Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ellie's Birth Story

Sometime during the day on Thursday, the 12th of June I started having random, mild contractions. They were inconsistent and not intense enough to go to the hospital for. Luke and I decided to go on a walk with our friends across the street to see if that would get things going. 
By the evening they started to get a little more intense and frequent, but I still wasn't sure it was time to go into the hospital yet.
I texted my family and friends to let them know that I might be going into the hospital that night and to keep their phones on! My mom came over and I made sure all our bags were packed.  I figured the contractions would continue to progress and we would go in soon.... but I was so wrong. 
My contractions became less frequent as the night went on. After putting Luke to bed, I sent Tommy upstairs to get some rest, thinking at least by that morning we would be going in. ... wrong again. My mom slept on the couch while I sat in our recliner.... occasionally dozing off in between contractions and watching HGTV.  By morning I was pretty exhausted but still doing OK. My mom was such a blessing to have at our house and helped take care of and distract Luke while I was in pain. 
Finally, the morning of the 13th, my contractions started getting a lot more intense and consistent. I told Tommy we would probably leave in an hour (since they say that you should be having contractions about 5 minutes apart, that last for 1 minute, for about an HOUR). Nope.
Even though the contractions were intense, they started to spread out again, sometimes 15 minutes in between them. 
I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to show up at the birth center, only to be sent home (especially since we would be charged an emergency room fee for that). My water hadn't broken. I felt a lot of pressure down there... but this was a lot different than my labor experience with Luke was and I just wasn't sure what to do!
I kept praying to Heavenly Father to just let me know when I needed to go in. Around 2:45PM or so my contractions hurt SO BAD I could hardly stand it and suddenly they really started to pick up; Around 4-5 minutes in between each one. I suddenly became overwhelmed with emotion and started crying. I knew Heavenly Father was telling me it was time to go NOW. I told Tommy, "let's go!" and we rushed out the door (luckily, Luke was napping during this time and it was easy to leave quickly). 
On the way to the hospital I felt like I might need to start pushing, like her head was RIGHT THERE ready to come out! 

But I still wasn't sure if I really needed to or not, or even how dilated I was. I just didn't want to get to the hospital and get sent home! I don't know what I was so worried about. 

Once we got through the traffic near the hospital and I finally got wheeled inside to the birth center ( I felt like a dork being pushed in a wheel chair but there was no way I could walk there), we checked in at Triage. It was around 3:20PM and they had us wait in the waiting room for about 5 minutes while they cleaned up a room for me. That might have been the longest 5 minutes of my life.
When it was ready, the nurse had me give a urine sample and change my clothes while she got ready to check me. I thought I was going to die waiting for her to check me, even though it was only a few minutes. None of us realized how far into labor I was until the nurse checked my dilation and, with a smile and a bit of a laugh, told me"you're at a 9! And 100% effaced!". 

No wonder I felt like I was dying. :)

She quickly started to wheel me towards a room telling the other nurses, trying to disguise her urgency, "she's at a 9, I'm taking her to room 53". 
My doctor came into the room just in the nick of time. I asked if I could get an epidural and she hesitantly told me maybe.. but I knew what she really meant was NO, there wasn't time.
I told her it didn't matter because I thought I needed to start pushing anyway!
She then told me to go ahead and start pushing. Tommy and one of the nurses each grabbed one of my legs and I focused everything I had in me on pushing that baby out. 

I was not mentally prepared for a completely drug-free delivery ....It was truly terrifying and yet amazing at the same time.

I always thought it was so stupid when women giving birth in films were portrayed as crazy, screaming ladies... but let me tell you, I felt like a wild animal as I pushed my daughter out. I could not help but scream and groan. I actually apologized for being so loud afterwards, though I was told I was very controlled and not loud at all ....I certainly didn't feel that way!
I remember saying "please" over and over and at one point I even said "I'm scared". haha 
There were even a few moments where it felt like my body just took over and pushed on its own. 
Tommy, my doctor and the nurses were all so amazing and encouraging. Everyone kept shouting, "she's coming", "you're awesome", "you're a rockstar"! :)

And at 3:43PM, on a rainy June afternoon, my beautiful daughter Ellie was born.

She was immediately placed on my chest. We were overcome with joy for the tiny human we created. I kept saying, "she's so sweet", "she's so precious". She really is the sweetest little thing!

I know that women have natural births every day, and my story isn't much different than their's, but as someone who is a huge wimp, I am proud of myself (especially since I tore, too). Also, I wanted to say that people are lying when they tell you that you can't feel anymore pain once the baby is in your arms. I could still feel all the contractions and feel the placenta coming out and luckily I got a little numbing shot while my doctor stitched me up. Ouch! I remember looking at my legs shaking as my doctor did my stitches and thinking how glad I was that it was over, my daughter was out and in my arms.... I did it.

Ellie is a beautiful, easy-going little peanut. She is so itty bitty and petite! She is also a great sleeper, which we could not be more thrilled about. :)

We are so happy and in love with miss Ellie Jane; our second-born and our first daughter. 


xoxo-

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Introducing Ellie Jane Steele

She's here! My beautiful baby girl is here! :)

Miss Ellie Jane Steele

 decided to make her debut on Friday the 13th, and she is so perfect!

She was born at 3:43PM, weighing 6lbs 10oz and measuring 18 3/4 inches long. 

She is the sweetest little thing and we love her so much! She is a great sleeper and a calm balance to our rowdy toddler. :) 

I will post the birth story soon, but until then enjoy these cute pictures of her...







XOXO-

Thursday, June 5, 2014

HOUSE UPDATE & 38 week Pregnancy Questionnaire

Before I move into the pregnancy questionnaire, I just wanted to update everyone on the house. We put it on the market on Friday, had an open house and some viewings over the weekend, and...
we received and accepted a great offer a few days ago! 
I can't believe how fast it sold. I am SO glad to get it over with and not have to worry about showing the house anymore. The buyers also offered a 45 day closing period (instead of the usual 30), which is great for us so we can have time to find our new home. The closing date is set for on or before July 17th. 

It all feels a bit crazy, it seems like everything is happening so fast. I could have the baby any day now and we are rushing to find a house over in the Tri-Cities. Ahhh! Our little buddy Rocky also got neutered yesterday and Luke came down with some sort of flu and these Braxton Hicks just won't leave me alone and and and... phewwww, I just need to take a deep breath! I'm really doing well though. Some moments feel overwhelming, but for the most part I am excited for our family and all the changes happening for us in the next few weeks. I am so anxious for baby girl to get here, but also kind of want her to stay in there as long as possible! ;) I guess she will come when she's ready, right?!


Now onto the pregnancy stuff!


38 Week Pregnancy Questionnaire:

How far along: 38 weeks, 3 days



This first picture was taken at almost 37 weeks and the second picture was taken a few days ago at 38 weeks. My stomach is poking out so weird lately and looks kind of lumpy! She must be really squished in there!




Total Weight Gain/Loss:  Around 26 pounds depending on what I have eaten that day/when I weigh myself.


Maternity clothes: I haven't bought any more maternity clothes, and don't plan to. Luckily, I am still fitting into some of my pre-pregnancy shirts too. And by "fitting into", I mean that I'm not really fitting into them, but I'm wearing them anyway.


Stretch marks: My other one I got with Luke is getting way bigger and darker and I noticed like 3 new ones the other day. Nice.

Sleep: Sleeping a little better at night actually, but feeling totally exhausted during the day.


Best moment last week: We took my MIL out for lunch to celebrate and exchange Mother's Day gifts (since she was in FRANCE on Mother's Day!!), anndddddd our house officially went on the market on Friday the 30th!
More importantly, we received and accepted a great offer only a few days later!!


Movement: Still moving a lot!

Food cravings: I haven't really wanted to eat as much lately because of some heartburn and nausea, but I have also been really hungry too so I keep having to eat a lot and often.

Gender: I don't know why this questions is on here... it's still a girl! 

Baby Stats: At my appointment today the doctor said she seemed like she might be on the petite side. Not that it was a bad thing, just something she noted. It didn't surprise me since she has always been on the smaller side at all of my ultrasounds. Hopefully it will make for an easier delivery. :)

Symptoms: 
  • Everything hurts. So many non-labor contractions. I can barely do anything without getting them, and let's not forget about that sciatic nerve and my varicose veins! ;)
  • Carpal tunnel .... the wrist braces seem to be helping a ton though!
  • Heartburn and nausea
  • Exhaustion/fatigue
  • I forgot to mention that I've had a stuffy nose this whole pregnancy, too. Can't wait to be able to breathe again!
  • I'll stop complaining now...
Labor signs: I was dilated to a 1 1/2 at my appointment today... so not much going on there. But I am 50% effaced. So who knows when she will decide to make her debut!

Belly button - in or out? It's mostly just flat. Too stretched to be an innie, but it doesn't really poke out either. 

What I miss: Being able to walk without having contractions.

What I am looking forward to: Having the baby, obvi. But also finding our new home. We actually found one online that we love and think we might make an offer on. We are waiting to get our pre-approval from the loan officer and then we will probably have Tommy go over to look at the house in person asap and hope I don't go into labor while he's gone!

XOXO-

Monday, May 26, 2014

My Boy

Back in April, a good friend of mine did some maternity photos of me and Luke and they turned out amazing (not surprisingly, since she is an amazing photographer! Go check her out! mandychiappini.com)

She did a lot of shots of just me and the bump, but I ended up choosing to keep the photos with Luke in them, too... because I just love that boy!

He was so into all the flowers and kept picking them and giving them to me... he wasn't interested in posing for the pictures because the flowers were just so much more entertaining, go figure. We had a blast with Mandy and I'm so grateful for these beautiful pictures and the memories they will hold for me. 

Luke is at a hard age (2 1/2, right in the thick of toddlerhood), but he is at such a fun age, too. He has always been a spirited kid, even since day one in the hospital. He is intense, he is loving, he is sensitive, he is aggressive, he is gregarious and robust . Sometimes his aggressiveness is too much and we've been struggling trying to help him harness it. He loves to give the biggest hugs and kisses, but he also has been pushing and hitting (and really into ninja kicking) lately, too. 
Some days feel like a breeze. I feel like I am the most patient, understanding mom in the world and he is such a "good" little boy. Other days, I wonder how in the world I am going to care for him AND a newborn baby. It's hard enough just doing it now, pregnant. My body feels like it's falling apart these days and it's been hard keeping up with my active toddler. 

But every day, good or bad, I am just so grateful to be Luke's mommy and that, soon, I get to be a mommy to my daughter, too. 

I can't believe how much Luke talks and does and knows. He is SO smart. From his looks to his personality, he is definitely his daddy's mini-me.

Here are some stats on the little mister as of lately:

-He weighs 33 pounds, but feels like he could be about 50... oy!
-He is still obsessed with any sort of transportation, especially cars. 
-He really likes Cookie Monster (even though we don't really watch Sesame Street), and loves to pretend to eat like him. Nom nom nom! ;)
-He has recently become obsessed with bugs, too (he calls them buggies). He is so overly observant (part of his "spirited" personality, I suppose) and can spot the tiniest bug from a mile away!
-He can count to 13! :)
-He knows most of his shapes and colors. 
-He loves to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The Itsy Bitsy Spider and Popcorn Popping (an LDS church song)... he especially loves the part when the spider gets "washed" away and likes to be very dramatic about doing the hand motions. haha
-He is sleeping like a CHAMP, I tell you. I don't even want to talk about all of the sleeping issues we have had with him, and I am so SO grateful that he is sleeping so well these days (at night and at nap time).
-He can go pee on the potty when he's in the mood, but we haven't pushed it yet. I don't think I'm ready for potty-training!!
-He is pretty picky with food and doesn't want to stay at the dinner table for long. 
-He finally understands that there is a baby in my tummy and that it's HIS baby sister. Sometimes he loves to feel my tummy move and talk about the baby and play with the baby stuff, and other times I think he is sick of me talking about the baby to him. haha I can't wait to see how he does when she is actually born. I just hope he can be gentle with her.
-He says the funniest, cutest things. My most recent favorite of all though? "I uv you" (I love you)... sighhh. :)


I love my sweet, crazy boy.



(Didn't Mandy do an amazing job on these pictures? I am so lucky to be friends with her in real life!)


XOXO-

JACKIE


Friday, May 2, 2014

Big News!

I'M PREGNANT!!
Oh wait... you already knew that. ;)

We really do have some big news though.

I am so excited.. and so sad, to announce that 
WE ARE MOVING. 

We have spent three and half wonderful years in this cozy little home of ours.

This was our first home we purchased together, where we got our puppy, Rocky, where our first child was born, and our second baby will be, too.

Most of our family live here in the area. We love our ward and friends here.
But Tommy got a great job opportunity in Richland, WA in the Tri-Cities, and we've decided to take it.

It will be hard to leave, but we are excited for this new adventure for our family!
Tommy's new job is at a fantastic company and will allow him an office to go to, instead of working solely from home (like he does now). He won't have to travel (except for conferences he wants to go to) and we can get back to a more normal work schedule. It will be so good for our growing family! Plus, we will be able to get much more house for our money... looks like baby girl will actually get her own bedroom now! ;)

From what I have researched online and been told by friends who have either lived in the area or know someone that lives there, it is not a bad place to live. :) Sounds like a great place to raise a family with lots to do... and boy am I looking forward to that Eastern Washington weather! We need some sunshine! (also looking forward to a house with A/C... why do most houses in King County NOT have A/C?!?) As much as I love the green and trees and mountains here, I think I will like the more open space of the Tri-Cities. Let's hope so, at least.

Also, the Columbia River LDS Temple is there! Tommy's work is practically right down the street from it.



It's practically perfect... if only we could take everyone with us.

As stressful as having a newborn and and moving sounds, I have felt a lot of peace about our decision. I know it's right for our family, but I just don't want to move away from my family and good friends. I'm really bummed about leaving our families, especially right after the baby is born. Luke LOVES his grandparents and his Uncle Josh and (soon-to-be) Aunt Alisa so much! I just have to not think about it too much and try to focus and all of the positives.
Luckily, it is only a few hours away from where we live now (and a little bit closer to my sister and her family... woohoo), and we plan to visit A LOT! And since we are able to buy a bigger house over in Eastern Washington, we will have a guest room and expect lots of visitors. ;)

We met with our realtor on Monday and worked out all the details of selling.
Our house will go on the market May 23rd, 
which means we will still be here when the baby is born. That is such a weight off my shoulders! I was worried that the house would sell too fast (houses are selling fast in our area) and we would have to move before the baby was due and have to try to find a new OBGYN and pediatrician and have someone to watch Luke when I'm at the hospital, etc.... it's giving me a headache just thinking about it! BUT it sounds like everything is going to work out in my favor. Phewww!

With the baby's due date lurking just around the corner, our impending move, lots of birthdays and holidays, and my brother's wedding August 2nd, we've got a lot to keep us busy these next few months. It's all so exciting and a bit overwhelming, too!



XOXO-

Monday, April 28, 2014

33 Weeks Pregnancy Questionnaire


33 Weeks Pregnancy Questionnaire

How far along: 33 weeks today


Total Weight Gain/Loss: 20-22 pounds depending on what I have eaten that day

Maternity clothes: I had to buy some more maternity tops last week... I didn't really have any maternity clothes this time around (besides a pair of pants), because I mostly just borrowed stuff from a friend and my sister last time (both of which gave away their stash before I got pregnant with #2).

Have I mentioned how much I HATE maternity clothing? It's so hard to find things that fit my growing belly, but isn't huge in the chest and arms. So unflattering.... and such a waste of money when I am only going to wear them for two more months! At least I know I will probably wear my maternity clothing 1 or more times after this. OK, enough about maternity clothing!

Stretch marks: No change from last time. 

Sleep: Sleeping like crap, but I think 99% of pregnant women at this stage of pregnancy do as well. What can you do!

At least my toddler is now sleeping in his OWN bed, ALL night long and going to bed super easy... and sleeping in! Yahoo! Even if I'm not sleeping well, at least I have that time to just rest, even if I'm awake. I better live it up for the next two months while I can! haha

Best moment last week: Easter was so fun with our family!

*Not baby related*... Luke went to the dentist for a "happy visit", where they just get him used to being at the dentist and look at his teeth if he will let them. He did so well and had a blast! He kept talking about the dentist all day after that. Thank goodness! Our dentist is the best. Also, I had a dentist appointment the next day and I'm proud to report no cavities again for this girl!

Movement: Oh my, does this girl like to move! I just want to know, what in the world is she doing in there?! 

Food cravings: About the same as the last update... craving sugar like crazy. And bacon. 

Gender: It's a boy!.... just kidding, still a girl. ;)

Baby Stats: 

Symptoms: 
  • By tailbone/back/butt/"down there" hurt all the time. Sometimes I will get up to walk or something and as soon as I take a step I feel like I threw my back out and it takes me a while to adjust and walk like a normal person. I seriously feel like an old lady. 
  • I walked to the store with Luke the other day (which is literally a 5-10 minute walk), and I felt like I had just run 5 miles... so tired and hurting!
  • Braxton Hicks contractions all the time. Which also contributes to the sore back.
  • Around this stage in pregnancy with my first, I was able to stop working and start my stay-at-home mom job early. This time, I am not working again BUT I have a toddler to take care of... it's definitely a lot harder on my body. I was so spoiled before! 
    • I am SO thrilled to be pregnant and I would do it over again in a heartbeat... but I can't wait for this little lady to be here and to not be pregnant anymore. :)

Labor signs: Nope

Belly button - in or out? Still not quite all the way out! 

What I miss: Having a waist...Being able to bend all the way over and stretch and move however I want. I am dying to exercise, but it hurts so bad if I push myself too hard (my back/tailbone and my varicose veins I've mentioned before). I do try to walk a lot though when I can and am on my feet most of the time around the house.

What I am looking forward to: My ultrasound next week. The ultrasound with the high risk doctor to check on baby's head shape was great and she looks good, but I still have to get extra ultrasounds due to my venous lake, just to check on fetal growth... Hoping baby girl is doing well and getting big! Sure feels like it! :)

*We also have some big news that I'm so excited about and looking forward to (but also feeling a little bit stressed out about!)!! But that is a post for another day this week! ;)



Hope everyone had a great Easter... I know I did!

XOXO-

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Baby Girl Update & 30 Week Pregnancy Questionnaire

Update:
I finally had my ultrasound and consultation appointment at the Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic today. 
It could not have gone any better! As far as they can tell, baby girl looks perfectly healthy... and adorable, too! I was able to get some awesome ultrasound pictures and they even did some 3D ones for me. It was so cool. The ultrasound technician even showed me where you could see some hair on her head! Hopefully she won't be bald forever like her brother. :)

Seriously... look at those luscious lips, will you?! And I can't wait to kiss those chubby little cheeks in a couple months!! She had her hands up by her face almost the whole time... so that is her arms and hands up by her eyes, if you can't tell.
Also, she is not mushy like it looks... it just looks that way because of all of the fluid surrounding her and because she kept moving around a lot.

30 Week Pregnancy Questionniare

How far along: 30 weeks and 1 day

Total Weight Gain/Loss: About 17 pounds. Yup, that is 17 pounds of pure baby.... aaaand fluid, placenta, fat, etc... ;)

Maternity clothes: I finally bought a maternity shirt (the one I'm wearing in the picture, actually)! And I bought a pair of maternity skinny jeans and some yoga pants. Still mostly wearing my non-maternity tops, but they don't really fit right. I don't want to buy maternity clothes!

Stretch marks: I think I am getting 1!! I have one from Luke... and it kind of looks like I am getting a new one in the same area.. almost a continuation of my other one. So sad. :(

Sleep: Almost every night I wake up around 2:30AM and it takes me a few hours to fall back asleep. 

Best moment last week: I helped throw a baby shower for a good friend of mine who is due this month! Can't wait for our kids to be buddies! 

Movement: She moves so much! And it hurts! Haha she always kicks in the same spot on one side of my stomach. 

Food cravings: My sweet tooth is out of control. I just want ice cream! And anything sweet! And also BACON. I could eat it every single day. 

Gender: Checked again today... still a GIRL. ;)

Baby Stats: She was 2.08 pounds a few weeks ago, so somewhere between 2-3 pounds. I forgot to ask what she was measuring at today at the ultrasound. Most babies around this week measure roughly 15 inches long. 

Symptoms: 
  • TAILBONE is still so sore!
  • Braxton Hicks contractions. I didn't really have any with Luke until the very end. I didn't even realize that is what they were, but now I know. I get them all the time with baby girl. 
  • Sore back from the Braxton Hicks and just being pregnant in general.

Labor signs: Nope

Belly button - in or out? Still not quite all the way out!

What I miss: I just want to have my body back to myself... well, as much as you can when you are nursing. Is your body ever your own again after having kids, anyway?! haha I always have a baby kicking me in the stomach or a toddler crawling all over me. :)

What I am looking forward to: Easter! My whole family is getting today at my dad's house (Tommy's mom is coming too.. and my sister and her family from Ellensburg)... I really love Easter, probably one of my favorite holidays! And Luke is going to be in heaven playing with his cousins. 

XOXO-