our birth story.

I guess I should start by saying, Chris and I made the decision early on in our pregnancy to attempt an intervention free delivery...meaning: no epidural, no IV, no drugs what-so-ever. It's not that I'm an anti-drug person, but after doing a bunch of research and taking a birthing course, an intervention free delivery was something we were completely committed to. 

It can be extremely difficult to deliver intervention free in a hospital setting (most doctor's/hospitals have protocol they like to/have to adhere to), which is why most people chose to deliver at home or in a birthing center with a midwife. But the idea of delivering outside of a hospital setting completely freaked me out for some reason? What if the cord was wrapped around our baby's head? What if I needed an emergency c-section? What if? What if? What if? I knew I wouldn't be able to fully commit to an intervention free delivery if I wasn't in a hospital.  I hear most women who choose a natural delivery feel the exact opposite, but I knew the hospital was the place for me.  After a lot of searching for a doctor who we felt comfortable with, we were able to find a doctor who was willing to work with us and my long birth plan. And luckily, I was blessed with a husband who was willing to lay the smack down when a few nurses/on call doctors wanted to vary from our plan.

now, onto our birth story.

friday, march 11th. At 11pm my contractions began. Knowing I wanted to have an intervention free birth, Chris and I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible before going to the hospital.
I'm not sure what I expected contractions to feel like but they were different than I prepared for, kind of like menstrual cramps at first. I never had a braxton hicks contraction or any other pre-labor symptoms really, so when labor began the day before my due date, I some how instinctually knew this was it. Since the pain was tolerable, and the contractions were far apart, i was able to get a fairly good night sleep that night.

saturday, march 12th. I woke up around 6am to more intense and frequent contractions. In an attempt to let chris sleep as much as he could, I got out of bed, made some breakfast and packed our overnight bag (yes, that's right I didn't have my bag packed until then). From 6am to 9pm I continued to labor at home.  Until 7pm, contractions were still extremely manageable, on a scale from 1-10 I'd say my pain level was a 3 . Around 7:30, my contractions were measuring about 2 minutes apart and getting harder to manage, and I could start to see a bit of worry in Chris' face. My doctor had counseled me to not come in until the contractions were so intense that I couldn't talk and/or were 2 minutes apart, so at 7:30 Chris called the hospital, told them my numbers and they thought we better come in.   Wait?!  Yes, my contractions were 2 minutes apart and harder to manage, but they were still no where near where I thought the pain level would be when I was checking into the hospital.  I'd say the pain scale was around a 5 now, but Chris was getting nervous about the whole "2 minutes apart" thing, so I decided to go to the hospital. By the time we checked in and they hooked me up to the monitor to check Cohen's heartbeat, I had now been in labor for 24 hours. Although it was against my original birth plan, I asked the doctor to examine me because I couldn't believe I was as far along as they thought (once again my pain level was still about a 5). At 11pm, the doctor's exam revealed I was now 100% effaced and 6 cm dilated.  Farther along than I thought, but I still had a long ways to go before we started pushing.

sunday, march 13th. It was a long night. A really long night. After getting to my room, I could tell a big change was happening in my body. I didn't get a minute of sleep. My contractions were intense, but what was hurting tremendously was my back.  My back labor was almost unbearable. Laying down was nearly impossible, so I spent most of the night pacing the halls, on exercise balls, praying and trying every position possible to get comfortable. Around 4pm {yes, that's 41 hours of labor now} the nurse informed us that she thought our baby was turned in the wrong direction, " sunny side up", she called it. She assumed this was the culprit of my back pain, and recommended I try a few different birthing positions to help get the baby turned.  I was now 8cm dilated and in extreme pain. My body was shaking uncontrollably and I could hardly walk, but getting this baby turned was my top priority, so I did as I was told.

At this point,  Chris could tell I was feeling defeated, and about to give up. He knew how bad I wanted this baby, and he knew it was time for him to step up and get me through this. He coached me though each contraction in the crazy positions my nurse instructed me to use, then all of a sudden in the middle of a contraction, my back pain went away. Just like that it was gone! I immediately burst into tears, and hugged my nurse.  I know hospitals get a terrible wrap with "intervention free" mothers, but at this moment, I realized why I felt so convicted to deliver in a hospital setting with my amazing team of nurses and wonderful doctor. She knew exactly what to do to help me deliver naturally, and even said to me after Cohen was born, "Only about 5% of mother's in this hospital are able to deliver their child in a Posterior position.  There's a good chance you would have needed a Cesarean delivery, had you used an epidural."  Wow!  Can you believe that? Once again, my team of nurses were the absolute best. Although my contractions were still coming full force at this point, my back pain was instantly eased, and at that moment, I knew I was going to be able to do this. I was re-focused and ready to meet our baby.

From there, the next few hours until delivery where a whirlwind. Around 6pm my water broke, 7pm I started pushing, and at 8:14 Cohen was born. All 9lbs and 21 perfect inches of him. I did it!  I did what most people told me I was crazy to attempt.  I just delivered a 9lb baby boy, after nearly two whole days of labor, without a single iota of medicine, in a hospital. I really did it. I had tried to imagine what it would be like to hold our new baby for the first time, but nothing prepared me for how great he felt in my arms. The minute he was born, the nurses placed him on my chest, skin to skin.  He was the warmest little thing I had ever held. I just laid there basking in the glow of motherhood and held him tight. His eyes were wide open and alert and he soon thereafter began nursing without any coaxing.  I remember reading about a newborns innate desire to nurse prior to Cohen's birth, so it was incredible to see that first hand.  Within minutes of his arrival he was already eating, and to be honest he really hasn't stopped since.  I know this sounds cheesy, but Chris and I just looked at each other, we didn't say anything, we didn't need words, it was an unbelievable moment. I had never loved Chris more, than at that moment.  Our love created this new life.
 You know it's funny, labor was an intense, arduous process, but I also loved every minute of it. It's truly amazing what the human body can accomplish.  Thanks for taking the time to read this long , but oh-so special post. happy thursday! {monica}


week one.

i know this sounds cliche, but i can't believe my baby is one week old already?!
it went by so fast, too fast actually. thank you for all of your kind words and comments on my last post, it was fun reading all of your baby notes and sweet words. week one was spent just like you would probably imagine.... nursing, sleeping, changing diapers, nursing, sleeping, and trying to grab a bite to eat if i wasn't nursing, changing diapers or sleeping. we did manage to be a little social by going to church yesterday, stopping by a surprise party for one of chris' friends, and having a few friends over to meet our handsome little guy.

chris and i have had so much fun this first week together. our timing was perfect for delivery, because chris was on spring break last week, so were able to spend the entire first week together trying to figure out some kind of a routine. we couldn't have asked for a better first week together, we had one happy little bungalow.

i have so many more things to update you all on (not just baby stuff...for all of you non-baby people), but that will have to come another day. i have a screaming baby to attend to.

happy monday! {monica}


he's here. he's here.

meet cohen.
the most perfect baby boy in the whole wide world [not that i'm biased or anything]

he arrived into the world on sunday, march 13th after 27 hours of labor, an hour of pushing, and zero drugs. the labor process was arduous and completely exhausting [i'll save the birth story for a later post], but the minute the nurses placed him on my chest all of the pain went away. he was here, we were now parents, and he was worth every single minute of labor. god has blessed chris and i immensely.

we are back home now and excited for every little minute with cohen.
i'll post more pictures and get back to regular blogging after we get into some kind of a routine.

i just can't believe i'm a mommy!

have a great week everyone!
happy thursday! {monica}


so, sometimes my dogs think they're human.

as most of you know, chris and i have two 4lb poodles.

they are wimpy, adorable, cuddly, high-energy and way too smart for their own good. sometimes i think they have us trained, not the other way around. chris and i sit and watch their behaviors and can't help but laugh...i honestly think, they think they are human at times....

and here are ten pictures to prove it.

one. when i lay out to sun bathe, bolt lays out to sun bathe right next to me....all stretched out, so he doesn't get tan lines. diggy, who worries more about the harmful effects of uv rays, lays under my legs...you can barely see him but he's there.

two. they pass out after a long day of tailgating for the cyclones.

three. they play horseshoes.

four. they dress up for halloween.

five. after an afternoon of swimming, they go for a jog to dry off.

six. they go for bike rides.

seven. they engage in our mealtime conversations from their bench at the kitchen table.

eight. they get very excited for convertible rides.

nine. they spend their evenings being couch potatoes.

ten. they love to people watch and spy on the neighbors. this is why they were branded our "honorary neighborhood watch team".

now, if only they could clean up after themselves when they go to the bathroom, refill their dog food, and not kill innocent chipmunks.
{oh, and on a side note...i will be doing the mystery giveaway drawing tonight...so check in tomorrow morning for the winner}
happy thursday ! {monica}


dressing with doilies.

a few weeks ago i bought a bunch of doilies for .99 cents at my local craft store. at the time, i had no idea what i was going to do with them, but how can you pass up a .99 cent deal?

after a few days of contemplation, i began exploring ways to
dress with doilies.

here are a few really simple ways i've found to spice up an outfit them....

spicing up a t-shirt. i tea stained (directions here) a doily and stitched it onto a white tee.

spicing up a canvas tote. i stained some ivory lace robin's egg blue, then stitched both the lace and doilies to the tote.

spicing up a bobby pin. using a hot glue gun, i glued a doily to a bobby pin. make sure to let it cool completely before using...i know that sounds obvious, but hot glue + hair = not a good combination (not that i know from experience or anything).
see, i told you they were simple ideas!
i have a couple more ideas that are a bit more complicated, so when i get around to completing them i will be sure to share them with you too.
oh, and don't forget to enter the mystery giveaway. the drawing is tomorrow.
happy wednesday! {monica}