Thursday, May 31, 2018

Recent Buys

After what seemed like 19,847 years in maternity clothes and yoga pants I have been so excited to finally be back in NORMAL clothes. There have been some really awesome sales lately and Old Navy and Crown and Ivy have really impressed me with some of their newer items! I am trying to find styles that are nursing friendly so pretty much tops and pants/shorts. I wanted to share some of my recent finds in case you are on the hunt for some fun and affordable summer pieces to add to your closet! 

Belk- Crown and Ivy
I'm normally not a big Crown and Ivy fan but these tops are adorable and so easy to throw on with white pants! They are both on sale right now for $25

I don't have a picture but I also picked up a couple pairs of their shorts and they fit great! They are only $19 right now! I don't get paid anything for sharing these links I just think they are a great deal! 

Old Navy

off the shoulder top- perfect for nursing! 

and of course I can't checkout without throwing in something for Anna Claire! 

and now I wish I had never written this post because looking up links I saw a million other super cute items I want!! My wallet needs a break! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Anna Claire l 1 Month

I can't believe my baby is already one month old!!!  The past month has flown by faster than I ever imagined it would. It has no doubt been the best month of my life. There is nothing I love more than being Anna Claire's mommy! She has already changed so much in her first month of life.

At her one month check up (4 weeks and 6 days) she weighed 11lbs 1oz which is almost two pounds past her birth weight! We have a healthy little girl. I just love every single little roll on her!!! She is 22 inches long. She is out of her newborn clothes and fits well in 0-3 month outfits. 

She is for the most part a pretty good sleeper. She has her nights that are more challenging (like when she hiccups for half an hour straight after feeding....) but for the most part she goes down for the night about 9pm and will wake about 1 am, 4am and 6am for a feeding. She is really good about going back to sleep quickly as long as she doesn't get the hiccups or reflux. 

We are following Moms on Call and it's working pretty well for us both. She naps about 4 times a day anywhere from one-two hours if all goes as planned. 

Right now we are exclusively breastfeeding and it's going great! I feel so fortunate to have had a fairly easy experience breastfeeding and plan to keep it up as long as I can. She is full and gaining weight which makes me so happy! 

Towards the end of her first month of life she started to notice the star mobile on her swing and it was the cutest thing ever! She LOVES to stare at the stars and swing! Anna Claire has a head full of dark hair but we think it may be starting to fall out.

This month she also made her first trip to the beach and traveled four hours to my hometown to meet her great grandmother! 

Anna Claire loves being held, being swaddled, being worn in the solly wrap, her pacifier, walks in her stroller and car rides.  
She does not like diaper and outfit changes. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Memorial Day Weekend 2018

We had the best Memorial Day weekend spending time with our family! We did start the weekend with one very scary mishap. Friday afternoon Justin and I were gearing up to meet some friends and family at Ocean Isle Beach to listen to some beach music when I was involved in a car accident with 4 week old Anna Claire in the car! Thankfully everyone was okay but it was definitely terrifying to know you have a baby in the backseat that could have been hurt. The wreck was not my fault seeing as we were stopped for a school bus letting students out when I was rear ended by a girl who admitted she was just not paying attention. I am just counting my blessings that everyone walked away uninjured, especially Anna Claire. I am so thankful for good car seats!! After that incident I really was not in the mood for the beach music concert so instead Justin's parents came over and we ordered pizza, cuddled Anna Claire and called it a night. 

Saturday morning my sister drove to town and we all met at my moms house to stay for the weekend and celebrate her birthday. One of my lifelong friends stopped by to meet Anna Claire and it was so nice to catch up with her! Afterward the whole family headed to a late lunch at a local waterfront spot that serves the best shrimp burgers and steamed shrimp/crabcake combo and has an endless selection of cold beer and RumDums. There is just something about eating on the water with a cold breeze and good seafood. Afterward, we headed back to the house to catch up and just relax on the porch. That night we had a pizza bar which was so easy and so fun! 

Sunday morning we had good intentions to head to church but ended up not making it. Instead we went through two pots of coffee and enjoyed homemade waffles before heading out to the beach. It was overcast but it was the perfect day for Anna Claire because we didn't have to worry about her overheating. I have a baby dome that completely shields her from the sun and is perfect for the beach. We did let her touch the wet sand for the first time but in typical newborn fashion she slept through the whole thing, haha. That night Justin's parents joined us for dinner and mom made a wonderful spread including blue cheese burgers. 

.. does it getter cuter than that?! insert alllll the heart eyes!!!!! 

Monday we were all sad to see the weekend come to a close! Justin and I headed back home to do a million loads of laundry and get together with our neighbors for dinner We also had more family come over Monday evening so we kept the festivities going until about 10pm! It was the best weekend full of just enjoying being with family! I am thankful for those who died for our great country and made spending an extra day with family possible! 

Uncle Doug testing out the Solly Wrap 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Thoughts for a New Mom

Let me start by saying I am no expert at being a new mom seeing as I have only been a mom for a mere 26 days. However, there are a few things I have already learned on this journey of motherhood. Here are the first lessons I've learned, some the hard way! 

  • Limit the visitors at first- As a first time mom I had no idea how important this would be and it is one of my biggest regrets. It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new baby and everyone wants to support you and meet your little bundle of joy but trust me, that little bundle will be just as cute and cuddly in a week or two. At first it's so important to give your body a chance to recover and to get to know your little one without constant visitors! We didn't have a day with no visitors until Anna Claire was 11 days old and by that point I was so exhausted. Family and friends will respect your wishes! 
  • Wait to try on your pre pregnancy clothes- You may feel much smaller compared to that watermelon belly you had but trust me, don't try on your old clothes just yet! You are still way too emotional  in the first two weeks after birth and it's not fair to do that to yourself! Your body just went through the most amazing experience and brought LIFE into this world. Give yourself grace and continue to rock leggings for as long as you need. 
  • Take the nap but also go on the walk- I was super confused when my doctor strongly encouraged me to rest and take it easy and then in the next breath just as strongly encouraged, or rather ordered me to be up and walking around. He actually told me to start going on 20-30 minute walks as soon as 4 days postpartum (with a c-section..) which is the day I left the hospital! Now that I'm on the upswing of recovery I totally see the importance of both of these things. Yes, your body NEEDS the rest.. take naps whenever you can.. it is extremely important. I think my lack of naps in the beginning because of all the visitors caused me to loose part of my appetite and brought on some severe headaches/migraines. However, after the nap when you are feeling up for it get up and moving! You will feel so much better afterward! Our first walk was super slow because of my stitches but each day got easier. After giving birth you are super gassy and probably haven't really used the bathroom in several days. Getting up and walking is the best thing you can do to fix that problem. Trust me, just do it!
  • Listen to your gut- There is so much advice out there moms. I'm a researcher so I've read it all and asked all the questions. I've been given excellent advice, all from trusted sources, and googled every question known to man kind. But you know what? A lot of the advice can be contradicting. For example, start baby on a Moms on Call sleep schedule... no, newborns can't sleep train. All of the advice comes from a well meaning place but at the end of the day save your sanity and trust your instincts. Every baby is different and this baby is YOURS! Lucky you!!! (: 
  • Give yourself grace- There are perfect moments and there are not so perfect moments. It's okay. In those not so perfect moments take a step back, breathe .. and then remember that you have been given the biggest blessing on earth. God has entrusted YOU to be this little bundle of joy's mom and it's all going to be OKAY. Even when they are screaming in the backseat making a noise you didn't know was possible, it's okay. That too shall pass and one day you will be in a quiet car missing when your baby was little. It's okay. 

I am so thankful to be on this journey of motherhood. It is the most humbling experience. I know I will learn 945,073+  more things before it's all said and done. Tell me your biggest lessons as a new mom! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mothers Day Weekend Recap

We had such a wonderful weekend celebrating my first Mothers Day! Friday night Justin and I were both exhausted so we took it easy and just hung around the house soaking up all of Anna Claire's cuddles. On Saturday Justin headed out to play golf so I spent the day with my mom getting pedicures and doing a little shopping. My sister gifted mom and I both with pedicure gift cards which was so sweet! We had the best time and Anna Claire was perfect the entire time! By Saturday night we were both once again exhausted and called it a night pretty early.

On Sunday Justin and I enjoyed a lazy morning. I could not believe it was Mothers Day and I actually held the title of mom. I couldn't help but to just pray and thank God for my biggest blessing I have ever received. I am so thankful that God choose me to be this sweet girls mommy!! Justin surprised me with the prettiest flowers, balloon, candy and Starbucks card (exactly what this tired new mom needs!). Later we met our parents for lunch to all celebrate Mothers Day together. We had a wonderful lunch on the waterfront and once again Anna Claire was a perfect angel who slept through the whole thing. Afterward Justin took me and both of our moms to Wilmington where we all picked out a plate to paint with AC's footprint on it. She did NOT like having her foot painted at all but our plates turned out so cute! They are being glazed and fired now and we can pick them up later this week to see the final product. By Sunday night we were once again exhausted and crashed in bed by 9pm- that is pretty standard these days, ha! It was the best weekend! I will never forget my first mothers day! 

Friday, May 11, 2018

5 on Friday

I can't believe it's already Friday! I used to countdown the days until Friday so I could enjoy the weekend but now I'm begging time to slow down because it means Anna Claire is another week older.  These are truly the sweetest days. I wish I could bottle them up! I promise my blog will not turn into all baby but right now that is what is consuming our life so here are 5 thoughts about our sweet baby girl! 

One. Anna Claire is already 2 weeks old! These two weeks have FLOWN by! She is the easiest baby who loves to cuddle, is always hungry and makes the cutest faces. I have taken about 4oo photos in her first 14 days of life. I don't want to ever forget a thing about her tiny self! 

Two. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I am convinced we have the best village around. We have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of love our friends and family have shown us and the eagerness of so many people who want to meet Anna Claire. She has met so many family members and friends. She is just adored by her grandparents! My dad and sister have even made the 3/4 hour drive down two weekends in a row to sneak in kisses and help me out. Justin and I are both in a bible study small group who teamed up together to start a meal train for us. We haven't cooked dinner once since we came home from the hospital! It has been SUCH a huge help! FYI- If you ever want to start a meal train for someone check out the website It makes the whole process so easy!

Three. One of the things I dreamed 0f the whole time I was pregnant was long walks with our sweet girl. The May weather has been perfect for our strolls. I splurged on the bassinet attachment for our stroller and I am so glad that I did! 

Four. Our little pea has run us through all the emotions regarding her weight. She was born at 9 lbs 3 ounces. We were all  bit surprised with big she was although we shouldn't have been because I was a 9 lb baby also! I was expecting 8 lbs so she really wasn't that far over but so many people would constantly remark what a big baby which started to make me feel like it was "bad" or maybe even my fault because of how I ate during my pregnancy. (I know-crazy thoughts but to a very hormonal new mom it happens!) Fast forward three days and she was down to 8 lbs 8 ounces. Newborns typically loose weight in the first days of life so I wasn't surprised or worried at all. When we had our first doctor appointment on day 4 of life she weighed in at 8 lbs 3 ounces- a whole pound lower than her birth weight. My doctor suggested supplementing a small amount of formula until my milk came in. This was devastating for me to hear. On one hand I really did not want to introduce formula because I am committed to breastfeeding but on the other hand the thought of my baby being dehydrated or hungry broke my heart. Cue the tears in the doctors office..... We did what we had to do supplementing some formula and me pumping for hours to only get mere drops. And then... just like that, my milk came in and we headed back to the doctor on day 6 of life. Little one was up 7 ounces and doing great. We dropped the formula and have been exclusively breast feeding since. She has now passed her birth weight which makes my mama heart so happy to know she is thriving! 

Five. I am so excited for my first mothers day! We have plans to get out to eat with our parents at a local waterfront restaurant and then head to Wilmington to a paint your own pottery place where I am going to paint a plate with her footprint on it. Becoming a mom makes me think about my own mom raising me when I was a newborn. It is something you can't truly imagine until you become a mom yourself. I just love her so much! Happy Mothers day mom! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Anna Claire's Birth Story

If birth stories aren't your thing feel free to just skip right over this post! Warning... this is a super long post! I don't want to forget a thing. (: 

On Wednesday, April 25th I worked a half day at work and then eagerly headed to my 39 + 1 day doctor appointment to check on Miss Anna Claire. I had hoped to have made some progress because I  had always said how perfect it would be to deliver just one week early. The doctor's appointment went well and while I was progressing in the right direction I had not progressed enough to make me think I would be going into labor in the next day or so. When I left the appointment I ran a few errands when I started to feel some cramps. My doctor told me to expect that so I really didn't think much about it other than the fact it was not very comfortable. On the way home I started craving coco puffs which is so random. I probably haven't had coco puffs since I was 10... I decided to soak up the last few days of being able to pull the "pregnancy craving" card and pick up a box. When I got home I put everything away, picked up in the house, bounced on my yoga ball and took Henson on a 30 minute walk all while continuing to feel really crampy but still not thinking twice about it. At 8:30 that night I was exhausted so I finally sat down to eat that bowl of coco puffs I had been craving since earlier that afternoon. Right when I took my first bite my water broke.... It was the oddest feeling ever. I knew deep down that it was my water breaking but I also just couldn't believe it! I was still 6 days out from my due date and still had two more scheduled work days! After a quick freak out with Justin and calling my doctor we decided that it was indeed my water breaking and needed to head to the hospital. Of course I couldn't leave the house until I put on some makeup and washed the dishes haha. It took us almost an hour to finally get out of the house and then we had an hour drive to the hospital. On the way to the hospital my cramps really started to pick up. I found out later that these "cramps" were actually contractions. I had been having contractions ALL afternoon and had no idea! Everyone always told me I would know when they started but that did not prove true in my case. After being caught by the swing bridge (out of all the times to be stuck in traffic!) we finally made it to the hospital around 10:30 pm and checked into triage where they would confirm that my water had indeed broke.

We waited in triage for over an hour! Apparently it was a busy night for labor and delivery. Once the doctor finally came in it only took seconds for her to admit us and we were soon moved to our labor and delivery room. It was almost midnight at this point but we were way too excited to sleep! Justin and I got settled in and I was hooked up to all of the machines. My nurse encouraged me to wait on asking for an epidural since it was so early. That was okay for a while because my pain was manageable. I labored until 4:45 am when I was finally in tears from the increase in pain and was able to get my epidural. (I had asked for it around 3am but it took forever for the anesthesiologist to get there) The epidural really did not hurt at all compared to the pain from the contractions. It took effect immediately and was the absolute best decision ever. I felt SO much better and was finally able to relax some. Justin and I still couldn't fall asleep but we did drift off and rest for a little bit. During this time they started me on pitocin to speed things up. At this point I couldn't feel a thing and was just happy happy happy! Later that morning family started arriving and we all were just waiting patiently for go time. Around noon my epidural started to wear off on my left side which began making me nervous. It continued to wear off all afternoon which was not ideal and the pain started to creep back in. I toughed it out and labored until 4:00 that afternoon when it was finally time to start pushing!! We cleared the room and it was just Justin and I eager to meet our baby girl.

I pushed for four hours straight all while the epidural continued to wear off. The first two hours of pushing were not that bad. I knew the end was in sight and we would be meeting our baby girl soon. I was determined to do whatever I had to do. Throughout my labor I suffered from nausea and threw up at least ten times. By the end of the third hour my spirit was really starting to drop. I hadn't slept in 38 hours nor had I eaten in 24 hours. I was in a lot of pain and just pure exhausted from pushing. I was still determined to do whatever I had to do but after 3 1/2 hours the doctor told me I really hadn't made any progress. I had been working SO hard that was devastating to hear. Baby girl was RIGHT there but she was face up and just couldn't make it the last little ways. We decided to give it thirty more minutes to see if we could get her to flip. They tried so many things to encourage her to come but after four hours it was decided that I would need a c-section. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would labor for 25 hours and actively push for 4 hours and STILL end up in a c-section. That is exactly what happened though. As disappointing as that was to hear my body was also physically exhausted and I knew it was my only option. Justin was by my side.. literally, the entire time. He was so supportive and even started counting through all of the contractions. I don't think I could have done it without him!

Since my epidural had worn off the anesthesiologist came back in and give me a spinal block. It numbed me from the chest down and brought on some terrible side effects. My arms and hands were shaking, teeth chattering, nausea, I felt like I couldn't breath which made talking difficult and I could hardly keep my eyes open which was from the pure exhaustion. I felt like that through the procedure but I had Justin by my side which really made me feel safe even though I felt like my body was shutting down. It only took what seemed like minutes before we heard a cry and our baby was here! She was born at 9:07 pm weighing 9 lbs 3 oz and 21 inches long. Just thinking of that sound brings tears to my eyes. I couldn't see her but I knew she was here and I would be meeting her any second! It was the sweetest sound in the world. Justin was able to cut the cord and hold her for the first time. I'm so happy he had that moment with her! I know it was so special and something he will never forget. He brought her over to me and I saw my baby for the first time! She was absolutely beautiful and nothing like what I had imagined with a head full of dark hair! My heart was so full of joy and I was the happiest I had ever been however because of the exhaustion and side effects from the spinal I really couldn't show any emotion. Justin even asked me if I was happy which broke my heart because YES! I was happier than I had ever been in my life but I also was too exhausted to smile, move my arms, talk, I still felt like I couldn't breathe, I was shaking too much to hold her, etc. That was probably the hardest part for me. I wanted to be able to show my happiness but my body had just been through the ringer and honestly felt like it was shutting down. Justin took our baby girl into the recovery room while they got me all stitched up. After the doctor had left and it was just a few nurses cleaning up, I hemorrhaged and had some blood clots. They had to rush the doctor back in which was super scary because Justin had already left at this point. Thankfully the doctor took care of it and everything was okay.

I was wheeled into the recovery room where I was finally able to hold my baby girl for the first time!!! It was absolutely amazing. We spent about 45 minutes together with just me, Justin and Anna Claire. The nurses helped me breastfeed and she latched on right away. By the end I think my body had decided it had enough and I fell asleep. Sleeping is the last thing I wanted to do right then but I honestly did not have a choice. This was such an emotional part for me and still breaks my heart! I fell asleep and Justin went to get our family who had been patiently waiting all day! They were able to meet her while I slept for a bit. I hate I didn't get to watch everyone meet her for the first time but I was happy to finally get some rest. I think I slept for about 30 minutes when I caught a second wind and was able to sit up and join in. By 11:30 that night (I think) everyone had left and we were moved to our last room we would be in for the remainder of our stay. That night nurses were in and out checking on me and baby girl and I really didn't sleep. I had my baby beside me though and she was healthy so it was okay. We ended up spending four nights in the hospital where we had TONS of visitors, the most amazing nurses teaching us things and recovering. On Sunday we were discharged and ready to start our life as a family of three!

my mom! 

my dad meeting his first granddaughter! 

Aunt Ginny! 

First car ride home! 

It was a long birth that did not go as planned. It started out as a dream with everything going seemingly perfect to becoming an extremely emotionally and physically painful experience. I can honestly say it brought Justin and I closer together in a way I could have never imagined.  As difficult as my labor was I would do it a million times over. Anna Claire is truly a gift from God. We are SO in love with her. I already can't imagine a life with her not in it. I constantly just want to cry thinking about how happy she makes me. I love you little AC!

If you made it this far I give you props! I really just wanted to document our entire experience for myself so I don't forget a thing about this special experience.