Thursday, September 11, 2014

Quinn's Newborn Photos

It's All Quinn, All the Time around here lately.  But what did you expect? :)


We recently got newborn photos done with Quinn, and added some family photos in there too.  Harper threw the biggest fit ever of her life that morning while we were there (she had a bit of an adjustment period after the baby was born...), so it's a miracle there are decent pictures of her!!  Quinn was a week old and decided to be awake and screamy for most of it, even though she had until that moment never been awake for more than a few minutes at a time.  It was funny - Harper was the same way - wide awake in most of her newborn photos.  While you can't get those squishy sleepy baby pics as easily that way, you do get lots of wide-eyed shots, which I love just as much.


For you local folks, we used Jill Childs Photography. She was excellent and patient and timely and great - I'd definitely recommend. 

Call me vain, but this might be my favorite: 



There are 20 and I'm subjecting you to them all.  


 This is the smile of a kid trying to roll a wagon and her sister away.



This one cracks me up.



Quinn was screaming while Harper ran rampant through the poor photographer's house.  But the picture is pretty!


I love this one.  Real life.  Harper trying to console her crying sister.




Those lips!!



I love this one too.  This kid makes some funny faces.








Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Quinn's Nursery



In the seemingly neverending days leading to Quinn's birth, I finally got her room "finished" and took some photos, while it was still relatively clean.  I knew once baby was here it would never look this tidy.

Quinn's room is our house's third (and final) bedroom, which we had been using for a guest room/office for a long time.  It's gone through many iterations, but this is certainly it's best look.  It's unfortunate that we no longer have a guest room (or bed!), and our "office" is now a desk in our overly-crowded master bedroom, but I'm glad she can have a space of her own.  

When thinking about what I wanted for this room, I was drawn to the idea of navy and a loose star/moon theme.  I didn't want it to be themey, though.  So there are some subtle hints at that, with a navy/mint/gray/coral color scheme going on.  Keep in mind that I don't know how to use my camera so the color looks weird in these photos :)

The walls are a light gray - the same that is in Harper's room (Glidden Misty Moonstone).  I like using a neutral color so the accessories can be bolder.  I also feel like this room is less finished than Harper's.  I intentionally left some breathing room - Harper's room has quickly filled with toys and storage and other mess as she's gotten older and our needs have changed, so I wanted to let this room have the opportunity to do the same.  I know things will get added quickly as she grows.

Anyway...

The first thing I started on was the mobile.  If we're Instagram friends, you've heard my lament about this stupid thing.  I had grandiose plans for it.  I bought gigantic hoops because they were cheaper than I thought they would be (only a few bucks in the surprisingly-existent dreamcatcher section of Hobby Lobby!)  I punched out big and little stars in four colors.  It took me about one season's worth of Game of Thrones to do that.  Then I had to tie on all of the fishing line and glue them on.  Not hard, but tedious.  The mobile originally sported two layered hoops with many more strands.  Then I couldn't figure out how to hang it straight and nearly had a 38 week pregnant mental breakdown about it.  I finally chopped off the inner hoop and made do.  It's relatively straight.  


Now that it's up, I'm glad it's big.  It fills that space nicely and saved me from having to come up with something to put on that wall (ie: something I'm bad at - see below). 


And it's pretty.


We found the dresser at a local thrift store after much searching.  I like that it's the right height for changing diapers and also has lots of storage space in easy-open drawers.  I think it was about $50 and I didn't have to repaint it.  I did, however, paint the feet mint green.  I want to add new pulls too, but that's one day.  

I got the coral chevron changing pad cover off Etsy.  It's really the only coral thing I've got in here besides the mobile, because I found it's tricky to match "corals" in different products (pink! orange! reddish!).  Oh well!  The giant clock is ugly but essential for that early nursing phase where I fall asleep without my contacts in while feeding her and realize later it's been three hours... 


Over the dresser, I hung three wooden frames from Ikea that I bought literally 6 years ago and never used.  They are made to be wrapped like this in fabric, so I found a fun dot print for cheap and stapled it on.  I plan to make this a place to hang photos, swapping out as time goes.  I found that with Harper, I took SO many pictures of her, but they became lost in my computer files, rarely seen.  I want to display more of those this time around.  Right now, they are a bit empty! 


Harper's Big Sister photos are what I've got going for it now. 


On this big empty wall, I added some frames in a poor interpretation of a gallery wall.  It's not perfect, but it works for now.  I might change some things out and add to it as we go.  It looks more substantial in person than it does here.  (And none of the frames are too heavy or have glass in them, for safety purposes).


The highlight here is this beautiful painting that my mother-in-law painted for us.  She is so very talented and I was so glad when she offered to make something for the room.  She found the image in a book and recreated it.  The stars are golden and shine in the light.  Love it! 


The rest of the items are random.  All of the frames were thrift store purchases, and I spent only a few bucks total on all of this.  I'm not so great at art, people! 

We found this heart-shaped rock while redoing our backyard.




I love this poem.  And moon reference for the win.


The bottom "I love you to the moon and back again" print is a digital download from Etsy, the star is made from paint chips cut up, I freehanded the Quinn (can't you tell?) and the Shine baby Shine.  The little pink thing is a tiny dress I took from a baby card I got for Harper's birth (thanks Hannah!).  The circle is a plastic rattan mirror with the glass removed.  I sprayed it a glossy navy, even though that doesn't show in these pictures.  I think it looks empty, but I don't know what to fill it with...


The crib was gifted to us and is actually from Walmart.  It was half the cost of Harper's Babyletto crib and is just the same in terms of quality.  I love a modern crib.  

The curtains are a dark navy and really are blackout, which is nice (cheapos from Target).  I moved Harper's glider in here.  I've said it before - this thing is not that pretty, but it's incredibly comfortable and the perfect chair for nursing or reading stories.  The ottoman is actually an outdoor one from Target, but it matches the rest of the navy nicely.


The sheets are from BRU and are navy with little anchors.  No, the anchors don't really tie in, but I liked them.  We have stars and dots and chevron and anchors in here - babies like patterns, right?


So there you have it!  Quinn's nursery.  She seems to like it.  I like that it's open and spacious and filled with happy things.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Quinn's Birth Story




I love a good birth story.  And "good" is any story.  The short ones, the long ones, any ones. Babies coming into the world is fascinating and beautiful to me.  I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I wanted to share Quinn's story, just like I shared Harper's.  Even though I remember all of the details of Harper's birth, I love reading back that post.  So, if you're interested, the too long and overly detailed story is below.  Her birth went great, so it's nothing too crazy, but I might use the word cervix... fair warning if you want to skip this one (cough, Corey, cough).  

So, since I had gestational diabetes, my doctor had warned me early on that I would likely be induced by 39 weeks.  I didn't love that, but I made my peace with it.  As we got closer to this, my doctor decided my numbers were well controlled and she would let me go to my due date. I had an appointment a few days before my due date and I was 3cm dilated.  I had been having these ridiculously annoying contractions every night for the week leading into my due date where they would ramp up throughout the afternoon and become time-able, sometimes as frequent as 5 minutes apart.  They hurt!  Yet they would eventually fizzle out. Every stinking night!  The first night I got my hopes up and was a little nervous - how would I know when it was go time??  With Harper, my water broke before labor began, so I was in the hospital before contractions even started.  By night 2, I started to get jaded.  By night 6, I felt like that baby was never going to come!  So at that appointment, my doctor set an induction date with me for the Friday after my Tuesday due date, yet she really thought I wouldn't make it that long.  


Welp, Thursday night we packed up Harper to send to her grandparents' house, taking one last photo as a family of 3.  Tony and I went out to dinner (I said screw the diabetes diet and ate bread and pasta!) and my contractions were seriously 4 minutes apart the entire time and were pretty strong, yet come 11pm, they had fizzled, again.  But I was finally ok with it, knowing we had a plan for the following morning and I didn't have to make the judgement call to go or not go.

We were scheduled to come in at 5am, and they said they would call "in the morning" if I would need to be bumped.  We thought - um, what constitutes morning at that hour?  We woke up at 3 am to get ready and headed off to Waffle House (I was NOT going into this labor hungry like I did with Harper!).  At 4am, sure enough, the L&D nurses called to say they needed to bump me to 7am due to some overnight c sections.  Ugh.  So, we ate and headed back home and watched Scandal (totally normal 5am activity).  When we finally headed back out to the hospital, I started to get nervous.  There had been so many false starts with this baby that I had trouble wrapping my head around the fact that she would absolutely be here that day! 



We checked in quickly and got set up in the delivery room right away.  I was a little surprised with how quickly it all went.  I got an IV first and embarrassingly almost passed out.  The nurse checked me and I was still at 3cm, despite the week of false labor.  My cervix was also really, really far back (that was a fun check) but the baby's head was really low.  The nurse assured me this wouldn't be a problem once the Pitocin started.  At 8:30 she started the Pitocin, telling me they would turn it up every 20 minutes until things started happening.  We watched some terrible morning tv and waited.  My parents made it to Georgia and stopped by to say hello.  Tony's parents took Harper to school and then stopped by too.

By this point, my contractions had increased but weren't any worse than the ones I had been having for a week.  Like last time, the nurse told me that when I was ready to get the epidural to give her a 45 minute heads up so she could get the anesthesiologist and fluids in me, etc.  Last time, I think I pulled the trigger a bit early, afraid of how much worse they could get and that it would take too long.  Granted, it didn't really stall my labor last time, but still.  So, this time I wanted to wait as long as I could to let my body do some of the work despite the meds that were basically making it all happen.

Despite our Waffle House stop, I was pretty hungry during all of this.  I remembered how terrible I felt during Harper's labor because I didn't eat for so long (nearly 24 hours), and I was used to eating on a very regimented schedule because of the diabetes.  The nurse made my morning by explaining I could eat anything from the "clear liquids" menu - turns out that ranges from jello to Italian ice to coffee?  None of which are clear... but man I ate up that sugar-filled jello and Italian ice.  My doctor had cleared me to not have to test my blood sugar during labor since my numbers were so well-controlled, so this was nice.  

Around 11:30, my mom and I were talking and I told her the contractions were getting pretty bad.  I told her I wanted to make it to 12:15 before giving the nurse her heads up. By 12, I was having trouble talking to my mom and decided I had waited long enough.  The nurse hadn't checked me again since I arrived, but I thought for sure things were happening.  She said she would get the anesthesiologist as soon as I had all of the fluids I needed and would check me again after the epidural was working.  I was hurting at this point and watching those fluid bags, very eager to finish them and get that epidural.  I must say that I admire women so much who are able to give birth naturally.  I think it's amazing and I wish I had that strength.  Yet I know I don't and I was struggling! As soon as the fluid was in I called the nurse and practically begged her to call the anesthesiologist   This was probably about 12:30.  

Well, he didn't come.  They set me up on the side of the bed ready to get the epidural, yet he didn't come.  So, I had been on Pitocin for 4 hours and it was still going strong, I'm hunched over the side of the bed, waiting.  The anesthesiologist was in a c section, apparently.  And he doesn't have a backup.  Again, I know many women do this with no meds, but I was in no way prepared for that and wasn't interested in feeling the pain I was feeling.  The nurses still hadn't checked me since 8:30 that morning, and I was getting nervous I was going to have this baby naturally accidentally!  I was just rocking on the side of the bed in so much pain and unable to move.  Ideally I would have been standing and not dangling off the side of the bed...

My contractions were less than a minute apart, and finally the nurse realized she should turn off the Pitocin for fear of forcing things to happen too quickly.  I was shaking from the Pitocin and fluids too, so I was basically miserable, and poor Tony didn't know what to do to help besides cover me with the blanket and pace.  The nurse kept trying to check where the anesthesiologist was and reassure me, but it was clear she was frustrated too.  I may or may not have yelled "where is this guy???"  There were a few times when the nurse had trouble finding the baby's heartbeat on the monitor, so finally she sent Tony out into the hallway to try to see if he could see the anesthesiologist.  Tony is awesome and lied just a little to the nurses outside about how urgent it was to find him.  He was there in just a few minutes and I could not have been happier.  Poor guy was clearly harried, but I didn't care.  He was asking some questions and I seriously could not answer him because the contractions were so close.  So he got there at 1:40pm when I was telling my mom at noon that they were getting really painful.  Ugh.  Well, I certainly didn't pull the trigger too early this time around - and got to experience real deal contractions, something I don't really care to do again! 

The epidural kicked in quickly with the initial dose.  There was some issue with the pump of epidural meds so the nurse didn't hook that up yet.  Yet, even with just a little, I was so happy.  Very welcome relief!  But at this point, I was feeling a lot of pressure so asked the nurse to check me.  I was at a 7 but she thought it could be more since my waters were "bulging" and pressing on my cervix.  Ha, also at this point I realized bad daytime TV was still on since I could see straight again, and I asked Tony to turn it off so I wouldn't have to see Dr. Oz's face while I delivered my baby.  My parents had come back in now, and I was just sitting there waiting when my water broke, quite forcefully!  The nurse came in and kicked my parents back out again, saying I was at 9 and moving quickly!  I couldn't really believe things had happened so quickly.  My doctor came in soon and suited up - saying we would be having this baby very soon! 

I really like my doctor and she was great during the pushing process.  We started at 2:20 and I could definitely tell this wouldn't be a 2 hour process like it was with Harper, especially since the doctor could already tell us that the baby had hair. With Harper, I was well into the epidural when I pushed, so I didn't feel too much.  This go round - I felt soooo much.  Not just pressure but real deal pain.  As much as I wasn't prepared for experiencing real contractions and I'd say at least 50% of the pushing pain, looking back it was a blessing in disguise.  The contractions helped me progress sooner and being able to feel what I was doing while pushing helped speed that process along too.  I pushed for 25 minutes total before she was born, but it felt so quick, like only a few minutes.  Just like last time, Tony was awesome at encouraging me.  I remember towards the end my doctor saying to wait until the next contraction to push but I just told her no way I had to push rightnow! and get this baby out!! because the pressure was so intense.  She just laughed and said fine.  


Quinn Michele came into the world at 2:45pm on August 22nd, screaming loudly before she was even all of the way out.  The doctor placed her on my belly and I just held on to her.  It felt so natural and right and I relished this sweet little girl and how I already felt like I knew what I was doing with her.  I got to hold her for quite awhile (unlike with Harper, where they whisked her away to work on her for about 30 minutes, since she was stuck so long), and I cupped her goopy bottom and rubbed her little head and could not believe this baby that we had been waiting for for so long was finally here.


She had a head full of dark, straight hair and looked like a little copy of her big sister.  She has her daddy's ears and her mom's long fingers and toes.  She has the same little sucked-in chin that her sister had at birth.  She wailed and wailed and made her presence known that afternoon until she was wrapped up tight and in our arms.




From the moment she was out, I burst into tears.  I was shaking and heaving these big heavy sobs, laughing all the while at how ridiculous I was.  With Harper, I shed a few tears, but was mostly in pain and exhausted.  This time, I had been so 'present' during the birth and the relief and overwhelming sensations of it all got the best of me.  I definitely would not have imagined I would cry those crazy tears.  It was love at first sight. 


We've had her name picked out for quite some time, since Quinn was on my list with our first pregnancy.  I know it's getting more popular but I still love it and think it pairs nicely with Harper.  The middle name was trickier, since most names made it sound like "Queen" ____.  We finally realized that Tony's mom's name, Michele, sounded pretty and we like that it has meaning.  So Quinn Michele it is.



Ultrasounds had predicted our little girl would be around 7 pounds, since my diabetes was well controlled. But as she was making her way out, my doctor laughed that there was no way this was a 7 pound baby.  I asked if she meant bigger or smaller, and she laughed "bigger!"  She was 8 pounds 13 ounces, just slightly smaller than her sister, but much taller at 20.5 inches long.  She has perfect little squishy cheeks.  I guess I just have big babies, and I'm more than ok with that!   

She's been a great eater, if not a little sleepy, and we are working on getting into a routine with sleeping.  Already it's been such a different experience in bringing her home.  With Harper, I was a nervous, emotional wreck, afraid of everything and insecure.  This time, it just seems so natural.  Sure, I've forgotten some things and it's not been perfect, but I have this confidence that has made the transition so much easier.  It's such a relief.



Harper has been very sweet with her new sister. 




Harper, left; Quinn, right

Harper's shown nothing but love, albeit a little heavy-handed.  She yells "baby!" when Quinn cries and always wants to hug and kiss her.  Harper definitely had a week or so of acting out, throwing temper tantrums like we've never seen before.  Yet as things have settled down and we've gotten back into our normal home routine, she's started acting like her sweet old self again.  I've made sure to dedicate time to just her and I, and I think that's helped a lot. Tony goes back to work at the end of this week, so it will be interesting to see how life plays out when we really are back to normal, only this time with one more daughter.



Quinn, we love you so very much and cannot wait to see the little girl you will become.





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