Monday, April 29, 2019

Marigold, One Month

Marigold is one month old!

If you recall, I wrote monthly updates during Jude's first year and it's been such a joy looking back over those recently that I've decided to go ahead and write them again for Marigold. It's so easy to forget all these little things, which is just crazy because raising a baby is all-consuming, especially in this first year. Thankfully, writing it out helps me freeze time just the tiniest bit. So here I go again! Not sorry.

Little Miss is just over 10 pounds. For reference, she was 8 lb 2 oz at birth, so almost 2 pounds gained in her first month. This gal likes her milk. ;)

No idea! She was 21 inches at birth and we'll measure again at her 2-month appointment. I'll report back.

^^ I'm HOW old?!?

Newborn sleep is seriously the best. Ok, so the broken sleep overnight is not the best for us adults, but the predictability of Marigold's sleep is pretty awesome. She likes to eat, sometimes stay awake for 20-30 minutes, and then nap. Repeat, repeat, repeat all day long. And if we can stay on top of this eat/play/nap rotation, she is just the happiest baby in the world. If we try to push her to stay awake more than about an hour, that's when she's a cranker-saurus. She does not like to be overtired, not one bit. Thankfully, we're pretty good at following the routine, so this past month has been really good for all of us. Most naps are in her bassinet, and a few in my Boba or Solly wrap, and now that she's a little older, we're trying out naps on her tummy (under close supervision, of course). We shall see if she keeps up the awesome napping!

Overnight, she's given us a few 5- and 6-hour stretches, and even one 7-hour stretch! We actually bought this crazy techy bassinet called the SNOO, and I do think the SNOO is the reason for the great overnight sleep. So I can't help but sing its praises! We bought it when it was on sale during Black Friday and boy am I glad we did because they've raised the price significantly since then. I mean, good sleep is worth the investment. But I'm glad our investment was a bit lower than what it would be if we were trying to purchase it now. I digress. Marigold is awesome and overall she sleeps great. :)

-A few social smiles. Just a few though.
-Lifting her head up when she's propped up on my shoulder.
-Making eye contact.
-Occasionally cooing.

We actually call her Margo more than we call her Marigold, which we had planned on when we picked her name. We love both equally though. :) She has also been called Margo Bear, Baby Girl, and Sissy a whole bunch too.

-Just like with my boys, nursing was painful from the start with Margo. So we had her evaluated for lip/tongue/cheek ties at 6 days old and wouldn't you know, she had all of it! It took 2 months for us to fix John Paul's ties, a month to get to Jude's, but we wasted no time with Marigold. Our little lady had her ties lasered at just 6 days old and nursing has been wayyyyy better ever since! Praise God!

-This is more about me than Marigold, but I've had a crazy number of migraines since she was born. They're never that severe; usually just a wavy line in my vision for a little while and then a mild headache for several hours after. But gosh, I've never had this issue before, and wavy lines in my vision are hard to work around while caring for a newborn. I had 4 of these migraines in 3 days while she was just a week old. They've spaced out a bit now, but I'm still dealing with them here and there. Anyone else ever experience this? 

-We had lifestyle newborn photos taken at our house by Kristy Vest Photography when Margo was just 11 days old. Check out some of our faves:

  -Marigold has probably gotten 3 baths since she was born. Lol. We're the laziest when it comes to bathing children. Actually, to our credit, we wanted to wait until her umbilical stump fell out to give her her first bath, which is what you're supposed to do, I think. And that took about a week to happen. Anywho, she did not love her first bath AT ALL, but since then she's tolerated them quite nicely.

-Little Miss has been dealing with a little cold for the past two weeks. It's thankfully been so mild, just a stuffy nose and lots of boogers. Actually, now that I think of it, it might somehow be related to reflux. We've been using the Nose Frida to suck the boogers out and running a humidifier at night to help. Hopefully whatever it is will get better soon. While it hasn't affected her much, it does wake her up when her nose gets too stuffy.

-Margo celebrated her first Easter the day she turned 4 weeks old! It was also her first Mass, which was a great way to jump right in. :) It was a beautiful day filled with lots of family, friends, and candy . . . Margo got her candy through me, of course. Oh, and it was her first time wearing a dress! I mostly just have her in zip-up sleepers all the time because they're sooo easy. But Easter Sunday is no day for a sleeper! Look how cute she was:

^^ Easter pic fail. Boys not cooperating (see John Paul hiding behind me?), forgot to take a photo until we got the the parish gym, Daddy clutching coffee, Marigold hiding in the wrap. It's a vvvv accurate depiction of real life right now though and I love it for that.

-John had a month of paternity leave and we loved having him home with us that whole time!! ALL THE HEART EYES! It has made this transition much easier than it would have been otherwise. :) What a huge blessing!

-Meal trains, you guys!! Oh emmm geeee, we have been so blessed with a very active meal train ever since Marigold arrived. We have not made dinner for the past month and we have friends and family signed up to make us meals over the next month as well. It's amazing and we are feeling so loved!! If you know a family with a new baby, or someone recovering from surgery, or going through a hard time, please consider blessing them with a meal train. My SIL set everything up through (which is completely free) and it's all been easy peasy smooth sailing and delicious! SUCH a huge blessing for our family. And we've gotten to see so many friends and loved ones when they pop in to deliver food. It's wonderful!

-The boys are adjusting well to their little sister. Whenever she's awake, they just want to kiss and snuggle her times a million. They like to help out in little ways, like grabbing a tissue when she sneezes or supervising diaper changes, or holding her pacifier in if she's fussy. They also love laying on the floor with her and chatting with her in high-pitched voices (lol, they totally got that from me). But they've also struggled to adjust, as Miss Marigold's arrival has meant that mommy isn't around as much as they're used to. So there have been a lot of BIG FEELINGS coming out sideways for the past month: tantrums, limit pushing, whining, nap fighting . . . everything you'd expect from a 2-year-old and 3-year-old who don't know how to express their feelings otherwise. It's been tough, especially on John who has been on toddler duty for the past month, but thankfully it's gotten a lot better. And overall, they really do LOVE love love their little sis. It's going to be so fun watching them become the best of buds over the next year and beyond. As for what Margo thinks of them, I think she's just confused by all their commotion, but also secretly loves the attention. I love my three amigos! <3

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Marigold's Birth Story, Part 2

For part 1, click here.

The car ride was a short one. We chose a different doctor and a different hospital this time because we knew I wouldn't be able to handle a long ride in. And am I ever so glad we made that decision! 13 minutes door to door. I could handle that. And as it turns out, my body got the memo that car contractions are no fun, so it spaced them out and made them very mild for me for the whole ride in. Thanks, self!

We arrived around 2:05pm and walked straight in. We had a quick check-in at the main desk, where I had a few contractions and just paced and boosted my TENS unit and listened to my up-breathing through them. Since I had pre-registered, we were only there a few minutes, thank goodness.

The kind receptionist walked us back to our room at 2:15pm, room number 1505. We completely skipped triage, I think because my husband works at this hospital and they were pulling us some major faves. It was awesome. And as it turns out, necessary! More on that in a sec.

We got into the room and I stripped down to be checked. My first cervical check all pregnancy! I had no idea what to expect and even joked that I was probably just a few centimeters and even if that was the case, it would be totally fine. I was just going with my body's flow.

Wendy walked in around 2:30pm, just as our nurse, Mony, was about to check me. It took a few contractions to time it right. They were coming closer and closer and were definitely hard to sit through, so I waited until one just ended, hopped on the bed, and got ready for that cervical check, hoping it would be done before the next contraction hit.

You can imagine my shock when Mony announced, "8cm, 75% effaced, with bulging bag of waters." ALL THE SHOCK EYE EMOJIS.

8cm?! And I was still laughing and hanging out between contractions? I could barely believe it!!

John texted Dr. H, as it was still well before 4pm and we thought since I was so far progressed, there was a good chance baby would be arriving before she'd have to be at her birthday party. It's amazing what can happen when you surrender to God's will.

Wendy mentioned, "I think this is going to be fast once that water breaks!" And so we went to work getting the contractions to progress.

I found a cozy spot next to the bed and would just stand there chatting and sipping electrolyte water, waiting for contractions to start. As soon as they did, I'd announce it, turn on the contraction feature on my TENS, and then have John stand in front of me as I slow danced with him and sort of squatted into the intensity of the wave. At first, I was actually really tightening my legs closed because I did not like the sensation that squatting was causing. But Wendy reminded me that that sensation was the one that would get me progressing faster and closer to meeting my baby, so while I was so hesitant to squat much, I started to go for it. First little tiny squats, and then as contractions got more intense, bigger squats that came on with big moaning sounds that I couldn't control. I would breathe in for 4, and then MOOOAANNNNN out for 8. It was hard work, but it was working!

It was probably just 5 contractions like that, and then my water popped while I was squatting and moaning into a big one. It was approximately 3:02pm. I looked down and saw a few drips of blood mixed in and Wendy reassured me it was totally fine. She ran out of the room to alert the nurses. While she was out of the room, it felt like I was peeing everywhere, which I apologized to John for, but he said, "That's your water, babe!" Ha! That made more sense.

Dr. H still hadn't arrived, but soon the room filled with nurses and a resident doctor and a few assistants. They knew this thing was happening and fast.

At this point, all control went out the window and with the next contraction, I was just screaming and pushing. Not voluntary pushing, just straight up my-body-pushing-out-a-baby-on-its-own pushing. And I was still standing and leaning on John at this point. I recall thinking to myself that I should throw myself into another position, like hands and knees, but it was just too late. So I leaned hard into John and just kept screaming and involuntarily pushing. I felt the biggest pressure on my bum, which was insanely intense, but I knew that meant baby was making way into the birth canal, and fast!

Within seconds, I felt baby's head. I felt that familiar burn and at this moment, I stood as tall as a woman with a crowning baby could stand to slow things down. I remember saying, "ow ow ow ow" and sloppily breathing through it. It wasn't long before I felt the immediate relief of baby's head making its way completely out. I announced, "Head is out!" because at this point I was still standing and afraid no one was prepared to catch! Pretty sure half the room had their hands under me and at the ready at this point, but my eyes were closed so tight, I had no idea what was really going on around me.

Soon I felt the burn again as shoulders made their way through, and then immediate relief again. And as the rest of baby's body slid out and the resident caught baby, Dr. H walked into the room. She was able to witness the feet being born. :P

The nurse and Wendy helped passed baby up to me through my legs and announced baby's arrival as 3:04pm. From water breaking to birth was approximately 2 minute's time. And not a single voluntary push from me. Just insane.

I held baby close and walked over to sit on the bed. Sweet relaxation! Baby was still attached, so I was having trouble seeing between the legs to find out if we had a boy or a girl. I made my best effort and saw the umbilical cord, which made me think penis. So for a second I was thinking boy. But when I told the nurse I couldn't exactly tell, she peeked for me and said, YOU HAVE A GIRL! And John and I both exclaimed and giggled and just couldn't believe it!!

Me and baby girl relaxed back into the bed and started snuggling and getting to know each other. Once the cord stopped pulsing, John was able to cut it and I was able to pull baby girl all the way up into my arms. And then we spent the next hour doing skin-to-skin and attempting to get baby girl to latch. I even had the wherewithal to wish Dr. H a happy birthday! And she responded, "This is a fun birthday!" It was truly sweet of her to come in on her day off and birthday, no less, to welcome our little bundle!

After that golden hour, we weighed and measured our baby girl, and she shocked the whole room by being over 8lb. The official weight was 8lb 2 oz, and length was 21 inches. Our biggest baby yet!

The placenta took its sweet time to detach, about an hour, but it eventually did without pitocin and it was healthy looking and there in its entirety.

Dr. H sewed up my 2nd degree tear, which I continued to do my up-breathing through (srsly, why can they numb that area a little better??). I've come to accept that I may always tear a little, and that ok, as the perineum is designed to stretch and tear and repair quickly. Wendy even mentioned that red heads are more likely to tear for whatever reason, so it did make it easier to hear that and just accept it as my fate. Recovery is already off to a good start!

Soon the room cleared and we spent the next day snuggling our sweet girl, picking out her name, breastfeeding, announcing her arrival to loved ones . . . all the fun stuff!

In case you were wondering, yes I bought two swaddles sets. The boy set was blue striped, and the girl set had to be EXTRA girly with a big ol' bow and flowers galore. Naturally. We truly would have been thrilled either way, but what a special joy to find out you have a beautiful girl after two handsome boys!

We especially loved calling our families and announcing that we had a girl! My mom (who didn't even know I was in labor!!) was so excited and shocked when we called her with the big news. She passed the news along to my dad who was equally excited! And John's mom and sister screamed through the phone in excitement. My SIL, who was with my boys, showed them a picture of their sister and they registered her for about a half a second before returning to their toys. I assure you they've shown more excitement since then. ;)

For instance . . .

I've never seen them want to kiss or love on someone so much! It's just too dang cute!

I must admit, in all the chaos of a quick ride to the hospital and baby girl arriving within 1 hour of our check-in, I didn't even have time to take out my prayer intentions for labor. So I've been offering up the discomforts of recovery for all of you! And of course, I think God knew my labor was intended for you all as well. Thank you, again, for trusting me with your intentions!

And so ends the tale of Miss Margo's grand arrival! In the weeks leading up to her birth, we prayed for a joyful, peaceful, safe delivery. I would say it truly was all of those things, plus a little crazy there too. :) I wouldn't have it any other way.

Welcome to the family, Marigold Claire! We're so thrilled to have you!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Marigold's Birth Story, Part 1

Our sweet baby GIRL has arrived! If you didn't see the announcement, head here. And now I present to you, her birth story!

In the week's leading up to baby's arrival, so many people asked me if I was feeling ready. Which is such a difficult question to answer, because who's really ready for the newborn phase? Whew! But it's true that usually by the end, I'm just ready to get the show on the road.

However, this time around, we were taking the last precious weeks to enjoy being just a family of four and get house projects done and so I was really at peace with waiting on baby to make his or her arrival whenever pleased. It was honestly the most relaxed end of pregnancy ever.

I didn't even let my OB do cervical checks at my appointments because, "why care about a number anyway?" I'd tell her. She just smiled and went along with it. And when my visit to a chiropractor at 38 weeks pregnant revealed baby to be in perfect position with my body in nearly perfect alignment, and the chiropractor told me she though for SURE I'd go into labor early, like so soon, I just shrugged it off with a meh and put it out of my mind.

It felt good not to be caught up in making things happen at any specific pace.

It probably helped that we also ate like royalty for the last week or so. You never know when you're gonna have your last family-of-four meal, so might as well eat out every night! That's a saying, right? :P

Lenten fish fries (3 times!).
Drive thru fries and soft drinks.
Piled-high BBQ tator tots.
Buffalo chicken nachos.
Large veggie deli sandwiches.
Fro-yo with all the toppings.
And this crowning glory. . .

At 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant, we treated ourselves to the biggest banana split in town. Oh mama was it good.

But you didn't come here to read about my junk food diet, did ya?

We went to bed that night with super happy full tummies and no idea of what would be in store the following day.

I woke around 8am on my due date, a Sunday morning, and noticed the tiniest bit of spotting when wiping during my morning pee-stop. Since bleeding is always a trigger for me (hello previous miscarriage and infertility!), I reached out to my doula immediately and asked her if that was normal. She said, "Oh yes!" and agreed that this was a sign baby was probably starting to make moves. By 8:30am I noticed I was probably having a few contractions, and that I guess I had actually felt some crampy ones during the night but wasn't really with it enough to realize what was going on until now. This was surely a good sign that things were really happening!

While we sat down to breakfast, John received a text from my OB, Dr. H. She had taken me as a private patient and had basically guaranteed, barring a random emergency or coincidence, that she would be there to deliver my baby. We loved working with her during the pregnancy, she was totally on board with the birth plan, and we were excited to have her there for baby's arrival. But of course, with my luck for these sorts of things, on the morning I start to feel contractions, she texts to say that it's her birthday and she will be at a family party from 4-10pm, not able to deliver during that time. My heart sank. Now I was on some sort of weird clock, where I could either deliver before 4pm, after 10pm, or just take whoever showed up to deliver me between those hours . . . with no actual control over any of it. So we did the only thing we could do and just surrendered to God's will and did our best to put it out of our minds.

Since the contractions were super mild and very random with no discernible pattern, we decided to go to Mass at 10am. Which, thinking about it now, was a GREAT way to start labor. Oh the graces I'm sure I received. :)

During Mass, I probably had 3 mild contractions, and while hanging out with friends for about an hour after, probably 3 or so more. Nothing too serious, and the company of God and friends was a great distraction!

We decided to get drive through food for lunch, Pal's turkey sandwiches, fries, hot dogs, and a peachy Dr. Enuf. If that sounds like gibberish, it's because you're not from east Tennessee. But trust me, it was goooood. (Side note, if you're ever in east Tennessee, please go to Pal's -- it's an institution here.)

By the time lunch ended, contractions were starting to pick up. Not enough to head to the hospital yet, but enough to know this was probably the real thing. This was around 1pm. I texted Wendy with the following screen shot and let her know if contractions continued in this pattern, we'd be headed to the hospital within the hour.

Freya, the contraction timer app

I put John on boy-nap duty and sent him upstairs to get the boys sleeping. Before they went up, I hugged them both so close and said a most tearful goodbye. I'm not a weepy, emotional person typically, but knowing that I probably wasn't going to see them again without a new baby sibling, AKA a huge family change, made me tear up.

They headed up the stairs and I got to work putting together the rest of the hospital bag and getting things ready to load up in the car.

It didn't take long for contractions to get real serious. Perhaps it was being on my feet and moving a bunch of stuff around, or maybe it was knowing the boys were taken care of and I could let go of that responsibility, but something put my body into gear.

My contraction timer app, Freya, has the option to play a breathing technique called up-breathing (breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, out through your mouth for 8 seconds), and I had turned it off until this point. It hadn't been necessary. But now, as contractions were getting stronger, I needed to be sure my oxygen was still flowing well, so I turned on the feature. And it was immeasurably helpful at keeping me calm!

At 1:32pm, I texted my mother-in-law to let her know to head our way to watch our boys, and I texted my friend and neighbor, Sarah, to have her swing by too. I wasn't sure how long my MIL was going to take; she took an hour to get to our house during Jude's birth and I knew I didn't have that amount of time this time around, so calling in extra back-up helped put me at ease too.

John still had to pack his hospital bag, so I labored through some longer and stronger contractions (about 1.5 minutes long each and 3 minutes apart) while he scrambled to throw his things together. I listened to the up-breathing counter on the app and walked loops around my family room, kitchen, and sun room. He finally emerged from the second floor and then furiously started bring our stuff out to the car. During this time, I had two contractions right on top of each other and knew it was really time to go.

Sarah arrived and, to our surprise, within two minutes, my MIL arrived too! So we were set to take off! Praise God for good people who are willing to watch your kiddos on the drop of a dime.

I had John put a maternity TENS unit on my back to help me get through these more intense contractions. I was especially hoping the TENS unit would help with contractions while stuck in a seated position in the car.

(Side note, if you've never heard of TENS before, it stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, and it does exactly that -- it delivers a small shock to your skin and that pulse helps the body release endorphins and distract your brain from bigger pains that are going on in your body. Since I had taken a British Hypnobirthing course (online), and maternity TENS units are big over there, I decided to look into it and try it out for this labor. Spoiler alert: it was awesome!)

At 1:52pm, we texted Wendy, our doula, that we were headed to the hospital. And then we were off!

For part 2, click here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019


Marigold Claire!

Born on her due date
March 24 at 3:04pm
8 lb 2 oz
21 inches long

Thank you so much for all the prayers and support! We're so thrilled that SHE'S here! GAH, yes it's so surreal to say SHE! I can't believe we have a daughter. ALL THE HEART EYES! 

The boys are thrilled, and when Miss Margo comes around, all they want to do is kiss and love on her. Jude happily exclaimed, "My baby sister!" while gently patting her head the other morning. He must be pretty proud. :) What joy she brings to all of us!

Birth story coming soon!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

How Can I Pray for You? (And a Pregnancy Update)

Baby #3's arrival fast approaches! 

As with my last pregnancies, I'd love to offer up my upcoming labor and delivery for your intentions! No prayer request is too big or too small. Feel free to leave requests in the comments here or send them privately via email: stephschweitz [at] gmail [dot] com. 

A few weeks ago, we went on an overnight babymoon to Asheville, NC. If that sounds familiar, it's because we did the same thing before Jude was born. But since Asheville is such a happening town, we were able to have a completely different babymoon experience, and it was awesome yet again. One of my favorite parts was getting my belly (temporarily) henna tattooed with Henna Sophia. It's something I've always wanted to do, so being in Asheville at 35 weeks pregnant, I took total advantage of the opportunity. And I loved the final result! Other babymoon highlights included staying at the old Princess Anne Hotel (which was really more of a giant bed and breakfast -- so lovely!), a relaxing couple's foot soak at Wake Foot Sanctuary, eating a fully vegan meal at Plant, a long peruse and shopping spree at Trader Joe's, going to Mass at the beautiful St. Lawrence Basilica, trying dim sum for the first time ever at Red Ginger, and escaping our first ever escape room (with friends who met us there!) at Fox n Otter Adventure Puzzle Rooms. And this was all within 32 hours! Thanks for yet another great time, Asheville! 

And now for a late pregnancy update.

How far along? 38 weeks
Clothing? All maternity, of course! 
Stretch marks? Yep. Just as I predicted, my old stretch marks are growing longer. This started while I had the henna on my belly, so they were hidden for two weeks. But as soon as the henna faded, there they were, sneakily growing out from the old stretchies. All the belly butter in the world hasn't stopped it, so I guess I'm just prone to stretch marks? A small price to pay for growing another human. ;)
Sleep? Sleep has been meh, mostly because it's hard to get comfy, and there are a lot of pee trips to the bathroom, and fiery reflux. Oh, and I had one night of insomnia. But since upping my magnesium supplement a little bit, I've been sleeping just a bit better. Thankfully there are daily naps to make up for the lost night sleep. 
Best moment of the week? It's probably a tie between meeting with our doula for our last pre-labor prep session and getting a bunch of little projects done around the house in preparation of baby's arrival (washing all the newborn clothes, buying and constructing new family room furniture, putting the final touches on our kids' bathroom makeover, etc.). 
Worst moment of the week? Having a few Braxton Hick's contractions and worrying that I might go into labor early. It wouldn't be horrible for baby to be born now, but I was looking forward to these last few weeks to continue getting things ready and to have some last pre-baby moments with my boys.  
Miss anything? Sangria and meaty deli sandwiches, and being able to bend down without maximum effort. 
Movement? Yup! Especially at night around 9pm. 
Symptoms? All the reflux. Random itchiness. Being tired. 
Food cravings? Give me all the sweets! 
Gender? I really have no idea at this point and will be completely shocked either way. Probably more shocked if baby is a girl, since I'm used to having boys, but I really have no clue, so it's really going to be a fun surprise!
Labor signs? Just a few Braxton Hicks contractions. 
Belly button in or out? So out. See above pic for proof. 
Wedding rings on or off? On. 
Mood? Normal. 
Looking forward to? Newborn snuggles. :) 


Don't forget to send me your prayer intentions! I look forward to praying for you! 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

And Then There Were Three!

Time to let this cat out of the bag.

We're expecting baby Schweitz number three (on earth // we have one sweet babe in eternity)!

John Paul will be almost 4 and Jude will be just over 2 when new baby arrives. From infertile for 2 years to 3 kiddos in less than 4 years. My heads spins when I try to think about it! I look back in awe of where this journey has taken us. I couldn't have written it better myself, so thanks for that, Man Upstairs!


When Jude turned 1, we started to talk and dream about baby 3. I was still a little hesitant, since we were just finally starting to get some good sleep (side note: Jude was not the best sleeper for the first year of his life), and my postpartum anxiety was finally feeling good and managed. But from there, it only took a few more months to really feel ready, and so we decided to give it a whirl.

Wouldn't you know, that first cycle of trying, the emotions of infertility came flooding back. Will it work? Will I need to seek NaPro help? Does that twinge in my ovary mean something? Is my endometriosis back?! Will I need surgery again? Do I feel pregnant? Is that a symptom of pregnancy or PMS? Do I hope or do I despair?!

And that first cycle did not work. I tested early, and I tested several days, and each day just one single line stared back at me on the pregnancy tests. So naturally, I was devastated. I went right back to the dark places of infertility. I tried and tried to not let it take over, but it's crazy how once you've been through it, you can never really trust that your body is healed and knows how to make babies again.

But I pulled myself together and we tried again, and well . . . here we are now, 6.5 months pregnant with the newest little Schweitz babe.

I say all this not to complain. But just to say my heart is still with all my friends who are struggling. I see you. I know your pain and I hate it for you. And I know it can't be easy to hear about the girl who gets pregnant so quickly now, but I promise I have not forgotten you. Please never hesitate to unfollow if all this is just too much. Praying for you, my friends.


So how did we find out?

Well, I was nearing the end of the cycle and holding out testing as long as possible, but at this point, it was time. I told John I was ready, but that I didn't want him to be with me during the test, because I didn't to let him down if it was negative. I marched upstairs to our master bathroom with Jude in my arms (he was cranky/clingy, so there was no leaving him), and as soon as I got into the room, I ripped open the test. Within seconds of dipping it, it turned positive, and my heart skipped a beat! I know I've been through this positive test thing 4 times now, but it never ceases to amaze me that my body can actually do this correctly!

With great excitement, I yelled down the stairs, "Guess what, John!" And of course he knew. He came running up the stairs and checked out the test with me, and we both giggled and hugged and floated on a cloud.

The only NaPro-y thing we did was supplement with progesterone during post-peak, but other than that, my body did this one on its own. Well, I mean, with the help of the husband, of course. :P

I've been checking my progesterone regularly since, and the numbers have been so good that I haven't needed any supplementation since the positive test! It's certainly been nerve-wracking, especially since I was on progesterone during both John Paul and Jude's pregnancies. But this little babe hasn't needed it and thankfully, all is well!


At this point, we're pretty far into the pregnancy and I'm feeling exactly as I'd expect to feel at 6.5 months pregnant. I've always wanted to answer these questions, as sort of a time capsule for my pregnancy years, so I hope you don't mind if I indulge.

How far along? 29 weeks
Clothing? Pretty much all maternity at this point. A few sweet friends have let me borrow some of their maternity clothes, so it's been fun switching up the maternity wardrobe a bit this time around.
Stretch marks? No new ones, but I bet I'll add to the old ones here soon. That's exactly what happened around 30-ish weeks last time. During my first pregnancy, stretch marks grew from my laparoscopy scars. During my second pregnancy, stretch marks grew from the old stretch marks. So if that pattern follows, I expect to see my current stretchies grow even longer by the end of this pregnancy. However, I have been better about applying lotion to my belly this pregnancy, so we'll see if that makes any difference whatsoever. I'll report back!
Sleep? Not too bad! Actually, my 3-year-old has become a bad sleeper. Thank you, night terrors. Eep! So sleep is interrupted by that. And I have to get up to pee at least once a night, many nights twice. Throw a random night of pregnancy insomnia into the mix here and there, and that's what my sleep looks like these days. All told, I probably eek out 6-7 solid hours each night. And if I'm really tired the next day, I'll nap when my boys nap. (Yes, they nap at the same time every day. It's glorious.) I will say, those body pillows never did it for me, so I just sleep on my left side most nights, and comfortably so!
Best moment of the week? My boys have been sick, so there have been lots of snuggles and Christmas movies (and Pixar movies) on the couch this week. Can't complain about extra toddler snuggles and fun movies!
Worst moment of the week? My boys have been sick, so they've been extra clingy and whiny. Isn't it funny how the best thing and worst thing from the week can come from the same place? Anyway, I snapped at my boys a time or two, just overwhelmed by the unending whining. Felt pretty bad about that after the fact. I wonder if pregnancy hormones are to blame for my shorter-than-usual fuse?
Miss anything? Mama wants sangria! And a big, meaty deli sandwich!
Movement? Yes! Especially in the evenings.
Symptoms? Reflux, the tiniest bit of morning nausea, exhaustion, pimples, night pee, pressure (but not scary pressure) down low, getting harder to bend over and pick things up . . .
Food cravings? Veggie sub from Subway; sweet, cold drinks; lots of water this week; tuna fish + pasta salad with Wishbone Italian dressing; veggies and dip
Gender? I really go back and forth with this, but am leaning girl this time. I was a lot sicker in the first trimester (throwing up nearly every day for weeks!), so either that means a gender I haven't experienced yet OR just one feisty boy. John Paul constantly says "she" when referring to the baby, but will occasionally tell us he's having another brother. The ultrasound profile looked girly, but also looked a lot like Jude, so who knows? Every day I let myself imagine having another boy or having our first girl, just to prepare for either outcome, and it's a lot of fun to imagine either scenario. A boy would so easily fall in line with our first two, while a girl would switch things up and be a fun new experience. Either way, we'd be thrilled!
Labor signs? None!
Belly button in or out? Barely still in.
Wedding rings on or off? On, but I usually don't have to take them off, even at the very end.
Mood? Normal.
Looking forward to? Meeting this baby and seeing my boys' reactions when he or she arrives! Also, we're getting to the point where my OB appointments are every 2 weeks, and that's just blowing my mind!


I think this has officially turned into a mommy blog. I don't hate it. :P

Hugs to all of you! Wishing you many blessings on your journey!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

John Paul Turns 3! With a Train Birthday!

My big kid turned 3 back in May.

What a gift it is to have a 3-year-old!

John Paul Fulton, watching you grow is such a joy. You have become such a chatter box, telling us stories about any and everything, and talking to anyone who will listen. You're favorite story to tell these days is, "When I was a baby, I used to call 'chocolate' 'lala'!" . . . which is entirely untrue, but I love how much you love making up stories about when you were a baby.

You love to explore the world around you, taking in every detail possible. You'll be telling us about something you saw weeks ago, and you'll recall the most random detail about it. It always shocks us and makes us chuckle. 

You still love books, and would curl up on the couch to read with us all day if we had the time. Your favorite books are the ones with vehicles, but you'll even give non-vehicle books a go from time to time.

Your eating habits have remained pretty much the same over the past year. If it were up to you, you'd only eat pasta, grilled cheese, or pizza every meal. We've gotten you to try a handful of less toddler-friendly foods, like tofu and kale and carrots, but you'll only eat them if there's nothing else around. You have quite the sweet tooth, which we don't indulge often, but I do use it to my advantage when I'm trying to get you to cooperate with pictures. (Candy bribery, ftw!) No wonder I have so many great pictures of you!

You have such a big heart and it always warms mine to see your love in action. When Jude gets hurt, you rush to his side to give him a hug and tell him, "It's ok to cry!" When you see a baby, you just want to hang out nearby and talk about how cute and little the baby is. When you wake up in the morning, your favorite thing is to climb into our bed and snuggle for a while. You'll often ask us how our sleep was and tell us that you love us. You're such a snuggly, sweet boy.

You love water! Whether in the bath, or the water table, or just playing in the sink, you gravitate toward anything involving H2O. And so long as we're not actually trying to clean you with it, you are giddy whenever water is around. You especially love cups in water because you get to practice pouring, over and over and over.

You also love to ride your bike. You mastered your tricycle as a 2-year-old and moved onto your balance bike pretty quickly from there. Now you zip around on your green balance bike with the greatest of ease. It always shocks me to see how quickly you can ride, and how much control you maintain. I wonder if it's time for an upgrade to a petal bike? For now, you're having fun also learning how to maneuver a scooter. And man, can you motor on that too!

You LOVE family. When we're not around your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, you're constantly talking about them. My favorite is when you're enjoying something like a toy or a meal and you stop to say, "Nana would love this!" It's such a blessing to have John's family nearby. And even though my family is far, we FaceTime often and they visit when they can. And it's a good thing, because this boy sure loves his Rhode Island family too!

You are still a pro-sleeper, and we sure do appreciate that. You take one nap, from around 1pm to 3pm, and you sleep through the night from 9pm to 7:30am. You still sleep in your pack n play (lol), but you love it and we're not going to rock that boat if we don't have to. You are, however, welcome to sleep in that big boy bed we bought you (over a year ago!) whenever you're ready. :P We started using the OK to Wake clock a few months ago and it's helped you stay in bed in the mornings until a reasonable time. The clock turns green (at a time we preset) when it's ok to be up, and you have adjusted to it really nicely! Thanks for letting us "sleep in" 'til 7:30am every morning, kiddo.

One huge accomplishment in the past few months has been POTTY TRAINING! We officially have you out of diapers during waking time, and it's so nice! You still haven't learned how to hold while you're napping or overnight sleeping, so we put you in diapers for sleep, and you've managed to hold your poops until you're in that sleep-time diaper. But you pee on the potty like a boss and we love it!

You know, being 3 has its difficulties too. You really don't like it when things don't go your way, or when we have to tell you no. And if your brother tries to get involved when you're concentrating on a toy or task, emotions fly high. But overall, you do make this life pretty easy on us.

Bud, it's a pleasure to be your mom. Thanks for filling our days with love, laughter, and wonder. We couldn't imagine our family without you. Thanks for being you, kiddo!

For John Paul's 3rd birthday, we decided to skip the party and plan a trip instead! We knew he'd LOVE to ride on a Thomas the Train, so I did some internetting and found Thomas was going to be just a few hours away in Chattanooga the day after John Paul's birthday! It was fate! So we planned a long weekend out of it, booking a nice Airbnb apartment just outside of downtown, and filling time with fun activities and yummy restaurant adventures. John Paul's aunt, uncle, and 1-year-old cousin joined in on the fun too!

On our first full day (John Paul's actual birthday) was spent at the Chattanooga Aquarium. And it really was a full day! We started there right after they opened, took an afternoon break for lunch and naps, and then went back to finish exploring. Lots of great pictures to be taken . . .

For dinner, we found a pub near the old Chattanooga choo-choo, so before dinner, we explored the old train and several old train cars. They're not in operation anymore, just on display for tourists and train enthusiasts to enjoy. Some of the old train cars have been converted into shops, and one was even a bar! We didn't stick around for long, but John Paul LOVED this short train adventure.

After dinner, we had cake back at our rental apartment. We just picked it up at Whole Foods when we arrived in town. Birthday boy was thrilled to pick the flavor: strawberry. Easy peasy.

The next day, there were many more train adventures to be had. In the morning, John and the boys got to ride a funicular train 1 mile up the side of a mountain! John Paul loved it so much, he's still talking about it months later. And then in the early evening, we finally got to meet and ride Thomas! John Paul was totally in train heaven. I have this sweet video of him saying (totally unprompted), "Eeeeeee! I'm so happy!" while we road Thomas. It was precious. Oh, and he got his first slush puppie, so he was basically on cloud 9.

^^sporting his Thomas tattoo

Happy 3rd birthday, John Paul! We love you! Can't wait to see where year 4 takes you!

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