On life with 3

Hudson is now 6 weeks old and Ethan has started Kindergarten. Not sure which one of those things reminds me more that life goes by in such a hurry. Things have been moving along at a frantic pace - between nursing every 2-2.5 hours, packing school lunches, giving boys baths, and trying to fit in some "me" time somewhere in there, the days fly by (while ironically, the nights...do not).

My body and my psyche has finally adjusted to the nighttime feeding and lack of sleep. I'm no longer walking through each day in a sleepy delirious haze - however I will continue to blame my forgetfulness on mommy-brain; what day of the week is it again?

It's been so strange having to wake up every day to ensure Ethan gets dressed, brushes his teeth, eats a good breakfast and gets to school on time. It's kind of bittersweet knowing this morning routine will be part of my life now for the next, oh, 18 years or so until Hudson graduates high school. If ever I would consider forcing myself to like coffee, now would be a good time.

Ethan is loving Kindergarten, as I knew he would. The first day drop-off went so well that it was only natural that the 2nd day jitters would come into effect. When I took him on Tuesday, it was an all out fit-in-the-hallway breakdown. A random teacher jumped in to help pry him from my waist and I cried the whole way home even though I knew he would soon settle down and have a good rest of the day. Perhaps the excitement had worn off for me as well leading to my emotional breaking point too.

After the first full week, I'm happy to say that so far he "loves kindergarten" and "can't wait to go back on Tuesday". Fingers crossed...

Hudson is truly the sweetest little squishy bundle ever. He rarely cries - rather squeaks or squeals - and only does so to alert me of his wet/dirty diaper and/or desire to eat. He is sleeping well between feedings at night (no mix-up of days and nights...yet) if only he would start to sleep longer than 3 hours so mommy can get some decent shut-eye!

The boys are absolutely enthralled by him. They want to hold him, hug him, kiss him ALL. THE. TIME. Which is cute, yes, but I envision the invisible transfer of germs with every touch especially now that they are both back in the petri dish called school. I try to emphasize the importance for them to wash their hands and not touch or kiss his hands, mouth, eyes, etc. but my preaching seems to go in one ear and out the other. I can only hope that by continuing to breastfeed, I might be able to enhance his immune system enough to keep the sickies at bay as long as possible.

Speaking of nursing - it is going very well. I only stuck with it for 6 weeks with Ethan, giving in after 2 horrible bouts of mastitis and a stint in the hospital due to a bad reaction to an antibiotic to treat said mastitis. I remember sitting in the lactation consultant's office at the pediatrician, crying, and telling her I didn't want to "give up". She gently reminded me that sometimes it's better for both baby and mom to release the stress and guilt. It was as if I was seeking her permission to let me stop. And I did.

When Aiden was born, they told me nursing would be all but impossible due to his high arched palate and other anatomical anomalies. So I pumped. Every two hours for the first week he was in the NICU. Then, he took the bottle so well that they let me try to feed him at the breast. He took to it like a champ! I kept at it for 4 months despite the added stress of dealing with his diagnosis and the fact that I had a newly walking toddler to take care of too. After those 4 months, I patted myself on the back and reminded myself that it was okay to switch to formula. So I did.

My plan this time - since everything has been going swimmingly - is to nurse for 6 months. This puts me into January and after all of our holiday traveling. With that said, I'm not putting any pressure on myself. If one day it all becomes too much? Not gonna beat myself up about stopping.

Leaving the house has become much easier with all three kiddos in tow. I am just careful to plan ahead (pack up the diaper bag, get the stroller in the car, etc.) before heading out the door. Ethan and Aiden are at an age where they can be a bit more independent so it makes things MUCH easier both at home and while on outings. I'm just wondering when the day will come when the "You're such a big helper" compliment will lose its appeal and they begin complaining about all the favors I ask of them.

All in all, I'd say our family has handled the last few months of changes pretty well. As the "coordinator of chaos", I'm getting the hang of life with three and loving every minute :)

Body after Baby: Week 1

A few things to report...

First of all, my "will-power challenge" this week was NO CHOCOLATE. If you know me, you know that this was a struggle. I am looking forward to tomorrow when I can indulge in a {healthy} chocolate snack like the Special K crisps or graham crackers with Nutella (which is technically hazelnut, not chocolate, but I omitted this as well).

I'm giving myself a 9 out of 10 for this challenge and here's why: I *accidentally* had chocolate twice. I absentmindedly took a bite of Aiden's Kids Cliff bar when I opened it for him - which proves to me that I often eat calories I totally don't think about throughout the day. The second was on Ethan's first day of Kindergarten. Ricky made chocolate chip pancakes, per his request, and I ate two. The reason I am cutting myself some slack is because it didn't come down to a will-power issue. The fact that I was able to resist swiping a few M&Ms from the 5lb bag leftover from my family's visit almost two months ago shows that I was able to keep my will-power in tact.

Secondly, the good news is that I lost weight this week. Albeit only ONE measly pound. But hey, I'll take it. The best part is I am feeling really good and I'm *almost* able to button my favorite pre-pregnancy jeans. So I'm vowing to not focus too much on the numbers on the scale, but moreso on how things fit and how I feel.

Thirdly, I had my 6-week postpartum appointment on Tuesday and I've gotten the green light to start exercising once again. I'm not gonna lie, it's been a while. But I'm eager to lace up my roller blades and hit the street. I'm also going to alternate my workouts to include the "Running for Beginners" schedule I found on Pinterest {follow me here!} I'm going to ease into things people. As I've stated before, a runner I am not, however I have signed up for the Lights of Love 5K in December so I need to incorporate it back into my routine {by the way, if you'd like to learn why I'm running, click here. If you'd like to help me reach my fundraising goal in support of Team Dustin and the Ronald McDonald house, click here}.

So there you have it. I'm excited to continue my Body after Baby mission. Thank you to all of those who commented or sent me encouraging messages, I need it!

Body after Baby: week 1 pic
{ Week 1 } 173.5


What I Want You to Know

After I put the boys to bed last night, I began the task of completing the plethora of paperwork Ethan needed to turn in on his first day of Kindergarten. Emergency contact form, school pick-up option, student handbook, etc.

Then there was this one yellow sheet from the teacher that asked a bunch of questions about Ethan to help her get to know what kind of student he might be, like What kind of activities do we do at home? and What are his interests? I completed the questions as thoroughly as possible but as I read the last one, a lump formed in my throat.

Is there anything else you want me to know about your child?

I stared at the two thin black lines wondering just how I was supposed to fit all I wanted to say in that small amount of space. I came up with a few general things: he has lots of energy, he is looking forward to learning how to read. But if I could've, I'd have written much more.

Dear Ms. Stewart - here is what I really want you to know about Ethan...
He is honest to a fault. If your shirt is on backwards or your hair is a mess, he'll tell you. And because of this quality, you'll probably have many laughs in spite of yourself.
He is super affectionate. We struggle with teaching him about personal space. Some kids like hugs, others absolutely do not. Even though getting an arms-wrapped-around-your-neck kind of Ethan hug is one of the best things in the world, please help him understand that everyone needs their space. But if YOU are willing to give it a whirl - I promise you won't be disappointed.
As outgoing as he is, he has a very tender heart. His silly side is not to be outdone by his sensitive spirit. If he makes mistakes, by all means correct him. But please, oh please, be gentle with his heart. It is a challenge for me at home to look into those big hazel eyes and tell him no so I have no doubt it will be such for you. He will test you, I'm sure of it. However I know that in his heart he wants to do good. Please remember this when he squeezes the glitter glue too hard or interrupts you with his "I have an idea!" remarks.
Oh my, does this boy have an imagination! Every book comes to life in his sweet little head. And his stories can sometimes never end. When appropriate, encourage his creativity to soar and I'm positive you will be impressed. But don't believe everything he says. If he tells you he's going to Antarctica for a family vacation - chances are he's let his imagination get the best of him :)
Be patient with my boy. He has an argument answer for everything and a "but" for every "no". He sometimes needs a gentle reminder who is boss. It's enough to make me crazy so I'm sure you'll feel the same way, although with your teaching background you will probably have better techniques for handling such behavior (that doesn't involve locking yourself in a room so you don't lose your marbles).
Ethan is a tad bit girl crazy. This may (and most likely will) include you. At just 5 years old he has a very strong understanding of emotions and talks often about being "in love" and wanting to "marry" this girl or that. It's cute at first - then it's overwhelming. Keep him focused. Sit him with boys. 
Please please keep him safe. You must know how hard, how strange it is, that I'm entrusting you, a stranger I've only met for five minutes, with the care of my son for the majority of the day. I've been there for every bump, scrape and bruise and have always been there to give him a mommy kiss to make it better. He still needs those kisses - even if he tries to pretend that he doesn't.
Finally, just know how lucky you are. Ethan is one of a kind. He'll keep you on your toes and turn your heart to mush. He is one of my greatest accomplishments. Giving him over to you for this school year is hard on this momma's heart. He's an amazing kid inside and out and he will probably teach you things you never expected. I can guarantee that you'll remember him when he packs up his stuff to move on to the 1st grade. Enjoy every minute of him. Five years has gone by in a flash, so I know the next 9 months will fly by too.
Thank you for listening,
Ethan's mom 

That, my friends, is what I wanted her to know.

No, I didn't have the space to write it on those two little black lines, but I have no doubt that after just a few short weeks with him, she will know all of the above without me having to say a word. And if so? Then Kindergarten will be a success.

Body after Baby: the starting point

As I was making my photo collage to include on this very post, my husband caught a glimpse and said "Wow, it's really brave of you to put that out there. You're sure about this?"

And my answer? A reluctant "yes".

When I go online to find inspiration - the pages I read are the ones that have pictures. Real life, untouched, honest pictures. There is something about making oneself vulnerable that seems to mean business.

By posting pics and stats each week there is an extra layer of accountability. I mean, think about it. I WANT to see CHANGE. I don't want to FAIL. And I ESPECIALLY don't want for the people following along to see me crash and burn. I will not be able to hide behind the words and numbers I type on the computer. Doing it this way will keep me motivated.

When looking at my weekly pics, keep in mind...
  1. This body has birthed 3 babies - one being less than 6 weeks ago (remember????)
  2. I gained about 38 lbs during my pregnancy. I say "about" because I didn't look at the scale on my last visit the day I went into labor.
  3. I've lost about 20 lbs since giving birth - mostly due to #4 below.
  4. I am breastfeeding - so my chest is probably not gonna get any smaller until that gig is up.
  5. My tummy will never be completely flat. I've ALWAYS had a pooch - even at 112 lbs. in high school. And I had an umbilical hernia repair after having Aiden which really screwed things up in that area.
  6. I will not be posting any progress pics in bathing suits like some do. Mostly because I was blessed with the stretch mark gene. Yup, I've got 'em. And they ain't pretty.
  7. I fully intend to have a "mommy makeover" once I meet my weight-loss goal. This will include a breast lift (see #4), a tummy tuck (see #1) and any other things the plastic surgeon talks me into (with the exception of liposuction - that just freaks me out.)
  8. I hope to one day be able to rock a a super-cute bikini like the ones I wore on my honeymoon (see pic at right). Which is why #7 is necessary :)
Alright, here goes! Don't laugh, promise?
{ Starting Point 174.6

Blogs I Love: From Mrs. to Mama

Every now and then I'm going to try to post about a blog I love to follow. This first post just happens to mention an awesome blog that has an awesome giveaway going on right now.

If you read More Skees Please to get a glimpse into my family's life, read stories about the funny things my kids do/say and see cute pictures, then you will LOVE From Mrs. to Mama.

From her "About" page:

Hello. My name is Becky and I am the voice behind this blog, From Mrs to Mama. I started this little space of mine 2 years ago when I was a fresh newlywed, recent graduate from Purdue University, and a young girl who was trying to find balance and structure in her life. Why I started this blog? Initially to connect and share newlywed experiences. Little did I know the places that this space would take me.... 
Within months of writing my very first post, my husband Andrew and I found out that we were expecting a blessing, a daughter, and right away our focus became this pregnancy and learning the ropes of parenthood. So much that I disappeared from the blog world during my entire pregnancy, popping in from time to time as we began preparing our new home for this little blessing. 
After my daughter was born in November 2010, I had the urge to write again. Share with other mamas, wives, and women all across the globe my experiences. The good. The bad. The joy. The tears. The happiness. The blessings. The surprises. The mishaps. The achievements. And the expectations. What it's like to to survive your first year of motherhood. What it's like to balance being a SAHM and a working nights as a nurse in a critical care unit. What it's like to have your first "AH-HA" moment. And what it's like to have your "Oh no" moment. And the laughs. Oh the laughs. I believe that everyone needs a few laughs from time to time, and I don't hold back when it comes to sharing some of these moments hat surround our household. Every day. 
And so I wrote. And continue to write. My story. Our story. Our journey. The struggles and the highs. This is us. Living life. Loving life. And never looking back, from being a Mrs... to Mama, and all things in between. 
And it's not always rainbows and butterflies.                But that's okay, that's the beauty of life.
Today she posted about an awesome giveaway she promised her readers once she hit 2000 followers on Google Friend Connect. 2000 followers people! That's a whole lot of people who read her stuff. And you should too!

Head on over to her blog to check out the giveaway - worth $200 - and enter for your chance to win! And if you do, tell her Taryn @ More Skees Please sent you over :)

Back to School...yippee!!!

I have a confession. I am only a *little* sad to have the summer come to an end and the boys start back to school.

As a stay at home mom, I try my darndest to keep things fun and interesting for them. But add in the sleep deprivation that comes along with a brand new baby and, well, let's just say that for the past few weeks, some days are filled with less learning and more television. Less quality time and more just.leave.me.alone.for.5.minutes PLEASE!

Aiden, first day of Pre-K
I don't think I'm the only one who is excited about this change in pace. When we dropped Aiden off at school this morning we anticipated he might be a bit hesitant to let us leave. After all, his big brother is no longer at his school. But...he didn't bat an eye. I'm sure he is happy to see his friends and actually DO things. Organized, crafty, fun and even educational things. And with a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef on staff, I'm sure my little hungry monkey is looking forward to lunchtime too!

As for Ethan starting Kindergarten...yes, I am a bit emotional. Or I should say I *was*. This week Ethan has tested every limit, thrown tantrums better than a 2 year old, and talked back so much that I'll practically be pushing him out the door come Monday. It's going to be weird having him gone every single day of the week since Kinder is five days a week ALL DAY, just like the big kids. So yes, I *might* miss him a little bit. Okay, probably a lot.

To get them excited about school, they had a visit from the "Back to School Fairy". They placed their backpacks at the bottom of the stairs at night and "the Fairy" left special school treats in it by morning.

"The Fairy" filled a large desk size case with all the supplies they would need to complete their homework: a new pack of crayons, markers, colored pencils (erasable!), glue sticks, scissors, pencils and a sharpener. They will be kept on the little shelf under the kitchen table and ONLY used for school work. That way we won't be searching for markers that aren't dried out, glue sticks that aren't without caps and pencils that aren't broken. They'll have everything they need there and ready to go.

There were also a few "school readiness" workbooks, flash cards, and a box of Fruit Roll Ups for an after school treat.

See, wasting time on the internet can actually make me a better mom, er, I mean Fairy :)

Body after Baby: the master plan

Body after Baby

If you're anything like me, you've started a diet many times and failed many times. Or, who hasn't said "I'll start on Monday" only to have Monday come and go...and the next Monday and the next, and so on.

Like I said in my previous post, I am committed to losing the baby weight (and then some). So, you ask, how is this time going to be different from all the times I've started before and failed to succeed? Well, I've asked myself the same thing and in doing so I've addressed the biggest challenges I face when it comes to following through.


CHALLENGE: I lose motivation
You know how it goes. You start out all gung-ho (kind of like I am now...) then slowly fall back into old habits like eating pizza once a week or forgoing that work-out to catch up on junk TV on the DVR. It's just too easy to do.

>> SOLUTION: Create a Vision Board for inspiration
I am a visual person. I do much better with a physical list in front of me - something about seeing the little check marks on completed items makes me happy. In the era of Pinterest, making a vision board is super easy to do. However I will need to take it a step further than a virtual pin board. I'm actually going to print out pictures and checklists and have them front and center where I can see them every day. Maybe hanging on my bedroom door or bathroom mirror? I'll share once it's complete.

sample fitness vision board
Sample "vision board": Source

CHALLENGE: Eating healthy is too hard
It's no secret that I lack the cooking gene. I don't like to do it. I don't like the mess. And I'm not good at coming up with meals spur-of-the-moment so I end up snacking or eating convenience foods.

>>  SOLUTION:  Create a weekly meal plan and stick to it
A little planning goes a long way. Not only does it take the guess work out of "what's for dinner?", but it also satisfies my list-making mentality. I've made a cutesy meal plan printable to use for this purpose. There are TONS of websites with great ready-made meal plans and obviously Pinterest has revolutionized recipe sharing. That's where I get most of my inspiration...and almost everything I've tried has been amazing!

CHALLENGE: I have ZERO will power
I'm the queen of caving. I'm all "No more Sour Patch Kids for me". I even ask Ricky to help me stick to it and then on my next Target trip I buy a bag and hide it in my purse . When he finds it and gently reminds me I gave them up I immediately snap back "I don't care I NEEEED Sour Patch Kids right NOOOOWWW!" And then finish it up with a dose if guilt with "Don't judge me."

>>  SOLUTION:  Baby steps, folks, baby steps
I found this great idea on Pinterest called the No Junk Food Challenge. It has a list of things to exclude from your diet for 21 days. While it is great in theory, for someone who has issues with will power it seems like I'd just be setting myself up for failure. So...I'm going to modify it a bit. I'll give up each item for a week starting at the top of the list and working my way down. For instance, this week I will give up chocolate. Next week candy and so on and so forth.

No Junk Food Challenge
Source: Pinterest.com

CHALLENGE: I don't have time to exercise
I know, I know...so cliche. But, hear me out. I've got a 1-month old baby and two very busy 4 and 5 year-old boys. I'm also PTA Secretary, serve on the executive board of a non-profit's young professional Leadership Council and I'm on a handful of other committees for various organizations. Sometimes I wonder if I've spread myself too thin. So, needless to say working out usually takes a back seat to these commitments.

>>  SOLUTION:  Suck it up and make the time
My mom always says 'where there is a will, there's a way'. My super-busy (and super-disciplined) husband wakes up at 5:30am up to 3 days a week to run with a group in our neighborhood. While that's definitely not going to happen for me (I'm not a runner and I'm usually feeding Hudson at 5:30am), I can incorporate little things throughout my day that resemble exercise. For instance, I will make myself do squats or lunges or crunches while I'm watching tv at night. Or I will gather the troops for a walk around the block a few times/week. Eventually, I am going to dust off my rollerblades. And when Hudson's a little older, I plan on hitting the gym while the kids play in the childcare area.

CHALLENGE: I don't realize what I'm really eating...
In other words, I often don't account for the little "extras" I consume throughout the day. That handful of Lucky Charms. The mini Snickers from the candy dish at the PTA meeting. The three bites of corn dog as I'm making my kids dinner.

>>  SOLUTION:  Keep track of EVERYTHING
My method of choice is the smart phone app My Fitness Pal. When I force myself to keep track of every bite I take it gives me a realistic picture of how all those little things add up. And it educates me. Choosing that salad for lunch from Panera? NOT as healthy as I originally thought. Plus, you can set it up so that your friends see if you've met or exceeded your calories for the day and your weight loss progress. {My username is tarync23 if you'd like to join/follow}

So there it is folks. My master plan. Ultimately my main goal is to simply get healthy. If I can get back into a bikini at the end of all this, that will be an added bonus!
PS - I did take some "before" pictures today and will share those AND
my starting weight (gasp) in my Week 1 update on Friday. 

Body After Baby

No more excuses folks...I'm getting back in shape. It's time. I've been putting it off for long enough for many legitimate (and not-so-legitimate) reasons.

For example:
  • After Ethan was born, I was pregnant 3 months later. So much for losing the baby weight!
  • When Aiden was born the last thing I was thinking about was exercise. My diet consisted of emotional  eating, comfort foods and eating out while traveling for his care. Not ideal. Some people lose weight from stress. Unfortunately, that wasn't me.
  • Then when things finally settled down we started talking about baby #3. I told myself it would be pointless to try to lose weight at that point because I was just going to put it all back on when I got pregnant again.
  • Fast forward a year or two and I still wasn't pregnant. The infertility and miscarriages left me depressed and unmotivated to get moving. I think I felt like if I started working out hard core, I'd be giving up on my dream of having another baby. Weird I know.
Once I finally got pregnant and we knew our family would be complete, I vowed to get into gear after the baby was here.

So here I am. Hudson is 4 weeks old and I'm ready to make good on my promise to myself.

In order to keep myself on track, I plan on sharing my progress here on the blog on a weekly basis. I'll include a summary of what I'm eating, how I'm working out and if I'm really brave, perhaps some totally unedited before, during, and after pics.

I'm calling this project "Body after Baby" and I'd love for you to follow along with me on this journey. {Encouraging words, constructive criticism and compliments welcome :)}

Body after Baby

And, if any of my new mom or mom-to-be blogger friends want to participate along with me, feel free to copy the code from the logo above and add it to your website. Then be sure to leave me a comment on this post with your blog url so I can follow along with you!

I will post an introduction on Monday detailing my goals for weight-loss, physical activity and overall health improvement. Then every Friday I'll check-in with a summary for that week. Hopefully by committing to sharing this journey on the blog it will hold me accountable and keep me motivated!

The swing of things

It's been 3 weeks since we brought baby #3 into the world. I knew it was going to be a huge adjustment for many reasons - one being because I've been able to sleep through the night pretty solidly for the past 2(ish) years.

Yeah. Those days (er, I should say nights), are definitely gone for a while. Sleep deprivation is probably the hardest part. For sure.

Next in line would have to be the fact that this little tiny human needs to eat every 2 hours. Sometimes every hour and a half. And because I'm breastfeeding this means he is literally attached to me the majority of the day, making getting anything done nearly impossible (shower? bathe the boys? cook? It's usually pick one and go with it, leaving the rest up to Ricky...or just undone). Oh well!

I will pat myself on the back a bit for successfully venturing out with all 3 boys a few times already. It's not easy for them to be stuck at home all day because I'm too {tired, unmotivated, dirty} to do anything else.

Oh - and I went grocery shopping the other day. This is something I haven't done in many months after the whole pregnancy bed rest ordeal. I made a meal plan for the week, clipped coupons, organized the fridge, freezer and cabinets and spent 2 blissful kid-free hours (and entirely too much $) at the grocery.

So I guess you could say that I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things.

And it's only gonna get easier.


PS - we had Hudson's newborn pics taken last week. Can't wait to share them all here on the blog. In the meantime, here is a sneak peek!

Meeting their new baby brother

The boys were ecstatic to finally be able to meet Hudson. For months, they'd been talking to my growing belly and asking when he was going to come out.

We got the whole thing on video too - it is such a special memory for us as a family.

Here are some of the first pictures taken as the boys entered the room and got to know the newest addition.

A Beautiful Blessing...Hudson's birth story: Part Three

{Read Part One and Part Two}

So it was happening. And the timing was working in favor of having my family in town. No more worrying about whether my sister could be there or not. However as it started to sink in, my thoughts started to drift in the direction of "what ifs". He was coming 4 weeks early. There could be problems. We didn't know anything was wrong with Aiden until he was born. What if?

I kept it together mostly because of the adrenaline pumping through my veins. We had to call Ricky, who had met with a client for work that morning, to let him know he would need to cancel the rest of his calls. We  brought in my hospital bag and I changed in to the cute gown my sister gave me as a gift. I had taken a shower before my appointment that morning and took the time to do my hair and makeup...so I felt...pretty. In fact, the first thing Ricky said when he walked into the delivery room was "Wow, you look too pretty to be in labor." :)

My mom was at home with the boys and my nieces, but my neighbor and good friend texted Ricky and offered to take ALL 4 of them at her house (along with her own 3 year old twins and 7 week old baby!) so my mom could be at the hospital with us. What an amazing friend!

Because I hadn't gotten the results from my GBS screening that they had swabbed for at my appointment earlier that day, I needed to go ahead and get IV antibiotics before I delivered. So although I was in active labor, they did not want to speed the process with pitocin or breaking my water until I had gotten 2 full doses of the meds.

Finally, at 5:30pm, my doctor arrived and broke my water. Shortly after, I got my epidural which only took on my right side (and had to be inserted twice because the anesthesiologist hit a blood vessel the first time). He tried upping the meds after a while to help even it out, but it didn't work. Eventually I began feeling the most intense pain I've ever felt in my life and I was convinced the epidural didn't work. When I say intense, I mean screaming-like-they-do-in-the-movies-during-child-birth pain. I honestly didn't think I was going to physically be able to do it. 

They checked me one last time. I was 7cm. I begged to have the epidural re-done  but was told the anesthesiologist was working on a trauma case at the moment. I told them there was going to be another trauma if he didn't make his way back to my room before I had to deliver.

At last, he showed up and nervously prepared to re-do my epidural for the 3rd time. However he hit another bad spot in my back and had to remove it AGAIN and insert it a 4th time. Seriously????

Luckily the new epidural kicked in just in time. About 25 minutes later I was 10cm and ready to go.

Everyone was in place. My sister was shooting the whole thing on our Flip camera. My mom had my hand on one side and Ricky on the other. They told me to push with the next contraction and with that one push, I heard "he's here!"

They placed this little boy on my chest and the feelings of love gripped my heart so intensely. It's hard to describe the emotions I felt. Of course there was relief - he was healthy. Joy - he was beautiful. Amazement - having a child truly is a miracle. But then, there was also some guilt. I had wanted this perfect moment from the time I got pregnant. Well, actually, I had wanted this moment from the time it was robbed from me when Aiden was born. I felt guilty that I felt so happy. That I hadn't felt this way for Aiden's birth. Complicated. I know.

I began to cry. So did Ricky. Actually, I don't know if there was a dry eye in the room. My doctor even said in all his years of delivering babies, he can't remember ever getting choked up. But seeing our emotions and knowing what we had been through, he said it just solidified why he loves doing what he does.

Hudson came into the world on Wednesday, July 18 at 7:47pm. He weighed 6lb. 11oz and was 19.5 inches long. He is a beautiful blessing and the piece that completes our family. 

I still can't believe how everything worked out. My sister AND my mom got to be there with us. Everything went great (besides the epidural). Hudson is a strong and healthy little boy.

The big man upstairs had this planned all along unbeknownst to us. We are beyond happy. Our hearts are full.

{Next post...the boys meeting their baby brother for the first time}

Hudson's birth story: Part Two

{Read Part One here}

On Monday, July 9th, my mom, sister and two nieces pulled into our driveway. I was a day shy of 35 weeks and feeling miserable. Still technically on bed rest, I was relieved to have them here to help around the house and keep the boys entertained (who were quite miserable themselves from boredom). 

The following day I had my 35 week appointment. It was the first visit where my doctor was going to check my cervix to see if all the contracting had caused any change. Sure enough, I was about a centimeter dilated and 50-60% effaced (thinned out). Honestly I was a bit disappointed as I kind of expected (and hoped for) more. Even though I was still early, I was seriously at a point that I thought this baby was going to just drop out if we went over a bump in the car. He was so low and I was so very uncomfortable.

Then, I began to worry about how long my mom and sister were going to be able to stay. What if they came all the way down here and I ended up going the full 40 weeks? I certainly couldn't expect them to stay for 5 weeks! If ever there are moments where you want a crystal ball to show you how the future is going to play out, the last few weeks of pregnancy is definitely one of them.

I spent the next few days staying off my feet (for the most part) as I just felt like if I could make it to 36 weeks, Hudson would be that much more healthy. Not to mention that my doctor told me at my 35 week appointment that he was going to be out of town for 5 days that week. I seriously thought with my luck, that is when I would go into labor. In fact, the night before he was leaving I started having regular contractions every 5-6  minutes. I dragged my sister with me to the hospital but was quickly sent home after a check of my cervix revealed no change.

I made it through the weekend, and had decided that as the 36 week mark approached, I just wanted to get this show on the road. So we walked. A lot. We walked for hours at the outlet mall. Went for walks around the block. I bought an exercise ball to sit/bounce on at home while watching TV. It was obvious this baby wanted to come early so I was ready to help nature take its course.  Even my doctor said that if I were to go into active labor they would not try to stop it at this point.

The night before my 36 week appointment, I woke up at midnight with horribly painful contractions. Even though I had left the hospital last time saying I wasn't coming back until my water broke, I woke my husband up after counting them for over 2 hours. 

"Is it time?" he nervously asked, still half asleep.

"I don't know...maybe," I said. 

That's the thing about childbirth. Even when you've been through it multiple times and you'd think you would know when "it's time"...you don't. It's confusing and anxiety inducing every single time.

We woke my mom to let her know we were heading in. We brought my pre-packed hospital bag. I was shaky and nervous and had a "feeling". After a while I did think this was it.

Once at the hospital, they checked me again and I had progressed a bit to 2cm. Still not enough to indicate I was in labor. They monitored me for an hour, then checked me again. No change. I was going home. UGH!!!

I was told to go to my scheduled appointment that morning at 9:30 and if there was any change, I'd most likely be seeing them soon.

Sure enough, my doctor said I was 4cm and 60-70% effaced. I was told to head directly to the hospital. That most likely, I would have my baby in my arms that day. Wow! I was beyond excited.

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Hudson's birth story: Part One

If you've read my blog over the past two years, you know that getting pregnant has been a journey this time around. With a year of unexplained infertility, two miscarriages and an unsuccessful shot at IUI...this chapter in my life is one that tested my patience and my happiness. To have this chapter finally close in the most beautiful way is everything I could ever have hoped for.

While the getting pregnant proved to be difficult this time (unlike the first two times where I got pregnant very easily) the staying pregnant part was much more like my other pregnancies. For some unknown reason, my body just doesn't want to carry to term. In this case, I started contracting regularly at 29 weeks along and it never really let up until I delivered at 36 weeks. That's 7 weeks of discomfort - not to mention keeping track of the on and off intervals of rock hard belly and deciding when/if to call my doctor.

I think I ended up in L&D six times from 29 weeks on. Each time I felt kind of stupid for going in only to be monitored and sent home, but my doctor assured me that with my preterm history, it was better to err on the side of caution. I asked one of the nurses who had been working during a few of my visits if she thought I was crazy annoying for coming in so often. She just laughed and said "Honey, we see all kinds of crazy here...and believe me, you aren't one of them." :)

After my 5th trip to L&D around 34 weeks, I called my mom back in KY to let her know I had made yet another trip to the hospital. I had really hoped to have my sister and mom be here when Hudson was born but as I started to look at flights online, the prices were outrageous and I began to lose all hope that we'd be able to 1. coordinate their trip since we had no way of knowing when I would go into labor and 2. afford the flights in the first place, especially any last-minute fares. I cried each time I got off the phone with them knowing I would just have to accept the fact that we wouldn't have family here.

That was a tough pill to swallow for several reasons. I was lucky enough to have had my mom in the delivery room for Ethan's birth and we had a steady stream of family and friends at the hospital to welcome him into the world. Aiden's arrival ended up being lonely and stressful. He came 5.5 weeks early which was nerve-wrecking in and of itself...then add to it that a blizzard closed the highways and airports which meant nobody was able to be there with us. My parents were in Florida at the time and were not able to get there even when the shock of Aiden's diagnosis was one of those moments where I needed my mom and dad desperately. The hours and days after his birth are a blur, yet are singed into my soul in a way I won't ever forget.

When I got pregnant this time I wanted so badly to have a much different experience. I realized it was out of my hands - but I still continued to pray for a healthy baby and an easy labor and delivery filled with only good memories. After all, this was going to be my last pregnancy.

So I began planning early. I carefully thought out every aspect of my labor and delivery. I made lists of what to bring in my hospital bag, packed it several weeks in advance, wrote a birth plan (which I never did before), and even made a play list of calming and meaningful songs to stream while at the hospital. I asked my sister if she'd like to be in the room for his birth. She had two c-sections and never got to experience a regular delivery. While it wouldn't be her own, I thought it would be awesome to have her there to experience it with me.

Just when I had given up hope that it was going to work out for her to make it to Texas from Kentucky on a moment's notice, my mom called the day after my 5th L&D visit to tell me that they were loading up her van to make the trip down the next day. She just knew Hudson was going to come early and they did not want to miss it for the world.

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