things have gotten super weird.


Well, things have gotten super weird since I last posted. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I assume you've been taken captive by minions and locked in an underground freezer for the last couple of weeks. I don't know about you, but I daily bounce between THIS IS THE END OF THE WORLD to It's fine. We are fine. This will be fine.

I told Jordan that God has answered my prayer about being a stay-at-home mom in a really strange way. I've been thrust into the SAHM life with three small children, and all I can say is that I'm taking it one day at a time. I would be lying if I didn't say that selfishly (completely selfishly, I know), I'm really upset that this whole thing has in one sense completely ruined my entire maternity leave.

Instead of lazy mornings cuddling my newborn, zoo trips, and mid-day playdate with friends--all things I cannot do during a normal work week--I'm trapped in my house, running around like a crazed chicken drowning in dishes and pretzel crumbs. I can't even go to the playground! So we are taking off our clothes and painting, and I'm trying to be calm, but this kind of activity stresses. me. out. Anyone else? No chill with messes over here.

There are a lot of sad things happening right now, and one of those is the fact that women giving birth are only allowed one support person in the hospital (their partner), and in some states now I'm seeing that they aren't allowing anyone at all. There is no right answer. I actually get why they are wanting to do this. With limited protective equipment such as masks, it really is important to limit the spread and the amount of people entering the hospital, both for the sake of the medical staff and any sick patients. But that doesn't change the fact that it's heartbreaking for any mama preparing to give birth, and I honestly can't imagine not being able to have even my husband in the room with me to witness the birth of his child.

I love the photos from our Fresh 48 hospital session after F was born, and I'm now even more grateful we had those taken since if I was giving birth now, it wouldn't be allowed! I printed a few on canvases for the nursery and hung them above the crib, and I am just so extra thankful to have them.

Another sad fallout from all of this (again, among so many sad things) is for brides who have been planning weddings for months that they are having to postpone. My little sister was nearly one of those! She has been planning her March wedding for over a year, and her Dallas venue was closed and the governor of Texas was implementing shelter in place. Long story short, they decided they weren't postponing and were going to get married one way or the other. In just under a week they moved the wedding date up, changed venues, cut the guest list, and got married! 

My mom called me at 2pm and said, "Your sister is getting married tomorrow, can you guys get down here?" I immediately put on a movie for the big kids (thankfully F was napping!) and ran around the house frantically for the next two hours packing and cleaning. Why does adding one small baby to the car mean adding 800 more bags? Good grief. At 6:00 we loaded up the mini van and took our first road trip to Texas as a family of five. 

The kids did great in the car and at the wedding. R was the sweetest flower girl, J wore the cutest vest, and I carried F in the Moby wrap and no one touched him all night. I'm so so thankful they were able to get married before all of this craziness really started spiraling.

The bright side to being at home all day is that after almost a full year of "potty training," J has decided he wants to go to the potty on his own without me having to prompt him every 45-60 minutes all day long. I don't know what changed, but it's like a flip was switched and now he's all, "Leave me alone. I do it by myself." God bless him. He's still having a few accidents here and there, but in general I feel like I can finally see the light at the end of the pull-up tunnel.

F is almost six weeks old and the sweetest ever. We think he looks more like R than J, but he does have a look all his own. He's not really on a schedule yet, mostly because I'm too preoccupied and busy with the older two to pay attention to what time he's eating or how long he's napping. But he's gaining weight and working on tummy time, and that's really all that matters. He weighed 8lbs 6oz at birth, and at his one-month checkup he was 10lbs 10oz!

When I was nursing R, I was obsessed with getting her on a schedule and keeping track of how long she was eating on each side. I had an app with a timer and a notepad and everything. I really appreciate the perspective and, in some ways, chill that comes from having more than one kid. I think back to those early days with R and LOL at my crazy self. I feel so much less stress about all of the baby things, and it's really nice, especially since these days I have so much else to stress out about!

Since we can't go the park or the zoo or science museum, etc. (and it's SO sad because R has started asking about why we can't go places; she currently thinks everything is "closed because it's being cleaned"), I've been trying to get outside as much as possible. It rained pretty much all day for over a week straight, which is very strange for Oklahoma weather, so that was a bummer, but lately we've been getting out for walks, and earlier this week I got our splash pad out of storage from last summer. The kids were pumped. Vitamin D really is good for the soul.

I honestly wish I had more time to blog because I have tons of photos I want to share, and I feel the hole in my creativity lately... unless you count trying to creatively think of ways to keep two small children entertained all day long or how to creatively use our food to minimize trips to the grocery store. I have just a few weeks left of maternity leave, and I'm honestly just trying to take one day at a time. The Bible says that each day has enough trouble of its own, and I don't know if I've ever felt that so strongly as I have the last few weeks.

I hope you are well, friends. 
Wash your hands. Hug your husband and your kids. 
Stay home.

The Story of F (Part 2)


9:40 pm

Jordan and my dad went to get dinner at the Chick-fil-A that was inside the hospital. My mom stayed with me while I waited to get moved into an actual L&D room.

I was in a serious amount of pain at this point, with contractions coming every couple of minutes. There's obviously no actual way to describe contractions, but the best I can say is that it feels like the worst period cramp of your life, wrapping around your entire body and lasting for a good 45-60 seconds at a time. It's almost an out-of-body experience because it's like something is happening to you that's beyond your control.

My mom and I sat in the room while I laid on the bed and had contractions. By 9:50, I'd received almost an entire bag of fluids through the IV line in my arm and needed to pee so badly. My mom went out to find a nurse so she could unhook me from the monitor, and I was thisclose to peeing all over the floor by the time she finally came back (which was maybe a minute, but it felt like forever).

While I was in the bathroom I had an extremely painful contraction and decided I was asking for an epidural when I came out. We'd only been at the hospital 2.5 hours, and based on my labors with R and J I thought we might be there another 7+ hours and honestly wasn't going to be able to handle it. I came out of the bathroom, and just then the nurse came in to tell us that they had an L&D room ready.


My mom collected our things, and we slowly followed the nurse down the hall. I had to stop and have a couple of contractions on the way, and the walk probably took us at least five minutes. While we walked, I told the nurse that I was in a lot of pain and wanted to get an epidural but that I was nervous about not liking the feeling of my legs being numb and potential other side effects. 

She said that made sense and asked if I wanted to put a pain medicine in my IV line when we got to the room. I took a pain medicine with both R and J and knew that while it didn't take away all of the pain of contractions or pushing, it did knock me out between contractions, which was great, so I said yes please. (I'm pretty sure they gave me Stadol with both R and J, for anyone interested!)

The nurse (her name was Ivy) left to check with the doctor, and as we got to the room she came back and said, "I'm so sorry, but the doctor said it's too close to delivery and can cause respiratory distress for the baby. We can't give you anything."

I had another contraction and started to go into full-on panic mode. I was in horrible pain and I wasn't going to get anything at all???? 

*questions all life decisions that have led to this moment.* 

Just then, Jordan and my dad came walking up from the opposite direction holding bags from CFA. I waddled to the bed and was instantly hit with a wave of the smell of fried chicken. "You need to get out of here with that right now," I told Jordan.

The walk to our new room must have really gotten things moving down there, because as soon as I laid down on the bed, my contractions went next level. The doctor checked me, and I was at an 8. I asked how low the baby was, and when he said -2 station I was really upset because the baby was "way up there." (The baby has to get to -2, -1, 0, +1, then +2)


The nurse asked if I wanted the doctor to break my water to speed up the process.
"You might have a baby by midnight!" she said.
"Please don't get my hopes up," I replied.

I said the doctor could come break my water (they had to break my water with J too!), but my mom said we needed to get Jordan back in here before that happened because she had a feeling it was going to go fast. They also called the on-call doctor to come to the hospital for delivery (I had still been seeing the resident doctor).

Jordan says he ate his sandwich quickly and threw away most of his fries because he was too anxious to eat. He came back in the room, and they broke my water.


The doctor told me to move up to the end of the bed so the water could drain, and that's when they realized I was in a postpartum bed and not a labor & delivery bed--the huge difference being that the bed didn't break down at the end for stirrups and all the delivery things.

There was a bunch of commotion and discussion between the doctor and nurses about whether or not they could leave me there or why the wrong bed was in that room in the first place. Meanwhile, I was having contractions upon contractions and was the absolute picture of calm serenity (lol).

There are people who sign up for "natural" childbirth and come into the labor experience with essential oil rubs and calming mantras and positive phrases to create an atmosphere of an empowering and confident delivery. Things like, "My body was made to do this" and "Every contraction brings me closer to seeing my baby."

And then there's me repeating, "I'm going to die. I'm dying. I'm going to DIE," while the nurses kept telling me that I was okay and that I was not, in fact, going to die.

There was a bit of hubbub while a few nurses wheeled the proper bed into the room right next to the one I was lying in. The doctor told me that after the next contraction I was going to have to move over to the other bed, and I sobbed, "I can't move." I honestly felt like I was possessed and totally outside of myself. I told the doctor that I was shaking all over, and he said, "That's normal. It means the baby is coming."

They told me to raise my lower half up just a bit, they put a sheet under me, and then Jordan and several nurses helped pull me from one bed to the other. The doctor asked if I'd ever given birth without an epidural before and said, "So you know about the Ring of Fire?"

I honestly must have blocked out this part of my other two deliveries, because I truly do not remember the shaking or the ring of fire being as pronounced as it was during this experience with Baby F. My entire body was shaking, and it almost felt to me like when your arm or foot falls asleep, and you try to move it and experience that painful tingling sensation, expect it was way worse and like that all over my entire body at once.

At this point I said I was going to die a few more times. Add that to your birth affirmation signs, just saying ;)

He checked me again and said I was 100% effaced and there was just a tiny bit of cervix left until I was completely dilated. I felt extreme burning and squeezed Jordan's hand until he said he thought I was going to pop off his fingers. (Where is this strength when I'm alone at home and trying to open a can of pickles????)

The nurse said I could push whenever I felt like I wanted to, and my body was definitely pushing almost on its own. They had to remind me to hold my breath while pushing instead of breathing out like I had been during contractions. I pushed and then asked the doctor how low the baby was, and he said the baby was at a Zero Station.

I pushed again and asked how low the baby was. He said. "Still at zero," and I was like, "HELLO EVERYONE THE BABY ISN'T GETTING LOWER AND YES I'M GOING TO DIE."

My mom told me later that she heard the doctor tell the nurse that the baby was going back up after every push instead of getting lower, and I guess I must have really seemed panicked about the baby not going down because during the next contraction a nurse stood near my head and pushed down on my stomach while I pushed. Then they told me to sit up like I was doing an ab crunch, hold the backs of my thighs, and push with my chin to my chest. Someone counted to ten while I held my breath and pushed.


I felt a ton of pressure, and the baby's head came out. The doctor told me to hold on, but I said, "I can't!" and he came the rest of the way out on the next push. My eyes were closed, and as soon as the baby was out everyone was shouting, "Open your eyes! Look!"

Because of the way I was sitting upright to push, the baby was super close to my face and his bottom was facing me. I saw boy parts, but it wasn't processing fully at that point, and I said, "What is it?" and Jordan said, "It's a boy!" 

Just then the on-call OB came flying into the room shouting, "I missed it!"

I kept saying, "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh," while Jordan cut the cord. I didn't realize that I was accidentally holding the cord, and the doctor had to ask me to move my hand so Jordan could cut. We immediately did skin to skin, and the OB helped the resident doctor stitch me up. I re-tore everything from giving birth to J, so that was horribleness all over again, and stitching hurt so bad. I don't want to talk about it. 

I went from an 8 to a 10 to baby in less than thirty minutes, and F came so fast that his entire face was bruised and looked black and blue, almost gray, and I asked a few times if there was anything wrong with him. 

He wasn't covered in anything and was pretty clean for initial skin to skin. They didn't end up giving him a bath until the next day, and I declined the eye treatment, which was totally not a big deal at all, and all the nurses and my doctor acted fine about it. Definitely look into that if you're interested in why it's used and what it's supposed to protect from!

We still weren't 100% on a name and had even been discussing name ideas during our drive to the hospital just a few hours before. It wasn't until the next day that we officially decided. I never thought we would be those people, but we had such a hard time agreeing on a boy name! We had two girl name options we were set on, so it would have been one of those, but we struggled with boy names.

I had booked a Fresh 48 photographer when I was about 8 weeks pregnant, so Sara came to the hospital the next day to take some family pictures and photos of baby F. Although the idea of having a lovely image of my baby being born appeals to me, I'm not totally sure I really want to see myself in all my labor glory enough to book a birth photographer. But I am so glad we did a special hospital session after he was born, and I love our photos so much! For the first time, I actually brought makeup and a hair straightener to the hospital ;)

Pregnancy is such an anxious time for me, and I can't describe how thankful I am that Baby Bum 3 is here and healthy. We praise Jesus for his little life and addition to our family. Thank you all so much for following along, for praying for us, and for celebrating his birth with us!

The Story of F (Part 1)


Before I tell you about how Baby F came into the world, I have to tell you about how anxious I was about giving birth for the third time. There were a variety of logistics that were stressing me out--would my contractions start at work or, heaven forbid, my water break while at work?? How long would contractions last, would I tear as bad as last time (spoiler alert: yes), when should we call my mom to tell her to drive up from Dallas (I'd asked her to be in the room this time!), and, last but certainly not least: should I get an epidural?

That last question can be fairly controversial, but as far as I'm concerned, I promise you that I 100% do not care what other people do. It's a personal decision that everyone has to make for themselves, and while I know the answer to this is a no-brainer for some (both on the side of getting one and not getting one), I'll try to explain why this was even a question for me. I don't expect everyone reading this to understand, but the short answer is that for me, the reason I felt uncomfortable getting one honestly boiled down to the unknown of any possible side effects.

I'm not scared of needles, I'm not against pain medicine, I wasn't trying to be a hero, and I don't even necessarily think most people experience negative side effects of epidurals. I took a (very informal) poll on my Instagram stories asking about epidurals, and out of over 150 people, the percentage leaned heavily toward people getting epidurals and having an overall positive experience. But for some reason, I couldn't get past the unknown of how my body would react to it and how the birthing experience would go for me because of it.

I didn't get an epidural with R because, to be honest, I'm super competitive with myself, and I just wanted to see if I could handle it. I didn't get an epidural with J because I couldn't get past the idea of being numb and unable to feel my legs. With this baby, I knew that I could handle it, but I also knew it hurt more than anything ever hurt in all my life, and I thought maybe I'd get an epidural this time so I didn't have to go through that again and possibly have a more relaxing birthing experience (if there is a thing!) for both Jordan and I.

All that to say, I was truly debating the epidural question in my mind for months leading up to my due date. Maybe that sounds ridiculous, but I knew this was possibly going to be my last baby (we can't say that yet for sure, but maybe!), and I didn't want to have any regrets one way or the other.

A few weeks before my due date, I finally told Jordan that I'd decided to say no to an epidural at first but that I was open to getting one at some point if I really felt like I needed it. For whatever reason, I just never felt completely comfortable with the idea of an epidural, and once I decided to start without one, I felt at peace with that.

All this brings us to the Tuesday morning (Feb 18) before my due date on Friday, Feb 21. R was 9 days early, J was 5 days early, and Jordan and I were both completely shocked that I hadn't had the baby yet. We had been on edge for the full week prior, and I suppose that's what we get for assuming I was going to be early. Babies have their own timeline!

I went to my 39-week appointment at 10:15 Tuesday morning (and took the above bump picture just before leaving!), where my doctor checked me and said I was dialed to a "good 4" and 80% effaced. Baby was head down. Blood pressure was fabulous, and baby's heart was pumping away at 130bpm. I had gotten checked the previous week and was dilated to a 3, so I was glad things were progressing but also trying not to get my hopes up that it actually meant a baby was coming soon. We went ahead and scheduled an appointment for the next week, and if the baby hadn't come by then, we'd schedule an induction date for the next week.

There were absolutely no pre-labor signs other than perhaps a slight increase in the Braxton Hicks contractions I'd been having for weeks. My labors with R and J were both over 24 hours, so I fully believed that since I hadn't shown any labor signs by noon on Tuesday, a baby wasn't going to be coming that day.

After my appointment I drove to Target to pick up a few things. I wasn't just wandering around: I went for specific items. I bought a large box of newborn diapers because we only had a few small packs at home, and I wanted to look at their section of pajama sets/sweats to see if I could find something for our Fresh 48 photoshoot. I'd been looking online for something cute to wear for our pictures for months and hadn't found anything that was love. I'd looked before at Target online and didn't see anything I liked, but I had been meaning to go there in person.

It was about 11:30 at this point, and although I wasn't having any signs of labor, looking back I feel like I intuitively had to have known the baby was coming that day. Also funny to note that I've now been to Target on the day each of my babies were born!

Back at work, I changed clothes and we had our weekly yoga class from 12 to 1. I didn't do much except sit on the floor and stretch and maybe a few downward dogs. After that it was business as usual, but around 2:00 I noticed that I was having contractions that felt just a little harder and a little longer than anything I'd felt previously. I kept walking back and forth to the bathroom, and at one point I downloaded a contraction timer app. One similarity between each of my labors is that I'm always in denial that this is actually the real thing. So I just kept having contractions and working and walking to the bathroom and refusing to admit to myself that anything was different.

I finally decided I needed to leave work and go home and sit on my couch. At 4:00 I pulled out of the parking lot and figured I would time contractions on the way home "just in case." I picked up the kids from daycare, drove home, turned on the TV, and everyone (me most of all) plopped down on the couch. I never let the kids watch TV immediately after getting home, so they were pretty excited.

The three of us sat on the couch watching "Cat in the Hat" on Netflix while I timed contractions that were mildly painful, consistently 4-5 minutes apart, and lasting about 30 seconds. At one point I got up to put in a load of laundry because I wanted to wash the pajama set I'd found at Target. 

Around 5:00 the kids started saying they were hungry, so I put on a pot of water to boil and made a package of tortellini I'd bought that day from the refrigerated section of Target with sauce and a can of green beans. While the kids ate, I kept timing contractions, and each time one came I would have to lean on the counter and sway side to side. I kept telling myself that this wasn't real because I could still talk through them (even though I really couldn't talk through them), and even though it was coming on 2 hours of timing, and they were now 3-4 minutes apart. DENIAL, PARTY FOR ONE.

Jordan arrived home at 6:00, and I went up to him and said, "Okay don't panic, but I've been timing contractions since 4:00 and they are 3-4 minutes apart and painful."

He says he didn't panic, but I can picture him in my mind running around throwing clothes into a backpack while calling his mom to see if anyone could come over and stay with the kids when we drove downtown. He asked me if I'd called my mom yet, and I said no. I'd previously asked her if she wanted to be in the room this time (I hadn't wanted anyone else in there with R or J), and since she has a job and lives 3 hours away, timing logistics of her getting here in time was something we'd discussed. The problem was that I still wasn't sure if they were going to admit us to the hospital (lol, I'm dumb), and I didn't want her driving all the way up here for nothing. But Jordan insisted I call, so I did, and when I told her how close the contractions were coming, she said she and my dad were leaving right away.

Jordan's dad came over to stay with the kids, and Jordan and I left. But... not before I hung up all the clothes from the washer to dry. Jordan was furious with me and kept saying, "Is this really necessary to do right now?" And I was like, "YES it is because this is the outfit I want to wear in our hospital pictures and it needs to hang dry so it doesn't shrink." So he just stood there starting at me and making comments about how we needed to get in the car until I snapped something like, "Listen, You can talk all you want, but I want to do this right now and I'm doing this, so just be quiet and wait." 

He rolled his eyes but didn't say anything after that. But in his defense it was a little ridiculous because I kept having to stop hanging the clothes and lean against the washer when a contraction came. I'm such a treat to be around when I'm in labor! ;) 

We finally left for the hospital around 7:00. Contractions were still 3-4 minutes apart, but on the way there they slowed to more like 7-9 minutes apart, and I said we could probably just turn around and go home. Why am I so nuts, you guys. Jordan said absolutely not, as any sane person would.

He parked the car in the parking garage, and we walked across the street to get buzzed into L&D. As we walked toward the check-in counter, a group of nurses was leaving. One of them looked at me and said, "Oh we know what that face means. You're having a baby tonight, girl!" 

I turned to smile at them, and the nurse stopped and stared at me. I immediately recognized her as the fabulous nurse who helped with J's delivery and my recovery in the hospital 2.5 years ago. I didn't want to be weird and wasn't going to say anything, but from the way she was looking at us I could tell that she was trying to place me, so I said, "Is your name Emily?" She said, "Yes..." 

I said, "You helped with the delivery of my son 2.5 years ago!" She came up and gave me a hug and said she remembered me and then said, "You can do this!" It really put me at ease to see her, and I thought that was such a neat thing to have happen!

At 7:40 they put us in a room and a nurse came to check me. She asked if I'd been checked before, and I said actually I had just had a checkup that morning! She told me that if were wasn't any change in dilation they'd monitor me for an hour, and if there still wasn't any change, they would send me home and let me labor a bit longer on my own before admitting me.

She checked me and didn't even take a second before she said, "Oh, you're definitely going to stay and have a baby!" I was at a 6, nearly a 7, and almost fully thinned out. I called my mom and told her that we were for sure staying at the hospital. They had left as soon as possible when I called her at 6:00 and were already halfway to Oklahoma City.

Soon after that, the resident doctor came in and asked me if I was going to want an epidural, and I said no. He told me that they were working on getting a room ready and to just sit tight for now (we were still in the "holding room," so to speak, and not in an actual delivery room).

Jordan set up his phone on the bed, and we watched The Office on Netflix while I continued to have increasingly painful contractions. Every time one came I would breathe deeply and hold tightly to the side of the bed. Mentally it helped to count in my head how long each contraction lasted (about 10-11 breaths as deep as I could blow out); during each contraction I counted to ten, and it helped me to know how far along I was, so to speak, before the pain of the contraction was going to end. I was hooked up to an IV for fluids, and they had monitors strapped to my stomach so we could hear the baby's heartbeat, but otherwise they left us alone.

At 9:30pm, my parents arrived and we got to hear the story of how my dad got pulled over by an Oklahoma cop for speeding. My dad got off with a reduced ticket from the initial reckless driving warning and suggestion that the cop take him to literal jail after my dad told the cop that they were on their way to OKC because his daughter was in labor. The cop told my dad that he wasn't any good to me dead and to slow down, please. However, in the event my dad was, in fact, carted off to jail, my dad asked the cop if he could please let my mom go so she could drive to the hospital without him. If you know my dad you know that absolutely sounds like something that would happen to him!

Because we left for the hospital soon after Jordan got home from work, he hadn't had dinner yet, and we were worried about him not getting a chance to eat for a while if my labor was going to be hours and hours still like my previous 2 had been, so at 9:40 my dad and Jordan left to get Chick-fil-A while my mom stayed in the room with me. Side note: the hospital has a CFA inside, which is why they were going there for food; it's not like Jordan had a special baby day hankering for fried chicken lol.

I'll leave off there, because the next hour gets crazy, and I had F at 10:42 pm that same night! Part 2 coming soonish. I figured I'd just get some of this story published while I felt motivated ;)