The {Birth} Story of Millie

On Saturday morning (the 21st), I woke up with some contractions. I was all set to go to the hospital and then.... They faded - completely. So instead of heading to the hospital, I headed to town for groceries. Afterward, I unknowingly snapped my very last pregnant picture. =)

I spent the rest of the afternoon frustrated, eating pineapple, and attempting to bounce on my exercise ball. Kinda hard to do with a toddler around!! Nothing was happening, so I made dinner, we gave Charlotte a bath and put her to bed. 

The contractions came back after that, and I seriously considered going to the hospital again. I even texted our babysitter and my MIL to let them know the situation. Once again, nothing happened. The contractions slowed down and then stopped by the time I got ready for bed. 

Then around midnight I started having contractions about every 20 minutes or so. They weren't too bad, but they were kind of annoying since I was trying to get some rest and all. Around 3am I decided just to get up and move to the living room. I didn't want to wake Joe if the contractions were just going to go away again, and I thought the exercise ball might help with the pain. (Which it did.) I spent the next 2 hours doing random stuff around the house, bouncing on the ball, and leaning on the kitchen counters during contractions. A little after 5, I was so tired and out of things to do, so I headed back to bed. The contractions slowed down a bit so I could get some rest, but they were getting fairly strong. I think I ended up waking Joe around 7, and then Charlotte woke up so we all got up and had breakfast. Or attempted to...

Halfway through breakfast I felt like I might vomit. It was at that point I decided we really should go to the hospital. We texted the babysitter and called my MIL. It took the babysitter (which was actually a couple from our small group at church and their 2.5 yr old son) about 20 minutes to get here, so we got ready while we waited. Surprisingly, I was still able to move around and do stuff. Charlotte kept asking me if I was okay during contractions - "Okay, mommy?" It was seriously the cutest thing ever. She is such a sweetie. =) She almost had a meltdown as we left for the hospital, but thankfully she's easily distracted.

I had one strong contraction on the way to the hospital, and another as soon as I got out of the car to walk in. (Yes. I walked in. Because I'm stubborn and was determined to walk that baby out!) Once we got in L&D and into a room, the nurse asked me about a gazillion questions, and finally checked my cervix. 

I walked into the hospital dilated to 7cm.

Joe was shocked. LOL! I'm pretty sure my nurse was shocked, but she hid it pretty well. I had a feeling I was at least 5cm, but you just never know. So, obviously, I got admitted and we got prepped to have a baby!

After being in early-ish labor for about a day, I was totally ready to have this baby!

I don't think Daddy was quite as prepared as I was. ;-)

I'm assuming that they set up our room so quickly since I was already at 7cm. 

My nurse and the baby's nurse felt pretty certain I'd have her by lunch time. But babies come when they come, and Millie was in no hurry to make her entrance. Yet.

Unfortunately, my OB was not on call this weekend. Her call started the next day...so I was seen by her "partner". He seemed nice enough, but I was kind of upset that my fantastic OB was going to miss this. But, my nurse, Carman, was pretty awesome so that helped make up for it. She made sure I was able to do as many things on my birth plan as possible. A lot of women go there for natural births (since they're the most "baby-friendly" hospital in the area), so that was really nice.

Once I dilated a bit more, I was able to sit on their labor ball. I was on that thing for most of the afternoon. I bounced and rocked back and forth, and side to side. Between that and having Joe put counter-pressure on my back during contractions, I'm not sure I would have made it. Not only does the rocking help with contractions, bouncing (and just sitting on it) helps the baby's head get into the right place. 

After an hour or two on the ball, I started to get really uncomfortable. My nurse helped me change positions - or just stand up, leaning on Joe - several times. Not long before Millie was born, I ended up leaning over the back of the bed, squatting into each contraction. No lie - it was hard work. But it really did help with the pain. There's also something to be said for controlled breathing. It hurt so much worse when I wasn't taking deep breaths.

I also had Joe pray for me/us several times while we were there. Not just for the pain aspect, but also that her birth would be expedient. I was getting tired, and I was really ready to meet her and just be done

At some point between getting off the ball and back on the bed, my nurse checked me. I hadn't dilated much, but I had started to feel lots of pressure. We considered going ahead and telling the on-call doctor to come in, but I'm not sure if we ever reached a decision. What I do remember is this:

I got back in bed, laying on my side. The contractions got way more intense and closer together. So much so, that I could hardly think. At some point, I started feeling the "ring of fire." I mentioned it to my nurse (who hadn't left my side in a while) and I'm pretty sure she left the room to call the doctor at that point. Everything is hazy because I was completely in "labor land." 

Soon after, my nurse started telling me not to push and to try and breathe through the contractions differently. I completely understand why she didn't want me to push yet (no doctor!), but telling a woman who feels the urge to push to not push should be considered torture. At that point, I got a little cranky. I distinctly remember telling her to stop pressing on the monitor on my belly because it hurt so much. I think I asked her to stop several times. Joe was in the bed with me, putting counter-pressure on my back still, and reminding me to breathe. I can't tell you how many times I told both of them that I couldn't not push. It hurt to not push. And really, my body was doing 95% of the work. I wasn't voluntarily doing it, it was just happening - kind of like instinct, I guess.

Eventually, I think my nurse got the gist that this baby was coming whether the doctor was here or not. I remember her all but running to the door, and yelling at the nurses' station, "Someone make sure Dr. Charity is on his way!" I really wanted to laugh, but, you know...contractions, baby in the birth canal and all. Next thing I know (as my body is still doing most of the pushing), I'm surrounded by nurses, and 2 of them are trying to flip me to my back. This hurt like crazy, first of all. I think I may have yelled at them, but I don't remember what I said. LOL! I remember my nurse telling me to push 3 times. Twice for her head, once for her little body. And there she was. I felt her little arms and legs flop onto my legs, because they didn't even have time to break down the bed for her arrival. 3 pushes, you guys. My body did all the work before that. Amazing. And seriously, what relief I felt after she was born! All the other natural/drug-free birth stories I've read talk about this high you get...I was totally there. =)

I had wanted a mirror to see her birth, but obviously things happened to quickly for that. I also had wanted to delay clamping/cutting her cord, but we weren't able to for two reasons: 1) A nurse delivered her instead of a doctor, so they followed 'protocol.' 2) Her cord was wrapped around her neck twice, so they wanted to make sure she was okay. After that, the doctor walked in. Then the baby nurse (who was fantastic, by the way) handed me my vernix-covered little girl for some skin-to-skin time.

Yes, I made Joe snap a shot of our first feeding.
I look like a hot mess, but that's what happens when you birth a baby. ;-)

I can't remember how long we got to hang out like that, but after just a few minutes she started bobbing her head and making her way to the breast for her first feeding! This moment was second only to pushing her out. It felt so great to be able to have that time, and for her to feed all on her own.

The only downside of her fast, non-medicated birth is that I did end up tearing this time, and so needed stitches. I can honestly say I have never disliked a doctor more in that period of time than I did this guy. He was not very gentle (unlike the OB that I hand-picked), and apparently he didn't realize that most redheads need more medicine to actually get numb that other people do. I had to tell him repeatedly that I could feel what he was doing. 

Overall, I feel great about her birth. I feel great about myself - knowing that my body can do this without any help. I also feel so much better physically than I did after Charlotte's birth. The recovery has been different because of the tear, but I feel so much more myself this time - and not in a haze from all the drugs.

Daddy and Millie =)

Thanks to my doctor, who stopped by the next morning, we were able to go home after only 24 hours in the hospital. That, my friends, is another upside to having a non-medicated birth! 

Took my rainbow baby home in her rainbow blanket from Auntie Anna!

Things have been great and also difficult since being home... We had help for the first week, but now we're on our own! I know we'll get the hang of having two littles eventually, but right now it's a roller coaster. So, we'd appreciate your prayers! 

We are so thankful to have this little rainbow baby of ours...and also for her big sister, who has been very sweet to her. Perfect way to end the year. =)


Finally Ready!

It should seem obvious by now that I'm more than ready to have this little girl who's been growing in my belly for almost 39 weeks. Her lovely little room, however, hasn't been ready until this week. It's been a serious work-in-progress. While I took my time with Charlotte's nursery, it was finished a couple weeks before she was born. I've been burning the midnight oil around here lately, trying to get everything done before Millie arrives! I know it could be another week, but I've felt all along that she'll be early. How early isn't exactly up to me, though!

Her room was more work than Charlotte's was mainly because I was already pregnant when we moved into this house. Not only was I pregnant, I was still in the first trimester and feeling sick most of the time. Oh, and I had another baby to take care of! So, pregnant, sicky, and mama to big sister....kind of throws a kink in things! Because we obviously wouldn't need her room to be ready for a while, it became the catch-all room. Which basically means if I didn't want to deal with certain boxes or pieces of furniture, that's where they ended up. So when it came right down to it, we had a lot of boxes to go through and furniture to move or get rid of. 

Just to give you an idea...
There was a lot more in here  (top pic) when we started clearing things out!

Pretty sure it took 2 months for this kind of progress. LOL

And then I had to actually make her bedding. I really procrastinated on this one way too long. I didn't order fabric until November. I had honestly planned on doing it earlier, but money has seriously been tight around here lately. I don't really even know what happened... It was just like all of a sudden - no extra moneys! Anyway, ordering fabric took forever. Then it took me a while to work up the nerve to start. Cutting fabric is seriously nerve-racking because once you cut, you can't take it back!

Bumper fabric

Quilt fabric (this was pre-cut for me! ;))

Also, I've never made crib bedding before. I've done a few quilts and other small projects, but nothing like this. Suffice it to say I was really nervous about it. Thankfully, I have a seamstress for a best friend and she walked me through it. Pretty sure there were a few times she wanted to come through the phone and smack me. ;-) I freaked out a lot and bugged her with a ton of questions. My brain doesn't work the way hers does, first of all. Second, I'm pregnant and my brain just does not work the way it used to! 

Long story, short: I have an awesome best friend who sent me instructions, texted more instructions, and Skyped/FaceTimed for even more instructions. Oh, and she also let me borrow a foot for the sewing machine that ruffles things. If not for her....well, I might have thrown in the towel before I even got started.

And now, after weeks of hard work and late nights, here is the final product! I did the quilt first, because I had fabric for it first. =) Though not perfect, I'm really happy with the way it turned out. 

The bumpers took the most time to cut out, but were probably the easiest part to sew. I wish I'd known that going in, because I probably wouldn't have put it off for so long!

And finally.... The crib skirt!! Putting this thing together was a huge pain. Cutting it, and even hemming it, wasn't so bad. But getting it just the right way onto the fabric that goes under the mattress? Ridiculous. 

I have to say that, even with help, I'm pretty darn proud of myself. ;-) It's definitely not perfect, and there are some things I would love to change, but I did it. It's done. 

                        I'm ready to see her in this bed!


Very Pregnant

That's my response to everyone who keeps asking "how are you?" Because seriously...that's how I feel. =P

Taken at 38 weeks, 1 day. Officially the most pregnant I've ever been.
And quite possibly the most tired I've ever been.

How far along? 38 weeks. And feeling it.

Size of baby: At my ultrasound last week, they estimated her to be 6lbs 9oz. I'm not totally sold on that, but suffice it to say she's full term and out of room! 

Maternity clothes? Absolutely.

Best moment this week: Getting that much closer to having all of her bedding done and nursery 100% ready. I should have it all done by the end of the day today. THAT is a great feeling!

Miss anything? Yep. But I really don't like complaining. I'm definitely ready to not be pregnant anymore, but I'm thankful that she's healthy and growing!

Movement: Oh, yes. She's a mover, even this big.

Food cravings: All the sweet things! You know, as usual. 

Food aversions: None, really....

Gender: It's a GIRL! 

Labor signs: Sadly, no. Like I said, I'm ready for this. 

Sleep: Sleep is frustrating. I'm so uncomfortable...I wake up throughout the night to turn over, which hurts. Then I wake up for potty breaks. *sigh* Have I mentioned I'm ready? Although, I know I'll just be trading these wake-ups for middle-of-the-night feedings...but at least I'll have a cute reason for waking up. ;-)

Symptoms: Basically, I just ache all over - feet, back, hips, pelvis...you name it.

Belly button in or out? Out. Definitely out.

Looking forward to: Having this baby girl! But first, getting her room (and the house) as ready as possible for her arrival. =) Hopefully a birth story will be on the blog next week! A mama can hope, right?


A Christmas Mug {Swap}: Link-Up!!

Hooray! Today's the day!! 

By now, most of you should have received a little something special from your swap partner in the mail. I got word that my partner finally received hers just a few days ago! Woohoo! Even after the little snafoo, I was glad it got there in time for the link-up. =)

Unfortunately I have not received mine yet, but that's okay! I was happy to see her reaction to receiving her package. And I know I'll have mine eventually! These things happen. =) And in the event that something similar has happened to you and your partner, I'll be keeping the link-up active for a week.

I'm looking forward to reading about how the swap went for each of you! And if you want, feel free to post about the swap on Instagram. You can tag me (@gijoeswife) and use #ChristmasMugSwap to make it easier to keep up with all the posts! {Just FYI, my profile/pics are private on IG. Keepin' it stalker-free and all that. ;-)}

Merry Christmas, and happy coffee-drinking!


A Christmas Mug {Swap}: Check-in!!

Once upon a time, in a land called The South, there was a woman named Sarah. Sometimes, this woman forgot things - important things, like events she was hosting. This is part of that woman's story.

So, I initially set the deadline for swappers to receive/send gifts for December 10. The reason is/was because I wanted to do the link up on Monday, December 16th. I thought it'd be nice to for everyone to have received their mugs by then. And then I let my husband my partner's gift... So, hopefully she'll get it sometime before Christmas. *sigh* Silly husband....


So, swappers, have you sent your mugs? Received them? Do tell!

And don't forget, I will have a link-up ready for the 16th so that you can share your goodies (not those goodies *wink wink*). Are you ready?! =)


My Little Family + 37

While we were in NC for Thanksgiving, I had one of my SILs snap some quick (and I do mean quick) family photos of us. Thankfully, we managed to get a few good ones! I was kind of surprised considering how spur-of-the-moment it was. Good surprise, though, since these are doubling as Christmas and maternity photos. :)

Charlotte loves doing this! I can still hear her say, "one, two, free!" Haha! :)

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
This one is my favorite.

And this one is a really close second. Because seriously, look at her face!!
I just love it. 

And since she reads my blog, thanks for taking the pics, Anna! And for Charlotte's dress. LOVE!


Holy geez, you guys. This girl has dropped low!

How far along? 37 weeks, you guys. Thirty. Seven.

Size of baby: Big? =P Big enough, anyway. Full term!

Maternity clothes? Um, yes. Oddly enough, I have a tshirt or two that 'fits', but all maternity...and some of hubby's tshirts. Haha!

Best moment this week: Seeing her cute little face on the ultrasound, and getting her nursery a little more organized. (Big thanks to hubby for that one!)

Miss anything? At this point, I pretty much miss not being pregnant. But I want this girl to grow as much as possible, so I'm trying not to complain too much. 

Movement: Girl is a crazy mover. Feet in and under my ribs all throughout the day!

Food cravings: All the sweet things! What's new, right?

Food aversions: I think we are kinda past those. I pretty much want to eat everything, haha!

Gender: It's a GIRL!

Labor signs: Actually, I haven't had any in a couple weeks. I'm okay with that...as long as she comes on her own!

Sleep: Meh. Sleep is getting stinky. I want sleep. I enjoy sleep. It's just not easy these days.

Symptoms: Back, hip, and pelvic pain....heartburn... You know, pregnancy things. ;)

Belly button in or out? Oh, it is so out. It was only a matter of time!

Looking forward to: Finishing her bedding (my goal is to have it done this week), getting her nursery exactly the way I want it...those types of things. 


...And Then There was Thanksgiving

I swear it happens every year around this time... 

I do great blogging before/around Thanksgiving, and then WHAM! Between the celebrating, decorating, cleaning, traveling, cooking - whatever I happen to be doing - and life, I forget to stop and blog for a minute. Not to mention this year I'm also preparing to, you know, have a baby. That's kind of a big deal.

So, Thanksgiving!

We left Wednesday afternoon to spend the holiday weekend in North Carolina. A holiday! With family! *gasp* We've made it to see family for Christmas - usually - but this was our first Thanksgiving with family since before we moved to Hawaii. And seriously, that feels like a bazillion years ago now. Our lives were so different then... We were still newlyweds, still new to the Army, didn't have babies, and...just different. It was definitely a nice change. {Although I'm not sure if I will ever agree to traveling 9 months pregnant again. Even if it is only 4 hours in a car.}

We had a great time with family, but I have zero pictures from Thanksgiving. I'm blaming preggo brain on this one! I did attempt a few shots of Charlotte with her cousins, but none of them turned out well. Of course.

On Black Friday, we boycotted shopping {even though I was dying to get an iPad mini} and went to the mountains in search of Christmas trees. Even though we didn't come home with a tree, we enjoyed tagging along with everyone else. 


Grammy, Gramps, (Joe's grandparents) and the kiddos.

Charlotte and Eden holding hands. They are the sweetest little girls!!

Charlotte and Auntie Sarabeth, clearly excited about Auntie Sara's tree. Haha

Charlotte and Auntie Anna

Family pic! One of us wasn't thrilled. 

My cuties. LOVE.

Saturday, my lovely SILs threw me a baby shower! It ended up just being family, but that was just fine. I didn't have any family around for Charlotte's shower, so it was a nice change. Although I did miss seeing my NC friends, I knew it would be difficult to arrange with it being a holiday. We also took some family pics, but I'm saving those for later. Spoilers. ;-)

The preggo and the hostesses with the mostest. ;-)

Family shot!

Me and the gifts. =)

We drove back to GA on Sunday, and I've basically been playing catch-up with laundry and housework ever since. We left the house in a bit of a mess (all of us got sick with a cold last week), and then Charlotte's cold got worse on Monday. And I'm 9 months pregnant and tired most of the time. So....bad combo! Plus, I've got quite a bit of things to do to get ready for Millie's arrival. 24 days, people. Twenty. Four. Days. Until my due date. I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around that one!

I have a couple posts rolling around in my brain, so stay tuned! I promise not to go completely AWOL unless I'm giving birth or something. ;-) And even then you know I'll be back with baby pictures!! 

How are you recovering from the holiday....and preparing for the next?