Thursday, March 29, 2018

Knox's Birth Story and Newborn Photos

Ever since I had Kendall and shared my own birth story, I've been obsessed with hearing birth stories from other mamas. I've also found that so many of my friends enjoy swapping stories and sharing the exciting details that make every birth story unique. So today, I'll be sharing the fast and furious birth of Knox! (Please keep in mind that I'll be sharing the majority of the details - bodily functions and all. Read ahead at your own risk!)

I actually have to start this birth story from a place that, at the time, I wasn't even aware was going to be a part of Knox's birth story. On Thursday, February 15, I woke up like any normal day and realized that I was having very mild cramping in my lower abdomen. I wasn't alarmed and didn't even tell Tolar about the cramping because I was sure it was nothing and would stop soon. More often than not, I get all worked about things that end up being nothing. It's the theatre person in me - we are dramatic with everything. :) I was only 36 weeks anyway.

The cramping didn't stop after about 2 hours, so I called Tolar and told him about it. He suggested I call my doctor to see what they said. After all, Kendall was born at 37 weeks so an early baby was certainly possible! Before I called the doctor, I immediately started packing our hospital bags since I hadn't gotten around to that yet (I was actually planning to pack my bags that coming weekend). When I called my doctor, they asked me all sorts of questions including had I felt the baby move recently? Honestly, I was so distracted by my hurrying to pack that I didn't pay attention to if the baby had moved, so I said no. Well this sent up a huge red flag, so my doctor told me to go ahead in to the hospital to get checked out. I called Tolar, told him to get home asap and then off we went.

By the time we reached the hospital, the cramping had turned into very minor contractions that were very inconsistent with their timing. The contractions were not painful at all, I could totally manage them. The hospital nurse strapped some monitors on me to check on the baby and let me lay down for about an hour and a half. I had several contractions while at the hospital, but the timing was all over the place: 3 minutes, 8 minutes, 13 minutes. They tested to see if I was leaking amniotic fluid and found out I wasn't. So they sent me home with instructions to rest and to drink TONS of water; one glass per hour.

I listened to the nurse and drank as much water as I could. I napped on the couch for a bit and realized that the contractions stopped around 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. I went about my day like it was any normal day. Then the contractions started back up again around 10 p.m. Again, the pain was very minor so I wasn't that uncomfortable. And the timing was still all over the place which made me think I was just having another episode of what I assumed were Braxton Hicks contractions. I drank some water and decided to go to bed. The contractions kept on through the night but they never got worse. I drank water and kept thinking "when is this water going to work and make them stop again?" I was able to sleep off and on through the night. Sometimes the contractions would wake me up, but I was able to get some sleep since they were not that painful.

Around 4:45 a.m. my eyes shot open because I all of a sudden felt like I was peeing my pants! I ran to the bathroom and barely made it. I found this so strange because this NEVER happens to me, I'm always able to hold it, but I did drink a ton of water to get the contractions to stop. However I kept thinking something was off. So I googled (yes, I did!) what it feels like to have your water break. My water never broke on its own with Kendall, so I had no clue what it felt like. I read something that said you will often feel a pop right before it happens and I was 95% sure that I also felt a pop. So I decided to wake up Tolar to see what he thought. Not long after waking up Tolar, I had two instances where water started leaking down my leg and I was unable stop or control it. After that happened, I KNEW that my water had broke. Then I immediately started having really intense contractions. Tolar got on the phone with my doctor and I called my parents so they could come stay with Kendall. The timestamp on my phone said that I called my parents at 5:08 a.m.

The contractions were pretty steady now and VERY intense. We had to repack the few items that we had taken out of our suitcases and I was having contractions every three minutes apart, so it was about 5:30 a.m. before we finally left to head to the hospital. The contractions continued to be intense and I had several in the car. Poor Tolar, he had to listen to me scream the whole way to the hospital. They say that you forget the pain of childbirth - it is true! I do NOT remember my contractions being this intense when I was in labor with Kendall.

Once we got to the hospital and walked inside, I had another very intense contraction at the nurses desk. The nurse even made a comment about how intense it seemed. She didn't take us to triage and check me out first, she walked us straight to a room - this baby was on his way!

Friday, March 23, 2018

1 Month Old!

1 Month Old Baby

What an incredible first month of life it has been for our precious Knox! He is quite the amazing baby with such a calm temperament. Having a good baby has made the transition to a family of four pretty effortless for us. I used to be sad that my children weren't going to have the same age difference between them as my sister and I (we are 2 1/2 years apart), but I am actually thrilled that they are almost five years apart. Kendall has been such a BIG help to me and I know that if she was only 2 1/2 instead of almost 5 that things around the house would be much more chaotic.

Knox is our last baby and I am well aware at just how fast time flies with little ones. I'm trying to hold him as much as possible and cherish every single moment because his itty bitty days are fleeting.

Stats: At Knox's most recent doctor appointment he weighed in at 8 pounds, 14 ounces. That is 2 pounds and 10 ounces more than at birth!!!! His pediatrician said his weight gain is from proper nutrition...meaning the boy can eat! At two weeks old he was 19.5 inches long, but I am certain he is longer than that now as certain pieces of clothing don't fit his length.

Development: Knox seems to be right on track with all developmental milestones. He has had a very strong neck since birth and is able to hold his head up for a good while. I often try to hold him upright over my shoulder and he will always look around to see what is happening. He smiles a lot in his sleep and has smiled at both me and Tolar at different times. We can't wait until the smiles come more often.

Loves: Knox loves his DockATot. It is incredible how calm he is whenever I place him in the lounger. He will nap and just hang out in the DockATot a lot because he loves it so much. He also loves his sister! As crazy as it may sound, he really does recognize his sister's voice and touch and is always calm and happy when she is around.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Diaper Bag That Dreams Are Made Of

Thank you Lily Jade for the diaper bag. All opinions expressed below are completely my own.
Lily Jade Meggan BackPack

With a baby in the family, a diaper bag is quite the necessity. But there are SO MANY different kinds of diaper bags on the market, how do you decide?

Here a few things I realized I needed in a diaper bag after having my first child:
-Lots of space. Babies require a lot of stuff, it always baffles my mind that someone so small needs so many things.
-Organization. I'm a neat freak and very much a person who follows the rule that everything has its place. Organization is key so you can find everything you need.
-Backpack carry. I don't want a diaper bag that will easily fall off my shoulder. With two kids now, I need a diaper bag that will stay put and allow me to have both hands free.
-Something stylish. Just because I'm a mom doesn't mean I want to give up my style. I like items that are fashionable yet functional.

Enter Lily Jade.

I first saw Lily Jade on instagram a few years ago when I was just about out of the diaper bag phase with Kendall. I was so jealous of the stylish bags I saw moms carrying and wished I had such a fantastic bag when K was a little baby. Once I got pregnant with Knox, I knew I had to have a Lily Jade bag.

My bag is the Meggan in Grey and Silver and I'm in love with it! Upon first glance, you see that the bag is gorgeous. It doesn't even look like a diaper bag, it could double as a laptop or travel bag. Would you like to know my favorite part? The leather is incredibly soft and smooth. Seriously, you can say it is smooth like butta! I can see myself carrying this bag even when it isn't needed as a diaper bag.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

House Update #2

Since my original blog post about the progress of  building our house, a lot has happened! In about two months time, we went from only having our footers poured to having something that actually looks like a house! I'm certainly itching to have the house complete.

Our bricks were delivered first and the foundation for the house was constructed. We selected a white painted brick for the foundation of our house and I'm absolutely thrilled with how it turned out. I almost wish we were going to have more brick, but the exterior of the house will mainly be siding. Our siding will be light grey and will be added later.

Just a few days after the foundation/crawl space went up, the first story walls were built. I was actually quite surprised at how quickly everything came together. Five short days after the first story was complete, the second story was there. And then two days later, we were under roof. Seeing the whole process take shape has been so much fun.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Tips To Grow Your Instagram Engagement

As a blogger and business owner, it is important for me to grow my following and social media presence in order to reach as many people as possible. By far, my favorite social site is instagram which has proven extremely successful to me in expanding my business. In very recent months, I've received numerous requests from friends asking for tips on how to grow their instagram accounts and I realized that a larger audience might be interested as well. I recognize that not everyone is a business owner or even looking to use social media for growth purposes, if that is you then please accept my apologies for a blog post that doesn't interest you. :)
For everyone else, here are practices that I have put into place to help me grow my instagram account. (These are just some simple practices that have worked for me; I'm by no means a social media expert.)

Tips to Grow Your Instagram

1.) Showcase quality photos.
Since instagram is an image based social media app, your photos should really grab the attention of your audience. Find the style or aesthetic that you are looking for and try to mimic that with each photo you post.
I prefer really bright photos featuring some white space. I will often edit my images to increase the brightness and achieve the look I desire, especially if I captured a photo in low light. My two favorite photo editing apps are PicTapGo and Afterlight. Here is a link to my instagram account if you want to see the look I prefer and follow along.

2.) Interact with your audience.
I try my hardest to reply to every single comment on each of my photos. I want my audience to know that I appreciate them and that I am interested in what they have to say.
Additionally, if I notice that I have people who regularly comment and/or like my photos, I will go to their profile and engage with their photos. The point is to be social!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Add This To Your Baby Registry: DockATot

I received this product compliments of DockATot. All opinions are completely my own.

DockATot You Want This Item

Baby items have come a long way in the 4 1/2 short years since I last had a newborn. I've discovered so many fantastic products this time around that I certainly wish I knew about with my first child. I'm completely in love with a fabulous lounger called DockATot. If you haven't heard of it yet, trust me when I say that you will want to add this item to your baby registry!

The DockATot is a safe and cozy place to lay your baby . Your baby can lounge, sleep and play while using the DockATot and you as the parent can feel relaxed knowing that you baby is in a safe environment. I've used our DockATot quite a lot in the two short weeks since Knox made his arrival and I already have several reasons why I love it!!!
DockATot Dream Baby Product

7 Reasons I Love DockATot

1.) Baby is calm when laying in the DockATot.
Luckily Knox is a very relaxed baby on his own, but I can certainly tell how calm and relaxed he is whenever I lay him down in the DockATot. Because of the cocoon-like design, Knox feels comfortable and protected while resting. He has never fussed while lounging in the DockATot and often immediately falls asleep once I put him down.