the epidural this time around because it felt very redemptive to be able to be so much more present when Charlie was born and to get to enjoy the experience a lot more.

 

After Henry met Charlie on Saturday night, Cam's parents and my dad left and Cam actually headed home as well and my mom stayed in the hospital over night with me. I really wanted Henry to have a sense of normalcy and I thought having Cam go home with him and put him to bed would be the best thing for him. Plus, I thought it would be the best way for Cam to actually get a little rest and take a shower after the day. I knew I wouldn't be getting much rest with people coming in and out of our room to take vitals and check on us all night, so he might as well get a good night's sleep! And I just felt a lot more confident with nursing and everything in general, so I was fine letting him go home. He didn't want me to stay there alone though, and my mom was happy to stay in the room, so that worked out well. The next morning, my dad came to pick up my mom and see the baby one more time before heading back to Michigan and then he took her back to our house to watch Henry and Cam came back up to the hospital with Charlie and I. Our goal was to be able to go home after 24 hours and not have to stay a second night since the baby was doing well and I was feeling good. However, since there are so many different people that had to see me and the baby to sign off on our discharge, that meant that we had people in our room non-stop that day after Charlie was born. It was kind of a blur, but they finally cleared us to head home around 6pm, so just a little over 24 hours after Charlie's birth. Our time in the hospital was great, but I was so ready to get home and see Henry and sleep (or well at least nurse) in my own bed. Ha.

Getting ready to take our little Halloween baby home!
I actually brought a different going home outfit for me, but ended up just wearing the same outfit I had worn to the hospital 24 hours before to come home :) And thankfully, Charlie seems to be a big fan of the car seat like his big brother!
So how are things going now that we're home? Since this post is already really long, I'm planning on writing another post about that in a month or so once we've had a little more time to experience life with two kids. But so far, at a week in, things are going really, really well! Granted, my mom is still in town which is probably giving us a false sense of how easy things are since having an extra set of hands here to help with Henry has been really helpful. But overall, things are going much better than I anticipated. Charlie is a such sweet, easy going baby and you forget just how much newborns sleep! Well, not so much at night, but even that hasn't been too bad, mainly because I'm a lot more comfortable with nursing so it's easier for me to do it in the middle of the night and I'm much more aware that this is a phase that won't last forever. Henry wasn't super into the baby when we brought him home, but now he is really starting to warm up to him and it's so cute to see. And thankfully, I feel much better than I did after only a week when I had Henry. Last time, I was super sore from having such a physically demanding labor and was just in a lot more discomfort and thought things would never feel normal again. This time around, I already feel so much more like myself and we've already been able to get out of the house quite a bit for only being a week postpartum. Cam has been amazingly helpful and I'm thankful he's able to take time off work as we transition to life with two kids!


Overall, Charlie's birth was an amazing experience and we are so happy he's here. He's the perfect addition to our family and I am totally happy being outnumbered by these three sweet guys!


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