Monday, August 24, 2015

Birth Story - Joanna Joy

Joanna Joy was born at 4:51 am on August 10th, 2015. I thought Levi came fast into the world. But Joanna was in a hurry. Like Levi, she was a week late and I was facing an induction. I have a fear if being induced and am pretty willing to try any other means necessary to get labor going. Which, also like Levi, meant taking some castor oil. When I took it with Levi, an hour later I was in labor. So this time around I was discouraged when I took it at 8 pm and nothing happened for hours – except an upset stomach. I got up at 2 am to get some water and watch TV, and started to notice some Braxton Hicks contractions, but nothing out of the ordinary from what I’d been experiencing in the past week. However the longer I sat, the more I started to realize they seemed to be coming at regular intervals. I was experiencing no pain though, so I wasn’t sure if I should take them seriously. I started to time them though and they were coming pretty frequently – about 2 minutes apart. At about 3:00 they started to become a little more uncomfortable, so I suspected this might be it.

 I woke Aaron up at 3:15 and asked him to call our babysitter for Levi – a great friend of ours who lives close and Levi adores. About five minutes later I was asking Aaron where she was – I could quickly tell I was in labor and it was coming fast. I think she was at our place by 3:30 and we headed right out out to the hospital. By then the contractions were a minute and 30 seconds apart. We parked in the parking garage across from UNC hospital – for some reason I opted not to have Aaron drop me at the door. I still thought that maybe I wasn’t really that far along. It took me a little while to walk to the front door, and then we had to get to the 4th floor and sign in. I’d say we weren’t in triage until 4:15. I walked in saying, “This is happening fast and I just want you to know now, I want an epidural.” I was not interested in trying it any other way. By this time the contractions were coming on strong and were really painful. As the nurse checked me I almost felt like I needed to push. Now the contractions were being followed by an immediate sorter and less painful contraction – I was in transition. She let me know that I was 8 cm and fully effaced.

We walked over to our labor and delivery room just a few feet away, and a very painful contraction hit right as I reached the bed. I was standing there and an incredible urge to push hit – I started yelling I have to go! I honestly wasn’t sure if I needed the bathroom or to push a baby out. I pushed and my water burst and I felt this moment of relief before another contraction hit. I could hardly move from the pain and realized the epidural was not coming. Sweet Aaron asked about gas, and they just looked at him- it was clear there was no time for anything. The midwife and nurses were getting ready and they told me to get on the bed, but I just couldn’t move from the pain. Then she said, "if you don’t want to have this baby on the floor, get on the bed." So I mustered the strength to hoist myself on the bed and just three contractions later, our baby was born. I pushed with all my might through those contractions. At that point I just wanted to her out as quickly as possible to stop the pain. I knew I was screaming but it was all I could do to get through it. But I could feel her coming and knew with each push she was that much closer to arriving. I kept telling her, “Come on baby, come on out,” to coax her through. When she came I held her immediately and the pain was over. It felt so good to see her face that looked just like Levi’s. And she was a big girl too – 9 lbs, 14 oz!

I held her close through the third stage of labor, and they only took her briefly to be weighed a couple hours after delivery. She latched right away and took a good look around the room before falling fast asleep. And that’s pretty much how she’s been her first two weeks of life. She loves her mom and pretty much sleeps the day away between frequent feedings. She is very sweet and is adored by her big brother. The day she was born Levi came by with flowers and a balloon in his hands, looking so old and so proud. He was afraid to kiss her directly so he would push his chin on her instead. He is so sweet with her and I’m so excited to watch them grow up together. I know much can change in the next few weeks, but I sit here now grateful for a fast, easy delivery, a sleepy newborn, a resilient two-year old, and family of four.

We chose her name, Joanna Joy, for a few reasons. The first name, Joanna, means "the Lord gives graciously" and was a woman in the new testament that was healed by Jesus and mourned by his grave, only to find it was empty. She is a gracious gift to us. Also, my grandmother was named Barbara Ann, my mother Diane, and myself Laura Ann. I like that Joanna incorporates the "Ann" as the past generations have. We gave her the middle name Joy after a close family friend who has been like an aunt to my sister and I and who has been there for us in more ways than I'm sure we even know. It's such a happy name and I hope our daughter can live up to its meaning, "rejoicing."

from two years ago: Levi's Birth Story

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

baby wearing

When I had Levi, I received a hand-me down Baby Bjorn that was in great condition and free, so I thought I was set in the baby wearing department. And he seemed to tolerate it okay. In the first month or so he'd fall asleep in it, and for our trouble sleeper, I figured that was a success. But he'd never let me use it at home or sitting down. Then it started hurting my back and by 6 months I was over it.

Now as I prepare for the next baby, I keep thinking I missed out on something by having Levi most often in the car seat (which is a nice break too!). I also know that with a toddler in tow, I'll need to be hands free. So I've been excited to explore baby wearing options this time around. I have a Baby Ergo and a Boba Baby Wrap ready in the wings. I'm also hoping to get a ring sling. I'm considering the Maya Wrap or the Wildbird Sling (pictured above). Any tips or thoughts?

Once baby comes, I'll let you know what seems to work best, though I expect they will each serve a different purpose. We'll see!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Boulted Bread

Aaron and I (and Levi) went to a fantastic bakery in Raleigh this morning, Boulted Bread. It was recommended to us by a baker friend, and when we saw it opened at 7:00 am on weekdays, we were there. When you have a toddler that wakes at 6:00 every morning, you're always looking for something that's open early. This place was good. So simple - a handful of incredible pastries, hot or iced coffee and tea, and their four signature breads. That's it. Outside there are picnic tables lined with veggie and herb raised planters. It's set in an old historic, walkable neighborhood, Boylan Heights, just on the edge of gentrification.
The pastries were the most flaky and flavorful I've had. The bread we got, their signature, Levian, tasted like a sour rye but with a chewy crust and soft moist crumb. It was really special. It was a little pricey- otherwise we'd be there a few times a week, I'm sure. Aaron had his bread book out as soon as we had the bread, so maybe we'll solve that problem with a home version.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Aelfie Rugs

How great are these rugs? I read about about Aelfie Oudghiri on and instantly loved the colors and patterns. Both warm and modern. We've been rocking a pretty cheap cross-patterned cotton rug in our living room for a bit now. I'd love to update with Saskia or Lounah.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mr. Boddington's Studio

I'm loving this stationery designer. I'm getting a little burnt out on the letter press thing, and love the energy and whimsy Mr. Boddington's Studio brings.  I'd love to do this Record of Birth.

time and changes

I know it's been a while. I miss the blog and want to give this one more go! I left facebook because I was feeling like my attention span was getting shorter and shorter, and just overall mentally distracted. But I miss the space to share. Of course, much has happened since my last post. A partially finished kitchen renovation (post to come), my baby grew into a talking, sleeping toddler, and another NC winter. The biggest update is that our new baby girl is due at the very beginning of August.

Due just one day before Levi's second birthday, we can't wait to meet her and have her join our family. Other than some nausea and tiredness in the first trimester, this pregnancy has been really easy, and I'm feeling very at peace about this next phase. I suppose given that we moved and Aaron started school when Levi was two weeks old, us having the ability to nest a little and just 'be' after the baby is born makes this time around much less stressful.

I'm happy to be back!

-xox Laura