Finn | 1 Month

Master Finn - One Months Update Photos

During the first month I was transported back to “new parent” status, terrified of each new thing that seemed different or unexplained and trying to do my best to relearn the process of taking care of a brand new baby. Finn’s belly button was different and he sneezed more and grunted more and had crazy projectile vomiting. The first month we tried to come up with strategies to improve what seemed to be some re-flux. If I laid him flat on his back he would often end up vomiting. He also developed a habit of snacking in short, frequent nursing sessions. He didn’t complain too much about it, but I was on high alert much of the time, wondering when the next eruption would hit.

There were a few scares during the first month with Miles getting a little too hands on in his pursuit of helping his baby brother, but over all he slipped easily into the role of big brother from the beginning.

We didn’t have a well-visit this month, but he had gained back his birth weight and then some by the time he was 2 weeks old. We took him to the kidney specialists at Children’s Mercy when he was about one month old to evaluate his eptopic kidney and they told us the ultrasound didn’t show anything that was cause for concern. We were told to bring him to his doctor any time he has a fever so they can check to see if it’s a kidney infection, but he should live a normal, healthy life. It was great to hear it from a specialist and we’re going to go in at 6 months for another ultrasound just to make sure things still seem good.

Finn started smiling a couple weeks after he was born and it’s cute to see how his smile matches his personality. He seemed to like tummy time at first, but it wasn’t long before that changed. He loves to talk and also started cooing sometime during his first month. He scares easily at loud sounds like public toilets flushing. His gaze has been pretty steady and deep since the beginning. I am amazed to stare into his eyes and see a brand new soul staring back at me. I can’t wait to learn more about him.

SLEEP! Finn has been an expert sleeper from day one. I don’t think he has ever woken up during the night and stayed awake. From the very beginning he would wake up, nurse and go immediately back to sleep. It is an amazing blessing. I’m going to try very hard not to constantly make comparisons between Finn and Miles. I love that they are different and I’m always noticing different things that are unique to each one, but I want to just focus on the person each one is becoming. I will say that I did not have the pleasure of these kind of sleep habits the first time around. We got used to waking up several times a night and eventually Miles learned to go back to sleep after nursing during the night, but not until he was about 4 months old. As you will see in the monthly segments that follow, this trend of great sleeping just gets better this time! Praise the LORD! Seriously.

Master Finn - One Months Update Photos

Master Finn - One Months Update Photos

In a Field with Flowers – Lizzy’s Maternity Session


When my very best friend came to visit a couple months ago, we made sure to document her second pregnancy with some sun-filled images in “the” field. It was all that used to separate us from each other during our childhood. We might live several states apart now, but we still get to share all the glorious bits of life as we experience them. It still feels like we’re just a field away anytime we need each other to help navigate each new turn of our lives. I’ve been blessed to have shared two pregnancies with my best friend (if a few months apart). Now that she’s just over a month away from her due date with her second, a precious little boy, I am humming with joy and excitement for her! She is a wonderful mom to Natalia and I can’t wait to see her rock the boy-mom thing!

Closeup of Daughter with Mom Mother and Daughter Maternity Photography Mother and Daughter Maternity Photography Mommy and daughterFlowers with Mommy  Denim Jacket and Long Flowy Skirt Sweet Closeup of Mom Hazy and Emotional Black and White Maternity PhotographyCloseup Black Tank Top Light and Airy Bump Pics Standing in a Road Close Up Belly Golden Hour Maternity Photo  Golden Hour Maternity PhotoHeart on the Belly Belly Heart  Holding Baby Tight in my Belly  Untitled_0027Pretty Belly with FlowersA Sweet Mom Moment   Dramatic Sunset Silhouette Maternity Photography

Belly Day | 41 Weeks

41 weeks pregnancy update postpartum and recovery

I didn’t make it to 40 weeks after all! I decided I wanted to take a photo with Finn that fit with my weekly belly update theme. I tried to make him look like a “belly” the way the cool people on Pinterest do it, but… FAIL!

I won’t say too much up here because I have already shared Finn’s “intro” blog entry as well as his birth story, so please check those out if you’re interested. I just thought it would be fun to update these categories to reflect the postpartum period!

The biggest thing for me has been the hormonal/personality shift that took place almost immediately after labor. I’m once again terrified of social interaction, have limp hair and prefer the flavor of butter over sugar. It’s so bizarre! While the shift was gradual during pregnancy, the old Brittany came crashing into me like a wave the moment Finn was born. I feel a little bit like Cinderella at midnight after the ball. Pregnancy almost seems like a dream, a blur. Being back to “myself” is both unfamiliar and yet totally comfortable. My pregnant self feels almost like some strange alter-ego, me in another dimension.

Ok, I think it’s time to back up out of that wormhole and get on with the “fun” stuff.

Baby’s Size| He was 9.0 lb at birth!

How far along | 1 week PP

Sleep | This baby has been sleeping surprisingly well!!! From the very start he has been waking up a few times at night to eat, but goes right back to sleep! Miles didn’t do that until at least 4 months old.

Clothes | I expect I’ll be wearing maternity clothes for awhile still, but it sure is nice to have shirts cover my belly again.

Cravings | One of the strangest things is returning to “myself” and remember how things really taste to me. Chick-fil-a tastes even better now and I officially hate mushrooms again.

Food Aversions |  Back to the usual! All of a sudden I am barely hungry. I could care less if you’re holding a donut or cupcake in your hand. However, I’m pretty sure my appetite is something that isn’t gone for good.

Symptoms | The usual soreness, but I’m recovering much quicker than I did with Miles and that’s a nice blessing. The biggest symptom for me has been hormonal. So many ups and downs!!! The worst is the paranoia. Being a mom brought back some of terror I used to feel as a “fraidy-cat” kid and during my pregnancy it would peek out now and again, but ever since labor I have been paranoid of everything! Each and every thing about Finn that seems different than Miles makes me wonder and worry. One little twinge of pain or weirdness and I worry I’m about to perish. I know it’s just hormones and it will fade. I keep thinking about that 6 week post-partum appointment because I am yearning to feel “normal” again and I’ve got it set in my head that I should be normal by then. Well, as normal as I ever was (not saying much).

Doctor’s Appointment | We’ll see after my postpartum appointment at the beginning of June! UPDATE: Doc gave me the all-clear at my appointment. As for feeling normal again… who knows! Haha

Movement | It’s funny to see Finn on the outside and notice that he kicks a lot still.

Belly Button | Postpartum deflated balloon button?!?! We seriously do not want to go there.

Gender | He’s officially a boy. No surprise there.

Best moment of the week | This one is pretty obvious, I should think. The best moment was welcoming Finn into the world, our home and our lives!

What I’m looking forward to | The six-week mark and feeling normal again. Once again getting comfortable in my skin, now that I’m the only one in my skin. That’s weird.

What I miss | I miss being more bubbly and I miss my big, healthy hair and I miss the routine that Miles and I had settled into. We had our “Monday” thing where we would take progress pictures and go to my prenatal appointment and get Chickfila. But now I’m excited to make a new routine and start a new life with two!!! :)

Just for fun I wanted to share all my progress photos from the pregnancy until now, starting at 17 weeks.

pregnancy progress from week 17 through 41

And finally, when I would set up to take my progress pictures each week, I would ask Miles to stand near my spot so I could get the focus right on my camera. After awhile I started to see the change in him and these photos often turned out pretty cute, so I decided to grab my favorites of just Miles and compile them for you. Some weeks are missing because he was either asleep or not cooperative, but it’s still really cute to see.

Miles growing up during my  second pregnancy Miles growing up during my  second pregnancy - Last two weeks

Finn’s Birth Story

Finns official going home shirt - birth story

As the day for Finn’s birth drew near, I tried to imagine how everything would unfold. I only had one other pregnancy/birth to reference, but I also knew that every experience is different, just as we are all unique souls. Like the title says, this was Finn’s story, not mine, so it was just a matter of waiting to see what God had in store for us.

With my first birth experience, everything happened just the way I thought it was supposed to, beginning with one distinct (yet weak) contraction and continuing to increase throughout the day in the three important areas: Strength, Frequency and Consistency. That time it led me to the hospital after over an hour of consistent contractions and was followed almost immediately by my water breaking. I got the epidural, took a nap and finished up a couple hours later. That is a very condensed version of what happened the first time, when I had Miles. You can read his full birth story here. This time, however, was anything but consistent…

The Birth Story Begins

Early Thursday morning (around 1:00 am) on April 30 I woke up to pee and began to feel what could be “real” contractions. The pregnancy had been full of strong Braxton Hicks contractions, so I wasn’t ready to declare labor officially on until they were strong, consistent and frequent. I was too nervous to go back to sleep (plus… I was 39 weeks pregnant, so sleep was a rare gift anyway), so I jumped on my computer and tried to finish the packing list for the hospital bag. As I sat there, the contractions seemed to increase in intensity and (kind of) in frequency. This persuaded me to begin to actually pack the hospital bag. As I was rushing around as calmly as possible (with my insides all a flutter), Steven woke up and asked if something was up. I explained that I was feeling painful contractions, but they weren’t very consistent. He turned over and fell instantly back into his blissful sleep (I’m not bitter). I kept myself busy packing and repacking items. Every once in awhile I would have a very strong, painful contraction and think to myself “I have to get everyone in the car and go the hospital this very second! What if I don’t make it!?!” Fifteen uneventful minutes later I would realize I was silly and it was a good thing I didn’t send the household into panic mode. This rollercoaster of indecision continues throughout my story, but by 6 or so in the morning we had convinced ourselves that this was a sure thing and it would probably be wise to locate ourselves somewhere closer to the hospital. We packed the kid in the car and headed to the city to wait it out at Stevens parents. The hour before we left I’d had contractions every 5 or so minutes for an hour (although the intensity still varied). During the first ten minutes we were driving on the road I didn’t have a contraction and I began, once again, to doubt myself. By this time, however, the decision had been made and Steven had called into work, so we didn’t turn back.

Once we arrived at Steven’s parents house, I tried to take a relaxing bath. Cue two-year-old who thinks all baths are about him. I like to be left alone when I’m in pain so I quickly exited the bath and secluded myself to a corner of the house for a short while. Soon after I abandoned my bath, Steven asked how things were going. By now I was getting kind of frustrated because the contractions were not consistent. Occasionally I would have extrememly painful ones, some even 3 minutes apart, but they didn’t really keep it up. During one particularly strong contraction I told Steven there is no way I wasn’t in labor, please please please let’s go to the hospital so I can get closer to getting my epidural. By now it was 8:30 and my Dr.’s office was going to open at 9, so we waited for half an hour. Steven called the office for me and explained my situation (by this time the contractions were all pretty strong and had been consistent for that half hour). They said since it was my second baby to head on over the hospital for evaluation! Ahhh! It was happening!!!

At The Hospital

When we arrived at the birthing center at Shawnee Mission, I was still freaking out inside because I didn’t know if this was the right decision and yet I was relieved because I was finally going to be at the hospital and I felt like that meant something, I guess. They put me in the triage room and hooked up all the monitors and told me I would need to wait for the on-call doctor to check my progress. Meanwhile, I was having continued, inconsistent contractions. Some were 4 minutes apart, some 8… some would make me want to scream (if I had any breath left in my body) and some were like “wait, did that just happen?” It was kind of nerve racking. Also, the doctor I was waiting for had to rush off to an emergency cesarean and I had to stay in triage for another 30-45 minutes. Steven went out to the car to grab our things and I remember worrying that if they checked me and it turned out I hadn’t progressed enough we would just have to haul it all back. The nurse who handled the triage decided to admit me before we had actually confirmed I should stay because it would mean we wouldn’t have to repeat a bunch of paperwork stuff, but I still wasn’t convinced. Eventually the doc checked and said I was at 4cm and 80% effaced (I think) and could either go home and walk it out, stay at the hospital and walk it out or stay and get my epidural and have my water broken. I really didn’t want them to have to break my water but I was not enjoying the contractions and planned to have an epidural anyway. When the doctor found out it was my second baby she assured me that breaking my water would do the trick and that I should be able to deliver soon after that. I agreed to stay and get the epidural because I was anxious to feel that relief that I felt during my first labor, but I was starting to panic because I felt like I was losing control, that maybe I had made the wrong decision and I should have waited for things to progress more naturally.

With panic in full swing, they moved us to the delivery room while my brain continued to freak out… what if I was trying to rush things? What if something went horribly wrong and it was my fault for not waiting because I didn’t want to feel the pain? Every moment I felt like I just wanted it to be over and yet I was terrified for what was to come. I hadn’t eaten since early in the morning and had to stop eating at this point. Things started to feel even more weird when the shifts changed and I got a new nurse who I didn’t like. I probably didn’t give her a fair chance because I was in pain, panicking and only half sane. She had an accent that bugged me and a “positive” attitude that didn’t fool me and I felt like she wasn’t really listening to me most of the time. It seemed to take forever for her and the person helping her to get up to date on my situation and birth plan and get all the info plugged into the computer (again!). I kept telling the staff that I wanted to get the epidural and wait a bit to see if my water would break on it’s own, and went over some of the things in my birth plan, but often they told me that it probably wouldn’t work out the way I’d like. That was also kind of annoying. Plus the nurse checked my cervix again and announced that I was 3 cm and 50-60% effaced which was like going backwards from when I had arrived.

Finally  the anesthesiologist arrived to give me my epidural. He was friendly and casual, but not very great at making me feel like I could trust him. At this point I was verging on paranoia, though and I didn’t feel like I could trust anyone or anything, not even (or especially not) myself. He tried to direct me into the right position for the epidural and he ran through a list of things to be absolutely terrified about so of course my thoughts were something like this “OMG OMG OMG What am I doing?!?! I can’t have a baby. Am I even here right now? It’s not too late to change my mind and leave, is it? It’s too late!!! I’m messing everything up. I’m going to die. Because I wanted to be comfortable. I’m so dumb” (Of course I didn’t really believe these things, it was the insanity and paranoia talking). After the first poke he asked me if it feels right (?!) and in the center or off to the left or right? Shouldn’t he know these things?! That did not help my confidence in his ability to do his job. I said it felt a little off center and he took out the needle and re-positioned, then it hurt so he re-positioned again. That time it felt off to the other side but I was just like whatever, I’m probably wrong. The third time did feel the best of them all and I didn’t trust my own judgement.

I spent the next while (not sure how long, maybe an hour or two?) trying to sleep. The nurse left me with instructions to let her know if I had any of the side effects they were worried about with the epidural (my paranoia wanted to say I had every single one somehow). She also told me she was going to change my blood pressure monitor to take readings less frequently. This was after she had just told me that they have to monitor it because the epidural could cause low blood pressure and a zillion resulting complications. So I spent my “nap” time waiting for the BP cuff to start taking it’s reading then asking Steven or my dad to go look at the screen (that was out of my view) to make sure I wasn’t dying. Also, I could still feel my contractions a bit (moderate pressure) and when I’d feel one that seemed extra strong, I would also make them go look and tell me the intensity. This whole time the contractions didn’t really get consistent. At  best they were 5-7 minutes apart and varying in strength. I tried to calm myself, but I felt completely unsure about everything for those few hours until they broke my water.


The Delivery

Ah… then they come in to break my water. It wasn’t nearly as traumatizing as I had worried it would be. It actually ended up being quite reassuring because after the water broke my contractions began to get in line, get consistent in strength and closer together. As they increased in intensity, I realized I could still feel them pretty strongly. The epidural had taken the edge off (and they kept having me push a button to give me a boost that didn’t seem to help), but as the contractions increased I was really starting to feel them. Breaking my water really did the trick. It wasn’t long before I was dilated to 7 or 8 and 80% effaced. At this point my nurse decided it we could try the “peanut ball” to open up my hips or something and move things along. Oh boy did it. It was also about this time that she remembered to empty my bladder. I think, in the end, that’s what really pushed me to delivery. After a contraction or two with the ball between my legs, she wanted to turn me to my other side and we would try it again. But as she began to lower my legs together I screamed because it hurt so bad and demanded that she not let me legs fall together (lol). She was prepared to leave the room and let the contraption do it’s trick, but instead decided to check me again and I was 10cm and 100% and the baby was on his way. She ran to push the “OMG THIS LADY IS GOING TO HAVE A BABY” button and told me to wait because the doctor was coming. At this point I was in so much pain I am convinced the epidural had been rendered useless. I told my nurse that I felt like I really had to push and couldn’t stop it. She made me breathe through it and blow out this stupid imaginary candle that was actually just her annoying finger. (Obviously I’m still working through my bitterness lol). After two contractions where I wanted nothing more in the world than to push that baby out but instead I had to blow out a candle (so different, but it’s kind of amazing how it worked) I asked “WHY can’t I push yet!?! What are we waiting for!??!” and she says (with a completely lost expression on her face) “The doctor’s not here.” Umm… aren’t you a medically trained professional?! I trust my body and it wants to push, so let it push! Don’t torture me, woman!!! Anyway. The doctor breezes in like an angel along with her entourage and tells me I can push!!! GLORY!!! I can’t remember if it took 3 or 4 big pushes, but then that baby was out of there!

A wave of euphoria washed over me as they set Finn gently on my chest. I was so connected to my baby in this moment! Being a mom already had primed me for that experience and, having the opportunity to feel what I am convinced was every bit of the final delivery process, I felt such joy to have my baby there with me. He struggled a bit to breathe and didn’t try to root around or anything because he had some amniotic fluid in his lungs. After a quick minute with him on my chest while they tried to get him to cry, the pediatrician took him over and gave him a deep suction to clear out his lungs. After that he was breathing better, but was still grunting a bit. She warned me that he might not try to nurse right away and he didn’t for a little while. Because they had to suction anyway, they went ahead and cleaned him up and wrapped him up at that point and Steven and my parents got a chance to hold him. Eventually we tried nursing and there was some adjusting to be done, but it was a good start. Miles and Steven’s parents came by and we introduced the brothers and I simply sat there in my euphoria, feeling like an absolute bad-ass. Also, I got to eat chickfila (Finally! Food!). It was glorious… and yet, almost bland because it paled in comparison to what had just happened.

2015-07-30_0002 2015-07-30_0003 2015-07-30_0004 2015-07-30_0005 2015-07-30_0006 2015-07-30_0007 2015-07-30_0008 2015-07-30_0009 2015-07-30_0010 2015-07-30_0011


The rest of our stay was pretty good. The best part of the whole experience for me started the moment Finn was in my arms and continued throughout my recovery, which was quicker and easier than with my first. My hormones were a little out of whack and my paranoia kept rearing its ugly head throughout our stay and the week or two after (and still pops up in my life from time to time). There was a scare that maybe I had a blood clot in my calf and they were very good to check it out just in case, but found nothing. I’m pretty sure now that the pain was a result of the nurse dropping my leg during delivery and having it cramp up. This pushed our departure from the hospital a few hours, but eventually we took Finn and met back up with Miles and headed home as a family of four.

Those first few days brought moments I will forever treasure, like Miles meeting Finn for the first time and sitting peacefully in bed while Steven held Finn and we listened to opera music. The feeling of spring and stepping into the outside world again. Having my old “self” settle back into my body like an old friend who had been on vacation.

Additional Thoughts

The beginning of my labor was full of uncertainty and fear and, while I truly believe everything happened how it was meant to and I’ll treasure every bit of this story forever, I probably would have wished that I had relaxed a bit more, waited awhile longer before going to the hospital and probably wouldn’t have had the epidural. I believe I felt every bit of the delivery itself and the epidural barely took the edge off the contractions. For the risks involved, it wasn’t worth it. It definitely didn’t work the way my first one had with Miles and I’m not sure I’d risk it again with another baby someday. We’ll see. I especially would have tried to strengthen myself more in my faith and lessened that paranoia. I think a big part of that paranoia was a result of my hormones and chemicals in my brain/body, but I could have handled it better.

Once my water broke I was much more relaxed, like I could finally accept what was happening and I was excited about it instead of terrified.

This time my mom was able to be there during delivery and I’m so happy she was and that I got to have both her and my dad there earlier in the day while I was laboring. It eased my mind and made the day and the memories extra special.

My husband was/is amazing and always flexible and ready to help me in any capacity I needed.

The recovery was so amazing. I am actually kind of happy that I got to experience the delivery, even the pain. Also, the physical recovery was pretty easy and I took some motrin on day two, but I didn’t have any narcotics afterwards and that was nice.

During the week following the birth I had some pretty intense paranoia and I still get it sometimes when my hormones are off. I haven’t felt fear like that since I was a little girl who was terrified of things I didn’t need to be scared of. I just try to remind myself that my fear is unreasonable.

I hope I didn’t dump too many things that sound negative into this post, because it really was a beautiful experience in the end. I’ll forever hold every minute of it in my heart and experience all over again the joy of working so hard to bring my son into the world and the miracle of holding him to my chest for the first time.

2015-07-30_0012 2015-07-30_0013 Finns official going home  - birth story2015-07-30_0014


Welcome Master Finn

baby announcement Finn Cassidy Tarchala - modern hipster baby onsie and leg warmers

Here it is, his official birth announcement!

Finn Cassidy Tarchala, born April 30, 2015
Weight: 9.0 lb | Length: 21 inches

He was not quite a week old and just being his adorable self in these pictures. Finn and I both woke up early on the morning I took these photos, he was wide awake and happy and I was about to embark on my first day at home alone with both boys! It was a special moment with my new baby and with both my boys.

I did, however, have some realizations… realization #1: I need to work on my closeup baby photography skills (I’ve really only had a few to practice with, good thing I have lots of friends and family having babies soon!) #2: My baby fashion style has changed a bit since Miles was this tiny. He was also born just before the fall season, so he wore lots of adorable layered sweaters and stuff. Finn wears lots of onsies and that’s about it. But he looks so cute doing it and I am in love with the look of a onesie with just leg warmers or leggings worn under the shirt. I truly think it’s adorable, it also happens to be remarkably simple.

I also plan to post a birth story eventually, thank you for being patient with this new mother of two! I can’t believe that’s me!

Finn Tarchala in his modern hipster onsie and leg warmers Finn Cassidy Newborn PhotographyFinn Cassidy Newborn PhotographyFinn Cassidy Newborn PhotographyFinn Cassidy Newborn Photography    Finn Tarchala in his modern hipster onsie and leg warmersFinn Cassidy Newborn PhotographyFinn Tarchala in his modern hipster onsie and leg warmers     Miles and Finn

Jenna’s Dreamy Lifestyle Maternity Session

I met Jenna and Bobby on a warm June morning and we documented the belly of baby number three! Summer was in full form, but we managed to get some fantastic images! Jenna is an amazing model and Bobby is a photographer’s dream assistant. I can always count on him for some creative freestyle reflector work and flower crown construction.

I thought it was the perfect time to blog this session because baby was born yesterday! I’m happy to capture this time in their lives and can’t wait to be blogging about the new little baby!

I was smiling and butterflies were exploding out of my chest when I was editing the photos from this session. I am so blessed to have such great family with which to share this life. I am drowning in joy with them right now, people!!! Check out the bottom of this post for a smile-inducing example of the cuteness my brother and Jenna share.

Jenna's Dreamy Maternity Session - Leavenworth Lifestyle PhotographerJenna and Bobby Jenna baby bump #3 with honeysuckle flower Jenna baby bump #3 with honeysuckle flower  Bobby and Jenna being adorableMaternity Photography Fashion  Bobby and Jenna being adorable Bobby and Jenna being adorableJenna's Dreamy Maternity Session - Leavenworth Lifestyle Photographer Jenna's Dreamy Maternity Session - Leavenworth Lifestyle Photographer Jenna's Dreamy Maternity Session - Leavenworth Lifestyle Photographer Jenna's Dreamy Maternity Session - Leavenworth Lifestyle Photographer Cute Baby Bump Feature Cute Baby Bump FeatureCute Baby Bump Feature  The BellyBobby and Jenna being cute

Belly Day – 39 Weeks

Baby Bump Belly Day - 39 Weeks

You know what’s crazy? Thinking this might actually be my last update before Finn is born!!! Part of me wants to make it to 40 weeks because it’s a nice, complete number for pregnancy. I also love my due date and would be thrilled to have a Star Wars baby. However… part of me would love to be rewarded (immediately) for my anxious anticipation the past couple weeks! It’s funny how easily distracted I was during the first several months from the fact that I was pregnant, but 2-3 weeks before due date I find myself feeling like I can’t wait another second, like I can’t remember what it feels like to not be huge and hungry, like I haven’t been able to lay on my stomach for years. But really, it has only been a few months that I’ve been largely pregnant and you could almost say I didn’t even notice. Now I think about those days right after you give birth when you struggle to adjust to your non-pregnant self and yet I just adjusted to being pregnant.

The truth is that the nesting and the wondering and the deep philosophical ramblings in my brain pale in comparison to the simple longing I have to meet my baby and start his story!!! I mentioned it in a previous update, but that is the thing I am most excited about: Discovering his story! When will I go into labor? How long will it be? What will he look like? What will those first moments be like? What will be those first memories I keep with me forever? I am so excited I can barely contain myself.

Last weekend we had a party for Steven to celebrate his 30th birthday. I couldn’t really talk about it too much on my blog since it was a surprise, but I have been occupying my time lately with plans for the party, crafting fun Star Wars things and prepping presents. It turned out pretty great, most of my family were there along with Steven’s family and some friends. I was anxious for everything to come together and for him to have a special day all to himself, so I had hoped baby would hold off until afterwards, and he did! Not to say there wasn’t a moment or two when I freaked out, thinking he was coming early. For instance, Friday morning I woke up in the middle of an extra strong contraction around 4:30 and had a mini panic moment because that’s how labor began with Miles. After that I couldn’t sleep, so I stayed awake, mentally preparing in case this really was it and timing my contractions. After about an hour or so I was pretty certain they were just really strong Braxton hicks and I could relax a bit. They weren’t getting any stronger or closer together, so I took a warm shower and packed some things in our hospital bag and waited it out. It was weird because I don’t usually have as many Braxton Hicks contractions in the morning, they’re usually a nighttime thing during this pregnancy. Oh well, it certainly pushed me into a new phase of nesting because our hospital bag was packed and ready to go Saturday morning, just in case.

I took advantage of the continuing urge to nest and sewed some leggings and a hat for Finn’s going home outfit as well as decorated some onesies. Unfortunately I spent most of the day on Friday trying to fix a problem with my sewing machine, effectively wasting the majority of my day and ending up with a non-functioning machine and a number of broken needles. I dropped it off to a service center yesterday before my Dr. appointment and they should have it all fixed up for me on Friday. I’m not sure how much use I’ll be able to get out of it before baby arrives, but I’m looking forward to having a machine that actually works. It’s really driving me crazy because I feel like sewing more than any other thing right now. It’s also silly, since there are so many higher priority things I could be accomplishing.

Further nesting on Sunday resulted in a rearranged pantry cabinet, a vacuumed car, and a fully cleaned and organized room for the boys. Today I’ve managed to pick up some more and do some laundry. It’s the only thing keeping me sane right now while I wait… finding things to clean and keep me busy. Later I plan to sanitize pacifiers and bottles and prepare a yummy steak dinner for Steven since today is his actual birthday. I also plan to make a crepe cake similar to this one I saw on Pinterest.

I feel like I had so many things to talk about this week, but that’s probably because so many thoughts are running around in my brain lately as I wait for baby to get here. I guess most of them are repeats.

Baby’s Size| Mini-watermelon. Not sure about the mini part…

How far along | 39 weeks

Sleep | Decent. So much pain when I wake up and need to turn over or pee or walk or breathe. So I guess you could say the sleep is great, it’s the waking up that sucks.

Clothes | I have one particular black maternity dress that I rediscovered a few weeks ago and it has become my go to thing for weekends. It’s insanely comfortable, relatively flattering and just right to wear with leggings and either my Uggs, or my favorite sandals. Except that those favorite sandals broke this week! They were my favorite warm-weather shoe for two summers in a row. Hoping I can find something similar this summer once my feet are human-sized again.

Cravings | Hands down this week’s craving is decaf coffee and donut holes from the Walmart bakery. Simple enough but I have yet to eat enough in one sitting to actually make me want to stop eating them. Instead, I forcefully cut myself off around 7 donuts. I crave them every time of day. I also still enjoy a cupcake a day along with granola and frequent trips to Chickfila. Ugh. I’ll tell you in the Dr appointment section, but it hasn’t been good for my weight gain. I think something in my brain is trying to take advantage of the remaining days of this pregnancy to indulge while I still enjoy food this much and have an excuse.

Food Aversions |  Most of my aversions are related to things that sound hard to chew, since I’m dealing with tooth problems. I’m excited to get those worked on soon after baby is born! I also like to use this reasoning for my donut indulgences, as they’re so soft and easy to chew.

Symptoms | BH contractions still rule this week. I don’t remember them feeling this strong and hurting this much with my first pregnancy. They are accompanied by pressure everywhere! On my nethers, on my lungs (hard. to. breathe.), on the nerves in my back, on my bladder. It’s insanity. For cleaning out the car, I was rewarded with hips that are once again awake with a constant, fiery pain. My swelling reached an all-time high last night. Well… at least an all-pregnancy high. The swelling this pregnancy is more wide-spread instead of localized to the feet and ankles like with my first. The joints in my hand are achy and stiff because of it.

Doctor’s Appointment | Eh. Still a good 1 cm dilated, but cervix is thinning (you’re welcome) so she says I’m nearing 70% effaced. People keeps saying it looks like I’ve dropped and I would have to agree. He’s still high compared to Miles but I feel the weight lower and I am officially waddling because of the way everything is positioned down there. Oh, and I suppose I have to tell you I gained 3.5 lbs in 5 days. My grand total is 55 lbs gained this pregnancy so far.

Movement | Slowed down just a bit, but that doesn’t mean much with this one. He still loves to jab me and wriggle around. It’s driving me crazy because I just want to see those feet and knees that he keeps jabbing me with and I want to rub my hands on the tiny head that keeps butting my crotch.

Belly Button | It’s itchy. Doc said she doesn’t think it’s Puppps again, but it isn’t pleasant.

Gender | This ties into my next heading but OMG… boy!!! :) My best friend, Lizzy just found out yesterday that they are going to have a boy! Miles’ girlfriend, Natalia is also going to have a baby brother!!! I am overjoyed for her and her little family. I can’t wait to meet him and see him and Finn grow up together! Here is a sono profile of Lizzy’s SON!

Baby Boy Docea

Best moment of the week | Finding out that Lizzy is having a boy and celebrating at Steven’s surprise party. I also got a wax and pedicure, so it was a good week.

What I’m looking forward to | Taking his “coming home” picture with the cute little hat I made him last week. <3

What I miss | I feel like I’m already starting to miss my pregnancy! It just went so fast and it makes me wonder if I should have tried to appreciate it more. Oh well, that is minor compared to the excitement of having my baby and not being pregnant. Somehow those statements actually do work together…


Mommy and Miles - 39 Weeks

Belly Day – 38 Weeks

Baby Belly Bump Day - 38 Weeks

Last week was another exciting one, filled with baby thoughts and preparations. Mentally, I have fully shifted to thinking (obsessing) about labor and birth again. This is partly because we toured the Shawnee Mission Birth Center last Wednesday and went over all the things we wanted and what to expect and it made it feel hugely real!!! I think I’m really going to like giving birth at the new hospital. Last time I gave birth at Menorah and I had a great experience. The primary reason we changed locations is because I have a new OBGYN and she doesn’t deliver there. It also would be an even longer drive. As it is, we’re about 35 minutes away from the hospital. That freaks me out a bit for when labor time comes. Ahhh! Freaking out here, peeps. Anyway, I love the interactions I’ve had so far with the staff at Shawnee Mission and the things they explained to me seem to mesh well with my own preferences and thoughts.

Another thing that has me thinking about labor (and feeling completely unprepared) is the increase in Braxton Hicks contractions that I’ve been having! If you’ve been following along at all you probably know I’ve been feeling them most of the pregnancy and they’ve been pretty intense the last few months, as well as frequent. Lately, however, they are even stronger, and last night I was having 8-12 an hour!!! They weren’t coming at regular intervals and they weren’t increasing in strength, which is the only way I was fairly certain they weren’t the real thing. Having so many of them did make me wonder, though, and I realized I am not ready! I literally came home last night and installed the infant car seat in our car and began to prep our diaper bag for newborn baby use! I also want to begin packing the hospital bag. I get so frazzled trying to do that, though because I feel like 80% of the things I will need to bring are things I use almost every day and will need to throw in there at the last minute. I don’t really get how you can have your hospital bag packed several weeks early. I literally have two pairs of pants that are comfy and fit, so I will be wearing them as well as bringing them. And of course you have things like cell phone chargers and toiletries, which I happen to use every day. Anyway. Enough of that rant.

This week I have a few things going on. Tomorrow I have a Brazilian wax. Yeah, that’s probably borderline TMI for my blog readers, but hey, we’re talking about carrying and birthing a child here. I had a wax last time and it’s one of the things I was especially happy I did. I also had a pedicure last time and I plan to schedule one for tomorrow, as well. On Wednesday I have my next Dr. appointment and I’m anxious to see if I’ve progressed. With all the BH contractions I’ve had and the pressure I feel when I have them, I really expect/hope that I’ve made a lot of progress this week. Check the appropriate category below for an update on my previous appointment.

I think that’s about it for a general update! I am getting so anxious to meet our baby and I’m excited to wrap up a few things this week and settle down and wait for the day to come.

Baby’s Size| Long like a leek

How far along | 38 weeks

Sleep | Pretty regular, although my BH contractions have been waking me up more frequently and they are not very comfortable. I stayed up too late the other night and I think that, combined with the need to drink more water contributed to an increase in the BH contractions, too. I sneak in naps with Miles a couple times a week when I feel like I really need it.

Clothes | I remembered this week that I had a few maternity shirts from last pregnancy that I never really took advantage of this time (they’re summer-wear). I tried a couple and they were too short already! It was kind of sad that I never got to wear some of them. The good news is that I also rediscovered some dresses that are great for my big belly because they actually cover it and I can wear them with leggings. So I’ve been doing that when It matters what I look like.

Cravings | I still crave raw veggies every once in awhile, but mostly my body is begging me to be bad and chow down on sugary things. Cupcakes and donuts, specifically. Oh and a couple weeks ago I had a dessert when I was eating out with the hubs and it had homemade strawberry whipped cream with it. Then, one day last week, I dreamt of strawberry whipped cream. Guess what I whipped up the next morning? Yup, and enjoyed it on a crisp waffle. Yum! Serious sugar cravings people. I feel so guilty when I indulge, but I apparently have no self-restraint. I’ve also been on this granola kick and it has me wanting to try making my own, so I stocked up on supplies yesterday and hopefully I’ll get the chance to experiment later this week.

Food Aversions |  I have had lasagna and pizza burgers on our dinner menu for two weeks in a row and can’t seem to get myself to actually make them. Whether that is because of the thought of tasting them or simply the thought of having to prepare them (they sound like a lot of work) I don’t know. Either way, I have an aversion, either to work or food.

Symptoms | BH contractions like crazy! I feel a lot of downward pressure when I have them and trust that means things are progressing. My hips and back still hurt when I’ve first stand up after sitting or lying for long periods of time and when I have to stand up from the ground or other unpleasant position, but I’ve actually been walking around okay this week, and that’s nice. I’ve had some headaches and stuffy nose things, but it could be contributed to allergies, I suppose.

Doctor’s Appointment | Last week’s appointment was quick and routine. I gained a bazillion more pounds (3.5 lbs in a week) and I had progressed just a tiny bit. She says I was measuring 38 weeks along (last week) and I was 1 cm dilated, but still “high and thick.” I’m hoping to have progressed a lot more this week.

Movement | Still rolling around constantly. With Miles I remember feeling his feet on the outside and having no doubt that it was a foot I was feeling. With this one I just can’t tell! I don’t know if it’s just his position or what. I think I feel his knees a lot.

Belly Button | SO BORING. This whole pregnancy I’ve felt like I’m carrying higher and lately I feel itchiness on the top of my belly, which  makes me think I’m stretching up there. The annoying thing about that is that I have loose skin at the bottom of my belly from previous pregnancy that would be nice to fill out instead.

Gender | Can’t wait to hold my little boy.

Best moment of the week | Touring the hospital was exciting. Saturday we spent a quiet, rainy day at home and it was so nice! We had waffles (and more strawberry whipped cream) and we cleaned up the house a bit. Steven vacuumed (which I haven’t been capable of doing for several weeks now) and we watched TV. It was extra relaxing and enjoyable.

What I’m looking forward to | That very first moment of having new baby on my chest and studying all his little features.

What I miss | Cold weather. Okay, so I actually have been loving the weather the last few weeks, but there were two days last week that I was sweltering because it was in the upper 70’s and I was immediately grateful for the cold weather during most of this pregnancy.

Mommy and Miles - 38 Weeks

Belly Day – 37 Weeks

Baby Bump Belly Day - 37 Weeks

Nesting has hit! It slammed into me about 3 a.m. Friday morning and has barely let up since! I feel like I’ve hardly accomplished anything in spite of it, though. That’s unfortunate. I am battling some seriously intense hip and pelvic pain, making it almost impossible to walk in the mornings and by the time my joints and ligaments have all loosened up, it’s late enough in the day that I’ve lost the initial motivation I feel when I first wake up. I’ve accomplished a few minor things, like updating my baby registry on Amazon because a few friends and family members have asked if there is anything we still need for baby #2. The things you need for a second baby are a little bit boring and luckily pretty few in number, but I felt like it helped me get an idea in my head of what I still have left to do. Please indulge the nesting-induced need to write a thousand lists as I quickly share the things I want to accomplish soon and the little engagements I have leading up to due day!

Things to Do

  • Pack the hospital bag
  • Pack Miles’ overnight bag
  • Set up the pack  n’ play in our bedroom
  • Finish assembling baby car seat and install in the car
  • Clean diaper bag and make it primarily infant-ready.
  • Freeze some meals
  • Bring the swing up from the basement and set it up
  • Craft projects (listed below)

Items I want to Make

  • Bobby Cover
    I have decided I want to make it out of white flannel and use a fabric marker to draw my own design on it. We’ll see how that goes. Hopefully it’s not too ambitious a goal to accomplish in approximately 3 weeks.
  • Pacifier Clips
    I have sewn 5 different straps to make pacifier clips from and I need to finish at least 3 of them. To do that I will need to buy some more supplies at Joann’s
  • Going Home Outfit for Finn
    Yes, I’ve decided I’m just going to call him Finn. More on that later. Anyway… I want to sew him some striped leggings and make a cute shirt and draw on it with the fabric markers as well.
  • Replacement visor/canopy thing for baby car seat.
    I can’t find a good tutorial for this because everthing I find is for the blanket things that attach to the handle. That’s fine, but not what I am wanting to make. I want to make another canopy/visor exactly like the one that attaches to the carseat, but with my own fabric. Yeah. I’m probably not actually going to be able to make this one. I’m pretty sure I’d need an old one to scavange anyway. 

Items to Buy

Ok, thanks for listening.

I’ll get to the internal, sappy, emotional preggle stuff now. Finding out about the missing kidney last week opened up the opportunity for lots of feelings, many of which made me feel more connected to baby in a way I hadn’t quite managed yet. Several friends and family told me they were “praying for Finn” and when I heard his name said that way, it just sounded right to me. Steven and I are way too noncommittal to 100% officially declare that this baby’s name is Finn, but I can’t deny that it seems to have stuck and I like it. You’ll catch both of us saying Finn without really thinking about it. It makes my heart jump and fizzle over. All these same feelings, combined with the recent urge to nest has put me in a highly emotional mom-state. I guess that’s just another label for “nesting,” though. I just want to get everything perfect for him and I am more and more excited every moment of the day to see his face, to start establishing his story. When will I go into labor? What will his birth be like? What will be the first memories I have of him in the outside world? I’m yearning for the memories that are yet to be made. To fill the time I find myself just wanting to clean and organize everything! That is the foundation of nesting, for sure. Just restlessly passing the time until the real work begins. The other night when I woke up at 3 a.m. unable to fall back to sleep, I brought a magic eraser into the bathtub with me so I could scrub bath crayon off the walls like I took a “relaxing bath.” I’m insane.

Baby’s Size| like a stalk of Swiss chard. Really at this point I think these are just decided by people walking through the grocery store with their eyes all squinty and holding their hands up like “about yea big.”

How far along | 37 weeks

Sleep | This hasn’t been too bad with the exception of the nesting zap to my brain at 3 a.m. Friday morning. I did not fall back asleep that morning, but I did nap with Miles in the afternoon. Such a strange day. The first half was filled with me working furiously to accomplish things, followed by a nap, followed by absolutely uselessness the rest of the day.

Clothes | I bought 2 new nursing bras over the weekend! I despise bra shopping, especially when pregnant. Hot, sweaty, getting my skin rubbed raw by straps and hooks and unpleasant fabrics. Seeing nasty globs of fat poking everywhere, and all the while trying to decide if I could endure the discomfort of any particular restraint for an extended period of time. It is like having to choose your own straight jacket/shackles, etc… and then pay someone an exorbitant amount for them. The good news is that I came away with one very comfortable lounge-y bra I feel comfortable wearing at home if company happens to stop by as well as a “wear in public” one that I’m hoping will not feel like a prison by the end of a long day out.

Cravings | Still destroying cupcakes left and right. I feel extra guilty about my sugar intake lately. I’ve been eating cupcakes, donuts, cookies, cereal, ice cream, chocolate and various other sweet things all day. Also, I ate SEVEN tacos the other day. SEVEN!!!!! Yikes. I don’t think I shared my weight update last week, I gained barely less than I have been. This week I’m terrified to see what I’ve gained, I’m sure it’s a bunch. But mostly, I feel bad that I’m not focusing on getting more nutrients in my diet. Actually… the other craving I’ve had this week is veggies. I ate a bunch of carrots, celery and bell peppers the other day. I’ve had several salads and my favorite dinner last week was chicken, asparagus and baby red potatoes. Those still sound delicious, they’re just harder to grab and eat than a cupcake. Sigh.

Food Aversions |  Some days I’ll just randomly be turned off to things like burgers or pasta or pizza. I’m not really into greasy, heavy things. Just veggies and pastries. So strange.

Symptoms | The Swelling continues to increase. My nose appears extra large to me when I see my reflection. My feet burn in the morning from the swelling and it hurts to walk onto the hard kitchen floor to make breakfast. I’ve had more extensive pelvic pain in my ligaments and muscles down there. I’ve also had random throbbing pain in my back. It comes and goes at the oddest times, although it’s often accompanied by Braxton Hicks. Kind of makes me wonder if I’ll have back labor this time, but I’m hoping not. I’ve heard it’s pretty awful.

Doctor’s Appointment | I was supposed to head into town for one today, but on the way our car broke down so I had to reschedule for Wednesday, which works out well because we also have a hospital tour scheduled for later that day. I’m really excited for the tour and to give birth at Shawnee Mission’s Birth Center. I’ve heard great things about it and when I came in for my level two ultrasound last week I got to have a glimpse of the building and it gave me nervous butterflies. I think it will be nice. When I meet with my Doc on Wednesday I’m hoping to ask some questions about the kidney thing and I’m pretty sure I’ll get another cervix check. (yay)

Movement | So much. That part you’re probably sick of hearing from me, but both ultrasound techs were amazed by how much he was moving around. I like to think it’s a good thing and he’s just spirited, but I worry sometimes that he feels restless or something. I’ve been meeting his jabs and scrapes more frequently lately with my touch, giving him little rubs on his feet and back while he’s sliding around.

Belly Button | I’ve scraped it on things lately, it’s so out.

Gender | Finn. See?! That just felt good to type.

Best moment of the week | My “nesting day.” I’ve had several great moments with God lately as He’s reminding me to give all to Him. This past weekend Steven’s parents took Miles for his first overnight stay and it went really well! We’re trying to get in some practice before the birth, when he’ll be staying with them a night or two. It was so strange to be just Steven and I (and belly baby) for almost a full 24 hours! We had a little date, did some shopping and slept in the next morning. I missed my little boy, but it was a welcome break.

What I’m looking forward to | The hospital tour. Steven’s birthday. Baby’s Birth.

What I miss | Sitting in restaurant booths and driving the car without having the table or steering wheel digging into my belly.

Mommy and Miles - 37 Weeks