HIGHLIGHTS OF 2017 : Top Five

2017 was a monumental year for our family but one I am grateful to put behind us. While it brought the birth of my sweet baby girl, it also was the final year for my grandfather. There were so many emotions and roller coasters Jake and I navigated together. It brought us closer together, stressed the importance of teamwork even more than we knew already and allowed us to experience the beginning of dreams we did not know existed.

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number 1. The birth of Hadley Rose. I was able to experience the natural birth I had hoped for with Emmett. Her birth was healing for me as I realized (due to it) that I had experienced some trauma after Emmett’s birth. Though shifting into life as a family of 4 was challenging (and still is often times!), we learned this year to slow down and take this year for what it is: a season.

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number 2. We bought our first home! What not many people knew a year ago is that Jake and I were contemplating leaving western PA. We were given the opportunity to move back to New England and really wanted to (mainly because of family). But it was through praying and researching for the potential move that we felt God calling us to stay put. We spent ONE day with a realtor here and bought the fourth house that we saw. This house is a haven and most importantly the one we call home. (We moved in March.)

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number 3.  Hawaii vacation. We had the awesome opportunity to vacation on Oahu with Jake’s parents. It was such a fun week complete with Hawaiian food, hiking, swimming and just being a family. What a beautiful island and place to be!

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number 4. We started to pursue new dreams. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, becoming a stay at home mom has granted me more opportunities and ways to pursue my dreams…sometimes dreams I did not even know I had. So what does this look like? For me it was photography and writing. I started my own small photography business taking family photos. My Instagram exploded (in my terms) from 500 followers last November to 3000 in less than a year. The real clincher was when I started making money off of some posts. Jake and I then decided to really give this Instagram thing a “go.” (Look out 2018!) For Jake he continued making his paint cans but also continued making drink openers. He also has another really, really huge idea but we are keeping that one a secret currently.

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number 5. Two week vacation. Since before Jake and I said “I Do” we have never had a full two weeks off together. Even though I taught for a couple years and had my summers free, Jake still had to work. We were blessed with an awesome week long honeymoon and several other week long vacations, but this year topped it time wise. Jake had off a total of 16 days in a row….perks of him working for a college and getting Christmas week off! We spent it mainly in NJ and NH visiting a ton of family and some we hardly ever get the chance to see. It was so fun and Emmett had a blast with all his cousins. He was without want of a playmate for 2 weeks. Thankfully since being home he seems to be doing all right overall ❤

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2017 was a huge year for us, but it was also very trying. I think I will share those moments next time! Until then, See ya 2017!

Hello 2018.

xo, bethany rose

An essay at Mother.ly

Before Hadley was born I wrote an essay about the end of pregnancy. I submitted it online and then kind of forgot about it to be honest. Well a couple weeks ago I got a message that  Mother.ly had accepted it and decided to publish it. I was so excited!!!

Then this week I got notice that it had officially gone live on their site. I wanted to share it with y’all. Thank you for reading here and I hope you enjoy it there.

“It will only be so much longer that my son runs over to me to kiss and hug my belly, unknowingly kissing and hugging his little sibling from the outside world….People will stop genuinely asking how I am feeling….Seats will not be miraculously opened anymore for the woman with a huge belly…It will not be forever that my husband whispers his love to an unseen child, telling them about the world they will soon enter.”

Read the full essay here, “There’s no way to speed up this pregnancy, so perhaps I should slow down.

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xo, bethany rose

Maternity Photos

Well, sharing a blog post on these is better late than never, right? If you followed me on instagram you know the photography saga. My  maternity pictures were planned for early May; lilac season and only 33 weeks pregnant. Not too big! Well between me getting sick, the photographer getting sick and rain, I finally ended up cancelling them. The lilacs were dead and I was getting big.

A friend of mine said she would take a couple for me though because I still wanted something to remember this time. Well I knew she used to photograph professionally but had never seen her work. Let me tell you guys, she did ah-mazing! I am actually happy everything happened the way it did and she took them for us.

 I hope you enjoy these! [taken at 36 weeks and 3 days]

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xo, bethany rose

Hadley’s Birth Story

It’s been three weeks since Hadley’s birth and I’ve told her story to anyone who asked (and probably didn’t ask as well!!). Her story has quickly become one of my favorites to recount. It is full of answered prayer, timing, and an abundance of love.

A couple things to note as you go through this:

1. This is long! If you make it to the end, Bravo! I applaud you and thank you so much!!

2.  All the photos here were taken on mine and Jake’s cellphones. Even though I brought my nice camera, we never even took it out. Part of me is sad about that, the other part of me knows that we just enjoyed her birthday all the more without focusing on pictures. Also, since she was born at night, photos would not have come out well anyway. Plus at the midwife center you’re discharged pretty quickly.

3. I had a lot of anxiety when thinking about Emmett’s birth. It was not that it was a terrible birth, but was not how I had hoped it all would go.  So leading up to Hadley’s birth I had starting praying over it and asking God for a smooth and safe delivery. I believe God answered the prayer because today I will tell you that my anxiety and fear over childbirth has been lifted. I think I dealt with slight birth trauma from Emmett’s birth and did not realize it until AFTER Hadley was born. I look back on her birth and view it as something utterly beautiful. I truly thank God for her birth story.

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To appreciate everything I need to begin this story on Thursday, the day before she was born.

Jake had asked me earlier in the week which day he should drive to Ohio for work. He had the option of Thursday (6/15), Friday (Hadley’s birthday!) or Monday (6/19). He needed to go pick up a project from work and would be gone for about 12 hours. I was in no rush to have the baby and expected to make it to my due date (6/23). I suggested he go Friday(!!!) but he felt Thursday was the better option so he could get his weekend started earlier. I agreed. Thursday night I started having contractions, but still headed to small group where Jake met up with us. The contractions faded somewhere in the middle of the night and I remember praying and asking God to just make them stop if they weren’t going to turn into anything. Sure enough, they stopped.

I woke up Friday morning, no contractions. Emmett woke up earlier than normal and came into my bed and just snuggled with me. Thinking back now, I realize just how sweet that morning was. It was my last morning “alone” with him!

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I texted my friend to see if she was still planning to come over (which she was) and Emmett and I ate breakfast together. I remember thinking, This is my last breakfast alone with Emmett. Jake would be home the following day for the weekend in the morning and then my mom was coming into town until the baby was born.

My friend and her daughter came over and our kiddos played while we chatted. It was seriously the most normal morning ever.

They left just before lunch. Emmett and I ate lunch together (I think, ha ha) and he was acting upset a bit. So I sat on the couch with him and just held him for a little right before I put him down for his nap. Thinking back to that cuddle session is so sweet now, because it was our last one before Hadley was born. Little did I know then though….

I put Emmett down before 1:30 pm which was early for him, called Jake with the announcement, “I am not in labor yet.” He had told me earlier in the week that every time I called him now at work he thought I was in labor. I can’t believe I never thought of that sooner!  This was the only time I remembered to call him and state I was calling to just say hi.

At 2:00 pm I was sitting in the living room chair, scrolling my social media outlets probably, when I heard an audible pop! I literally just stopped. I was not sure what had happened but had a pretty good idea. I walked slowly to the bathroom and sure enough, my water had broken.

Now I hear water breaking as the on-start of labor happens in only 10% of pregnant moms. Well I feel pretty rare, folks! This happened with Emmett too.

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I quickly called Jake back and he answered saying, “Are you in labor?” to which I responded with, “Um…..”. Communication at its finest 😉

I am pretty sure Jake levitated to his car in 10 seconds as I tried to tell him I was not sure and let me call the midwife and what not. I called The Midwife Center (TMC) and as soon as I mentioned the pop!, the midwife (Emily!) was like, “Yup! Come on in.”

I had tested GBS positive at 36 weeks again much to my displeasure, so especially with my water breaking initially, they wanted to get me in ASAP. I called Jake back and he called the sitter for Emmett and started on his way home.

I was thinking extremely levelly and not at all at the same time. I spent the next 90 minutes walking around the house doing my hair, packing the rest of my bag, writing notes for the sitter, calling Jake to run errands on his way home, etc. There were still no contractions and I think I was in some level of shock from what was happening.

It just seemed like the most normal day and all of a sudden, we were about to meet our baby! I think I also thought I would go into labor in the middle of the night again too to some degree.

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The sitter and her children arrived and I gave her instructions for Emmett who was still sleeping. There was a moment in those 90 minutes were I became ridiculously sad and did not want to leave Emmett. I sneaked into his room just to look at him and be with him ‘alone’ one last time. His life was about to change when he awoke and I didn’t feel ready for his sake.

Jake got home and was trying to usher me out the door. At the last minute  I remembered our credit card bill was due that day and I had not paid it. I ran upstairs to try and pay it but my computer was going as slow as the past 9 months had felt. I decided to bring my laptop and pay my credit card at the center (which I did!).

Of course there was a lot of rain happening outside and it took us a while to get to the TMC. I was finally having contractions about 10 minutes apart but they were extremely mild.

In our car ride I remember Jake and I looking at each other, feeling like we were on such an ordinary car ride and saying, “We’re going to have our baby! We are going to find out if it is a boy or girl finally!” We then both guessed it would be a girl, even though we did not really have much of a feeling either way!

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We arrived shortly after 4 pm. My water was still leaking and I ended up walking in with a towel draped between my legs. The midwife looked at me and goes, “I don’t think we need to check you! You can head right into the birthing room.” It was humorous.

They got us settled in to the beautiful Mountain Birthing Suite. It was the newest and biggest room there, and really, very nice. They immediately tried to get the antibiotics for the GBS into me. After 4 nurses/midwives and 6 needles, they finally got the IV in and there was a spoken agreement that I had some of the most difficult veins to stick! All I could think was, Man, this hurts and now I have to go give birth! (I really dislike needles.)

The midwife, Emily, who would be delivering Hadley arrived and checked me. I was at 4-5 cm and definitely contracting even though they were mild. Since it was dinner time we decided to order some food and had it delivered. Jake and I were just hanging out in the room eating dinner. We put on worship music and diffused lavender essential oil. I was swinging in the birthing swing when my contractions finally started to pick up around 5:30 pm. I remember my friend texting me asking if I wanted some company, and I said since my contractions were finally starting to hurt, it was probably best to stay home.

I lose track of time here, but just to put it into perspective, my texts with my friend were roughly at 5:30 pm and Hadley was born at 7:41 pm. What I remember is me looking at Jake on two separate accounts while the midwives and nurses left us to labor alone and saying, “OK, these contractions are quickly becoming more intense and coming a lot closer together.” He called the nurses and midwife back! So during these two hours it went something like this:

The swing was finally not being as helpful as it had been. Jake was giving me counter pressure on my hips during my contractions. It helped a lot and alleviated some of the pain. (Seriously ladies, make your man hold your hips in labor! It helps SO much!). My mentality was this:

I want to use whatever coping mechanism I have until it is not helping anymore and then move on to the next. I was breathing through each contractions and focusing on that. I wanted to save any screaming or deep groans for later when the pain was worse.

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So once the swing was not helping too much, the midwife checked me again and I was at 7cm but she said she could stretch me to an 8. I decided to move into the birthing tub. I was totally open to a water birth, but felt like whatever happens, let it happen. The tub brought more relief. Jake got in the tub with me and continued the counter pressure. A nurse poured water on my back and they gave me this “noodle” type thing to lean my head against instead of the cold tub. By the way, my contractions were every couple of minutes at this point. The water only helped for so long before I asked for the nitrous oxide.

I know a lot of people don’t know what to think of laughing gas and I was curious to see how it helped me. It did not take away the pain, but it relaxed me and made me very tired. It felt like a tiny euphoric moment.

I felt the urge to urinate and got out of the tub. It was amazing how easily I could still move about. With Emmett at this point during labor, I could not physically move because of the pain. I used the restroom and decided I did not want to get back in the tub. I wanted to be on the bed. At this point the pain was getting very intense. Someone rolled the pregnancy ball up on the bed and I rolled on top of that while on the bed. The counter pressure from Jake was not helping at this point but a deep massage was. I asked if there were any more pain options and the answer was no. I had used up my options.

This is the part that starts to get very hazy for me. I was still breathing deeply but the pain was at the max that I felt I could handle. I remember sliding myself off the ball and onto the side of the bed. My body was in charge at this time and I felt the need to lie down on my stomach, but I remember thinking rationally, I can’t do that. I still have a giant belly. So I laid my head on the bed and uttered a couple things:

 1. “I want the epidural.” (I was at a birthing center. I knew very well I could not have it.)

2. “I can’t do this anymore.” (To which the midwife, Emily, responded, ” You are doing this.”)

3. “Emily, I need you to be straight with me. When is this baby coming out?” (A little bit of background, Emily and the nurses had been quiet for a lot of my laboring. Whenever I would ask a question about how much longer or anything, they would just revert to an answer such as, “You’re doing it well.” “Just keep breathing.” “Your baby is coming.” They never would tell me what part of labor I was at, if they felt the baby was coming soon, etc. Instead they really let my body guide me and lead me to the birth of Hadley. So, she still did not give me a straight answer here either-she said something like, “Your body is doing the work. The baby is coming today.”

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This is where the yelling finally began. I remember thinking to myself, I am in so much pain and the only way I am getting out of this pain is to push this baby out. And so I started pushing. I’ll spare you the details of feeling like I was pushing out an elephant sized poop. But I started yelling and in about three pushes or contractions, Hadley was out. I ended up birthing her on the side of the bed in a half kneeling/half squatting position (just like football players bend a knee when another player is injured.) Hadley ended up flying out of me. It took a couple moments for me to finally register someone telling me it was a girl.

I then entered that gleeful euphoric state I kept hearing happened after an un-medicated birth and all I kept saying in a joyful manic repetition was, “It’s done! It’s over! It’s a girl! I did it!” to anyone who would listen.

I did not believe in myself enough to give birth without an epidural. In fact at my previous midwife appointments when they asked me where I wanted to birth I had finally decided that I would start my labor at TMC and possibly transfer to the hospital if it got to be too much. Everything happened SO quickly though that by the time I felt I could not handle it, Hadley was out within 20 or 30 minutes!

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It was truly one of the most beautiful, empowering experiences of my entire life (and if you know me, you know I am not one to use the word empowering often 😉 )  I don’t say any of this to take away from epidural or c-section births in the least. I had an epidural with Emmett and looking back think it was the best decision for my birth with him. We as mothers need to do what is best for the birth of our child and that looks different for each of us and each child.

When they weighed Hadley you should have seen the shock of surprise on my face when they informed us she was only 6 pounds and 9 ounces! Jake’s side of the family has 8-11 pound babies and my side settles pretty firmly in the 7-8 pound range. I never thought just a tiny baby was possible but was SO thankful for it because I think it helped with the ease of her birth.

Because Hadley arrived so quickly they did not have time to put the second dose of GBS antibiotics into me. We had to stay at the center overnight for monitoring (12 hours). We ended up being moved to the tiniest birthing room there because of other people coming in for their babies’ births and joked that we went from the mansion to the apartment! We did not sleep much and were excited to be discharged the following morning at 8 am.  We drove home on what was the perfect end of spring day. The sun was shining and people were just starting their Saturday mornings of lawn work and 5ks. But of course, our Saturday was the best 😉

(Oh, remember me mentioning Jake working in Ohio just the day before? Well if he had gone on Friday like we talked about he would have missed the entire labor and possibly the delivery of Hadley as well because of how far away he was. I love God’s timing!)

20170617_091624xo, bethany rose

It’s a GIRL!

SHE is here!

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Hadley Rose
[rest of God]
June 16th, 2017
7:41 p.m.
6 lbs. 9 oz.
19.5″

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And Happy Due Date as well! It has been one week since Hadley joined us earthside and it has been a busy but mostly smooth week.  I can’t wait to share our birth story in a little bit. But for now I hope these pictures will suffice!!!! We are absolutely enthralled and in love with this tiny human being God sent us. I can’t believe it was her all along ❤

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We are currently experiencing the blessings of family, friends and church family through meals, clothes and visits. What a way to enter the world, girlfriend!

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xo, bethany rose

Registry Roundup for Baby #2

I use the word registry lightly. We did not sign up or “register” anywhere this time. What you see below is as far as I will get other than my scrappy notes that are hidden somewhere on the dining room table.

When we learned we were pregnant this time around, no freak out moment happened down the line when trying to put together a registry like it did with Emmett. I remember full well standing in the middle of Babies R Us and my husband asking me which stroller I wanted to register for. I was overwhelmed. I had absolutely no idea and proceeded to leave him in charge of it. Of course, five minutes later, a stroller snagged by eye merely because it was this beautiful shade of mint and I said, That one. 

IMG_2486[a little throwback from a year ago. aren’t they darling!?]

Ironically, it ended up being a decent stroller and my husband liked it, so we registered for it and that is how Emmett maneuvered life for the longest time.

This time around we have already accumulated pretty much everything we need thanks to Emmett. Except, of course, if we have a girl, we will need clothes.

Aside from that obvious tidbit, I started collecting a couple ideas of things I wanted this time around that I either did not have last time and want/need this time, some items that help having multiple children or items that we need to replace. Unfortunately, a bunch of these things are expensive and I have no expectation of being gifted them. I have my eye out on FSOT pages and figure we can collect some of these items along the way.

Here is my roundup for Baby #2

Summer style guide

1. Double stroller
Someone gave us *for free* a double umbrella stroller. We won’t be able to use it this summer sadly since the baby will still be so small, but at least we have it for next year! I honestly don’t know exactly which stroller we want and can’t be too picky if we are garage saling. I found this post to be helpful though and it gave a lot of tips I never thought about in regards to choosing one!

2. Milk Snob Cover
 I might just be slightly obsessed with the patterns and prints on these and the fact that they brand their item very well. But I love the idea of nursing under a poncho instead of something being slung around my neck. I am all for breastfeeding in public but I am a pretty private person in terms of something like that and prefer to be as covered as possible. If we have a girl I am totally eyeing the French Floral or Peony. (My wise side is saying get the black print but the white is just so pretty!!!) For a boy I like all of their striped ones and the arrow one.  However, of course I looked again and found more I like >.<

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3. Heart monitor
I came across the Owlet monitor between pregnancies and decided I really wanted one this time. I realized that as much of a laid back mom as I might be, I was not at night when Emmett was sleeping. I was always worried he was going to stop breathing. Just being honest here!! So I decided that I really wanted a device that would alert me if he were to ever stop breathing.

However, after looking at the price tag  for the Owlet I decided to keep looking for something similar and less expensive. This search did not go very well. There is a similar item at Target, but if you search thoroughly, you will find absolutely terrible reviews of their version.

I found the MonBaby Monitor, but am not sold on this product yet as reviews state you need to use Bluetooth for this device to work. A couple reviews continued saying that their Bluetooth would disconnect. However, I like the fact that this monitor just pins to your baby’s clothes and doesn’t seem to move.

I honestly did not find anything else that I liked. So I am not sure what I am going to do for this item!

4. Co-Sleeper
I was talking to a friend recently who said “if you want to sleep, just co-sleep.” This was not her stance the first go around and it was not mine either, but since she beat me to number two, I am thinking about taking her advice. I started looking into different co-sleepers and like the idea of something attaching to my bed and being able to easily access the baby for MOTN feedings.  I will say that I LOVED our Rock n Play with Emmett and was looking forward to using it again. We’ll see. Here is the style co-sleeper I am drawn to, however.

Style by Buy Buy Baby

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5. Baby Monitor
Ours literally just bit the dust last week. In our new home it is especially nice to have one with Emmett because I can’t hear him downstairs during his nap time to know when he wakes! We were talking about getting a second camera for the baby anyway, but now we just need a new system entirely. This site has a couple geared for just what we need (two cameras and one base system) and some are definitely not too crazy of a price either!

6. Backpack Diaper Bag
This is definitely a want. Jake and I each have a diaper bag that we will (and still do) continue to use when we take Emmett out. Mine is from Pottery Barn and I got it on clearance just before Emmett was born. It is stylish and black. What more could you want? Well, that’s just it. With two kiddos, I am thinking a backpack style diaper bag would be a lot more efficient and helpful as I am holding Emmett’s hand and carrying a baby in the other. I like the idea of something on my back and totally out of the way and nothing being able to slide across me as I am caring for two.  I did a little research and did not find very many of this style. The ones I did find either were not what I was looking for or came with a hefty price tag.

edited to add: I met a woman at the park today who had a backpack diaper bag and I loved the style. She said it was Petunia Pickle Bottom. Of course, that brand can run close to $200 a bag. But if you check sites like Poshmark, you can find them in the $50 range!

(top left) Skip Hop Chelsea sold at Target  (right) Fawn Design (bottom left) CreolBags found on Etsy

 

What did you decide you needed for your second baby?

xo, bethany rose

31 Weeks with Baby 2

xo, bethany roseI wanted a cool nick name for this baby. With Emmett he was called “Baby E.” Even though we did not know he was a boy, both of our names (boy and girl) started with an E, so it just worked. This time that has not happened. In fact, it was not until last month that we finally came up with a boy’s name.

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So yes, we do have names picked out, but I won’t say they are set 100%, but I think they are!?

Settling into our new home has not happened as quickly as I would like. Jake is in the middle of transitioning jobs which is taking up extra time and I don’t have a ton of motivation. If I do, I get tired faster than normal. Don’t get me wrong, we have a lot unpacked and are living quite comfortably! There are just still boxes in the office, curtains not up and things I am not sure where to find >.< I am just so thankful we moved when we did and were able to find a house over the winter. I can’t imagine moving closer to my due date!!

This pregnancy is definitely different and better than mine with Emmett. During my pregnancy with Emmett, I thought it was good (and by all definitions it was) but this one is just plain easier. Between exercising, eating better, less weight gain, better sleep and more months in the warm weather, I can see a difference. However, I also cannot wait for June to hurry on up 😀

We have not done a ton of prep for this baby yet. The baby does have his/her own dresser thanks to a FSOT page (free IKEA one too!), new wraps and swaddles…..and that might be it! There are a couple more items we need and want, so we’ll see what happens. We saved everything after Emmett though knowing we planned to have more children.

Here is my bump-date! I feel like I look so big in this picture and I am totally going to blame the shirt!!! :-p

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xo, bethany rose