Tuesday, August 9, 2016

2 Months

Claire was born 2 months ago yesterday!

Isn't she the cutest? :-)
She has discovered her hands and is starting to grab things, like her dress in the picture. She can fit into 0-3 months clothes, and her newborn clothes barely fit now. Claire is becoming vocal - cooing and "ah"ing, which is so cute. She's also smiling a lot, especially at Quentin. When Claire hears Quentin's voice on the phone, she smiles. I think she'll be a daddy's girl.

It's been so fun watching Claire grow and learn in these first two months. But it's also been challenging to learn how to take care of her, particularly the first 3 weeks. For me, the postpartum recovery while learning to care for a newborn was the most difficult part of becoming a mom - yes even harder than labor and delivery. There were multiple times when all I wanted was for someone else to take the baby so I could have a break. I had never been more exhausted or emotionally unstable in my life.
But God was there with me and brought me through it. He blessed me far beyond what I deserved - friends and family provided meals so that I didn't cook any dinner for the entire first month! Quentin was a huge help and encouragement, super sweet and always there for me if I needed him.

Today I'm mostly back to normal, by God's grace. Claire is a great night sleeper. She usually only wakes up once during the night to nurse, around 2:00 or 3:00am. God is so kind.

We love you, Claire bear! :-)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Claire's Birth Story

Baby Claire is here! I've been wanting to post her story, but haven't had the chance. Here goes. (it's rather long)

Tuesday June 7, my estimated due date, came with much anticipation. Both Quentin and I were hoping that this was the day we'd get to meet our little one. Here's a picture of me on my due date.

Baby girl was very low in my pelvis. But that didn't stop me from running errands! I went to the grocery store, then to my appointment at the birthing center. After the midwife finished checking me (everything was good), we set up a 41 week appointment. She said, "You'll most likely not need this appointment. We just make it to break it." As I was leaving, I said, "Who knows, I might be back here tomorrow." I had no idea that would prove true.

As we went to bed on the night of the 7th, Quentin and I talked about how the baby would probably come on the weekend. We went to sleep around 9:30, and everything was normal.

June 7, 11:30pm - I woke up to a slightly painful cramp in my lower belly. I thought it might be a contraction, but I didn't want to get too excited. So I went back to sleep. 15 minutes later, I woke again to a more painful cramp. I started using my contraction timer app on my phone. I could tell when one was coming. My belly felt like it was tightening slowly, then the painful cramping came, then it slowly loosened.

I think I woke Quentin a little before midnight to tell him I was in labor. The contractions were coming 7 minutes apart, lasting for almost 1 minute each. I thought that was a little fast for early labor. As the pain got more intense, I had to get on my hands and knees in bed and sway my hips.

June 8, 2am - Contractions were coming 3 to 5 minutes apart, and I was finding it a bit harder to make it through each one. We called the birthing center around 2:45am, and the midwife asked if we wanted to come in. She gave us the option! I didn't know what we should do, 'cause I thought I'd be in labor for at least 6 more hours. But, Quentin helped me decide to go in at 4am.

June 8, 3:30am - As we were getting ready to leave for the birthing center, contractions were 1.5 to 2 minutes apart, and very intense. I thought, "If I have to do this for 6 more hours, there's no way I will make it." With the contraction right before we headed out the door, I actually said aloud, "I can't do this!" Quentin encouraged me by saying I could do it and, "You're doing a great job, sweetie." The car ride wasn't fun. I couldn't move like I had been to get through contractions. But, Quentin let me squeeze his hand, which did help. He was so sweet.

June 8, 4am - We got to the birthing center. Stephanie was the midwife who was there waiting for us. She had set up one of the birthing suites for us. The building was very quiet and inviting. I felt safe there, like it was a second home. The suite was dimly lit, which was nice. When we got into the room, Stephanie checked me and told me that I was fully dilated. I replied, "Really? Already?" (I had only been in labor for a little over 4.5 hours at this point) She confirmed it, and said she would call her birth assistant, Rebeca, to come help. 

Stephanie asked if I wanted to try for a waterbirth. I said yes, so she filled up the tub in the room. Rebeca arrived at some point before I got in the tub. Contractions were coming farther apart then, so I got a little break before the big finish. The warm water in the tub felt so good, it helped me relax more.

The pushing stage was the hardest for me. I was scared to push because I didn't want to tear, and I said this out loud. At 5:14am the water bag broke, and I kinda freaked out a bit, saying "Oh no! I tore!" Stephanie was quick to say, "No you didn't. That was your water." After that, contractions were stronger and so was the urge to push. I got on my knees and had my hands on the rim of the tub. Quentin, who was sitting outside the tub at my head, let me squeeze his hand. I squeezed so hard that he had to take his ring off. And I was very vocal at this point - moaning and yelling "Ow". I'm glad no one else could hear me.

Baby crowned at 5:25am, then she was born at 5:30am. She cried very briefly, then just looked around while Stephanie held her partly submerged in the water. After a few minutes, Rebeca helped me out of the tub and over to the bed, while Stephanie carried Claire still attached by the cord. Once I got into bed, Stephanie laid Claire on my chest and I got to look at her. I immediately fell in love, especially with her cute little nose. :)

I got some stitches, because I did end up tearing. It wasn't my perineum though, thankfully. The rest of the morning was a blur of getting to know Claire, having the midwife check on us, and sending text announcements out to family and friends. Claire was measured and weighed about 2 hours after she was born. 7 pounds even, and 19 1/4 inches. We were sent home at 11am, just 5.5 hours after birth. It was nice to come home so soon, and not have to stay for days.

Ok, here are some pictures!

 Claire's first minute of life outside the womb. (sorry it's upside down)



Claire, 2 days old. Cutie pie!


Her first dress. 
      

Our little family of 3. :)



Bonus tip for pregnant moms! Want to know how I had such a short labor? Well, it was all God's plan, but I think some of what I did while I was pregnant helped too.

1. I kept doing all the normal things I always did before I was pregnant. I didn't use pregnancy as an excuse to sit around and watch movies all day. Most days I was on my feet for the majority of the time, even in the last few days of pregnancy. Exercise is super helpful for a smooth labor!

2. During the last month of pregnancy, I drank raspberry leaf tea and ate dates every day. I drank at least one cup of tea a day, sometimes 2. And I ate 6 dates every day. I found these tips online, so I gave them a try and they worked!

   

Friday, June 3, 2016

4 Days Left

My estimated due date is only 4 days away. What? Crazy how close that is!

I'm doing well. A bit tired and uncomfortable, but that's normal when you're almost 40 weeks pregnant. :)
Dresses are my favorite thing right now. I just don't like anything touching my belly anymore. And dresses keep me cooler too. The weather has been in the 80's lately!
I've been having a few sporadic, very mild contractions/cramping the past couple days, which my midwife said is my body getting warmed up for birth. Exciting times!

Here's a silhouette of my growing belly.


On Monday, for Memorial Day, Quentin was off work. I love getting to spend the whole day with him! We went to the Botanical Gardens, where we saw a lot of pretty flowers and butterflies. And then we went to a mini golf course to play a few rounds. That was fun, 'cause I haven't played in a while. :) After that, we went out for dinner, then came home and watched a war movie. Long but fun day!
















Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

Yesterday I celebrated my first Mother's Day as a mom. No, our baby hasn't been born yet. But I consider myself a mom already. :-) Here's me and my baby girl.

And, yes, we have decided on a name - Claire. She is due in one month! Hard to believe it's that close. We have a pack-n-play with a bassinet set up in our room, baby clothes size newborn to 3 months washed and put in her closet, and a few freezer meals ready. At my 35 week check-up, Claire was head down and had a good heartbeat. I hope she stays head down.
I'm feeling pretty good. I added beef to my diet because I found out I'm anemic. And I'm eating something with Vitamin C in it, whenever I eat something with iron in it (vitamin C helps you absorb iron). I was going to get a prescription iron supplement, but found out how much it costs and it is way too expensive. So, I'm trying to increase my iron naturally by eating more iron-rich foods.
Also I am prepping my body for an unmedicated labor. Eating dates and drinking Raspberry Leaf tea every day has been known to help make labor easier, so that's what I'm doing. The plan is to have Claire at a birthing center, which is really nice. I'm both excited and nervous about childbirth. It will be quite an adventure!

Ok, back to Mother's Day.
We went to the Daniel Stowe gardens with Quentin's parents. The flowers were pretty, but there were /so/ many people there. (all moms got free admission) We still had fun though. :-)


 


This is me and Andrea, my beautiful mother-in-law. She truly is my second mom. I enjoy spending time with her, she gives great advice, and she never fails to point me to Jesus and the gospel. I'm so thankful for how easily she has accepted me into her family and treats me as her own daughter. And I'm extremely grateful for the values and wisdom that she instilled in Quentin while she raised him. My husband is amazing because his mom did an amazing job of bringing him up in the Way he should go. I love you, Andrea!


(Yes, the following picture is edited. I thought it was a cool effect.)

Me and my gorgeous mom. Apart from Quentin, Mom is my favorite person to spend time with. She gives the best advice, is extremely generous, and always knows how to put a smile on my face. I could make a 100 page list of all the reasons I love Mom and am thankful for her. Here are just a few:
  • she homeschooled me from kindergarten to high school graduation. I loved being able to do school at home, since I could wear mostly whatever I wanted and got to spend more time with her and my siblings.  
  • she taught me to cook, bake, clean, sew, and all the other little things involved in taking care of a house and a husband. I really appreciate being able to learn from a stay-at-home mom all my life.
  • she was there for me, always willing to talk when I was having panic attacks. That was probably my least favorite phase of my life, but it definitely helped me knowing that I could call her whenever I needed her to talk through my anxiety.
  • she was and still is my advocate, always for me. She is genuinely excited for me when I share about something I'm excited about, and encourages me to "go for it" when I tell her about something new I want to try.
  • she loves me unconditionally, no matter how much I mess up or forget to show her my appreciation for her. I will only fully understand her love for me when my daughter is born. There is no love like a mother's love.
I love you so much, Mom!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Anniversary Trip and Baby update

Quentin and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary on Monday. Hard to believe it's been a whole year since we said our vows. A lot has happened in this first year of marriage! Quentin went from working a night-shift job and a day job, to working just one day job (a job doing what he likes best - landscape design). We bought an SUV. We paid off all credit card and loan dept, so we're dept free. (Hooray!) We took 3 big road trips to visit family. I got pregnant. We adopted our 2nd kitty, Tucker. And we bought our first house.
What a busy year!

We celebrated by spending a night away in Tryon, NC. The bed and breakfast where we spent the night was the same one we stayed at on our wedding night last year. The breakfast there is really amazing, and the staff are great. We had fun exploring downtown Tryon the day we were there. The town has some pretty cool shops and antique stores. Quentin was sweet and bought me a pair of earrings as an anniversary gift. :)

The log cabin on the right is where we stayed this weekend. The cottage on the left side is where we stayed on our wedding night last year. Pretty cool!



The horse of Tryon, NC. 

Cool stone clock tower downtown.

 Tryon is a cute town. :)

Obligatory selfie. We've been happily married for one year!

It's a bike rack that's shaped like a bike.


Also while we were there, we visited Pearson's Falls. It's only a 0.25 mile walk/hike up to the waterfall, so it was easy enough for me.










And, on our way home, we stopped to play bowling. We've been wanting to do something fun like that together, so our anniversary vacation was the perfect excuse. Quentin won both games we played, but I still had fun. :-)





Overall, it was the best way to spend our anniversary weekend. I loved getting away with just Quentin, able to relax and enjoy time together.


So, now I'm 29 weeks pregnant. Only 11 more to go. Crazy.
I took my glucose tolerance test last week. My results came back normal - no gestational diabetes! But I had a few other things tested, and my iron levels are low. That would explain why my muscles have been more tired than usual the past few weeks. I ordered an iron supplement, and it should come in the mail soon.

Baby girl is moving a lot, and has a strong heartbeat of 150. She moves so much sometimes, that I can actually see my belly moving. It's kinda surreal. But it's one of my favorite things.

I've enjoyed people asking me questions about my baby, now that I clearly have a baby bump. It's fun sharing my excitement with strangers. Quentin and I are going to our first birthing class tonight. Not sure what to expect, but it probably will be helpful.

Here's another belly picture. It's inside the cabin we stayed at this past weekend.






Hope everyone has a blessed Easter weekend!


 

Friday, January 29, 2016

21 weeks!

Hard to believe I'm now 21 weeks along. It's gone by so fast! The biggest change is that I can feel some fluttering in my belly, which is our baby moving. It's pretty amazing. :) Also, my nausea has gone away, which is very nice, and I have a bit more energy.
-
At my last ultrasound, the tech lady found that the placenta moved up some. So it's no longer low-lying. I'm extremely thankful for that, 'cause that means I can go back to normal activities and not be super careful. Praise the Lord for a good report!

Also at the last ultrasound, the tech lady determined the gender of our baby. And,



I'm having a mini me! :) We're so excited! I am super excited that I get to raise a daughter! :)

Here's a belly picture. So far, I like being pregnant.



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Baby update, and other changes

These past several weeks have flown by! So many fun happenings and changes.

I'm 15 weeks pregnant now, so I'm done with the first trimester. According to the internet, our baby is roughly the size of an apple now. :) And, I have a small baby bump. This makes me super happy!






I actually did a penny gender prediction test the other day, just for fun. (old wives' tale) You lick your thumb, rub it on a penny, and hold it to a wall for 30 seconds. If it falls right away, you're having a boy, if it sticks, you're having a girl. I tried with 3 separate pennies, and they all fell. It would be cool if it actually was correct, but we will find out for sure in about 3 weeks.

I had some bleeding 2 weeks ago, which scared me. I went to the doctor the next day, and the baby is good. The placenta is extremely close to my cervix, though it's not placenta previa. The doctor told me to take it easy, and not do too much until my next ultrasound in January. Hopefully the placenta will move away from my cervix at that time. I am super thankful that baby is ok! God is merciful and good.


Thanksgiving was fun. We got to have 2 separate meals, one with each side of the family. Yes, it was a lot of food, but the meals were 5 hours apart, so it was ok. Loved seeing everyone! :)



On December 1, Quentin and I became homeowners! God provided us with the perfect house. It has a big yard - almost a half acre - is outside city limits, has a big master bedroom, a nice fireplace, and a wrap-around porch. The previous owners even left a good size swing/slide playset out back. It feels like we've lived here longer than 2 weeks, 'cause it's such a good fit for us.

Isn't it cute?

We decorated our Christmas tree, put lights outside, and decorated the mantle. All we need are some stockings, then we'll be finished. I'm excited for our first Christmas in this house and our first Christmas married. 

One more new thing for us. We adopted a kitten! :) 


His name is Tucker. He is 10 weeks old, full of energy when he's awake, and loves to cuddle when he sleeps. He can be feisty and get into things he shouldn't, but overall it's been fun getting to know him. :) We do still have Mabel, we've had her for a year now. Mabel isn't too happy with the new arrival. We're hoping that the two kitties learn to get along soon.

God has blessed us so much!






Tuesday, November 10, 2015

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, No Wait It's a.....

Baby!







It's still hard to believe that this picture is real. I am pregnant. What???? Crazy!

Quentin and I went for our first ultrasound yesterday. It was so amazing! We could actually see the baby's brain, and it's tiny heart. We also got to hear the heartbeat, which helped to confirm to me that there is actually another living person inside me. The nurse said the heartbeat is good and strong. :) Also, the baby measured at the right length for how far along I am (10 weeks). God is so kind.

So, down to the fun details.

Estimated Due Date: June 7, 2016

Weight Gain: Haven't gained any weight so far. But I think that's usual when your only 10 weeks pregnant. I'm looking forward to seeing my belly grow, and be able to take pictures for you all. Mom thinks I'll look cute with a baby bump.

Morning Sickness/Nausea: By God's amazing grace and blessing, I've had very mild nausea most days, and no vomiting at all. There were a few times where it got worse for like an hour or two, but over all I'm feeling pretty decent. :)

Food Cravings: Oh my goodness, I cannot get enough savory food right now! I crave hamburgers, peanut butter, cheddar cheese, fried eggs, Chick-fil-A waffle fries, and guacamole. Mmm. But of course, I make myself eat salad and other veggies and fruits, to keep myself healthy. I still like fruits and veggies, but they're not as satisfying as savory food.

Gender Prediction: I think it's a boy. I looked at the Chinese Lunar Calendar, and it said it was a boy. (not saying it's 100% accurate) And supposedly when you have a boy, you have less nausea and crave more salty foods. But whichever gender our baby is, I will be thrilled. Every baby is a good gift from God!


I'm so excited to be on this next chapter of life! I'll try to keep you updated as much as possible.
God is awesome!