My Birth Story

While being pregnant with my first child, my body was going through changes I had never experienced before. Let's just say Google was my friend. How do I prevent stretch marks? What exercises are still safe for me to do? What foods can I eat and which ones do I need to avoid? How big is my baby right now? Developmentally, where is she at? How many diapers will I need? What are the must have baby items? What about all the safety guidelines and recall items? There was so much unknown. So many things that I had no knowledge of. While I was overflowing with excitement that I was joining the mom club, I equally was overwhelmed. I was fearful I would make the wrong decisions; not be prepared enough for this bundle of joy arriving so soon. 

Despite all of these unknowns, I was most fearful of childbirth. My mom's experience was pretty rough and resulted in C-section, something I really did not want to experience. I remember reading a good friend of mine's birth story from a couple years earlier. I think it stood out to me most because it was out of the ordinary, and quite honestly, inspiring. She had an all natural childbirth. That's right. No medications, no interventions, nothing but her God-given ability to birth His creation inside of her. I mean, it made sense. God did create us women to birth children. There is no question about that. So why did we need all of this unnecessary intervention and medication? Well, isn't it obvious? Childbirth is freaking intense! Anything that can reduce the pain should be welcomed, right?

Last belly bump picture.  40 weeks 4 days pregnant
For all you moms out there, I applaud you. Whatever your birth experience looked like, I hope it is what you wanted. The only thing that truly matters, is that your little peanut arrived safe and sound. With that being said, I personally wanted to go to all natural route. That doesn't make me better, mightier, or more in tune with my body. And quite honestly, I even had doubts about it in the beginning. I signed up for a 12 week Bradley Method class with my husband, which educates on natural childbirth, nutrition, and having the spouse play the birthing coach role. My husband was less than thrilled that this was my decision. On one hand, it was 12 weeks, which does seem excessive in the beginning. On the other hand, he's a nurse. Wanting an all-natural experience with no medical intervention was very foreign to him. Nonetheless, I got him on board. The classes were so helpful in understanding what was going on in my body, what would happen during labor, and educating me on what could result from medical intervention. With all this knowledge, I was more sure than ever that I wanted an all natural childbirth.

Oh, if only things happened the way I wanted.

Thursday, August 28, was the day before I was turning 41 weeks, and I had an appointment with my doctor. Throughout my pregnancy, my OB said that she would not let me go past 41 weeks and would likely induce me if I did. As time crept closer, I was fearful I would have to get medical intervention because Brynlee was very content where she was. I was frustrated by this, because I knew that most first-time moms would go to 41 weeks, if not passed it. Why did my OB want to rush things? Unless the baby was in danger, or my placenta was aging, there's no reason for me to receive medical induction. At the same time, I was ready for this little girl to come out. My OB strapped me to a machine to check how frequently my contractions were and to monitor Brynlee's heartbeat. I was having contractions every 3 to 5 minutes. Brynlee scored a 10 out of 10, meaning everything was looking great. My OB asked me how I felt about intervention. I told her I was only comfortable with her stripping my membranes at this point, which basically means she takes her finger and sweeps the side of my cervix. It was very painful, but it was supposed to get things started without medication. As we were leaving her office, she said that if I hadn't had Brynlee by the following Monday, she was going to induce me. At this point, I wasn't too worried about it because almost immediately after leaving her office, my contractions felt stronger. My husband said, "Well, looks like we need to go walking!" He was right. I wanted this labor to get going. 

We went to the Santa Anita mall to walk around. He dropped me off at the front because my contractions were already uncomfortable. As I waited for him, I just leaned up against the wall and breathed through them. Matt joined me, and he immediately started shopping. Not the casual browsing, but literally shopping for what seemed like a whole new wardrobe. I tried to keep moving, while he stopped and looked at clothes. I did circles around the racks he was at, and while he was trying on clothes, I just walked from one side of the dressing room to the other. By the time his shopping spree was done, I told him I was over walking and needed something to eat.  We headed to Cheesecake Factory where we had a delicious meal. I was still having contractions throughout it, and I was surprised that the waiter didn't ask if I was doing okay. Obviously, I hid the discomfort well. I am so grateful for that meal, because it was my last one before I had Brynlee. 

After lunch, we decided to head home. I decided I would try to take a nap because I knew this baby girl was coming and I wanted to save as much of my energy as I could. Having continuous contractions made sleeping impossible, but at least I was able to rest. When I got up it was probably around 6 PM Thursday night and I labored for three more hours at home. I bounced on my exercise ball, trying to relieve the pressure I had on my lower back. I heated up my rice pad and had Matt press it hard on my lower back, and this gave me so much relief during the peak of the contractions. At 9 PM my contractions were constant at four minutes apart. We decided to head to the hospital, which was about 45 minutes away. I made sure to heat up my heating pad before we left, and it gave me relief most of the way. Because we arrived at the hospital after 8 o'clock, I had to enter through the emergency room. They got a wheelchair and took me to triage, where I was checked. At that point, my contractions were three minutes apart and I was 1 cm dilated. The nurse told me that I could stay at the hospital because I was technically in active labor, or I could go back home. Because my plan was to labor and deliver naturally, I didn't want to be put on the clock if I was progressing slowly. I was still only a centimeter dilated, which was no different than that morning at my OB's office. If I chose to stay at the hospital and didn't progress fast enough, they likely would induce me to get my labor going. I wanted to avoid this, so I decided to leave the hospital. 

Because we live so far away, we got a hotel room about five minutes away. I wanted something with a tub so I could sit in the hot water. I had heard from many people that this gave the most relief during contractions. I sat in the car while Matt got us checked in, which felt like an eternity. My contractions were very painful at this point and I just wanted to get in the tub. I hadn't had my heating pad since we left for the hospital. He finally came back, and helped me to our room. He immediately started the water and as soon as I could, I got in. While I labored in the tub, Matt left to go park the car, which was currently parked in front of the hotel. The hot water did give a lot of relief, and I think I stayed in for at least an hour or two.  If I was staying in the room next to ours, I would've called security because I would've thought someone was getting murdered...seriously. You don't really think about a lot other than the pain during labor, but that thought went through my head. 

At this point I was uncomfortable sitting in the hard tub so I wanted to get out. The darn room didn't have a microwave for me to heat up my rice pad, so Matt was clever and got a towel wet with really hot water and put it in a plastic bag. I had him push that on my lower back while I laid over my exercise ball. We had been at the hotel for probably about four hours, and Matt started to freak out a little bit. Seeing me in so much pain was really hard for him.  Also, I was bleeding a lot (I had been bleeding all day since my OB stripped my membranes) and neither of us really knew what was normal. I was surprised because he's the nurse and I thought he would not be phased, but of course, I am his wife, not a patient. When we decided to leave, Matt helped me to the elevator down to the car. The car was in a parking structure so I stood by the doors while Matt went to go get it. I was grateful it was the middle of the night and no one was around to hear me screaming and moaning. Matt pulled the car up and he helped me get inside. 

We drove up to the gate to get out of the parking garage and Matt hands the ticket to the attendant. Because I was in and out of the water, the ticket was soaked. There was no way it was going to get in the machine, so Matt was hoping the guy could manually open the gate without entering the ticket. Well, the guy either did not know what he was doing, or the system didn't allow him to open the gate without the ticket. We were sitting there forever. Meanwhile, I'm having contractions and the guy is looking at Matt like, "What the heck is wrong with her?!" Matt did a little chuckle and said, "Sorry, she's in labor." Well, I sure as heck didn't feel like chuckling!!! I was so upset that the stupid gate wouldn't open. At one point, I may have yelled at the guy to open the gate. #sorryI'mnotsorry An hour and a half later - no just kidding, it was probably only about 10 minutes - we exited the parking structure and headed to the hospital.

Matt dropped me off in front of the emergency room and took the car to valet. I waddled my way to the desk and they wheeled me to triage. When I got there I told them I wanted to go straight to labor and delivery because I was just checked four hours earlier. I was clearly an active labor and didn't want to go through the process again. They refused, and strapped me to the machine again. My contractions are still three minutes apart but I was 5 cm dilated. I was in excruciating pain. It felt like the contractions were one on top of one another without any relief. When Matt came in the room I was devastated that he didn't have anything with him. Because I was going to go the natural route, I prepared a lot of things to help me deal with the pain. I had my exercise ball, the heating pad, a crockpot I planned to put water, towels and some oils in so Matt could put hot towels on my back. I also had my essential oils and my diffuser that I wanted to use in the room. All of these things were meant to help me in the laboring process, but THEY WERE ALL STILL IN THE CAR.!! Because I was in so much pain I didn't want Matt to leave me to go get them and my mom hadn't arrived yet. I felt so defeated. I had no hope that I would be able to continue laboring without the help of these things. I was so consumed with the pain that I didn't even realize I had progressed so quickly in such a short amount of time. So… I opted for the epidural. By the time they transferred me from triage to labor and delivery, an hour had passed and I was 7 cm dilated. 

I remember the anesthesiologist told me to stay absolutely still as he gave me the epidural, then got upset when I didn't. I'm sorry. It's not like I was hunching over in RIDICULOUS pain or anything. I felt almost instant relief...guilt and sadness immediately followed. I had spent 12 weeks of classes preparing for this, hours reading books and birth stories, and countless conversations with my husband convincing him natural birth was not only what I wanted to do, but possible. And all of that went out the window in one second flat. I wanted to go back in time. I wanted to change my decision about getting the epidural, because I realized at that moment how far I had come in such a small amount of time. I realized that I was strong enough to keep going. But it was too late. 

After I wiped my tears, I allowed myself to rest. I believe it was about an hour later when fear started to creep in. I hated the way the epidural made me feel. My hips and butt were completely numb, and my legs were so tingly it felt like needles were poking me for my upper thighs to my toes. I couldn't feel any contractions. I couldn't feel any progression. I had learned that epidurals slow down labor, and when it comes time to push, the woman is unable to because she can't feel anything, so she has to end up getting a C-section. This is something I really REALLY did not want! Matt encouraged me, saying they can titrate the epidural, which means they could turn it down. He asked the nurse if they titrate the epidurals, and she said no. Upon further questioning (thanks for not giving up babe!), she said that he would have to talk to the anesthesiologist if we wanted to change the epidural. So she called anesthesiologist, and I voiced my concerns to him. To put it plainly, he was a jerk. Saying, "I don't have a magic ball and I don't know at what amount you will feel contractions again. I know you're just going to call me back you're to turn it back up." Matt talk to him again outside the room, advocating for me. The anesthesiologist walked back in and turned it down. Love that man of mine. 

Once he left, the nurse checked to see my progression, because I was concerned I wasn't making any. I was a 9 cm and my water broke. I couldn't feel it at all. There was meconium in the water, which scared me because I learned that that happens when the baby is under stress. But it turns out, because she was a week late, she was just more developed and already had a bowel movement in utero. I was relieved that there were no complications, but I knew immediately that I wouldn't be able to have her skin to skin right when she came out. Nor would I be able to have a delayed cord clamping because they would have to take her right away to suction her nose and mouth to make sure no meconium got in her lungs. I was disappointed, but having a healthy baby is so much more important. I think this was around six in the morning, but timing as a blur. I remember feeling nauseous, and my peppermint essential oil helped tremendously. Until, that is, when my mom walked in with an omelette.  -_- 
I threw up.

It took me a while to gain some feeling back, but when I did, it couldn't have come at a more perfect time. A couple hours had passed and I was starting to feel my contractions again, and it was time to push. I pushed for about an hour and a half, and my doctor almost didn't make it. The nurse kept telling me not to push, but I couldn't help it! My body was telling me something else.

Brynlee Rose was born at 10:10 AM on August 29, 2014.

They took her away immediately and I got stitched up. It felt like forever until they handed her back to me. I remember just repeating, "I want my baby girl. Where is my baby girl? Give me my baby girl!" When they handed her to me everything else faded away, I was overwhelmed with so much love and joy. Words cannot describe how I felt holding her for the first time, but it was one of the most precious moments of my life. She was perfect.


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Nursery Reveal

Matt and I moved into our home a mere three months before our little princess was due to arrive. Not only did we have a whole house to settle into, but I wanted to create a beautiful nursery to welcome my baby girl home too. Fortunately, I was able to complete the nursery before she came (I definitely had my doubts that this was going to happen), and I am so happy with the way it turned out. I hope you like it, too!

The first thing I did was figure out a color palette. I loved the color combination of coral, mint, and turquoise. I could not find any pre-existing betting with this color palette, so I had to make my own!

I searched high and low, and I found this gorgeous Anthropologie wallpaper that was the definition of perfect.  However, with the heavy price tag of $150 per roll, it was definitely out of the budget, even for a princess. 

When I finally stumbled across this fabric (Joel Dewberry Fabric -Bungalow - Dahlia in Coral), I knew it would be perfect for the space. It had the perfect colors, and was something that she could grow into.

I ordered 8 yards. 6 yards for the curtains and 2 yards for the fitted sheet. Both were pretty easy to make, as I found great tutorials on Pinterest! I found some complementary fabric at Joannes for the ruffled bedskirt, which is a little more difficult to make, but so so worth it. 

I wanted to keep the space light and airy, so I found the lightest color of mint green that I could and slapped it on the walls. I wanted to paint the inside of the closet the same coral as in the fabric, and found that Youthful Coral by Behr was a perfect match. This is also the color I painted my garage sale dresser, the frame above her crib, and the hardware on the  armoire in the closet. 



My handyman hubby built the scalloped bookshelves on either side of the window, as well as the shelves on the right side of the closet to put my cute baskets on. He thought I was crazy for wanting to leave the doors of the closet, but look how cute all of her little closer to look at! I'm not crazy, right? Above the closet hangs a fabric garland made from my scrap fabric I has left over from the linens. I did add some lace, too. 



Above her crib on the right, the ornate mirror I got it a garage sale, I just painted the frame white.  I got it wood letter "B" and some fake flowers at a craft store, and made a piece of art. The Frame on the left side above her crib I got at Goodwill. I chose a verse for Brynlee that I prayed over her while I was pregnant, and I wanted to incorporate it into her room somehow. I created the framed verse in Photoshop using various colors and fonts and made it fit into my darling frame. The center piece of art I found a hobby lobby.

So the nursery is complete, and I love it! Perfect for our baby girl <3

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Week 40

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Week 35

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DIY: Tutorial on Tabbed Curtains

Another project finished! Whoohoo! Only 5 short weeks until baby Brynlee Rose makes her entrance into this world--that is, if she is on time.  I still have lots to do to prepare for her arrival, but slow progress is still progress and I am hopeful that I will get enough done before she gets here.  I found this awesome tutorial at View Along the Way. She does a great job at making this project a walk in the park.  I was surprised at how quickly these came together, and they look great!

Materials Needed:

  • Curtain Fabric 
  • Lining Fabric 
  • Thread 
  • Ribbon

Measure the finished length you want your panels to be and cut your curtain fabric. Add 10 inches to your finished panel length: that’s how long you should cut the fabric for each panel. (My finished panels are 90 inches long, so I cut my fabric to 100 inches long.)

Next step, cut the lining fabric.  Add 2.5 inches to the length of your finished panels, and that’s how long you should cut your lining. (My panels are 90 inches long, so I cut my lining 92.5 inches long.)
Now, cut the width of your lining to six inches less than the width of your curtain fabric. (For me, this was 38 inches.)
Here is a picture for you.  This is from the original tutorial over at View Along The Way, and her dimensions are different than mine, but she makes it super easy to understand, so I thought I'd share. 

Next, fold your fabric up four inches from the bottom and iron the fold. Then fold it up another four inches, iron it, and pin it in place. Sew the hem, backstitching at the beginning and end.

Fold the bottom of the lining 2 inches up and iron the fold. Fold another 2 inches up, iron the fold and pin it in place. Sew the hem and backstitch. 

Lay your curtain fabric on the floor, right side up. Now lay your lining on top of it, right side down. (The right sides are facing each other.)

The bottom of the lining should be 1.5 inches from the bottom of the curtain fabric, and one of the sides should be lined up.

Now, pin down the side where the two fabrics are lined up and sew.

Now that one side of the lining is sewn to one side of the fabric, lay them back on the floor again, and line up the other side. Because your fabric is wider than the lining, it’ll be bunched up and kind of awkward. Just do the best you can to make the second side lined up, then pin it in place and sew. 

Turn your panel inside out. Lay your curtains on the floor, lining side up. Now, kind of maneuver the curtains until you have equal curtain fabric on each side of the lining.

Iron the side edges so it stays in place.

I cut a bunch of 2.5-inch long tabs out of the ribbon. Once you have those cut, fold the top edge down 1 inch and iron the fold. Fold it down 1 inch again and iron it.

Now place your tabs evenly spaced along the back of the panel, tucking them about 1/2 inch underneath the folded top edge you just made. You definitely need a tab at each end of the panel. Then evenly space the rest in between. Pin them in place. I placed them about every 4-5 inches or so.

Now just sew along that fold. You’ll be simultaneously sewing the top edge down AND sewing the tops of the tabs in place.

Once you’ve sewn one straight stitch along the top of the curtains, go back and sew the bottom of each tab in place. I sewed over the bottom, backstitched, sewed over it again, backstitched, a bunch of times to make sure the tabs were on there really good.

And that's it! Super easy! Now you can hang up your beautiful curtains and admire your work! 

Sorry for the terrible photo quality.  I'll put up a better one soon!


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DIY: Ruffled Crib Skirt Tutorial

We just moved into our new house about a month ago, so we have been busy unpacking and getting the house ready.  I'm 33 weeks along, which means baby girl is going to be here in less than two months! I've started working on her nursery, and just finished the first project--an adorable ruffled crib skirt.  Would it be easier to buy bedding? Why yes, it would be.  Not only could I not find bedding in the color scheme I wanted for the room, but custom bedding would be $300-$400!  A little outrageous, even for my princess.  I found this awesome, step-by-step tutorial at The Ribbon Retreat.

1 1/4 yard of each fabric for the ruffles
matching thread
rotary cutter and mat
an old crib skirt or "scrap fabric" 

If you are using an old crib skirt, take it apart at the seems. If you are using new (or scrap) fabric, make the main piece out to be 28″ x 52″, which is the standard crib size. 

You will need one side (the front) to measure 12″ x 52″ and two sides to measure 12″ x 28″.

 I didn’t hem my pieces. I used pinking shears to give them a zig zag cut so they wouldn’t fray. I didn’t want to spend any extra time hemming something that wasn’t going to be seen. Before this project, I had never used pinking shears, and can I just say, I love them? :]

Cut your fabric into strips the length of the fabric and 6″ wide. 
Out of these strips of fabric we need to make long strips that are 2 1/2 times as long as each side. That will give the ruffles their super full look! Sew the strips of each fabric together, making 3 super long strips. Use a 1/4″ seam when sewing and press the seams as well. 
For the front side, we need a strip that is 130″, and the sides need to be 70″. Do this for each fabric. You will end up with 9 total strips, one in each fabric measuring 130″ and two in each fabric measuring 70″


Now hem by folding 1/4″ twice, pressing, and sewing it down. Do this to the short sides and then the bottom long side. Do this to all 9 pieces.

The next step is ruffling the strips. Sew along the top of the strip using your longest stitch (a basting stitch). Do not back stitch. 

Hold the top thread and start pushing the fabric towards the center. Because the strips are so long, I did this on both sides of the strip meeting in the middle. Do this until you have ruffled the strip to the length of the side fabric (either 28″ or 52″). 

Now that all the ruffles are finished, we are ready to sew them to the side pieces. Before we do that though, we need to mark where we will sew them.

 The top ruffle will be sewn along the top of the side fabric. Mark 4 1/2″ below that and 4 1/2″ again below that.

After the side fabric is marked, pin your bottom ruffle to the bottom line. Once pinned, sew the ruffle to the side fabric. I used a zig zag stitch. Back stitch in the beginning and end. Repeat with the other ruffles. 

You're done with the first side piece, yay! Isn't is beautiful?

Pin one short side piece to the short side of your main piece. Again sew just under the stitch line, back stitching at the beginning and end. I used the zig zag stitch here, as well.

Sew your other short side on the main piece using the same directions and then sew the front side piece on.
Now you have a beautiful ruffled crib skirt ready to go on your sweet baby girl’s crib! The next step is to sit and stare at your work and get even more excited for baby to come. I know I am! One project down, lots to go!


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