Saturday, August 23, 2014

Asher's Birth Story

Asher’s Birth Story

Thursday, August 22nd-

39 weeks 2 days

I was heading out to dinner with a girlfriend of mine and snapped a few bump pics before leaving, as a sort of “possibly my last girls night before Asher” photo.  Ryan was giving Annabelle a bath and as I kissed them both goodbye, I asked Ryan to take a picture of me and Belle.   I just had in my head the past few days to take a bunch of pictures because I would want to look back and think  “this was the last pic of just the two of us”- turns out- it was just that. I went to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with my friend Julie and we joked about how the spicy guacamole should put me into labor. As we left that night, we hugged and I said “the next time you see me, Ill be a Momma of two”- we had no idea it would happen so soon!

            I got home at about 8:30 pm, showered, and crawled into bed just ready to relax. Ryan and I were just sitting there, chatting, when all of the sudden at 9:50 pm, I felt a sharp pain, I thought the baby just moved in a weird painful way, until immediately following, my water broke. I remember thinking it couldn’t be my water- I thought, it doesn’t actually happen this way, your water breaking out of nowhere, without contractions first, but sure enough it was. Ryan jumped right up and said something along the lines of “ok, lets do this!” called his parents and finished getting together the last minute things for our bags. I just lied in bed. Scared. I hadn’t even felt a contraction yet, but I was scared. Ryan came to my side of the bed and I just cried and said, “ I can’t do this, I'm not ready.” He said, “sure you are, you’re showered, your bags are packed, you got this.” Unfortunately I wasn’t worried about my bags, and my shower, I was worried about the pain ahead. My labor and delivery with Annabelle was all natural, not even so much as an Advil. And you know how they say that eventually you forget the pain of labor? Well that is true, but let me tell you when it REALLY comes back to you- the memories of that pain- in the very moment you are about to start doing it again. WHAT IN THE HECK WAS I THINKING!

            Ryan’s Dad came over to stay with Belle, and of course my crazy brain could only think, “I need to kiss her one more time” so I did and of course she woke up. I felt so incredibly guilty because she could tell something was up and it took her a long time to get back tot sleep after we left. But I REALLY needed to hug and kiss her again, before my ONLY BABY became a BIG SISTER.  That was such an incredibly emotional moment- kissing her and walking out of her room, knowing how much her tiny little world was about to change. I felt guilt, happiness, sadness and excitement all at once.

Playing at the beach- a beautiful "last girls-only-day". 

            We arrived at the hospital with Ryan’s Mom at 10:15pm.  We signed in and waited in the waiting area, where I had my first contraction at about 10:17pm.  We waited for quite a while but I was relatively comfortable- wasn’t having many contractions- I was just excited, and nervous, and already thinking about how different this labor was to Annabelle’s.  With her I had consistent contractions at home for about 11 hours before my water broke, we headed to the hospital and she was born 1.5 hours later. I could tell this time, it wasn’t going to be the same. So the “newness” of it all was scary.

We finally were taken back into triage at 10:40, we got signed in and I was in a room being checked by 10:50pm. I was 3cm 80% effaced. Which was basically where I was a week before at my Doc appt. I wasn’t surprised that there was no change, as I hadn’t had any real contractions.

Friday, August 23rd

We waited in triage for a long time and were finally taken to a labor and delivery room maybe at about 12:00/12:30am. Once we were all settled into our room, Ryan and I started walking the halls, trying to get some progress happening! By around 1:50am my contractions were ranging from 5-10 minutes apart. They would not get consistent, but since my water had broken already, I wanted to stay at the hospital. I was very uncomfortable, even though the contractions wouldn’t pick up.  Hours went by and the pain of the contractions was INTENSE, but they were not getting closer and I could feel myself getting frustrated. At around 6 am my Doctor came to check me again and I was 5cm (up from 3cm at first check) but still 80% effaced. Doc suggested starting Pitocin since it had been over 8 hours since my water had broken and little progress. Even though it was not exactly my plan, I decided after many questions to GO for the pitocin and epidural. I felt defeated, wondering WHY I couldn’t do it without meds again, why was it so different? Was I just giving up to easily? But I did it. I got the pitocin and epidural around 6:30ish am. By 7:52 I posted a picture to IG with the following caption and since these words were written in the moment- ill just rewrite them- “Oh hello, epidural, my new BFF. I’m feeling pretty good, Pitocin kicked my contractions up to every 3-4 minutes in no time! And I can’t feel them! So crazy! Thinking it may not be long now! Ahhhhh!” So yeah- epidural was amazingggg. I had no pain, and pretty much experienced a super happy high, I was cracking jokes with my wonderful nurse, posting pictures to IG, talking, and just happily and calmly looking forward to meeting my boy.  

And by about 8:30am, the nurses were asking me if I felt like I could push, I said “sure, I guess, I don’t know, I cant really tell” they told me the contractions were there and it was time. My Doc was delivering another baby right then so we “had to wait” and I was just so calm and content and LUCKILY in no pain so waiting was ok, although I was so anxious! Finally my Doctor came in and with just a few pushes, my sweet boy was born!

8:47am, 6lbs15oz and measuring 19.5 inches!   Our beautiful Asher Shepherd!

I could go on forever writing about just how perfect his birth was and how different it was from Annabelle’s. But both were perfect in their own way. I appreciate both of them for what they taught me, for how they made me feel, and for the complete blessing that came from both experiences. I said it going into both births- I just want my baby here happy and healthy. And I was blessed to get JUST THAT both times; regardless of the way they reached my arms. I wont say which way I preferred. I cant even say what I would do if there was ever a “next time”. When I tell people of my experience and give my advice I simply state what I would go into it the way I went into both of these- with an open mind, no “birth plan” and just go with it. Decide how you feel in the moment. There is no right or wrong way. Just go with what you feel is right for you and your baby in the time. I enjoyed both experiences. Birthing Annabelle without medication was a completely powerful feeling afterwards- way afterwards. I felt on top of the world and it feels good to look back and think of what my body did, what my brain was able to overcome. Birthing Asher was so different. I was calm and focused and just able to enjoy it, every minute of it. I am just so incredibly blessed with my two babies. And speaking of- Goodness. I think the only thing better than meeting your baby for the first time is seeing your BABIES become SIBLINGS. Oh melt the heart; I will cherish this day forever.

I wrote the first half of this birth story within the first days and weeks of Asher’s life, and then finished it just a few days before his first birthday. I reflected using the pictures I posted and the comments I had written. What a wonderful little memory walk. I truly cant believe a year has passed since this magical day.

I love you, my sweet Asher Boy. You have truly blessed our family. I cant believe how much my heart has grown since knowing you. Thank you for choosing my to be your Momma. Thank you for loving me. 

If you'd like to see the little slideshow I put together of his birth day pictures and meeting big sister- click the link below! I need a few tissues every time!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I don't believe in retail therapy.

I was reading one of my favorite blogs tonight (Enjoying the Small Things) and felt especially moved by some of Kelle's words. If you've ever read her blog, you may understand that this is not really out of the ordinary, as most of the things she writes about usually hit home in one way or another. But tonight, these simple words of hers made got me motivated:

"Isn't that what writing is really about though? We write to help ourselves."

And so tonight, I write. And since I don't write here often, I usually open with some sort of apology, or a promise that I'll write here more often. But I won't be doing that this time. This time I'm writing for me. Because I need a little help. The kind of help that can only come from within, and perhaps writing will be the way I can do so.

I am incredibly homesick. I've never felt this homesick before. We've been living in Tampa for for 13.5 months now and it's the longest I've ever been away from my hometown. Other than college, of course, but I can hardly count that since I was home so often.

I know moving away and starting your own life is some sort of right of passage, coming-of-age thing that most adults go through, but I'm seriously struggling.

Or those of you who don't know a ton about me, you'll need I understand a bit about where I'm from. A tiny town in the Adirondack mountains in upstate (the REAL upstate) New York. The kind of town that teenagers cans wait to get out of and swear they'll never return to. I was that teenager. But I quickly learned, and am constantly reminding myself that it's also the kind of town you're lucky to be from, you'd be lucky to raise your family in.

Im a family and friends girl, through and through. I need my family and friends like I need food and water. I know that sounds dramatic but I'm slowly learning more an more just how painfully true this is about me.

And I'm slowly beginning to realize how much I'm hurting without them.

I've been homesick for a while now. But this week has proven to be the real kicker. My husband has been out of town for work for the past week and will e gone for one more. Then he'll be home for like one week before leaving again for another two. One week without him already and I'm freaking lonely. He is my best friend and the strongest part of me. I'm doing a great job without him here, as far as just getting through the daily things alone. But him not being here has really made it sink it just how lonely I am living here.

Because of the large family I'm from and the amount of friends I was blessed to have growing up, I have always just been used to having a lot of people around. I have so many cousins! And even though I am one of many, we each have our own individual bonds and relationships that I am so proud of. The same goes for all of my aunts and uncles and grandparents. Just so many people that are such a huge part of my life, that I just feel like I (and belle!) am missing out on. The same goes for my friends, and yes I know, you're friends grow up and move away, but that's not exactly true in my case. When you're from a great town like I am, a lot I people eventually realize just how great it is, as many of my friends have done. Many of them are buying homes, starting businesses and families there. And I feel like I'm missing out on a huge part of them. I want to be a part of that.

I have the most amazing in-laws and could never thank them enough for how helpful they are. I seriously don't know where we'd be without them. They help Ryan and I out in more ways than I could count and are more than amazing grandparents to Annabelle. I wanted to make all of that clear because in my saying that I'm lonely I don't want it to be seen as not acknowledging how much of a strength and blessing they are to me.

It's just that seeming them with Annabelle an the bond they have with her and she with them, while it makes me happy and proud it also makes me feel sad and guilty.

I feel so guilty that my parents don't get that with her. And that she doesn't get that with them. An it's my fault. And part of me feels selfish, because I feel bad that I'm missing out on Annabelle in certain ways, like I'm missing out on all of the first time mom excitement of sharing my new baby with the people I love. And I'll never get that time back.

And I could just keep going but I'm just going to stop and save everyone from my annoying-ness.

So anyway, I went to Target today to buy some cleaning supplies and easy, self-feed able breakfast foods for Annabelle at daycare and got totally sidetracked in the home goods section. As always. For anyone who hasnt see been to our house, you should know, our belongings are basically still a combination of crap he and I collected through college, etc. we don't have much stuff and what we do have isn't great. Or new. Since we've been together we've moved around so much and ever felt settled enough to start making big purchases, or little ones for that matter. Money always seems to be "better" spent on other things, food, classroom, insurmountable college loan debt that will never actually be paid off and is ruining our lives but that's another story altogether. Anyway. On top of all my homesickness, I've been feeling like our home is the furthest thing from "homey" so today I bought a few things to make our bedroom more cozy. A little retail therapy. Even though I don't believe in that because every time I say "it's retail therapy" I always end up feeling bad spending money on such items instead of the above mentioned-more important needs. But today I did it. Sat in the store contemplating until I said "screw it, I'm homesick, stressed over a new job I feel totally unprepared for, missing my husband, I'm buying the darn bedroom decor!" and when I left I felt pretty good about my purchases. Bought a duvet cover Ive been looking at for a while (comforters are too hot for FL), new sheets, a new pillow and two adorable new bedside lamps. The lamps being my favorite purchase. And then at the end of the evening, after Annabelle was asleep, I excitedly went out to unpack all of my purchases from the car. I open the door, grab the pillow and as I do so, a bag falls from the seat, and I hear the shatter. And my heart dropped and I knew it was one of the lamps. And in one sweeping moment I look down, mumbled some not so lady-like words and cried. A stupid lamp had me in tears.

I almost said "screw it" and didn't set any of it up but after a quick text chat with Ryan about how homesick I am and a little pity party cry on the bed and I pushed myself to "just change the bed you baby!" and I'm glad I did. Crazy how just adding a duet cover can change a whole room. We usually just each have our own unmatched sheets and unmatched pillow cases, so the change was huge from our norm. And it made me feel good. Although, it would have looked better with TWO MATCHING lamps!

I've attached a few pics but when using blogger on my phone I can't put them in a specific place so I have no idea if they'll end up right here, at the top, or at the bottom of the page! Also, of course I forgot to take a "before" picture so I jut grabbed one off instagram from a few months ago when we used the "sidecar crib" to get Belle used to her crib. Although please note, even that picture was not a true representation of the mess that our bed usually is. Lol.

Well, thanks to anyone who actually read this long rambling-self-pity of a post. But I just needed to write these things out, and wow, it always amazes me how much writing out your thoughts really does help. So thanks for "listening".

If your reading, maybe you'd like to help- please leave a comment and share what are some things you've done to help yourself through homesickness?

And to my family and friends back home- I love you all and miss you very much. And I'm so sorry for taking my little Belle so very far away from you.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friends and Babies.

I realized I never posted any pics from my Spring break back in March. Annabelle and I traveled home to NY to visit my family and friends for a wonderful week. It was, of course, way too short. But it was so nice to see everyone.

The hardest thing about our move to FL has been missing my family and friends. I have learned that it is REALLY hard to make friends as an adult. I have met many friendly people here, but its really hard at this time in my life to make true, there-whenever-you-need-them friends. Everyone has their own agendas and schedules and daily lives to run, so it's really hard to take the time to build new relationships. It doesn't help that I have some really amazing friends back home, and some of them have some adorable built-in-best-friends for Annabelle.

I love watching my friends as Moms. Being far away I don't get to see it in action very often. I LOVE being a MOM, and it makes me so happy to see my friends as Momma's too. And I especially love seeing OUR BABIES playing together. It makes my heart very happy.

Looking through the pictures on my computer, I just realized that the only pics I took on my actual camera  are of my friends and our babies! Everything else I took on my phone. I guess I brought out the camera for the REALLY special stuff! :)

So here are some pics from three visits with three of my beautiful friends and their gorgeous babies!

First a visit with Sarah and E-man!

Then we had a visit with my long-time friend Jaclyn who just had her third gorgeous baby! She makes Mommy-hood look so easy, I don't know how she does it. Jaclyn- you may not know it, but you are a HUGE role model to me!Her middle baby is two months older than Annabelle.  Her name is Isabelle- so we have our two little Belle's. They were SO cute together!

And the last of our friend-baby get-togethers was Annabelle's birthday twin, Sunny. Her Momma is my dear friend, Megan. I have explained our friendship before- but I seriously just LOVE "our story". We met briefly in our childbirth classes. But our true friendship began when we gave birth to our baby girls right next door to each other in the hospital. Our girls are three hours apart. Megan heard Belle's first cry and I heard Sunny's. And the day we each took our baby girl home from the hospital we talked briefly, congratulated one another and exchanged numbers, in hopes of meeting up for walks around the lake with our new babies. Little did we know a true, honest friendship had been born along with out babies. A friendship for us and for our girls. I get teary eyed just thinking of them. Miss you, girls!
Annabelle (left), Sunny (right). 
The day they went home from the hospital!

And now, our BIG girls!
Pretty near impossible to get them to BOTH look at the camera at the same time!

Nothing cuter than two beautiful babies in diapers!

 "Give me back my binkie, Annabelle!"

Well, thats all for tonight. Ryan has this weekend off (Sat-Mon), first one in quite a long time. So I'm taking Monday off too. We're gearing up for a (long) fantastic family weekend here.

Question of the week- please leave a comment and share-what do you find most helpful in dealing with being far away from your friends? And share any experiences you've had with making new friends as an adult.


Friday, April 20, 2012

11 months old!

Our Annabelle is 11 months old! I know all parents say this and it probably gets annoying to hear, but I CAN'T BELIEVE HOW FAST THE TIME HAS GONE! I am kind of an emotional mess about it, but I'll save all of those sappy details for the big birthday which is now (one day less than) a month away!

Yesterday after I got home from work I changed my girl into a cute little dress, put an adorable flower headband over her tiny little curls and we had ourselves a fun little "photo shoot"to mark her 11 month of life!  

     I CAN'T get enough of these gorgeous eye lashes!

     I adore these toothless smiles!                    

Oh how I love this sweet girl. She has blessed my life in more ways than I will ever be able to express. She is growing so quickly! And although these constant changes that are happening too quickly are hard on my heart, I am also really enjoying watching her become this beautiful, smart, funny little girl that she is. I can't wait to celebrate her birth next month, to celebrate HER.

p.s. Thanks for the super cute headband, Rachel! And for the beautiful quilt that made an amazing backdrop, Auntie Camille!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Time goes too quickly...

To my baby girl,

We are coming up on the date that marks your 11th month of life! I came across a picture today of me when I was 35 weeks blessed with your little self growing inside of me. That picture was taken a year ago today. When I saw that picture today my heart literally hurt thinking of how fast the time has flown by. That picture made me realize that we are only 5 weeks short of your big first birthday! (well, one day shy of 5 weeks thanks to your "day-early" arrival!)

I never really imagined I'd be the kind of Mom who would be SO emotional about her baby's first birthday . But it seems I am! I have found myself crying at the idea of having a ONE YEAR OLD! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE watching you grow!! You amaze me everyday with what you are learning. You are an absolute joy to be around and you are becoming more and more FUN! You are still my little baby in so many ways and for that I am thankful. But I also see the little girl you are becoming, I see the best friend I have been longing for. Watching you grow into a healthy happy little girl is such a blessing. But my emotional Mommy heart is sad in a way too, because I am seeing how insanely fast this is all really going. When you were first born and even before that, people (other parents) always said "enjoy it, it goes so fast." and I would politely smile and say "of course" while thinking "obviously I'm going to enjoy it! If one more person says that to me I'll..." but they all knew something I didn't yet know. They had experienced this fast-forward motion that I am just know understanding. And they tried to warn me, they tried to make me understand with those simple words "enjoy it, it goes so quickly" but words cannot really make you understand. But I see it now, I feel it- that fast forward feeling- and I'd give anything to slow it down, to keep you my BABY for just a bit longer. However, even though your growing and changing and the time is racing by, there is one thing I AM doing- enjoying it, enjoying YOU.

Some things in particular that I am enjoying about you right now:

*the way you grab my face when we're playing to try and bite my nose.
*how you are becoming more brave in your cruising around the house, moving cautiously from one object to another, slowly letting go.
*the way you pucker your lower lip, make big deep breaths and let out big real tears when I have to say "no!"
*the way sometimes when I say "no" and accompany it with a head shake you get the biggest, cutest smile and start shaking your head too.
*that you still don't have any teeth.
* that you let me play with your hair, put bows and clips, headbands and hats on you, and you leave them there!
* the smile I get when I get home from work (sometimes tears too, but both let me know you really missed me and just want to be. in. my. arms. now!
* that you are still nursing. I am so proud of how far we have come. It certainly wasn't easy at first, and keeping it up while I am at work is not fun. But oh is it worth it. I love knowing that You need ME and I also love that it allows TIME for us to just BE together- quietly, relaxingly-close. It really is so bonding.
*how we laugh together now. Really laugh, full on belly laughs that leave my heart smiling too.

Oh, I could go on and on and on. But we'll leave it at that for now.

Back in the beginning of my pregnancy, in October of 2010, I came across a Mommy Blog for the first time and quickly started seeing many more of them. They inspired me to start my own, and so this little space of the Internet came to be. I made it for you, for us. For some reason I do not have many memories of my childhood, the ones that I do have are from pictures, home videos or stories that have been told and retold. This is why I wanted to start documenting your life, our life. I want there to be something you can always look back on. I want to look back at it with you. I have not done the best job here. I have not put it to use the way I intended. I am sorry, my girl, but I am going to make much more of an effort starting now. For you, for us.

I love you- my sweet baby girl.



Friday, March 2, 2012

Christmas (Finally!)

Finally getting around to posting the pictures from our Christmas!

Annabelle and I spent the week before Christmas up in New York visiting family and friends. We had such a wonderful time. I miss everyone so much! Trips home are so nice but they make me miss being there even more. It was so nice to see everyone- I love and miss you all!

The trip went way to quickly but was so wonderful! In a very short week we moved around a lot and saw lots of family and friends! After the Stevenson Family Christmas Party we had an all too short, few hour visit with my Aunt Darlene, Nanny, and Dad.

      (Great-Aunt Darlene)

Then it was movin' on up even further north to our wonderful hometown! Filled with lots of warm-welcomes, get-togethers, hugs, and a few tears!

                               (Great Grandma Bonnie)

                              (Birthday Twin and BFF!)

       Baby Play Date!

                              (Godmomma Bridget)

Lots of much needed time was spent with my parents, sister and brother. Words can't even describe how it felt to have all of these people that I love in one house together for a few days. I loved seeing Annabelle with them. I feel bad that she doesn't get more time with them, even though I know she knows who they are and how much they love her!

                                 Playing with Aunt TT

     Spending time with Grandpa!

And on our last day- it snowed! Annabelle's first snow! :)

This was the day we were leaving- heading out to airport actually- so it was pretty sad. I love my parents so much and miss being so close to them. But we had a fantastic visit and will be back again soon. (actually since I waited SO long to post these pics, that visit is now ONLY ONE WEEK AWAY!)

When we got back to Florida, it was the day before Christmas Eve- and after a busy week of traveling and visiting I was SO ready to relax and enjoy my all time favorite holiday!  And enjoy we did...

And- Christmas morning, my first baby's first Christmas! I can't put into words how much it meant to me. I have always LOVED Christmas, would go so far to say that I have a slight obsession with the holiday. But Christmas now? 1 million times better watching it all happen with my beautiful daughter at the center of it. All the Christmas trimming- the dressing up for Christmas mass, the delicious food, the mulled wine, the beautiful tree, the perfectly wrapped presents, the music- all of those things were better. They tasted better, sounded better, felt better, felt somehow even more enjoyable. I think having a child makes me realize all over again how much I love that this holiday brings families together. And having Belle here this year- made me So excited for Christmases to come. She is the reason I will make all of our future Christmases as magical as I remember the ones from my childhood. I can't wait to relive all of that magic with her. 

                                         Auntie Camille

     Opening presents with Mommy!

                                          "whatch'ya got there Grandma? Earrings for me to play with?"

And while our gorgeous little Christmas Angel slept, we DINED! Good food, good wine, good company, and a peaceful sleeping baby girl, DOES IT GET ANY BETTER?!

                                           Cheers to Christmas!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your families! Thanks for reading and looking, even though this was more than 2 months ago!