Thursday, April 28, 2016

Life Lately

Zander is 3 weeks old and I would say we are all adjusting pretty well. I can't believe it has been 3 weeks already. It goes so fast! You can check out his amazing birth story here and here.

Life has been pretty busy as you can expect with a 2 year old and a newborn. Matt has been home and will be for about another week or so before he goes back to work and I will be flying solo with the two. It has been a major blessing to have him home. He does so much around the house that would not/will not get done when he goes back to work. Sorry babe!

We have been out and about a few times as a family of four and it has gone pretty well. I can not sit at home on the couch all day long. And as tired as I am I would rather be out doing things, even if I don't look great! It really helps Kinley burn some energy as well.

My sister from Colorado was here visiting and just left yesterday. I always hate goodbyes. It is hard being so far away but I was thankful for our visit and the time we got to spend together. The weather was beautiful while she was here and we were able to get to the beach and the park a few days.

I want to get to the splash pad and the zoo before Matt goes back to work and it gets too hot out. Other than that we are trying to keep our schedule before a newborn and be flexible when we need to be. Somethings just don't go as planned when you have two, or even one for that fact.

We got Zander's newborn pictures done last week and I will be sharing those along with his nursery here soon. I can't believe how fast he is growing! Overall he is doing great and so are we. We did his first bath the other night and he didn't hate it but didn't love it, though Kinley loved him in the bath with her.

I found Snapchat finally and it has been fun posting pictures all day long! If you are on Snapchat follow me if you want to see an overload of pictures :)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Kinley Meets Zander

I was so excited for this moment. I missed her so much! We had done what we could to prepare her for having a brother. We knew this was going to be a really big change for her as well as us. I was pretty emotional towards the end about her not being the only child anymore. She's my forever baby. Of course I love both of them so very much and couldn't imagine life without either one of them, but there really is nothing like the love of your first born.

We knew Matt's parents would keep Kinley when we went to the hospital and she would stay with them until we came home. Kinley had never spent the night somewhere else; so needless to say I was very worried about our first night away. We had a trial sleepover planned with his parents for the Saturday after I had Zander. Go figure. I thought 2 weeks before his due date would give me enough time but little Mr. had other plans.

Matt's mom took Kinley as we were leaving for the hospital so we got to say goodbye and tell her we were going to have her brother. People ask did she understand. I am sure she did a little but let's be honest that concept is pretty hard for a 2 year old to grasp. She did awesome with her nanny and poppy though. She really struggles with sleep so I was worried. She didn't sleep through the night there either but they made it work and we all survived.

Zander was born Wednesday evening so it was too late for Kinley to come up that night. After we got up and showered on Thursday Matt went to pick her up so she could meet her brother.

She was so very excited. She kept telling me she was the best big sister ever. You can see the video on IG. She wanted to hold him and then 5 seconds later she was done. That was on repeat while she visited in the hospital. I think she was a little confused but overall did so well. Matt's parents came up to meet Zander then took Kinley with them when they left. I was so sad to watch her leave. Thankfully she went and and was happy because I would've had a major meltdown if she didn't want to go with them.

I will always treasure the moment they met. It was so special and I look forward to Kinley and Zander sharing many more special moments together.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Zander's Birth Story Part 2

I know I had already caught everyone up to the morning my water broke but I do need to back up a little and add a few more things I did to prepare myself for the VBAC.

I started having a lot of hip pain and it was getting really difficult to sleep. I had read about people going to the chiropractor while pregnant and having much success. After talking it over with my doulas and dr I decided to give it a try. If you are going to see a chiropractor while pregnant make sure they specialize in the Webster technique. I started going at 35 weeks and they suggested going 2 times a week. With my schedule it was hard to get there twice a week and some weeks I did and some I didn't. I am not sure if it helped with my success of a VBAC but I know my body was aligned and it definitely helped my hip pain. I also added Red Raspberry Leaf tea. I was not consistent with this until about 36.5 weeks. I did like the taste but until I found I could mix it with Lemonade and drink it cold did I really start drinking it. Again I am not sure if this helped with my success but it is something I was doing. Of course before you do anything make sure you talk with your dr to make sure it is right for you.

Ok now lets finish where we left off. Since I woke everyone up after my water broke we started our day early! I wasn't feeling any real contractions or anything but decided I would call our doula and let them know my water broke as well as my dr's office. My midwife told me I could wait at home but they wanted to see me by 5:00pm at the hospital. Gosh I hoped we would be there before then, that was 12 hours away! We got up and moving and decided we would take Kinley to daycare and go walk around to see if we could get things moving.

We ate breakfast at Panera bread and started our walking through TJ Maxx, Michael's and Home Depot. By the time we got to Home Depot I was having consistent contractions but they were still about 30 mins apart. A few I had to stop to breath though, but nothing that wasn't manageable. I had no clue if I was dilated or if they were doing anything because at my last appointment, 37 weeks, I asked to not be checked. Since nothing was consistent when we got home I decided I would try to relax for a while and watch some TV. Matt worked on things outside and kept coming in to check on me. They slowly started to get closer together but nothing too crazy. At about 3:00pm they were still about 20 mins apart.

We had arranged for Matt's mom to pick up Kinley from daycare but since things weren't too exciting I decided I wanted to go get her to give her some last kisses before we headed out to the hospital for our 5:00pm deadline. Gosh I was hoping things would pick up. I was so nervous about being put on a clock once we got to the hospital since my water broke almost 12 hours ago. Matt's mom met us at the house to get Kinley and we packed up the car. I still really didn't want to go to the hospital just yet but I knew they said 5 and Matt wanted to be there when they said. We decided we would stop and get some food and make the 45 min drive. Contractions were about 10-12 mins apart at this point. They were intense and I would have to breath through them but it was ok things were getting real.

We were on the road for about 10 mins and my contractions really started to pick up. We were almost there but needed to get food still and my contractions were 4-5 mins apart. I definitely had to breath through the contractions and focus on them, then refocus before the next one. We got to the hospital at about 5:15pm and they put us in a room. The nurse told me they had a quite a few check in so they would be back shortly to get me checked in. Surprisingly I was pretty calm but my contractions were now on top of each other and very intense. The nurse came back about 15 mins later and started her paperwork then looked at me like I was crazy when I told Matt I was having a lot of pressure in my butt. I guess because I was so calm when we first walked in, who knows. She said, "Is this new pressure?" I said no I have had it for about an hour and it is just getting more and more intense. At this point she moved a little faster and said she better check me.

What do you know! I was 6.5-7cm dilated and his head was right there! It was almost go time. She told me I needed to contact my doula because it wouldn't be long before I was pushing! Matt text her and told her she should come now. She said she would be there in about 20 minutes. At this point the pain was getting pretty bad and I was having a lot of pressure. I didn't know if I could do this and breath though them anymore. I started yelling, I have to push, this hurts, I can't hold it anymore. The nurse told me to not push she needed to check to make sure I was a 10 and we could push. I couldn't do it anymore the pain was so intense I was having thoughts of doubt in my head. I was never against the epidural but wanted to make sure I didn't get it too early. Well guess what, it was too late! I asked for the epidural. "Honey you don't have time for the epidural, you are having this baby now." I can't even explain the thoughts that went through my head at that point. The contractions were on top of each other with not much break time and it was getting harder and harder to breath through them. I knew I had to refocus and believe in myself because I was doing this! I was going to have a baby vaginally. Thanks babe for the filling out the plan for the day!

I started pushing about 6:30pm, my doula wasn't even there yet. She came in while I was pushing and I was so happy to have someone help me with my breathing. I will be honest the pushing was a relief but like I said the contractions were back to back and there wasn't much rest time in between. Zander's heart rate declined and the nurse told me I couldn't push for two contractions because he needed a break. Oh my gosh I thought I was going to die. I was so thankful for my doula keeping my mind busy breathing through them with me and Matt holding my hand through it all.

The nurse asked me if I wanted a mirror so I could see how close we were. I was hesitant but agreed. I was glad I did; I could see Zander's and knew we were almost there. The ring of fire was intense and I knew I wanted to get him out. I was determined that one more contraction and he was coming out. I gave it my all and out came his head! It took a few to get his shoulder's out but at 7:21pm Zander Bowen Brooks was born via VBAC. I seriously couldn't believe I had done it. And I did it without any pain meds.

I love this picture. I was telling Matt I did it. I seriously couldn't believe I had done it. It was truly the most amazing experience I have ever experienced. I didn't think I could do it without any pain meds though that was my ultimate goal and I was able to do it! We were able to do skin to skin for about an hour and a half as well as breastfeeding while they stitched me up. I tore a little so my midwife said she wanted to put 2 stitches in since it was still bleeding. I didn't even feel the tear. It was seriously an out of body experience to give birth naturally. After our skin to skin time they did his measurements all in the room with me watching and we were transfered to our recovery room.

I truly believe if you set your mind on something you will achieve your goal. It wasn't an easy road but it was worth it all! I am still amazed we were able to get the birth we wanted and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Zander's Birth Story Part 1

Zander's birth story starts way back after Kinley was born. We had an unexpected c-section with Kinley that I was devastated about. There was nothing emergency about the section, in fact I pushed for 5 hours with her, she just didn't want to come. She was doing great and the dr said I could push another hour but mentally, emotionally and physically I couldn't do it anymore. We opted for a c-section before things did turn into an emergency. You can read more here and here.

After that experience I knew that if we were going to have another baby I was going to do everything in my power to have a vaginal birth. I did not want another c-section. I started researching everything I could find about a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). When Kinley was 19 months old we started talking about wanting to add another baby. I wanted them close in age, Matt could have waited longer. So we decided to start trying not knowing how long it would take to get pregnant. It didn't take long. The beginning of August we found out we were expecting baby brooks #2. We were so excited.

I knew the first thing I wanted to do was change providers. I was not 100% happy with the care I received at the practice I was at. Not only because I ended in a c section but the overall care throughout my pregnancy I was not thrilled with. So I didn't see any reason to stay with them for baby #2, even though they did do VBACs. Did you know not all practices will let you VBAC? That is crazy to me!

I probably called about 5 practices seeing if they would allow a VBAC. I finally decided on one and set up my first appointment. Their office was close and we would deliver at the same hospital we had Kinley at. Another was across the street from our house. We went to our first appointment and were more than thrilled to find out we were due April 15, 2016. I was pretty certain my due date would have been due April 21, 2016 with the notes I hd taken while trying. My due date did get changed at a later ultrasound which I was very happy about. It was extremely important to me to have the correct due date because I knew I would not be able to go over 41 weeks so I wanted to have the date correct.

A lot more research happened by the time I had my next appointment. I became a part of local ICAN groups as well as Facebook VBAC groups. I had found out that Princess Anne had the highest c-section rate in the city. That was very concerning to me. I had also spoken to a few doulas who had suggested we look into delivering at DePaul and switching practices. We actually went back and forth with this decision because DePaul was about 45 minutes away. Ultimately we knew that a 45 minute drive was nothing for the birth experience we wanted, we weren't going to stay at a hospital because it was convenient. So again I switched practices and providers.

At this point we hired a doula to be a part of our birthing plan.  Something we didn't even consider with Kinley. Though again I wanted to have everything in place to have the most successful birth as possible. They were there for any questions I had throughout pregnancy and towards the end they were on call for me 24/7. They were a great support through out all of it and if we did it again I would most definitely use a doula again. You can not put a price on having the birthing experience you want. I really stress the you want part because it really is all about being an advocate for yourself and being in charge of the care you receive. I knew how I wanted things to turn out this time, I was going to do my best to make it happen.

We had an overall smooth pregnancy. We did have a scare after our 20 week ultrasound due to a possible heart defect but later found out he was as healthy as can be. I didn't have gestational diabetes this time so we didn't need any additional ultrasounds so we thought. We were told they wanted to do an ultrasound between 37 and 38 weeks to look at his size due to me wanting to VBAC. I wasn't thrilled about it since ultrasounds can be so off but I understood. Needless to say that ultrasound never happened because Zander wanted to enter this world early like his sister.

I had continued to do research throughout the pregnancy and read many successful VBAC stories. I never doubted myself and knew that I was able to give birth vaginally. I knew remaining positive and believing in myself was going to be key in the birth I wanted.

Fast forward to the morning of Wednesday April 6, 2016. I got up at 4:30am to pee for about the 10th time. I walk back to bed and before I get in, thankfully, a huge gush of water! It lasted for what seemed like forever but I am sure it was a few minutes. I told Matt I was pretty certain my water had just broke and I needed some towels. It was the craziest feeling ever! My water didn't break with Kinley so I was in shock. My midwife said we had to be to the hospital by 5pm so we went about our day to start to get contractions going. I knew this would be our last bump picture and our last picture as a family of 3. Our lives would forever be changed.

Stay tuned for part 2 :)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Little and Mighty

I had a great opportunity to partner with Little and Mighty and do a guest post on their blog for their Bold Babes series. You can check it out here.

Kinley loves picking out her clothes and they might not always match but when you are 2 who cares. Plus it makes for some bold outfits.

It was the perfect Easter egg hunting outfit. The yellow color of the Mighty Love shirt is the best. It is the perfect spring color. Paired with the pastel leggings made for a festive Easter outfit.

When we went to the park later in the week and that was her shirt of choice again! I think as the weather gets nicer she will be wearing her Mighty Love shirt all over the place.

Be sure to check out all the awesome shirts they offer.