May 22, 2017
12 Comments

New Beginnings…

Wow, what a crazy whirlwind the last couple of weeks have been! I can’t believe that Lola is two weeks old and I can already tell that she looks a little bit older from when we first brought her home (she’s lost that swollen newborn look for sure). She’s starting to keep her eyes open for longer stretches at a time and we can already tell she’s got the sweetest little personality.So far the round-the-clock breastfeeding has been the biggest thing to get used to for sure. My milk didn’t come in until day 7 but our pediatrician said that was not uncommon since I had a more stressful labor experience and we weren’t able to be together for the first 24 hours with her in the NICU. We have had some easier and harder days for sure (and she may have a small tongue tie which we’ll have to look into a bit more to verify) but we’ll figure it out eventually! In the meantime having some of my registry items like my hands-free pumping bra, Undercover Mama nursing tanks, and nursing camisoles have made nursing around the house a bit easier. I also have a bunch of various nursing bras that I wear with deep V shirts to make boob access easier as well. I have been wearing a postpartum binder everyday since being home and I’m planning on getting a pair of high-waisted leggings like these once I retire the binder (or for when I want to go out of the house without it on…).First bath!! She cried the whole time but looked so cute in her little bear towel!We just got to a point where Lola will take a few of her naps in our DocATot and it’s been a lifesaver to have her spend a few hours self-contained without having to be held while sleeping. I also got this beautiful pink cover for it as well because, well, why not if it comes in pink too, right? PS. She only has a blanket over her legs if I’m nearby, otherwise we do a swaddle as a blanket…My adorable parents have been here helping out and it’s been such a lifesaver for us. The tearing and stitches I had have made recovery harder so having help with meals and baby holding while I nap or take sitz baths has been such a blessing. My dad read a story to Lola a few days ago and she totally listened to the whole thing and looked at the pictures when he showed her too. So cute!We had Todd’s 35th birthday this past week and while our new life didn’t exactly lend to a full-on celebration, we still made sure he had a few special things to mark the occasion (like his favorite dessert after dinner). We’ve had some of our wonderful friends bringing us meals this past week as well to help out and we so appreciate those kind efforts—if you ever have a chance to bring food for a new Mom and Dad, do it! They will love you forever!

So many big changes lately and while I’ve had some of the hardest days on record, there’s also been a new sweetness and joy added to life as well that I could never have quite imagined. I’m planning on writing out a birth story at some point and I’ll let you know what I used (and didn’t use) in my birth bag as well. We’ll see how many long naps it takes to get all of that done! 🙂

May 15, 2017
11 Comments

#Gummerbaby Is Finally Here!!

She’s here!! Lola Valentine Gummerman was born at 12:34 on May 7th, her Mama’s birthday (crazy, right!?!). What a birthday present! Not only do we have the same birthday but Valentine is also my middle name (it’s the maiden name of my Grandmother) and we share the same initials too. Technically the inspiration for the name “Lola” comes from a giant grey Maine Coon cat of the same moniker that belongs to one of Todd’s friends (he loves that cat!) soooo she is sort of named after a cat but not really? She is 19 inches and 8 pounds of pure sweetness and joy and we are completely in love with her already. We had a bit of a rough start with some time in the NICU (she had wet lungs) and minor surgery for Mama (episiotomy and 4th degree tears—ouch!!) but everyone is home and doing well and we are extremely grateful for that. We are pretty tired these days but our hearts are so full as we get to know this adorable little creature. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers for us over the last few weeks and months, it’s time to snuggle in for a bit and enjoy all the precious moments while we can! They don’t stay this little for long!

May 1, 2017
18 Comments

Month By Month: The Third Trimester!

Time. Is. FLYING!!! With the second trimester burst of energy gone (like totally gone you guys) it feels like just about all I can do to make it through to the end of each day somewhat alive. I’m a total #napqueen at the moment and I told Todd that one activity per day is just about all I can handle so we’ve been trying to keep the schedule pretty light outside of work hours. I seriously don’t know how people do pregnancy when they already have multiple kids they also have to take care of—you gals are my heroes!! Since we could be at the finish line any day now, here’s a look back at what the third trimester brought with it….

         Coat/SheIn, Leather Leggings/Asos, Maternity Tank/Target, Heels/Steve Madden

Month Seven: The beginning of my third trimester started some of those “woah, definitely feeling bigger and bigger!” sorts of complaints whether it was related to how difficult it was rolling over (and over and over) in bed at night, or just trying to put on socks and shoes. I was trying on a pair of sandals at the mall and almost had to have the salesperson put them on for me because I couldn’t reach the side buckle—so embarrassing! This was also the beginning of walks at the park not necessarily being a walk in the park anymore (more like a slower waddle) and for once in my life Todd walks faster than me when we go out (I’m normally several feet ahead of him usually!). Still battling the low back pain at this point (keeping up the yoga and chiropractic to try and help) but at least it comes and goes so it’s not always there. I also finished my big nursery projects this month (like the hand-painted wallpaper and custom closet doors) and while the nursery was still far from done (not one piece of furniture it in yet), it felt good to have the big projects out of the way.                        Dress/Forever 21 (similar), Shoes/Public Desire, Sunnies/SojoS

Month Eight: This was the month I had my Baby Shower and really started to feel the pressure of finishing up some of our “to-do” and “to-get” lists before moving into the homestretch. While I had the vision for the nursery pretty much laid out we were still deciding and waiting on the main pieces to arrive so I busied myself with ordering the rest of the registry essentials and organizing and washing all the clothes, blankets, bedding, etc. so it would all be ready when the dresser and crib arrived. I also had some symptoms from the first trimester start to creep back in (hello again nausea!) although it wasn’t nearly as bad as the first trimester and I kept up the B6 vitamins to help keep it at bay. I also got a few new fun surprises too like acid reflux and the realization that my stomach is now squished to be pretty tiny so if I didn’t eat smaller meals I’d have that “way too full” barfy feeling for like 4 hours. Blech. My midwives and doula suggested Papaya Enzymes after each meal (and avoiding a lot of tomatoes) along with staying upright for 30 min or so after meals and that did seem to help…

                   Dress/Forever 21 (similar), Shoes/Public Desire, Sunnies/AEVOGUE

Month Nine: AGH!!! How am I writing this section??! I think my brain still can’t wrap my head around this whole process, somehow it still doesn’t feel real even with all the aches and pains and giant wriggling belly included. This last homestretch has actually been some of the most stressful time so far because we found out that Baby was suddenly breech at 36 weeks and it sent us into a bit of a worried panic to come up with a new plan. We’ve been planning on giving birth at a birth center here in town but they only do low-risk deliveries (which most deliveries actually are) and a breech position would disqualify us from birthing there. Obviously we had chosen that route because we felt their philosophy and natural birth in general has some really great advantages for Baby (and Mom too) so we were feeling really disappointed to lose out on some of those benefits, but also because breech position is basically an automatic c-section as well. Even though it’s the most commonly performed surgery in the US at the moment (for better or worse), it still is major surgery and that’s generally something that I would prefer to avoid if possible. It’s true that there are some doctors who will attempt vaginal breech deliveries, but they are pretty hard to find and they would have to be on call when you went into labor so the chances of seemed slim. Even midwives that do home breech births will usually only do it on a case-by-case basis because of the added risks and a breech baby for a first time mom was a riskier situation than I was personally willing to take on as well.

Anyways, we tried literally everything I could find to try and turn her for 2 weeks (acupuncture, moxibustion, Webster chiropractic, yoga, spinning babies techniques, flashlights on the belly, frozen ice packs and heat packs on the belly, playing music and recorded voices low with belly speakers, crawling on hands and knees) with no results and I was feeling pretty drained from all the stress on top of my full time job and continued general baby prep. Oh yeah, and all the sudden not knowing what hospital or doctor to go to if I suddenly went into labor? Lots of frustrating calls with insurance companies trying to figure that out too wasn’t helping me relax either. Eventually we did find out what information we needed to have a new breech plan in place if she didn’t turn, but we decided to try an “external version” at the hospital where they attempt to turn the baby manually from the outside. It works in about 50% of the cases, but our midwives and doctor they recommended thought I’d be a good candidate for it so we decided to give it a try at 38 weeks. It definitely felt a bit scary to be at the hospital with like 6 doctors crowded around you, IVs in place, and an anesthesiologist waiting in the corner (just in case!) but I held Todd’s hand and tried to close my eyes and remain as calm as I possibly could while they moved her around. We also had so many wonderful friends and family praying for us that I had peace at the start of the day that whatever the outcome was, it would turn out exactly how it was meant to so that was a big thing keeping me calm as well. They basically oil up your belly and have one person push up on Baby’s butt lifting them out of the pelvis (they have a sonogram tech right there to see exactly where Baby is first) while one or two more people help push the rest of Baby around until the head faces down. I decided not to get an epidural for the procedure and while it was a pretty intense feeling to say the least (and yes, it definitely did hurt) I think I would for sure do it again without one if I had to. They do give you this other medicine though through an IV to stop your belly from contracting for a few moments and that stuff makes your heart race and body shake as well. Both are normal things to have happen with that medication (and they did warn me about it beforehand) but it certainly makes it way harder to relax your body when your heart is pounding out of your chest and your limbs are shaking!

Thankfully, the procedure not only worked but they said it was the fastest/easiest one they’ve ever seen and that Baby helped out by wiggling in the right direction as they started too! I could tell by the shocked looks on their faces that they really meant it, although I also just burst into tears when they said she was head down so their faces were a little blurry at that moment. We stayed for another hour afterwards so they could monitor Baby and make sure her heart rate stayed stable and then they sent us home about 5 hours after we started the whole process. Man, I was so tired from the anticipation and emotion of the day and pretty weak and shaky from the IV meds (and the 16 hours of fasting it had been at that point since they don’t want to you eat after the night before) but I felt extremely grateful walking out to our car to say the least. Since we didn’t know what would happen that day, the birth bag was in the car, the carseat was installed, the nursery was set-up and ready, but since we didn’t end up needing those items that day, we could just go home and finally relax for a bit before Baby decides she’s ready to show up.

As of this moment, Baby is still head down so we are able to continue with our original birth center plan (although I know that babies can have a mind of their own and birth is never totally predictable so that could all change in a moment) so we are basically just waiting for labor to start and we’ll go from there! I have had lots of braxton hicks tightening lately, but those can go on forever without meaning anything so I try not to take them too seriously. I’ll be trying to rest up as much as possible in the meantime and probably sneak in a few solo brunch/coffee dates with my Baby Daddy while I still can but stay tuned for news! It could be any day now!

April 24, 2017
36 Comments

What’s In My Birth Bag

It feels SO crazy to have a corner of our living room that is piled with stuff to take to car as soon as I give Todd the word that it’s time to head off to the birth center here in Nashville. It’s only been recently that I finally finished packing my bag and I thought I’d share what’s inside (I love reading what other people packed and then what was helpful or not for them afterwards…). We sort of have a “two scenario” bag since we are planning on being at a birth center but we know there’s always a possibility we could end up at the hospital in case of a complication so we want to be prepared for either. You can stay at the birth center for up to 12 hours after birth, but most people go home around the 6 hour mark so it’s a little different need-wise from being at the hospital for 2-3 days. We definitely have some things that are only useful in one of the scenarios but it never hurts to have options just in case!

CLOTHING:
Long t-shirt for laboring
Slip on shoes (flip flops please!)
Change of underwear and socks
Sports bra for birthing tub
Nursing sleep bra and deep V-neck tops that are easy to nurse in
Pajamas (nursing friendly)
Going home outfit (I added a button up cotton dress and leggings and stretchy tank top as options)
Toiletries bag (have lots of giant pads and adult diapers at home for post partum but birth center and hospital provide those types of things along with peri bottle while there)

LABOR TOOLS:*
Essential oils (the birth center has a diffusor in each room so I’m taking lavender and orange oils)
Headphones for playlists, relaxing music, etc (birth center also has speakers for playing tracks out loud too )
Rice heating pad (they also have electric heating pads at birth center but you have to stay near the outlet to use that)
Pool noodle (sliced down one side to put over rim of birth tub for softer surface to lean on)
Washable bath pillow for birth tub
Massage Oil
Battery-operated candles for mood (aren’t allowed to have real ones!)

*Birth center has a ton of stuff already there like birth balls, rebozo scarves, birth stools, wall-mounted rungs to hang on, water birth tub, etc.)

FOOD + DRINK:*
Snacks for during labor (I have protein bars, almond butter packets, honey sticks, popsicles, and chicken broth as options and then coconut water and electrolyte water to drink)
Meals/snacks for Todd during labor (he needs to keep his strength up too!)
Frozen meal for after labor

*Definitely something that we would use more or less of certain items if we were at birth center (where Mom can eat and drink) vs. hospital (where they are a lot more restrictive on that and would serve meals while we were there). Birth center has fridge and small kitchen area where we can keep and prepare food.

MISC:
Charger for phones and camera
Camera
Change of clothes/toiletries bag for Todd
Swimming suit for Todd (birth center has a walk in shower for hydrotherapy)
Cooler for placenta (doing placenta encapsulation)
Nipple cream
Dermoplast for pain relief and stool softener (hey, no one said this was a glamorous process right? I also have organic sitz spray, but I’ll probably use that more once at home)

FOR BABY:
3 outfits/hats for Baby
2-3 receiving blankets/swaddlers
Car seat (love that this one is really safe but also really light to carry!)
Nursing pillow
Coconut oil (putting some on her bottom right away will help get the meconium off easier during those first diaper changes)

That’s basically it! It is really hard to know what you will want or feel like in a process that you’ve never gone though before, but I think we are about as prepared as we can be for first-timers. If there was something that you loved having in your bag the most let me know, I’d love to hear about it!

April 10, 2017
4 Comments

#Gummerbaby Nursery Mood Board!

I love mood boards. They are actually a really helpful way to organize your visual thoughts and see how different items or colors work together in a room before they appear in person. Our nursery furniture is just being delivered this week (down to the wire, I know!) so I’ve had to be creative in making sure that items will work in the room once they arrive. I was feeling so antsy that the nursery was still completely empty as of a few weeks ago so I did what any sane pregnant gal would do and made a cardboard version of all the nursery furniture so I could start to decorate around it. That’s totally normal right?? I’ve actually done it before for different projects or to see if a furniture piece I couldn’t take back would fit into a space and while it sounds nutty, it’s SO helpful and totally works!

Anyways, we’ll see what the final results look like relatively soon, but I do have this perla chandelier already installed and it looks so good (I have a ton of Lucent Lightshop fixtures in my house—love them!). Still going to keep the white and brass thing going into the nursery so that it flows with the rest of the house, but pastel lavender is the main color of the room with some pink and pastel rainbow accents as well (this pastel wooden rainbow toy is perfect!). I can’t wait to see how this amazing lucite crib looks in the space and I think this clean modern white dresser will be a good compliment across from it (the top will be our changing pad station too). I’ve heard from a few mom that they really prefer a glider to a rocker just because of how little effort it takes to rock baby in it so I’m excited to try out this glider when it gets here.

That painted hallway in the top left corner of the mood board is at a local coffee shop here called Three Brothers and I kind of fell in love with it the first time I saw it. It’s just sooo cool. I wanted to do something similar for the baby’s room but with all symbols that meant something to me (or were just more fun for a baby’s room) so I spent a few weeks on that back at the end of my second trimester to get that done…can’t wait to show you it soon, I love how it turned out! I adore this organic pink dotted changing cover and crib sheet, but I’ll have to see if it looks too crazy with the patterned walls or not. To keep the cat theme running in the family, I felt Baby should totally have a lion rocker and I’m thinking this lion print would be cute in the room as well (although this pink moon print is so good too). Of course, black and white are still my go-to colors for lots of home things so items like this patterned milk blanket will fit in well with the nursery scheme and look at home in the rest of the house as well. When you are a bit OCD about color coordination like I am, finding sweet toys to match the scheme is also a must and cuties like this unicorn toy will be perfect to have within Baby’s reach.

Hopefully my cardboard palace will turn into a real nursery within a few days and l LITERALLY CANNOT WAIT until it all comes together—so excited!!!