From One To Two - Labor and Delivery

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It has been a couple months since my last "From One To Two" post!  I apologize to you mamas who were waiting on me all this time.  Now that gender reveal and Christmas craziness is over, I'm finally getting back to this series!  Today I'm going to talk about what to do with your older child{ren} when you go into labor and right after the baby is born.

This is obviously going to be a little different for each family depending on the situation, but here are the main things to have in order before you go into labor, plus some other random tips.

Find someone to watch the older child while you are in labor or at the hospital/birthing center. 

 This is going to look different depending on what kind of birth you are planning to have, but it's best to have someone there for your older child.  I think it would be a little overwhelming, especially for younger children, to see their mama in so much pain.  Having someone take care of your older child during labor/delivery is a good thing (unless they are old enough that you want them to participate in the birth).  If you are going to a hospital/birthing center you need someone to stay with your child.  Or if you are having a home birth I think it would be good to have someone there to take care of and distract the older child (since you and your husband will be occupied with, you know, having a baby).

 Don't wait too long to call your child's care person.  

This is probably just me speaking from my crazy labor experience, but it's better to have whoever is taking care of your child come over a little early (or take your child early on if they are going to someone's house).  Especially if the care person lives more than 15 minutes away.  Play it safe so that you don't end up going from contractions-12-minutes-apart to ready-to-push in the span of an hour, leaving for the hospital too late because you didn't call your person soon enough, and having the baby on the highway.  Ahem.

Think about how you want your child to meet the new baby and plan it out.  

I think it's important to make a plan for how you want this to go, because if you just fly by the seat of your pants and the first meeting doesn't go well . . . well, postpartum hormones are flowing, my friends.  You don't want to be disappointed with something like this with those hormones raging.  For us, we planned to have my mom bring Wyatt to the hospital first thing after Gwen was born, then Derek went out into the hall and brought Wyatt in so that we could introduce him to the new baby without distractions.  It was important to us to have Wyatt be the first one to meet her.  Our plan went off without a hitch.

Make sure to give the older child some love when you see them again after delivery.  

I made sure that Gwen was safely in her hospital basinet when Wyatt came in so he could climb onto my lap and I could give him a big hug.  Derek picked Gwen up and introduced her to Wyatt while he sat with me.  I think it's important to let them know that they are still your baby too, and they haven't been replaced by the new baby -  being available to hold them right away is a good way to do that.

Don't freak out if your child doesn't want much to do with the new baby at first.  

This is no indication of what kind of relationship they will have in the future!  Wyatt didn't want to touch Gwen when she was first born.  He just kind of looked at her.  I think it took almost a week before he finally reached out one finger and touched her head!  Don't push them, and don't worry about it, just let them adjust.

Should you bring anything for your older sibling to the hospital?  

I think it's a good idea to make sure you have a movie or a few toys for your older children in your hospital bag.  We had some alone time with just the four of us in the hospital before the visitors started streaming in, and we put on one of Wyatt's movies and just snuggled in the hospital bed.  It was a special time for us, and it made it more fun for Wyatt.

I would not recommend having your older child stay the night in the hospital with you.  

I don't think most moms would want that anyway, but it's just not a good idea.  They won't sleep, you will sleep even less, and nobody will have fun.

Should you buy a big brother or big sister gift for your child?  

We didn't, but that's only because my family is really good about remembering to bring something for older siblings when a new baby is born.  Several of our relatives brought Wyatt a gift, in addition to the gift for the new baby.  I knew they would, so I didn't worry about it.  If you aren't sure if your family or friends are going to think of this, I think it would be good to have a little present on hand to give to your older child.  It's hard for a kid to watch a new baby get lots of gifts if they don't have anything to open themselves.

Bring them home together.  

This might not always work out, but after Gwen was born we met up with my mom to pick up Wyatt and then brought both the kiddos home together.  It was meaningful to me to have us all arrive home for the first time as a family.  I liked that Wyatt was a part of our ride home, instead of having him come home later with a new baby suddenly there.  It was good for family unity.  This isn't completely necessary, but I thought it was special, and I'd recommend arranging your plans this way if possible. 

Moms - anything else about labor/delivery/hospital stay that you thought was important?


Here is the itinerary for this series (so far). 

11/18/13 - It Is Not The Same

1/9/13 - Labor And Delivery (this post)

1/16/14 - Balancing Things At Home

1/23/14 - Out And About

1/30/14 - Ways To Make Your Oldest Feel Special

 If there is anything else you would be interested to see me cover, comment below! 

Winter First Birthday Party!

 Last weekend was Gwen's first birthday party!  As I've mentioned previously, I went back and forth on themes for a while.  Having a birthday right after Christmas makes it a little tricky to me - I wanted it to be wintery and fit in with the season, but without being Christmas-y.

I finally settled on a "These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things" theme!

For those of you who are not familiar with the song, it's from The Sound Of Music, and you can read the lyrics here.  

I tried to incorporate as many of the things from the song into her party as I could!  We had:

-Brown paper packages tied up with string.

-Whiskers On Kittens, Bright Copper Kettles, and Warm Woolen Mittens candles, from Yankee Candle (which I already happened to have).

-Snowflakes "that stay on my nose and eyelashes" (actually they just hung from our chandelier and her birthday banner).  I made the mosaic snowflakes with Wyatt several weeks ago.

-Sleigh bells, which I strung along with the balloons and spread onto the table for decorations.

-Schnitzel with noodles (otherwise known around here as Chicken Noodle Soup - I was just trying to think of something with noodles in it).

-Crisp Apple Strudel muffins (which I thought were going to be a disaster when the first batch flopped - thank goodness for the mason jars to make them look pretty!  I just baked them straight in the jars).

-The weather even played along and we had a "silver white winter" that will eventually melt into spring!


Overall it was a really fun and easy theme to do, and I'm really happy with the way everything turned out!  

If you have any questions about any specific elements, let me know.  Aside from Gwen's birthday banner, I made the rest of the decorations, invitations, etc.

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We had a really nice time, and Gwen especially enjoyed her birthday cupcake!  It was nice to be able to celebrate our sweet girl with our closest family and friends!


Punch recipe here.

To see cake and present pictures, head on over to my photo blog.

(If you aren't a follower of my private photo blog you'll have to request an invitation here first.)

24 Weeks Pregnant (Baby #3)

This is a late update, since I'm 25.5 weeks now, but Christmas threw me off!
We've reached 24 weeks!  Yay!  If baby came now, he'd at least have a chance at surviving - but we want him to stay in there for another 3+ months.


Overall, I'm feeling really good!  I am a little more tired at this point than I was with Wyatt and Gwen - sometimes the fatigue just hits me all of a sudden, but for the most part I feel normal.  The sciatic nerve pain comes and goes and was really bad a couple weeks ago, but it has seemed to disappear for now.

Baby Boy has been moving so much the last couple weeks!  We can see his kicks from the outside now!  I feel like his "kicks" are so much more gentle than Wyatt's and Gwen's were though - it's more of a gentle "push" against my stomach than a kick most of the time.  He seems to have fallen into a pretty regular sleep/wake schedule.  He moves every night between 10:00 and 11:00 while Derek and I are reading in bed.  It's kind of fun because we can watch/feel him move together.

I had a doctor's appointment last week, and Baby Boy's heart rate was 140 bpm!  I also found out I gained 7 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Yikes!  I was a little concerned, but my doctor was actually happy and told me I "did good".  She said when a woman has babies so close together they worry about a low birth weight and the baby getting adequate nutrition, so she was happy I had gained weight and told me I was still on track.  Still, I think I need to cut out the sweets for a little while to slow this down, or I'll end up going over my goal!

Derek and I had an in-depth discussion about names the other day, and I think we've almost completely decided on his name!  We have a back-up, just in case it doesn't seem to fit after he's born, but it's kind of exciting to me.  I have to be careful not to let it slip, but it's fun to think of him by name.

Right after Christmas I got a major nesting urge - I think I just realized that I only have a few months left and we didn't even have a place for him to sleep!  Gwendolyn is still using the crib, and I don't think we could realistically move her to the toddler bed yet - she will still be too little when Baby Boy comes.  I've been trying to figure out whether I just want him to sleep in the pack-and-play, but then I worry about trying to switch him to a crib later.  We started out Wyatt and Gwen in the crib right off the bat, and it's worked well so far in establishing good sleep habits, so I didn't want to mess with what has been working.

Anyway, I checked on Craiglist, and lo and behold, there was a crib for $50!  I was hoping to find one for a bit less than that, but I didn't want to push my luck since it was the cheapest one I could find.  So Derek went and got it.

At first I thought we may have made a huge mistake, because it was a mess!  The people claimed to have only had it for a year, but I do not know how you mess something up that badly in only a year.  There was sticker goop, paint, and what appeared to be scratches all over it!  We were going to try re-staining it, but then Derek got some steel wool and started working on it - and most of what I thought were scratches just smoothed right off.  Aside from a couple deeper scratches, it looks brand new now!  Derek worked so hard on it - I'm so grateful for such an understanding husband.

Anyway, with that, I feel about one hundred times better.  There is a place for the baby to sleep.  I feel so much more prepared.

I bought fabric and I'm going to try to start on his quilt in the next few weeks.

Christmas was weird for me, because I kept having flashbacks of my labor with Gwen - I've never been pregnant in the same month that I delivered one of my other babies before, but with this pregnancy I'll be going through both Gwen's birthday and Wyatt's birthday.  Is it weird that I had waves of anxiety about labor with this baby just remembering what happened last year?  That's probably an entirely separate post, because there are going to be a lot of things to worry about/overcome with this delivery.  Maybe I'll write out my thoughts on that soon.

Anyway, I'm rambling - all that to say, things are going great, we're starting to get some of the final preparations started, and I'm so happy to be pregnant!  

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Blogging Changes

Derek had some time off over Christmas and New Year's, so the past couple weeks I basically just had a bunch of posts scheduled - so this is the first real post I'm writing for the New Year!  Unfortunately it has to be something boring like blog business, but oh well.

I wanted to take some time to explain some changes around here for 2014.  I've been struggling with the subject of this post for a while, and I think I've finally come to a solution.

After Wyatt was born, I became concerned with protecting the pictures of my kids that I post on this blog.  I had never really thought about it much before, but when you have this new, innocent little life placed in your hands, you want to protect it.  When it came to blogging, that translated into me wanting to make sure to protect the pictures of my kids that I posted online, so I started watermarking.  

One thing that bothered me from the start though, was having pictures of my kids showing up in random Google searches.  Though the searches that brought people here were never inappropriate at all, it just weirded me out a little that people found my blog through pictures of my kid from a search, and that countless others could view pictures of my kids in search engines.

For a while I blocked my blog from search engines altogether to try to prevent this, but after a while I felt like the Lord was telling me He wanted me to make my blog public to search engines again.  So I did, but I still didn't like it.

Finally, I figured out a way to tell search engines not to index my images, and I was so happy - I had found a way around the system! My blog would still show up in search results, but my pictures wouldn't.  It worked beautifully.

But then a few weeks ago Google updated it's algorithm (which is a formula for how they decide which websites to index), and all of a sudden my little trick wasn't working anymore - all my images started showing up in Google again.  It bothered me.  I finally figured out another way to tell search engines not to index my images, and it seems to be working (I'll post on that soon).  

But I learned something after that little change - you just can't trust Google.

Search engines are constantly growing and changing - they have to to bring you quality websites when you are searching for something.  But there's also nothing stopping them at any point in time from changing, from working around or just ignoring any methods I use to block my images.

I knew at some point I was going to have to address this and come up with an alternative when it comes to posting pictures of my kids.  I have just been putting it off.  The whole algorithm update forced me to stop and think about it, and I realized that I needed to think about my kids ten years down the road.

When Wyatt is a teenager, will he really want any random person to possibly be viewing pictures of him when he was one?  Will Gwen (or me, for that matter) really want pictures of her forever showing up in Google searches?  I think I have a responsibility to protect the kids' privacy, and I've decided that means their privacy in the future as well.  

It's not a big deal right now, because they are still babies.  They might not even care once they become teenagers and can decide for themselves on these things.  But then again, it might bother them.  I don't feel like I should ignore that possibility now just because it's inconvenient for me and the blog.

So the bottom line is that I have created a private photo blog where I'll be sharing pictures of the kids from now on.  This seemed to be the best solution to me, because this way I can still blog about the kids and share pictures of them, but I'll be able to control who sees it.

I did not come to this conclusion lightly - actually it was a big struggle.  But after praying about it and going over all the different possibilities, I feel like this is the right thing to do.

Please believe me when I say that I am not trying to hide pictures from you, my regular readers!  I'm trying to hide them from Google.  I still want to share pictures of my cute kiddos with those of you who care, because that is part of what makes blogging fun for me - sharing bits of my life with this great blogging community we have.  It's the reason I've struggled with this so much. So if you have been reading for a while and are still interested in seeing pictures of my kiddos every now and then, you can request to follow my private blog here!

What does this mean for this blog?  First, just let me say, I am not going to stop blogging here!  I think I can still come up with plenty of interesting content, even with taking the pictures out of it.  This doesn't mean that I'll never post pictures of the kids on here - it just means I'm going to be more picky about it, and the bulk of the pictures will be on the other blog.

Over the next couple months I'll be in the process of moving old posts over to my private blog and updating certain posts on here, so if old posts (as in posts that are a couple years old) start showing up in your readers, I apologize and just ignore them!

I'm going to try hard to make sure less pictures on here does not mean less of a personal touch on this blog - because I don't know about you, but I mostly read blogs because I like getting to know the blog author.  So if that is you as well, please know that I'm still going to be real and open on here as much as I already am - just without so many pictures.

And if you enjoy reading the posts with pictures, please just follow my other blog!  I'll be including links on here to picture posts, so you'll still be able to click through and see them easily.

So to start with - first request to follow here or fill out the form below.

Then if you want to see pictures of our Christmas and Gwendolyn and Derek's birthday, head on over to my photo blog!


Two Maternity Outfits (+ Giveaway!)

I'm at that stage of pregnancy where I'm still kind of in between non-maternity clothes and maternity clothes.  I'm starting to outgrow some non-maternity things, and I'm too small still for certain maternity clothes, so I'm right in the middle.  

I feel like I've made regular clothes last a lot longer in this pregnancy than in either of my other two.  In that first pregnancy I was so eager to get some new maternity clothes, so I probably started wearing them before I had to.  In this pregnancy I want to limit how many new clothes I purchase, so I'm trying to make more things work!

So here are a couple outfits I put together recently for that weird in-between stage!

Outfit 1:

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Sweater: Non-maternity, TJMaxx
Necklace: Charlotte Russe
Skirt: Non-maternity (probably won't be able to wear that one again - definitely getting too tight!), Old Navy
Socks: Target
Boots: Charlotte Russe
Tights: Maternity, Preggers 

Outfit 2:

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Earrings: Christmas, from my mom!
Jacket: Target
Dress: Non-maternity, Charming Charlie
Boots: Just Fab
Tights: Maternity, Preggers

So, notice the tights?  Preggers was kind enough to send me a couple pairs to review.  In my past pregnancies, I always just rolled down the waist of my regular tights and suffered through it until I could change out of them, so I had never tried maternity tights.  Can I just say I'm a fan now?  They are so comfortable and didn't hurt my stomach at all!  So much better than suffering through regular tights - I kind of wish I had some for when I was pregnant with Wyatt and Gwen!

Preggers maternity tights are particularly useful though, because not only are they much more comfortable around my belly, but they are also gradient compression tights.  You know how your doctor might recommend wearing compression socks if you are having trouble with your legs and ankles swelling?  Preggers tights work the same way - they put light pressure on your ankles and calves to help improve circulation through your legs (the blood doesn't pool in your legs as much this way if you are standing or sitting for extended periods) and they help prevent swelling.  There is no extra pressure on your stomach at all though, which makes them comfortable and safe for baby.

(Obviously consult your doctor about any questions about using compression tights.)

I found that the tights were a little tricky to get on (because the highest amount of compression is at the ankles they are obviously tighter there), but once they were on I barely noticed any compression and they were comfortable.

Plus they come in so many fun colors and styles!  The tights I got above are in Mulberry and Navy, respectively.  I also liked the "Your Golden" color a lot!  You can even get them as leggings or footless tights for the summer months.  So if you have any trouble with your ankles swelling or your doctor recommends compression socks, these are a fashionable option!

The company who owns Preggers also has a line for non-pregnant women too (called Gogo), so if you think you'd like to try the tights but you aren't pregnant, you still can!

Preggers is offering one of my readers a chance to win a $50 gift coupon to one of their shops!  The coupon is good at Preggers and Gogo (as well as at their more medically-geared sites), so this isn't just for those of your who are pregnant!  Fill out the rafflecopter form below to enter!

Note: I received two pairs of Preggers maternity tights for free in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DIY First Birthday Decorations

The birthday party preparation is in full swing!  We're having Gwen's 1st birthday party (just a small one, mostly family) on Sunday!

A couple weeks ago Wyatt and I sat down while Gwen was napping, and we worked on some decorations for her party.  It was a pretty fun toddler craft (not just for party decorations), so I thought I'd share it here.

I got this idea from our craft girls at our MOPS group - they gave a little talk about projects you can do with your toddler, which was helpful since I never think of these things on my own!  It's the same thing as the "stained glass" tissue paper projects that you see floating around.  

Basically I cut out some snowflakes, and I used a bunch of the paper scraps that I had left over from making Gwen's party invitations.  

I took a sheet of contact paper and had Wyatt stick the little pieces of paper on the sheet.  I just had him stick them wherever so he could put the pieces face up.  

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Then we sprinkled some glitter on the paper (which he loved doing), and I framed his creation with a paper snowflake (with the middle piece cut out - tip from the MOPS ladies).  

We sealed it off with another piece of contact paper and I cut the snowflakes out.
Wholla!  Party decorations for Gwen.

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This was a craft that Wyatt really liked to do (the kid can only take so much coloring), it was easy, and it looked really cool when it was all done!  I also think it's kind of special that Wyatt had a part in decorating for Gwen's party.

More pictures next week!

Gwendolyn Is One Year Old!

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(A sneak peek of Gwen's 1st birthday party invitations!)

Miss Gwen is officially a one year old!

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This last month has been so much fun - I feel like she has just grown by leaps and bounds in one month!

-Her four front teeth are coming in nicely, and they make her little grins that much cuter (if it was possible for her to get cuter).

-Her hair seems to be growing in thicker all of a sudden, and this month we did her first pigtails!

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-Playing peek-a-boo.  We've played it in the past, but she re-discovered it in the grocery store the other day and couldn't stop giggling.  It was so cute to see her lift her little blanket over her head and then drop it back down over and over again.

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-She has gotten even more comfortable cruising around furniture, and she has stood for several seconds by herself!  I need to find her some good shoes, because I think she feels a little unstable still, like Wyatt did.  But she is very mobile and gets into everything.

-She learned to say "dog" this month, which really sounds more like "da".  It's cute!

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-She got a little play makeup/vanity set for Christmas, and the other day I showed her how to use the powder puff and lipstick.  She just lit up, and she started trying to put the lipstick on me, and rubbed the powder puff all over my face!  It was one of those moments where I was just so glad to have a little girl - what fun we're going to have as she grows!

-She likes to copy everything Wyatt does, and cars are still some of her favorite toys.

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-She's developed a new love for stuffed animals!  We went to the zoo to see Christmas lights, and she got really attached to this sloth stuffed animal, so we were sneaky and bought it for her birthday - she loves it!  I caught her talking to it, and moving it's arms the other day - it's so cute to watch her playing get more and more "sophisticated", so to speak.

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-She loves using a sippy cup, and since she turned a year I've been giving her more of the same food we eat, since we're past all that allergy stuff.  She loves it!  She wants to do the same things she sees us doing, and she gets upset when I don't let her try a certain food.  She's growing so fast!

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-She is growing out of a lot of her 12 month clothes, but she's still a little small for a lot of 18 month clothes, so we're in a weird middle spot.  She's in size 3 diapers, size 3 shoes.

-We are in the midst of teething, and it's been really rough on her.  Wyatt never had that hard of a time with it, but she does.  It amazes me how she seems to know that the medicine we give her makes her feel better.  She calms down as soon as we give it to her because she knows she'll feel better soon!

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-We celebrated our first Christmas with Gwen, and she loved opening her presents!  She wasn't even interested in the paper, she knew that there were toys and other fun stuff underneath it!

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-Gwen's personality is just so sweet, and she just seems so much more grown up to me all of a sudden.  I still call her my "Baby Doll", but it struck me the other day that she is seeming less like a baby and more like a little girl.  It's bittersweet - I'm always sorry to see the sweet baby days going, but then there are moments (like with the makeup) when I know that we have so much fun ahead of us too!

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My Sweet Baby Girl,
You are a year old!  I can hardly believe how fast this year has gone.  I turned around the other day and realized your baby days are on their way out.  I treasure every moment with you, Sweet Girl, and I've loved every minute of these baby days with you - it makes me sad in a way, to see them go.  But then you grin at me and try to put makeup on my face, or share your bottle with me, or kiss your stuffed animal, and I know that we have so many more precious times ahead of us - and they are going to be so much fun!  I love watching you grow and learn new things.  I love watching your personality develop with each passing day.  I so look forward to being able to teach you more about Jesus as you start understanding more this next year.  You are growing up, and I will love every minute of all the years we have ahead of us!  But still know, Gwen-Girl, that at the same time, you will always be my baby.  I love you so much, Baby Doll, more than I can ever tell you.

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