Monday, November 23, 2015

Welcome Baby Brennan! (A Birth Story)

For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook or Instagram (if you don’t follow me, you should!), we have a new baby in the house!  And it’s a BOY!


Brennan James was born Monday, November 16 at 2:55pm.  He weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces, and was 20 1/2 inches long with a 14 inch head circumference.

But let’s start at the beginning of the story.

I woke up Saturday morning feeling normal.  I got breakfast and then started doing some chores.  While I was folding clothes, I started getting a headache, so once I finished up, I came downstairs and laid down on the couch. 

It didn’t take me long to fall asleep.  When I woke up, my headache was gone, but in its place was back pain.  Jarrod chalked it up to sleeping on the couch instead of the bed.  I tried stretching my back, but it wasn’t helping.

After a while, I went upstairs to lay down in my bed.  And it still didn’t help.  After I put Evelyn down for her nap, I went and got in our jacuzzi tub thinking it would give me some relief.  It didn’t help either, and by this time I was in so much pain, I was almost in tears.

The pain was localized to my left side, so I didn’t think that it was back labor, but I called the on-call OB anyway.  She said that she thought it sounded like a muscle issue, but she wanted me to come into the hospital to get checked out anyway.

Once we got to the hospital and up to L&D, I had to pee in a cup.  When I saw that my urine was almost brown, I knew it wasn’t a muscle issue.

The nurse told me that it was probably either a kidney infection or kidney stones.

Since it looked like I wasn’t going to be sent home anytime soon, I moved from the triage room to a regular room.  A tech came to my room for an ultrasound.  It was Saturday evening before the radiologists report showed up.  It was in fact kidney stones.  Two in my left kidney, and one in my ureter – a 12mm one.  The urologist was going to come in on Sunday to discuss my situation with the OB.

I was started on IV pain meds soon after I got to the hospital.  They helped the pain, but they also totally knocked me out.  Not to mention, they made me horribly sick.  I lost count of how many barf bags I went through.


The urologist came by Sunday afternoon to talk to us about our options.  He seemed to lean toward placing a stint in, sending me home, and dealing with the stone once the baby came.  But a stint requires anesthesia, and the OB wasn’t too excited about that option – along with the fact that this particular option would leave me on pain meds longer than she liked.  So they decided that it would be best to induce labor and then blast the stone after the baby was born.

So it was time to switch rooms again – this time to a nice big labor and delivery room.  I would be going for a VBAC.

Sunday night was just spent trying to get my cervix ready.  By using a balloon that they stuck inside me.  It was NOT the most comfortable thing.

Monday morning, the midwife came in, checked me (I was at 4cm), and got the pitocin started (the balloon had fallen out on its own once I started dilating).

I spent the next four hours on the birthing ball or in the rocking chair with my nurse coming in every 30 minutes or so to up my pitocin.  Contractions were getting a little harder and about 4 minutes apart, but I thought I was doing great.


At noon, my midwife came in to check me.  I was at a 5.  Ugh!  One centimeter in four hours!  So she broke my water.

Holy guacamole!  After breaking my water, contractions came HARD and FAST.  I couldn’t hardly catch my breath between them.  So, I decided to ask for an epidural.  I had to get IV fluids pumped fast for 30 minutes before it could be placed.  30 HARD minutes.

The anesthesiologist came in and didn’t have any trouble placing my epidural.  But I was only feeling the epidural on my right side.  The needle was in perfectly, so I was given another dose of the epidural and turned onto my left side.

Once the epidural had spread to my left side, my nurse helped me turn back on my back and checked me.  It was go time!  She went and grabbed the midwife and a couple more nurses.  One for the baby and one to man the camera (it was a slow day on the L&D floor).

I decided to ask for a mirror for this birth.  I had never given any thought to using a mirror before, but since this is our last kiddo (99% sure), I thought it would be neat.  And I’m so glad that I did it!

After 13 minutes of pushing, we had our baby!  And then we got to find out the gender!


I’m so glad that we decided to be surprised by the gender.  It was so fun and such a great moment!


We had about an hour of bonding time before Brennan was taken over to the warming table to get his stats taken, eye ointment, and Hep B shot. 

That is Brennan’s hand – promise!


Once Brennan was done getting checked out, my parents and the kids were at the hospital.  The kids were excited to find out if they had a brother or sister!


Trenton and Charlotte are so in love with their little brother!  Evelyn liked seeing him, but was more interested in the cake ball Daddy gave her.  And getting to see Mommy again!


My parents and the kids stayed until about dinner time, and then headed on their way.

My delivery team came back in to take a picture and to get some cake balls for themselves.  I absolutely loved my team.  I’ve liked all of my deliveries – come on, I got four great kids out of them – but this was by far my best experience.  I am so thankful for a successful VBAC and a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and baby!


Because of my double dose of epidural, it took quite some time for me to get the feeling back in my legs.  Once I did get feeling back, I was wheeled down to radiology for a CT scan.

Monday night went well.  Brennan was up a couple times to eat, and was wide awake for a little while, but he never really fussed much.


The urologist came by to visit me Tuesday after lunch.  The CT scan didn’t show the 12mm stone anymore!  I had passed a couple itty bitty stones since being admitted to the hospital, so the doctor thought that it broke up on its own.

Brennan has a new nickname.


Tuesday night was another good night.  I enjoyed some quiet cuddle time with Brennan (I knew that quiet time would be hard to come by when got home), and he had another good night.


Wednesday was release day.  Brennan and I were both given the green light, but the discharge process took quite some time.  Soon after lunch, we were on our way home though.


This little boy is such an amazing blessing to our family!  I am so thankful that he is here and healthy!  He’ll fit right in with our craziness!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Gender Predictions

Okay.  We’re getting to crunch time.  At least I hope we are!

So it’s time to get those gender predictions in!

Will Baby #4 be a girl or a boy?

Gender Prediction Tests
A big THANKS to my mom for making these adorable hats for us!

I thought it would be fun to put some old wives tales to the test to see if they leaned one way or the other.  Here’s what I found.

Baking Soda:
Pour your urine into a clear cup containing two tablespoons baking soda.  If it fizzes like soda, it’s a boy.  If it’s flat, it’s a girl.

Result: I had fizzy baking soda pee – BOY


Red Cabbage:
Chop up a head of red cabbage and put in a bowl.  Pour boiling water over it and let sit for ten minutes.  After ten minutes, strain out cabbage and pour water into a clear cup.  Pee in a separate container.  Mix equal parts cabbage water and pee.  If it turns red or pink, it’s a boy.  If it’s violet, it’s a girl.

Result: Violet – GIRL


Ring on a String:
Tie a string around your wedding ring and hold it over your belly.  If it moves from side to side, it’s a boy.  If it moves in a circle, it’s a girl.

Result: Circle – GIRL


Odd/Even Mayan System:
Legend has it that Mayans determined a baby’s gender by looking at the mother’s age at conception and the year of conception.  If both are even or odd, it’s a girl.  If one’s even and one’s odd, it’s a boy.

Result: 31 and 2015 – GIRL


Chinese Gender Chart:
This chart, which was found in an ancient royal tomb in Beijing, is said to be over 90% accurate in predicting a baby’s gender.  You find your age at conception and the month of conception.  The calendar converts it, and voila!, you have your answer.

Result: BOY

They say that girls steal their mother’s beauty, so a woman carrying a girl tends to have acne.

Result: BOY


There was one more test that I found.  It involved mixing urine and Drano which the site said isn’t safe for pregnant women because of the fumes it gives off.  And since Jarrod is in D.C. for work, I didn’t want to make my mom do experiments with my pee.  So that one just didn’t get done!  Too bad because we obviously could have used a tie-breaker!

So what do you think?  Will Baby #4 be a boy or a girl?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween 2015 & The Switch Witch

It’s always a three-ring circus around here, and this year we decided to showcase that for Halloween!

Meet the circus strong man, the clown, and the elephant!


Our area doesn’t do trick-or-treating on weekends, so it was on Thursday here.

Evelyn wasn’t too sure about her elephant head at first, but once she got into walking up and down driveways to get candy, she forgot about trying to rip it off her head.  It was cold out though, and she has an ear infection, so I brought her back home after a couple blocks.

Trenton, Charlotte, and Jarrod stayed out the whole two hours though!  Last year we only did one hour, so we had double the amount of candy this year.  Yikes!

We certainly do not need that much candy in our house, so tonight we are getting a visit from the Switch Witch.  I found this idea on Pinterest, and Trenton is super excited about it.  Charlotte took some convincing though.  First because she didn’t want to get rid of her candy – which is kind of surprising since she’s not my sweets lover.  Then once she got over that, went through her bag, picked out a few favorites, and put the rest in the bag for the Switch Witch, she decided that she was scared to have a witch in the house – even though I told her that the Switch Witch is actually the Tooth Fairy’s sister.  So instead of Charlotte putting her bag on her bed, she’s leaving it downstairs on the table.


Hopefully the kids will like what they get from the Switch Witch and we can start doing this every year.  Because I can’t even imagine how much candy we’ll wind up with when all four kids are trick-or-treating!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Numbers Game–A Very Confusing Pregnancy Update

So here’s me today before my doctor appointment.


I’m 34 weeks.

Or maybe I’m 36 1/2 weeks.

Who knows….

Because of my issues with my pregnancy with Charlotte, I had an ultrasound last week to check my amniotic fluid and how the baby was growing.  I definitely don’t have to worry about this kiddo being growth restricted.  It was already weighing around 5 pounds, 11 ounces!  All of the measurements showed that the baby is about 2 1/2 weeks ahead of schedule.

So today was my doctor appointment.  I was thinking that the midwife would probably change my due date and we’d do normal 36 week appointment stuff (strep test, check for dilation, etc.), but no.  This late in the game, they don’t officially change due dates.  She does agree that my original dates are probably off and I’m actually closer to what the ultrasound showed though.  Which makes sense since I’ve already noticed some signs of labor getting closer.  But even though she thinks that I’m more in line with my ultrasound results, we still didn’t do any of the 36 week check-up stuff, and I don’t go back for another two weeks.

I know that no one really ever knows when their baby is going to decide to make his/her debut, but with three other kids at home and all of our family living 20+ hours away, it does make things a bit stressful to have the conflicting dates.  Thankfully we have some great friends here who have offered to help with the kids if the little nugget decides to show up before my parents make it out here.

Now to finish getting my to-do list done before he/she arrives….

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Becoming Old Hat–Daddy Daughter Dance 2015

Jarrod and Charlotte attended a Daddy Daughter Dance that the parent organization at the school put on last Friday night.

This is Charlotte’s fifth such event, and she’s getting to be a pro at it!


And gosh – look how much she’s grown up!

Charlotte looks forward to Daddy Daughter Dances just as much as she looks forward to her birthday or Christmas.

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This particular dance included an Italian dinner, a chocolate fountain, photo booth, and a lot of dancing with Daddy and classmates.


As much fun as Charlotte has at these events, I think that Jarrod looks forward to them just as much as she does.  He had planned on a taking a hunting trip last weekend, but when he found out about the dance, he cancelled his plans right away.


He’s a keeper for sure!

Friday, October 9, 2015

What’s Wrong with this Picture? (Navy Ball 2015)

Before Jarrod and I left for the Navy Ball on Saturday, Charlotte insisted on taking a picture with us.


Ummm…I think she forgot to do something!  Or maybe she ate too much at the birthday party she went to earlier in the afternoon!

I, once again, rented my dress from Rent the Runway.  I was a little nervous because RTR doesn’t have actual maternity dresses.  I ordered two different dress, both a size up from what I normally wear, and prayed that one of them would fit.

And they both fit!  I was left trying to decide which I should go with.

I ultimately decided on this navy one.  I got so many compliments on it and my bump!  And it was pretty comfortable for being 31 weeks pregnant!

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We had a really nice time at the ball.  My phone stayed tucked away in my purse pretty much the whole time, but I managed to snap one pic that night.


Yep, important stuff right there!  Jarrod and I shared a slice after dinner, and it tasted just as good as it looked too!

Last year we pretty much shut down the Navy Ball.  This year, being well into my third trimester made for a little different night.  So no dancing with the JROTC teenyboppers this year.  We managed to get home before the kids were even asleep (they were supposed to be asleep, but the babysitter hadn’t gotten them down yet).  And it was halftime of the Aggie game, so we got to watch the second half!  Whoop! 

Even though we didn’t party it up this year, we still had a good time at the Navy Ball and can’t wait until the Supply Corps Ball in a few months!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Another Weekend of Fall Fun

We spent last weekend enjoying the fall temperatures with Mimi and Pops.  We were so excited to have family out here!  My parents were here for about a week and a half, and my aunt was out for a few days during the middle of the week.  It’s hard not being close to family, so we try to take full advantage of our time with family when we do get to see them.

Last Saturday my parents, Jarrod, the kids, and I went out to Amish Country to catch a ride on the Strasburg Railroad

It was a great way to see the countryside, and everyone had a blast!  We even heard a ghost story!


After our train ride (45 minutes roundtrip), lunch, and some play time around the station, we drove a short way to an Amish farm.  I’ve been to a few Amish farms, shops, etc, but this one took the cake.  We were able to go into the shop where they do their woodwork/crafts.  There was no one working in the wood bard while we were there, but it was neat to see all of their tools and equipment.

Then we went around the corner into another barn.  The kids were super excited to see miniature horses!

They loved the little horses, and were even able to ride one!  But only one kid was brave enough to feed a horse…


After leaving the farm, we stopped at a roadside market to look around then headed home for dinner and some Aggie football.

Sunday we went out for brunch after church and then Charlotte, Mimi, and I went to Meadowbrooke Gourds for their annual fall fest.


One of the main events was decorating gourds.  They had all kinds of patterns to use, but Charlotte wanted to do her own thing.  She’s my creative soul!


Her gourd person turned out really cute, and she’s excited that it will last a LOT longer than a painted pumpkin.

We also walked around the gourd shop, where Charlotte wanted almost every gourd she saw.  Mimi wound up buying some gourd seeds, so Charlotte is looking forward to us decorating some of Mimi’s gourds.  Charlotte also wants to have a gourd painting party for her 6th birthday.  She is apparently into all things gourd right now!

We were sad to have our family go home, but we had a great time while they were visiting, and we can’t wait to see them all again when Baby #4 arrives!