Uncategorized

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

 

 

 

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

 

So… BIG NEWS!

I quit the job I’ve loved for over two years.

I quit my job to follow my heart.

For those who know me, you probably know how attached I’ve been to my job. I was a product development manager, a content marketing manager, and a customer success manager all for the same company during my time there. I filled in positions when other employees departed, learned tons of new skills (including Infusionsoft, Web Dev, Hubspot, and more), took numerous online training programs on SEO, Conversion Funnels, Email Marketing, Copywriting, etc., connected with some incredible people in the entrepreneurial atmosphere, worked side-by-side with an amazing team, and had a total blast.

i quit my job

Every single time I considered leaving my job for a different opportunity (and I even declined a few great job offers), I kept telling myself that the grass is greener where I water it. Then I’d stick out the pain of my job a little longer. But I couldn’t do it anymore.

So why did I quit my job?

After spending a few weeks battling with the fact that I have put all of my own goals and ambitions on the back burner for a while now, I decided that I needed to make some tough decisions. Just over a month ago, I transitioned into a job position that no longer felt fulfilling or purposeful. I wasn’t waking up every morning with intention. I was unsatisfied and constantly dealing with negativity. It was taking a major toll on me. I lost sight of my own happiness.

I was losing sleep over figuring out what my next move should be and if I could even fathom leaving a company I’ve been so loyal to. I came to the realization I was sacrificing my happiness completely. I prayed about it for a couple of weeks and one morning I just knew what I had to do. It was time for me to move on. I knew it was the best thing for myself and for the company I was working for.

Although it was never a part of my ‘plan’ to walk away from my job at age 30, I had never felt more confident in a career decision. I let myself choose happiness over an unfulfilling job that no longer promised growth in my future.

i quit my job

Fortunately my husband and I are in a comfortable financial situation where I can afford to step back and recalibrate my lenses and refocus on where I want to go from here. I’m very excited for new opportunities on the horizon. I know this is going to be the start of something truly good for me.

After spending some time weighing the pros and the cons, I reached a lot of conclusions.

Here is a list of signs that it might be time to quit your job:

  1. You’re no longer excited about your job and getting out of bed feels more like a chore.
  2. You’re exhausted all the time. Physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.
  3. Your personal goals and mission no longer align with the company’s vision.
  4. You’ve hit the proverbial wall at your job and don’t see any opportunity for growth.
  5. You aren’t being challenged and aren’t learning new things.

i quit my job

Now, I’m not telling anyone to walk into work in the morning and tell your boss you’re through with your job. That is not my intention with sharing this story. The intention is to make you really think about what you want in life. Not just today, not just over the next year, but over the course of your life. What awakens you? What shakes you to your core? Are you settling for mediocrity? I was.

What I am telling you is to sit with your thoughts about what really makes you tick. If you are able to pursue your passion in your current job, then BY ALL MEANS, hold onto that gem of a job and never let go! If your career still gives you enough time and mental bandwidth to work on your side hustle, KEEP GOING. But if you constantly question where you’re going in your job and if you’re even being challenged to grow anymore– just take some time to think about what you really want. You owe it to yourself to live a happy life. It only happens once.

Photos in this post were taken by the lovely and talented Lindsey of lucidlinds.com at a beautiful loft for sale in Printer’s Alley. For sale by Dee Russell.

i quit my job

…So what’s in store for me now? You’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂 That’s a post for another day.

Thanks for indulging me. Now go do what you love.

nashville blogger

Every year during the holidays, Steve and I try to host a small group of friends at our place to eat dinner, drink cocktails, play board games, and spend quality time together before departing Nashville for Christmas and the New Year. This year we’re so excited to host a dinner party at our new house. It’s going to be extra special with it being the first year hosting as homeowners. I’ve partnered with Basic Invite to show you how simple it was for me to create custom invitations and holiday cards for the occasion.

holiday cardsBasic Invite made it so easy for me to create the ideal, simple, festive holiday invitations. They allow all customers the ability to order an actual printed sample of their invitation so that you can see exactly what it looks like before you ever have to place your final order. You can’t go wrong! You’ll always end up with exactly the invitations or holiday cards you’re looking for.

holiday cardsholiday cardsBasic Invite is also incredibly colorful! They offer just as many custom colors for their envelopes as they do for their invitations. There’s a huge variety of colors to choose from. With over 40 different colors, you’ll always have the perfect custom design you’re trying to achieve. All of their envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed without licking a single one.

holiday cardsThey also have their own address capturing service that lets customers simply share a link on whichever social platform they choose to request their friends and family’s addresses. Their addresses are then stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. They make it so easy to organize everything you need to send out holiday cards!
holiday cardsPlanning your own party? Check out Basic Invite for family Christmas party invites! I cannot wait to get these invitations in the mail and have my closest friends over for a lovely holiday dinner party.

Bring on the holiday season! 🙂

nashville blogger

Today I’m going to share a bit about my experience at my very first boudoir photoshoot with The Adore Girls. I knew it would take a dose of bravery for me to share this with my readers, but there might be some women out there who have been toying with the idea of booking a photoshoot but haven’t brought themselves to actually doing it yet.

To start, let me give you a short back story…

The past couple years I’ve been in a constant battle with myself about my body. I won’t bore you with the details of all the negative things I’d been thinking about myself, but I’ll tell you I wasn’t nice. Then one day I was contacted by the incredible women behind The Adore Girls and was asked to do a session.

Several things ran through my mind. “I’m scared.” “What will people think of me?” “How do I lose weight in four weeks (while still eating tacos and donuts)?” and “Is this right for me?” I sat on it for a day or two and then finally responded with a YES. “I’ll do it.”

I decided to set aside my inhibitions, doubts, insecurities, and fears to do something for myself that would make me feel like the Laura I once knew. Brave, confident, and comfortable in my own skin. I knew the insecurities I had with my body would come bubbling back up during the photoshoot, but I decided to hell with insecurities. This was something I was going to do for me.

When I arrived at the studio, the women who worked there greeted me with smiling faces and made me feel right at home. The studio itself is a house they turned into a fully-functioning photo studio, so in a way it was a home. They offered me some refreshments (they even have mimosas!) and a place to sit so we could chat about working together. I also brought a full bag of items with me so they could help me pick out what to wear (since I was absolutely clueless and wanted a different opinion). I told them I wanted to be tasteful and have a few photos that I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable sharing since this collaboration would mean sharing a few of the images myself. They looked through my things and made the decision so much easier.

After getting to know their team a little better, I went over to the hair and makeup chair so that their stylist, Sarah, could start working some magic on my mug. She was excellent and made sure she wasn’t giving me a look that was unnatural to me. When she was finished, Jamie took a few head shots of me before I changed into outfit #1 of my wardrobe.

A common misconception: You don’t have to be nude or even half-naked for it to be considered boudoir. Boudoir is about being body confident and feeling beautiful. It doesn’t have to be about sex or gifting a photo of yourself to a significant other.

You also don’t ever have to do anything you don’t want to do.

boudoir photoshoot

boudoir photoshoot

boudoir photoshootboudoir photoshoot

boudoir photoshoot

boudoir photoshoot

boudoir photoshoot

Jamie (the photographer) and her sister were super supportive and easy to work with. They made the entire boudoir photoshoot feel seamless and refreshing. From helping with poses and cracking jokes, we all had a great time. In the end, I felt like a body positive badass who deserved to feel good about getting her photograph taken. I cannot recommend this experience enough.

Don’t ever let anyone (Ahem, even YOURSELF) make you feel like you are unworthy of feeling anything less than beautiful. We can all be mean to ourselves sometimes. Instead of insulting your so-called flaws, try loving them for making you different.

Here are some tips to note before booking a boudoir photoshoot:

  1. Bring multiple outfits/wardrobe items and have your photographer help you choose. They’ll have a better understanding of what photographs well and what doesn’t.
  2. Don’t get a spray tan, spend too much time in a tanning booth, or wear sunless tanner right before a session. Natural looking skin is the most beautiful in photos.
  3. Stay true to yourself. Don’t wear anything you wouldn’t feel like yourself in, don’t overdo your hair and makeup, and don’t pose in any way that makes you feel uncomfortable.
  4. Relax and be open to the ideas the photographer has. They have way more experience doing boudoir than you do. You might surprise yourself.
  5. Don’t be negative. The photographer is there to bring out the inner beauty and make you feel confident. Be positive and be a goddess.

For anyone interested in booking a boudoir photoshoot, you can book a Dream Session with The Adore Girls for $100 off using code LAURA at checkout. Click here to visit their website.

If anyone has any questions about my experience, PLEASE don’t hesitate to comment or send me an email. I’m happy to give any advice that I can.

And, remember– You are beautiful.

nashville blogger