Harper Elizabeth’s Birth Story

Lucas in Car Bed
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So I know I kind of disappeared again. Pregnancy and a toddler were seriously draining though! Harper Elizabeth is here though! And as most of you know, I am all about all things pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding related so I’d like to share her birth story with lots of pictures:)

Me at 39 weeks. She was born at 39 weeks 5 days.

39 weeks

Harper’s birth was a lot different than Lucas’ was 2.5 years ago! Of course, we had her at home just as we had Lucas at home and labor started with my water breaking just as it had with Lucas. Nothing else was the same though:)

You can read Lucas’ here.

I was awoken by a loud pop and gurgling bubbles sound that I could feel. I laid there for a second with my eyes opened and realized that” Oh No! That was my water, get to the toilet!” So I jumped out of bed, and almost made it to the toilet. It was almost 8 am. I called Clint at work and told him to come home and called my midwife to let her know. I also called my mother-in-law and asked her to come get Lucas, who was still sleeping. When she arrived, I decided to jump into the shower since I cannot function without my morning shower.

About 9 am, I started having some contractions here and there but nothing to be timed. Clint got home shortly after and contractions started very quickly and were STRONG! I hadn’t expected things to get so serious so fast, because they hadn’t with Lucas. .I expected a build up… By about 10 am contractions were 2.5 minutes apart and 50 seconds long and about a 7 or 8 in pain. Michelle and Lucas left about this time.

By 10:30 they were 3.5 minutes apart but were 70 seconds long now. I was in the shower again at this point because I was having a pretty hard time dealing with the contractions. Clint and I couldn’t figure out a good way for me to “make it” through my contractions. With Lucas, I would put my hands against the counter and sway while Clint did counterpressure on my back or something along those lines. But I had back labor with Lucas, and that didn’t really work this time. And these contractions were MUCH stronger. It was about this time that we all decided my midwife should start heading our way since she lives an hour from us.

Clint had already started filling up our kiddie-pool-turned-birth-pool since it seemed like things were moving quickly. I just wanted some pain relief. I started praying for “breaks”. I had one contraction in the shower that felt a little “pushy”. Clint freaked out and told me I could not have this baby until AFTER the midwife arrived.:)

My little sister, Shaye, arrived around this time. Clint and I had been trying different things to help me cope with the contractions. Hip squeezes worked every now and then, counterpressure on my back worked some, but for the most part we figured that if he would just squeeze my upper body and I squeezed him that felt the best. It just made me feel secure, I suppose.

I had LOTS of pressure with each contraction on my bottom and figured out that a towel between my legs serving as a bit of counterpressure was also relieving. I have no idea why. This made me decide to sit on my exercise ball. I tried to stay moving and keep my mind off the contractions, but it was pretty difficult during them. At least I didn’t really need to time them anymore, THAT was extremely annoying to me for some reason.

Once on the ball, I started feeling pretty “pushy” with every contraction. It was about 11:50 now and we were starting to worry since my midwife wasn’t there yet. Shaye called her and she was right down the road, so we all relaxed a little. She did tell me to get off the birth ball though and the pressure would be less. I decided to lay down on the couch for a little while so Clint could squeeze me through my contractions and I was hoping maybe I could get one of those “breaks” I had been praying for. Silly me.

dealing with contractions

My midwife checked me at 12:08 and I was around 6-7 cms and 90% effaced. That was great news to me! Things seemed like they were happening so quickly. Because we needed to fill the birth pool with warm water, it still wasn’t full. We were filling it with hot water and then when it was close to the level we wanted, we were going to fill it the rest of the way with cold water so it would get warm. But the hot water heater runs out of water so you have to let it refill.

I got really whiny about this time and promised Clint that this was our last and kept letting everyone in the room know that this was in fact our last child. Those “pushy” contractions started up and were pretty intense. Since I wasn’t fully dilated, I was trying to breathe through them. Then, suddenly I had a contraction that was definitely my body pushing involuntarily. My miwdife checked me again (12:45 pm) and I was fully effaced and was fully dilated except for a little lip of cervix.

relaxing between contractions

The pool was ready now, so I got into it and it felt amazing. I hadn’t really enjoyed the pool with Lucas’ labor, so I was very happy that it was so nice this time around. The only bad part is I am REALLY hot during labor so I kept asking for cold rags. Eventually, Shaye put lots of wet dish towels in the freezer and would just bring me a new one when I requested.

starting to push

I started pushing pretty much immediately and pushed leaning forward for a little while holding onto Clint’s hands and then reclined while also holding onto Clint’s hands.

pushing at homebirth

Pretty quickly, everyone in the room was commenting on all of her hair. She does have LOTS!

pushing in birthing pool

At 1:12 pm I got out of the pool because my midwife was concerned about shoulder dystocia. We did have a shoulder dystocia so I didn’t get to catch Harper like I had hoped to and did with Lucas, but my midwife handled it beautifully and Harper was born at 1:19 pm weighing a whopping 9 lbs 3 oz!

cutting cord at homebirth

Clint’s squeamish so Shaye got to cut the cord ^^

And here’s Daddy weighing Harper.

weighing baby at homebirthBecause of the shoulder dystocia, our amazing chiropractor came by the house and adjusted Harper shortly after she was born.

newborn chiropractic adjustment

We could not believe she was so big! I am only 4’10” and Lucas weighed 6 lbs 5 oz, so baby sister is quite a bit bigger than he was.

difference between Harper and Lucas

I felt so much more whiny this time than I did the last, though. Clint and Shaye said I was pretty much the same: I would calmly tell them that I was hurting really bad and they sort of took it with a grain of salt. I was definitely more vocal while pushing this time though! My throat was sore for a couple of days because of all of the RAWR’ing I did.😉

It’s kind of cool that I’ve had a baby in our bedroom and living room now. haha! Of course, both of my births will be something I remember for the rest of my life. Even with their challenges, I enjoyed both of them so much. For me, having a child with no drugs in my system in the serenity of my own home is EXTREMELY empowering. And I was so blessed to do it twice with a midwife who I completely trust and adore.

midwife with newborn

 

I’ll post shortly and do a nursery tour.:)

Do you look back at your births with pride? What was your favorite part? 

29 Weeks: Pregnancy Update

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Hello! Yesterday marked 29 weeks and I’m soooo tired… Thanks 3rd trimester. This is my 28 week picture- I told you- I’m tired!

The ultrasound technician last week didn’t get very good pictures, but we do know she’s still a girl!:) Lucas came to the last ultrasound and he loved watching it. When she was done, he said “Watch again!”

We’ve  finally got some things purchased, though. I’ve bought some newborn cloth diapers and a few One Size. I also bought all of the linens for her crib. We’re not doing a big set with a bumper (which isn’t all that safe anyways). I just got fitted sheets, 2 blankets, a crib skirt and matching changing pad covers. We’re moving all of Lucas’ clothes to his closet either hung up or in baskets in his closet organizer and going to use his dresser for her room, which will also double as a changing table. We also got Lucas a new big boy bed which he refers to as his “car bed”, so we’ll be moving his crib to Harper’s room. Progress!

Lucas in Car Bed

Not to mention, my Dad painted the nursery for us this weekend. I’m loving the color!

Harper's Nursery Painted

(Yes, we’re cleaning carpets this week) So once all of the furniture is set up, I’m going to do some string art of her name for above her crib and will probably buy a few prints/canvases on Etsy for the walls. Along with those gray walls, we’re doing coral, mint, and gold around the room. I’ll try to post pictures along the way😉

Oh, I also forgot — Lucas got his first haircut this week too! My Big Boy!

Photo Feb 10, 12 04 06 PM

27 Weeks: Pregnancy Update

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Hello! 27 weeks– it’s going by pretty fast. It’s crazy how much different this pregnancy is than the last.

I’m almost to the 3rd trimester and I can so feel it. I was so surprised at how great I felt most of the 2nd, but now that exhaustion is hitting me again. I’ve been napping at least a few times a week while Lucas naps. So glad I’m a SAHM now. I can’t imagine working and doing all of the cleaning, laundry and cooking. I would never see or talk to Lucas or Clint unless I was in a grouchy mood.

Oh, we finally decided on a name— Harper Elizabeth. She’s so strong! Or maybe really boney, but she’s still extremely low in my pelvic area most of the time. Here’s some pictures of the last few weeks.

22 weeks

24 weeks

25 weeks

26 weeks

 

Everything has still been going great. I’m on my thyroid medicine, which has been adjusted and I’m doing okay on it. We have appointments Friday to do my glucose test and have another ultrasound done. I’m excited to see her again!

I’ll try to be more regular in updates!😉

 

Team Us: Marriage Together (Giveaway Time!)

team us: marriage together
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How do you fight? Not brawling on the streets, but with your spouse– ya know, “conflict resolution”.

Clint and I used to be terrible fighters, there was fighting but not as much resolving. In the beginning of our marriage, there was lots of screaming and it always ended with Clint angry and me wanting to ignore the situation before anything was resolved. We both believe we’ve gotten better at fighting.

In Ashleigh Slater’s book Team Us: Marriage Together she talks about two different approaches to conflict resolution: the “me-first” and the “team-first” mentalities.

Just to give a few examples:

ME-FIRST would be a need to be right and disregarding your spouse’s perspective on the issue.

TEAM-FIRST  would be giving up the need to be right and instead having a desire to understand your spouse’s perspective on the issue.

Of these two, I definitely think Clint and I have learned to employ more of the team-first than the me-first. Sometimes when we argue, it turns into a really long conversation of us just trying to understand where the other is coming from and clarifying clarifying clarifying until we completely understand. Honestly, sometimes we realize we both think or feel the same way, we’re just so different that we explain things differently.

I recently read Ashleigh’s book and enjoyed it. She uses several real-life examples from her own marriage and examples from marriages of her friends written by each of them, for each of the 10 chapters. I always love examples in marriage books because it affirms that you know what the author is talking about.

At the end of each chapter, are questions that you can either answer alone or with your spouse for some discussion to get you thinking. There are also several snippets in each chapter from Ashleigh’s husband.

The entire focus of the book is how to approach marriage as a team. A good team, one that works together to win! Ashleigh offers several strategies throughout the book that she and her husband use in their own marriage that have helped them build a stronger marriage. The book is a fairly quick read and the chapters are the perfect length to read a chapter before bed each night and discuss with your spouse.

And just in time for Valentine’s Day, I also have a copy to give away to one of you! Just scroll to the bottom to enter the giveaway.

Do you and your husband view marriage as a “team”? 

About the book:

What are you agreeing to when you say “I do”? When a couple promises “I do,” they agree to more than just a shared last name, a joint bank account, and no more dateless nights. This husband and wife duo forms a new team. “Life together” becomes their mantra. Nothing can come between them. At least, that’s the plan. But then real life sets in. With it come disappointments and frustrations. If the couple isn’t intentional in their day-to-day interactions, that once enthusiastic “we” can slowly revert to “you” and “me.” Before long, the couple’s left wondering what happened to their team spirit. 
Team Us: Marriage Together offers couples practical ways to cultivate and strengthen unity in their marriages. Author Ashleigh Slater shares from her own marriage as she presents couples with realistic ideas on how to foster cooperation, deepen commitment, and exercise grace on a daily basis.
You can also get more info here:
Check out the book trailer HERE & hear from Ashleigh Slater HERE.
 
Check out Ashleigh’s blog HERE
 
Check out the official website HERE 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

We’re DEBT FREE! Now What?

We're Debt Free- Now What?
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This post is part of Our Journey to Become Debt Free series. To see the others, please click here.

Let me just repeat this from my last debt free journey post (which can be seen here)–

“That means that yes, except for our mortgage, we are now DEBT FREE!!!”

Ahh! Like I said in my very first post of Our Journey to Become Debt Free, our goal is for me to be a Stay at Home Mom. So guess what, I’m now home full time with my 2 year old ball of energy. Of course, since my Etsy shop Aqua Anchor Designs has been doing so well, especially during the holiday rush I just made it through, I’m more like a work at home/stay at home Mama. But you get my point.

It’s surreal reaching this goal we’ve worked toward for nearly 2 years though. In 23 months, we paid off $23,491.25  in debt!

So surreal, I was afraid to quit my job. I kept telling Clint, but what if this, or what if that. I’ve told you, I’m a worrier.

But now I need something new to focus my busy mind on. And I’m a goals kinda gal. So we’ve decided to not let our momentum down and keep trucking it and set some new goals for ourselves. I mean, really, the last two years has not felt that depriving to us. We still eat out, more than we should, and we’ve been on two weekend trips since then.

Here is a little brainstorming we did to help us set our new goal(s):

  • We want Baby Girl to be born debt free.
  • We need a Fully Funded Emergency Fund.
  • We want to do some maintenance/upkeep on our home.
  • We may want to pay extra on our mortgage and/or save up for a downpayment on a bigger home.
  • We may want to save up for a vacation soon.

So we know these things now… we just have to make a plan of what order we want to do them in and how we’re going to do them.

For now, Baby Girl being born debt free is first and foremost. We’re praying that my shop income over the next few
months will build up enough savings to make that possible. Once that’s done, we’ll most likely focus on our Emergency Fund.

Do you set financial goals for yourself/your family? What do you do when you reach them: celebrate, make new goals, etc?

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21 Weeks Update

21 Weeks Update
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Good morning/afternoon/night! I’m a little more than halfway through this pregnancy now at 21 weeks!

Baby Girl is still unnamed as of now😦 But she’s growing big and STRONG! I can feel her roll, punch, kick, curl into a ball. It seems like I feel her every movement. And she’s sooo low. Every movement I feel is way down in my pelvic area. I think the only time I felt those movements with Lucas was when he was closer to his due date and head down, but face up.  I felt his little hands in my pelvic area. It’s been really neat the last couple of days though– at night, she spreads way out across my belly and I can feel feet on one side of my belly above my hip and head/hands on the other side above my other hip.

Here is a belly pic of me at 20 weeks:

20 weeks belly pic

I’ve had some confusing health stuff going on with this pregnancy and haven’t really known what to think of it. Right before we got pregnant, I found out I had some high thyroid levels which pointed to hyperthyroidism. I went to the doctor because I was feeling “funny” and knew that we could end up pregnant at any time so I wanted to make sure I was healthy. In the end, my doctor told me let’s just retest in 6 weeks because an ultrasound on my thyroid looked fine. Well before those 6 weeks, I was in fact pregnant. Fast forward through a bunch of bloodwork, OB appointments, and High Risk OB appointments and then an Endocrinologist appointment 2 weeks ago and those thyroid levels that were originally abnormal (my TSH) is now in the normal range, but I have really high thyroid antibodies. The Endo hasn’t technically diagnosed me with anything but I am on medicine now to lessen our risk of complications and we’re pretty confident, through lots of prayer, that everything will work out just fine in the end. And since I’m not technically “high risk” I’m not driving the 2 hours once a month to see the High Risk OB anymore for them to perform an ultrasound and more bloodwork when I already have an OB and an Endo already doing that, which has relieved some stress for me. All the different appointments stress me out!

Here’s an ultrasound pic from my last appointment at 18 weeks:

18 week ultrasound pic

So anyways, Baby Girl and I have both been healthy according to every health care worker we’ve seen thus far, so pray that that doesn’t change😉

This pregnancy is so different than Lucas’ though. Before I got pregnant, I was losing weight as a result of the thyroid stuff and I still lost about 3 lbs in the beginning. I’ve not gained any. I think I had probably already gained about 10 lbs with Lucas this far. Of course, I was also overweight to begin with this time and was not last time, so that very well could play into it.

Baby girl is the size of pomegranate now (she was the length of a banana last week). Oh, and no, we haven’t started doing ANYTHING around the house yet. I’m sure I’ll feel some urgency soon and push us along though, right?

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Months 19-23 of Our Debt Free Journey: July – Nov 2014

Months 19-23 of Our Debt Free Journey
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This post is part of Our Journey to Become Debt Free series. To see the others, please click here.

Going from a full time income to a part time income really had an effect on our debt snowball. Of course, it had a major effect on my time to devote to spending with my 1 year old, Lucas and to housework. Last week, I told you that in Months 16-18 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free, we were not able to pay anything extra towards our debt snowball and only made the scheduled loan payment of $234 each month on the Civic. You can read that post here, if you missed it.
Well, as promised, things got exciting!
MONTH 19 – JULY 2014: We paid down $999.26 on the Civic, bringing the total down to $5125.08. This was made up of from some of my Etsy profit for the month, after the $1,000 Baby Emergency Fund we decided to create for Aqua Anchor. I was still too scared to put all of the remaining profit on the Civic though. 
MONTH 20 – AUGUST 2014: Paid down $634 on the Civic, bringing the total down to $4503.65. Same story for August, it was some of my Etsy profit for the month, but I was still too afraid to use all of it.  
MONTH 21 – SEPTEMBER 2014: Paid down $745.77 on the Civic, bringing the balance to $3,768.95. In September, I did use all of my Etsy profit. But only part of it went to the Civic, the rest went towards a weekend spent out of town for Lucas’ birthday at a wildlife exhibit. We decided to do it since we had just found out I was pregnant and Mama was having those “he won’t be an only child much longer” guilt emotions. But we had a BLAST! 
GWC Collage
 At this point, I knew we were headed to having the Civic paid off SOON and I started busting it to make that extra income in my shop, Aqua Anchor Designs to put towards it. I also decided to close out my little 401k that I had left at my previous job. There was only around $1100 in it, so they took the taxes required out and we’ll pay a little more on our tax return next year for it.
MONTH 22 – OCTOBER 2014: Paid down $2155.94 on the Civic, bringing the balance to $1622.90. About $1,200 of that was Etsy profit and the rest was my 401k check. 
MONTH 23 – NOVEMBER 2014: In November, we did it! We paid down the remaining $1623.22 and paid off the Civic! 
totalpaidoff
 That means that yes, except for our mortgage, we are now DEBT FREE!!!
All
It’s an amazing feeling! So now we have a lot more decisions and planning we need to do, and some we’ve already made/done! I’ll make a Follow-up post and update you on all of that next week!
 
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