The Book Sucks and Everything is Terrible

8.31.2015


I had a pretty serious come to Jesus moment last week. 

It was 10:30pm, and R had been crying, no scratch that, shrieking her little face off since 4:00 that afternoon. Want to know why? She was tired. Yes, I know that for a fact.

There was literally nothing wrong with her that a good nap wouldn't fix. Sister just wanted to cry instead of go to sleep, because obviouslyShe would scream, scream, scream, and then slowly her eyes would shut, and for a blessed 10 seconds she would go limp and start breathing deeply. Then she would jerk awake and start screaming again as if to say, "Hey wait! I forgot I was supposed to be mad!"

I have a Book.

You know, The Book. It doesn't matter what the title is; they're all the same. It's the one with the picture of a happy baby on the cover and all the magical baby answers printed on its hundreds of helpful pages. I also have Google. I also have mommy blogs and mom friends and tons of people with fantastic advice about what to do when she fusses and ideas for all the thousands of reasons why she might be crying.

The weight of responsibility of having another human rely on you for literal survival is heavy, and it's easy to live in fear of doing something wrong, especially when you take advice from The Book.

Do not, under any circumstances, put your baby on her stomach and let her fall asleep or it will be terrible and she'll suffocate.

Oh, and do not, under any circumstances, let your baby fall asleep in bed with you or it will be terrible and you'll roll over and suffocate her.

Also, do not, under any circumstances, give your baby a pacifier before she's a month old or it will be terrible and she will have nipple confusion and never eat again and she will die of starvation.

And DO NOT, under any circumstances, let a newborn go longer than four hours without eating because her pea-sized stomach cannot sustain her for that long and it will be terrible and she will die of starvation. Also, your milk supply will run out. And yes, it will be terrible.

But also do not feed her sooner than two hours or she will snack all day long and not get a full feeding and therefore eventually die of starvation. And have I mentioned it will be terrible?

The Book sucks, you guys.

Sure, it's good as a guideline of helpful tips, but that's all it's good for: a guideline. It has taken approximately three weeks for me to learn the thing that everyone tells you about having a baby but you have to experience to learn for yourself: namely, that you need to decide what you think is best for your baby and do that. Don't do what someone else tells you to do. Don't do what The Book tells you to do. Just do what you think is best and, most importantly, be confident in your decision.

This whole newborn thing is trial and error, which means that by nature you will try things, and some will work and some won't, but no book can tell you what is best for your baby. I know that, of course. But it's one thing to know it and another thing to put it into practice. It took a horrible afternoon and evening with many tears shed by all to realize this.

So last week, I put The Book away, and we started doing what we think is best. Jordan and R and I are figuring it out together.
Yes, it's hard. We have no idea what we're doing, and sometimes we mess up.
And yet.

Everything, I'm discovering, is actually not too terrible after all.

Outside? What's That?

8.28.2015

I'm linking up with Jenna for a coffee date.

And by coffee date, obviously I mean you come to my house and bring drinks for both of us. I'm not so much intentionally boycotting the outside right now as I am forgetting it exists. My mother-in-law is concerned by my impending depression and Vitamin D deficiency and felt the need to leave the above note on my kitchen counter.

It seems like in the blog world, when a blogger announces a pregnancy (specifically a first pregnancy), everyone is happy but also kind of like, "Well shoot. Now they're going to stop being interesting and only blog about baby stuff."

So when you came over for coffee, I'd explain to you why that is. 
It's simple, really.

When you have a newborn, nothing else exists. 

Your life is now organized in two-hour chucks of time between feedings. After a feeding, your baby needs a diaper change. They also fuss and need to be calmed down. They fall asleep just in time for the cycle to start all over again. I hear magical stories of a time when I can sleep more than three hours at a time, but so far I've only experienced such wonder a few times, and I think they were accidental.
If you came over for coffee, I would be mostly likely wearing a pair of Jordan's flannel pj bottoms over a pair of Jordan's athletic shorts and an XL t-shirt my dad loaned me. But HOLY COW ONE TIME I PUT ON REAL PANTS.

R and I were headed to the pediatrician for a weight check last week, and I decided to go crazy and try on my green Gap jeans. Those jeans and I, you guys. We understand each other. I wore them up until I gave birth, using the rubber band trick, and so naturally they were the first pants I tried on post-baby. They buttoned and everything! The sky broke open and angels sang.

(Full disclosure: I am muffin-topping the crap out of the them, but they buttoned so, winning.)
If you came over for coffee, we'd spend approximately 97% of the time staring at R. Because that face, you guys. It slays me.

Speaking of R, she rolled over probably a dozen before she was two weeks old. Front to back, which I'm sure is easier, but still! My child is going to be famous! I'm the first mother ever to say that.
Speaking of poop explosions...

Oh we weren't? 
Well let's talk about it.

This child is a poop and pee machine, people. And did you know that girls can spray pee on the wall? Because they can. I've seen it. It scared me, and I screamed. 

This is my life, and I don't hate it.

If you came over for coffee, I'd end my flashing you my boob because girlfriend would need to eat, and I'm not good enough at breastfeeding yet to be cool and nonchalantly whip out a nursing cover. Breastfeeding is actually going okay, by the way. Thanks for asking. I've heard horror stories of bleeding and cracking, and I can't tell you how thankful I am that after the first few days, the pain has been minimal. However, I'm finding the process itself extremely stressful. Is she eating too much? Not enough? Too often? Not often enough? It's not like I can ask her!

It really is hard to remember what life was like just a few weeks ago, before R. She's adorable even when she's screaming her little lungs out. And that, my friends, is why it's hard to blog about or think about anything but baby stuff.

Sorry not sorry and all that jazz.

But if you came over for coffee, after we talked extensively about me, I'd definitely want to know what it's like in the real world of sleep and outside. So tell me, what's new with you?

10 Reasons Running a Marathon is Like Having a Baby [Revisited]

8.25.2015

Two years ago, on August 10, 2013, I published this post comparing running a marathon and having a baby. Let's all stop for a moment and appreciate the incredible coincidence of my publishing that post exactly two years to the day of R's birthday on August 10, 2015. What are the odds?

The post was obviously supposed to be funny, not realistic (although some people got kind of uppity about it). Clearly having a baby and running a marathon are not really the same thing, but I had found some similarities that seemed humorous enough to make a post out of.

Now that I've actually been through labor and had a baby, I wanted to revisit that post and see how accurate (or not) it really was.

The short version is this: that post I wrote two years ago is pretty good, and I still agree with all ten points. However, based on my personal experience, there are two stark differences, which I will outline below.

1) Training

When you're training for a marathon, you (usually) have a schedule to follow. Long run on this day, tempo run on this day, rest on this day, etc. You know, for the most part, what to expect from your training. Every week you add another mile or two, and if you do it correctly, your training will prepare you to run the full 26.2 miles. The training and the marathon are essentially the same because when it all boils down to it, you're just running, which you've been doing for months now, only during the marathon it's being timed and you're running faster and farther.

I didn't so much feel like there was any training for labor. The nine months of pregnancy are growing the baby, but it's sure as heck not training for labor. Sure, there are books about labor and videos of labor and birthing classes you can take and breathing coaches you can hire. But at the end of the day, when it comes time for the Big Event, there's no possible way you could have trained for the pain and the emotional and physical toil.

On the day of a marathon, maybe the weather is bad or your shin is hurting and that throws you a curveball, but in general you're running, and you know how to do that.

There's no way to prepare for labor. It just happens, and you do it.

2) The Finish

When you're running a marathon, there's a set finish line. There is one for labor too, but in a marathon, you know where the finish line is. You count down the miles one by one, and each mile is exactly the same distance apart. When you hit The Wall and don't think you can make it one more step, you just think to yourself that you have x more miles and then you'll be done.

During labor, the miles are, in essence, the numbers of dilation, the difference being that the amount of time between centimeters is by no means easy to time. For example, I dilated from a 6 to a 9 in a half hour and then got stuck on 9 for over an hour. That's like running miles 1-26 in a half hour and then taking twice that time to run the last .2 miles. It's like making the final turn toward the finish, only to have the finish line move backwards away from you. Or, maybe just making the final turn and then getting stuck running in place. Either way, it's terrible.

I kept asking the doctor if I was close, if they could see her head, how much longer I had to go. I wanted so badly for her to say something like, "It will take exactly x more minutes and then the baby will be here."

Because when I'm running, I can look at my watch or the most recent mile marker and say to myself, "I'm getting closer. It will take exactly x more miles and then I will be done." When I was in labor, I had no idea when I would be done, and that made it harder to stay mentally invested.

So those are the two main differences. But honestly? I found the process of running a marathon and having a baby quite similar, and for the most part I think I did a pretty good job writing that post considering I had never had a baby!

I'd love to hear what you think! If you haven't read the original post, go check it out and then come back and let me know what similarities or differences you see. Or, is there something else you might be able to compare the process of labor to? A slow death, perhaps?

R's Birth Story (Part 2)

8.21.2015


Read part 1.

When I left off, it was 12:30 a.m. on Monday, August, 10, and I had just been admitted to labor and delivery. From there, things get a little crazy and I'm not completely sure as far as timeline because obviously I wasn't exactly watching the clock. I'm also pretty sure I kept my eyes closed most of the time, which is funny to me now because I remember initially being all concerned that I couldn't wear my contacts or my glasses. I do have a general timeline based on some text messages Jordan was sending our parents throughout the night, so I'll include those when I have them.

When I got into the delivery room, they laid me down and hooked me up to an IV so I could get fluids. The nurse asked me if I wanted any pain medication in my IV, and I initially said no. I lasted maybe a half hour before my contractions started to really amp up, and at that point I asked the nurse for some meds. The medication did not dull any actual contraction pain, but it did help me to zone out a bit between contractions. A few times I almost fell asleep, which was awesome.

The nurses would occasionally roll me over to one side or the other to help my dilation, and let me tell you: those hospital gowns really leave nothing to the imagination when you're curled up in a ball on your side. At one point, they checked me, and the nurse said, "You're at a 5-6." I remember feeling sad that I hadn't made very much progress.

At 2:08 a.m. (according to a text Jordan sent his mom), my water broke. I specifically remember lying on my left side and hearing a distinct pop and then feeling a gush of water between my legs. I told Jordan to get the nurse because my water had broke. They checked me, and I was dilated to 6.

The next two and a half hours consisted of completely indescribable pain. There's honestly no point in even attempting to compare it to anything, because even now, less than two weeks later, the pain is fading from my memory and I find myself thinking, Surely it couldn't have been that bad, right? It sounds cliche to say you forget, but thankfully it's true or no one would have more than one child.

At 2:38 a.m., I was a 9. The nurses called me Speedy Gonzalez.  Almost the entire time, I had two nurses and a med student in the room coaching me through contractions. There was also the doctor on call (sadly, my own doctor didn't get to deliver because it was a weekend and she wasn't the one on call) and a doctor in residence who came in during the actual pushing phase. I honestly wouldn't have cared if they brought the janitor in as long as he could help get the baby out.

I screamed like in the movies. I clawed up Jordan's arm and dug my thumb nail into his palm. He said he thought I was going to snap his fingers off. At one point I was using my upper body to literally climb hand over hand up and down the railing on the side of the bed.

The nurses kept telling me not to scream. I needed to breathe through contractions, not use my energy yelling, they said. 
"I'm trying. I'm really trying," I cried. "I'm so sorry. I'm trying."
"We know," they said. "You're doing so great. You're getting so close."

After dilating from a 6 to a 9 in thirty minutes, I got stuck on 9 cm for over an hour. It was horrible, and I kept asking the doctor if I was going to die. "I think I'm dying," I said. "Do people die from this?"

I wanted so badly to be able to push, but they said the lip of my cervix was still there and they didn't want me to have a bad tear. They would roll me from side to side to help my cervix dilate that last cm while I tried so hard to breathe through contractions and not to yell. At one point they put an oxygen mask on me so the baby could get more air. I hated that thing. It made me feel claustrophobic, and a few times I ripped it off because I felt like I couldn't breathe.

I remember begging them to bring the doctor in so I could push, but they repeatedly told me it wasn't time yet.

Finally, they turned two giant spotlights on in the ceiling and put my legs up in these trough-type things. They weren't stirrups, really, because there was nothing on the end for me to push my legs against. "Okay, it's time to push," the doctor said. At last.

Here's where it might have been helpful to read some of those birthing books because I had no idea what was happening or what I should be doing. This probably sounds dumb, but I didn't realize that the "pushing" part of labor was completely different from the dilating part of labor. Thankfully, the nurses and doctors were extremely helpful in explaining what I needed to do.

In case you're like me and don't know what pushing actually means, let me explain (at least explain what I had to do). When a contraction came, instead of breathing through the contraction and resisting the urge to push, I was supposed to take a giant breath and push as hard as I could while the doctor counted slowly to 10. She said, "Push like you're taking the biggest crap of your life," which is pretty much what it felt like I was doing.

After they counted to 10, I was supposed to immediately take another giant breath and push for 10 more seconds. I did four rounds of the deep breath/push for 10 seconds before the contraction ended and I could take a break. I literally thought my head was going to explode, which sounds insane now, but at the time I seriously thought my head might actually bust open.

When I finally dilated enough and was told I could start pushing, I was so relieved. I naively imagined that I would just need to push a few times and the baby would come out. That's how it looks in the movies, anyway. And the movies are always realistic.

"How long will I have to push?" I asked the nurse.
"For first babies, it could be an hour or more," she said.
All I could do was stare at her in horror.
"An hour?"
"Sometimes."
I almost called for a c-section right then and there.
"I can't do this," I said. "I can't. I'm going to die."
"No you're not," everyone replied. "You made it this far. You can do it."
Jordan squeezed my hand. "You're doing so great. I'm so proud of you. I love you."

I pushed for an hour.

I kept asking the doctor if they could see her, if I was close. I was making progress with every push, but it was slow. The problem was that she was face up instead of facedown, and instead of her head facing straight ahead, it was turned completely to the side. Later, the doctor told me that if she had been in the correct birthing position, I probably would have only had to push for 20 minutes or so.

Every time I pushed, she would come farther down the birth canal, but when I stopped pushing she would go back up. One step forward, two steps back. It was so discouraging. I don't know how long I had been pushing, but eventually I asked the doctor if there was something she could do to help me.

"I can't keep pushing only to have her go back up," I said. "You have to help me."
"We can use the vacuum," she said. "I just have to warn you that there are risks. If we pull too hard, it could cause brain hemorrhaging. We won't pull too hard," she continued. "But I have to tell you the risks."

"Fine," I said. "Just get it." I was scared, but what choice did I have? She wasn't coming, and I couldn't keep pushing like that.

After they got the vacuum, things progressed much better. The doctor pulled when I pushed, and eventually they told me they could see her head. Her heart rate was dropping some, and I knew I needed to get her out quick. "I know you've been pushing hard," the doctor said. "But I need you to give everything you've got to this next contraction. Let's have a baby."

It was around this time that I felt more than heard a commotion to my right. A nurse was kneeling down beside the bed, asking Jordan if he was okay. 

"What's going on?" I asked. "Is Jordan okay?"
"He's fine. Don't worry about it," the nurse said. "He just got lightheaded. You need to focus on pushing."

What happened, I found out later, was that Jordan got faint and sat right down on the floor and put his head between his knees. He hadn't eaten since supper at our house the night before, he'd been standing by my side for hours watching me scream in pain, and he said every time the doctor leaned back from me, she was covered up to her elbows in blood. He said he remembers thinking, "That's my wife's blood" and feeling faint. Obviously it's hard for us to labor, but it's hard on our guys too.

Meanwhile, I was told to push as hard as I had ever pushed in my life. During the first round of pushes, nothing happened. I was starting to freak out by this point about her heart rate dropping and knew I had to push her out this time. All that work and a c-section? No thanks.

Another contraction came, and I pushed. Jordan had stood up by this point. He said he would have hated himself if he missed our little girl being born. The nurses didn't count for me, and I didn't do the breathe/push thing I had been doing for the past hour. They didn't tell me to wait after the head came out to get the shoulders either; I just pushed and pushed until I heard a popping, slurping sound and felt her slide out.

It was 4:46 a.m.

"Is she okay?" I said. "Is there anything wrong with her?"
"She's perfect," they said and handed her over to me so she could lie on my chest.
"Look, Jordan," I said. "Can you believe it?"
"I know," he said. "You did it. She's beautiful."
It took a good minute or two for the cord to stop pulsing. Then Jordan cut the cord, and they let me lie there holding R while they stitched me up. They must have numbed me down there, because I remember being surprised that it wasn't hurting.

"So," I said to the doctor, "when she came out I heard a popping sound. Is that what it sounds like when a baby comes out?"
She shook her head and gave me a pitying look. "Um... no. That was the sound of your vagina ripping... Sorry."

OH OKAY NEVER MIND.

Jordan's and my parents had been outside in the waiting room since 3:30, so after the doctor stitched me up and turned off the spotlights and I put my legs down (they didn't stop shaking for a while), they snuck into the room to say hello. My mom was the first to come over, and I'm so glad my sister captured this precious moment.
After everyone left, it was just Jordan and I and our baby. They got Jordan some crackers and juice, and he immediately fell asleep. Baby R was swaddled up right next to my bed, and I couldn't stop peeking over the side to look at her. I grabbed my camera on the way to the bathroom and took this picture of them sleeping. (Going to the bathroom after labor is a whole other story that probably isn't blog appropriate. Or anyone appropriate, really. We'll just leave it at that.)
We slept in the room for I don't know how long. Eventually a nurse came in and asked if I felt okay enough to walk down to a new room so we could clear the labor and delivery room. It was the slowest walk of my life, but I made it, pushing R in the bassinet. We stayed in the hospital on Monday day and Monday night and were discharged on Tuesday evening at 5:00.
Our families and a few friends came to see us in the hospital, and it felt surreal that I was actually the one being visited. I couldn't believe I had just had a baby.
The overwhelming feeling of love that everyone talks about didn't come right away. Initially, I was just so happy to be done with labor. Nothing I'd ever done had been so emotionally and physically painful.

But later, when we were in the recovery room, I had gotten my DSLR out to take a few pictures of R. Babies of course don't know what faces they're making, and I was taking shot after shot of her little mouth and cheeks and eyes.

And then, I saw it.
A flash of her daddy's dimples.
It was him I saw in her sweet face, and I cried. That was the moment I knew what they meant when they said my heart would never be the same. The moment I realized it really was all worth it.

That was the moment I fell in love.

R's Birth Story (Part 1)

8.18.2015


R's birth story begins on Saturday, August 8, at 11:15 p.m.

I had been asleep for a few hours when I was woken up by a massive contraction. I immediately felt very crampy, like I was on my period. I thought I might throw up, so I got up and went to the bathroom. After peeing, I noticed some thick pink discharge. This might sound weird, but one thing I had been worried about was that I wouldn't know if my water had broken. I had heard it sounded like a water balloon breaking and was a large gush of fluid, but I also knew people whose water broke and they didn't even know it. 

I turned to Google to see whether or not sometimes the water breaking could be tinged with blood, and apparently that can happen, so I thought maybe my water had broken, albeit not with a gush of fluid. I went back to sleep, and at 12:45 I woke up with another contraction. Jordan is a really light sleeper, so I decided to get up and sleep on the couch in the living room so I didn't wake him up if I had any more.

At 2:00, the same thing happened again with the super hard contraction and fluid tinged pink. When a contraction woke me up yet again at 3:30, I decided to wake Jordan up and see about going to the hospital. I wasn't so much concerned with the contractions (clearly they weren't consistent or close together) as I was about the blood and the potential that my water had broken.

We grabbed our hospital bags and headed downtown. I was 90% sure they were going to send us home, but I figured it was much better to be safe than sorry. We arrived at the hospital about 4:00 a.m. They put us in a room and hooked me up to a monitor where they could watch contractions and listen to the baby's heartbeat.
After an hour or so, a nurse came in to check me. They told me my water had not broken and that the mucus-type fluid was me losing my mucus plug. I was only dilated to a 3, but they told me that my cervix was thinned to 80% and very soft. They also told me that according to the monitor, I was having very real, regular contractions. I could definitely feel them, but they weren't all that painful for the most part. The main issue was that I felt nauseous and crampy. 

I was asked to rate my pain on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain I've ever felt. I said maybe a 1.5, and then I started trying to think of what my gauge was. What was the worst pain I'd ever felt? I honestly couldn't think of anything I'd gone through that deserved the rating of Worst Pain Ever. (Spoiler alert: that was about to change)

At 7:00 a.m. they sent us home with instructions to come back if my water broke or painful contractions started coming closer together. When we left, the doctor told us she felt certain I wouldn't make it to my 39-week appointment in three days. We got back to the house and passed out.
I woke up around 9:30 a.m. and called my mom to tell her that the baby was coming soon, maybe today. She told me to call her if we went back to the hospital.

I really didn't want to be one of those people who gets sent home from the hospital twice, so I was determined that the next time we went would be because a baby was coming for sure. 

We spent the entire day on Sunday timing contractions. They were on average 10 minutes apart all. day. long. Literally from the time I woke up at 9:30 to the time we headed back to the hospital at 10:30 that night, we timed contractions. It was extremely annoying, because over those 13 hours, my contractions never consistently reached that 3-4 minutes range, so we were never sure if we should go to the hospital or not.

I spent the day pacing, walking circles around the house, editing a freelance book, sleeping in bursts, and we also made a Target run at once point for ice cream (hashtag priorities). I'm sure I was a sight with my giant belly, leaning against the end of the card aisle holding my side.

The contractions were definitely coming and they were definitely getting more painful by the hour (sometimes I had to stop walking to lean against the counter and bang my fist on my leg), but they weren't consistent and they weren't all that close together, so both of us were frustrated. Should we go back? Should we stay home? WHAT IS HAPPENING? Like I said, I really didn't want to get sent home twice. How embarrassing.

At 10:30, we finally decided to go back for the following reasons: 1) the contractions, although not consistent, had been coming within 10 minutes of each other for 13 hours, 2) they were increasingly painful, and 3) I knew they would keep coming all night and I wouldn't be able to sleep.

We called our parents on the way and told them to sit tight until we knew whether or not we were going to be admitted. I was trying not to get my hopes up that we would actually stay, but I was really hoping some progress had been made. They checked me right away, and I was at a 4. Then they hooked me up again, and I laid there and had contractions while they monitored me. I was praying that when they checked me again I would be at a 5 and they could admit me.

One of the doctors and a medical student came in during that time, and they had actually seen us that morning! The doctor said, "Hey, I recognize you guys. I knew you'd be back soon." Finally, they came in to check me again after an hour or so, and when she said I was at a 5 and fully thinned, I raised my arm in the air like LET'S DO THIS. Jordan immediately texted both our parents to tell them, and nurses unhooked me so we could head to a labor and delivery room.

It was 12:30 a.m. on Monday, August 10.

Before I went to labor and delivery, they asked me whether or not I wanted an epidural. I had planned from the beginning not to get one, so I told them no. It wasn't that I was opposed to it, but I didn't feel like I had a good reason to get one, and I'd heard enough botched epidural stories to make me think twice. I'd also heard it can make labor last longer since you can't feel the urge to push. But the main thing was that I had heard about how amazing it feels to feel the baby come out instead of being numb, and I really wanted to experience that. Also, if I'm being honest, my mom and plenty of other women have gone epidural-less and lived to tell about it, so a small part of me (the competitive "I Am Woman Hear Me Roar" side) wanted to see if I could handle it.

I told Jordan later that I was really surprised they never mentioned epidural again to me. My understanding from many of the birth stories I've read/heard was that even if you decline initially, they usually offer an epidural to you as an option later if the pain seems to really be taking over. But after that first time right after admitting me, they never asked me again. I later found out that while I was writhing on the bed in pain, Jordan overheard the nurses talking. Apparently the on-call anesthesiologist was three hours away, and I was dilating so fast that there wouldn't have been time for him to get there. So while I did give birth without an epidural, I have no way of knowing whether or not I would have gotten one had I been given a second chance.

I think that's where I'll leave off for now! 38.5 weeks pregnant, admitted to labor and delivery, dilated to a 5, and anticipating finally meeting our little girl in hopefully just a few hours.

Wait! Don't leave yet. Read part 2.

Baby Bum is Here!

8.14.2015

Baby Bum is here!

She arrived on Monday, August 10, at 4:46 am. Weighing in at 7lbs, 9oz and 19.5 inches long. She passed all her hospital tests and got the thumbs up at our pediatrician's appointment on Thursday.

Jordan and I are so thankful for your prayers and well wishes during this pregnancy. If you have been around this blog for long at all, you know that I am not shy about sharing my feelings. I was nervous and anxious during much of this pregnancy, as probably a lot of first-time parents are. (More about that in this post.) It is an incredible blessing to have our daughter here, healthy, and doing well so far. We believe that God created her and that we merely have her on loan for a little bit. We pray she grows up to love Jesus and be blessing to everyone she meets.
I have decided to simply call her R on the blog. R is the initial of her first name. If you would like to know what her name is, feel free to email me! As long as I decide you aren't a creeper, I don't mind sharing.

I do plan on writing down her birth story for the blog. It was truly the hardest thing I have ever done, and I'm rethinking my desire to have more than one child. You'll have to give me a few months before I decide whether or not I'm kidding about that. (Okay, I'm kidding. But seriously.)

For now, blog posts will be posted when I have time to write. Having a newborn is no joke. (In case you were wondering, it took me an entire day off and on to write just this post.)

Much love to all of you, 
Jordan & Amanda

Pregnancy Favorites

8.10.2015

I'm not going to insult you and call this a "must-haves" list. Everyone is going to have different experiences and different wants and needs, and none of these are things you have to have or else.

But I did want to share some things that I've found helpful/useful during this pregnancy. Because trust me: if you're anything like me, you will find this entire process extremely overwhelming. Hopefully this will give you a place to start! 

Personally, I think special creams and oils that supposedly keep you from getting stretch marks is a load of crap. You either get them or you don't, and there's no way to prove that putting on a cream or oil helps. However, I do think that your skin is stretching and it gets itchy and lotion helps.

This lotion is thick (in a good way) and smells good and lathers well, and I would definitely recommend it! I bought one bottle at the start of my pregnancy and use it every time I get out of the shower, and it's lasted this whole time.


I bought two of these at the very beginning of my pregnancy (size small), and I've worn them the entire time! They are so soft and comfortable and LONG (<--- important). I recommend you stock up if you know what's good for you. Don't be like me and buy two lonely colors that you rotate for 7 months.


I know everyone loves What to Expect When You're Expecting, but I personally liked this one better. Each week is very informative and easy to digest, and I liked the format better than What to Expect.


Admittedly I haven't used this a ton, but it has come in handy, especially in the later stages. I don't wear it all day or anything, but sometimes I put it on when my back is hurting or the belly just feels heavy, and I really like it. I don't feel like it's super bulky to go under my clothes.


We received this as a gift from a lady in my church. It's a book full of short devotional prayers that parents pray over their children. Some of the prayers are cheesy, some won't apply to every situation, but we've loved reading these out loud to Baby Bum before bed.

6. A pillow

Personal opinion: those giant maternity pillows everyone raves about are not necessary. Plus, they are expensive. And, have you thought about storing that monstrosity after you give birth? Where do you put that thing?

Anyway, I know people swear by them, but I didn't get one and was just fine. I DO, however, highly recommend having a pillow to put between your knees. Any pillow will work, but you are going to need a pillow.


Seriously, the entire Old Navy maternity website is awesome. Don't spend your money on expensive maternity clothes! Wait for ON online sales and go crazy. My tip: read reviews. One thing that was really hard was deciding which size to buy, and I found the online reviews on the ON website very helpful.

8. Honorable Mention (mostly because I thought about it after I already made the post graphic): Compression socks. I didn't wear them all the time, but when my legs were feeling heavy I put them on, and it was great! These are my favorite.

So those are just a few of my favorite pregnancy things!
Anyone have anything you loved during your pregnancy to add?

---> p.s. I posted a "currently" vlog over the weekend. Don't miss it!


*Nothing in this post is sponsored. These are things I purchased and used myself. However, some of these are Amazon affiliate links, which means if you click and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage. Thanks for supporting Baby Bum and the Lady Okie Blog!

Currently: August [The Vlog Edition]

8.08.2015


^^^ This is a screenshot. If you press the "play" button, nothing will happen, but you will probably feel dumb.

So I made this video yesterday and decided I would just post it now instead of waiting until Monday. A little weekend treat, if you will.

This is a "Currently" video, where I talk about what I'm currently creating, wishlisting, hoping, eating, and watching. (Linking up with Jenna!) I tried something new and added a faint song in the background just to spruce things up (and to cover up the annoying buzz that my stupid computer does when I film something).

I really tried to not think about trying too hard with this. Part of my problem with videos in the past has been that I'm trying too hard to appear comfortable, which I think makes it all seem forced. Hopefully I did better with this one. Let me know what you think. One change I would make next time is losing the water bottle, but apparently I needed something to do with my hands. I hope it doesn't make you want to beat me over the head with it. But I'm 38.5 weeks pregnant and thirsty! Don't hate.

The video should be embedded below, but if you can't see it, watch on YouTube here. Happy weekend!

Cheers to 33 Years! (+ 2 links)

8.07.2015

Today is my parents' 33rd wedding anniversary!

I'm so thankful to have such a wonderful example of marriage to follow. They are truly the best parents ever, and it all seems to have taken on such a different meaning to me now as I think about being an example of marriage to my own children.

So here's to 33!
Love you, Mom and Dad!

And happy Friday and weekend to all of you fabulous people! To kick off the weekend, I wanted to share two things I've read recently on the Internet that made me chuckle. Hope you enjoy as much as I did!

1) Yelp Reviews of Newborn Babies

2) Short Imagined Monologue: An Extremely Pregnancy Woman Has a Few Questions for the Motherhood Maternity Customer Service Desk
See you on Monday with a post about seven of my personal "Pregnancy Favorites."

Content: Checkup on My Word for 2015

8.06.2015


“Content” was the word I chose for 2015 (you can read my original post on it here), and I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. The reason I chose content as my focus for 2015 was because as I neared the end of 2014, I felt very discontent. We were coming up on four years in our apartment with no end in sight, saving up for a down payment on a house pretty much since we got married. 

After two years of unofficially trying to have a baby (basically by that I mean we weren’t charting things or being intentional about it but we also weren’t preventing), we were going to see an infertility doctor, and every pregnancy announcement caused my heart to sink a little. I felt like I was watching everyone have Big Life Moments while I was treading water.

In my post back in January, I wrote this about what I wanted out of 2015: 

This year, I want to wake up every day and be thankful. I want to see pictures of other people's successes and be happy for them without feeling bad that I don't have what they do.

It’s funny how things work out sometimes. 

I was just settling in for the long infertility haul when we found out we were pregnant. I had made my peace with living in our apartment another year when we decided to sign a six-month lease and find a house by the summer.

We are now brand-new homeowners and preparing a nursery to welcome home a baby in just a few weeks. From the outside looking in, it would be easy to say I have every reason to be content. And yet I struggle with this every day, and in some ways I need to focus on being content more than ever.

It's hard to admit that because I just think that's so sad, and it makes me feel really lame. I mean, what kind of a person has so much to be thankful for and yet still struggles with being content?

I know it's overused. I know you've seen it 1,000 times. But I can't find anything better than this C.S. Lewis quote to express why it's so hard to be content.
[Source]
We weren't made to be content here. It's really a beautiful truth if you think about it. Maybe you don't struggle with being content, but I do. And if you do too, you aren't alone, and there's nothing wrong with you. 

But don't focus on it. Don't focus on the things you don't have. Focus instead on being thankful and realize that finding contentment is really, really hard. It's not something I'm going to master this year, or actually ever; it's something I am going to have to practice for the rest of my life. I think it's been good for me to realize that. 

Even when I get what I want (or what I think I want), I'm not ever going to be truly satisfied, because I can and should only find contentment in Jesus. That's what I've been praying about lately and what I will continue to focus on this year and in the years to come.

Did you choose a word for the year? How's it going? 
Do you struggle with being content even when it seems like you have so much to be thankful for?

Because the Elephant Needed a Friend

8.04.2015

Hello! Welcome to Baby Bum's nursery! I actually wasn't sure a nursery was going to happen at all because every time I thought about decorating the nursery I had a near meltdown.

TOO STRESSFUL.

Seriously, what do I not find stressful these days?

Let me list them for you:
1.

See how I make jokes?

^^^That white cabinet is from Target. We've had it for years, and I just painted it white. It was black before. We're thinking when she's older we can turn it horizontal and put books and toys inside so she can play!

We never had a theme for the nursery, and I never made a Pinterest inspiration board, and I never thought more than 2.5 seconds about the pattern of a crib sheet. Amen. 

The only thing I did was pick out colors and items I liked, and slowly it came together! Note: the only reason anything is hung or looks good at all is because I had help from my family. Have I mentioned I love those guys?

The first thing I did was paint the walls mint green (mint condition from Sherwin Williams). The color is perfect! I love it. It's gender neutral and also room neutral, for that matter. It doesn't have to be a kid's room later on down the road once she's older (or once we have more kids!). 

After painting the walls, I bought mostly white and gray stuff and added touches of pink here and there. It wasn't intentional, but I just kept registering for white/gray and decided I would just go with it. 

The elephant/giraffe theme was entirely accidental. We just kept getting elephant stuff! Like, people would get her an elephant toy or a stuffed animal or a blanket with elephants on it. We didn't register for elephants, but it just happened that way, and so we were like, "Let's do elephants." We added a giraffe because the elephant needed a friend.
^^^I'm slightly obsessed with the prints from this Etsy shop. They are exactly what I never knew I wanted. I saw them and HAD TO HAVE THEM. You could say it was love at first sight. The frames were purchased using a 40% off coupon from Hob Lob.
^^^ We have so many books! I love it. Baby Bum is going to be a reader just like her mom and dad. At a few of my baby showers, people brought books instead of cards, so I am stocked full. Surprisingly, out of all the books we only had 2 repeats.
The crib and dresser are hand-me-downs from his parents (crib) and my parents (dresser), which is awesome because expensive much? I don't have time for that.
^^^The elephant and giraffe statues are from Hobby Lobby. The mom/baby figure I already had. I ended up going with this maternity picture; thanks for your help with that one! My favorite suggestion was to choose a picture to frame where either neither of us or both of us are looking at the camera. I thought that was smart.


So that's basically it! Considering I had no theme and no "inspiration," I think I did pretty well picking things out. I'm so glad I had help hanging everything and painting and putting the crib together or this might have never gotten done. And just in time too!

Project 12 // July

8.03.2015

Project 12: A photo on the first day of every month

The above photo wasn't taken on July 1. This was after our birthday date! We went to PF Chang's for dinner. I wait all year for those lettuce wraps. After that we went and visited our friends in the hospital who just had their baby.

I rated this 3/5 on Goodreads. Check out my full review here.
Spark notes version: it was like, eh.


July was birthday month! Woo! Jordan's and my birthdays are one week apart. He turned 30, and I turned 29. I threw him a surprise birthday party! See pictures here.

This month I had my final baby shower. My church threw it for us, and it was the weekend Jordan returned from Nicaragua (see below), so my mom was still in town and able to come! It was really special, and we feel so loved. We love our church!

I did not announce this on the blog for obvious reasons, but Jordan left me for a week to travel to Nicaragua. Every year a group from our church goes to a remote village to set up a medical clinic, do church services, and share the Gospel. Jordan and I went last year together, and I was sad to miss out. Jordan was nervous the baby would come while he was gone, but thankfully she stayed put.
My mom came and stayed with me for the week while Jordan was gone. While I went to work, she organized my house! She unpacked and hung things and basically did all the things I'd been avoiding. Thanks, Mom!

July was kind of crazy. It seemed to go slow and fast all at once. I mean, it's BABY MONTH now. Our baby will have an August birthday! And next month's Project 12 recap will have one very notable event.
・ DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS