Monday, December 8, 2014

Valerie is here

My bright eyed bushy tailed little lady

My little mermaid and her first modeling job at one week old. 

This blog post is almost 6 months overdue.  I feel having 3 kids one and under, moving 2 weeks after her birth and having a husband who is working a crazy schedule right now, maybe buys me some time.  But I really wanted to write this story down, or what I remember of it because it was a healing VBAC birth, I didn't even know I needed healing.  But boy I am so thankful for little lady and the birth she allowed me to have. Please pardon all the pictures. Note birth story follows.  

The twins a week before Valerie's birth picking GMA up at the airport

I was so worried on whether my mom, who graciously gave up all of her yearly vacation, would make it to Georgia in time.  Having babies who were born at 34 weeks really made me a nervous wreck.  Luckily, mom made it and enjoyed a whole week with us before I had to be induced with Valerie.  My Dr. felt comfortable letting me try for a VBAC up to 41.5 weeks but then it would be c-section.  I was thrilled to find a Dr. who was so on board with my desire to try for a VBAC.  I know that many doctors do not always feel this way and especially with births only 15 months apart.   However, my Dr. in Kansas (who delivered the twins) knew we wanted more kids and on his end made sure even with an emergency c-section I would be a great candidate for VBAC.  

At about 38 weeks I started to make great progress. Baby had descended and was at a -1, I was dilating and effacing. I remember my Dr. saying he was on call that weekend and probably expected to see me.  The nurses started laughing and joking about how I wouldn't be back for my next appointment.  Sure enough I waddled back not once, but twice.  My Dr. seemed so surprised at each appointment. My doula was going out of town on Friday June 13th.  And my mom was flying back the following Tuesday on the 17th and baby needed to be out by the 16th, or it was a c-section.  All of those factors combined with the fact that we were moving on the 28th of June.  And if I was going to have a c-section I needed more than one day with an extra set of hands (plus I wouldn't have been out of the hospital and David was in an Army school meaning no time to take off) I knew we needed to schedule an induction.  I was terrified of it, and many people are of the mindset that one medical intervention seems to led to more interventions.  

My Dr. and I decided on heading to the hospital on the 11th of June for an induction.  I did not want a Friday the 13th baby and I really wanted to be sure my doula could be there with us for the birth.  My Dr. wasn't going to be on call until the night of the 12th, but he said the other doctors would all be aware of my decision to VBAC.  I kissed the babies good night, told my mom good luck, and David and I headed to the hospital.  We got there and there was no Dr. orders on file.  At this point I was at 4, baby was at a zero and I was 75% effaced.  The nurses decided to give me a small dose of pit and see what happened.  I slept and by the morning I was at a 5.  The new on call Dr. was not very VBAC friendly.  He decided to up my pit some more.  By this time the contractions were really coming and the only relief I got was from sitting on the exercise ball while my doula/David applied pressure on my back. The fetal monitors would move and it would look like Valerie was in distress.  The nurses were all great with it, but this Dr. had a fit every time even though after the contraction her heart rate would be fine.  He came in the room and said I needed to get back in bed and stay there or the next time it was a c-section.  I tried for 3 hours to manage the contractions in bed (which is hard and pit contractions stink).  By this time it was 4 pm on the 12th of June.  The dr. came back and checked me and I was only at a 7.  I was devastated, wore out, and upset with this Dr. who seemed to disagree with my VBAC choice and voiced it.  I told my doula I wanted pain relief, I think I was more mentally exhausted than anything and it was interfering with my body doing the job it needed to do.  We agreed to stadol and I had one dose of that, I got to an 8 before the relief wore off.  In hindsight, I wish I would have known how close I was, had my dr, on hand, fought the urge.  At that point I asked for an epidural.  We had been at the hospital for over 24 hours, I knew the clock was ticking and being stalled at a 7 and 8 for almost 5 hours at this point was painful.  Those are some wicked contractions.  I couldn't move to ease the pain and I knew I still had to push.  

At 8 pm that night my Dr. got there I was still at a 8.  He came in this his larger than life laugh, and kept joking about no baby.  Immediately I felt my whole body relax.  I got the epidural shortly after that.  At 10 pm I was at 9 almost a 10 and was told to let them know when I felt the urge to push.  The nurses all kept saying you will know.  At 11 pm I started complaining that my left hip was killing me with each contraction.  Everyone kept asking if I felt the urge to push, I would say no, but my hip is really bothering me.  Finally my doula told the nurse I was feeling the urge to push and she checked me sure enough I was ready.  She said I had a feeling the hip thing might have meant you were ready.  

At 11:50 pm my Dr. came in and gave the go ahead for some practice pushing.  I did a few of these and then they called him back in and at 12:59 am on Friday the 13th (also happened to be a full moon) our sweet Valerie Ann was born.  She weighed 7 pounds 15 ounces (I think she would have been more but she had meconium in the womb) and 20 inches long.  The Dr. immediatly said that she had the strongest lungs he had ever heard and we knew then that Valerie, which means strength/valor, was the perfect name choice.
Valerie and her dad right after birth, no wires how amazing
My doula and I, she was amazing and without her I am not sure I would have had a VBAC. 

Leaving the hospital 36 hours after birth
 We left the hospital together, she only left my room once and that was 12 hours after she was born.  She had no wires, I was able to nurse her and hold her right away.  I had no idea how wearing and emotionally haunting my NICU birth had been.  She is the perfect little lady for us.  There are times now almost 6 months later when I get overwhelmed by the miracle she is.  I look back at all the pain, and heartache we had with infertility, pregnancy loss, premature birth and NICU time and am simply beyond thankful for her blessing.  If I knew that all those things would lead to this I would do them over again and have handled with so much more grace.  Simply put Valerie, and her sisters, were worth it all 100 times over again.  
My spunky, happy, life of the party little lady
Oh baby!

My mom Ann, and her sweet little namesake

The twins playing with their sister for the first time. 

One week old

One month old 

3 months old

The chaos that surrounds here, she fits right in. 

This picture gets me every time! Valerie surprised by the photo bomb.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hedged In Love Quilt

One most favorite people in the whole world is getting married to her prince charming.  I can't make it back for the wedding and it is killing me.  And how do you make up missing one of the greatest events in someone's life who has been to most of your biggest life events?  
Steph with Clara at the twins baptism.
  Not to mention she is the reason my 3 little ladies exist (she introduced me to the hubs).  You pour your love into a quilt and send it off in hopes it reminds her how much you love her of course!
8 years ago myself, Stephanie, and Brittany friends since high school
 I have had an Outfoxed charm pack and fat quarter set for forever.  Stephanie had a hedgehog for awhile, but took her dream job teaching at a university this fall and apparently hedgehogs are not allowed in California.  I had planned to make a quilt for her using this as soon as she got engaged.  It isn't a real live hedgehog, but a hedgehog quilt is still pretty rocking, I think.
I threw in some Kona White and a few Kona fat quarters I had laying around and made a simple square in square with sashing.  After washing the quilt was 46.5" x 54.5".  I machine quilted very liberated (read wonky and crazy) figure 8s in the sashing and then stitched in the ditch on the squares.  The texture up close on this quilt was a lot of fun.  It was hard to part with it.  I hope they love it and can find a use for it in their new home together. She is my person and as such she deserves the most amazing blessing as she makes her dreams come true!
Brittany, myself, and Stephanie at my wedding 2008

2005 gotta love the college days :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

V is for Valerie

 V is for Valerie.  Or rather the sweet little person growing in my belly.  
 There are so many funny things already about this pregnancy.  How you are such an unexpected blessing, or how we weren't supposed to know if you were a she, or he, but you decided you wanted to tell us anyway (shh it is still a surprise for most of our friends and all of our family).  There have been lots of sweet moments as well feeling your first kicks, the way you wake up and move around when you hear your sisters, the way your sisters rub my belly and then theirs.  
Perhaps the sweetest is finally getting to use this quilt fabric that I bought years ago when I thought starting a family would be easier than making a quilt.  Years went by and there was lots of heartbreak, pain, and suffering.  Then we were blessed twice with your sisters.  But you, sweet little girl, you have erased so much pain, taught me to trust my body, heart and soul.  Miracles happen and often when you least expect them.  You are already such an inspiration and pillar of strength and I haven't even seen your face yet!  
Valerie means of strong health, strong minded, and brave.  Dear baby Valerie may you always remember this in life.  I can't thank you enough for blessing us with your presence and I can't wait to bring you home in this quilt that I have dreamt about for years. 

Quilt Stats
Fabric:Hushabye by Tula Pink, Kona Cotton, and Minky back
Size:36 inches square
Quilted in straight lines

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A recap of 2013

This is not the normal nostalgic recap of the last year, rather a list of what did work for us and did not work for us as our first year as a family.  Before, having children we had all these ideas of how life would be-well as always reality is very different.  A good different, but different none the less.  Since we had two babies last year, and will be having one this year.  I am trying to very intentional this year and that means purposefully thinking about what did and did not work for our little family.

What did not work:
1. Social Media-I know this one is a shocking one.  Having social media is amazing, letting it go unchecked it becomes a major time suck.  For me, I could spend an hour or more looking at other peoples lives instead of focusing on the beautiful one around me.  I found myself getting angry at some people's post, jealous of others, and more than anything spending way more time investing in my Facebook friends than in face-to-face time with my friends.

2. Trying to do all the things I was doing before I had kids-this left me drained, emotional, over tired, and spending my time thinking about all the things I did not do-instead of getting a task completed.

3. The Cry It Out Method- I know for some people this works.  For me this was worse than trying to work through things with my girls.  When I was pregnant people kept saying you are just going to have to let them cry.  I admit sometimes my girls cry now, but to let them cry for minutes on end was more emotionally draining for me than working it out another way.

4. Fast Food- our diet was horrible.  I attribute this to a crazy year, but none the less it is something that needs to be fixed this next year.

5. Planning- I was a horrible planner, our days were jumbled.  We had scheduled moments-but in each of those moments there was a lack of planning.  Their was no goal planning.  It seemed like we were floating around just trying to survive.  I don't want another year of that same feeling. I want a purpose for each day.

6. Clutter-the amount of stuff we have amassed is amazing.  This year alone we have gotten rid of about 5% of the stuff we moved to GA.  There is still room for improvement.  We are trying to live a more simpler life in all things including the amount of material possessions we have.

What did work:
1. Family dinner time- we have always eaten dinner as a family, and now with children it is infinitely more rewarding.  I now eat 3 meals with my girls at the table, and I love this time where they are fully engaged with us, and not all their toys. Being able to take time out of David's hectic school/work schedule, and my running around chasing the girls are my favorite moments of the day.

2. Schedule/Routine- this was the preferred method to the crying it out method.  Schedules are hard, but they keep our life from becoming a 3 ring circus.  The girls go to bed so much easier, sleep through the night, have play time, reading time, and a bath 99% of nights.

3. Alone time with my husband- we did get a few dates in, and it was worth the planning and time.  I realize how important it is to make time for just each other-even if it is after bed time eating a dessert.  Continuing to better our marriage should always be a priority in our life.

4.Flexibility- I know I mentioned routine before, but there must be moments of flexibility.  We lived with family for 2 months, while David was away with the Army. I fought to keep our schedule in tact, that made things a lot worse.  When I let go and enjoyed the time with family life was much easier.  It is ok to deviate from the norm every once and while, learning to be ok with that was a huge parenting milestone for me.

5. Baby Led Weaning- the girls are amazing eaters.  I fully believe it was due to baby led weaning. I have yet to buy one can of baby food, the girls feed themselves 95% of their food.  They have no food aversions, or allergies yet.  It is something that I want to repeat with all of my children.  I simply can't say enough good things about this process of teaching babies how to eat.

6. Running- it rocks what can I say.  I got a moment to myself, being able to think, jam out to a song, or simply just pound the pavement.  I am currently just walking due to my pregnancy, but I miss running and can't wait to get back in June.  I meet weight goals, and finally ran my first 5k and got up to running 7 miles.

Goals for 2014:
1. Giving up control- I want to be present in what I am doing, not upset about all the things that I am not doing.  I have started taking clothes to try dry cleaners, creating easier meals to prepare, and letting a groomer handle the dogs.

2. Planning-I am trying to find a great planner where I can meal plan, goal plan, and list out daily and monthly activities.  If anyone knows of a great one-I would love a recommendation.

3. Intentional Living- I want to be more intentional in savings, time with my girls, clean eating, and just focusing on what matters to me and try to live my life in that manner.  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cloth Diapering the Twin Way-The Stash

I have gotten a lot of questions about how I manage to cloth diaper the twins.  Really I don't think too much about it, it was a decision I made before I even knew we had twins on board.  Once I was committed I was fully committed, but I did read a lot of blogs about cloth diapering-so I am going to share our routine, our stash and what I have learned thus far for those are interested. 

The main reason I decided to cloth diaper was to save money-that dictated many of my diaper purchases.  For curious minds based on what we have spent versus the cost of disposable diapers we are on track to save 1,000 in one year alone. 

The Stash:
Our stash is a small one for two reasons- initial costs and space.  We are moving in 6 months and live in a tiny townhouse-we just don't have tons of space for diapers.  Also, the initial investment in cloth diapers is a bit high.  I know we will have to add, replace along the way and that is okay with me, but for now our small stash is working perfect.

I bought them directly off of the website from China.  Got them extremely fast (I paid for the fast shipping).  It was hands down the quickest, most cost effective way to build our stash.  We paid roughly 4 dollars a diaper and so far have little complaints.  I don't think they will last beyond our twins, but we rotate them a lot so they are used a lot!  I love the hip snap as it allows it to fit ok on both girls.  I prefer these diapers to almost any American made pocket diaper.  I hands down recommend these diapers, and will buy them again. 

I love these diapers!  If money were not a factor I would buy a ton more.  They are super absorbent, the hybrid system is amazing!  What can I say I just love them.  I hope the next go around to add more and use these for baby number three (if and when that happens!).

My first cloth diaper purchase.  I like it, but I don't love it that much more than the SunBaby Diapers to justify the cost difference.  SunBaby's run about 4 dollar, BumGenius run 15-18 dollars for one.  Don't get me wrong I have no complaints I just don't love it that much to run out and buy anymore.

These are a WAHM diaper that is amazing!!!  I have 2 of the sleepys (one windpro and one fleece-we prefer the windpro) and they helped us ditch disposables at nighttime.  The twins are pretty much sleeping through the night, but the pockets were leaking causing them to wake up soaked and unhappy. Adding another layer to the pockets just made them have larger openings at the legs (more leaks around the leg area at night). LFP saved the day!!!  They fit one of the twins amazing and even though they are bulky I love that we were able to re-claim our nighttime cloth routine. These are our most expensive diaper, but they are worth every penny.  They have a high re-sale value and are very hard to get so the used ones sell pretty quickly!  

One Sbish fitted diaper

I love this diaper.  We will be adding more for our other little lady at night.  It looks cute, it is squishy, and the company has an amazing mission statement.  It is not as bulky as the LFP, but pretty darn close in absorbency.  The diaper pin can be a bit tricky-but once you get it down it is no problem at all.  You will need a cover for this diaper.  The price is 7 dollars cheaper than the plain fleece LFP sleepy-but the re-sale value is a bit lower.  We ended up using this diaper all summer long, the LFP were just too bulky when it was super hot. 

One Pack of Lil Joey's Rumparooz
We liked these and even though they would still fit our tiny girls, they are not absorbent enough anymore.  I don't think I would buy another pack for another baby.  They were fine but I don't love them, or really hate them. I hear you have to wash them a lot to get them fully absorbent-I guess we did not stick with them long enough. 

What I have learned:
If it I had all the money in the world I would invest in fitted diapers from the start.  I love our pockets, but they are still not the perfect fit for the girls.  However, cost wise and the fact that I can use them on both girls is pretty amazing (they have a very different build so finding a diaper that works for both is a bit of a challenge).  I would and will invest in newborn diapers the next go around (probably a WAHM version).  Our girls could still fit them.  However, I would advise someone to find the most absorbent newborn diapers-like I said the Lil Joey's still work but just don't handle a large volume of liquid. 

Research, research and research some more a great nighttime diaper if you want to cloth at night.  It was very hard to have a week of changing the sheets, clothes, and sometimes our sheets for two babies.  I hated moving to disposable at night-but am glad we are getting a good nighttime system down. It can be hard, but the research will pay off.  The nice thing is most cloth diapering mommas, and dads, are more than eager to share their fluff, their experiences, and their advice.  However, always remember every baby is different (ahem my 2 little ladies) so be prepared that what worked for them might not work for you. 

Don't be afraid to try a diaper used.  I did not know if it was worth stalking the LFP site to get a sleepy diaper, I bought a used one feel in love.  If you want to try a diaper try going to swapper site, or site that sells used diapers. Again most swappers are more than happy to share ideas and feedback with you-the cloth diapering community is pretty amazing! 

Next up I will go over our accessories and washing routine.  Let me know if you have any questions at all!!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Twin Update- 5 months

Gosh I can't believe that I have not written anymore about my little ones.  But I need to get it down so I can remember these moments forever.  This last month I have truly started to realize how fleeting this stage is in my life.  While I yearn for some things to change (diapers) I am saddened by how independent they both are becoming.  So for a few updates on these babies

My first born is turning into the sweetest little thing ever.  There are many days where I am beyond thankful for your easy-going temperament and sweet smile.  You are more than happy to be held and snuggle right in (you have been a lover since day one).  You are now smiling and laughing .  When you first started to laugh you would startle yourself and then cry-now you take joy in your new way of communicating.You would much rather be held and than play, but if you have a mirror in front of you-you are pretty smitten with yourself.  You sleep through the night and take awesome naps-you are an amazing sleeper!  You love to blow bubbles, pet Leo, and give hugs.  You are still eating 5 ounces, you were 3-9 month clothing.  You are doing better with the rice cereal, but at the end of the day you are more interested in our food than your cereal. 

Lydia at 2 months old
Lydia at 3 months old
Lydia at 5 months old

Lydia at 5 months old

My strong-willed, tiny but sassy one. You also recently started wanted to feed yourself with a spoon and a bottle.  It is so amazing to watch you try to complete any tasks.  You use to hate tummy time-until you learned to roll over now you love tummy time as long as you decide to be on your tummy. You still love your wubbie (pacifier) but now enjoy throwing it, picking it up, and trying to put it in your mouth.  You also really like your exersaucer and if you are not tired play in it for hours.  You are eating 5 ounces and for the most part sleep through the night.  Teething for you has started so that has affected your sleep a bit.  You love to blow bubbles, give kisses, and tell us all about it!  You can wear 0-3 and most 3-6 month clothes.  You are tiny peanut!  
Clara at 2 months old 

Clara at 3 months old
Clara at 4 months old
Clara at 5 months old 

I can't believe I have not written down anything before.  Months 0-3 seem like blurs.  You both are so much fun to be around and every day my joy and love grows.  You both are truly great babies and we get compliments all the time on how happy you both are.  I still can't believe you were entrusted to us and we get to raise you and watch each and every milestone.  Now please try to be tiny a little bit longer :)!!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Cinderlla Moments

Lets face having twins does not just turn your life upside it down-it puts it on a freaking roller coaster.  There are moments of pure joy and moments of pure terror.  Here lately we have been hanging on out on the 110 feet drop backwards.  I have one baby who has suddenly developed tummy troubles from her shots.  Another who is in the midst of getting three teeth.  And I myself smashed my finger in the door and am living life with the use of one fully functional hand.  It is pure mayhem!! Cinderella moments are hard to come by between the constant diaper change, screaming baby who can't sleep because her teeth hurt so bad, the laundry piling up, and the dinner wanting to be cooked.

I had all of these wonderful ideas to make their first Fourth of July special-but at this rate we will be lucky to get through the day.  However, on Sunday what started off as a really bad, no good, terrible morning turned into a fairy-tale night.  We were in between the last bottle of the day and baths when both girls were happy, content, and cooing.  If you know my children at 7:30 you know this is not the case!  I went to pick out our nighttime story and grabbed Cinderella.  I then decided to grab their princess crowns someone gave to us-they had not fit until Sunday.  Well the girls donned their crowns, even Lola get in on the fun while mom narrated the story.  The smiled, squealed, and just looked like mini princesses.  Our resident prince charming heard the story came in and then danced with all of his girls.  In that moment all I could do was give thanks for this beautiful, fleeting moment I had been given.

Sure I was covered in spit up, my hair was everywhere, the bed was still not made but none of that mattered.  All that mattered was having this moment with my family.  I know the girls won't remember it but I forever do it was a much needed Cinderella moment.  I needed to write this down to forever remember.  Times are tough and sometimes I feel like I am living in no man's land with these girls but looking at them then all I could think was time is going to fly by.  Soon my little princesses will be big enough to ask to play dress up, then dressing up to go to prom and before I know it marrying their prince charming.  So here's to Cinderella moments on the Fourth in whatever form or fashion they come in!