“Just Lick It Off…”

Parenting…one big game of what works for you and your family, and that’s exactly how Will and I look at this whole thing.  I like to think we make a pretty good team!

IMG_2612

There are things we’ve done I was certain we wouldn’t, and things we’ve done, that I’m pretty proud we (mostly I) was laid back enough to do!

As most of you probably know- I had a c-section to birth our sweet girl, and that’s what it took to get her.  Because I had a c-section, it changed how Will and I envisioned ourselves being parents when we brought her home.  He basically went straight back to work the day after we got home, and within a few days of arriving home, he was back to working his long days from dawn until after dusk.  That’s farm life for ya, and something we knew would happen, especially with having a baby born during Harvest!  However, we also were hoping to avoid the recovery time a c-section involves- guess what, we couldn’t!  Sooooooooo…….

A baby or child sleeping in our bed with us? OF COURSE THE ANSWER WAS ALWAYS NEVERRRRRRR!

Reality?!  Guess what-having a c-section and a high bed, a low cradle, a low swing, practically everything is low when you have to bend down and lift an 8 pound baby for a majority of the day by yourself…which means life just got easier by putting that baby in your bed….

IMG_2278

Will was amazing!  I would wake him up for each feeding- he would pick her up and take her to the floor to change her diaper, then bring her back to me to feed her.  When I was finished feeding, instead of having to wake him up again, I could just sit her in this Boppy pillow in between us to continue sleeping.  Believe me, it seriously takes so long to get up, down, and in and out of beds and chairs, especially when you’re holding a baby at the same time with a burning incision across your lower abs.  So, having him do the changes and her sleeping with us for those few weeks made such a difference!  I also know people love to tell you to get up and move around as soon as possible, but guess what, I did that for HOURS by myself all day! You learn really quickly how to maneuver things to make it work!  No worries though, she has, for the last couple of weeks, been in her cradle in our room!  (She is getting so strong now though, that in a few weeks we will be progressing to her actual crib in her own room!)

We don’t need one of those baby bathtubs!  There is a sink and an actual tub that can do the exact same thing!

Reality?! That baby bathtub made such a difference for me when trying to give her a bath by myself!  I wasn’t having to support the weight of holding her while also washing her off.  I could use just enough water in the tub to clean her and Will could dump it and put it away when he got home!  Again- you quickly find ways to make life easier after a c-section.  This baby tub from Lee and Jamie was DEFINITELY helpful!

Let’s buy a nice electric pump- read all the reviews, find one that will last for a long time, and can travel easily, and is a great brand so that parts can be replaced easily!

Reality?!  For the first few weeks it just DID.NOT.WORK.  I could maybe pump 1oz and it took FOREVER….and I was definitely NOT low on supply… So, Will picked up a $17 hand-pump from Walmart.  I was pumping MULTIPLE ounces in no time at all.  $17 hand pump > $300 electric pump.  Guess what, it’s super easy to travel with as well!  Husband of the year award for finding this goodie!

IMG_2522

(The electric pump is finally working a little better with my body now- not sure what changed, but glad it did!  I would still recommend moms-to-be invest in a cheap-o one like this though, JUST IN CASE- that full, can’t relieve feeling when baby isn’t hungry and my fancy pump won’t pump enough- is not so fun!)

Clothes- Nursing night gowns, I should own one- I’ll DEFINITELY use it…

Reality: Nursing tops that aren’t padded, I LOVE!  The gown I bought that is padded….no thanks.  It is so uncomfortable at night.  To be completely honest- again- because of my c-section, I didn’t like anything, bottoms or tops that would or could potentially rub my incision at night while trying to sleep and deal with Annabelle Grace.  I happened to remember I had these long-sleeved, loose-fitting, semi-open back shirts that I bought as covers for my shirts I wear to Pure Barre classes.  I realized I could wear them backwards!  Easy to nurse in a night, AND loose and no padding!  (and I already owned them!)  I think I ordered them from Fabletics like 2 years ago?! Below is the back of the shirt that I would/still do wear at night as the front.  I stuck a white shirt underneath so you can see what it looks like:

img_2525.jpg

Now on to the fun stories- 

Two months in with our baby and I honestly like to think Will and I are pretty laid back parents, which I am proud of!  I knew he had the potential to be, but I actually have surprised myself with how laid back I have been!  (and I’m glad for it!)

For Example: Baby projectile spitting up milk?  My reaction, hmm… you’re still happy and it doesn’t smell- guess we’re both fine.  Baby spitting up IN the bed in the middle of the night?  Hmm.. we have a king sized bed, let’s just slide to the other side until tomorrow and then change the sheets.  On the phone with UPS and burping the baby as she spits up all down your just-washed hair, down your back, and on a pillowcase?  Don’t skip a beat on that phone call… she’s not crying, and the mess will be there as soon as I get off.

Next Story: Let’s get one thing straight – everyone has their own opinion about feeding and sleeping schedules with babies, so obviously we have ours!  Our upmost opinion on this for anyone reading- do what works FOR YOU!  For us- our nurses and doctors recommended waking Annabelle Grace every two hours until we could get her weight back up.  We did exactly that.  We still continue to wake her now, but we do it in 3-4 hour increments instead, and are hoping to work to a five hour stretch in the next few weeks! (and yes- we still plan on waking her, go ahead and gasp!)  There are several (basically everyone) people who will tell you “Don’t wake a sleeping baby!” Guess what- we too believed that age-old wisdom before having our baby.  BUT, for us- that is just not what works!  We did test it out a handful of times, because hey-it’s a popular consensus, and look where that got us:

​​

She wakes up, and screams bloody murder because hey- guess what- she’s hungry! So then we try to feed her, which helps, BUT it is so hard to get her BACK TO SLEEP because she had been so worked up! So, with a little patience, and a LOT of wake-up alarms, every day/night we followed our routine of waking her up to eat, and are quickly seeing the rewards of it!  Now don’t get me wrong- girl can do some sleeping, and several times at night she would have been content if we had left her alone. (Until she woke up starving!) So now, when we wake her up, she is ALL smiles, eats, and goes STRAIGHT back to sleep.  If she wakes up on her own, she doesn’t scream- she sits there and wriggles around and talks and waits for us!  The first video is what she acts like EVERY time I get her up first thing in the morning and after every nap throughout the day.  The second video is what we catch her doing if she wakes up before we get her up.  Because she didn’t learn to wake up on her own and alert us that she was hungry, by screaming and crying, now waking up is fun for her, she wakes up so happy! (and yes- she poots in the second video!)

​​

Last Story: Just this past Monday the three of us went to Memphis for an eye appointment for Will- he had to get his eyes dilated, so he needed me to drive, so that meant Annabelle Grace also went.  While waiting for Will to get called back we were getting her swaddled up, paci in, and I was rocking her because she was wide awake and on the verge of wanting to get mad, as it was basically her afternoon nap time.  She was so content with that paci in her mouth! BUT then…. then came the moment when the paci slipped out of her mouth and on to the floor…..shoot!  We had barely been there for 10 minutes and it already fallen on the floor, and we had no backups…. I picked it up and Will and I both were like “5 second rule?”  The office was an Eye Doctor Office, and was SUPER nice and clean…. so I looked at him and said, “just lick it off,” and he did, and we popped that bad boy right back in our 2 month old daughter’s mouth!  Hello, what just happened? Who am I, and when did I suddenly become “that parent?!”  I, AMY CASHION, recommended my husband just lick off a paci and stick it back in our daughter’s mouth…. guess what, it saved the day! She did SO WELL at this appointment that everyone who worked there was shocked and kept complimenting how well behaved she was!  Really, we just got lucky, because we all know babies don’t “behave” because you ask them too…. but who cares, I’ll take that compliment any day! Now, the only issue is…. that’s what parents do with kid number 2, 3, and 4….. and we jumped straight to that parenting style 2 months in….. sorry in advance to the rest of the Cashion kids we may have one day…. =)

ANYHOW

ANNABELLE GRACE IS TWO MONTHS OLD! (as of 10/23/17!)

She has made some MAJOR progress since month one!  She now weighs at least 10 pounds, 1 ounce, is 22 3/4 inches long, and has a head with a circumference of 39 centimeters.  She did some major growing during month two!

She has made leaps and bounds toward hitting milestones!  She has been smiling like no body’s business for a while now (September 30th), and not just the gassy smiles- the real, authentic smiles! First real one right here ya’ll!

IMG_2413

She has found her fingers!  She sucks on them sometimes, uses them to put her paci back in, can grab toys, and can even kind of pull things!

She is really starting to find her voice, and is babbling and cooing a lot!  She loves for someone to “talk” with her!

She also can hold her head up super well!

IMG_2670

And of course, her tears have come in- and Daddy caught the first ones on camera yesterday! I fortunately have not seen them yet…. right now the fussing doesn’t bother me…when the tears get thrown in, I’m betting it’s going to break my heart a little more, at least that first time! (Yes- her skin gets a little dry sometimes….unfortunately she inherited that from me…)

IMG_2678

She also had her first tractor ride 2 days in to month two!  Daddy was so proud and excited!

She “ran” her first 5K with us!

IMG_2477

She has been to her first King Biscuit Blues Fest

And let’s not forget her super-cute attire!

HAPPY TWO MONTHS TO OUR GIRL!

 

As for us- Will is incredibly awesome.  He takes his roll as a Dad the way he should.  He is ready to help in any way he can, and he tries so hard to make sure I get a little time to myself, just as I try to give it to him.  We both know that we both chose to become parents, so it’s only fair that we both do our share.  I’m so thankful we have each other to lean on and I can’t imagine anyone else I would rather be a parent with!

As for me and my body, I’m super happy with myself right now.  I worked so hard while I was pregnant to stay in shape and not let gestational diabetes get the best of me.  I constantly tried to keep a positive attitude, which wasn’t hard because I LOVED being pregnant!  I came out of the hospital incredibly happy to have a sweet little family of three, and the support of a husband who tells me I’m beautiful, and truly means it.  I have never been more happy and proud of my body, and am so thankful for the stretch marks I now have, as well as a scar from my incision that will be there forever.  That scar also left me with a lot more work to get back in shape, and with an area that may never change, and that’s just fine with me.  With that being said, all of my baby weight gained was gone with-in two weeks of delivering Annabelle Grace.  I think it was a huge combination of having worked out so much before and during pregnancy, and also because I have been fortunate enough to have a super successful breastfeeding journey.  As for how my body looks, I decided to take pictures on her two-month birthday.  I put on my bathing suit bottoms, and honestly was pretty pleased and still insanely confident with how I look right now.  Yes, there are a million stretch marks around my belly button that are SLOWLY shrinking back and the color is fading, and yes, there is still a flab you can see from the side, right above my incision.  I don’t know how much either of those things will truly change, but even if they don’t, I’m proud of them- my body was FINALLY able to do what I had longed for it to do for a very long time!  So, here they are- (and yes, I am still finding time to do Pure Barre, go for walks, and have even run a little bit since I was cleared at 6 weeks!  I have a 10K to run in December for St. Jude!)

Two Bittersweet Years Later:

Today is the day… two years ago, today, Will and I sat in Helena Regional Medical Center’s ER waiting to be initially told we had miscarried our first baby.  This particular week of October still seems to stay so significant in our lives.  October 5, yesterday, was also the anniversary of our engagement from 2013!

THIS year, THIS week I have thought a lot about our past years and this particular year.  Since this time two years ago we have been through two miscarriages and the months in between hoping we would maybe get the chance to be parents… and here we are today- parents to our third baby that gets to live here on Earth with us. A sweet, beautiful, awesome-sleeping, pleasant baby girl- Annabelle Grace.  Wednesday she had to have a hip ultrasound done (everything looks good!) and the sonographer who did the ultrasound was the same man who two years ago, initially told us he didn’t see a heartbeat.  I couldn’t help but feel a little bittersweet- that he was now checking our sweet baby we do have around the same time of year.  I had not seen him since that very heartbreaking night.  Today, on the two year anniversary, I had my own 6-week post-partum check up with the same doctor that has seen me through these difficult years, who delivered our dear Annabelle Grace.  Again, so bittersweet!

October is known as Miscarriage, SIDS, Stillbirth, Infant Loss Month.  I have recently learned that in 1988 it was Ronald Reagan who stated that this month would be National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

That:

“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan.  When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.” (Found this at: http://www.october15th.com/ )

Since this month is significant to us for not just losing our first baby on this date, but because we also finally get to celebrate 6 weeks with our “Rainbow Baby,” I figured I would finally share the first blog post I ever started journaling in about that first baby before we lost him/her.  When I was so happily naive about the future we would so quickly have.  I’m so thankful to have our sweet girl now, but there aren’t days that go by that I don’t sometimes think about the two we lost.  Will and I certainly want more sweet babies, but we also know the unfortunate reality of everything that can go wrong- so I’m soaking up every single minute of Annabelle Grace’s beautiful life with us.  So, here is my post I never released about our first Angel Baby, it does stop abruptly- which is about a week or so before I started bleeding and we lost him/her.

We’re Expanding Our House By Two Feet

(By two feet!)  Get it?

Yep, you got it, we’re pregnant!!!!

HOLY CRAP! WE’RE PREGNANT!?!?!?!!!

Wednesday, September 2:

Funny thing is, Will doesn’t know yet either.  Today is currently Wednesday, September 2, 2015, right at about 5:00pm. I also just ate chicken nuggets from McDonalds, because hey, why not celebrate with everyone’s favorite kid food?!  You, however, are just currently reading this today!  (Obviously Will does know now.)

I figured until I could actually share the news with you all, I would pretty much journal in here until then.

So how will/did I tell Will?  So he is currently at the farm and it is rice harvest so he won’t be home until probably 9:00pm.   Ahhhhh, waiting that long even is hard.  I bought him a “Congrats, Grad” card, because he is graduating to “Daddy status” and am hiding it under his pillow.  I’m going to attempt to video his remark to it.

{EDIT} Sooo, the video didn’t go according to plan… This is literally all I got:

 


So I had the plan to put the card under his pillow and once he found it, I was going to casually video this moment.  Well by the time he got home, I couldn’t take it.  He was going to take a shower, so I just said “here’s a card I got you!”  I still thought I could casually video the moment… But he noticed and just started saying what is in this card?  I think he knew.  I kind of teared up, and I think he did too.  The rest of the night we both kind of stayed in shock, but happy shock.

Next question– how did I know I was pregnant?  I didn’t.  We  weren’t really trying yet, but something just felt different.  I haven’t really had any crazy pregnancy side effects, but something just kept telling me to take a test.  Well it was positive, and so were the other two I took later on.  Yep three different brands.



{EDIT} Thursday, September 3

DAY AFTER FINDING OUT I’M PREGNANT

So I woke up today and still couldn’t hardly believe it, so of course, I took another test!  Yep! Still PREGNANT.

Will and I have been discussing who, when, and how to tell people.  We figure we will wait until October when my parents are in town and when Will’s come down for dinner.  Now to decide how….

QUESTION:  Will we learn if we are having a baby boy or girl?!

Nope!  I have always known that I didn’t want to know, and Will seems pretty on board with that idea too!  So delivery day it is!

For fun, we found this website:

http://newparent.com/mom/how-to-tell-if-youre-having-a-girl-or-boy1

On it are all the myths people traditionally use to try to see if they are having a boy or girl.  We decided we would try most of these out once a month and keep track of what comes of each of them!  It’ll pass the time and make it kind of cool to see what really happens when #BabyCashion is born!

QUESTION:  Have we at least picked out names?

Yes and No!  Are we going to tell the choices?  We haven’t decided yet.

Also, I’m not a good liar; I hope nobody asks me if I’m pregnant between now and when this blog post actually gets posted!

{EDIT}. Saturday, September 12:

Today I am six weeks along!  The baby is as big as a chocolate chip.  Will really enjoyed hearing that, and then immediately wanted cookies…. Ha.

So yesterday, Friday was my first appointment.  Literally nothing to report except the fact that they too had me pee in a cup to confirm the pregnancy.  The doctor answered a few questions and home I went.  On the bright side I can continue my Pure Barre classes!

I also have still not experienced any morning sickness, which is a great thing.  I have however, in the last few days been exhausted feeling!

My next appointment is Friday, October 9- the same weekend my parents will be in town!

{EDIT} Friday, September 25

So my next appointment was supposed to be in two weeks- on October 9th, turns out today was the day baby wanted me to get a little closer look at him or her.  I woke up this morning and things weren’t quite right, on top of the fact that I also have had NO morning sickness- so I started to get a little nervous.

Will and I talked about it and of course he was a rock, and a positive one at that, and he felt things were fine.  I wanted to feel that way too, but the fact that I haven’t been feeling much different and I woke up to this unexpected, not pleasant surprise, and the only confirmation of pregnancy I had at the doctor’s office was peeing in a cup, I was a little more stressed out.  Of course reading things on line NEVER helps, and you learn about things like chemical pregnancies and ectopic pregnancies.  I really didn’t want to chance things and wait until the Friday before my parents came to town to find out if something was wrong, so I called and made an appointment.

On a positive note, things are just fine!  They told me I wasn’t crazy for worrying, because seeing blood is not a good thing, but is normal to happen.  The doctor ran a few tests, and decided to go ahead and do an ultrasound just to make sure she saw something- guess what- she did!  There is a teeny tiny baby inside of me with a good heartbeat!

Talk about RELIEF! I could not be more thankful, and now can honestly appreciate the fact that I’m not dealing with morning sickness!  Will tried his best to make it there, and of course made it right when I was finishing up and walking out.  The fact that he tried to make it and wanted to meant a lot.

I still have my appointment on the 9th, so he will at least get to hear the heartbeat then!  I’ll update again soon!


One Month of Our New… “Normal?”

“Did you see that shooting star tonight?  Were you dazzled by the same constellation?  Did you and Jupiter conspire to get me?  I think you and the Moon and Neptune got it right, ’cause now I’m shining bright, so bright.

And I see colors in a different way.  You make what doesn’t matter fade to grey.  Life is good, and that’s the way it should be.

You make me sing oo la la laa, you make a girl go oo oh oh.  I’m in love, love.

-Echosmith, Bright

It’s been one whole month (and two days, haha) since our sweet, sweet Annabelle Grace was born!  Things are so incredibly different, still kind of the same, and just plain wonderful with her here now.  That doesn’t mean things are just a piece of cake, but it also doesn’t mean that things are horrible.  They are new, and they are our new normal; for now!  More about life with our baby in a moment though- below is a slideshow of pictures from her first month with us!  The song playing in the background is the same one I used the lyrics from above- it’s so fitting for this wonderful little life that is part of our family now!

 

Our new normal means a little less sleep, a lot more love, and lots of diaper changes!  Will now drinks a Diet Mountain Dew every day on the way to work and I’ve learned to sleep pretty much sitting up!

We’ve had a few “parent moments” as I would like to call them- like burping Annabelle in the middle of the night and instead of a burp, she spits up milk all on one side of the bed- yeah- we pretty much wiped it dry and slid over to the other side of the bed to keep sleeping.  (Definitely gross- but priorities, right?  The sheets were changed in the morning, don’t worry!)

Diaper blowouts, washing bottles, trying to learn to use bottles- she likes bottles from Dad, but most definitely NOT from Mom!  Learning to use a pump.  Trying to decide if the pump really works right or not.  Setting alarms ALL.DAY.LONG. (and all night long) Learning to make decisions on what we feel is right for our kid, not what everyone else thinks is right, but asking for opinions because hey, how else can we learn?  Hoping we’re making the right decisions.

Making sure we both get showers daily.  Learning how to clean in between nap times.  Learning that close-to-spotless is good enough. Doing LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of laundry!  Learning how to find clothes that work when you may have to nurse somewhere, in public included.  Learning how to do things with one hand- it requires some creativity-but kinda cool to see how well you can do things with one hand!

Having that first “snap at each other in the middle of the night disagreement” because that’s what sleep-loss does to you- and then quickly realizing what happened and saying sorry and hugging each other.

Changing a pee diaper.  Moving the baby back to some spot.  Baby poops.  Changing the diaper a second time.  Moving the baby back to said spot.  Oh wait, she pooped again.  Change the diaper a third time.  (Our child LOVES to do this!)

Baby cries ALL DAY LONG, because hey, babies have bad days too!  Baby cries at night- learning is it a hungry cry, a gassy cry, a sleepy cry, or a dirty cry.  Learning to give her baths.

Learning to be intentional about making time for ourselves- like making sure we share a few hugs and kisses, and that we talk about things other than Annabelle Grace.

BUT, BUT, BUT

IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL OF THE ABOVE…..

Is the new normal that is beyond what we could have imagined.  Watching our sweet baby change EVERY SINGLE DAY.  She is constantly changing!  She is constantly growing, mostly length wise!  She is making a million different facial expressions, including smiles!  Smiles that we think are getting closer to being the real deal.  She is showing us what selfless love is, because when someone is so dependent on you, every feeling they show is shared with you.

She’s teaching us that stopping to take a moment to hug and cuddle is WAY better than a spotless house.  That the millions of bottle pieces and pump pieces, or just pumping period doesn’t seem so bad when Daddy gets to bond over a bottle and Mom can literally keep another human alive with her body.

Those two and three diaper changes in a row, even late at night are kinda worth it because that’s just one more chance to hold and hug our baby before she is too big.

The little fingers of hers that wrap around just one of our fingers is such a small gesture that suddenly leads to such big emotions.

The fact that such a tiny person with out real words can make us have that first “snap at each other moment” is kind of wonderful- it makes us realize how thankful we are to have each other- to be able to hug literally ten seconds later.

That the world is so quiet at 12:00am, 2:00am, 4:00am….but that it’s time together with a baby that we waited for for oh so, so long.

Having this month with Annabelle Grace means (me in particular) can get so caught up in staring at her and just feeling nothing but happy feelings, thankful feelings, unreal feelings.  Feelings that for so long we didn’t think we would get the change to experience.  Feelings that I didn’t know could even be experienced because it was only such heartache from our losses.

These days don’t seem real most of the time, but I mean that in the best way possible.  It’s only been one month and this one month has already gone by way too fast.

This month has let me see my dear husband become a completely new type of person.  A Dad.  A great Dad.  A person that both Annabelle Grace and I can always count on.

This month, after having a c-section, has taught me that recovery is a pain.  It’s a pain at the beginning trying to learn how to carry your baby and lift your baby and even how to get in and out of bed to get to your baby because you hurt.  It’s a pain still having restrictions on what I can’t do and what I can’t lift.  But then I look at our baby and am reminded that I wouldn’t change it for anything because I’m so happy to have her.

I’m finally getting the dry hair, broken nails, bumps on my face, stretch marks that look like a sunburst around my belly button, a belly button that still doesn’t look normal, and a little pudge along my incision line because I was cut open to have our baby.  A pudge that may or may not change for a while because my belly and abs and uterus were split open.  But all of these things show that I finally did it!  I finally carried a baby to term!  A beautiful baby.  A healthy baby.  My baby.  Our baby.  Our RAINBOW BABY.

This month has been better than I could have imagined.  Time to see what’s in store for Month TWO!

(Thanks Kati Mallory Photo and Design for these four pictures and a few of the ones in our slideshow!)

We just love this #RainbowBaby

Happy Happy ONE MONTH Annabelle Grace!

IMG_2297.JPG

 

Our Baby- You’re Here!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 6:06pm

IMG_1823

Our baby girl was born!!!  Time to tell her story!  As most of you have previously read- we had an appointment the Friday before she was born and found out she was possibly 8lb, 10oz.  With that news we decided to start the induction process the following Tuesday if she didn’t come on her own, and of course she did not!  So, our story begins on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, at 9:00pm at Germantown Methodist Women’s Pavillion.

Will and I were told to check in at the hospital at 9:00pm.  I knew there was a chance they may not let me eat anything, so we were sure to have a last dinner out together before we checked in- we went to Carrabba’s- I figured I may as well carb-load!

IMG_1773

IMG_1777

After finishing, it was time to check-in!  Upon checking in, the first thing the doctor was going to start was Round One of Cytotec.  Cytotec is supposed to help prepare your body and make it ready for Pitocin, which would be administered if the Cytotec worked.  Pitocin was what would be used to actually start labor.  So, we began with the first round.

IMG_1778

The first round didn’t seem to affect my body at all.  Cytotec does make you start contractions which helps your body dilate.  Each time they give you a round of Cytotec you lay basically flat for an hour and a half, and then you wait a total of four hours to see if any progress has been made.  You can get up to use the bathroom, but other wise you stay in the bed with monitors to check the baby’s heart rate as well as a blood pressure cuff the whole time.  Eating and even drinking water are not allowed.  Ice chips is all that is allowed!  Soon, on to rounds 2, 3, and 4 for us!

IMG_1787

IMG_1785

With rounds 2, 3, and 4 I started having contractions.  With rounds 3 and 4, they DEFINITELY started picking up.  With round 4 they had gotten so intense that I was starting to breathe through them, and was sure that SOMETHING had to have finally worked.

When the nurse came in to check, I was completely closed, so still not ready for Pitocin.  One thing I can say is our doctor was fantastic- he was incredibly patient and would have continued letting us try the Cytotec to help me dilate, and that meant the world to me.  He knew I really wanted to try to deliver naturally, and tried his hardest to help that happen.  When the nurse checked after this fourth round and said there had been no change, Will and I really had to debate what our next move would be.  My contractions had been big enough that something should have happened… We had the option to start another round of Cytotec, or to decide on a c-section.  The biggest complication we were running in to with making this decision was that our baby was on the larger side.  If we tried another round of Cytotec, there was a chance I still wouldn’t dilate, or if I did, I may get stuck and not progress…. leading to a c-section.  If I did (hopefully) progress from another round, theres a chance she may end up being too big to deliver all the way and I would still need a c-section.  But again, my contractions were already so big and frequent, that the odds of me successfully dilating were getting smaller and smaller.  Will and I decided to for-go the fifth round and go ahead with a c-section.  At this point it was between 2:00pm-3:00pm.  My doctor would be in around 5:00pm and could start the c-section at that point.

I slowly started trying to wrap my head around the c-section.  This whole pregnancy I had really been looking forward to trying to push through labor and delivery, but at the same time the end goal was to get our sweet girl here, so this was the best decision.

At this point we would just wait for our doctor to show up.  Within 5-10 minutes of making the decision to do the c-section, my water broke!  I honestly wasn’t sure what had happened at first because NOTHING had dilated, and water breaking is usually done by a doctor for most people…. but it had happened.  The nurse ran in and checked and sure enough I had dilated 2 centimeters, she pushed it to 3 centimeters when she checked me.  My contractions quickly progressed and were only a couple minutes apart.  They were big and painful and frequent.  We still couldn’t do anything until my doctor got there, and there was no need to start pitocin because my body was already (and finally) doing what it was supposed to on it’s own.  I breathed through the contractions, waiting to see if maybe now I would be able to deliver the way I had been hoping I could!  Shout out to Pure Barre- I breathed in and out through each contraction, with my eyes closed and kept telling myself all the little quotes they say in class all the time- “you are stronger than you think”  and “only 10 more seconds” until I would get a break.  My doctor did show up, later than planned at 5:30pm.  He checked my contractions and said they were beautiful and text book perfect, so then he checked how much more I had dilated….and I was only at 4cm, only 1cm different, and that’s only because the nurse had pushed me an extra cm herself.  With all those hours and such big contractions I had only managed to dilate an extra centimeter.  He was still as patient and kind and willing to do whatever I wanted.  He said we could try waiting it out and hopefully some more progress would be made, or we could go on ahead with the c-section.  I like honest opinions and my doctor and the nurse both told us the realities of what could happen, so we decided to continue on with the c-section.  I felt a little better about it- mostly because I did get to experience labor, and apparently very strong contractions, which is part of what I wanted to feel when giving birth, and my doctor told us there was still a chance that if we have a future pregnancy, I could still possibly deliver naturally, so on to the c-section we went!  At this point I had still not had any form of pain medicine, and was still obviously having very intense contractions very close together.  Holding still and not having anything to brace myself on when they did the spinal block was quite the experience…. knowing a needle was going in to my spine and that any movement could mess that up.  Once again I held my breath and told myself the famous Pure Barre motto “you are stronger than you think” as I had a huge contraction while they inserted the needle.”  Soon it took effect, and they brought Will in to sit with me.  I remember telling him that it felt like the worst massage ever!  I could have sworn it felt like someone was sitting on me!  (There is no pain with the c-section, but there is a lot of pressure while they are doing it.)  After seeing the pictures I couldn’t believe that it was just their hands pushing!

IMG_1793

Our baby was here!!!  Will sat right beside me, and as soon as I heard that sweet little cry, all I could say was “‘my baby!” over and over and over, and that I couldn’t wait to see her!  Dr Williams held her up for her first picture!  (The anesthesiologist was awesome- he took pictures of everything for us!) (Also- funny side story- Will and I have continuously joked this whole pregnancy that we would be the people who would deliver the baby and “she” would suddenly be a “he.”  Well as soon as Annabelle Grace came out, the anesthesiologist quickly goes “What a handsome baby boy!”  Will then made a confused face and said “We thought we were having a girl….”  He checked and laughed and said “A beautiful baby girl!”  Really it was a priceless moment!)

IMG_1797

I got a quick glimpse of her and they quickly moved her over to weigh her.  Will was able to go to that side of the room with the nurses and was even able to hold her little itty bitty hand while they checked her out!

IMG_1791IMG_1804IMG_1809

THEN it was my turn to see this sweet little baby we created!

IMG_1822

The anesthesiologist even got part of it on camera as a video too!


They finally unstrapped one of my arms so I could kind of touch her too!


Of course we got our first family photo of 3!  Will in his surgical attire, me with my blood-shot, tear-filled, tired eyes, and our beautiful baby girl!

IMG_1829

We took some more photos with her, of course!

IMG_1871IMG_1837IMG_1870IMG_1848

She had her first hospital bath:

And she of course had lots of great visitors of the course of the few days we were in the hospital!  Will’s parents, his Aunt Kitty, Kelly, Elise, Richard, and our favorite monographer, Kelly!

Will learned the technique of burping and changing diapers super fast!  He actually changed all of her diapers while we were in the hospital since I couldn’t really get up and down yet/easily from the c-section!  He proved himself over and over again at how great of a Dad he is!

IMG_1856

​ Our whole experience was really just wonderful at Germantown Methodist Women’s Pavillion.  All of the nurses, doctors, and staff were fantastic.  We were there from our initial check in on Tuesday night, until Saturday mid-day when we were discharged.  Of course I had to get Annabelle dressed up to leave, in the most perfect outfit, so that she could meet her next round of visitors at home!

IMG_1864IMG_1907

Once we made it to Helena, Annabelle Grace got to meet her great-grandmother Ann King, and great-aunt Kelly!  Not long after my parents and Nana showed up from North Carolina, so she was also able to meet them!

Our first week with Annabelle Grace was nothing short of perfect!  I already have tons more to say and write about her, but that will be for another day!  (It is a little difficult to find the time to actually write all of this up!  Obviously- since this has taken me 3 weeks to write!  But, I wouldn’t have it any other way!!!!  If anyone is going to consume my time, it may as well be this rainbow baby of ours!)  Look out for more posts soon!  Time for me to go wake a sleeping baby!

Plans for Annabelle Grace’s arrival, we got ’em!

“Can’t let this moment, this moment slip away.  ‘Cause things like this, don’t happen to us everyday.  So take this moment and put it in a glass, if you want a sip, I got memories on tap.”

-Train, Drink Up

Alright, here we are!  It’s Friday, August 18, 2017 (currently 8:59pm CST, if you care!) and we have an update on our dear baby girl, Annabelle Grace!

As most of you know, we had an appointment today- and I am currently 39 weeks and 4 days along!  (3 days until her actual due date on Monday!!!!  Because, of course, a countdown is necessary!)  We’ve been waiting since week 37 to see if this dear girl would decide to come or not- and clearly she HAS NOT!  That is also totally okay with us, as she and I both seem to be staying healthy- however, now we are getting down to the wire with her due date, and she has shown absolutely NO signs of wanting to be delivered.  What can I say, I must have some pretty comfortable insides…. I mean, I have gained like 21 pounds- and it’s pretty much all in my stomach- it must be rather cushiony for her!

Will and I both have wanted to have her as naturally as possible, and our doctor (Dr. Jason Williams with the MOGA doctors in Memphis) has been awesome about that- even without us asking for that option!  This meaning, we have also wanted to avoid induction if at all possible, because it does lead to a 50/50 chance of having a c-section.

Last week at our appointment our girl wasn’t looking like she was ready to come out, which was totally fine- it’s still not her estimated due date, so he scheduled us for the appointment we had today.  We knew we would probably be making some decisions at this appointment, and they would be based on a lot of factors- my sugar levels, our thoughts on delivery, IF we would want to push past 41 weeks- which would involve a lot/daily monitoring until 42 weeks at the latest.  After talking all of this through on our way home last Friday, Will and I decided that if there still was no change in my body/her showing any progression towards labor that we would ask for an ultrasound to check her weight.  Obviously the estimated weight can vary at this point on an ultrasound- but it would still at least be an estimation- so we could see if she was even too big for my body to attempt delivery.  We would also get a final look, and be able to make sure she was not breech again by any chance.

So, back to today’s appointment- the doctor did all of his usual checks and like we assumed- this sweet girl is no where close to entering this world! We had a tentative plan to wait until next Friday, the 25th to induce, which would put me at 40 weeks and 4 days, if she had not come on her own by then.  It would basically get us close to the 41 week mark as well, to avoid any daily monitoring as well.  So, off to ultrasound we went to check things!  Here is our most recent picture, and it shows you all the hair this baby has! (If I believe any of the Old Wive’s Tales- it’s most certainly that a lot of hair causes heartburn!  I have NEVER had heartburn before pregnancy, but there are more days and nights that I have it now than not!)

img_1740.jpg

Soooooo, come to find out- our girl is measuring an estimated 8 POUNDS, 10 OUNCES right now?!?!?!?!  Please read that again- EIGHT POUNDS, TEN OUNCES!  We aren’t even to term yet, and she is showing no progression of coming! That is still almost HALF of the weight I have gained total!  On the bright side, she is still head down, and her face is facing my backbone, which, assuming she stays that way, is the most ideal for delivering naturally.

Since she is ranging on the larger side, if we waited until next Friday, she has the potential to weigh 9-10 pounds, and right at 10 pounds is when our doctor recommends moving to a c-section instead anyhow.  With babies that big, and moms with gestational diabetes, there are still risks involved with delivery- one of them being shoulder dystocia- basically where the baby’s head comes out, but the shoulders get stuck.  The baby can still be delivered, but there is obviously risk involved that could even include nerve damage to the baby.  So, our next option is the one we took!

We will go to the hospital and check in at 9pm on Tuesday night (August 22- my Dad’s birthday!)  They will then give me Cytotec- which should help to hopefully start making my body try to progress towards labor, making it more favorable for delivering a baby.  Crazy thing about this- this is the same medicine I potentially could have taken for my miscarriages over the last two years…. Fortunately with both of those I was able to do it all naturally, but it is crazy how this is now where we are at with our viable pregnancy.

Cytotec can also potentially help induce you.  Our doctor doesn’t think that will happen for us, but it could.  He is planning on having us induced Wednesday morning, and then waiting to see how things progress.  He does think it will be a while, so by 10pm that evening, after checks throughout the day- we will see if we are progressing at all towards natural delivery or not.  If we aren’t, we may have to move on toward a c-section.  I’m really hoping we don’t get to that point, but I do understand that it is a high probability.  It would more than likely be the only probability if we had decided to put things off until next Friday.

Like I told Will, it’s important to me, emotionally, mentally, and physically, to have a shot at delivering this baby naturally.  The only feelings I have associated to delivery right now are not fun ones- they are sad, and painful, and emotionally draining.  I know delivery will be hard, but there is a HAPPY ending to this one!  So, even if a c-section becomes the reality of Annabelle Grace’s birth- at least I will get a shot a doing it naturally, and that’s all I really wanted- a chance.

So, unless any things change over the weekend- mark your calendars!  We should have a baby no later than EARLY Thursday morning someway, somehow!!!

Until then- I’ll be back to Pure Barre for the next 4 days, because this will be it for at least 6 weeks!

Also- yes- our emotions are ALL OVER THE PLACE with this news- in the best way possible!  The biggest emotion is still nothing but PURE HAPPINESS!

Goodnight everyone!

Nursery Reveal and 37 Weeks

37 WEEKS!!!!!!

37 weeks are officially done- which means this little baby is *technically* ready, and safe enough to be born!  No more than 2-3 weeks to go!  We had an appointment last Wednesday and Annabelle Grace was weighing in at 6lb, 12oz.  She had grown 9oz since the last appointment we had before Michigan- so it seems she could be a big girl!  As of last Wednesday she had turned head down as well, so I’m reallllllllly hoping she stays that way.  I apparently have a lot of amniotic fluid, which makes it easy for her to turn around.  We have another appointment this coming Friday, and will continue to have an appointment each week until she is born!

Since we’ve nearly made it to the end, it’s time to post pictures of the nursery!  I love her room, and can’t wait to add her to it!  Until then, I just like to walk in and look around or sit in the glider!  I’ve pretty much organized and washed every possible item, so really there is nothing left to do!  So, let’s start with the before pictures!  These pictures are from days after Will and I moved in to the house- nothing had been done, except us moving our furniture in, and laying down an area rug because the carpet that came in the house was needing to be replaced. (We basically lived out of this one room for a good amount of time, while the house was being worked on!)

Since then the room had finally been turned into a guest room- with new carpet, and new paint- a light blue-green color.  Our first addition to making it a nursery was buying a crib!  We decided to go with a converter-crib- one that will work for her as a baby, as a toddler, and then convert in to a full-size bed so that we won’t have to buy new beds over and over.  We found this crib on Amazon, and really like it!

IMG_0077

Then we decided to move everything out of the room, add a carpet we ordered from Wayfair, and pick out a paint color!  We picked a Benjamin Moore “Greige” color- I believe it’s actually called Rodeo.​​

Our biggest splurge on the room was actually for the dresser and end tables.  We decided to for-go a changing table.  Since it doesn’t serve enough of a purpose later on- and really- how often will one of us be beside the changing table?!  Odds are this baby is getting changed where we are when the moment happens.  So, we added the cost of the changing table in to the furniture we would use in her room.  We found it on ETSY, and absolutely love it!  It will last for years- and can easily be transitioned in to any of our other rooms later on.

IMG_0209

We also order an unfinished, wooden, monogram sign from ETSY- it’s so much cheaper to just paint it yourself!  Plus we could match it easier to the quilt rack my Nana made years ago, and to a bedside table that Will already had from his first house!  (Obviously Will did all of the painting!  He was such a great sport about it and did a wonderful job!)

IMG_1197

The picture frames and mirror came from ETSY, curtains we had to order since we have such high ceilings/large windows, and the book shelf and slide-in baskets came from Target! (Bought with free gift cards from purchasing other baby things, win-win!)  The lamps are some that my Mom gave us a while back, and most of the little picture frames were gifts given to us!  We went pretty basic with the crib bedding since it’s recommended to keep it pretty simple.  We did add a crib skirt that will be seen better when the bed is converted to a toddler bed.  Soooooo, without further ado- here are the final pictures!

IMG_1628

IMG_1619

IMG_1627

 ​Here is a video tour of the room as well!

We also have a bonus closet beside her room and bathroom! We have filled it up with everything else!

​So there you have it!  Annabelle Grace’s room is complete!  Now, we’re just waiting on her!  Oh- I almost forgot- we also have an older, antique cradle that my parents gave us.  Will was able to get it put together and painted and distressed it!  We will keep this in our room for a while, while she is itty-bitty!  We have gone back and forth on how to make a mattress for it, as the sizing is not like anything sold today.  Foam seemed like the simplest fix- but there were a lot of reviews about chemicals and gasses that come off of it, not being good for the baby.  I decided to see if there was a way to have one custom made and it was actually able to work!  We found a site that custom makes the mattresses, and it was only $60.00!  Win-Win!  We’ve moved the cradle to our room, and now are just waiting for the mattress and fitted sheets to show up!

IMG_1593

As for what is happening now that 37 weeks are done-  I’m getting asked A LOT if there are twins!  People seem so shocked when I tell them there is only one, and it’s a baby girl that still has 3 weeks to go!  I honestly love watching people’s reactions, and answering their questions.  I’m still doing Pure Barre and walking as much as possible!  I always check with my doctor and he tells me to continue going until the day this baby pops out- so I go!  It also seems to make a big difference in keeping my glucose numbers lower!  My energy is still staying pretty strong- though at the end of the day I am wiped out!  My fingers have started to swell some.  I can get my rings on and off, but it is slightly difficult, so I have now added them to a necklace to wear.  I’m up about 18.5lb from pre-pregnancy, and my belly measures about 44.5 inches around!  I am starting to get a few, what I assume, are stretch marks around my belly button, and I’m really pretty okay with it!  I’ve waited a long time for a sweet baby to be inside of me, and having the marks to prove she was there is something I’m pretty happy about!

So- here are some pictures!  I’ve attached a 20 week picture beside my 37 week picture!

24 Weeks and 37 Weeks:

20 Weeks and 37 Weeks

Andddd: Proof that my belly is 44.5 inches wide and has some potential stretch marks near my belly button!

IMG_1636

So that concludes this updated post!  Now we wait!  I’ll continue to update until Annabelle Grace arrives!  That’s a post I can’t wait to write! (My bags are packed and I have outfits and headbands ready to go!)  Oh- and I bought myself one little fun thing for after her arrival- some new {PINK} tennis shoes!

IMG_1634

Oak Island and Michigan 2017

“I never want to leave this sunset town, but one day the time may come.  And I’ll take you at your word, and carry on.  I’ll hate the goodbye, but I won’t forget the good times.”

-All Time Low, Good Times

This summer is the last summer that it will just be the two of us!  Will and I are so incredibly excited for August, and getting to start our family of three!  However, since this is the last little bit of time we have with the two of us- we wanted to really try to make a trip with each of our families work this summer.  We wanted to have time to share our pregnancy with both families, stay up late, go out, and really enjoy the trips that each of us grew up loving.  Next year will be so much fun when Annabelle Grace is ranging from 9-12 months when we hopefully have these same vacations with our families.  We will be playing differently, following nap and sleep schedules, and loving every minute of it- but it will be different.  We are so glad we could make these trips work this summer.  Here are a few recaps!

At the end of May we went to Oak Island, North Carolina with my family.  I was just starting my third trimester of pregnancy.  Yes- we did drive!  We did stop a good bit for bathroom breaks, but the traveling itself wasn’t all that bad!  Our first stop Saturday was to Provision Company in Southport while waiting on the rest of my family to arrive!  We had shrimp, crab cakes, and corn on the cob, and it was delicious!

 Once everyone showed up, we found our house, and of course had to see the beach!!  We did, obviously, document my belly as well!!!

My sister, Kristin and her family- Brad, Ava and Kylie showed up late Saturday evening- so of course we stayed up to see them!  Of course Ava and Kylie LOVE Will! (Which is a good sign, since he is so close to becoming a “girl dad!”)

IMG_1137

We took Ava to Carolina Beach with us to ride the Ferry and get donuts at Britt’s!  This particular time of the year they are only open on the weekends, so Sunday was the only day we would have a chance to get them!  Britt’s Donuts, by the way, is very well known, even outside of North Carolina.  The only type of donuts they serve are glazed donuts, and the lines are always insane to wait in to get them!  For anyone living in Arkansas, I would describe them as similar to Shipley’s Donuts.

IMG_1153

IMG_1143

Ava passed out on the way home waiting for the Ferry, though she would tell your differently- and that she was just pretending!.

IMG_1144

Of course, when we finally made it back- it was time to go back to the beach!!!

From there on out, we had plenty of great meals with lots of seafood!  Of course we ate at Provision several more times, walked around Southport, and visited the Farmer’s Market on Oak Island. (and I bought a hair bow of course!)

IMG_1156

IMG_1543

One of the last days we were in Oak Island, there was a pretty big storm! The ocean was very rough, lots of hail, wind, and the road even flooded up a little bit!  I always enjoy a good storm at the beach- so long as it isn’t like that all week!!

All in all we had a great trip to the coast of North Carolina.  We’re looking forward to when we get to take Annabelle Grace one day!

Our next family trip of the summer would be with Will’s family to Michigan.  Once we got home from the beach with my family we had an appointment, and unfortunately found out I would be dealing with Gestational Diabetes for the rest of my pregnancy.  We kept our fingers crossed and hoped this wouldn’t interfere with our potential trip near the end of July.  I would be almost 35 weeks along when we would leave for Michigan, so you never know what could happen by that point.  Fortunately we were cleared once again for this trip!  We had to drive again, and stopping to move around and drinking plenty of water were even more crucial.  Because of this, we did turn the trip there and back into two day trips.

We made it a few days before Will’s parents arrived, but had a little time with his Aunt Kelly and his grandparents.  Kelly and Will decided they needed to get in the water.  It was incredibly cold and the water was even colder!  They did it though- and actually swam around a good bit!

IMG_1474

While in Michigan, we ended up having amazing weather.  Every day there was supposed to be a pretty good chance of rain/storms- but every day, it ended up being wonderful weather!  It only really rained on Saturday when Will and I had to leave anyhow.  The water was still super cold this year- but I did get in.  The first day it was a little too cold for me still, but as the week went on, and the weather got warmer, I could bear it a little more!  I even sat on a paddle board while Will paddled me around!  His arms and core definitely got a good workout!

IMG_1533

We also made to get a belly shot on this trip too, since we did one in NC at the beginning of my third trimester!

IMG_1514

We did tons of walking while in Epworth, to try to keep my numbers for my glucose low- and apparently it worked wonders!  The whole we we were in Michigan I only had a few “bad” readings.  Because we were able to keep my numbers so low, we did FINALLY cheat one day and get REAL ice cream.  I got that small scoop in a cup so that I could really take my time eating it!  I even got a little whip cream on top- and I enjoyed every bite!

IMG_1516

We also splurged a little on the diet and had Bortell’s with Will’s parents one day.  We got fried whitefish, french fries, and coleslaw- and it was wonderful!

IMG_1485

As the week went on, by the end of the day- my walking realllllllly slowed down!  (We seriously walked several miles a day!) Will thought it was funny to use SnapChat to document just how fast we were truly going.  He of course waited until our last walk of the day, after being in the sun all day, and going up a hill!!  It really is kind of funny though!  However- at least I was still moving! At almost 36 weeks!!

IMG_1536

Our trip to Michigan was also wonderful, and I’m so glad it also worked out for us!  (and we came back with baby still intact!)

Now that our last two family trips as a family of two have happened- we wait for little Ms. Annabelle Grace to decide to grace us with her presence!  We did have an appointment once we got home from Michigan, and much to our surprise- she has flipped head down!  Now, here’s to hoping she stays that way!

Soon- I’ll post a completed Nursery Blog Reveal!  Stay tuned!