Mille Love’s Birth Story

Mille Love Byler

Due: October 26, 2020

Born: November 2, 2020

3:10pm

7lb 14.3oz

19.5”

Obviously most parents pray for a healthy baby and healthy mom. I prayed every single day of my pregnancy for a few other specific things as well though.

1.) To go into labor on my own.

2.) A healthy postpartum mental state.

3.) A child that was more calm/easy going than my first.

2/3 isn’t bad.

I had an absolutely terrible pregnancy. Nausea all day, every day until the third trimester. I couldn’t walk more than a mile without physical pain (and we were those casual 5 miles a day people at the time.) SEVERE pregnancy insomnia began at 13 weeks and lasted my entire pregnancy. Sciatic pain. The list goes on.

But most of all, beginning around 34 weeks, Mille Love was sitting so low that it was causing round ligament pain. This pain began by happening only once or twice a day but by the last week of my pregnancy there were days when it occurred 20x. What I mean by “it” is the 2 seconds of pure torture. When my doctor finally figured out what was happening and diagnosed me, he said the only way to describe the pain to other people was “a garden hose strangling your leg and then being electrocuted by a cattle prod.” As someone with a very high pain tolerance, and after having a natural birth the first time, I would say the pain of these “shocks” was as bad as any labor pains I ever felt. Now imagine them coming out of nowhere, absolutely no warning, and happening almost every hour for a week straight. It was a nightmare.

With all that being said, I was done.

At the 40 week 2 day mark I had an appointment that told me I was not dilated so my doctor asked me to come back in at 41 weeks for another check…to which I kindly asked him to go ahead and schedule an induction instead.

I continued to pray that I would go into labor naturally but I think I knew all along that it just wasn’t going to happen. The next few days went by, my parents came into town on Sunday to watch Belle, and we went to bed that night hoping tomorrow would be the day we meet our newest girl.

We were set to arrive at the hospital at 5am. When we got there we had to stay in the waiting area until they were ready for us. “Us” ended up just being me. No one explained what was going on or if Jeff would be able to come back at some point. We knew the Covid procedures were changing daily but last we heard I was allowed one support person. The nurse took me to a desk to fill out paperwork and then I was taken to a dark room and told to put my gown on. I had a Covid test done. They started my IV. Checked my dilation. And then I waited on the hospital bed…alone. After about 40 minutes Jeff walked in. I was so relieved! (I’m not sure what the point of him having to wait was.)

I was given the nice surprise of being 3cm dilated to start the morning out which meant we could skip a few steps and go straight to breaking my water once my doctor arrived.

5am- Arrival. 3cm dilated. IV started.

For some reason this hospital didn’t have IV poles on wheels so I wasn’t allowed to walk around at all or go to the bathroom on my own. I was stuck in the hospital bed. This was different from our first labor and I much prefer being able to move around.

7am-The Doctor broke my water. Contractions begin.

10am- 5cm dilated. Start pitocin.

Pitocin- AKA “The Devils Drug”

Pitocin and I have a love/hate relationship. I know it will get the job done, but it’s gonna hurt like no other while doing it. Immediately the contractions pick up and they are intense. My plan is to get an epidural but I thought it would slow down my progression (something I read online which apparently isn’t even true) so I wanted to wait as long as possible.

12pm- I order the epidural. 7cm dilated.

1pm- We go over the game plan with my nurse and anesthesiologist- my epidural didn’t take with my first pregnancy and I was forced to deliver naturally hopped up on pitocin. This time I had the BEST staff reassuring me that they would get it to work! I don’t know all of the “epidural lingo” but I learned there is a little vial of medication they attach to your IV pole and that most people only need 1-2 of it. I kept hearing “This will be the last contraction you’re going to feel”…and then I would feel another. And another. And another. Finally at 5 vials in I began to feel the pain fade.

2pm. My epidural has finally started working! I can still move my legs some but now everything is just pressure. No pain! My nurse checks my dilation and I’m at a 9. She jokes that we went through all of that just for 1cm of numbness left. WORTH IT.

I can’t believe the difference! They told me they thought we would meet our girl within the hour and I was smiling ear to ear. I was joking around with the nurses, Jeff and I took a picture together (inserted below. Would you have thought I was 9cm dilated here?!) I was so happy!

2:45pm- I called the nurse in to check me because of the pressure. A couple practice pushes later and it’s go time! Between pushes I remember telling Jeff that if epidurals always worked he might have a chance at a son still. I asked the nurses if they knew what was being served in the cafeteria. Everyone in the room was talking and laughing. It was truly such a birth redemption story after the trauma of Belle’s delivery. My Doctor let me take my time and breathe between pushes. There was no urgency which lead to less tearing.

3:10pm- Mille Love is born! From the moment I saw her I was connected. This is MY baby.

We had skin to skin right away (something I wasn’t allowed with Belle.) There was no nicu needed. No immediate testing that needed to be done. There weren’t 30 staff members in the room and 10 students. Of course a few nurses lingered to monitor both of us and I did need some stitches still- but overall, it was so much more calm. We sent out a simple message to let our families know she had arrived but we didn’t rush to take pictures of her or send texts to our friends. We didn’t even post on social media until the next day.

It was awesome.

The rest of that day went by pretty quickly. Eventually we did FaceTime our families and a few of our closest friends so they could “meet” her. Our hospital doesn’t allow visitors at this time and there is no nursery so there was no one else to hold her, give her a bottle, change a diaper, etc. I really think that time with just the 3 of us helped me bond with her.

Around 9pm my anxiety started to make an appearance. There is something about a hospital room, sleep deprivation, the bodily trauma of just having delivered a baby, and knowing that as tired as you are you don’t have any help coming and you aren’t going to get any sleep that night that’s very stressful. As I felt the anxiety setting in and myself start to get jittery I was able to stop and breathe and pray that morning would come quickly. Right after I prayed I had a calm come over me and a surge of energy.

We made it through the night and the sun came up! The nurses told me we would be in the hospital for two nights (question for other mommas- do you feel like night #2 in the hospital is TERRIBLE?! It’s like all hell breaks lose and this baby you just spent the day before getting to know is now a stranger and they hate you. No…just me? Cool.) All that to say, we were begging them to let us leave after one night. Mille Love had all of her checks done and looked perfect so my Doctor gave the go ahead for us to take her home at the 24 hour mark!

Since then I can say that I am SO THANKFUL to have had no signs of baby blues or postpartum depression. I stay home with the girls and while we definitely have rough days I can’t imagine them growing up any other way. I think the transition from 1-2 has been easier than the transition from none-1. I wonder if Jeff would say the same- I’ll have to ask his opinion!

Belle mostly ignores her little sister which we’re totally fine with! She says “baby” and sometimes she’ll hand me a burp cloth or pacifier.

Mille Love is a good sleeper (usually 2 wake ups a night just to eat and back down she goes.) We call her “shifty” because she just looks around and takes everything in. She is calm and sweet as can be! It’s almost like she knows her big sister is a handful so during the day she is willing to be chill and then once Belle goes to bed she’s ready for her cuddles and 1 on 1 time.

We are beyond blessed and thankful for our little family.

Mille Love’s Nursery

Mille Love’s Nursery Breakdown

I LOVE looking at other peoples home decor! So many celebrities have been doing their nursery reveals lately and while I enjoy looking at them it’s always a bit of a bummer when I think “I want that!” only to realize it cost a fortune. Obviously our nurseries aren’t People Magazine worthy, but I think it’s also sometimes fun to see what I would call “real life” decorating- AKA: “Budget Decorating.”

*You can go back and see Belle’s nursery breakdown in a previous post*

My vision for Mille’s nursery was pretty opposite of Belle’s. I’ve said it many times, I prayed for a calm, easy going baby and I tried to put those vibes into this room. I wanted neutrals and greenery- more of an earthy simple concept.

I found that Marketplace isn’t as flooded with items here in Oxford, there is no Craigslist, and Covid had basically taken away all yard sales so putting her nursery together on a budget wasn’t nearly as easy as it was the first time around. The other tricky thing was that this needed to double as a guest room for us. We could have just left enough floor space to put an air mattress down whenever company came but I get really tired of set up and take down (especially with as often as we have guests) so I decided it would be best to have a twin bed in there at all times. Now we only have to pull out the queen mattress when we have multiple guests/couples. It’s worked really well so far!

Our hope is that a year or so from now we will have both girls sleep trained and MAYBE they’ll be able to share this room. If that happens then Belle will take over the twin bed (I would LOVE to keep her in her crib as long as possible but she’s already trying her hardest to climb out so I don’t know how long that’s gonna last.) If they can share that room then we’ll turn Belle’s current nursery into the guest room.

Now for the fun part-

•Crib + Mattress = $100 Facebook Marketplace

•Dressers + Twin Bed + Changing Table = $150 Facebook Marketplace.

•Twin Mattress = $100 Amazon. This was one of those that’s shipped rolled up in a box and you just unwrap it and let it “fluff up.” It’s super comfy! We were very pleased!

•Rug = $30 Goodwill. We’ve had this rug for 6 years and used it in almost every room of our homes at some point or another.

•Rocking Recliner = $220 Walmart

•Side Table = $3 Estate Sale years ago.

•Lamp (green) = $9 Home Depot Clearance. This was in the guest room at our old house.

•Lamp (white wood) = $3 Goodwill Outlet

•Changing Pad = $9 IKEA

•White Rolling Cart = $3 Salvation Army

•Curtains = $4 Goodwill Outlet

•White Basket =$3 Goodwill

•Metal Wire Wall Hanging = $10 Yard Sale

•White Curtain Tie Backs = $4 Goodwill

•Picture Frames =$1×3=$3 Dollar Tree

•Love Sign = $12.99 Homegoods

•Mille Love name sign = Free side of the road piece of wood

This has become one of our favorite rooms in the house! The key to creating an inexpensive space is to be patient! If you’re like me you just want everything to be put together and prepared. I really have to slow myself down sometimes (especially when I have 9 months to get a room done) and wait for the deals to show themselves. It also never hurts to post on your social media what you’re looking for and see if anyone you know has it for sale (or even better, free!) There are so many ideas on Pinterest these days- I think you can make something nice out of almost anything! Hope you enjoyed the breakdown and seeing how you can have pretty without pricey!

Also- “Pretty Without Pricey” would be a good name for a blog. I might have to consider switching…

*If you don’t know, “MindfulMondays” started when I worked full time but had Mondays off so that’s when I would write and post blogs!

I turned 29…3 months ago

We were back in the south for my 29th birthday and I blame the HEAT for my brain fog of forgetting my yearly blog! If you’re not a warm weather person, time your pregnancy around the summer months because WHOOO…it’s a struggle, y’all. You often hear about people having seasonal depression in the winter, well ever since my freshman year of college I’ve had what I call “seasonal SUMMER sadness.”

I really hate the heat. I mean, realllllly.

Chasing around a 1 year old while carrying a baby in the belly during a Mississippi summer is EWW.

But alas, October is finally here (even though it’s still 82 degrees here today) and I have decorated for Fall! Goodbye to the extreme heat for at least 5 months and HELLO leggings and sweatshirts!

Now that I’ve gotten my summer rant out of the way, onto my Birthday Blog! If you’ve missed them in the past, this blog is a quick run down of some of the things I’ve learned about life/myself in the last 365 days. NOT what I’ve learned about being a wife, friend, mother, daughter, etc. But what I’ve learned about ME. Some simple, some personal.

Here we go…

-I like cucumbers.

-Nothing is more comfy than a scrunchie messy bun.

-I actually don’t hate doing laundry- I just hated carrying laundry up and down the stairs.

-I like espresso better than coffee.

-Muffins are my favorite pastry.

-I still pronounce “mail” and “male” wrong.

-Flexibility is good and I’m getting better at it.

-Tell-All books are my favorite kind.

-I’ve become a bit of a pizza snob and I’m kind of over frozen pizza.

-Also a coffee snob.

-People smacking their food makes my face do things I can’t control.

-Expensive candles are worth the money.

-I’m going to continue to cut my own hair 💰

-Unsweetened Tea is my jam lately.

-Doing your eyebrows makes a big difference.

-I function better if my bed is made.

-Baths are nice.

-Life still does revolve around lists and I like it that way.

-If you really want something it’s ok to spend money on it (as long as you have the money.)

-Chipped nail polish is something that I just can’t live with.

-Washing your face every night and a high quality moisturizer truly make a difference in your skin.

-I do not like Pad Thai.

-I’m over keeping up with blonde hair- even balayage.

-A good DIY craft is probably my #1 form of self care. Or going thrifting.

-65 is my ideal temperature.

-Sonic has made a major comeback on my fast food rankings.

-I’ll probably always prefer a notebook and pencil over any electronic way to document stuff.

-I added dry shampoo to my toiletries this year.

-Excuses are one of my biggest pet peeves. I’m fine with “Shoot, honestly I’ve been putting that off” but I hate “I haven’t done it because….and…and…”

-I’m super into slippers.

-I’m very responsible/good at getting stuff done that needs to be done. And I’m proud of it.

-That’s probably the first time I’ve ever said “I’m proud” about something to do with myself.

-I MUCH prefer written compliments over face to face/verbal. Gosh that makes me cringe.

-I LOVED being quarantined with my family and could probably live that way for much longer than most people.

Until next year.

But then I’ll have 2 under 2 so who knows when the blog for 30 will get written.

Also, 30?! Holy cow.

Here are some of my favorite photos/moments that took place since I wrote my last birthday post.

Jeff was ordained in the Church of the Nazarene.
Bellemme Grace was dedicated to The Lord (and she could always spot a camera from across the room.)
There is nothing like baby snuggles and I feel like this picture shows true happiness
Cookbook dinner with our KC besties! This was so fun! We each randomly opened up a cookbook and whatever page we landed on we each had to make that dish and then we had dinner together at our house. It ended up being delicious! I had Chocolate Orange Bread Pudding with Homemade CoolWhip!
A baby-free day exploring DC with family
Donating snack packs to the Ronald McDonald house in honor of our Baby B that we miscarried.
My first bump picture with Mille Love- before anyone knew we were pregnant!
The sweetest day doing all of Belles favorite things
One of our last pictures as a family of 3

Vegetarian Whole30

WE DID IT!

Whole30 round #5 is in the books.

….BUT, I’m actually planning on continuing with Whole30 (minus a meal out with friends this weekend or the occasional get together.) This was our easiest round so far. In the past I’ve been guilty of getting to day 10 and then just making mashed potatoes or potato soup nearly every day after that 🙈 While I did have potatoes most days this round as well, I usually limited it to one serving a day. Being a strict vegetarian makes Whole30 pretty tricky and it’s easy to get into the habit of eating the same things over and over again or just going to your snack drawer and constantly filling up on compliant bars/nuts (which isn’t the point and also gets expensive!) I’m pretty proud of how many new recipes I tried this time- mostly thanks to the fact that we now have a dishwasher…to be honest.

Keeping track of EVERY single thing I consumed this time (I’m talking 2 Cashews got written down) helped me to be mindful of what I’m eating but it mainly made grocery shopping and choosing food each day much easier! When I would think “I don’t want another egg but what could I possibly eat?!” I would turn to my food diary and be reminded of other possibilities.

Day 1

-3 scrambled eggs with tomatoes

-1 package cooked carrots

-Watermelon

-1 Apple pie bar from Aldi

-1 hard boiled egg

-Ratatouille (onion, zucchini, squash, peppers, marinara sauce. Baked.)

-1/2 cup cashews

Day 2

-3 scrambled eggs

-Watermelon

-Skillet zucchini, green pepper, onion

-Cashews

-Roasted potatoes and green beans

-Hardboiled egg

-“Brownie”

Day 3

-Chipotle Salad with Cauliflower rice

-Hardboiled egg

-Watermelon

-“Brownie”

-Spaghetti squash with marinara sauce

Day 4

-3 Scrambled eggs

-Watermelon

-Zoe’s kitchen: roasted veggies and grilled potato salad

-Apple pie bar

-Cashews

-4 blueberry medallions

-1 Hardboiled egg

Day 5

-2.5 scrambled eggs

-2 blueberry medallions

-Banana, Egg, blueberry scramble on the skillet

-1/2 Cup Cashews

-Watermelon

Day 6

-Chipotle with guacamole and cauliflower rice (rice from home)

-Omelet with salsa and guacamole

-Cashews

-Blueberry pancake loaf

-Grapes

Day 7

-3 scrambled eggs

-Grapes

-Grilled potato salad from Zoe’s

-Apple pie bar

-Avocado and chips

-Apple

-Chips

Day 8

-3 scrambled eggs

-Grapes

-Spaghetti squash with marinara sauce

-Chips and Salsa

-Apple with Almond Butter

-1/2 Cup Cashews

Day 9

-2 Scrambled eggs, hash brown patty, grapes

-Cashews

-Apple

-Chips and guacamole

-Chips

-Green beans

Day 10

-2 hash browns and 3 scrambled eggs

-Watermelon

-Chips and Chipotle Guacamole (2)

-Hardboiled egg

Day 11

-2 hash browns

-2 scrambled eggs

-Coffee with nutpod

-half an apple

-Apple pie bar

-Chips (10)

-hard boiled egg

-tortilla chips (10)

-Green beans

-buffalo banana chips (5)

-Watermelon

Day 12 (4 months postpartum- reached pre pregnancy weight!)

-1/3 Apple, blueberries, 2 scrambled eggs, 2 hash browns

-Peach

-pistachios

-hard boiled egg

-Cashews (3)

-Green beans

-Apple pie Bar

-Pumpkin Sweet Potato Soup

Day 13

-2 scrambled eggs

-cold brew with nut pods

-Zoe’s potato salad grilled

-Zoe’s side Greek Salad (no feta, substitute no pita add cucumbers)

-Chips and Guacamole

-Pumpkin sweet potato chili with salsa

-Watermelon

Day 14

-Pumpkin sweet potato chili with salsa

-Tortilla Chips and avocado

-Cashews

-Watermelon

-Pumpkin sweet potato chili with salsa

-1/4 cup iced coffee with nutpod

Day 15

-2 hash browns and 3 scrambled eggs

-Hot coffee with nutpods

-Pumpkin sweet potato chili with salsa

-Watermelon

-Cashews

-Hot coffee with nutpods

-Vegetable soup with 1/2 avocado

-3 peach muffins

Day 16

-pico with 3 scrambled eggs

-1 peach muffin

-cashews

-Vegetable soup with salsa

-Apple pie bar

Day 17

-Watermelon

-Hashbrowns with 2 scrambled eggs

-Vegetable soup with salsa

-cashews

-2 peach muffins

-Apple pie bar

-Vegetable soup with salsa

-Apple slices, 3 strawberries, grapes

-1 slice tomato, 1 piece lettuce

-QT unsweetened mango tea

-Watermelon

Day 18

-2 scrambled eggs with pico, hash browns, grapes and watermelon, peach muffin

-Iced coffee with nutpods

-Granny Smith Apple with almond butter

-2 Cashews

-vegetable soup with salsa

-egg roll in a bowl

-Watermelon

Day 19

-1/2 scrambled egg

-Watermelon

-5 Cashews

-Hashbrowns

-Iced coffee with nutpods

-hashbrowns

-1 potato

-Watermelon, grapes, strawberries

-Pumpkin sweet potato soup with salsa

-Blueberry mug cake

Day 20

-3 scrambled eggs

-Grilled potato salad, Greek salad

-Unsweetened tea flavored Zoe’s kitchen

-Iced coffee with nut pods

-Banana, almond butter brownies

-Pumpkin Sweet Potato Chili with Salsa

Day 21

-Biryani with potatoes and cauliflower rice

-Hot coffee with Nut-pods

-Apple Pie Bar

-Pumpkin Sweet Potato Chili

-Iced coffee with nut pods

-Hard boiled egg

-Homemade pickle

-Large honey crisp apple

-Pumpkin sweet potato chili

Day 22

-Hashbrowns and 3 Scrambled eggs

-Iced coffee with nut pods

-Pickle homemade

-boiled yellow potatoes with ghee

-3 Cashews

-Lettuce, taco cauliflower rice, tomatoes, avocado

-Watermelon

Day 23

-hashbrowns and 3 scrambled eggs

-Hot coffee with nut pods

-Watermelon

-3 pickles

-Apple Pie Bar

-Carrots in the crockpot

-Iced coffee with nut pods

Day 24

-Strawberries

-Iced coffee with nut pods

-Zoe’s kitchen green salad (no feta, no olives. Substitute cucumbers for pita.)

-Zoe’s kitchen grilled pasta salad

-Watermelon

-Sweet Potato toast with 2 scrambled eggs, grilled onion, tomatoes, 1/2 avocado

Day 25

-Iced coffee with nut pods

-Hashbrowns

-2 tablespoons white gravy

-2 scrambled eggs

-Apple Pie Bar

-3 Cashews

-Watermelon

-2 avocados with cauliflower chips

Day 26

-Iced coffee with nut pods (few sips)

-Strawberries

-Cashews (5)

-Hashbrowns with 2 fried eggs

-La croix

-Iced coffee with nut pods

-Zoeys Kitchen Greek side salad with no feta or olives. Substitute pita for extra cucumbers

-Zoeys kitchen grilled potato salad

Day 27

-Hashbrowns

-Portobello mushroom, pepper, onion fajita. Salad with salsa.

-unsweet tea

-Watermelon

-Guacamole with cauliflower chips

-Vegetable soup

-3 blueberry + raspberry medallions

Day 28

-3 blueberry + raspberry medallions

-vegetable soup

-Watermelon

-Iced coffee with nut pods

-vegetable soup

-2 blueberry + raspberry medallions

-Apple pie bar

-3 Cashews

-Chips and guacamole

Day 29

-Homemade Zoe’s kitchen potato’s

-Hot coffee with nut pods

-vegetable soup

-apple pie bar

-Tropical smoothie (peaches, banana, strawberry, ice, water)

-Watermelon

-Quiche with hash-brown crust

Day 30

-Quiche with hash brown crust

-Homemade Zoe’s kitchen grilled potato salad

-Tortilla chips

-Watermelon

-2 cups hot coffee with nut pods

-Roasted Pumpkin pie spice pecans

-Vegetable soup

-Tortilla chips

Since my husband is NOT a vegetarian I also made a few special things for him along the way- his favorite being buffalo wings for the first Football Saturday of the season.

If you want any recipes that you see in this post just let me know and I’ll send them to you!

4 Month Old Daily Routine

I remember someone asking me what Belle’s nap times were when she was around one month old. I must have looked like a deer in headlights! She had no schedule! She slept when she wanted, ate when she wanted, etc. I panicked thinking I was messing up because we didn’t have a routine. Of course I took to Google right away and learned that I wasn’t the only mommy without a schedule at this age.

I also remember the first time (around 2 months old) that I got Belle to sleep and put her in her bassinet upstairs AND THEN went back downstairs and got stuff done! That seemed insane! Up until that point she was still on two hour feedings so we always kept her downstairs in a swing until we were ready to go to bed.

It was around month 4 that I could see a pattern in her daily schedule. I could start to predict when she would want a nap and how long she would probably sleep for. This makes SUCH a huge difference in our day. Knowing that I have a set couple of hours to myself every morning is priceless. If your little one isn’t quite there yet use this as encouragement! The time is coming and it is glorious!

Our Routine

8:30am- Wake up for the day. Usually Belle will wake up and start talking to herself- this is my sign to sneak out of bed and get ready for the day without her noticing me.

8:45am- I get her from her pack-n-play, lots of talking, change her diaper. I’ll see if she wants a bottle at this time (it’s 50/50.)

9am- We head downstairs. Belle sits in a fun seat or bouncer while I make myself breakfast and coffee. Sometimes I’ll put her seat in the kitchen so she can see me. Sometimes I turn on a learning video for babies from Netflix and just face her away from it so she can’t see but she can hear the songs.

9:20am- I eat/ sip on coffee in the living room while she sits in her seat facing me. We do a lot of silly talk or practicing “Ma ma ma ma” during this time. She’s a wiggle worm so I give her lots of time in the mornings to stretch.

10am- She usually starts to get fussy and that’s my sign that it’s time for a nap. I give her a full bottle while I rock in her bedroom. Once she falls asleep I put her in her crib to nap. I take this time to clean up the downstairs/ unload the dishwasher/ pay bills/ make the bottles for the day/ laundry/ respond to emails/ etc. Side note- she would NOT sleep in her crib at all until about 2 weeks ago. I kept trying it and she would wake up every single time- it was exhausting! Now she takes all of her day time naps in there.

12pm/12:30pm- Belle wakes up. I like to go into her room and rub her back and talk sweetly to her. Then I roll her over and tell her everything we’re going to do that day. I know she can’t understand me, but I think it’s a good time for her to hear words as well as for both of us to get into the routine of letting her know what to expect each day- I feel this is very important for children! I’m usually greeted with lots of big smiles and adoring eyes during this time so I love it!

12:45pm- Change her diaper and get dressed for the day. Give her a bottle.

1:15pm- Play in her room, tummy time, look at toys, practice sitting up, lots of talking. We always have music on so we sing and I dance around with her. I also like to straighten up her room and put her laundry away during this time. Sometimes we FaceTime daddy to see how his day is going. In the picture below we put together her high chair during this time.

2:15pm- This is usually our “go out” time: the thrift store, the post office, Aldi, surprise daddy at work. I can’t wait for the weather to cool down so we can go to the zoo or on long walks! At some point while we’re gone she will want a bottle and she will fall asleep until we get home (usually around a 45 minute nap.)

4pm- Back Home. We change her diaper and go to her room to wiggle for a while since she’s been in her car seat/carrier. We lay on the floor or rock and read lots of books until daddy comes home.

5pm- Jeff usually arrives home. He takes Belle while I cook dinner. They play in the living room, FaceTime family, Jeff plays the guitar for her. She gets a bottle.

*I love this crazy hair!*

5:30pm- Eat dinner. (Belle sits in her chair/bouncy or rolls around on a blanket on the floor.) Sometimes she sneaks in a 30 minute nap.

6pm- If the weather is nice we go on a long family walk. If the weather isn’t cooperating then we just take turns entertaining Belle while we watch something on tv together.

7pm- Belle gets her diaper changed and her pajamas on. Usually I feed her a bottle while I rock her in her room and Jeff gets our room ready for her (carries up bottles and formula, makes sure the temperature is correct, fan is on, lights are off, sound machine on.)

7:30pm- I carry her upstairs to our room and put her in her pack n play.

After she goes to bed we straighten up the house, wash all her bottles, I repack her diaper bag, soak anything of Belle’s that needs it.

8:30pm- We usually watch tv or play on our phones (just keepin’ it real.)

10:30pm- Wash my face/ Brush my teeth/ Shower/ pajamas.

11pm- In bed. Looking at my to-do list. Writing a blog (currently happening.) On Pinterest looking for recipes and making shopping lists on my phone.

If I’m lucky, I fall asleep around midnight.

Belle usually wakes up 2-3 times a night and we take turns getting her. She will want to eat and be cuddled then she’ll go back down- it’s usually a 20ish minute process.

And then our day starts over in the morning!

Of course some days are different because we have church/ events or we add in her bath. This is our typical day to day schedule though!

365 Days of 27

27.

This year I learned how to be a mom.

The end.

Ok, just kidding. But if I thought writing this blog in the past and focusing on ME as ME and not “me as a wife” was hard, trying not to focus on “me as a mom” is just as difficult!

The truth is, being a wife and mom are part of who I AM. It’s who I’ve chosen to be. So some of my learned things this year might be intertwined with those facts.

365 days of lessons:

-I actually do like blueberries (not just ones cooked in baked goods but fresh!)

-I’m worth splurging on myself once in a while.

-I’m still not a natural runner but I am a natural walker.

-Iced mochas are a thing and I’m a fan.

-Scrunchies are my favorite hair accessory.

-I hate people burping and passing gas just as much as I always have.

-Brunch is my favorite meal.

-I’m good at following a recipe and enjoy cooking when I have a dishwasher.

-I’m still terrible with technology and expect Jeff to know how to to figure out any electronic wish I have.

-Less is more. Living in a clutter free home makes me sooo much happier!

-Crafts and baking are stress relievers for me. (Maybe more so the eating of the baked goods so I’m trying to work on making sure I give away the rest after I try them.)

-I don’t want a pet.

-Fruit flies will make me LOSE MY MIND.

-I can trust some other people and there are people interested in me with purely good intentions.

-Some relationships are worth fighting for.

-I think my love language has switched from solely quality time to an even 25% of each one. I’m not sure if that is harder or easier for on my husband.

-I should probably go to the eye doctor

-If I want good friends I have to BE a good friend.

-Still terrible with confrontation for my own fights but I will go to BATTLE for my loved ones.

-Sometimes it’s worth it just to pop a Tylenol and not let a headache turn into a migraine or my restless legs keep me up for hours.

-I am privileged. And I don’t need to have to feel guilty about that, but I have to do my part in advocating and educating.

-Pizza in a clean hotel room is about as good as it gets.

-Washing my face every night makes me feel SO much better.

-I should really floss more often.

-Vegetables can taste good and I’ve learned how to add more of them into my diet.

-I can cut up a watermelon pretty quickly.

-It’s ok to take help from others and…dare I say it…if I forget to write a “Thank You” Card most people won’t hold it against me.

-Vacations are worth saving up for.

-After years of trying to convince myself otherwise, I’ve decided that if it’s almond milk or no milk I would rather have no milk.

-Shots aren’t near as bad as I make them out to be.

-Sharing a pot of tea with Jeff over conversation might be my favorite thing ever. Or getting a Dr. Pepper and going for a drive.

I think I’ve generally become a more easy going person. I believe in leading with love. I believe hardly anything in life is black and white (except people. Because although the “I’m colorblind” statement is a sweet sentiment, it’s not helpful. But that’s another story.)

This year was one for the books! We bought a house, were blessed with the sweetest baby girl, my husband took a full time job that allowed us to stay in a city we love and I get to be a full time stay at home while selling on eBay! So 28, I’ll take another year like 27 please!

Belle’s Birth Story

Bellemme Grace

Due: April 3, 2019

Born: April 8, 2019

At our 20 week anatomy ultrasound the technician told us baby GIRL was about a week ahead of schedule on the size charts. This was super surprising to us since I had been measuring a bit small up until this point. We were so excited we might get to meet our bundle earlier than expected!

We creeped closer and closer to my “new” due date…until we passed it. At my 39 week appointment baby girl was still sitting high and seemed very content in the womb. Of course I couldn’t wait to meet her, but I also loved being pregnant so I wasn’t in a super rush to evict her. Our doctors were comfortable with us going one week over our due date- knowing this we decided to go ahead and set an induction date. By setting one ahead of time (but still hoping baby would come on her own) they were able to reserve a private room for us so we didn’t spend any time in triage.

*Triage at our hospital was a small room with curtain dividers that women hang out in until they are in active labor*

After my 40 week appointment I started getting really nervous about the thought of induction. I had read MANY induction birth stories and pitocin was often described as “the devil drug.” So yeah, I’d like to pass on that if possible. Between my Wednesday appointment and our Scheduled Sunday induction I did all of the suggested things- drank specific tea, walked liked crazy, climbed up and down stairs, ate spicy food, etc. But alas, the little lady decided she wasn’t coming out without some assistance.

Sunday at 5pm we checked into the hospital. From the minute we walked in the door it was go time! We barely got our stuff set down before the first nurse was (trying) to put my IV in. After two tries in my hand a new nurse came and was able to get it in my forearm. If you have an option, I would definitely recommend asking for your IV to be in your arm instead of hand- this allows you to move your hand easier which helps with many things but especially holding your new baby!

7pm- Once my IV was in place, the next step was to have Cervidil inserted. Cervidil is used to ripen and soften the cervix which will hopefully trigger your body into beginning labor on its own. Within minutes of my Cervidil being inserted I began having contractions that I couldn’t feel. We ate dinner, watched tv, and decided to try and get a good nights sleep knowing that the plan was to check me early the next morning for progress.

Jeff fell asleep on the couch in our room and I was just about to dose off when things got interesting.

12am- I’m starting to feel contractions. As weird as this may seem, I was so excited! There was a small chance that the Cervidil could progress me enough that pitocin wouldn’t have to be used- I was hoping this was a sign towards that! I can still drift in and out of sleep at this point.

2am-6am. Ok. This hurts. I really wanted to wake Jeff up so he could be with me but I knew I would need him 100% during active labor so I thought it was best to let him rest now. For these four hours I clung to the bedrail with my arms wrapped around both sides.

6am- My nurse came in and took out the Cervidil and I was told to get in the shower and clean off before we got things “started.” “STARTED”?! I thought we WERE “started.”

I have a pretty high pain tolerance and I’m pretty sure my husband has seen me cry 3 times in the 10 years we’ve been together (it’s just who I am) but at this point I cried to Jeff that I “just wanted to be sitting on the sectional together at home watching tv.” After about 30 seconds of that I pulled myself together and waited for the nurse to come back.

7am- pitocin begins. I’m not going to sugar coat this for you so if you’ve got a baby on the horizon and don’t want the truth, now is the time to turn back. Exit out of this page.

If you’re still with me- here we go!

7:15am- Within minutes of the pitocin starting in my IV the contractions were INTENSE. I was mostly still holding onto the bedrails and working through things on my own. I could talk and answer questions.

10am- When they checked my dilation and I was only at a 5 I told the nurse to go ahead and call for an epidural since I had been told it could take quite a while for or an anesthesiologist to make their way up to me.

10am-11:15am- My head is pushed into the side of the bed, I’m holding Jeff’s hands (probably breaking them) and trying to calmly ask the nurse if she’s heard from the anesthesiologist. She can tell I’m in excruciating pain and decides to stop the pitocin until we can get an epidural. Even though she cut the pitocin off from my IV the contractions aren’t slowing down any.

11:15am- The anesthesiologist arrives. I am TERRIFIED of needles but (as I had heard from other people) at this point you DO NOT CARE. I’ve never been so happy to see a doctor in my entire life. Curling up like a cat on the edge of the bed is not easy during contractions and I was SO glad that I had watched videos ahead of time on the correct form because in that moment I wouldn’t have been able to concentrate enough to figure out what the doctor was wanting from me. It took three tries before he could get the needle in place. They rub something on your back that is suppose to numb the area before it’s inserted but it wasn’t working. I was wenching but when he would ask me what hurt all I could get out was the word “pain.” After a few minutes the medicine started to kick in and while I was still feeling the contractions, the intensity had gone down tremendously so my nurse began the pitocin again.

10 minutes after my epidural was inserted I developed what they called a “hot spot.” This basically means that one spot on my body had not been numbed and was feeling ALL of the pain.

It. Was. Horrible.

They called the anesthesiologist back and he upped my medicine but nothing was working. By this point the entire epidural had worn off (30 minutes after it was inserted.)

Pitocin + No Epidural = I’m dying. I’m sure of it.

11:45am- I’ve pretty much blacked out at this point. Jeff says I was praying out loud but I don’t remember. All of a sudden my body is shaking like I’m in The North Pole. When I ask the nurse about this she tells me it’s a sign that it’s almost time. Within minutes the feeling to push that I had heard others talk about was very clear! Everything happened so fast that I could tell my nurse was a little panicked. About 30 seconds later there was a team of hospital staff in my room. I was using all of the breathing techniques they taught us in class and Jeff was a ROCKSTAR husband!

12:25pm- Pushing begins. After 20 minutes we can see the doctors looking at each other strangely. The nurse watching the heart rate monitors is giving them signals and while she’s trying to stay calm we can see the panic on her face as she catches the eyes of the doctors. Our hospital door opens and in come three more people while my doctor tells me that baby’s heart rate is dropping and we have to get her out fast. There’s a nurse at my head putting an oxygen mask over my face between pushes to try and get some help to baby. There are roughly 18 people in the room now. My doctor tells me we are going to use a vacuum on the next set of pushes.

12:47pm- Bellemme Grace is here. The feeling of complete exhaustion and new love consume me. I can’t get over Jeff’s face as we see our daughter for the first time. I look over and one of the nurses has my phone in her hand and is taking pictures of these first moments with our girl. After a few minutes of skin to skin Jeff takes her for all of her measurements and checks while I’m taken care of.

I had a 3rd degree tear requiring 37 stitches. If you have time for one thing before your baby is born I strongly encourage you to make some DIY padsickles (instructions on Pinterest.) They saved my life!

After an hour of stitches I got Belle back and we contacted our families to let them know she had been born!

Some nurses are quick to take out your IV since it can be uncomfortable for the patient- I asked to have mine left in. My doctors were concerned I might need to receive blood since I had lost so much during delivery (thankfully I didn’t end up needing any.) I did however have to get my last dose of RhoGAM and I was able to ask for it to be given through my IV instead of having to be poked again. RhoGAM is a special shot that negative blood types receive during pregnancy and after delivery.

P.S. If you have negative blood and you ever experience a miscarriage it is VERY important that you receive one of these shots no matter how far along you were so make sure your doctor knows you are negative.

The rest of our hospital stay had its ups and downs that I might write about another time. I know I read TONS of birth stories before my delivery and learned a lot of helpful things so I hope this has been a good preparer for someone reading it!

If you want to know more about the products I used for recovery after tearing just send me a message and I would be happy to give you a list of life savers!

Before Baby To-Do List

There are plenty of “ahead of time” things you can do to make your hospital stay as well as bringing home your new bundle go smoother. Here’s a list of some of the things I did that I found super helpful!

1.) When you get home from the hospital (one of) the last things you’ll want is to realize you are out of some basic necessities. We stocked up on:

⁃ toilet paper, hand sanitizer, hand soap, paper towels (we switched to these for company so we didn’t have multiple people using the same hand towels.)

2.) I cleaned up our house each evening before bed. Since we didn’t know when I would go into labor this was the easiest way to guarantee a clean house for our company and for me to come home to.

3.) Pack bags ahead of time and have a list of the items you can only pack last minute.

4.) Choose birth announcements and make a list of recipients. If you have the names written out and an address book you can give the task of filling out envelopes to a grandparent or visitor who wants a job to do!

P.S. We didn’t end up getting these ordered so if you’re wondering why you didn’t get one from us there’s your answer.

5.) Choose a photographer and be in contact about what you want/possible dates.

6.) Give parents/important guests directions to hospital and home info. Our parents were coming from out of state so we made sure they had all the info they needed and wouldn’t be trying to get ahold of us during a time when we couldn’t talk.

7.) Pre-register at the hospital so you aren’t filling out paperwork through contractions.

8.) Go to classes. Of course there are labor courses but there are also classes about what to expect when bringing baby home!

9.) Talk about “rules” for when you will be sharing information about baby and what all you will share. Type out your social media post and have it saved so you don’t have to think about it when the time comes. Also, make sure your family and any visitors know your preferences for what they can share and when.

10.) Make list of people to let know the news before they see it on social media or hear from someone else. It’s easy to forget someone important when you’ve got other things on your mind!

11.) Work things out with your job.

12.) Wash everything for baby- clothes, swaddles, crib sheets, towels, etc.

13.) Prepare meals, grocery items, etc. I’m a HUGE breakfast person so I did a LOT of baking to make sure I had somewhat healthy items I could unthaw or pop in the microwave with one hand. Below are the links for the recipes I made that I would recommend for making, freezing, and reheating!

https://pin.it/k2leaaoes72t3n

https://pin.it/zeswjklye37l5n

https://pin.it/7u6vc6b6vd6sbd

https://pin.it/kmcyz6rdgkehtj

https://pin.it/ioxzxutfiu5xjy

https://pin.it/d4z6zl6nydldvt

https://pin.it/roarcfaco2jygj

Planning ahead = More time for baby snuggles!

A Google Motherhood

Happy ONE MONTH to my best girl! I can’t believe how much I’ve learned about Belle in such a short amount of time. From night two at the hospital when the feeling of being overwhelmed consumed me to night 30 when I knew exactly how much time I had before her “warning whimpering” turned to a full “I’m hungry NOW cry” we’ve come a long way!

I thought it would be fun to look back at my google history and see some of the things I searched in the first month regarding recovery/motherhood. The things on this list don’t even include what I looked up on Pinterest, in my mommy apps, in paperwork from my doctors, what I asked Jeff to search, or what I asked my friends, sisters, or the grandmas about. Baby information is often not black and white which makes it extra tricky!

So, to be transparent and maybe eye opening for soon to be mommy’s- here is my list exactly as searched and in order from first to most recent.

•21 stitches at birth

•Easiest foods to digest

•Using the restroom after tearing during childbirth

•Perineal cold pack (Amazon)

•Recovering from 3rd degree tear

•Jaundice

•Newborn won’t stop crying

•Nighttime nanny

•Dealing with postpartum depression

•Baby blues

•Witch hazel

•Sitting with stitches after birth

•Groups for new moms Kansas City

•Vacuum used during labor

•Similac pro advance formula

•2oz premade formula bottle

•Can you drive after a 3rd degree tear

•Peri bottle

•Can baby sleep in momaroo

•My milk came in overnight

•Baby formula calculator

•Newborn hasn’t pooped in 24 hours

•Sit a baby in the sun for jaundice

•Sleepers that zip from the top down

•Working out after 3rd degree tear

•Skin darkens during pregnancy

•Will melasma go away

•How to get newborn to sleep

•Losing your belly when you can’t exercise

•Water for mixing formula

•Sleeping with baby on chest

•How long do stitches take to dissolve

•Similac coupons

•Stomach cramps 6 days after giving birth

•How old can baby be to take them out

•Dry skin on baby belly

•What should baby wear in 70 degree weather

•Newborn peeling lips

•Red bumps on baby private parts

•1 week postpartum inside of heels hurts

•How long will I bleed after birth

•What do you do all day with a baby

•Cluster feeding

•Just had a baby and keep dreaming husband cheats on me

•Newborn eyelashes

•Missing my husband after baby

•Blood clot after birth

•If I had to use a vacuum during birth will I always

•Birth stories

•Baby projectile spit up

•Bob revolution stroller

•Shaking during labor

•How to fold Chicco keyfit stroller

•Newborn diaper weight chart

•Does passing gas count as a burp

•Aldi diaper cream

•Aquaphor diaper cream

•Diaper rash

•Summer bassinet

•Tighten skin after baby

•Car seat cover

•If my first baby had hair will my others

•What to expect at 6 week postpartum checkup

•What should newborn sleep in at night

•Fisher price rocker

•Boba wrap newborn

•Caring for husband after birth

•Show your husband he’s important after birth

•Cheapest place to get diapers 2019

•Diaper reviews 2019

•How to clean bottles while traveling

•Stork bite on eyelid

•Onyx infant life jacket

•Co sleeper bassinet

•Baby feels hot but not sick

•How to hold anti colic bottles

•How long can a formula bottle sit at room temperature

•Easiest pacifiers for newborns

•When can I stop waking baby to feed at night

•Land diaper bag

•Women describe what labor actually feels like

•When to start using blooming bath

•Huggies wipes prices

•Epidural cost

•Ez pz plates

•Once upon a giggle diapers

•Kids shoe size conversion chart

•What to do when people want to hold baby

•Bottle stickers for baby

•When does baby stop sleeping all day

•My baby will only sleep when being held

•Baby carrier for summer

What are some of your most surprising or craziest things you searched when first taking on a little one?

Budget Friendly Nursery

*Any negative or “advicey” comments will be deleted*

Moving on:

When we found out we were pregnant there was about a month left of yard sale season. I was struggling to have the desire to buy things for the baby because I wasn’t letting myself get too attached at this point. If you’ve kept up with us in the past you know that our first pregnancy ended in miscarriage- so with only being about 5-9 weeks along during yard sale season I didn’t see the point in buying a bunch of baby stuff we might not get to use. (Side note- how sick is that?! The anxiety and feelings that come after a loss are so cruel! I’m actually in the process of writing a blog about this, too so be on the lookout.)

Anyways, I decided I would just start by making a list of what we would need for a baby and then on that list I would put a little star next to the items we would be fine with buying used. I wrote down everything I thought we needed (HA!) and then went on Pinterest to look at other peoples lists so I could see if I forgot anything.

YALLLLLL. THESE LITTLE HUMANS REQUIRE SO MUCH STUFF!

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of items on lists that I don’t think you have to have as well as a lot of items that are nice but not necessities. There are however still a ton of things baby actually needs.

I added a million items to my list and now had nearly two notebook pages filled out front and back. I assumed we would have at least one shower along the way at some point but I also knew that it was up to us to come up with a large portion of these items. One quick google search of “Cribs” or “Rocker” and all your eyes see are dollar signs 💵 I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap but my gosh- just the nursery furniture alone adds up FAST.

According to The Bump the average person will spend $2,000 on nursery furniture. In this amount they included – crib, changing table, dresser, rocker (not a big, soft rocker recliner- a regular rocker), rug, diaper pail, lamp, bookshelf, and sheets.

That’s gonna be a no. I wanted my baby to have everything she needs (and everything I want in order to have a Pinterest worthy nursery) but my budget friendly mindset wasn’t feeling this $2,000 price point.

Because of this, I started letting myself look at yard sales for these items but honestly didn’t have too much luck. Why is it that when you don’t want to find baby stuff you pull up to a sale and all they have are onesies but then when you need it there’s none to be found? Anyone else feel this way? Thankfully there are lots of ways to find used items these days- craigslist, Facebook marketplace, consignment shops, swap and shop websites, neighborhood email lists, etc.

READ CAREFULLY- There are many items that you do not want to purchase used for your baby! Some items have expiration dates. Do your research and decide what you feel comfortable buying secondhand.

Bellemme Graces Nursery Breakdown

•Crib ($Free) – I saw this crib in a yard sale listing that I wasn’t able to attend. After the sale I messaged the seller and asked if it was still available and she said yes! We ended up buying our coffee table, end table, and hamper from them and the crib was free!

•Crib Mattress ($Free) – Given to us by someone from church.

•Bookshelf (-$5) – Yard sale find.

•Changing Table ($Free) – Our church received a newer changing table so they gave this one to us. Some paint and tightening the screws and it was good to go. A lady in the church office also gave us the pad for on top.

•Dresser ($Free) – This was my dad (and most of his siblings) dresser when they were babies. My parents had it for years and then were going to put it in a yard sale so I snatched it up and used paint I already had.

•Handles for dresser (-$10) – Walmart

•Rocker Recliner (-$99) – Craigslist

•Nightstand (-$5) – Goodwill Outlet

•Rug (-$40) – Facebook Marketplace

Total $159

*The $2,000 average price included the sheets, diaper pail, and lamp but we didn’t purchase those items ourselves.*

Obviously not everyone can find all of those items so cheap or free- but the point for us was to be willing to search for them. Be patient! You have many months to furnish your nursery so don’t feel the need to go out and buy everything from Target at 8 weeks along. Take your time and buy a piece here and there when an awesome deal comes up. Look EVERY single day at the online resources. I think I missed out on about a dozen rockers before I was finally first in line.

It’s a double edged sword, but there are always people looking to get rid of baby stuff that has been sitting in their basement. If you’re willing to put up with the awkward “no thank you’s” to the items you don’t want/need then post on Facebook or let your church know what you’re looking for and you’ll more than likely get some good offers for free/inexpensive items you want!

I would LOVE to see yalls nurseries and hear any awesome stories of good deals you found while furnishing your rooms!