Little Man

Choo Choo – all aboard the Conor express!

I cannot believe Conor is already 7 weeks old! The time is flying by and we are loving this new life with our little man.

This past month has been BUSY! In between bottles, naps, and diapers, Bryan and I have officially set up Conor’s nursery. We decided to do a train theme to celebrate our town’s history. We live a few miles from the C&O Canal and train tracks and the town itself is known for being the “Home of the Railroaders”. In addition to setting up the nursery, I decided I would take Conor’s newborn photos myself! With Lucy’s newborn shoot, we used the incredible Annette of  Stadkind Photography, but this time around I wanted to take on the challenge myself (but we SO look forward to having her take family photos of us this spring).

I used Conor’s train nursery theme as inspiration for his shoot. Below you will see his nursery, lifestyle photos, and some up close and personal portraits of our little man!

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Photo overload! I just cannot get enough of him ❤ I hope you enjoyed these photos. A huge thank you to my brother for taking the photos with me in them.

As to keep up with tradition – our photo wall in the morning room has been updated as well! I love seeing our family photo wall finally complete.

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love & lots of whit – jen xo

Crib & Dresser: Baby Cache Harbor – Navy Mist (BabiesRUs)

Glider: KACY Collection Madison Glider – Ash (BabiesRUs)

Accessories:

Personalized Hat (Etsy seller: All Aboard Whistle)

Swaddle (Etsy seller: Sweet Lullapie)

Bedding: All Aboard Crib Bedding (Crate and Kids)

Paint: Cathedral Gray  (Behr)

 

Conor’s Birth Story: Emergency vs. Scheduled C-Section

Our son has arrived! This is our birth story and an article for expectant mothers to hopefully help ease any fears about having a scheduled c-section.

He has arrived! Our family is complete.

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Introducing Conor Bryan Whitfield, 7 lbs. 5 oz. of adorable, squishy, squirmy, baby boy!

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Our sweet little sleepy baby boy has been in our lives now for exactly three weeks.  Today, February 16, is technically his due date but due to complications from Lucy’s birth we knew that any future child would need to be born via c-section at 37 weeks. What did this mean for us? Three BONUS weeks with our son in our lives!

I now want to talk about Conor’s birth story and address expectant mothers who may be going through the same thing I did. Knowing that my baby had to be born at 37 weeks via c-section, I had many fears and uncertainties, especially after Lucy’s birth which was a very traumatic failed induction turned emergency c-section [Lucy’s Birth Story]. I remember looking online for answers, only to be utterly terrified at some of the horror stories I found. Bryan tried to ban me from googling everything, but Jennifer the worry wart was in full force. Many questions swirled in my head: would my incisions from my previous delivery rupture, how would a scheduled c-section differ from my emergency c-section, would he be fully developed, is he really ready to come out,  would I recover well, what else might go wrong?

But this is a happy article.

This is the article I wish I would have read before giving birth to my son to ease my mind. While every birth is different, I want to share my personal story and the answers to all of the questions I had about having a scheduled c-section at 37 weeks.

Would I rupture?:

The main reason why I was told that I would need to deliver any future kids via c-section at 37 weeks was the risk of a uterine rupture. With Lucy’s birth, the emergency c-section consisted of two cuts internally instead of the typical one (called a T cut). This meant that if I would go into labor on my own with a future pregnancy, that there was the potential that the contractions would cause my uterus to rupture which could have been deadly for both the baby and myself.

Thankfully, I did not end up going into labor on my own. The original plan was going to be to wait about 5 days longer than 37 weeks to let his lungs develop more, but due to an unforeseen liver condition that arose during my 36 week mark, we ended up scheduling the c-section at exactly 37 weeks.

What would a scheduled c-section be like?:

Comparing this scheduled c-section to my last failed induction turned emergency c-section is like comparing apples to oranges. It was so completely different in the most positive way imaginable.

Like last time, it was nice walking into the hospital not in labor. It created a calm, laid back experience. The biggest difference was not having to go through the induction process first. With Lucy, I spent 2 days getting pumped with Cervidil and Pitocin and had nothing to eat and very little sleep. This was the recipe for failure. It meant that even if the c-section would have gone smoothly (which it didn’t) I would be two days behind on sleep, weak from the little food, and completely swollen due to all of the water and medications being pumped into me for two days straight. Enough about that first experience though, like i said this time it was a HAPPY story.

The scheduled c-section could not have gone any better. It started with me getting checked in, and then getting hooked up to the fetal monitor and IV. My early morning 7:30 AM surgery ended up getting pushed until 9:00 AM due to an emergency birth coming in before me that required the surgical team. This was fine with me because Bryan and I were able to relax a bit – this meant Bryan getting a nice breakfast and coffee and me watching I Love Lucy. It was then time to go into surgery. The team of nurses, my doctor, and the anesthesiologist were all incredible and put me at ease. The only minor freak out moment I had was when they prepped me for surgery. Unlike with my induction, I had to be in the surgery room without Bryan when they administered my spinal tap (numbing medication). Between the numbing of my entire lower body, and not having Bryan by my side I soooorrt of had a panic attack. BUT, as I said the team was amazing and they helped me through it by forcing me to talk about something completely irrelevant and taking my mind off of the situation. I ended up talking about Bryan and I’s trip to Boston BEFORE we started dating, so that ended up being the topic of the entire c-section. Who knew talking about gelato in Little Italy could take your mind off of being cut open?!

Once Bryan was able to come in, we were able to hold hands and I was instantly reassured. A few non-painful tugs here and there, and all of a sudden I could hear the most wonderful sound in the world, the sound of my sweet son crying and a declaration that it was 9:46 AM. Unlike last time, I was alert the rest of the time we were in the surgery room. I got to cry my happy tears. I got to listen to the NICU team check baby. I got to listen to the surgical team talking about how smoothly everything went. I got to talk to Bryan as he held our baby next to my head. I was able to see the first moments of my son’s life. It was the experience I wish I would have had the first time.

Is he really ready to come out at 37 weeks and will he be fully developed?:

The answer, thank God, for us was yes. I know there are many babies born at 37 weeks that may require a few days in the NICU due to lung development or other complications, but Conor was completely healthy. We required no time in the NICU, and it was only shortly after the surgery that I was able to have skin to skin contact with him and nurse him. He is a great sleeper and eater, and is constantly meeting his developmental and weight goals at his follow-up check ups. We are extremely blessed.

How would recovery be?:

I am officially three weeks out from having my c-section today and I can say recovery has been incredible. There has been little pain and I have been able to carefully get back into the normal routines of life. I am trying to be as careful as possible to not over-do it because I find that on days that I pick up Lucy or try to clean too much I feel worse. Overall, I cannot complain though. My body is healing, my mental state is positive, and my little boy allows me to get the sleep I need at night.

What else may go wrong?:

Ah, the question I had after one week postpartum. It almost seemed like everything was too good to be true and we kept finding ourselves saying things like “for now” when we talked about how great a sleeper he was. Like I said, Conor is a healthy baby, a great sleeper, and a great eater. I am able to carry out a routine during the day with him that leaves both him and I relaxed at the end of the day. On top of that, Lucy has completely adapted to her new brother – which was something I really feared. Before having him, I felt like I was almost betraying her. I felt like I was cutting off the special one-on-one time with her as an only child. If anything, it only makes me put even more of an effort into carving out special mommy/daughter time and including her in the day-to-day activities with her new brother. She loves giving him his pacifier, kissing and tickling his feet, and attempting to feed him his bottle. On top of that, Bryan has been a phenomenal Daddy to Lucy these past three weeks (and of course for all time). He has completely taken over some of the things I usually had done in the past while I recover and Lucy couldn’t be more excited about all of the extra-special time with him.

So instead of worrying about what else could go wrong, I have decided to embrace the fact that everything is going well and live in the moment. There is no sense in worrying or dreading the possible issues that may or may not arise during these first few months. Yes, it is an adjustment for all of us – but with Bryan by my side I know we will get through it all and time will continue to go by too fast. Before we know it, Conor will be as big as Lucy and we will miss the time when they were so little.

And there you have it, Conor’s birth story! I am hoping this article was able to reassure anyone with an upcoming scheduled c-section that they can go very smoothly, and soon enough you too will have your sweet bundle of baby in your arms!

To close, here is a photo collage of our hospital experience and first few days of Conor’s life:

love & lots of whit – jen xo

It’s a…Golf Gender Reveal!

Celebrating and embracing the realization that we will have two under two!

Once upon a time…

we found out we were expecting another BABY!

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Lucy provided her adorable self (along with a super cute Big Sister shirt from Target) and made the announcement to our family and friends. Baby number two is due late January and we couldn’t be more thrilled! Just when having one child starting getting easier and easier, we are now hitting the reset button! I really never thought we would be those parents with two under two, but ready or not, here we go!!

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After we announced back in August, it was time to play the waiting game until we could find out our sweet little one’s gender. The entire time I thought it was a girl and Bryan thought it was a boy.

The time has come and the results are in! To announce our sweet little bundle, we tried something new this time. With Lucy, we found out right during the ultrasound from our technician what the gender was. This time we wanted to surprise ourselves a bit – no no we are not waiting until birth, I don’t have enough patience in the world for that – instead we had the technician place the gender in an envelope and seal it and about two hours later we did the reveal. Please watch our video below to find out the gender!

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Will baby number two be pink or blue?

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Find out with us:

We couldn’t be more happy to welcome little one in just a few short months. Now I will leave you with a behind the scenes photos of how little miss Lucy REALLY feels about this…

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love & lots of whit – jen xo

baby bison | newborn photos

When a dear friend has a baby, you can’t help but celebrate it with as much excitement as if it were your own baby!

There are some people in this world that change your life for the better. Shaina and Jason are two of those people. They radiate happiness, adventure, love, and kindness and their virtues and values are stronger than anything.  I have been blessed to call them my friends for many years now. Last year, I cried happy tears when Shaina told me they were expecting as I couldn’t imagine two people who were more ready to become parents. As you will see below, I had the joy of capturing their baby announcement photos last fall. They have a wild sense of humor and I couldn’t think of a better announcement concept than these clever mugs that Shaina created! Hill Annoucement-5586Hill Annoucement-5538Hill Annoucement-5531-2Hill Annoucement-5325Hill Annoucement-5444-2Hill Annoucement-5380-2As fall ended we fell into the long winter and we all waited and prayed for the safe arrival of sweet Baby Bison in the spring. Baby Bison is the adorable nickname Shaina and Jason referred to their baby as during pregnancy and you will see why when you see the amazing nursery they created for him. I counted down the day’s until my dear friend’s due date like a small child waiting for Christmas and then finally in the middle of April, baby Silas was born! As you scroll through these dreamy pictures of the new perfectly complete family, please note the INCREDIBLE Bison mural featured in Sila’s nursery which was handpainted by Shaina’s talented brother, Zak Parsons.

Now to the moment we have all been waiting for, photos of the sweetest new arrival, Silas.Baby Silas-1613

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Swooooooooon. That little FACE!

Welcome dear friends to the most incredible journey of all time, parenthood – and welcome baby Silas to life with your fantastic mommy and daddy.

love & lots of whit – jen xo

Recap: Months 0-3

Reflecting back on the first three months of Lucy’s life and also on how my life has changed since becoming a mommy!

Everyone always told me when I was pregnant that it goes by so fast, and I was always skeptical (especially during that first month of non-stop crying). I now realize everyone is absolutely right, it really does fly by. My once itty bitty newborn has almost doubled in weight and her non-stop crying has turned into non-stop irresistible smiles and happy squeals. I wanted to use this post to showcase Lucy’s first 3 months of life and also try to provide some insight as to what products were most useful during this time for any expecting mom-to-be’s out there!

0-1 Month: Small Victories

For me, the labor, delivery, and recovery process was extremely overwhelming in every aspect of the word (good and bad). Bryan coined the phrase “small victories” to help get us through. The idea behind the phrase was to be acknowledge the progress we made along the way and I can proudly say now that all of those small victories combined helped lead me to my greatest victory of all, motherhood.

Now that the labor and delivery process is behind us, I feel like I can share the condensed version of Lucy’s birth story. Lucy was super comfortable in the womb and didn’t want to come out on her own so 3 days past her due date, we scheduled to have her induced because she was measuring large and that increased the chance of complications. I spent 38.5 hours being induced with no sleep and only ice chips to eat. During those two days of induction there was a full moon and the labor and delivery wing was packed with women who had gone into labor! This was an exciting thing to hear, but because of the amount of people having babies none of the nurses were able to answer my calls for the most painful 5 hours I had ever endured before they could finally come in and give me an epidural. In order to pass the time, there happened to be an “I Love Lucy” marathon on television, so I tried to just focus on that instead of the pain. Unfortunately, the induction failed overall and it lead me to get a C-section. Even though I was physically exhausted, I was so happy to hear that I would soon get to see my baby girl and I was overcome with a new wave of energy and positivity. Bryan and I put on our surgery outfits and I was wheeled into the surgery room.

It all started out fine, I couldn’t feel a thing and Bryan and I were laughing and talking about golf as they started the process. All of a sudden I felt a painful pulling feeling and I could hear the doctor saying that she was stuck. Lucy was already so far down in my pelvis after being induced for so long that they couldn’t pull her out of the standard cut. It was then that I felt the most excruciating pain I had ever felt as they made a second cut upwards. I learned afterwards that the reason I felt so much pain was because the numbing stopped at my bellybutton so when they cut past that point there was no longer any sort of numbing medication. The last thing I remember hearing was that she was out and that it was 10:50 PM, and then it was a complete blur until a few hours later I woke up completely out of it and I remember thinking that I was dead. I then realized I was being handed my baby girl. What should have been an amazing moment of holding my baby for the first time, was full of anxiety as I couldn’t open my eyes and I felt terrified as I thought “why are they handing me her I don’t even know what is happening!” All I could do was ask Bryan if everything went okay and I heard his reassuring voice saying that she was perfect and in that moment that is all I focused on to get me through. Finally, after my blood pressure and temperature stabilized, we were taken to our hospital room where I was finally able to process what was going on and I saw my sweet baby Lucy finally and breathed a sigh of relief.

A few days later when we finally left the hospital it felt so great to be home and out of the hospital room without all of the nurses coming in every hour to check on mine and Lucy’s vitals. Unfortunately, the recovery process was no walk in the park. I was swollen from the waist down due to water retention from the surgery which made it difficult to walk. My cuts were healing and still caused me a lot of pain. I was limited to only taking stairs once per day and holding nothing heavier than Lucy. On top of that, I had a very hard time with breastfeeding. Those first few weeks I felt completely defeated. I felt like the worst mother ever because it was hard for me to care for Lucy since I could hardly even care for myself. Thankfully, Bryan handled most everything those first few weeks. All of Lucy’s diaper changes, all of the household chores, and he took care of Rooney. My mom also came the first week we were home during the day while Bryan was at work and she took care of Lucy and I and I couldn’t be more appreciative. We ended up camping out in the living room for 2.5 weeks while I recovered. Let me tell you, finally sleeping in our own bed again was one of our greatest small victories.

The remainder of that first month home continued to improve with each passing day. What once was a feeling of exhaustion, depression, and defeat was now turning into feelings of comfort, healing, and confidence.

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About Lucy this month:

Lucy LOVES eating, sticks her tongue out on cue, smiles at mommy and daddy, wears size 3-6 month clothing since 1 week, is very alert & attentive, lifts her head, has RED hair and blue eyes, loves bathtime, loves being held and rocked, sleeps 4-5 hours at a time at night!

2 Months: Hey this is E.A.S.Y.

Around the 2-month mark, Lucy and I began to figure it out. I never thought a baby was like a puzzle, but for me I had to literally try to figure out what to do piece by piece! Our days consisted of snuggling and lounging around the house with many feedings, diaper changes, and naps in between. After reading Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg, I realized the importance of schedule and routine and began following the E.A.S.Y. method. What this stands for is Eat – Activity – Sleep – You. I found a great description of the process here (credit Noob Mommy). Some common activities Lucy and I did were playing on play mats, practicing tummy time, playing peek-a-boo, taking Rooney to the basement to let him out to pee, and watching Calliou. You’d be surprised at just how entertaining these things could be for a 2 month old! Some common me time activities included watching movies on Netflix, doing the dishes, doing endless loads of laundry, and attempting to blog but then getting distracted by Amazon.com. It really is insane how little you can get done for yourself while you are caring for a newborn baby!

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About Lucy this month:

Lucy sleeps in her own bedroom, is SUPER chatty and happy when she wakes up in the morning, squeals when she is happy, can roll from her tummy to her back, likes kicking her feet when music is playing, is SUPER gassy, notices her brother Rooney and smiles at him, loves playing on her play mats and swatting at the toys, holds onto her hippo pacifier tight, likes to see herself in the mirror, sleeps 6-7 hour stretches at a time at night!

3 Months: Work/Life Balance

This past month, Lucy has really developed her own personality! She is constantly smiling and she “talks” to us non-stop. Staying at home with Lucy turned from something that was overwhelming at first into something I could see myself doing forever (if only I was able to). I returned back to work 2 weeks ago and the day we left Lucy with her daycare provider was one of the hardest days of my life. The second we dropped her off and walked out of the door I cried my eyes out. The rest of my commute was spent crying as well. Each day that passes gets a little bit easier, but I still spend a majority of my day thinking about how she is doing. Bryan and I are so lucky to have found such an amazing daycare provider for Lucy, so that has made this transition easier on us. Still, the absolute best part of the day is picking her up and being able to spend the evening with her. The second best part of the day is when I receive photo updates through texts from her provider (I’m a wee bit obsessed with my little one if you can’t tell)!

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About Lucy this month:

Lucy started going to daycare with Mrs. Lucy and loves all of her new friends (especially Gus), tries to stick both of her hands in her mouth at the same time, drools, is chatty, talkative, and sqeals all of the time, likes to yell for no reason and then smile, splashes in the bathtub, likes to lay on her back and put her feet as high in the air as possible, stares at her toes and wonders how to get them into her mouth, grabs at Rooney’s fur and tries to grab his face, smiles at herself in the mirror when she sees the “pretty baby”, grabs toys that are hanging down, can grab her pacifier and take it out of her mouth, likes watching soccer and golf with daddy and Calliou with mommy, sleeps 6-7 hour stretches at a time at night!

12 Items We Couldn’t Have Lived Without: Months 0-3

  1. Little Remedies – Gas Drops: These drops as well as the next two items were lifesavers for our VERY GASSY baby. From day one Lucy has had really bad gas pains and she would cry and cry until she was able to get the gas out! The gas drops contain the same active ingredient as Gas-X and give Lucy that extra push when trying to get that pain out of her tummy!
  2. Mother’s Bliss – Night Time Gripe Water: Life…Saver. We used this product for month 2-3 at bedtime and it helped Lucy get some much needed gas-free sleep.
  3. Dr. Brown’s Bottles: I originally registered for completely different bottles but once Lucy’s gas issues popped up I knew I needed to try to find a bottle that kept the air out while she drank. These bottles have a vent system that helps create a paced flow which in turn helps reduce any problems while feeding. Since we have switched to these bottles Lucy rarely spits up.IMG_9363.JPG
  4. Fisher-Price Rock and Play (auto-rocking): This is what Lucy has been sleeping in since we brought her home. We will be transitioning her to the crib within the next month or two, but for those first few months this was the ideal sleeping solution. The Rock and Play craddles baby more and the auto-rocking feature helps soothe her to sleep. We also have two other non-rocking versions of this, one of which we keep in the car to bring with us when we go out to family/friends homes, and the other stays down on the main level of the home for a safe place to place Lucy.
  5. Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddles: Any Muslin cotton swaddling blankets will do! Muslin cotton is a breathable and comfortable fabric. These blankets made it easy to use to swaddle baby safetly, plus the designs are all super adorable!
  6. Activity Mats (for different spots in the house): Around the 1 1/2 month mark Lucy started to enjoy activity mats. On these mats she practices tummy time and likes to swat at the different toys that hang down. Her two favorite mats here and here, have toys that hang down, lights, and music. All of those features really keep her stimulated and entertained.

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    Mesmerized by the lights and sound!
  7. Graco Pack n’ Play with changing station: We keep this on our main level and it proved to be one of the most useful items during my recovery process. Since I was unable to take stairs during the day I pretty much lived on the main level. Having a changing table on this floor made it easy to change all of those newborn diapers! Also, this particular version has really convenient shelves at the base which we store clothes and extra diapers in. I highly recommend setting up one of these BEFORE you go into labor so that it is all ready to go when you come home from the hospital!
  8. Diaper Champ: This bad boy sits right next to our changing table! It keeps the odors out of the house and unlike the Diaper Genie, this diaper holder uses any type of trash bag instead of special cartriges. It is a much more cost effective diaper pail and does just as good a job if not better at masking the odor.
  9. Soothie Pacifiers and Booginhead Pacigrip: When you are pregnant, one thing you seem to acquire a ton of are pacifiers. I must have had 10 different brands of pacifiers when Lucy was born but it turned out that the Soothie pacifier the hospital provided to us is the one that Lucy likes best. After we found that the pacifier was sometimes the only thing to stop Lucy from crying, we bought a ton of them just to make sure that we were never without this magic little mute button! Also, for some reason out of all of Lucy’s things, our dog Rooney is drawn to the pacifier the most and this has resulted in many a chewed up pacifier being found around the house. After about 2 months I found the Booginhead pacifier holders that can hold this brand of pacifier Since we bought one of these clips Lucy pretty much lives with a pacifier clipped on her outfit at all times.IMG_9371
  10. Lil’ Critters Soothing Starlight Hippo by Vtech: My sister gifted us this hippo for Lucy because she knows that hippo’s are my favorite animal and couldn’t resist. It turns out, that this is not only adorable sitting in the nursey, it is also extremely useful in our bedtime routine! During Lucy’s last bottle of the night we turn off the lights, sit on the glider, and turn on the hippo and it plays music and shines stars around the ceiling. Then once she is finished we can set her into her Rock and Play to go to sleep and she just stares up at the ceiling and watches the stares until she falls asleep. It has different time settings and also has a great setting that turns the hippo on automatically when baby starts crying in the night which helps to calm her down.
  11. Nose Frida: Who thought sucking boogies could be so much fun?! Around the one month mark, Lucy got her first runny nose. Of course as first time parents we were nervous and didn’t know how to help her so we called the pediatrician. They let us know that it was safe to suction out her nose to help clear her up so we finally were able to put the Nose Frida we received from our baby shower to use (thanks Jennie)! This thing makes getting the mucus out so easy and honestly, kinda fun! You take one end and place it in babies nose and the other end you put your mouth on and literally suck out the boogies. I was so grossed out by this at first because I thought they would get in my mouth – but this little tool uses a tube and filter to ensure that doesn’t happen. Best of all, Lucy LOVES it and always smiles after we use it!
  12. Fisher-Price Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat: This seat has been incredibly useful during her third month! As Lucy grows, she wants to see more of the world around her and not always be laying on an activity mat. This seat is perfect for small babies to be able to sit up and observe. We used this seat in place of the Bumbo Floor Seat as we found Lucy hated sitting in the Bumbo.

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    Rooney loves her seat too because he can give her all the kisses he wants!

Again, let me re-state just how fast time is flying! I cannot believe Lucy is already three months old. It is crazy to think about all that is to come and what I will be able to talk about in just three more months when recap again!

love & lots of whit – jen xo