Saturday, May 31, 2014

Isabelle's birth story

Moments after she was born

I was inspired to write this blog when I was still in the hospital. I cried when I felt the confirmation to share our story. I hope our story encourages others.

Let me just give a little background by briefly sharing about Sophia’s birth: I did not have a great experience with Sophia’s birth. I was in labor for many hours, pushed for three hours and then ended up with a caesarean (c-section) because she was sunny side up – also known as posterior – and not coming out. It was a really rough experience and there were some complications for me but thank God Sophia was healthy and that was all that mattered. Needless to say my recovery was hard physically and emotionally.

When I became pregnant with Isabelle my doctors said I could try to have a vaginal birth after caesarean (v-bac). I was so excited to hear this. I started to pray for Isabelle’s birth. I accepted that we could have a regular birth or a c-section but I was determined not to go through both again. Early in my pregnancy I met some wonderful people that used an amazing doula. My one friend had a v-bac and she really encouraged and inspired me to pursue natural childbirth. Thank you, friend!

I got in touch with this amazing doula that two of my friends used. (If anyone wants to have a doula I can get you in touch with a wonderful person!) I had heard awesome things about her through multiple people. As my pregnancy progressed I started doing some of my own research on natural childbirth. I read a few books:

1.     Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
2.    Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie Mongan

Both of these books really solidified the fact to me that childbirth doesn’t have to be so scary and that natural childbirth can be achievable.

 I also watched numerous YouTube videos of natural childbirths. I noticed how all of the women in labor remained calm. I also visited the chiropractor to make sure the baby was in good alignment to help with the birth.  I took pre-natal yoga with both pregnancies, which I highly recommend. I felt so great after class and it really helped me with the breathing for childbirth. It’s also a great way to meet other mommies having a baby around the same time you are expecting.

I prayed throughout my pregnancy but just days before I went into labor I surrendered to God. As I prayed I told him that this was His child, His delivery and that I hoped He could use me to encourage others to try for a v-bac. I told Him I trusted Him. I felt at peace and I knew if I went into labor I was going to pursue natural childbirth. If I went past 41 weeks I knew the doctor’s wanted me to have a c-section and I was prepared for that as well. In my heart though, my hope for a natural v-bac was very strong and persistent.

On Thursday, April 10th I had some contractions in the evening and Friday April 11th I had more contractions but they went away after a while and I totally dismissed it as Braxton hicks. Then on Saturday, I had more contractions as the day went on. Finally, at about 5pm in the evening I thought I should start writing these contractions down to see how far apart they were. At about 6:30 pm that evening I couldn’t believe that I might actually be in labor. I was still in total disbelief because I wasn’t due for another 3 weeks. I was only 37 weeks pregnant!  Sophia was a week late and I had to be induced with her so I never thought this baby would come early.

We contacted my doctor and my doula (Shawna). My doula advised me to stay home as long as possible and to try and get some rest. I laid in bed and listened to my hypnobirthing CD to help relax me. At around 12am the contractions were between 3-5 minutes apart and I knew it was time to go to the hospital. When I arrived at the hospital I was 4.5-5 cm dilated. Shawna met me at the hospital and my mom arrived later. The doctor soon came in and tried to persuade me to have an epidural because I had a c-section before but I insisted that I did not want one. I basically laid in bed and switched sides and listened to the hypnobirthing CD. Pat and Shawna remained calm which really encouraged me. They really helped me through the contractions by massaging me to distract me from the pain. Pretty soon I was 7 cm dilated and at around 4:30am my water broke and I felt ready to have the baby, they checked me and sure enough I was 10 cm dilated!

I think I pushed for about 30 minutes (but it felt longer) and little Isabelle was born and the funny thing was she was sunny-side up just like her sister. The doctor said later that if she was a bigger baby she might not have been able to come out in that position.
They laid her on my chest. I couldn’t believe how warm she was. I was in utter shock and I had no idea I’d meet her so soon and here she was on my chest. It was a beautiful, surreal moment.

I had Shawna and my nurse by my side and my husband right behind me the whole the time. The nurses were amazing and really cheered me on to help with the birth and my mom even got to see little Isabelle be born.

Things quickly turned from joyful to a little scary for me because I lost a lot of blood. I could see the look of concern on the doctor and nurses faces. I held on tight to my doula and nurse and kept asking if I was going to be alright. Some of my placenta was stuck and the doctor really had to work at getting it out.

I prayed out loud in the middle of it all asking God to get the placenta out in the name of Jesus. This was probably the most painful part of the whole ordeal. Soon, everything was out and I was relieved but still in shock. 

The good news is that everything turned out fine and little Isabelle was a healthy 5 lb. 14 oz 19 inches long beautiful baby girl.

It was an amazing ride and for days after her birth I just couldn’t believe little Isabelle was in my arms and no longer in my belly. I could not have done it without God leading me the whole way and supplying just the right people to be there throughout her birth. I’m so thankful He supplied the right nurses and doctor at the hospital.

If you are considering a natural childbirth or a v-bac please feel free to contact me. I’d love to encourage you. I know when you are pregnant you need lots of positive encouragement. You can do it, momma!

Through it all I know God carried me with each step…

This is a favorite verse of mine:

Phillipians 4:13

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. Phillipians 4:13

I love how God can put a verse on your heart and then that verse comes up in conversation or you randomly hear it on the radio. After thinking about the beginning of the pregnancy through childbirth and even now raising a two year old and newborn I see God’s hands all over our lives. I know I cannot do anything without Him. I ask for His help every day. There is nothing too big for Him. He delights in us asking for help because His loves us. So, why not ask for his help? He loves you!

Thanks for reading!

****In the next post I will share some resources that really helped me throughout my pregnancy and delivery.

Stay tuned…

Mimi holding her for the first time

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sophia's first kayaking adventure

Pat and I bought kayaks the summer of 2010. We used to go kayaking pretty regularly before we had Sophia in 2012. However, the past two years I think we have gone kayaking maybe two times.

Pat wanted to go kayaking several times last summer but I just didn't feel comfortable taking Sophia on the boat because she was still so little. Recently, since the weather has been nice Pat has been mentioning kayaking again and wanting to take Sophia. I thought, why not? 

We talked to Sophia about going kayaking and practicing how she would sit in the kayak. 

I honestly didn't think she'd like sitting in the kayak much but she proved me wrong. She had a blast! I guess she's like her parents - she loves the water!

Ready to go!

Peek-a-boo little Isabelle
Can you see her? She's 6 weeks old now!

Hope you all are out enjoying the beautiful weather!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Favorite baby products

Here are some products that I have been using since the birth of little Isabelle...


Lanolin was a lifesaver for the first two or three weeks after she was born. I used it after every time I fed Isabelle. It really helped with soreness. 

Nursing pads

I always recommend these pads because they are so comfortable and do the job! These are a great gift to new moms because they are so useful! 


Ok, I admit I'm mildly addicted to my breastfriend. It just makes nursing so much easier for me. My friend actually gave me her breastfriend when I was pregnant with Sophia so I used it for the whole 13 1/2 months that I nursed her and now I'm using it again for Isabelle. I'm pretty sure it's not as firm as it once was but it still works. 

Fisher Price swing
Isabelle is borrowing this swing from her cousin, Lila. Thanks for sharing! Everyone raved about this swing and I can see why. It's so nice to be able to put Isbaelle in the swing and she'll just become so content or even better yet, sleep!

Carseat canopy

I think I paid $10 using a promo code to buy our carseat canopy. This is the actual print we purchased and I love the bright colors! I love how it keeps people from peeking into the carseat when we're out and about. 

Aden & Anasis blankets
I didn't have Aden & Anasis blankets when Sophia was a baby but I wanted some for Isabelle because she was going to be born in May and I knew the thin, breathable blankets would be nice in the warm weather. My friend surprised me and bought these blankets for Isabelle and I was so thankful! We use these blankets all the time! They are great for swaddling and I love how they are so thin.

The Happiest Baby on the Block
I read this book when Sophia was born. It's helpful knowing about the 4 S's in the 4th trimester. (swing, swaddle, shh, side)
If you haven't yet read it-check it out! I didn't hear about it until I was in the hospital when Sophia was born. I always tell new moms about this book while they are pregnant. It was a little hard reading the book with a newborn at the time. 

I love my baby k'tan wrap. 
This is a picture of Sophia and me on the Baltic Sea. Sophia was 3 months old. 
This wrap is a lifesaver for baby's first few months. You can get things done because you have two hands free and the baby feels so secure and warm which usually ends up meaning she falls asleep. I took the two girls to the grocery store the other day (we just bought 2 things) and I put the baby in the wrap and Sophia in the cart and it worked great for the whole 15 minutes we were in the store. Of course it helped that the baby fell asleep. :)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

DIY Headband display

I was inspired to make this headband display last summer when I saw it in a picture in my friend's nursery. Thanks for sharing, friend! She sent me the link to the blog where she got the idea from, The Para Post

I thought it would be a fun project to do and something I could accomplish with the help of my father-in-law. I knew it would look great in both of the girl's rooms.  We planned on making them during the last few weeks of my pregnancy but it didn't work out because little Isabelle decided to arrive a few weeks early. 

Patrick and his dad ended up completing the project together while Pat was home during the first two weeks of Isabelle's life. 

This was a fairly inexpensive project.

- Picture frames ... we bought both of the frames from JoAnn Fabrics
- Spray paint ... the frames we bought were black so it took a lot of light pink spray paint to cover each frame (thanks G-Bob for spray painting!)
- Ribbbon
- Hooks
- Headbands and bows to display

Here are the final products:

Sophia's room

Isabelle's room