Introducing… Phoebe Mae

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen that Phoebe Mae joined our family on April 8th! (#sorrynotsorry for the babyspam!)

Welcoming Phoebe Mae! Welcoming Phoebe Mae!

It’s been pure magic since then as we’ve left the hospital and come home. Now we’re adjusting to being a family of five!

(Of course this also involves a bit lot of recovery from my third c-section, but my system is full of oxytocin so I’m choosing to see this whole experience as magical.)

I still can’t believe I’m a mama to three daughters under five years old! When did I become such an adult?!

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I’m about to have a third c-section. Yikes.

I had my 39 week appointment with my OB this week, and the entire thing took about 5 minutes. I mean, that’s great because it means both baby and I are looking healthy, but it seems surreal because my experiences before have been so different.

This will be my first scheduled c-section. At this last appointment the OB checked to make sure the baby is head down [(s)he is] and that’s it (other than checking blood pressure and heartbeat)!  No checks for dilation, no talking about labor and delivery… it all seems easy-peasy. Weirdly so.

Except I’m already anxious because I truly don’t want a third c-section. I don’t want the surgery, I don’t want the recovery… I don’t want to deal with any of it. I’m disappointed that my body can’t just have a baby the ‘natural’ way.

Thoughts going into my third c-section.I still don’t know how Isabelle ever fit inside me. What a huge baby!

Clara was born via emergency c-section after I spiked a fever during labor. You can read the story here.  Basically, my water broke, 12 hours later I went into the hospital because contractions hadn’t started yet. They eventually started me on Pitocin (in the middle of the night), then hours after that I got an epidural, then hours after that I spiked a fever, her heartrate dropped, and they rushed me into the OR. She was born blue and not breathing and it took them a few minutes to revive her. I blacked out and don’t even remember meeting her for the first time, and I was throwing up too much to hold her (Tim informed me after the fact) so Tim did the initial skin-to-skin. Once I ‘regained consciousness’ (I remember regaining consciousness but I was never unconscious… it’s so weird), I demanded a Coke and a strawberry shake but I was not at all excited to meet Clara, my new baby. It was a weird experience and it still makes me sad to think about.

Isabelle was born via an elective c-section after about 36 hours of labor. You can read that story here(My favorite part is when I say that birth experience is why I don’t want to be pregnant again – HA! 3 years later, and here we are!) All I really remember about labor and delivery with Isabelle is that I had painful contractions forever that were totally ineffective, I eventually had back labor, the epidurals stopped working, I pushed for an hour once I got to 10cm, but then we decided to go for a C-section when she never dropped into my pelvis. The anesthesiologist couldn’t place a spinal block, so I had to go under general anesthesia for the birth. Which means, similarly to Clara’s delivery, I wasn’t really “present” for the birth of my baby and Tim was the one who did the initial skin-to-skin.

In both experiences, my babies never dropped into my pelvis, so there was no way they were coming out of my body that way. This is why once I got pregnant again, we decided I would have a scheduled c-section and not even try going through labor at all. Sigh. I have quite a few friends who say their scheduled c-sections were SO much better than they’re first c-section, but I remain unconvinced.

Yes, it will be nice to have family in town (we were able to plan in advance!) for the birth and for childcare for the girls. And I guess it will be nice to not have to feel labor pain… but honestly, I loved not knowing the date my babies would be born! I liked the suspense and feeling that they arrive when they’re ready. I hated having to pick a date this time around. I hate anticipating a surgery that I don’t want. I hate how my memories of the procedures in the past are overwhelmingly negative. I am praying that the anesthesiologist is able to place the spinal block without issue and that I have a great team of doctors who can try to ensure I don’t shake uncontrollably or throw up during the procedure (as I did with Clara). My main concern, of course, is that baby and I are both healthy… but I also want this to be a JOYFUL experience – somehow.

If I had it my way, I’d be planning a homebirth… not a highly medical procedure. I wish my body would just do this darn thing. But, I’m someone who apparently can make babies easily (such a blessing in itself!) but who cannot get them out!

So I have a lot of complex emotions going into these next few days. And it doesn’t help that every once in a while someone will ask if I’ve considered trying to VBAC. Again. And if I know the effects of c-sections on babies. Oh yes, I know. Plus, there are so many articles about hospitals in Seattle trying to lower the c-section rate and it all makes me feel like I’m CHOOSING this (and it’s the wrong decision) instead of needing this. But I know it’s necessary for us. I do. But then I think “maybe this baby will just magically drop in there (my pelvis)…” Although as of my last appointment the head is floating really high, so that seems unlikely.

I decided to wait until my due date for my scheduled c-section, because I didn’t see any medical reason to go ‘early’ at 39 weeks. I feel like my babies like to stay in my uterus as long as possible (41 + 3 and 41 + 5), so I’m not rushing this one along more than necessary. It’s not likely that I’ll go into labor before my due date, so my OB is comfortable with me waiting if that’s what I want to do.

Our countdown is getting shorter and shorter! I know once I meet our newest nugget this will all seem very worth it.

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I’m upgrading my breastfeeding/nursing game!

I’ve recently blogged about how this pregnancy has been different than my other pregnancies, and how I’ve been treating it a bit differently, too.

Pink Blush Maternity Clothing

(Even with two other kids at home, this pregnancy has managed to be all-consuming of my brain lately! What did I think about before I got pregnant?! I don’t even remember.)

While we have a lot of baby supplies & gear that we know we’ll use, there are some things I’m ‘treating myself’ to this time around that I never bought before. Specifically, I’m upgrading my breastfeeding/nursing game to make the whole process more pleasant this time around.

Pink Blush Maternity ClothingIt’s super easy to take pictures (of just myself) with preschoolers around! Ha!

Here’s what I’m ‘investing’ in for this next baby:

+ A robe.

How did I not have a robe to wear in the hospital for either of my first two kids?! When my daughters were born I think I pictured being in the hospital for 24 hours and not needing any of the things. I also didn’t anticipate the number of visitors we’d have! And let’s be honest, I didn’t know how breastfeeding even worked. However, two c-sections later, and I’m now aware that I will be in the hospital for quite a few days, in a very dissheveled state. A robe will hopefully make me feel a bit less like a zombie when visitors come around! Plus, I plan on wearing it at home to lounge around in, as well! (I bought one from the collection of robes at Pink Blush!)

+ Nursing bras and nursing tanks.

I somehow got by with one or two nursing bras and only one nursing tank with the girls. Why?! Why?! I wanted to be such a minimalist mom and in my mind, these pieces of clothing weren’t absolutely necessary for the breastfeeding process. Luckily, I am now wiser. I’m purchasing a few more nursing bras and tanks so I don’t have to keep rewearing the same one over and over again.

+ Nursing shirts.

I already wear this layered wrap front maternity nursing top from Pink Blush that I ordered as maternity clothing but also is very nursing friendly. This is the first shirt I own that was made to be nursing friendly, and I am already thrilled. For the girls I just wore t-shirts and either pulled the neck down (not a good choice as this ripped quite a few of my v-necks!) or pulled them up, exposing my belly. While I’m not shy (at all!) about nursing in public, I am going to buy quite a few nursing-friendly shirts and dresses to make the whole task that much more convenient.

+ New breast pumps.

I bought this pump and this pump. I already own a few Medela pumps, but we have money from insurance to buy another one, so that’s why I decided to try a new one (well, two) to see how I like it. I’m very excited about the idea of hands-free pumping. The other manual pump is to (hopefully!) attach to the boob that I’m not feeding the baby from, with the idea that any extra milk leaking from that side will be collected. Isn’t feeding babies so glamorous?! I have a strong let-down and leaked EVERYWHERE with both girls, so I have high hopes that these pumps will be game-changers.

Pink Blush Maternity Clothing

Hopefully feeding this new baby will prove to be just as easy as my last two, and even more convenient with these additional items! I have finally figured out (it only took five loooong years) that oftentimes in motherhood it is worth it to pay for things that make life just a little bit easier – and breastfeeding is one of the things that is hard enough as it is, so anything that can make it a little more tolerable should be totally worth it!

** This post was sponsored by Pink Blush, but all opinions are, of course, my own!

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Weekend Favorites (v11)

We’ve had such a good few weeks and weekends, lately. I think my favorite weekends are the ones that fill up with plans unexpectedly. Like yesterday, for example. We didn’t have any plans, but we hired a babysitter so that we could get things done around the house, and a friend came over with his son to help Tim hang some shelves, while I sorted newborn clothes into piles of ‘gender neutral’ and ‘very girly.’ (So now we can check quite a few things off the pre-baby list!)

Then in the afternoon the girls played outside with some neighborhood kids, and one of the families ended up staying over for a very unplanned dinner. I can tend to feel a bit disconnected in pregnancy (as I get lazier and less motivated to plan/do fun things), so it’s really nice when socialization manages to happen with minimal effort on my part!

Things I’m Into:

  • Tim and I recently watched this documentary and it kind of blew our minds. It’s a must watch for those of you who live in Seattle.
  • March Madness has begun (obviously)! So that’s what I’ve been doing the past few days… watching rounds 1 and 2 and not doing a whole lot else. It’s been a wonderful way to justify relaxing at almost-38 weeks pregnant.
  • Speaking of Amy Schumer, have you seen her special, “Growing”?! So raunchy. So good. (Watch it on Netflix.)
  • I recently got a facial and the esthetician recommended I started using this line of skin care products, and after a little over a week I’ve been really impressed! Pregnancy doesn’t necessarily cause my skin to break out, but I do feel like it has made my sun spots / acne scars especially red. Or maybe I’m just getting old? Either way, I’m so glad I went in to get a facial and am vowing to return ASAP!

I hope your week is off to a terrific start!

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37+ weeks pregnant

The final countdown to baby is on. I made the girls a paper chain when there was a month left and they take a link off every morning as soon as they wake up. Then they cheerfully exclaim/question “ONLY __ DAYS LEFT?!?!?!?!?!” and then I go into mild shock that it seems so close, yet so far away.

I’m at that point of pregnancy in which…

+ I can no longer sleep well. I keep waking up to pee in the middle of the night and for some reason I also wake up in the early morning with a ton of energy (so I can’t go back to sleep) but then by mid-day I am DONE.

+ Getting off the couch is a team effort.

+ I think we may have decided on names. However, every time I think that (in each of my pregnancies), I go around thinking the baby has a name for weeks and then Tim will throw a name out of left field, completely unprovoked. Like we’ll just be sitting on the couch and he’ll go “what do you think about the name ______?” and then I’ll say, “I thought we decided on the name already…?” and he’ll say “Oh. What is it?” and then I roll my eyes and ignore him, deciding I’ll just fill out the baby name paperwork myself once the kid is born.

+ I’m starting to wonder if I could possibly get labor started early to move this c-section date into March… and then I decided there is no way this baby is coming 3 weeks earlier than his/her siblings. An April baby it shall be! (But I might eat a lot of pineapple just in case… haha!)

+ Sandals feel better than ‘regular’ shoes, even though my feet don’t feel swollen, necessarily.

+ People are starting to comment about how big I am and ask “when are you due?!”

+ Food doesn’t even sound that great anymore because my stomach is small and I get heartburn when I eat most certain things.

+ Even walking around the neighborhood takes a lot of effort and starts to hurt my ‘bump muscles’ (round ligament muscles, I assume?).

+ The end seems forever away, even though a month ago it seemed really close.

+ There are not many things I truly want to do because my energy is just gone.

+ A swift kick to my ribcage can really hurt! Baby’s got muscles.

+ Every time I stand up the baby seems to rest on my bladder, causing me to feel like I have to pee constantly.

+ My maternity clothes are all too short so I’ve had to switch to a bigger size to cover this big bump o’ mine.

+ I can no longer even try to pick up Isabelle because it’s just too much weight for me to carry… and I’m not that strong!

+ I can tell (I think, at least) which little limbs are pressing outwards when the baby moves.

+ I go to the OB once per week and started receiving c-section instructions at the last appointment. It is so different (at least in my experience) going to the OB knowing that we have a c-section scheduled. There is much less to discuss! It helps that the baby and I seem healthy and that everything is going smoothly. Baby is head down (I guess that still matters for a c-section?) which they checked via ultrasound at the last appointment. I’m GBS positive (which they tested in the first trimester), so I didn’t need to get that test done in the third trimester. I’m not going to get checked for dilation at all… all easy-peasy appointments in which I get to keep my clothes on!

+ I created a hospital packing list. I don’t pack an actual bag ahead of time, but I do create a list just in case.

+ I’m trying to enjoy every second, even the uncomfortable ones!

+ I wonder how much more my belly can possibly expand for this little human inside of it.

+ I’m carrying around a full term human! An actual baby! Just hanging out in there! It’s no small miracle that our bodies are capable of such things.

I know that in a few weeks this time will seem to have flown by. I barely remember being full-term pregnant with my other two kids so it’s just a matter of hanging in there and trying to enjoy the last few weeks as a family of four and in what is almost certainly my final pregnancy. Now I’m off to write a to-do list of things I still need to get done…

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