January 11, 2017

Surviving Two Littles

This is the first week I'm on my own with both kids. Andrew went back to school on Monday after being home for four weeks on his winter break. We really lucked out with Olive arriving during his time off. Andrew was able to be on Taylor duty while I fed Olive around the clock. 

With school back in session, it's just me in the parenting trenches. It hasn't been too bad so far, but there is still some adjusting we're all doing. I'm trying my hardest to make sure Taylor is still getting enough attention, but sometimes it's difficult with a crying newborn who wants to be held all the time. It's a good thing she's cute, even when she is refusing to be put down. 

I've been trying out a few things to make juggling two kids easier. The biggest lifesaver so far has been our Nesting Day carrier. I had tried out a few carriers with Taylor, but wasn't able to find anything that I loved. Having the Nesting Day carrier this time around has been a game changer. I can wear Olive close to me and still be hands-free while playing with Taylor. (A little disclosure, I was given this carrier in exchange for my honest review. And I'm being honest when I say that I love it!)

There have been many days when the only time I can accomplish anything is with Olive in the carrier. She instantly falls asleep, especially when we're skin-to-skin. This carrier is actually designed to be worn to increase skin-to-skin contact. That means you wear it like a t-shirt (if t-shirts had kangaroo pouches), and baby wears nothing but a diaper. 

Before having my own babies, I never knew there were actual, scientifically proven benefits to skin-to-skin. I could try to list all the pros of it, but I found this quote on Nesting Day's site that does a much better job explaining the benefits: "Wearing our skin-to-skin newborn carrier boosts oxytocin levels and lowers cortisol (science talk for more love and less stress), and increases prolactin, for better milk production and greater breastfeeding success. It also promotes healthy attachment and bonding, because the nesting days are when these begin. Newborns need help regulating their own temperature (since they aren’t in that cozy womb anymore!), and mom or daddy’s skin is the perfect heater for their tiny bodies. Finally, our carrier aids in learning baby's cues, so feeding, sleeping and awake time can be more fully enjoyed."

Of course, the carrier doesn't have to be used only for skin-to-skin time, it can also be worn over clothing when out running errands. It has already come in handy while I was shopping at Target and when I had to drag both kids along to see the pediatrician.  I probably wouldn't have survived those solo trips without it. 

If you're on the market for a newborn carrier, you can use code SNOWSTORMBLOG to get a $5 discount. You can also choose to pre-order a carrier for shipment in 4-6 weeks and that will knock an additional $10 off. That means all you pregnant mamas can order in advanced for a total discount of $15. If baby is already here and you want your carrier asap, you can choose to ship it immediately and still get $5 off with my discount code. Click here to check out their website.

And any veteran moms reading, what are your must-have products that help with juggling multiple little humans? Share your wealth of knowledge with the rest of us in the comments below!

December 31, 2016

Old Fashion Photo Dump

There were so many things I had planned to blog about. We had a great Thanksgiving, I was thrown a surprise baby shower, Taylor and I did a lot of fun things together before baby's arrival, and, most recently, Christmas. But to be honest, I'd rather enjoy time with my family instead of going back and blogging about all of that. Andrew has been on his winter break from grad school since the 9th and it has been so nice having him home to help with Taylor and the new baby. Next week is our last week with him around until it's back to that grad school grind. So instead of blogging, I'm going to get back to my little family and leave you with a good ole' fashion photo dump. 

^Thanksgiving dinner in Boulder City.^

^He somehow acquired someone else's cupcake and I just let him eat it like a good parent.^ 

^Our last family picture as three. Thanks Mimi for snapping these (and the first two pictures).^

^This was one of the many days we were plagued with sickness.^

^Taylor loves chips and salsa.^

^We enjoyed the Mesa Temple Lights with friends and I ran into both Jen and Brooke.^

^I took Taylor to see Santa and ride the carousel at Bass Pro Shop. Literally no reaction to Santa.^

^Taylor is thinking about becoming a fashion blogger.^

^Christmas was extra special this year with a new baby.^

^It was fun to see Taylor actually understand opening presents. He loved unwrapping things.^

^Olive is becoming more and more alert each day. We just love her so.^

It being New Years Eve (plus looking back on some of the pictures from the last year for this photo dump), I keep thinking about how blessed our family has been in 2016. Being a family of four is absolutely wonderful. I'm enjoying every second of it (even the diaper blow-outs and sleepless nights). I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store for us.

December 22, 2016

Olive: A Birth Story

My due date was 12/11/2016. The day passed without any signs of a baby. I was okay with that because my birthday was the next day. I told Andrew if I shared a birthday with my daughter, the two of us would be having a girls trip to Disneyland to celebrate every year. Unfortunately, she didn't come on my birthday either. The next day came and I started to have some real contractions in the morning, but nothing consistent and nothing very strong. That evening the contractions started to pick up again so I decided to go to bed early in case labor really kicked in. I woke up sporadically throughout the night to random contractions, but was always able to go right back to sleep.

At 4 am on 12/14/2016, I woke up to a particularly strong contraction. I decided to stay awake and start timing. They were regular and getting stronger, but I wasn't sure if they were quite close enough or quite strong enough yet. At 6 am, I woke up Andrew so we could start getting everything together. We still had to drop off Taylor with his grandparents and I didn't want to run out of time if things picked up.

We got to the hospital and I was checked in slowly. I mean painfully slow. I don't think the lady at check-in was aware that I was in labor. It was around 7 am when I was finally allowed into triage. I was terrified that I wasn't progressing or far enough along. I did not want to be sent home. A nurse checked me and I was at... 8 centimeters! I couldn't believe it. My contractions were completely different this time around than they were with Taylor. I remember shaking and crying through contractions with Taylor at only 6 cm (that's when I called for the epidural). Here I was at 8 cm, maintaining my composure. Yes, the contractions were painful, but I was able to breathe through them and then immediately snap back into a happy conversation once it was over. I guess that's why I was so unaware of how far into labor I was - I expected it to be the same as it was with Taylor. The nurse was astounded and quickly told me I would be wheeled into my delivery room (they were afraid my water would break and the baby would come sliding out if I walked).

I made sure that it was known that I wanted an epidural before it was too late and I was hooked up with the magical drugs by 8 am. Again, the epidural experience was completely different this time around. I think with Taylor, I was so focused on the contractions that I didn't feel any part of the epidural process. Since I was able to handle contractions a lot better during this labor, I felt every part of the various epidural needles. It was not enjoyable, but worth it once it kicked in.

Once I was nice and comfy, Andrew and I were both able to get a nap in. My nurse checked me again and I hadn't really changed much so it was decided that I would start pitocin. This was about 10:45 and I immediately started feeling the contractions pick up (not the pain, just the feeling of them happening). At this point my water was still intake, so the doctor that was currently in the hospital came in to break it. As soon as that happened I knew it was go time, but my doctor wasn't quite to the hospital yet. The urge to push wasn't too strong so I was able to relax until Dr. T got there around 12:15. Everything was prepped and I got ready to push. This baby was ready to come because it only took a few strong pushes and Olive was out. Just like our last delivery, Dr. T let Andrew pull baby out and set her on my chest. 

It was 12:46 when I saw my perfect Olive for the first time. She looks just like her big brother did as a newborn. Unlike her brother though who just cooed when he entered the world, Olive decided to let us know she was here by screaming. I enjoyed skin-to-skin time while getting stitched up. (Following in the footsteps of her older brother, Olive made her own episiotomy on the way out. Thanks kids!) She was weighed (7lbs 7oz) and measured (20 inches) and passed her newborn screening test. In all regards, she's perfect and we're in love. 

Taylor has taken quite a liking to her as well which we are so grateful for. He always wants to check on baby sister, points out her nose and toes, and gives her fist bumps. Being a family of four is wonderful.

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