Finally a Family of 4

Welp..  we did it! On October 29th we welcomed our second baby girl and rainbow baby, Charlotte, to our family.

Delivery was quick but we’re both healthy and doing well; we were even able to come home the next day!

Now, for birth story time:


Wednesday the 28th, the day before delivery, was hard on me mentally. I was so over being pregnant. I was swelling and uncomfortable all over. My lower back hurt and I was probably eating 4 tums a day to curb the heartburn. Rob even helped me put on some sexy compression socks Wednesday night before bed. 😵

In the morning I worked (from home, cause ya know – corona) and then left for a baby doctor appointment in the afternoon. It was my 38 week baby check up at 1:45pm. Just before the appointment I was having some cramping but nothing earth shattering (I thought just Braxton Hicks contractions and assumed the baby wasn’t coming anytime soon).

At my last appointment I was 1cm and at this appointment, I was up to 3cm. Decent progress for a week I thought. 🤞 The appointment was fast and I scheduled a follow up for the next Tuesday, November 3rd. The doctor said that, if the baby didn’t come before Tuesday we would discuss being induced at that next appointment.

After the appointment I was still having some cramping (I chalked it up to having had an exam) and my lower back pain was still dull but lingering. I came home and worked a few more hours outside while Hannah and Rob played in the yard. I was up walking around a little but mainly sitting so I could work.

Later that evening, after we put Hannah to bed, I was watching TV with Rob. I was having some more cramping/possible contractions and even got out my baby app to track them. They were a low intensity and were kinda all over the place timing wise so I didn’t track them long – I was annoyed to be having more Braxton Hicks and it just added to my day’s sour mood. I instead decided to jump in the shower, have Rob help me with my compression socks and then go to sleep.

Around 1am I woke up needing to pee (yay pregnancy). Normally I was getting up around 3am. After I went the bathroom I got back in bed and had two little contractions. I think the contractions actually are what woke me up I just didn’t have another until after I laid back down. I decided to get my app out and time them just to see. They were each about a minute long and we’re about 5 minutes apart. A few were 3/4 minutes apart and two were 6/7 minutes apart. Everyone says if they’re “inconsistent” they’re not real labor pains so I still felt skeptical but I decided around 2am to call the doctor and check in with them.

The on call doctor called me back (he was actually the same doctor who delivered Hannah). After chatting with him and explaining what was going on (coupled with the fact that Hannah’s birth was only 7hrs), he said I should come to the hospital to get checked and worst case was I’d get sent home.

I went in to wake up Rob and tell him what was going on. He got up and started getting ready and I called my mom to come over and be with Hannah. I had a few straggler items to add to the hospital bag as I got ready and my mom got to our house in record time – even though she forgot her toothbrush. 😂 Next time (if there is a next time) I’ll be sure to remind whoever is on babysitting duty to pack a “go bag” ahead of time so they’re not caught off guard. Sorry, mom ❤️


It was raining outside but, at 2:30am there was no traffic so the drive was quick. At the hospital we parked close out front and, I waddled up to the front door. It had a sign up that said the “use emergency room entrance” (which is inconveniently across the parking lot). 😵 Luckily a worker was entering at this door with her badge right behind us and let us in. Go that lady ✌️

Upstairs at the birth center we checked in with triage (can’t believe I didn’t have my driver’s license on me 🤦). Luckily I was in the system from Hannah’s birth and also still had my (more important) insurance card with me. 😂

After check-in I was put in a triage room and asked all the typical check-in questions. At this point I was still contracting but not timing them. The nurse got me all checked in she did an exam and said I was at 3cm and 70% effaced. I was super discouraged to still be at 3cm (since that’s where I was at my appointment like 12 hrs earlier and I had been contracting for 2 hrs at this point). To be fair, at my appointment the doc didn’t say if I was effaced or not so maybe that’s progress or maybe not. Either way – I almost felt like the whole thing was gonna be a fluke. How annoying.

The nurse checked in with the doctor again and he said to let me labor in my triage room for an hour then we’d reevaluate. The nurse unhooked my monitors so I could move freely around for that hour. While she was gone I kept contracting and just working to breathe through them. I felt like I was going to throw up a few times (but luckily didn’t). All I could do was pace around the room/bathroom, sit down to pee like every two minutes, and lean over Rob/his chair swaying my hips. Towards the end of the hour Rob started timing my contractions again. They were a minute long now, a minute apart and definitely more intense.

When the nurse came back we filled her in on how the last hour had gone. By this time it was about 4:45am. She checked me again and now I was 5-6 cm and 80-90% effaced. “Looks like we’re gonna have a baby today”, she said, “time to get you in a room”.

The process of moving to a room started with them needing to set an IV line and do a blood draw. The nurse wanted to try and do that in triage but a) my veins move and are hard to find and b) I was contracting every other minute so she didn’t have much “calm time” to work with. She tried but didn’t have much luck so instead we opted to just go to the room, #383. She offered for me to have a wheelchair but, with the contractions, I preferred to walk; it wasn’t far.

Once we got to the room, it was just about 5am, and a series of other nurses got to work on me. My main nurse was a sweet woman named Eva. She got me hooked up to the monitors and asked me a series of questions that I answered while pacing around the bed. Then she set my IV line and did my blood draw. You need the bloodwork done before you can get an epidural but honestly, at this point, there wasn’t time for the epidural it seemed.

As I kept laboring by the bed, during one of my contractions, my water broke. This baby was coming quickly. Before getting into bed I went the bathroom to pee, I thought, but the urge to push was already there. The nurse didn’t let me sit on the toilet long and asked me to get in bed to be checked.

At this check I was 7-8cm and then quickly hit 9-10. The pain was unreal. The urge to push was definitely there but the nurses kept telling me to wait until I was at 10cm, to wait until the doctor was there. For anyone whose had a baby, you know that you can’t not push. The nurse said for me to just not “encourage it” by pushing more myself but to let my body do its thing. Each contraction I gripped so hard onto the bed and Rob’s hand just breathing and groaning/moaning through the pain. Just as I hit 10cm the doctor came in the room (he was the same doc I spoke with before – the one who delivered Hannah). He asked me to breathe through the next contraction (despite the baby crowning! 😱) and then said I’d push on the next one.

When it was time to push I gave it literally all I had in 3 good ones. As I went to ease up and breathe the doctor and nurses said to keep pushing. I literally felt like I had nothing left to give but one nurse next to me said something along the lines of “you only got half a baby” or “you only birthed half of the baby”. For some reason I immediately feared she’d be stuck and get hurt or something and that fear gave me the added strength for about 3 more good pushes and out she came. Thank God that the pain is immediately relieved and, for easier healing, thank God for no tearing ✌️ 😅

She came out crying, which Hannah struggled with because of her lungs, so for Rob and I, hearing her cry was everything. Rob even got to cut the cord. Afterwards the doctors checked her out, cleaned her up a bit, and diapered her. They put her on my chest for skin to skin and she stayed there for the next 2-2.5 hours nursing and getting lots of snuggles. She was born at 6:02am, 8lbs 6.7oz and 20.5″ long. 100% perfection.


Not getting the epi and not tearing left me feeling great post delivery. It’s such a different experience to have a term baby vs a preemie – a welcomed difference for sure. There’s already so many new things to learn about the newborn phase that we hadn’t learned with Hannah and our nursing journey is already so different (also in a good way).

We got to come home from the hospital together, Friday around 1pm and Hannah was/is so smitten with her new baby sister.

She is constantly bringing Charlotte toys for her to play with and loves to give her snuggles every morning.

Seeing Rob with Charlotte and the two girls together just makes my heart so full. It feels like we can now begin the next chapter for our family. We’re feeling very blessed for sure.

Smash Brothers Dad mode

My third one in a row.

Well, here’s a blog I hoped I wouldn’t write… again.

❤️

I very recently went through our third miscarriage and, most people had no idea we were even pregnant this time. ➡️ Don’t take it personally if we didn’t tell you. It’s just easier to wait. This pretty much rounds out why 2019 hasn’t been a great year for me. I know there were good things that happened but really, these pains just feel so much bigger and seem to cloud lots of those memories. So many fun memories are tainted by being pregnant with a baby I’d soon lose, dreaming of a baby I’d never meet, or reeling from the pain of loss.


We would have had our first “lost baby” in October. I made a cute shirt for Hannah to surprise Rob for that pregnancy. I ended up having to hide the shirt since it was too depressing to look at. I found out I was pregnant with lost baby #2 only days before Hannah’s 2nd birthday. That baby would have been due in February. We were also pregnant for lost baby #2 on our kid-free Orlando trip too. I floated in the pool drinking alcohol-free mocktails for that baby. Then our third lost baby now would have been due in June right around Hannah’s birthday. By this pregnancy I wasn’t even excited to be pregnant anymore. I was just constantly nervous and hated having to go to the doctor for constant checks. Each day seemed like I was either going to the doctor or waiting for a results call from them. It was nerve-wracking.

It feels like I’ve pretty much been pregnant, trying to get pregnant, recovering from a miscarriage, or miscarrying all year long it seems. First was in March, then July, and now November. Being yanked around on this pregnancy rollercoaster has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. I always wanted a big family and it feels so far out of reach. I feel like I have pregnancy PTSD (made that up, yes but still, it kinda explains what I mean). Every pain or twinge or stomach ache makes me think of miscarrying or that, if I’m pregnant, it’s going to start to happen again. During the last pregnancy, I just cried from laying in our bed. I laid in the same spot a few months prior and that’s where my cramping/miscarriage started for lost baby #2. The memories are vivid.


This 3rd pregnancy was different than the other two before it. My doctors were monitoring me so much more. I had more appointments, hormone checks, and ultrasounds this time. I thought for sure we’d know if something was wrong, wouldn’t we?

This pregnancy started with me going to the doctor every other day for blood draws ever since I got my first positive test. I was sad I didn’t even get an appointment with my doctor until my HCG levels were high enough. That in itself felt like a bad sign. But at this point – maybe we just caught the pregnancy early? Maybe I ovulated late? My HCG was super low first week (doubling every 2.6 days vs every 2 days) and my progesterone wasn’t high enough so I had to start progesterone pills. After that first week my HCG started to double every 2 days and, once it was over 1,000 my doc told me “congratulations – you’re definitely pregnant!” It felt like things were turning around. I must have ovulated late and caught it early – phew! It was a sigh of relief. Then, the next roughly ten days was spent waiting for my first ultrasound appointment. Longest wait ever but at least I wasn’t having to go in for constant bloodwork. Things were better it seemed.

At the ultrasound appointment we saw two gestational sacs (I was even a little excited to think we were getting blessed with twins!) only to learn that one sac was empty (most likely a vanishing twin) and one had a yolk sac. I thought, based off my period, at this time I’d have been nearly 8 weeks (but maybe more like 7 if I ovulated late/since my HCG was so low the first week). The ultrasound tech measured each sac to be roughly 5w3d. Again, this felt like bad news. To me that was too early to be right. At this point it was either that we caught the pregnancy early (skeptical) OR the baby had stopped developing. From here, all we could do was wait for another scan ten days later to compare to. When we met with the doctor he was surprised I was sad about the scan. At this point, the doctor seemed optimistic and positive. Things could be totally fine, he said.


At the second scan, the tech commented on the way to the exam room that the past 10 days waiting for my next scan must have been the longest. I commented that I hadn’t just been waiting a few days but instead months for positive news. With all the miscarriages and loss, all I had been waiting for was to hear a heartbeat.

When the tech got me all set up and started the scan it was pretty obvious it wasn’t good news. According to the tech things looked exactly like they did 10 days ago. The baby hadn’t grown. It was scenario #2.

We waited in a private room (vs the waiting room) for the doctor to call us back and see us. One of the nurses I frequently see at the office came in to hug me and offer her condolences. She’s been there for each of my miscarriages.

When the doctor called us back he confirmed that there was no change in growth and that this pregnancy wasn’t viable. He said I hadn’t started to miscarry yet because of the progesterone pills preventing it but, that it should start naturally once I stopped the pills. He also recommended we go see a reproductive endocrinologist. The whole appointment was so quick.


From here, there was nothing to do or say. We just went home and I cried. A lot. I was empty and sad and just heartbroken. Again. How many times can you suffer the same exact heartache and get back up ready to do it all over again? Is there a number or threshold? I felt like such a failure. I’m jealous of all the new baby announcements I’ve seen lately. I wanted to be the one making the announcement. I wanted to tell everyone at Christmas this year. I wanted to have the happy news to share.

I stopped my progesterone that day and started to get cramps just the next afternoon. Then the miscarriage started overnight with the worst cramps (lots of heating pad time). Then the miscarriage went on for about a week and just recently stopped. We’re going to see a reproductive endocrinologist on the 25th. Hopefully they have answers or can do something.


When I go to my appointment I plan to bring in the SDS sheets for the epoxy resins I’ve been using in my fluid art. If you follow me on here and on my other social properties (mainly insta/Facebook) you know that I started resin art about a year ago. I use a respirator but want to know if the chemicals in it could be related to my reproductive struggles. I didn’t struggle to get pregnant with Hannah (but wasn’t using resin then either) and then, each pregnancy this time I didn’t use it while pregnant but used it before and after each pregnancy. Nonylphenol is a big chemical in many resin brands and has been known to cause reproductive damage, miscarriages and birth defects. It can interfere with your reproductive hormone production too. These facts are only listed on the SDS sheets and not on the information that comes with the product when you order it. I had no idea this was a possible side effect of resin. My concern comes from the fact that, when using the resin in my art, it has a chemical reaction and is actively off-gassing, and I’m exposing myself (and my home) to that. I just want answers. I want to know it’s safe. It’s shady that the resins have these chemicals but don’t include the SDS in the product box and some don’t even have them readily available on their website (you have to email them and request it). The product has a warning on it about getting it on your skin or drinking it but none about reproductive dangers. There is nothing on the instructions sheets they come with about needing a respirator or the possible damage it can cause if you don’t use one. I had no idea about nonylphenol until a prominent artist I follow (@mrs.colorberry) educated her followers and brought the information to light! It’s just mind blowing to me. My ob-gyn wasn’t informed on what the chemical was/could do so that didn’t give me any real answers yet.

Either way. Related or not – I’m not going to use resin with nonylphenol in it until I can say it is safe to be around. I can’t risk my health or my family’s health for a side hustle/hobby. Mrs.Colorberry is selling a resin without BPA or nonylphenol and I ordered some on her USA pre-sale. Until that arrives – I am working to find other substitutes and avoiding nonylphenol like the plague. I can’t keep going through this and willingly will cut out anything that could be causing it.


Once I go see the specialist, I’ll have more to share on how that goes and what they tell me. Until then I’m just going to focus on my art (non-resin art!) and prepare for my upcoming craft fair (Nov 30th), hosting Thanksgiving, and my favorite holiday ever ➡️ Christmas! 🎄I have lots to look forward to (and a healthy beautiful baby girl to snuggle) so I just need to try and focus on all of that instead of this hot garbage ball of stress. Everything is so fresh and I still cry a lot but this is just a chapter in our story and I need to remember it isn’t our whole story.

If you made it this far, thanks for listening. For me it’s therapeutic to talk through our reproductive struggles so, more to come ❤️