Evander: A Birth Story

Like every good birth story, we’ve got to start at the beginning. Thursday the 17th, one week before Van made his appearance I opted to have a cervical check and found out I was 2cm dilated and 60% effaced. I tried not to get my hopes up just in case Bubba decided not to come a week early like his sister. But I was still really hoping for a Memorial Weekend Birthday!

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Hospital Bag and Postpartum Care

Okay you guys it is getting real!  We are officially TWO days away from our “Baby Window” (more on that in a minute) and SIXTEEN days away from our actual due date.  I am beyond ready to finally hold our precious Bubs.  So I have decided to talk about my hospital bag which is now completely packed and ready to go.

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Nesting and Organizing in the Third Trimester

 

 

Hello Third Trimester!  The countdown to baby Evander is getting real.  We have exactly 53 days until we hit our “baby window”.  Gemma was born at 39 weeks and 0 days, so I’m predicting Evander’s arrival to fall somewhere in between 38-41 weeks.  I am in full on nesting mode and I wanted to share a little bit about what I am doing this time around to prepare.

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What we are investing in for Baby #2

The clock feels like it’s ticking faster than normal as we anticipate the arrival of Baby Smith number 2.  Luckily, a good thing about having babies so close together is that we are pretty much set on baby items.  There are only a few things I am looking at investing in for Evander.  Some are on the list because we will have two under two.  Others are on the list because I realized that what we used with Gemma either didn’t work or I didn’t like.

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All about the Pregnancy: Must Haves, Wishlist and First Trimester Update

By now most have probably seen the news that Dallas and I are expecting Baby Number Two!  I am currently nineteen weeks along and well into the second trimester.  However I wanted to take a minute and recap somethings up until this point.  Mainly:  Questions about this pregnancy.  A first trimester update.  And, some items I can’t live without along with the only item my wishlist for the remainder of this pregnancy.

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Introducing Gemma Raine: A Birth Story

I’m so excited to share with you the birth of my sweet baby girl: Gemma Raine!

birth story title

 

Sometimes, I stare at her precious face and it just hits me that she’s the little bug that I carried around for nine months.  I can’t believe she’s finally here.  Here’s the birth story:

 

newborn baby girl

24 Hours Before Birth
Thursday Morning (March 30th)

I was 38 weeks pregnant and had my weekly OB-GYN appointment.  I’d been having very irregular braxton hicks contractions for the past few days and I knew I was already dilated so Dallas and I were curious as to how the appointment would go.  My doctor checked and informed me that I was currently 4cm dilated!  However, knowing we wanted to avoid induction she didn’t send me over to labor and delivery since I was not having regular contractions yet.  She advised us to stay close to the hospital and really pay attention to the time and frequency of contractions.  We went over any warning signs and when to stop everything and come to the hospital for the birth.  She told us it most likely wouldn’t be long.  Maybe a few days or a few hours, but her guess was before our due date of April 7th.

Dallas and newborn Gemma baby hospital

After the appointment I had some spotting and cramping which I was told was normal.  I was advised to pay attention to my body and if it didn’t go away to come on in to L&D.  Over the next few hours the spotting went away but I continued to have cramps and irregular contractions.  I kept a running log on my phone of the times each of the contractions started.

mother newborn baby birth

15 Hours Before Birth
Thursday Evening (March 30th)

Dallas spent the evening at Salvation Army and I hung out at my parent’s house timing contractions.  When Dallas was done at SA he came over to my parent’s house to meet me and have a quick dinner.  I showed him my continual (but still irregular) contraction times.  He wasn’t too worried but could tell I was starting to get nervous.  I didn’t want to drive home to fort worth, only to turn right around and rush to the hospital.  I was NOT going to deliver baby girl in the car.

father newborn baby birth

We decided to go on a walk before making the decision on whether to go into L&D or go home.  On our walk through the neighborhood I noticed my contractions strengthening and getting closer together.  I was never in a lot of pain.  It was still just mild discomfort.  However, we decided to go ahead and go on in to the hospital… just to be safe.  I had this sinking feeling that we’d be turned away once they saw how sporadic my contractions were.  They had drilled 5-1-1 (5 minutes long, 1 minute apart and for 1 hour) into my head and I just wasn’t there yet.

gemma newborn baby birth

However once we checked in, I was immediately sent into a delivery room and hooked up to monitors.  Sure enough I was in labor!  They told us I’d be staying until our precious gem made her appearance.  I opted for the epidural and received it early enough that my first few hours of labor were a piece of cake.  I wasn’t in any pain.  It was only the anxious anxiety of knowing I’d be meeting my baby soon that kept me up.

newborn baby carseat birth home

 

newborn baby sleeping

Friday Morning (March 31st)

It was smooth sailing.  I progressed quickly and by the following morning I started getting the urge to push.  We were able to hold out until my OB got their instead of having the on-call doctor deliver.  By that point I was extremely uncomfortable and could feel each contraction even with the epidural (way to go all you mama’s that go with medicine!!) My body took over and I had to start pushing.  My water had not broken yet and was the only thing stopping our little girl from being born so I decided to go ahead and have them break the water.

About an hour later and with lots of pushing, Gemma was here!  Dallas got to help pull her out and was right there as they cleaned her up before handing her over to me.  Nothing comes close to the feeling of knowing you made it through labor.  She was (and is) so beautiful and I felt exhausted but exhilarated.

baby girl one week old

newborn baby girl

newborn baby girl

 

What a joyful ride it’s been so far.  Motherhood is quite the adventure and I’m barely making it through but I love it.  I can’t wait to see where it takes me.  Thank you Gemma girl for giving me the gift of being your mama!

[Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest Boards for more baby info.]

-Brittany Smith-

Keeping Busy on Maternity Leave

 

As a teacher, I could not work up until my actual due date.  I decided to take my maternity leave about two weeks early.  The plan was to help me get off my feet and accomplish a lot of baby prep that I had put off for so long.  Yikes!

One piece of advice I heard repeatedly was “work as long as possible”.  Supposedly, most first time mothers go past their due date and maternity leave can get boring quickly.  (Especially if you’re anxiously awaiting your little babe to make their appearance!)  So, I’ve put together a little list of everything I’ve been doing this past week to help me pass the time and prepare for sweet Gemma’s arrival.

**This post contains affiliate links.  Disclosure in the sidebar**

 

Keeping Busy on Maternity Leave (BEFORE Baby’s Home)

1.Daily To Do List.

On my phone I have a daily to do list that never changes.  I wake up, have a quiet time, eat breakfast, make the bed, get ready for the day and do a quick de-cluttering of the house.  It’s the same checklist everyday but it’s helped immensely.  Getting out of bed is no easy task.  It is painful to sit up and it is painful to stand up.  Having such a simple list on my phone that I check off every morning has helped me get up and get moving.

 

2. Finish the Nursery.

Okay, so this should have been done awhile back…  I’m still washing some of Gemma’s precious clothes, organizing diapers by size, separating clothes by size and going through all her books, toys and blankets.  Baby Girl was blessed with so much!  I don’t want her little room to become too cluttered.  I still need to hang some more artwork. But we’ll see if I get around to it. Probably not.

[Here are the Amazon links to the glider (which I love!).
The bedding (which I also love!)
The closest black sleigh bed I could find (ours is actually a hand-me-down so I’m not 100% sure it’s the right one).
Also, don’t worry, the crib bumpers will be removed before Gemma transitions to the crib]

[Here are the Amazon links to the changing table. (we had a missing part and they were quick and efficient to replace it for us)
The Diaper Genie.
The baskets I got from Dollar Tree!]

 

 

3. Make Freezer Meals.

Okay, this is one I wasn’t sure I would be able to do… but after 3 hours with my mom (which included grocery shopping)  I have ten gallon sized freezer bags stocked in our freezer for when Baby comes home.  [Dallas keeps tempting me to try one out before she arrives!]  I used the provided meal plan and grocery list from HERE. I also added one more recipe for Mexican Chicken Soup.  My mom and I were able to knock it out quickly.  We only spent $80 at the store! (We did have a lot of staple items already.  I didn’t buy any herbs or seasonings and we even had a lot of the oils and vinegar as well.)

 

 

4. Pack the Diaper Bag. 

I have been scouring Pinterest looking for any and all lists as what to bring with us to the hospital.  I packed the diaper bag for Gemma with what I am sure is way too much stuff but I didn’t want to forget anything.  I also packed mine and Dallas’ bag with extra clothes, chargers, and toiletries.  Hopefully I won’t forget anything crucial!  I will let you know what I ended up using.

[Sunflower DuffleBag is borrowed from my sister.
The grey and white Kelty diaper bag is from Babies “R” Us]

 

 

5. Rest, Relax and Wait.

I’m just trying to prepare myself mentally and physically to what it will be like to bring home a baby.  In just a few short weeks Dallas and I will have a little human being.  She will rely solely on us for care.  What a terrifying and exciting thing!

 

 

Any other momma’s want to share what they did once their maternity leave started and before their bundle of joy arrived?  Leave a comment!!

-Brittany Smith-

Getting Comfortable in the Third Trimester

 

comfortable, baby bump, 33 weeks

 

I am officially 33 weeks today.  Let me tell you, finding ways to stay comfortable in the third trimester is no joke!  There are so many great and exciting things about being only a few short weeks away from your due date.  Most importantly you are so close to FINALLY seeing your sweet little babe’s face for the first time!  However, you are also bigger than you have ever been in your life.  Your baby is continuing to grow fatter, heavier and stronger every single day.  Now, don’t get me wrong, that is technically a good thing.  It’s just that sweet Gemma is now pushing all my vital organs out of her way and my precious darling can actually sucker punch me now.  It takes my breath away… literally.

*this post contains affiliate links*

 

Here’s what I’m using to stay comfortable in the third trimester:

01. A camping or travel-sized pillow
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Okay, so it’s not the gigantic maternity pillows I’ve heard such marvelous things about but it works (and it’s budget friendly!)  These little pillows are just perfect for stuffing under my growing belly when I sleep on my side.  It gives my baby bump just enough extra support where it’s not pulling and stretching all night.  I will also use it to stick behind my back when I’m on the sofa.

 

02. Epsom Salt Baths

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I’ve never been much of a bath person.  That is until I started lugging around a growing little gem.  The water helps alleviate my back pain and the salts are so relaxing and soothing.  We also have the corresponding Dr. Teals soap to make it a bubble bath.  I now soak once or twice a week and it’s glorious.

 

03. Tums

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The heartburn is getting real, ya’ll.  Most things, especially for dinner give me really bad heartburn and acid reflux.  I take a TUMS or generic equivalent every single night.  That, along with staying elevated are really all that’s helped so far.

04. CeraVe Moisturizer

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For all the stretching and dried out skin I HAVE to have a moisturizing lotion.  I know most swear by cocoa butter but this and others like it have worked to at least soothe my growing skin.  It didn’t prevent stretch marks, but I wasn’t really trying to.  I just wanted the itching to stop!

05. Witch hazel

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I’ve heard of the wonders of witch hazel pads.  I don’t need that yet but it does soothe hemorrhoids as well if you were wondering… I’ll just leave it at that.

 

I would love to hear what you are doing or what you did to stay comfortable during your pregnancy!  Also, check out my Pinterest for more third trimester tips, tricks and lists.

-Brittany-

 

Happy New Year!

Birthdays are great, Thanksgiving is meaningful, Christmas is joyous…

But I really do love New Years.  I think it’s that strange balance between reminiscing the year behind you and the aspirations of the year ahead.  It’s beautiful and delicate and so exciting.  2016 was such an adventure for me!  I had been a wife for only 10 days before 2016.  I learned so much about patience, love, teamwork and living alongside another human being that is my complete opposite in almost every single way.  It wasn’t easy but what an amazing blessing!!

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I, however, can not wait for 2017!  I have so many plans and dreams for this new year that I can not possibly share them all with you.  The post would be way too long.  What I will tell you is I can not wait to meet our little girl.  Gemma has my whole heart and I’m beyond excited to finally hold her in my arms.  I try to imagine what it will be like but I know even my wildest dreams are dull to the reality of her being outside the womb.

Officially I am 26 weeks pregnant.  Only 14 more weeks until her due date.  I wish I could say I have everything under control but in reality the nursery is still more of a storage room, we haven’t done any kind of class or preparation for her arrival (no showers, no crib, no nothing).   I know it will get done but lets just say the next three months will be busy and will be here in the blink of an eye!

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As far as the pregnancy goes: morning sickness is pretty much over… it rears it’s ugly head every once in a while but nothing like that first trimester.  I feel this little bug move and squirm every single day, she will even respond to poking, prodding and (sometimes) voices.  I am stretching and growing at an almost daily rate now.  My joints pop, my back aches and I seriously go to the bathroom every hour or so.  I LOVE IT!  Carrying this little girl is such a gift that I in no way deserve.

In preparation for the year ahead I have decided that my word for the year 2017 is going to be present (as in the here and now)  I am praying, will pray and already have been praying that through the course of 2017  I will better learn how to be present in the moment, content and in tune with what is right in front of me.  As a dreamer and introvert I so often live in my own head.  So, in this new year I hope to grow more aware and more joyful with what is right in front of me… with THIS day and THIS now.

If you have a word or dream for 2017 please leave a comment and let me know what it is!  I’d love to hear from you.