Tag Archives: Pregnancy #2

Mother’s Day




So we’ve got a Mother’s Day tradition in our house. Every year since Riley was 1, we head to the park near our house and pose for a photo in front of a pretty flowering tree. I have no idea what kind of tree it is, but Riley now calls it and anything that looks like it “the Mother Tree.”IMG_6536Here we are this year, on little Charlotte’s first Mother’s Day. 

IMG_6533I really think holding a 4 year old and a 10 month old is easier than holding a 3 year old whilst 30 weeks pregnant. See below. 



Wow, pregnancy sure gives you full, luscious hair!



Here I am with 2-year old Riley. This was my most favorite age for a long time.IMG_0580Our first year doing this. The tradition is started. Oh my god, I miss this little version of Riley. Parenthood is rough. Time goes by so fast. I can still feel the weight of this little boy in my arms and hear him say things the funny ways he used to: “Horry!” (sorry), “Wawhoa” (Lola), “Momocycle” (motorcycle).

I love Mother’s Day more every year because of this awesome family that I am lucky enough to be a part of. I’m already looking forward to next year’s picture where I will have to hoist up a 5 year old and almost 2 year old. Yikes.



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9 Months

Dear Charlotte,

Today you are 9 months old. I can’t help but remember the letter I wrote to your brother on his 9 Month birthday. I’m so glad I have a record of what your brother did and when he did it. He loved to scramble over to me and make me pick him up, too. He loved to give hugs and bury his face in my shoulder, just like you do. I love you guys so much.


Lately, you’ve learned some new tricks. You can clap! Really! And wave! Sometimes you wave to yourself and it’s just so cute.

What of the biggest disappointments of my working motherhood is that I missed your first clap. It’s something I had spent some time teaching you. I have given your daddy strict instructions to knock you down if you even think about taking your first steps while I’m at work.

The other development this month is that you started saying, “Mama.” I’m not kidding. Yes, people will also say it’s just the sound that you’re making; you don’t know it’s me. I beg to differ. I’ve talked many times before about how much you love being velcroed to my side. I’m the mama kangaroo and you’re my joey. You’d love for me to carry you around in a pouch all day, every day. You see me across the room and you squawk until I come pick you up. You know me, you love me. You can say “Mama.” Ha!

You’re just so cute, sweet and lovable. I know you will hold onto these traits for a long, long time. You have a pretty, sweet and charming name and it suits you, my little baby.

I have now known you for a collective 18 months – 9 months inside and 9 months outside.

9 months inside....

9 months inside….

....and 9 months on the outside.

….and 9 months on the outside.


I love you more every day.


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The Saga of Breastfeeding

This has the potential to be a long post. I’ll try to be brief.

I breastfed Riley for 11 months of his life. However, we had to start supplementing with formula when he was only a few days old because he was jaundiced. So for his whole babyhood, there was not a lot of pressure on me to provide for him. And honestly, looking back on it almost four years later, I don’t remember ever feeling the pressure of being the only one to feed him, having to constantly keep track of the time so I knew when I’d have to feed him or pump. Not to mention watching what I eat and drink to make sure it’s breast milk- friendly.

So I just assumed when Charlotte was born that my body wouldn’t produce enough to sustain her. Surprise, surprise, it does!


Check out those rolls. I gave her those. :)

Check out those rolls. I gave her those. 🙂

I’m very proud to say that for the first six months of her life, my little girl ate nothing but breast milk. Crazy, right? She has now started eating baby food and cereal which she seems to love and she still drinks her milk like a champ. She’s never had a drop of formula. Seriously, that blows my mind and I’m insanely proud of this fact. And no diss to any formula-feeding moms. I know formula isn’t poison, I just knew I wanted her to be breastfed and I’m so, so thankful that it has worked so well. I know not everyone is so lucky.

Not that it’s been easy. Man, was it painful in the beginning. To the point that I was really freaking people out even in the hosptial. Every time that little barracuda would latch on I would gasp like ….well like my nipple was getting ripped off. Even the nurse at the hospital would wince, “Ooh, that sounds so painful,” she said. And it would give Derek the heebie jeebies, too.

After at LEAST three weeks, it started to get a little better. I’m not even kidding. It was super painful for the first three weeks of her life. I used lanolin cream and ice packs, but really, I just had to suck it up. I would dread her next feeding. The clock would start creeping closer to the time that she needed to eat and I’d whine that I didn’t want to do it.

But I stuck with it and it got easier. I figured we were over the hump.

But then a few months later, my nips would really burn after she fed. Hello, thrush! I’m so thankful that Charlotte never showed any signs of thrush, but man, feeling like your nipples are on fire is not a fun way to go through the day. I tried to ignore it so I went on like that for two weeks before I called the doctor. Hello! Not my finest moment. She called in some miracle cream and I still use it sporadically if I feel a little burny.

But here’s what’s been happening recently – blood. From my nipples. (I’m sorry to any males who are reading this. Really, you should just stop).

I have no idea why it keeps happening, but it’s been happening on and off for months. I think the thrush may have something to do with it, or she feeds for a while without having latched on right. I don’t know. All I know is there’s nothing more terrifying than seeing your baby spit up blood. And then realizing it’s your blood. Not cool.

And then it all came to a head last week when I realized I was bleeding on one side, only to switch her over to the other side and see that that side was bleeding too! UGH.

I asked Derek what he would do if he were in my position. He replied: “If I was doing something that was making blood come out of my nipples, I would stop immediately.”

My husband is awesome. And in this case, he’s right.

Listen, I have a huge stockpile of milk in the freezer. See?

I would guess there's about 50 ounces of milk in that there freezer.

I would guess there’s about 50 ounces of milk in that there freezer. And ice cream. Yum.

So starting this weekend, I dropped one feeding of Charlotte and now give her a bottle of breastmilk instead. In a week or two, I’ll drop another feeding. When my freezer stash is gone, we will start giving her formula. My goal is to still be able to breastfeed her before bed and in the morning until she’s one year old. I hope that happens. I really do.

Am I sad that I may not be breastfeeding my baby much longer? Honestly, a little bit. I have never really looked at breastfeeding as a beautiful bonding moment between me and my babies. I look at it as the healthiest food option for them and something that a mom should do. There are times that I’ve enjoyed it, but there are many other aspects of it that I have not enjoyed.

Like pumping at work. Annoying, kinda gross and honestly, it’s just a pain. To give you some idea of how much I have pumped since going back to work in September? I downloaded a pumping app to my phone on November 1st. Since then, I have pumped 312.50 ounces of breastmilk. While at work. I find that equal parts amazing and grody. Wow. The human body is nuts.

Anyway, the thought of wearing a non-nursing bra thrills me. The thought of losing the rest of this baby weight also thrills me. With Riley, I never lost all the baby weight until I stopped nursing and then I lost 8 pounds in a week. I’m really looking forward to that week this time, let me tell you!

So while, I’m still nursing my baby 4 times per day, I am happy to be on the road to Weansville. Hooray!



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A 3-Year Old Photographer

We recently let Riley play with our Nikon point and shoot camera and hoo boy, was it entertaining to see the world from his point of view. We got lots of photos (almost 400!), but most are of the floor, my feet, the TV or extreme close-ups of his face. Below are the highlights:

Hey! I was still pregnant. I would say this was at about 37 weeks preggers.

And a cameo from Daddy’s butt! This post was sponsored by Dickie’s. Not really.

Behold Riley’s pride and joy – Cranky the Crane.

This is actually a really good picture of Lola!

These days, most of my time is spent just like this. I’m glad our little man documented it.


Rainy day = artsy shot of our front yard through the window.

We’ve got about 20 shots just like this one. I’m just glad he didn’t have the flash on…

Goofy shot of Daddy burping the baby? Check.

The upside down photographer.

Why yes, I am intently reading Harry Potter while nursing. Is that weird?

Watching cartoons…

Little sis is not impressed.

Well I think he may have a career in photography, don’t you?











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Themes of This Maternity Leave

1. Smelly dog.

We just paid $60 to get Lola a bath at PetsMart a few weeks ago and for some odd reason this dog stinks. Like hot dog. No, not hot dogs. Like a hot, smelly dog. Ick.

2. Shedding dog.

And she’s shedding. Like crazy. She’s mostly German Shepherd, so yes she normally sheds a lot. But it seems excessive these days. I don’t know if it’s because it’s been such a hot summer, or because she’s shedding her summer coat or what. But. This. Dog. Sheds. I’m so sick of seeing tumbleweeds of dog hair floating across the floor.

3. Complaining about the dog. Derek recently said he was going to keep a tally of the amount of times I complain about the dog’s stink and shedding every day. I bet if we turned it into a drinking game, we’d be wasted by noon. Fun!

4. Vacuuming (see number 2)

I feel like it’s all I do. And then 24 hours later, there’s dog hair everywhere again. The bain of my existence.

5. Sore boobs.

Little miss Charlotte likes to eat. A lot. Between feeding her every 2-3 hours and pumping every now and then to attempt to build a stash for when I go back to work, my boobies are working over time. My poor, poor boobs. Not sure that I’ll be able to nurse Charlotte for 11 months like I did with Riley. The girls are going to need a break, I think.

6. Laundry

Two kids, two adults, a household of sheets and towels. Yes, I do laundry. A lot. If you come over to my house, chances are very good that there is at least one laundry basket of clean clothes in someone’s bedroom waiting to be put away. Chances are even better that it’s MY clean laundry that is waiting to be put away. What? I’m on maternity leave. I don’t care if my clothes are wrinkly.

7. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

We have one for lunch almost every day. We are a family of distinguished taste.

8. Long walks.

When you can’t formally exercise for 6 weeks, walking is your new BFF. And since we received this stroller as a baby shower gift, we have been putting it to good use.

Yes, it’s as big as a Chevy Metro, but it gets the job done. And it has speakers, so I can hook up my iPod and listen to music whilst aimlessly wandering the neighborhood. And when the little boy starts singing along to Mumford & Sons, it makes the walk even more enjoyable.

9. Playgrounds!

When you have a 3-year old that you REALLY want to nap, trips to the playground are a must. Pair that with a long walk, and you’ve got my new normal these days. Too bad every day is about 90 degrees. Maybe all the baby weight will just sweat out of my body. I can hope!

10. Family quiet time. It’s just been working out that every day from 3-5 is family quiet time. That’s Riley’s normal nap time (though he doesn’t always nap these days, at least he generally stays in his room and plays semi-quietly). Charlotte is really good at napping around this time. Derek is quiet because he’s working. And me? I get the luxury of watching Barefoot Contessa, Facebooking, loading the dishwasher or other such glorious tasks.

11. Olympics.

Love them. Whether it’s kayaking, fencing, or table tennis, if it’s the Olympics, I’m watching. Pairing maternity leave with the Olympics makes me a happy girl!

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Charlotte’s Birth Story

How do I begin? Hmmmm…… I guess I’ll start at the beginning. Well, first let me say that I was hopeful that this delivery would go fast and that I would be able to get through it without an epidural. I just felt like it was something I wanted to do because I feel like it’s better for the baby and more than anything, I knew I wanted to avoid a C-section at all costs. I felt like if my labor was short, I could stand the pain for a short amount of time and make it through naturally. Careful what you wish for.

I felt my first contraction at 9:14 a.m. on Sunday, July 8. I was sitting on the couch watching Nick Jr. with Riley and I remember being like, “Ouch! What was that?” I guess it really is true that your mind blocks out the pain of contractions once you have your first child. I really didn’t think it was a contraction.

Throughout the day, I would sporadically feel them, but still didn’t think they were the real thing. Derek worked in the basement, which we’ve been trying to finish for months. Riley and I played outside in the heat. He rode his bike in the driveway while I sat on a lawn chair eating Greek yogurt.

Around 1:00 we all ate lunch and I felt my first painful contraction. To the point that I yelled to Derek in the basement and when he didn’t hear me, Riley went over to the clothes chute and yelled down, “Daddy! Mommy’s in pain!” Needless to say, Derek rushed upstairs. Though I still didn’t really think they were real contractions. But we started timing them anyway.

By 2:30 when Riley was down for a nap, I was starting to see a pattern, feel them intensify and it started to sink in that I was probably in labor.

Thank the lord, Riley napped. Things got pretty intense quickly and it would have been awful to hide my discomfort from Riley. This boy does not miss a thing. And he asks questions constantly. Around 4:00, we called the hospital and the nurse said we should wait an hour for them to get closer together and then call back.

I remember her saying, “Why don’t you walk around, take a bath or even take a nap? It sounds like you’re in for a long night.” Great. Not exactly what I wanted to hear. And what do you know? That nurse was wrong. But we’ll get to that in a second.

By this time, we called my mom and asked her to come over to stay with Riley and thankfully, the little man was still sound asleep tucked into his big boy bed.

I decided to take a bath and try to relax. Around this time it started to sink in what was happening. I started crying and told Derek and I really didn’t want to do this. I believe I even asked him to do it for me. He reminded me that a few weeks ago, while inquiring how the baby would come out, Riley told me, “You can do it, Mommy. You’re strong.”

The contractions were now 4-5 minutes apart and getting really intense. I couldn’t walk or talk through them and every time one hit, I had to brace myself on the counter or wall, close my eyes and breathe deeply.

Thankfully, by this time, my mom had shown up. I knew I couldn’t just leave without saying bye to Riley. So Derek and I went in and woke him up and explained what was happening. He was excited for what we were telling him and he was also excited that Grandma was over to play with him. We left him cuddling with Grandma and headed to the hospital. The drive was a blur. I have no idea if we talked or listened to music or what. It was just pain and breathing.

Finally, we arrived around 6 p.m., Derek parked the car and we went up to the second floor – labor and delivery. I got into a triage room and was checked to see how far dilated I was. I did not like the answer – 3 centimeters. Seriously? I was 2 cm at my doctor’s appointment on Thursday.

We were told to walk the halls for an hour and come back to see what progress I made. Derek and I were able to talk as we wandered the halls. I even joked that I felt like Bella in Twilight because I thought this baby was just clawing his/her way out into the world. That’s how it felt. He of course did not get my reference to such a horrible movie.

Anyway, after a while, Derek remarked how fast my contractions were coming. We’d get maybe 2-3 feet down the hall before I had to stop walking, grab onto the wooden railings in the hallway, close my eyes and breathe. Finally, an hour had passed and we headed back to the triage room to get checked. Better news this time – I was between 4 and 5 cm. Woohoo!

At this time, I asked the nurse if we could go to room 2007. While we were walking, Derek and I figured out that that was the room where Riley was born. The room was available and we got it. We walked in and it was just awesome to know that this baby would be born in the same room that our first born entered the world in.

At this point, things get pretty blurry in my mind. I remember the nurse asking me if I still wanted to try to do this without an epidural. I told her I thought so. She had to start an IV and get me some antibiotics since I had tested positive for Group B Strep while I was pregnant.

The IV and antibiotics were started and Derek was holding my hand. I remember thinking that he should call his parents to let them know, but the contractions were coming so fast, he didn’t get a chance to step away from my squeezing hand.

By 8:30 the contractions were soooo painful. As in, it was getting hard to focus on anything but how badly they hurt. They were also coming so fast that I felt like I didn’t have time to recover from one before another one started.

“I think I need the epidural,” I said to my nurse. She rolled in the anesthesiologist’s cart o’ drugs and paged the doctor. My nurse said I needed to finish this bag of fluids before they could give me the epidural.

“But I think you’re going to go fast,” she said, looking at the monitors. “I think you might just rocket this baby right out.”

Um, what?

She checked me again and said I was definitely at 5 cm. I was surprised I wasn’t farther along given the crazy contractions. I was at 6 cm when I got the epidural with Riley. Was I really wimping out earlier this time than the last time? I couldn’t believe it. But at the same time, I didn’t care, I knew I needed something to help.

In the meantime, she suggested I take a shot of a muscle relaxer. I didn’t want to, but Derek said I should. He later told me that my eyes were darting all over the room and I looked really freaked out.

“I need some help,” I said, growing desperate.

“They’ll help you,” Derek said. “Get the muscle relaxer.” So I did.

And all I felt was high for about 2 seconds and then NOTHING. I felt exactly the same as I had before.

And then…..my water broke.

The monitors were on my belly, keeping track of the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions. Suddenly the room was filled with a really loud thump and I gasped and shrieked in pain. The baby had broke my water by doing some crazy karate chop and I felt it break and then felt the fluid gush.

“My water broke! Derek, call the nurse!” We were the only ones in the room and I knew this was it. Within a split second (seriously, a split second!) the entire game had changed.

Painful is not the word to describe it. It was an out of body experience. I was terrified, shocked and in disbelief. The contractions were like nothing I had felt earlier that day. They were excrutiating.

Right on cue, in sauntered the anesthesiologist. I was writhing in pain. And moaning.

The nurse checked me and I was at 8 cm. It was 8:45 p.m. I had progressed 3 cm in 15 minutes. I didn’t even know that was possible.

This is when even the medical professionals in the room -and there were many- got frantic. I remember the nurse telling me, “You’re not going to be able to have the epidural. You’re progressing too fast and there’s no way you can sit still long enough.”

“But I need something!” I pleaded.

“What do you want me to do?” the anesthesiologist asked the nurse.

“She’s going to have this baby,” the nurse told her. The anesthesiologist, and my option of a comfortable birth, walked out the door.

If I was scared before, I was absolutely petrified now. I’ve never felt more alone in my life. Yes, Derek was a great labor coach and was really helping me, but at that point it became abundantly clear that I was in this alone. No one could help me. No one could do this but me. I remember I kept trying to say, “I can’t believe this is happening.” But all I could get out was, “I can’t…” Every nurse in the room, along with Derek, shouted “Yes you can! You’re doing this! You’re awesome!”

And then. I felt the urge to push.

In every natural birth story I’ve read, they always write about this – the overwhelming need to push. And they’re not kidding. I just remember shrieking to the nurse, “I have to push! I’m pushing! I’m pushing!” She told me to go ahead. She also told me that my doctor was 20 minutes away.

Um, what?

Honestly though, I didn’t give two shits where my doctor was. I had to push. This baby was coming out. Derek tells me that I kept saying, “This isn’t happening” over and over. I do not remember this at all. He did tell me to just look at him and focus on him. And I did.

It was 9:00 p.m. and I was 10 cm.

I had gone from 5 cm to 10 cm in 30 minutes. Again, I didn’t know this was possible.

At this point, more people came into the room. Including a doctor who I think introduced himself to me. But I’m not entirely sure. Blinding pain will do that to you.

Cue the sitcom birth – I was screaming. Screaming! Me! It was completely involuntary. And to the point that the next day, my throat hurt. An out of body experience, for sure.

I pushed for a total of 16 minutes and in those minutes, I felt everything – the burning “ring of fire” that happens when the baby’s head is crowning. I remember one glorious nurse said, “Your baby has hair!” and it gave me the motivation that this was almost over. My nurse asked if I wanted to feel the head and I said no. I remember I got to feel Riley’s head when I was pushing him out. But by this time, I needed it to be over. Believe me, I could feel the head!

In the middle of this intense, frantic, fast moment, I know I had one coherent thought – that I wanted Derek to tell me if this baby was a boy or a girl. And I was able to put together a sentence in English long enough to tell Dr. Random that Derek had to tell me what we just had.

After the head was out, I knew it was just moments until I’d see our baby. And I heaved and pushed like my life depended on it, which if felt like it did at the time. And in one surge, I felt our baby be born.

“Is it a girl???” Derek said, shocked. “IT’S A GIRL!”

It was a true moment of disbelief, joy and relief. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt three emotions more deeply than those three at 9:21 p.m. on July 8, 2012.

Charlotte Jean was immediately placed on my chest, beautifully pink and crying softly. She was here. We both made it.

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Our sweet little girl was born on July 8. Little miss Charlotte shocked us all by being a girl and giving me a super fast, super duper painful delivery. As in, I could not have an epidural. Wow.

Birth story to come…

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