Saturday, May 23, 2015

John Paul's Birth Story, Part 4

To read part 3 click here

9.5cm dilated with just a teeny tiny super flexible lip left in the way!!


I wasn't quite allowed to push yet, but Dr. P, our NaPro OB, was on his way and pushing was most definitely going to happen soon.

When Dr. P arrived around 4:45am, I was mid-contraction and was SO exhausted from the intensity, I couldn't even lift my head off the birthing ball I was leaning on to say hi. Actually, it took me about 5 minutes to even process that I should say hi. A super muffled,"Hi, Dr. P," was all I could muster. I'm sure he understood, though.

At 5am, Dr. P gave me the go ahead to start pushing! Hallelujah!

From everything I had read, pushing is typically the favorite part for moms, since the contractions actually get a little easier and you actually feel like you're doing something productive finally. You can even watch your little one's head descend if you want. So I was ready. Exhausted, but ready.

In our birth preferences, we had written that I wanted to decide which position I pushed in. I figured I'd want to be squatting or kneeling on the bed, hanging over the back of it, something non-traditional like that. Especially because in those positions, you're less likely to tear. But when the time finally came, I was soooo exhausted, and still shaking uncontrollably from when transition started in the tub, that all I wanted to do was lie down. And so I did.

At this point I also decided I wanted to be completely naked. I wanted to be able to do skin-to-skin immediately and I thought complete nakedness would make that easiest. So off went the bikini top. And away went any shred of modesty I had left.

Before pushing started, I remember saying to Amy in a super wimpy, tired voice, "What if I'm bad at pushing?" I was so scared of getting stuck in the pushing phase, or needing assistance to pull baby out. She reassured me that I could do it and then the whole pushing ordeal started.

Turns out, I'm not like most moms. I hated pushing. It was way harder than I ever thought it'd be. First, contractions were still being mega felt in my bottom. So that didn't get any better. And on top of that, the pushing process is just complicated. You wait around for a contraction to start and then you hold your breath 'til you're bright red in the face and you PUSH with everything you've got, barely catching your breath between each push. And you've got to push to a very specific spot or else all your pushing energies are wasted. Of course, I kept pushing into the wrong spot. It wasn't 'til the end of the contraction that I'd figure out where to direct my pushing, and by then, I'd only get one short, perfect push in.

Finally, by around the 10th or so contraction of pushing, I had it figured out. I pretty much would push correctly the whole way through and we were making some serious progress. I was still hating every second of it, but I was doing it.

Soon, Dr. P and John and all the other spectators could see baby's head! I had told Dr. P at one of my prenatal appointments that I was pretty sure baby was going to be super baldy since both John and I were bald babes, so he decided that moment was the perfect time to make a joke. "This is the baldest baby I've ever delivered!" Totally funny to me now, not funny at all during delivery. I looked him dead in the eye and said, "Knock it off."

With the next contraction, baby was crowning! And WOW was that a special kind of pain. They call it the ring of fire and now I know why. It burrrrrrns! His head was half out and my contraction was over, so his head just sat there, burning my perineal tissue. Ouch! But letting him just sit there was also stretching it out, which I knew was good for avoiding a tear. So I just panted and whined through it... "Owww! It hurts SO much!"

Dr. P asked me if I wanted to reach down and feel the head during the next contraction and I just bluntly said, "NO." I mean, I could definitely feel it already, thank you very much, and something just weirded me out about touching a half-birthed head.

The next contraction came and with a push, his head was out!! Doc told me to stop pushing so he could check for a cord around baby's neck. No cord was there, so I pushed again to get baby's shoulders out and just like that, our baby was born!

They immediately put baby on my tummy and by the way they held baby up, I could easily tell we had a boy!! And our boy had a set of healthy lungs because he was crying up a storm already. Such a sweet, sweet cry!

I looked up at John and he was blubbering more than the baby. It was so beautiful to see him so emotional.

Meanwhile, I snuggled up with my newborn son and just quietly fell in love.

We were able to do the delayed cord clamping, then John cut the cord.

We cuddled skin-to-skin while Dr. P delivered the placenta and then stitched me up. I was still shaking uncontrollably at this point. Labor does some weird things to your body.

I ended up with a 2nd degree tear, close to a 3rd, which Dr. P thinks happened when John Paul's shoulders made their way out. He said I did a great job pushing slowly to avoid a tear, but those shoulders just caught me the wrong way, and so I tore. Ah well!

While he was stitching, I remember apologizing to Dr. P and the rest of the folks in the room for all the weird noises I made during labor. I was surprised when they said the noises weren't weird at all, but instead sounded like I was singing! I guess moaning isn't as embarrassing as I thought!

John Paul and I stayed skin-to-skin for a while and attempted a first breastfeed, but he wasn't maintaining his temperature, so they had to take him to the warmer for a little bit.

They weighed our big boy and he was 7lb 15oz!! He checked out perfectly in every way and soon he was warm enough to return to Mommy for more cuddles.

Our doula, Amy

We announced the good news by calling our parents and our siblings and texting pictures. It was so fun to tell folks, "You have a grandSON," or "You have a NEPHEW!"

It was also so fun to inspect all his little details. His soft skin, his fingers and toes, his fuzzy red hair. It was so easy to fall in love.

Soon enough, it was time to clean up and get wheeled down to the recovery room. John Paul still hadn't latched on or tried to feed and was honestly just more interested in crying and sleeping. It was easy to be ok with that though, since he was so dang cute.

And that's where this birth story ends and a lifetime of motherhood begins.

2 years of infertility, 1.5 years of NaPro treatment, 9 months of pregnancy, 12 hours of labor, and 40 minutes of pushing. So much heartache and sorrow and pain and joy in that time. But this little guy was worth it all. This little guy was worth the wait.

All praise be to God!

Friday, May 22, 2015

John Paul's Birth Story, Part 3

To read part 2 click here.

In the days leading up to my due date, John and I did our best to distract ourselves with different distracting activities, and one night, this included making little posters for the labor and delivery room. So the first thing we did when we got to room 603 was hang 'em up!

Next, it was back on the monitor for me. It had been a little more than an hour since my contractions and baby's heartbeat had been monitored, so I was due up. I didn't realize I was allowed to stand during monitoring, so stupid me sat in the bed the whole 20 minutes, and gosh did that hurt!

Amy, our doula, arrived around 2am and we made plans to labor in the tub for a while. It wasn't a fancy tub or anything, just your standard shower with tub, but I was interested in seeing if the water relieved any of the butt contraction pressure. Unfortunately, it took a while for the tub to fill, so by the time the tub was filled up, it was almost time to be put on the monitor again. But this time, since our expert Amy was there, she pointed out that I didn't have to sit on the bed while on the monitor, so at least there was that. She also whipped out this handy trick during each contraction and would push on my lower back by squeezing my hips to relieve some of the pressure. It was niiiice. I'd lean on a big birthing ball set on the bed and squat, she'd squeeze my hips, and John would stand on the other side of the ball, holding my hands and saying sweet things. We made a great birthing team.

After what felt like foreverrrrrr, we were finally off the monitor again, so into the tub I went, around 3am. I wore my green polka dot bikini top to feel more cute and keep things semi-modest (although, ok, so I wasn't wearing anything on the bottom, oops). Amy "lit" some fake candles, we turned the lights off, and John put on some relaxing music, Tibetan chant music with nature sounds in the background. So peaceful, and such a lovely way to labor.

I'm not going to say that being in the water felt much better. It did slow my contractions down just a bit, but soon they picked up in intensity so much that I started shaking uncontrollably. I'd arch my back and wiggle around a lot during the contractions to keep my bum off the hard surface, and I started doing something I never thought I'd do. I moaned. Lots and lots of moaning.

When reading up on labor and watching a few birth videos, I realized moaning and/or screaming was a thing that a lot of women did. But I was so embarrassed by it, I figured I just wouldn't do it. I didn't want to make such weird noises in front of my doula and my doctor, no way, no how. But then, in the moment, I just couldn't help it. It felt SO GOOD to vocalize. My goal all along was to stay loose and relaxed during contractions and this absolutely helped with that. So I just went with it. And honestly wasn't embarrassed in the slightest.

John and Amy could both tell things were getting serious in the tub. With all the shaking and the moaning getting louder with each contraction, we all knew what was up... TRANSITION. I was getting closer and closer to the end of labor and my body sure was showing the signs.

And then, I felt this undeniable urge to PUSH. With each contraction, it'd start like all the others. I'd squirm around for a few seconds, moan a bit, but then I just couldn't help it... I'd have this overwhelming urge to puuuuuushhhhhhh down and out. It was wild how my body just took over and made me do it. We were pretty sure I wasn't at 10cm yet, so we decided I probably shouldn't be pushing. Amy guessed it was because my water hadn't broken yet and so it was bulging into my birth canal and making my body think it had something to push out. Anyway, it's a BAD idea to push if you're not 10cm dilated yet because you can really damage your cervix, not to mention you tire yourself out way too early.

So now with each contraction, I had to do all I could to stop my body from pushing. It was not easy, nor pleasant, but we got through. I basically had two options -- pant like a dog or put my lips together and blow like a horse. Both incredibly awkward things to do for someone who's not in labor. But I was in labor gosh darn it, so I did what I had to do. And honestly, they really did help. I was able to mostly avoid the unnecessary pushing with each contraction with the doggy/horsy sound techniques, so all was good.

My husband was also the sweetest thing ever during this whole intense tub ordeal. Between contractions he'd pour water over my belly, which didn't exactly fit in the tub, and tell me stories from many of our romantic adventures -- our honeymoon, our babymoon, our wedding day. *Insert melting heart here.* And during contractions, he'd do the horsy blowy breathing thing with me and just hold my hand tight. Super husband, folks, seriously.

We also tried to get through more prayers on my labor prayer list during tub time, but if I'm being honest, it got so intense that I was way too distracted to focus on individual prayers. So instead, I'm hoping God knew that I was offering up the rest of my labor for the rest of the wonderful women on my prayer list.

By 4am, Gabby nurse was back and ready to put me on the monitor again. My tubbing time was over. But before I got hooked up, we decided it was time to check my cervix again, since things had very obviously progressed in the tub.

We were so thrilled when Gabby announced my progress.

8cm dilated!!!

She also said that as soon as my water broke, I'd probably be ready to push. WOWSA! We didn't want anyone breaking my water just yet, so we decided to continue laboring with water intact, but also had a feeling it'd be breaking on its own soon.

Fast forward through 20 minutes of monitoring and me laboring while holding onto the birthing ball on the bed while doing horsy noises to avoid pushing and moaning to relieve tension. Gabby wrapped up my monitoring stuff and announced, "Call me back in here when her water breaks," while walking out of the room. Not even 5 seconds later... GUSH! My water broke during another intense butt contraction!! So back into the room she came.

Even though it hadn't been long since my last cervix check, we decided to let her check again, just to see how much progress breaking my water caused. So I laid down on the bed, she checked me and...

To read part 4 click here

Thursday, May 21, 2015

John Paul's Birth Story, Part 2

To read part 1 click here

"You're 4cm dilated and 70% effaced," said our nurse, Gabby.

Immediately, John and I exchanged a look. It was half "alright, we've made progress!" and half "but not as much progress as we'd like" and another half "so should we stay or should we go now?"

So we explained this to Gabby. We told her we were planning on going home if I was less than 6cm dilated. She quickly explained that though I was only 4cm, I was extremely favorable and would likely dilate another centimeter over the next hour. She offered to check in with Dr. P, our OB to see what he recommended and we took her up on it, even though it meant waking him at 11:30 at night. 

She returned after five more minutes of my butt laboring and said he recommended the same -- stay for an hour to see how I progress. If I dilated more, we would stay, if I stayed at 4cm, we'd go home. Since both of them made the same rec, we figured what the hay! Might as well give it a go. Plus, there was only one other laboring mama on the whole floor, so we'd basically have the place to ourselves. Not exactly home, but still a pretty peaceful environment for laboring, as far as hospitals go.

At this point, Gabby had already monitored my contractions and baby's heartbeat for the mandatory 20 minutes out of the hour (intermittent monitoring) and she'd read and approved everything in our birth preferences (yay!), so we were free to labor as we pleased. She said she'd be back in an hour to check for progress, so off we went to work on progressing.

I labored for a few contractions in our small triage room, but we quickly decided walking laps around the halls would be our best approach. 

The halls were lined with the most out-of-date, awkwardly adorable Anne Geddes portraits. They were a great distraction between butt contractions.

When a contraction would kick in, I'd hang on John, slow dance style, and do this strange butt-out squat to relieve a bit of the butt pressure. It was getting more intense! I'd also try my best to relax my face, my jaw, my shoulders, my everything to keep things loosey goosey and hopefully encourage my cervix to do the same. 

After an hour of making fun of babies dressed as cabbages and squirrels and breathing through intensifying butt labor, it was time to be checked again. The moment of truth.

Gabby came in to check me and soon another butt contraction hit. Only this time it was way more uncomfortable because I was lying in the bed getting ready to be checked instead of standing and slow dance squatting with John. So I muttered something ridiculous like, "I just want to poop all my insides out." Gabby looked at me like I was crazy pants. That's seriously what it felt like though. I just wanted to empty all my insides through my bum. I shake my fist at you, butt labor!

By the way, as it turns out, all the butt labor was because one little mister, *coughJohnPaulcough* had his shoulder shoved against my rectum. Gabby pointed out that even though it wasn't pleasant, it was making things more favorable, since he was sitting so dang low. So thanks for that, kiddo. 

Alright, back to the moment of truth. Gabby checked me and...

I was 5cm dilated!

Just as she and Dr. P had predicted! A whole centimeter in an hour!! Gosh, were we glad we didn't just up and go home after our first cervix check. 

From there, we made the easy decision to stay at the hospital. Next, we agreed it was finally time to call our parents to let them know their grandbaby was on his/her way. We tried to be hush hush about the whole labor until we were absolutely sure baby was coming, so that's why we waited so long. We wanted privacy to labor in peace, without excitement buzzing around us or people getting pushy and bugging us about baby's arrival. One of the best decisions we made. 

Next, we called our doula, Amy, and asked her to head to the hospital. She said she'd join us ASAP, and boy were we ready for her because (butt) contractions were getting even more intense!

In the meantime, Gabby was busy getting things ready to transfer us to our labor and delivery room. She gave me my hep-lock IV (just in case I needed fluids or some sort of drug in my system later on) during a contraction (double ouchies!) and then, by 1am we were up and out, headed via wheel chair to the special room where we'd soon meet our precious baby!

To read part 3 click here

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

John Paul's Birth Story, Part 1

My due date was fast approaching and we were getting really excited to meet our little one.

In the wee hours of Friday morning, 39 weeks and 4 days, I noticed blood on the paper during a routine middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom, which freaked me out a little, because BLOOD! I spent the whole pregnancy in fear of seeing blood when I wiped and now, there it was! Scary scary scary! But only for a second. All the books I had read in preparation for labor said this was normal. I was fairly certain that this was my bloody show, AKA the placenta starting to separate from the cervix and labor getting ready to begin.

Now we were even more excited.

We spent the next day just sort of floating around, waiting for stuff to happen. John did a little research on his nerdy doctor websites and found that once a mom sees her bloody show, labor is very likely to start within 72 hours. I was fine with that.

We also called Dr. P, my NaPro OB, to make sure what we were seeing was normal. He said yep, light bleeding is fine, and get your hospital bags ready because we'll probably see you soon.

But by that evening, the bleeding had stopped and I was starting to think maybe the bleeding was just a fluke. I know, quite a silly thought, but your mind plays tricks on you when you're almost 40 weeks pregnant and you just can't wait to meet your babe.

Fast forward to the wee hours of Sunday morning and during another middle-of-the-night potty break I saw more blood! Cue happy dance! And then cue the contractions. They started off as mild period cramps and then got a tiny bit stronger from there. I was so excited, I couldn't sleep. Plus, ya know, contractions, even mild, kind of make it hard to doze off. So I just had to wake up John to tell him, even though it was 2 in the morning.

He got so excited too! We woke up and decided it was time to make my labor food of choice -- pancakes! Mmmmm. We knew that once labor really picked up and we had to head to the hospital, I wouldn't be able to eat anymore (hospital rules), so I had to stuff my face during these hours and pancakes were all I wanted.

While noshing on the best pancakes of my life, we decided to watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and start timing my contractions with this handy app. They were definitely picking up in intensity, if only slightly, and they were gradually getting closer together, maybe 5 minutes apart? But then, by the end of the movie, contractions really started to space out, to the point where I could fall asleep. And so I did. And so the contractions ended. Womp womp.

We spent the morning catching up on our lost sleep. When we woke, I was a bit bummed the labor didn't progress, since baby would have probably been born that night... on 5/10/15, the coolest birth date ever AND Mother's Day. Oh well. I quickly let that dream go and then stopped moping about because my body had figured out how to have contractions and baby was probably gonna come super soon!

Since it was Mother's Day, John told me we could eat whatever and do whatever I wanted. I think part of his plan was to keep me distracted from not being in labor anymore. Smart cookie, that one.

I decided an everything bagel with cream cheese from Panera and a sweet tea from McAllister's was exactly what this little momma needed. We spent an hour or so in McAllister's playing King of Tokyo, then decided to go on a long walk in the park. If labor was gonna stall, I was gonna at least try to coax it out again with a few laps around the park. We went to the park where we had our maternity pics done and that made it even more meaningful and lovely.

When we got home, we decided to watch a long movie to keep us distracted, and Inception just so happened to fit that bill.

As it turns out, Inception is exactly what my body needed to go into labor again! By the end of the movie at 5pm, I was feeling those lovely little contractions once more. Except now they were getting slightly more intense and closer together. Progress!

We quickly realized that if this labor kept progressing, we'd be having ourselves a due date baby, May 11, 2015. We didn't get our hopes up too much since labor had already stalled once before, but we also had a good feeling about it.

We went for a quick walk around the apartment complex to keep contractions going. Some were getting intense enough that I had to walk funny to get through them, like a weird waddle. I even had to stop to rest at one point.

After the walk, John cooked us the most lovely dinner, hot dogs and tater tots, and served it up on our wedding china. A most lovely dinner for laboring.

We spent the next hour playing a round of Ticket to Ride, which I'm apparently really good at when I'm in labor because I totally kicked John's butt. As we played, the contractions got more intense, to the point where I couldn't sit down on the hard wooden chair. And actually, this is when something really weird started to happen. I started to feel my contractions in a really awkward spot. All my contractions leading up to this point were felt in my abdomen and lower back. Totally normal stuff. But while playing Ticket to Ride, I started feeling them in a not-so-normal spot... my butt. That's right. I was experiencing what I like to call BUTT LABOR.

In all the birth stories I've ever read, no one has ever mentioned laboring in their butt. I've heard of back labor and how horrible those contractions are, but not once has anyone said that when their contractions hit their peak, they felt the most horrible urge to poop they've ever felt in their entire lives. And every time. And no, trying to have a bowel movement didn't help. There was nothing in there. Just a whole bunch of butt labor going on. It was so weird.

So we didn't sit down while we played Ticket to Ride. Instead, we'd slow dance during contractions and I'd sort of hang on John and squat to relieve all the butt pressure. At this point, I decided to start praying for all the women on my labor prayer list. I would read a name and her intention, then try to focus on it during the contraction while John said a few Hail Mary's. We got through almost a whole page of prayers (of 3) before we realized things were getting really intense. Contractions were definitely hard to talk through, at least 45 seconds long, and coming approximately every 3 minutes.

Everything I had read said if contractions are 4-5 minutes apart, lasting about 1 minute each for more than an hour, go to the hospital. So, as you can see, they kind of fit the bill, but kinda not. They were pretty intense, but not a full minute long usually. And I noticed that when I sat down on the couch, they would actually get easier and space out a bit. I figured this was because standing is a better position to bring baby down and out, so I was happy to stand if it meant a faster labor, but I was still confused by it all. Especially since I was feeling it in my BUTT and I knew that could be a sign that baby is moving into the birth canal and about to come out! I mean, we were pretty sure that wasn't the case, but we didn't want to take any risks. Meaning delivering-in-the-car-on-the-way-to-the-hopsital risks.

So we decided to call our doula, Amy. And she recommended waiting it out a bit more. She said if they got strong enough to the point where the intensity stayed the same whether I was standing or sitting, then we should head to the hospital. But for now, she felt it sounded a lot like early labor. She offered to meet us at our apartment, but since the contractions were still pretty manageable at that point, we opted to let her sleep. It was about 8:40pm at this point and we knew if we were going to be laboring through the night, we'd all need our energy.

Soon after we got off the phone with Amy, things got even more intense. Contractions were still easier when I was sitting vs. standing, but I was having some contractions less than 2 minutes apart. John kinda went into hyper-focused mode and made it his job to pack up the car. Our hospital bags had been packed for weeks, we just had to throw last minute things in them (toiletries, clothes, etc.), grab some pillows and the carseat, and get it all in the car. While he did that, contractions would get stronger, then weaker, then closer, then further apart. We were just really confused.

So I did what any confused laboring mama would do and made myself feel a little cuter by putting on my labor gown and throwing a bow in my hair.

After the car was packed, we sat and chatted for a few minutes to really make a decision. To head into the hospital or not? Even though things got intense at times, we also had moments of complete relaxation, normal conversation, laughing and playing around. It just didn't feel like hospital time yet. But, we ultimately decided that it wouldn't hurt to go get checked. We could always leave the hospital if we weren't far enough along yet. And we could figure out what was causing the butt labor and not have to worry about it being a baby descending through the birth canal anymore. So to the hospital we went!

And wouldn't you know, as soon as the car started moving, the contractions slowed down. They got pretty easy to breathe through and spaced out back to about 5 minutes apart. Now we were really confused, but we were already on our way, so we just went with it. And I basically told myself to set low expectations for progress and anticipate going home again before baby was born.

On the plus side, if things did look favorable and we decided to stay at the hospital, it was 10:30pm and there was no traffic whatsoever, making the drive so super easy. Actually, one of my fears leading up to labor was getting stuck in rush hour traffic on the way to the hospital, which would mean a 40 minute to 1 hour drive there as opposed to the normal 20 minute ride in, all while contracting painfully the whole way.  Boy was I glad this baby was on his way in the middle of the night, hopefully, and taking it easy on his momma.

So around 11:00pm, we walked into the hospital ER and started the check-in process. I filled out my paperwork, not even stopping during a super easy contraction, and we waited for a nurse to meet us with a wheelchair.

She arrived not even 5 minutes later and wheeled us up to the triage floor to be checked. I had another easy contraction on the way up and thought... we really aren't going to be staying, are we? This labor is backing off again. Just prepare yourself, Stephanie, you're probably going home.

But that didn't stop me from being so excited to finally find out how much progress we'd made. Our nurse, Gabby, came into our room to introduce herself and check me in and then check my cervix. And wouldn't you know, we had made some progress!

To read part 2 click here

Sunday, May 17, 2015

John Paul's First Week

John Paul's currently having a little siesta, so I'm taking a short break from mommying to show off some pics of the peanut and do a mega fast recap of our first week together. 

We spent one night in the hospital and made it home in time for dinner on his second day of life.

John's parents arrived in town late on the day he was born. They stayed in Memphis for a few days and got lots of snuggle time in. While it was great having their help and their company, I was also ready to not entertain anymore, and to get into our own little routine, just the three of us.

We've had quite a few issues with breastfeeding, but we're powering through. Turns out my little dude has a shallow latch, at least that's what I think is the problem. We'll be seeing a lactation consultant later this week, so hopefully we'll get answers then. We saw a lactation consultant in the hospital too, but it wasn't super helpful unfortunately. For now, I'm dealing with some hurtin', bleeding nipples. OUCH. Offering up prayers!

The first two nights, John Paul just wanted to nurse continuously. We're talking 4 or 5 hours straight with no sleeping between. He sure does like his food.

We were going nearly insane with him fighting sleep in the middle of the night. It wasn't until I sang him a few verses of Hey Jude (except we sang it Hey John Paul), swaddled him in his Halo swaddler, and rocked him to sleep for another hour, that he finally zonked out. And it was beautiful.

Now we've found a bit more of a routine. He pretty much sleeps right after his feedings at night time and stays awake after most of his feedings in the daytime. We like this arrangement! Let's see how long it lasts. :)

Daddy was able to give John Paul his first daddycure. No more scratching your face, little one!

We tried out his crib for approximately 3 minutes one afternoon. He much prefers his Fisher Price Rock n' Play though. We keep it in our bedroom to keep him close to us at night. Probably our best baby purchase yet!

He loves snuggling with his daddy! And his daddy has been AMAZING! Since I'm on boob duty, Dad has taken over all diaper duty. And he's pampering me left and right. I thought I was in love with this guy before John Paul came along. I'm about a million times more in love with him now. How is that even possible?

He might not know how to smile socially yet, but he does flash us the occasional smile after a good feeding. #milkdrunk

Overall, life is good. And we're so in love. It's so overwhelmingly good.

Praise God!

Thursday, May 14, 2015


The newest member of our family!

We have a SON!

John Paul Fulton

Born on his due date, May 11, 2015, at 5:40am, after a 12-hour all-natural labor. (I did it!!)

7 lb 15 oz, 20 inches long.

We are so in love already!

Birth story coming soon! But in the meantime, we've got some serious snuggling to do. :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Can I Pray for You?

Ok, so I know I said my last post was probably going to be my last before baby arrives. My b. But this one's for a really good reason!

I'd love to pray for you.

Since we're trying for a natural birth, there's likely going to be a lot of pain involved. And what better way to work through that pain than to offer it up in the form of prayers?

If natural labor is anything like I'm thinking it's going to be, these prayers are going to be extra, extra powerful. :)

So, what would you like me to pray for?

Comment below with your intentions or send an email to stephschweitz {at} gmail . com .

And thank you for trusting me with the desires of your heart. <3

Monday, May 4, 2015

It's the Final Countdown

I'm 39 weeks pregnant as of today. FULL TERM, BABY!

Which means, the countdown can really begin! But this countdown is a bit odd because I have no idea how many days should actually be in it... Who knows when baby will finally show? 

5/5/15 aka Cinco de Mayo would be a really cool birthday. But I'd have to go into labor like now. Or 5/10/15 would be super cool because... multiples of five! And Mother's Day! Too bad I have absolutely zero control over any of this. :P

I'm willing to go 2 weeks late, which means baby could be cookin' for up to another 3 weeks. But I'm hoping he/she won't take me up on that. 

Sure, the waiting and not knowing can be maddening in some moments, but for the most part, we're just enjoying these last few days or weeks as a family of two. Soaking it all in. So we've been spending lots of quality time together and adventuring all around town. 

What does a married couple do when their couple-days are nearly over?

Well, we went on a super fancy date and enjoyed a decadent 5-course tasting menu.

We got super dressed up for said super fancy date.

We went to see Graceland!

We've lived in Memphis for almost 3 years and never got the chance to go, so now that our Memphis days are coming to an end, we figured we needed to check it out while we still have the chance. 

I'm all shook up. :)

We saw Matt Maher in concert. Baby's first concert! And it was soooo good. I especially fell in love with this song.

And then the most ridiculous tourist attraction/trap ever opened in Memphis last weekend, so we had to check that out, because, again... Memphis days are numbered.

A Bass Pro Shop in a 32-story pyramid (did you know Memphis was named for an ancient Egyptian city?) with a bowling alley and duck museum and alligator pit and a hotel and... let's just stop there because it was, no joke, ridiculous!

So ridiculous that the Today Show picked up on it.

We've both been nesting like crazy.

Everything is set up and ready for a baby.

I'm so glad to have his help!

Today, we went strawberry picking!

Tonight, we make strawberry shortcake!

And I got my nails did this afternoon. Color changing gel polish! 

John is officially on paternity leave until July. And I said farewell to my job as a youth minister.

These silly ducks threw me a surprise shower at one of our last youth group meetings. 

We went to the movies a few days ago to see the new Avengers movie, because who knows when we'll get to go to the movies again?

And we've been writing thank you cards like crazy people. Gifts are coming in left and right. This baby is so loved! 

Oh, and I'm one of those weirdos who bought a labor and delivery dress. Mine's way cuter than the ones on the site. It's sold out now though. No need to worry, you'll get to see pics of it in my up and coming birth story. My thought was that I wanted to be comfy for birth, not wearing one of the usual hospital gowns. And the day I give birth will likely be right up there with other big days, like the day we got engaged and the day we got married. So why not splurge a little and get a pretty dress? 

Whew, we sure are keeping busy! Busy is good because busy equals distracted. And distracted equals not thinking about when this baby will make his/her move. 

Who am I kidding? It's all I can think about! But I'm still going to try my best not to wish our last days as a family of two away. Let's see if we can come up with some more fun adventures in the meantime. :)

Next time you hear from me will probably be a baby announcement! Eeeeeee! Keep us in your prayers. 

St. Gerard, pray for us. 
St. John Paul II, pray for us.
Blessed Fulton Sheen, pray for us.
St. Blaise, pray for us.
St. Francis, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, pray for us.
St. Helena, pray for us. 
Holy Family, pray for us. 

PS - I may be giving some hints on baby names there. ;) Our little one will almost definitely be named for one of the above saints. So, intercede for us, sweet saints! For a safe delivery and a healthy, thriving baby. Please and amen!

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