17 April 2017

A birth story: Lincoln Asher

Lincoln Asher
April 10, 2017 | 3:24 pm
7 pounds 9 ounces | 20 inches

We knew from the beginning that our due date was going to be a hectic and crazy time for our family.  We originally said we could not have a baby around Easter, but God chuckled and we found out that sweet baby was coming while on our anniversary trip to New York City.

Early on we discussed planning an induction for early the week of Easter.  Most people probably think we are ridiculous, but I wanted to do it more than anything.  This was the first Easter for our church plant and I wanted Taylor to be there more than anything.  This is what he was called to do and Easter is the biggest opportunity of the year for new people to walk through those doors.  I didn't want him stressed about me going into labor.  I also was induced with both previous births so it wasn't new to me.  I felt calm knowing what to expect and my body has responded positively every time.

At 35 weeks, one of my awesome doctors let me go ahead and schedule.  So it was all set for Monday, April 10.  My favorite doctor (who also delivered Nolan) was on for that day and it was early enough in the week that we felt comfortable having him then.

Several times leading up, I thought I wouldn't make it to that day.  But every OB appointment brought disappointment as I was barely dilated and not progressing throughout the weeks.  My last appointment they said I was finally at 2 cm.

Monday, April 10.  They didn't need me to come to the hospital until 8 am.  I really loved that I got to see my big boys before heading in.  My parents were already in town so before we left the house we held hands and prayed over the day.  I held my Nolan's hand and then watched him clap excitedly as we all cheered, knowing he had zero clue what was happening.

Checking in to the hospital was smooth and quick.  I signed a few papers and they put me in a room to check my dilation (same as my last appointment) and to make a game plan.  Surprisingly, the unit had several other women laboring (I was the only one with Nolan) and it filled up completely throughout the day.

My sweet doctor came in and asked if I wanted her to go ahead and break my water.  I immediately said yes knowing that this was necessary for my body to progress as proven by my previous births.  She broke my water and gave me the option to wait and see if my body labored on its own or to start pitocin.  I opted for pitocin.  I was ready to meet my baby.  She asked if I was planning an epidural and I told her no.  I had done it once before and knew deep inside I could again.

We turned on HGTV which seems to be my laboring channel preference and watched some fun flip shows while we waited for the pitocin to be raised each half hour.  My mom said she didn't think I could be in labor because I was being too funny.  I was surprised at the amount of fluid (seemed way more this time) from my water breaking and kept joking that this baby was just going to float on out.

Around 11 am I told Taylor that the contractions were getting stronger and I really wanted him to go ahead and eat so he could be there when it got bad.  He ran across the street and picked up some McDonald's.  It smelled amazing while he and my mom ate so I asked the nurse if I could chew on some ice (just because I need something to do). She said I could even have a popsicle which ended up tasting incredible.  I felt some renewed energy as the contractions got stronger and stronger and opted to move to the the birthing ball to rock for a bit.

Soon after, my sister arrived.  I had invited her months ago to be there.  She had to miss both my other boys births and ended up being sick while our other sister gave birth in October.  I knew this was my last baby and wanted to give her the chance to be there.

I used the bathroom and then chose to get back in the bed due to ridiculous amounts of fluid everywhere and the monitor not being in a good place to pick up baby's heart rate.  Not long after, the contractions got very strong.  I was torn between calling for my doctor to check me.  I wanted to know, but also feared not being very progressed and getting hit with a sense of disappointment.  I mentally was stalling myself throughout the day, scared of the hurdles I knew I still had to jump to get this baby here.

We called for my doctor and she said I was at a 6.  That was encouraging as not much time had passed.  The pitocin was set at an 8 and we decided to leave it there as the contractions were horrendously painful and obviously working.  We turned the tv off and I asked Taylor to turn on the Hillsong worship album I had on my phone.

Things got truly emotional for me at this point.  Taylor sat on my bed and held my hand as the mountains climbed.  He reminded me to breathe and I closed my eyes listening to the words of the music while I huffed through each one.

"Holy is the Lord revealed before my eyes
And my burdened heart can scarcely take it in
As I behold your beauty with unworthy eyes
The only song my soul can find to sing

Is Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah my King"

These lyrics filled the room and tears filled my eyes as I felt the pain and knew the enormity of what I was experiencing.  We kept joking with my nurse all day that all of the ladies in the unit were going to end up delivering at the same time.  Not long after this, we heard the cries of a baby nearby and I lost it, letting the tears roll.

I alternated squeezing Taylor's hand, the bed rail, and chewing on ice.  As I started moaning through contractions and wanting more than anything to scream, Taylor fiercely reminded me not to let myself get there yet.  I asked them to push the call button and yelled into the speaker that I needed to be checked.

Dr. Norton came in and calmly checked. Telling me I was an 8 and progressing well.  She showed Taylor where to push on my back to relieve some pressure and it felt amazing.  I labored like that for a while.  As each contraction hit, longer and closer together, Taylor pushed on my back.  The nurse began rolling carts of supplies in my room and my mom and sister encouraged me saying that meant it was almost time to push.  "They don't bring that in unless you're close."

I got louder and again asked for my doctor.  She said I was definitely a 9 pretty much 10 and thinned all the way.  She asked if I would like to try and push or wait.  I asked her what she thought and she said she thought he would come.  The room filled with people as they got ready.  With the next contraction I began to push.  With each push I held my breath and gave it my all.  It hurt more than I remembered with my other boys.  Everyone rang encouragements on me as I screamed through my pushes.  I distinctly remember Taylor whispering prayers in my ear. "Lord, give her strength."

My eyes were closed as I heard everyone yelling, "His head is out!! You're almost there."  But, the pain didn't stop and I didn't feel relief like I did with the other boys.  My mom heard the doctor say baby had a compound shoulder or arm (which I still really don't know what that means), but baby was half way out and just stuck there.  I felt so much pain and kept yelling things like "holy hell" and "get him out!"

According to my mom and Taylor, my doctor practically stuck her whole hand inside to help his shoulder out.  I felt every tiny bit of it.

At 3:24, after only 14 minutes of pushing (but what felt like an hour), Lincoln Asher was laid on my chest and I cried.  And cried.  And cried.  I was so relieved that I had done it and so happy that he was here.  He screamed for a few seconds and then was content on my chest.  I looked at Taylor and emphatically told him we were done having babies!  And then immediately asked if he was indeed a boy!  (We had been joking about it really being a girl since we had only one ultrasound and the tech said his legs were crossed).

I was so excited that he had a head full of dark hair.  I was hoping so and knew it was possible with how bad my indigestion had been.  My doctor delivered the placenta and then had to push vigorously on my uterus as not all of the membrane had come out.  It hurt terribly and then of course came a few stitches (she said it was a tiny tear, but would feel best with a stitch or two).

I told Taylor later that if Nolan's pushing had been like Lincoln's we probably would not have had another baby.  It was a very intense experience.

Lincoln was weighed and measured.  Seven pounds nine ounces.  Right in the range with my small babes.  My sister took photos (all day for us!) and I nursed him before my dad brought the big boys in.  Nolan was not sure about me being in the hospital bed and spent the hour they were there completely ignoring that Lincoln was even in the room.  A hard adjustment for sure. (Day two was better and he gave some kisses and tried to strangle hold him which in Nolan land is love).  Gideon wanted to hold him non-stop and kept trying to take him from anyone else who held him.

It's emotional for me that this phase of my life is now over.  We know that we are done biologically having any more kids.  While I didn't always enjoy pregnancy, I am grateful for the experiences I had and for the ability to carry so many babes inside (even those who I don't hold Earth-side) and to give birth to my three boys.

Lincoln Asher, you have made our family so happy and I wouldn't trade you for a million girls.

Robe: c/o Shop PinkBlush  This was amazing to have post-delivery and made me feel somewhat put together while being great to nurse in.

01 April 2017

Lincoln's nursery

Since we bought our first home in October, the thought of having complete creative control of a nursery for the first time was thrilling.  And overwhelming.  I could paint.  But what color?  I could do anything to the walls.  Let's be real, ship lap was at the top of my list.  I was excited, but also didn't know where to start.  I really didn't want to have a ton of work to do and didn't want to spend a ton of money.

I grabbed some paint samples and stuck them on the wall to observe in different light. Ultimately, I decided to leave the walls as is because our builders said they would return after a year to fill in cracks once the house settled and I would prefer to not have a ton of paint touch up to do.  But, I wanted some color.  I found Sigh by Valspar and knew it would be perfect to go on the ceiling.  Subtle but a pop of color especially during the day.  Painting the ceiling was a chore {on the neck} but it brings a fun element to the room.  I also, decided to add some focus to one wall with some decals.

I love how the room turned out and it is my favorite nursery of the three {sorry first two kids!}.  I love to sit in here and rock by myself in the mostly quiet house.  Our cat loves the room too and has found that she can effectively hide from the boys by staying in here.

A bunch of things were just re-used {all the nursery furniture, shelves, frames, mobile} and then I added in a few new decorative things.  The big boys have the galvanized letters in their room too, so I love that it carries through.  Can't wait to put a tiny baby in here!

 Here you can see the ceiling color!

Where from?

changing pad cover | etsy: finley baby
wall decals | etsy: poppet hollow shop
wall organizer | target {only in store}
mirror | hobby lobby
"hello handsome" | hobby lobby
side table | tj maxx
basket | tj maxx
mobile | etsy: the red bird shop
"little seeds" print | etsy: sweet face and co
large galvanized "L" | hobby lobby
pillow | tj maxx
lion | jellycat {bought locally}
arrows | DIY from my shop
long live boyhood pennant | wild plus bear
curtain | IKEA
bookshelves | IKEA
growth ruler | DIY by my dad

15 February 2017

30+ week thoughts

+ It's about seven weeks until we meet this guy.  We are planning on being induced at 39 weeks for several reasons (I've been induced twice and know exactly how my body reacts plus the 45+ minute drive to the hospital is scary with number 3, and several other things), but I told Taylor the other day to take it with a grain of salt, but I'm not sure I'll even make it to then.

+ This go round has brought tons of lower back pain and symphysis pubis dysfunction, also described as someone trying to pull my legs off at my pelvic ligaments.  So painful!  I started seeing a chiropractor a couple of weeks ago. Glory, Hallelujah.

+ I'm internally panicking because I really have a lot to do in the next month.  Breathe.

+ I also feel beyond lazy because I can't seem to do anything at nap time/quiet time other than nap myself.  I am sleeping terribly at night so 45 minutes of snoozing during the day sounds better than anything else and usually wins out.

+ Girl Scout cookies are coming this week.  T-minus 5 weeks until I cut dairy.  Pre-baby this time to cut down on newborn discomfort.  Give me all the chocolate, pizza, and ice cream right now.

+ I kind of officially hate going to any kind of store.  Every grocery store visit contains this conversation multiple times on repeat:
   - person: Oh, are you having a girl this time?
   - me: Nope!  A boy!
   - person: Wow! Three boys!  Wow!  You can always try again for a girl.
   - me: Nope.  We are done!

+ I've never been a leggings as pants person, but I'm at the point where I just do not care.

You're welcome for the all the random things today.  The end.

12 December 2016

A baby name & PinkBlush

It amazes me at times that I am this far into my third pregnancy.  It's so true about third pregnancies; you have zero time to really think that much about it.  I know I am tired.  My indigestion has been terrible since week six, but I keep chugging along because that's all I can do.  I had to actually break out my phone on Friday to calculate how many weeks I was because I. could. not. remember.

One thing that has been harder for me this third time (and it shouldn't be.  I should be expert by now) is maternity clothes.  I was pregnant in a completely different season with Gideon and was also working so my wardrobe was different than what I would wear now for preschool drop-off and to be a personal snot rag.  With Nolan, I borrowed most of my maternity clothes from an amazing friend, who sadly has moved away!  So back to the drawing board and figuring out what to wear for six-ish months.

I was so excited to discover PinkBlush and love the versatility of their maternity clothes like this poncho.  I am a get the most for your money type of girl, so any clothes that I can wear while pregnant and post-partum, sign me up!  This fit the bill.  They have really great basics too, like the long sleeve white shirt I'm wearing that I ordered a few months back.  So soft and the perfect length! And I have teamed up with them to give away a $75 giftcard over on my Instagram (psst. great news is they have way more than just maternity clothes!!!)

Oh yes, and a baby name! I'm not one of those people who can dilly dally over baby names once they find out the gender.  I can't just say things like "I'll wait til he's born to see what he looks like."  I can't do it. I'm OCD, Type-A all the way.  For me, naming each of our babies soon after finding out the gender has helped me bond to them in a new and deeper way other than just the tiny thing making me pee all the time and constantly kicking me.

So, baby boy number three is...  Lincoln Asher.
Lincoln has been a favorite on our boy name list for a while.  It was easy to pull it back out and decide quickly that it was what we wanted to go with.  The middle name is always where I struggle. Taylor really wanted to go with a Biblical name since both of our boys have one.  He started throwing several out and Asher was one of them.  I immediately said no and moved on.  The next two days the name Asher kept bizarrely appearing in places around me.  I looked up it's meaning and it is simply "happy."  We feel like that perfectly describes how we feel about finishing our journey of biologically growing our family.  We are content with three boys and we are HAPPY!

poncho | c/o PinkBlush
onesie | Green Door Goods {A sweet friend owns this shop and surprised me with this gift!}

28 November 2016

Family photos

My absolute favorite thing to do every year around the holidays is have family photos taken.  It isn't the easiest thing in the world to coordinate, especially with kids, but it is so worth it.  I love being able to look back each year to see how our family has grown from two young newlyweds to a family of three. A family of three with one on the way to a family of four and then a family of four with one on the way.

It can be overwhelming to figure out where to start with family photos.  There are so many options out there.  Studio, outdoor, candid, posed.  So here are a few things I have found that make it easier and more manageable to make family photos an annual thing without adding any stress to an already busy time of year.

1. Browse and decide what you want.  Like I already mentioned, there are so many different styles of photos.  Start by browsing Pinterest to see which seems to suit you and your family best. Outdoor, candid photos seem to be the most popular these days and my personal favorites.  They feel so much more relaxed and real and allow for some fun to shine through.

2. Search for photographers in your area.  Once you have nailed down which style of photos you want, it's time to find a photographer who can accommodate you.  Many photographers offer mini sessions this time of year.  Sometimes they have a set day and time scheduled for these along with a specific location.  Others may be more flexible with your schedule and location preference.  Once you pick a photographer, communicate openly with them about what you are looking for ahead of time. Be sure this is a person you feel comfortable around.

We have been lucky to have an amazing friend, who happens to be an amazing photographer, take our photos each year.  He has found incredible outdoor locations each time and let's us know what time of day will have the best light for our photos.  It's so nice to have complete confidence in his ability.

3. Find clothes for everyone to wear.  This feels like the most overwhelming part some years. I like  to find coordinating outfits for our family, but not too matchy matchy, a la 90's everyone in jeans and black shirts.

Mamas, I say start with you.  It's rare that we get to feel put together and pretty and photos is one time you definitely want to be confident in how you look.  Take this one chance to not be covered in spit up; Shine.  Pick something you love and are excited to wear.  Look at the colors you chose and find something in your kiddos closets (or at the store) that will go along.  I always save my husband for last A. because he could care less and B. because his closet is full of neutrals and I make sure he rounds out the coordination without being overwhelming.

Since it is the holidays and a little chillier than other times I love to add layers for some depth. Vests, cardigans, scarves, etc.  Little touches to make it feel more complete and fun.

4. Get ready, bribe, and let it go. I say regardless of what time of day it is, make sure everyone has eaten before you attempt photos.  This helps to ensure less of the grumpys, especially in your kiddos.

Post-food time is get ready time.  I get my makeup and hair done and then get my two boys ready WITHOUT my photo outfit on to make sure they don't slime me.  Once everyone is ready, I get dressed and off we go.

I sometimes bring candy as a bribe, but because I don't want them to eat it during photos, we usually stick to a promise of something right after photos for a few good smiles.  In all honesty, it may not always work.  This year, our 20-month old was not having it.  Running in all directions, having meltdowns and being almost-two in general.  But, we managed to get some great shots so we just let it go, trusted our photographer, and laughed about how this is real life.

5. Order Christmas cards and print for presents.  Getting your photos back is the fun part.  They have exceeded my expectations every year.  And it's fun to see how they turned out.

I start with Christmas cards.  The prettiest and easiest way to reach all your family and friends.  Tiny Prints has gorgeous foil-stamped options and fun extras, like envelope liners to add some personality to the mix.  Living in a military community means we have friends constantly moving so I love having the ability to share our growing family with them each year as we are spread far and wide.

I also print several photos in 5x7 to give to grandparents and great-grandparents as presents. They love to have updated ones to fill their walls with each year.   Find some fun frames to polish them off.

* Family photography credit to Greyside Photography
* Christmas cards were provided by Tiny Prints.

21 November 2016

Boy number three

Well, it is boy number three for our family.  I still can't believe that A. we are halfway through this pregnancy and B. that it is a boy!

Everything about this pregnancy has been a surprise from the get-go.  We had started the conversation of when to start trying for a third and ultimately concluded that then was just not the best time.  And low and behold, our first morning on our solo trip to New York City in August, I took a test and two lines appeared.  Taylor said he should have known when I demanded jalapenos on my nachos at the Yankees game the night before.

God has definitely used our journey through pregnancy and becoming parents to constantly help me learn my downfall in trying to make my own plans on my own timing.  With both of our older boys that meant having to wait for them.  Months of prayers and loss and questioning.  This time God threw this little one at us at a time we declared wasn't right.  During our discussion of when to start trying, Taylor said we just couldn't have a baby around Easter since that will be such a busy time for him in our first year with the church plant.  After getting the positive test, I calculated my due date and it was later confirmed that our sweet boy number three is due on GOOD FRIDAY.  Hello, Easter weekend.

And to round out the surprises, I never in all my life thought I would be a mother to THREE boys.  My tribe of little men.  I don't even know where to start, but I know He has big plans in placing these three wild ones in our care.

We are so excited to meet this little one and to watch our boys grow up together.  There is nothing better than brothers.

15 June 2016

Summer bucket list 2016

It's that time. Or really past time since here in the lowcountry we have been in summer for what seems like three months.  So this little summer bucket list is late, but we will be in summer for another three, four, five months so all is good.

I loved doing this last year because it helped me be more intentional about what we did each week and each day.  There are only so many days that you can sit at home folding laundry or watching movies to stay cool.  So here is this years list:

1. Fripp trip {some really awesome and generous friends of ours set us up with a beach house this week on Fripp Island!!!!! So excited to vacation just the four of us}
2. Sno cones
3. Island Playground indoor bounce house
4. Splash pad
5. Minnesota farm fun
6. Tweetsie
7. Baseball game {Charlotte? Charleston? Hickory?}
8. Charleston day
9. NYC {for mom and dad ONLY. Sorry kiddos}
10. Grammy and Papas house {for G & N only}
11. See Finding Dory
12. S'mores/ sparklers

Follow along on Instagram with #burgesssummerbucketlist16

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