I’m finally sharing London’s birth story after settling in as a new family of 3 and getting used to our “new normal” at home. I still get emotional thinking about that very special day. Here it goes…

Let’s go back to Thursday, June 20th. I had an ultrasound scheduled since Baby D was due on June 10th, making me officially 10 days overdue (41.5 weeks pregnant). My OB wanted to check in and make sure the baby was still healthy and doing okay. I was scheduled for an induction later that evening.

I was told to check in at St. Thomas hospital at midnight Friday morning and that my induction would begin at 1am. While leaving my ultrasound appointment, I received a call from the hospital telling me to call before midnight to ask the charge nurse if they’d be too busy for me to get in on time and if they’d have a short delay in inductions. I also had to completely stop eating anything by 5pm.

So the plan was to go home with Steve, get the house in order, double-check our hospital bags to make sure we had all of the essentials packed, and possibly take a cat nap before our really big night at the hospital. I did everything I could to stay busy so that I wouldn’t be staring at the clock. A nap definitely didn’t happen after I realized there was no way I was going to be able to fall asleep knowing I’d be having a baby the next day.

I called the hospital at approximately 11pm to check with the charge nurse to see if I should still come in at my scheduled time. They pushed my check-in time back to 1am instead of midnight, meaning my induction would start shortly after.

Around 12:15am, Steve and I headed out of the house one final time as a family of two. It was so surreal knowing that the next time we’d walk through those doors, we’d have a baby with us.

When we arrived at the hospital, we checked in, filled out paperwork, and were told to sit in the waiting room until a nurse would come to bring us to our delivery room. We figured it wouldn’t be more than 30 minutes, but boy, were we in for a shock.

We sat in that hospital waiting room with our bags until 7:30am. 7 hours of waiting on a hospital room. 7 hours pondering what the next 24 hours would look like. Wondering how I’d make it through a long labor and how I’d be able to push a baby out with zero energy and no food in my system. It was so crazy to be left alone with our thoughts wondering if we’d ever get called back. At times it actually felt like we were never going to meet our baby.

When we finally got placed into a hospital room, my nurse, Courtney, came in and hooked me up to my IV. It was inserted into my left wrist. I knew it was going to be uncomfortable, but it seemed a little odd that I felt constant pain in my wrist and arm even after it was completely inserted. (More on this to come..) Shortly after this, my OB showed up and inserted cytotec to ripen my cervix to help kick-start labor. I had several short contractions after that, all which were happening in my back.

Side note– after confirming all of the “back spasms” that I thought I was having the entire week before were actually CONTRACTIONS, I felt so validated. I remember constantly asking myself if what I was experiencing at home were actual contractions and if I was having back labor. Well, when I was hooked up to the monitor in the hospital, sure enough, those were actually labor contractions. So yeah.. not all contractions feel like they’re happening in your uterus/front of your body. I had no idea.

birth story

Around 12:40pm, I was given pitocen in my IV. That’s when things really started to move along. My contractions became more intense and I was finally starting to dilate past 1 cm. I decided it was time to bring in the big guns.

At 1:42pm I was given my epidural. I was stunned when Steve told me he was going to stay in the room and face me while I had the epidural administered. He’s never been one for needles and blood, but he handled the whole thing like a champ. And little did I know (until after delivery) that when the anesthesiologist had to re-insert the needle that it was because she struck bone and blood started dripping. The fact that Steve witnessed that and didn’t pass out still impresses me.

At 3:10pm I was given a catheter since you are no longer able to move around the room once the epidural kicks in. By this point I could barely feel my legs and needed help rotating from side to side on the bed. It was like being paralyzed from the waist down while also no longer feeling the intensity of my contractions.

birth story

At 4:45pm, my OB came back into the hospital to check in and see how I was progressing and to break my water. I had no idea what to expect with having my water broken, but I could barely feel a thing while she was doing it and didn’t even realize what she was doing until I heard the gush of water come out of me. It was BIZARRE. At this point, I was about 4cm dilated and 75% effaced.

After my water was broken, my parents and sister arrived to the hospital after driving from Michigan. I had Steve go down to the waiting room to give them their wristbands and come back to the birthing room for a little while. I wasn’t planning to have anyone else come into the birthing room, but since I still had a ways to go and they had yet to grab dinner, I had them come in for a quick visit. It was great knowing that they were nearby. They hung out for a little while and then took off to grab a bite to eat.

Then something terribly scary and awful happened just before 7pm. Remember how I mentioned the pain in my left wrist and arm from the IV? Well this is when things got REALLY painful. I’m still not sure if it was a giant air bubble or what, but at one point the pain got so extreme that I started screaming out to Steve to the point where I couldn’t get words out. He ran to my side and said he’d never seen me in so much pain before. I could barely make noise at this point and just had tears flowing down my face. I started vomiting but my bed was reclined, so I started to choke. I was doing my best to raise the back of my bed using the buttons at my side, but was struggling. Steve grabbed a bed pan and was literally catching my vomit while also repeatedly hitting the nurse call button on my bed and yelling for immediate help. Unfortunately, this was the busiest part of the evening for everyone on staff… as it seemed like everyone else was delivering their babies during this time. Finally, a different nurse came rushing in and without asking what the problem was, she shot some Zofran into my IV. THE SAME IV THAT WAS CAUSING ALL OF THIS TROUBLE. I kept trying to shake my head and say no, but she just assumed that I needed anti-nausea medication. Then, of course, the pain intensified x100! Eventually a doctor came in and Steve was able to tell him that I just needed my IV removed and switched over to my other wrist. He strapped some bands around me, found a vein, and re-inserted my IV. The relief I felt of my left IV coming out was unbelievable. This was definitely the worst part of my entire labor.

Once that whole ordeal was over and I was able to relax again, I suddenly felt like the rest of the night would only feel easier.

At about 9pm I was checked in on again and was about 8.5-9cm dilated. Woo hoo, I was finally making some major progress!

I was fully dilated at 11:55pm, just in time for another nurse shift change. I was now onto my 3rd nurse, Meredith. She immediately started prepping the room for delivery. After the longest day of my life, suddenly it seemed like everything was happening so fast. She turned on the bright ceiling light, brought up the stirrups, grabbed extra sheets, etc. She let me know that my OB would be on her way in shortly and that it was time to do some practice pushes. We did two rounds of three 10-second pushes so she could make sure I had a grasp of how this would go.

When my OB arrived, it was go time! She let me know that I’d be pushing when my contractions hit, and to not push if she said not to do so. Then everything became foggy and all I remember was pushing as hard as I could when the contractions came while the nurse and Steve counted to 10. After just 20 minutes of pushing, a baby came out. It wasn’t even on my mind that I didn’t yet know the sex of our baby. That is, until my doctor motioned for Steve to take a look. Then I heard Steve say in a trembling voice… “Hi London.” I could not believe my ears or my eyes. WE HAD A GIRL! And she was so, so beyond perfect.

London Grace was born at 1:01am on Saturday, June 22nd weighing 8lbs and 3oz.

birth story

They immediately placed her on my chest while consoling her and wiping her down. I didn’t have words. In that moment I just felt a combination of overwhelmingly intense emotions. My baby was here and she was in my arms. Finally.

For the next hour, I just held her in my arms while Steve and I stared at her in awe. My OB was stitching me up and I don’t even recall birthing the placenta. After London came out it was like the rest of the world just faded away. I had some pretty severe tearing and would have a lengthy postpartum recovery time, but nothing else mattered. My daughter was here.

birth story

We knew our families were probably dying to hear the news, but we didn’t rush anything. We knew our first hour of a family of 3 was the single most important thing in that moment and I needed the skin-to-skin time with her. At about 2:30am, my mom, dad, and sister were invited to come back to the room to meet their new granddaughter/niece. I’ll never forget their reaction when we told them it was a girl.

After some family bonding time and waiting for my epidural to wear off, it was time to be moved up to the 7th floor to our postpartum room with London, where we’d be spending the next two nights with some incredible nurses who were there to take care of baby and me. The next 48 hours were a complete whirlwind, but I never want those memories to leave my brain. It was beautiful, scary, emotional, and so full of love.

My body felt more pain the next day than it did during my entire labor and delivery. I was put on some pain medication and couldn’t move much other than to pick up London and use the restroom.

We played my Labor/Delivery playlist in the hospital room with the bluetooth speaker that I brought. I knew it would make me emotional, but I don’t think I was fully prepared for how much it would wreck me to listen to those songs now that my child was brought into the world. At one point I remember feeling well enough to take a shower, and when I got out of the bathroom, Needtobreathe’s “Forever on Your Side” was playing and Steve was crying while holding London. I walked over to them, embraced them both, and thought to myself “this is everything I never knew I needed.” It was the most vulnerable moment I’ve ever experienced. I will never forget that.

birth story

We are absolutely over the moon to be parents and cannot wait to see where this wild journey takes us. London Grace, you have forever changed us for the better. I’ve never known a love like this. Thank you for all you’ve taught me already, and all you will continue to teach me.

I am so blessed to be your mama.

nashville blogger

 

 

 

It’s been a wild ride these past several months and I can’t believe I’m already in my 32nd week of pregnancy. That means our little peanut will be here under 2 months. Holy moly. Time has been absolutely flying by ever since I hit the 3rd trimester.

Two weeks ago I had my very first baby shower hosted by my friends here in Nashville and this PinkBlush maternity dress was the perfect thing for me to wear for the occasion.

pinkblush maternity

The outpouring of love and support I felt from my close-knit community here in Tennessee had me feeling so grateful. I’m going to remember that day forever. My amazing friend Trisha did such a wonderful job of creating the most special day for me… right down to the games, flowers, snacks, and mint lemonade (lemonade has been a major pregnancy craving for me). My mom and sister even made a special weekend trip down so that they could be there for it. My heart was just beaming.

pinkblush maternitypinkblush maternityIn some ways I feel like I’m ready for this baby to be here and in some ways I’m still in disbelief that it’s actually happening. My old office has been transforming into a new baby nursery and it’s piling up with boxes of furniture, toys, and baby clothes. I keep feeling like I have an unlimited amount of time before we need to get things settled in there, but then remember we’re only 8 weeks out from bringing a baby home from the hospital. It’s time to get my butt in gear and prepare this little one’s room.

This past weekend, Steve assembled the baby’s crib while I sat nearby and watched while eating donuts. I also did the first load of baby laundry and teared up as I folded tiny onesies and mitts. We put the fitted sheet on the mattress and placed it in the crib. Things are getting so real.

pinkblush maternity

pinkblush maternity

One thing that’s really funny to me is that I always imagined that one day when I’d get pregnancy that I would HATE the thought of buying any maternity clothes. It just seemed so stupid to me to have to buy things that I can only wear for so long just to cover a giant belly when I could just size up or wear giant t-shirts with leggings. Then I got pregnant and reality hit– I still have to be seen in public and look presentable from time to time, so oversized loungewear wasn’t going to cut it. I hadn’t realized before how accessible GOOD quality maternity clothes were until recently. When I discovered these maternity dresses from PinkBlush, I knew I had to have one for events. I absolutely love the quality, the fit, the fabric, and the design. It makes me feel radiant and feminine without feeling like a generic, maternity-clad pregnant girl.

pinkblush maternity

I’m wearing the Light Yellow Floral Sleeveless Knot Front dress (c/o PinkBlush.) Sizes ranges from Small to Maternity Plus.

I’ll hopefully be checking back in a bit more frequently now that some of the dust has settled. I’m heading to Michigan this weekend for 2 more baby showers, Easter, and my cousin’s wedding. Then I’ll be enjoying the month of May with little-to-no weekend plans other than preparing for the arrival of our little bundle of joy. I cannot wait to watch my husband become a father. Things are about to get pretty emotional over here.

Until next time…

Much love!

nashville blogger

I’m finally sharing all of my favorite Amazon beauty products (all under $20!) I have been meaning to write up this post for a while now and I’m reminded every time I hit ‘Buy Again’ that I really need to share these goodies with you all. It’s been a long time coming and I’m pumped to finally put together my ultimate list of beauty product goodies from Amazon. And with everything under $20, you don’t have to feel guilty about treating yourself to some self-care products you’ll be sure to love!

20 Amazon Beauty Products Under $20

rose quartz jade roller
Rose Quartz Roller – $16

I have this roller in the jade version, but I’m obsessed with the aesthetic of the rose quartz. It’s so pretty! There are numerous benefits to jade rolling, including: stimulating the lymphatic system, reducing puffiness and inflammation, increasing blood circulation, brightening facial complexion, tightening pores, and helping to reduce the appearance of under eye circles and fine lines. I like to roll this on my face when it’s chilled, so sometimes I’ll pop it in the freezer for a minute or two and roll away. It also just feels really good.

amazon beauty products: organic castor oil
Organic Castor Oil – $10

There is a lot of hype around organic castor oil and the extreme growth it can bring to eyelashes and brows. I’ve tried a couple different eyelash serums for growth (for the record Rodan + Fields LashBoost really does work wonders), but I was on the lookout for a more affordable product that could get me by and help my lashes grow naturally. I’ve heard rave reviews about this organic castor oil and cannot wait to see the results for myself.

Indian Healing Clay Mask – $11

You’ve probably heard about this clay mask from at least 10 of your friends already, but let me tell you… it truly is amazing. Mix equal parts clay powder with apple cider vinegar, stir it into a nice thick paste, apply it to your face until it’s completely dry, then rinse/wash. A fair warning: this masks gets extremely tight on your skin, and can cause redness for a bit after rinsing, but it will leave your skin feeling baby soft and super clean. I typically use it just 2-3x a month and I’ve always been pleased with the results.

Accupressure Pillow – $19

These bad boys work wonders for stimulating blood circulation and the flow of oxygen rich blood to the neck and head (which also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.) They act as a form of natural pain relief for headaches and other aches and pains in the body and they’re also wonderful for relieving stress and anxiety.

amazon beauty products: jojoba oil
Jojoba Oil – $11

This ultra moisturizing oil has tons of benefits: it’s an antioxidant that helps to fight against toxins and pollutants to your skin, it’s antibacterial, it soothes sunburns, reduces the appearance of scars, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and helps to treat acne. It’s also great for mixing into natural homemade products like skin creams, bars of soap, and others. It really is just a magic little bottle of potion.

Dead Sea Mud Mask – $15

I love a good face mask. This one is perfect for treating yourself to some self-care or for bringing to a girl’s night. A great thing about this Dead Sea mud mask is that it can remove impurities and dead skin. The sea salt and magnesium in it can improve skin functionality by making it a better barrier and more elastic. Treat yo’self!

Retinol Cream – $20

This little pump jar of retinol cream should be in your Amazon cart if it isn’t already. It’s made with Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E, Green Tea, Shea Butter and Jojoba Oil. It’s good for all skin types and helps to clear acne, diminish wrinkles, lighten up discoloration of the skin, shrink pores, and more!

Argan Oil Hair Mask – $13

I LOVE treating myself to a good hair mask a few times a month. It’s a great thing to add to your Sunday self-care routine. This hydrating argan oil hair mask is perfect for giving your hair the love it deserves. I typically try to stay away from washing my hair daily– shampooing about 3-4 times a week. Instead of using regular conditioners, I’ll often use a spray leave-in conditioner to help with tangles. But when it comes to needing a deep, conditioning treatment of my hair, I’m all about wrapping my wet hair up in a hydrating hair mask for 5-10 minutes while I’m in the tub, and then rinsing it out. It feels so good to treat my hair.

Shimmer Bronzer – $12

On days where I don’t feel like wearing a ton of makeup but still want to look polished before heading out the door, I tend to stick to a nice shimmer bronzer without all the foundation and concealer on my skin. A little bit of shimmer and bronzing can go a loooong way. What I love about this little palette is that it can be used for both bronzing the face and highlighting the upper cheekbones. It’s made by Physician’s Formula which means it’s completely fragrance free Dermatologist approved. And at under $12, you can’t go wrong.

Moroccan Oil Hair Treatment – $18

I received this product in a Moroccan Oil gift basket one year and this little bottle of oil won me over after the first use. I love everything that Moroccan Oil makes, but this oil is a true gift. It will leave your hair the most silky and shiny you’ve ever seen it.  The oil is infused with antioxidant-rich argan oil and shine—boosting vitamins. Using it will speed up hair drying time and leave you with conditioned, manageable, shiny hair.

Lip Mask – $20

Suffering from sore, dry lips? This overnight treatment will soften, plump, and moisturize your lips back to kissable health and beauty in no time. The consistency is that of a thick lip balm and it smells like fresh berries. It contains a proprietary technology known as “moisture wrap,” which is used to lock in moisture and the active ingredients in the mask. It’s also packed with vitamin C and leaves your lips feeling pillowy soft.

Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizer – $15

This is one of my favorite drugstore anti-wrinkle moisturizes for bedtime. I love the texture, the consistency, and the smell. The vitamin C helps to smooth the look of wrinkles, even out overall skin tone, and restore the skin’s appearance. I apply a pea size amount to my face after washing and wake up with soft, dewy skin.

Translucent Setting Powder – $7

This setting powder works great for all skin types. If you love to apply powder after foundation for a more matte look or to bake in your makeup, this works wonders. This translucent setting powder locks in foundation and concealer so that there are no cracks or ripples on your cheeks after you’ve finished applying.

Coconut Shave Cream – $16

During one of my ‘I need to kill some time’ visits to Ulta, I discovered Whish brand products and had to try them out. I purchased this coconut scented shave cream and used it that same evening. I. Was. HOOKED. It was one of the best coconut-scented purchases I’ve ever made. It contains all-natural ingredients like shea butter, organic green tea, coconut oil, and jojoba seed oil and it comes in a propellant-free bottle.

Vitamin C Serum – $20

I probably don’t even need to explain the importance of Vitamin C for your skin, but I’ll give you the brief rundown. This amazing little serum promotes collagen production in your skin, protects from sun damage, hydrates, moisturizes, speeds up healing, keeps your skin looking young, reduces inflammation, reduces discoloration, removes under-eye circles, and SO MUCH MORE. $20 is nothing in the grand scheme of what vitamin C can do for you.

         

Drying Lotion – $17

This drying lotion made by Mario Badescu is a little bottle of pure joy. It’s a great spot solution for pimples and helps dry up all surface blemishes overnight. It’s formulated with Salicylic Acid, Sulfur, and Zinc Oxide to help draw impurities from the skin and target pesky problems while you sleep. Bonus: you can use this on more areas than just your face.

Silicon Facial Cleanser – $14

Everyone needs a proper facial cleanser. If you’re just using your hands, you’re not able to properly scrub the dirt out of your pores and you could just be adding to the problem. This cleanser has 5 different speeds for stimulating the skin, is made of food grade silicone, it’s soft and safe for the skin, anti-allergy, and anti-bacteria. You can clean it by using brush cleansers or soap and water. It also comes in blue in case you need gift ideas for your man.

Makeup Sponges (5 pack) – $9

I’ve purchased a couple packs of these AMAZING makeup sponges now, and I use them every single day. The quality is so good that I don’t even technically have to throw them away because any makeup brush cleanser works wonders on them, but I love having fresh, bright, clean, colorful makeup sponges. These work just as well, if not better, than the actual Beauty Blender brand, in my honest opinion.

Under Eye Pads – $18

A traveler’s best friend, these gold under eye pads remove puffiness and dark circles after a night of no rest. Kids keeping you up at night? Eye pads. Crying all night because your S/O doesn’t understand you? Eye pads. Dehydrated and hungover af? Eye pads. No time for caffeine or a quick pick-me-up? Eye pads. Seriously, these are a gem. And at only $18 for a pack of 16 pair… you’d be crazy to not give them a try.

Makeup Setting Spray – $12

I’m a firm believer in making the most of your full-face makeup days. Which is why if you’re going to splurge on the good, expensive foundations, shadows, and lip colors, you better have a setting spray to keep it in place and last all day. If you haven’t used setting sprays before, jump on it. You’ll thank me later.

There you have it… my list of 20 Amazon beauty products all under $20. If you’ve tried any of these products before, be sure to drop me a line and let me know your thoughts! Or if you’re interested in something but have additional questions, hit me up! I love to talk about my favorite Amazon purchases and have re-ordered many of these things numerous times already.

If you’re interested in seeing more of my favorite products on Amazon, you can check out my Amazon Storefront here.

Enjoy!

nashville blogger

Whoa, it’s been a minute! I took a break from blogging but I’m back to tell you we have some big news…

We’re expecting!

That’s right, Baby D is arriving in June and we couldn’t be more excited.

We found out I was pregnant while we were overseas in London and ever since that day, time has been escaping us. The first trimester was incredibly rough on me physically. I spent a lot of time throwing up, stuck in bed, or incredibly nauseas if we did finally get out of the house. There wasn’t a whole lot of excitement for the first three months and it was difficult to not share our news and explain why I was so off-the-grid for a while.

Once the 2nd trimester came, I was so relieved. My nausea subsided, my energy came back, and I finally started to feel like myself again. I’m feeling better than I even remember being before pregnancy. It’s true what they say about the 2nd trimester… it is the honeymoon phase of pregnancy.

19 weeks pregnant

Yesterday was my 20 week ultrasound and anatomy scan. We are keeping baby’s gender a surprise and won’t know anything until he/she makes an entrance into the world! The past two weeks have been incredible as I can finally feel the baby moving around in my belly. Those little taps and kicks completely changed everything for me. I didn’t start to feel emotional until baby starting reminding me that he/she is in there and wants to say hello. It’s wild!

I think that about covers the big updates since I’ve been MIA from the blog world. I’ll be back with more pregnancy updates and finally sharing more about our trip to London, Nottingham, and Edinburgh soon!

Here’s a photo from me in London just a couple days after I found out about our little peanut.

london bridge

Thanks for sticking with me and respecting my need for Internet silence while I was experiencing some crazy life changes! I’m so happy to be back.

nashville blogger