a review: spectra vs. medela

this is not your typical brady post, but it’s all thanks to brady that i am writing this post. finally, after 3.5 months of exclusively pumping and numerous texts from friends asking, i am writing my personal review of both the spectra S1 and medela pump in style advanced. i am actually writing this post while pumping (TMI). if you don’t have any interest in pumping, you can skip this post and wait for the next (likely an update on early intervention services).

so, here we go. i have been using both pumps daily – the medela stays plugged in to the wall by the bed for early morning, late night and middle of the night pumps. my spectra travels around the house and in the car with me.

which do i like better? which one would you recommend? these are the questions i get asked the most from my expectant friends. truthfully, i don’t have true winner. here is why:

  • i get the same output from both (sometimes i might think the medela gets a little more, but we would be splitting hairs)
  • i have the same level of comfort with both

in my opinion, i believe the above holds true for me because i naturally have a good supply AND i am using the correct size shields with both pumps. i believe a lot of women don’t pay attention to the size shield/flange and that is where a lot of discomfort comes into play. if you experiencing discomfort or don’t feel your pump is very effective, i recommend looking at the manufacturer website for sizing guidelines. this solves a lot of issues very easily.

here is my pros and cons list for each:

medela pump in style advanced

pros

  • compact size
  • effective
  • parts are easily cleaned and sterilized
  • easy to find parts and accessories at most retailers

cons

  • not portable without the purchase of a battery pack accessory
  • does not have a timer
  • LOUD

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spectra s1

pros

  • portable (the battery is rechargeable)
  • effective
  • quiet
  • closed system (meaning you can share the pump without worrying about cross contamination)
  • varying speeds of suck and varying levels of vacuum power
  • display with timer, speed, vacuum setting and light (if needed)

cons

  • parts must be boiled to sanitize (they are not recommended to be sanitized by steam bag, sanitizer, dishwasher)
  • parts are difficult to find in stores

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the reason there is not a clear winner for me is because while the spectra offers more options and portability, it’s not as convenient when it comes to needing to buy replacement parts and cleaning/sanitizing.

if i were a first time mom reading this and needing to make a decision, i would probably choose a spectra s1. if i am a second time mom and i had great luck with the medela the first go around, i don’t know i would say you should get one or the other. i know, not much help. BUT you have to look at your lifestyle and what matters most to you!

other helpful tips for pumping:

  1. EAT: now is not the time to try some diet if you want to maintain a good supply. i can tell on days where i am better nourished, my supply is better
  2. HYDRATE: without a doubt the most important thing you can do for your body while pumping
  3. RELAX: it’s easier said than done, but try your best.
  4. PREPARE: buy the extra pieces you need. the best money spent, for me, was on more flanges and bottles. so that i was not washing everything after every pump.

may i also recommend buying a hands free pump bra? seriously, life changing. do yourself a favor and buy one (or TWO) to make your life easier!

feel free to shoot me an email or comment with questions. i am happy to help in any way i can. be sure to check out my instagram story highlight on pumping – it shows all my favorite products and supplies!

three month update

hooray! today is the day our little brady bug turns THREE months old. how? i’m not really sure, but time is moving both at warp-speed and slow (hello long days). it has been a big month for brady and i am excited to share with you all where we are at!

new this month in terms of milestones – brady is SMILING! i pretty much spend all day trying to get those sweet little gummy smiles out of my little man. he spends more time awake during the day, which i love, and he has started to coo. my heart can’t handle it. these are little newborn things i never new i missed until now.

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landon is still adjusting. most days he’s great with brady. he will want to help hold brady’s bottle and give him kisses. every morning, i can hear the pitter-patter of landon’s feet running to our room to find brady in his bassinet. sweetness. other days, however, it’s a smack to the face, poke in the eye, and whine kind of day. you win some and lose some. we are working on big brother skills, but happy to report we have mostly good days.

other things that are new this month have more to do with the medical side of life with brady. we had a slew of appointments and new doctors to visit. here’s the skinny on it all:

  • eyes: check. we are grateful we only have to go back for annual eye checks
  • ENT: check. ears look good, we will go back at 6 months for another hearing screen. we did do a scope to check on Laryngomalacia (aka floppy airway) which is very common in all babies. structurally all looks well, but we did see signs of irritation from reflux. this is something we are keeping an eye on.
  • swallow study/feeding therapy: we learned through a swallow study that brady has a risk of aspirating thin liquids 100% of his swallows. the barium test showed deep penetration into the airway with every swallow. when we moved to “nectar” consistency, we saw improvement with every swallow. currently, we are thickening feeds to nectar consistency and will re-test in 2-3 months. i’ll do a separate post on this process.
  • cardiology: this was the big one. brady has been doing so well and still is doing well. however, we have started to see all the signs and changes that we were warned about. brady is in the early stages of heart failure, but we are still able to manage it and schedule surgery “electively.” we started him on Lasix to help take some pressure off his lungs and heart. this should help with his feeding and overall well being. we also saw a small dip in his weight gain. he is still gaining, but not on his curve he had been on. we have 2 weeks until his next appointment to turn it around before we start talking about fortifying his feedings. i think we can do it! we are seeing some positive changes since thickening. his most recent echo showed everything exactly as it has been. the hole is still very large (almost 1 cm) and not getting any smaller. surgery is tentatively “scheduled” for July.
  • PT: brady started PT and we are working on neck control and range of motion. just in a few days of directed play and proper holding techniques, we have seen improvements. we are battling a flat head (his left side) because he favors looking left. odds are brady will need a helmet, but we are doing everything we can to fix it before we get to that point. he’s a strong little dude!

most importantly this month, he is still as cute as can be, sleeping like a champ (PRAISE), and stealing hearts everywhere!

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world down syndrome day

today is officially world Down syndrome day! to celebrate our first official world Down syndrome day, we are rocking our john’s crazy socks and “nothing down about it” apparel for Brady. in an effort to continue to educate and bring awareness to Down syndrome (and Brady), i thought i would make today’s post just that, educational.

to start, here is a small list of Down syndrome facts:

  1. Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition
  2. Down syndrome is a genetic condition where an individual has three copies of the 21st chromosome
  3. Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels
  4. there are three types of Down syndrome: trisomy 21, translocation, and mosaicism
  5. approximately one in every 700 babies in the US is born with Down syndrome
  6. 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age
  7. people with Down syndrome have an increased risk for congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukemia and thyroid conditions
  8. life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades – from 25 in 1983 to 60 today
  9. Down syndrome is named after John Langdon Down, a british physician who first fully described the characteristics of the syndrome in 1866
  10. heart defects affect approximately 50% of all individual born with Down syndrome
  11. Down syndrome cannot be cured

next, i want to talk about the language we use to talk about Down syndrome and people with Down syndrome. i have learned a lot in this short 8 months. language as a whole has come a long way, but there is work to be done when it comes to talking to/about people with Down syndrome. i can honestly say i did not know this when we first started our journey during my pregnancy. my hope is that even if only one person reads this post, i have sent one more person out in the world more educated and equipped to help spread the world (and love).

the national Down syndrome society has an incredible one pager outlining the preferred language. here are the main points:

  • people with Down syndrome should always be referred to as people first
  • instead of “a Down syndrome child,” it should be “a child with Down syndrome”
  • avoid “Down’s child” and describing the condition as “Down’s,” as in, “He has Down’.”
  • down syndrome is a condition or a syndrome, not a disease. people “have” Down syndrome, they do not “suffer from” it and are not “afflicted by” it
  • “typically developing” or “typical” is preferred over “normal”
  • “intellectual disability” or “cognitive disability” has replaced “mental retardation” as the appropriate term
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Brady’s perfect “sandal gap” a common physical trait among people with Down syndrome

2 month update

y’all. brady is already TWO months old! that is so wild to me. it feels like yesterday we were coming home from the hospital. i know time flies, but man is it flying by faster this go around. i wanted to share a quick update on where we are with our little brady bug.

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sleep

now that we are doing well in the weight gain department, we were given the clear to let him “sleep through the night.” AMEN. because brady is actually a pretty good sleeper. most nights we are doing a 10:30/11 PM dream feed and little man sleeps until we wake him up at 7:30 AM. i know, i know. we are very lucky with this. from my non-scientific research (and poll of other DS mommas) it seems to be a common characteristic of our babies. i think the combo of his diagnosis and VSD makes brady a champion sleeper.

feeding

bottle feeding continues to go well. i am still “exclusively pumping” with hopes that he will nurse. basically, we do a bottle, attempt to nurse, then i pump. he latched a couple times and stayed put for a good minute. it wasn’t long enough to transfer much milk, but it is progress and it keeps me hopeful that we might be able to get there and i can kick the pump. in the meantime, pumping it is.

we do have some concerns that he might have silent aspiration/reflux. when his bottles are not going well, he is usually exhibiting discomfort. his eyes water and get red blotches around them, he sneezes, he pulls off the bottle frequently and may spit up. because of these warning signs, we will have a swallow study done at the end of the month.

doctor appointments

after our visit to the Down syndrome clinic at Emory, we added a few more specialists to the rotation. brady will see ENT and ophthalmology this month in addition to our regular pediatrician and cardiologist.

ENT will check his ears in more depth and also take a look at his breathing. brady frequenting makes “squeaky toy” sounds when he is flat on his back or sometimes while eating. this is pretty common with all babies, but sleep apnea is very common with Down syndrome. i am not at the point of requesting a sleep study yet, but we will see how the initial ENT visit goes.

he will also get his second RSV shot this month. the RSV shot will go on pause until “RSV season” picks up again in the fall.

early intervention/therapies 

brady had his initial evaluation with georgia’s early intervention program Babies Can’t Wait. this will definitely be a more in-depth post at a later date. sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. until then though, here is what we know. brady is delayed, which we expected. a case manager is assigned to us and will begin working on setting up the various therapies he qualifies for at this time. it will like be PT and OT to start, but we will see.

big brother

landon is adjusting to being a big brother pretty well. he thinks it is so much fun to “hold” brady and we get to watch some really sweet kisses exchanged and gentle pets/hugs. landon even likes to “help” me feed brady and change his diapers. however, i play defense 90% of day. landon will go from a sweet kiss to a swift slap on the face and poke in the eye. man. he is still learning and very much a toddler.

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a difference i wasn’t expecting

i intended to write this post for Brady’s one month, but here we are two weeks later and our little bug is 6 weeks old and NINE pounds! whoop, whoop! it’s crazy to think Landon was only few ounces smaller than this when he was born…woah.

i’ll kick off this post with all things medical for Brady. i have been getting a lot of questions about his appointments, so i figure i’ll clear that up and then move on into what has been on my mind and heart.

medical updates – Brady continues to do well with eating and gaining weight. his main specialist we see is his cardiologist to monitor his heart, breathing, and weight gain. surgery is still on the horizon, but as long as he is doing well, we will push it out as long as possible. that could mean 4-6 months, 9 months, 1 year, etc… this definitely drives my “planner” side a bit insane! the plan is no plan as of yet.

we are on a “typical” schedule with his pediatrician at this point. next appointment will be when he is 2 months. we graduated from heavy monitoring for now. we also are able to feed on demand at night, which means we are going 5 and 6 hour stretches now and feeling a little more human.

yesterday, Brady had an appointment with the director or the Emory Down syndrome clinic. it just so happens that the doctor is also the director of the new X and Y Chromosome clinic (side note: of all their patients, they have only one other little boy with both Klinefelters and Down syndrome). after her initial examination, we have been referred out to ENT, ophthalmology and swallow study. i had a feeling we were in a little calm before the storm.

we have our evaluation next week with Babies Can’t Wait and we will see which therapies Brady qualifies for. initially, we anticipate PT once per month, but depending on swallow study results, we could be seeing OT and feeding therapy more often. PHEW.

now on to what is really on my heart. it’s something that i had feared during my pregnancy, but never anticipated would be so different.

who does Brady look like?

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with Landon, there was an overwhelming response of friends and family saying “he is a mini-Mike” or “he looks just like you!” or “i see so much of your family in him!” with Brady, there was hardly any of that.

our families, of course, made these comments and compared similarities between Brady’s features and our families/Landon. but from other friends? i can probably count on one hand the number of people who mentioned which one of us they think he looks like. when i think about that for too long, i get sad.

when i look at Brady, i don’t see Down syndrome. i know i am his mom and i am blinded by his adorableness and my love for him, but this was also something i feared while pregnant. will i look at him and only see Down syndrome? will i be able to see beyond his diagnosis?

it’s silly to me, now. so i do understand why it might not be as easy for others to see or talk about or feel comfortable mentioning to us. that is okay. i am here to educate, enlighten, and hopefully ease the discomfort so that your next interaction with someone in similar shoes as us might be easier.

here is what i can tell you about this topic: babies with Down syndrome do have some distinct facial features like almond-shaped eyes and a slightly flatter nose. however, babies with Down syndrome look more like their family member than they resemble one another. Brady WILL look like our family/his siblings. good thing i don’t have to worry about him inheriting a full blown DiLegge nose! HA!

if you need a little help seeing it, i encourage you to follow a few other mommas and kiddos on Instagram:

you will see just how much the little ones look like their mommas and dadas.

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photos curtesy of Perfectly Bliss Photography

 

 

three weeks.

happy three weeks, brady! it’s been a whole three weeks with our littlest dude and, boy, has it been a whirlwind.

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things started off great with a breezy delivery, no NICU stay, and a discharge 48 hours after brady’s birth. what we didn’t anticipate was a two night stay at CHOA after only being home for 24 hours. short story is: brady turned blueish around his mouth after a bottle feeding. this is something we were told to keep an eye on with him and his heart condition. after my MIL noticed his bluish tint around his mouth (she’s the one who fed him his bottle), we called his pediatrician to get advice on what to do. turning blue is not something they take lightly and immediately sent us into the ER. thank God we only live 10 minutes away from the children’s hospital and literally dropped everything and went.

after initial examination, brady’s oxygen levels were great (this was my concern) and we thought we would be headed home. problem was his body temperature was low. too low. technically considered hypothermic (despite being in a heated home, wearing long sleeves, pants, socks, hat and swaddle). we were given warm blankets and instructed to keep him warm so they could retake his temperature after 30 minutes. thirty minutes passed and his temperature was actually lower than it was when we arrived. this triggered alarm bells for the on-call pediatrician. it could mean possible infection and they do not take that lightly with young babies. the pediatrician explained to us that we would be admitted to the hospital for a 48 infection protocol.

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the nurses whisked brady away to start drawing labs. our sweet little bud was poked and prodded for a spinal tap, urine sample, blood sample and to put in an IV port. it broke us to see our 3 day old baby like that. all we could do at that point was hope and pray all the cultures would come back negative and infection free. unfortunately, that takes time and we were in the hospital regardless. brady would receive antibiotics as part of this plan until all the results were in.

we were elated when they discharged us and cultures were coming in negative. no infection!!! we left feeling like first time parents all over again. our little bug is just a more fragile baby than we were used to. brady’s size in combination with his underlying syndromes and inability to regulate his body temperature is what resulted in him turning blue that night. we learned that he needed socks, footed sleeper, mits, hat, and three swaddle blankets to keep him a nice level of toasty. healthy toasty. lesson learned! and as he continues to grow and gain weight, he will be better at regulating his temperature.

other than this scare, everything at home has been wonderful, although very challenging. currently, we are in the “gain weight and wait for surgery” stage with brady. everything is about getting him big and fat for his open heart surgery (which will come between 4-6 months). this means we are having to wake him up every 3 hours to feed him. i know this is not atypical of newborn life, but usually when you get back to birth weight you can move onto feeding more “on demand.” nope, not us. to say we are sleep deprived is an understatement.

to make it more challenging, brady will not latch. which means i am currently in an exclusively pumping stage of feeding him. i am trying to stay hopeful that as he gets bigger and stronger he will be able to nurse (or even after his surgery), but this EP life is TOUGH. so for all those mommas out there that have exclusively pumped for a year (or longer or shorter) i have mad RESPECT for you. it is TOUGH. my life has been attempt to nurse, bottle feed, pump, wash parts. rinse and repeat. alllllllllllll day long and all night long. one cycle can take an hour or longer to get through. all while trying to entertain and keep landon alive. thankfully, we have had help with L and other areas of life, otherwise we would not be making it.

mike went back to work after two weeks of being home with us. he leaves tomorrow for two weeks and i am not ready to handle all the middle of the night feeds solo. that has been tough, but like i said, we have had help. landon is warming up to his little brother. he has been so sweet with giving kisses, helping me hold brady’s bottle while he’s feeding and “sharing” his toys (aka throwing a ball at him). those are the moments that make me feel like we did the right thing.

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we wouldn’t have survived these weeks without the help of our friends and family. to everyone who has brought us a meal, diapers, held the baby or just checked in on our mental well being, thank you. thank you, thank you, thank you.

on deck for us next: appointments. we have pediatrician and cardiologist appointments every other week. brady starts feeding therapy and the early intervention program (babies can’t wait) next week. i am realizing scheduling and rescheduling appointments will become a full time job!

all i can say is – brady is the sweetest and we are very much in love with our boys.

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brady’s birth story

it’s hard to believe my last post was at 37 weeks. i planned to write one before Brady was born, but took some time off with Christmas. then, all on his own, Brady decided to enter our world at 38 weeks 4 days. here is how that day went.

sunday, december 30 : my in-laws had just come in town the day before and we planned to use this day to get some things done around the house before it was too late. this included hanging the art and mirror in the nursery, taking down Christmas decorations, doing a load or three of laundry, packing our hospital bag and installing the car seat (better late than never). i remember looking at Mike at the end of the busy day and saying, “i just need you to do one more thing for me tonight. i need you to go install the car seat.” and THANK GOD we did!

monday, december 31 : i was woken up at 2:30 AM by contractions. this was not unusual for me these last few weeks. i would get one or two throughout the night that woke me up, but nothing consistent. the only difference this night is that they were relatively frequent – one or two every hour – making sleep next to impossible. i had flashbacks to Landon’s labor and started to get really anxious we were about to go down that road again.

my in-laws grabbed Landon in the morning and kept him pretty distracted while i was laboring at home. by morning, they were pretty intense feeling, but very inconsistent. some would be 5 minutes apart, then the next 20 minutes, then 15, etc. mike nervously headed into work and promised he would be back as early as he could. i reassured him this was not real labor, that this was very reminiscent of how Landon’s labor began.  i told him i was going to take a bath to calm them down.

back story – Landon’s labor, the semi-cliff’s notes version : we were out in Cali at the time and had no idea what to expect with labor or delivery since it was our first baby. i began to have contractions 72 hours before being admitted to the hospital for delivery. they were the kind of contractions i had to breath through and couldn’t talk through. i would be hunched over the sofa with my mom rubbing my back and praying that the baby would just come already. when those contractions became consistent enough for long enough, we headed into the hospital. the first time – “sorry, ma’am, you are not in labor. you are having contractions and pretty consistent, but nothing is happening to your cervix so it’s not considered labor.” ummmm excuse me, what?! they asked if i wanted some morphine sleep so i could at least get SOME rest (i hadn’t slept in 24 hours). i declined thinking that if this is not real, then i have some MAJOR pain ahead of me.

we headed home and i laid awake all night with contractions. day two came – same charade. my mom is begging me to go into the hospital and i am saying, they told me not to come back until they were more intense. that night, we went back to the hospital to get me some medication so i could at least sleep. after being sent home again, this time with the drugs, i was able to get a little rest (aka 3 hours) before it wore off and the contractions came back with a vengeance. by morning, i was at my wits end. i told mike we had to go back and i would force them to admit me. i could not go through another day/night without sleeping and contracting all day. we head back in and to our surprise they tested me to see if my water had broken, and thank G it did, because that was a sure way to get me admitted! it would be another 48 hours before I actually delivered Landon, but that part of the process is another story for another day…. or maybe not since it was so traumatic. 

anyway, point of all this Landon back story – THIS felt like the same pre-labor, labor. not consistent enough, not intense enough. they call it prodromal labor.

back to Brady’s labor : i figured they would sent me back home and i could not handle that all over again, so i chose to ride it out at home for as long as possible. the bath helped, it soothed things a little, but not enough to try to nap. i distracted myself as much as possible, but the contractions kept coming. again, i was bent over the couch, on all fours, etc. trying to manage the pain. i finally caved and called our doctor office to reach the on-call doctor. keep in mind it’s a holiday, so i had to go through a different answering service to finally get to the doc. he called me back very quickly and i explained what was going on and what happened during my previous delivery.

he agreed with me that it was like pre-labor and to try to relax, drink more fluids, and even drink a glass of wine (off the record). at this point, i happily obliged with the wine and it seemed to push the contractions back to 15 min apart instead of the 5-7 minutes they were before. i decided a hot shower was in order to keep things calm, however, that did not work like the bath did…

by this point, it’s 4 PM and contractions were coming 2:30 – 4 minutes apart and i had enough. i call Mike up to our room in a panic and tell him to call the doctor back and tell him we are coming in regardless. if it wasn’t real, i needed something to let me rest for the big day. if it was real, well then i would rather have a baby in the hospital than our bathroom floor. after talking to the doctor for 2 minutes, we all agreed it was time to come in.

we grabbed our bags, called down to my in-laws we were leaving and were out the door. thank goodness we only live 10 minutes away from the hospital and could be in there quickly. i definitely felt like that woman in the movies though…we get to the hospital and i am contracting every 2-3 minutes. i have to sit through the admission process (even though i did all the pre-admission paperwork, so someone tell me the point here…) and between contractions give my information to the woman. after that, they sit me out in a waiting area for the nurse. i am sitting between two other pregnant woman who are more visibly pregnant than i am and they are just straight up chillin’. meanwhile, i am trying not to cause a scene in the hospital lobby and banging my head into Mike’s arms with every passing contraction.

FINALLY a nurse comes to get me and we are off to the room. immediately i tell them i want fentanyl to take the edge off so i can try to rest (or nap) for a little bit (jokes on me). problem was, there was still more paperwork for me to sign and they had to draw my blood and send it off to the lab before they could give me any medication. the nurse decides to check me in the process of waiting and, SURPRISE, i am 4 cm dilated.

this was it, folks. real freaking labor. hallelujah!!! still waiting for labs, and laboring with contractions every 2-3 minutes, when the on call doc comes in to check on me. i had never met him, but he was exactly who we needed to be there at that moment – good rapport, witty, compassionate, brilliant, and experienced. he promised me he would not let our baby get stuck and he was going to come out on his own most likely without need for a c-section.

thirty minutes passes and i am hooked up to the fluids in anticipation of an epidural, when WHAM, i am 7.5 cm dilated. i look at Mike and say, “if that anesthesiologist doesn’t get in here in 5 minutes, i am going to lose it!” my body was shaking uncontrollably and i was on the verge of vomiting from the contractions and pain. the doc tried to talk me out of the epidural since i had done “the hardest part,” but sorry, doc, no can do! in the knick-of-time i got my epidural and could finally relax for a brief moment.

mike and i were so in shock with how quickly things progressed. total opposite of my first labor and delivery. our moms had arrived to the hospital with dinner (for mike) around 7:45 PM. mike literally left to pick it up when the doc comes in to check on me. takes one look at my contraction strip and says, “yup, it’s time to have a baby.” so calm and nonchalant. in walks mike, 5 minutes later and i say “babe, we are about to have a baby!” this all cracks me up now. how relaxed, yet not, the whole scene was. they start calling to prep the room and when the doc says it’s time. the NICU team and prep nurse  hadn’t even arrived yet. one and a half pushes later, Brady entered the world at 8:14 PM.

both Mike and i were overcome with emotion. for me, it was both tears of happiness and terror. i was excited to meet our second son, but now i could no longer keep him safe and healthy. i didn’t hear cries at first which intensified my fear. mike was with him and the NICU team examining him (they arrived 1 minute after birth). i couldn’t see much, but i was getting thumbs up that things looked okay. the neonatal team decided he was adjusting well on his own that we were able to avoid the NICU and headed up to our postpartum room all together that night. with five minutes to spare on the clock, we turned the TV on in time to watch the ball (and peach) drop for NYE. the perfect end to our 2018. good thing we installed that car seat, huh?

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37 weeks

37 weeks officially.

37 weeks we have been praying over this baby. 37 weeks of envisioning Landon as a big brother. 37 weeks of worry.

we are just 10 days away from little bug’s eviction date (January 3). one more BPP and NST separate us from this little guy’s entry. ready or not, this baby is coming! it feels a bit like the first time, but riddled with a lot of unknowns. i am grateful for my teammate and biggest supporter, Mike. he’s made me feel much better knowing we both have similar feelings about all of this, but just like any other pregnancy and baby, we will survive!

good news, we have named little bug – we are keeping it a secret until delivery day. more good news, he’s been passing every BPP with flying colors. THANK GOD! i need him to stay in until at least Mike gets home and preferably after Christmas. we at least have diapers in his size and an outfit for going home. now i just need to get that hospital bag packed and the nursery finished…oops. hospital bag is number one priority!

sharing a few more photos from our mini family/maternity shoot with Rachel from Perfectly Bliss Photography.

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getting real.

i don’t want this to be a long winded post, but it just might. there has been a lot going on over here as we are in final preparations for this baby (and the holidays) and things are starting to get real. real, real.

so far, little bug has passed 3 BPPs and 2 NSTs. i go friday for my NST this week – i am praying that he will be awake so the appointment can be somewhat quick. i just can’t be on that monitor for an hour anymore…NOT okay. seriously contemplating rolling into the OB office with ice cream and donuts to get him to do some flips for us while i am there. come on little man, please cooperate!

in all seriousness though, things are getting real. we are two weeks from Christmas and three weeks from meeting our baby (should everything stay the course). this blows my mind. to sum it all up, i am stressed. i am trying to get everything done in time and i am quickly realizing, that won’t happen. not only because there is not enough time, but also because my body is not having it. between the braxton hicks contractions, low back pain, and lightning crotch (sorry for the crudeness, but this is a real thing and what it is commonly known as), my body is trying to tell me to stop.

but how do you stop? how can you stop? most of the week i am a one woman show with a toddler who wants to play and be held. an almost 30 lb toddler that needs a bath every night, lifted and lowered into his crib for naps and bed, constant diaper changes, and up and down the stairs. aside from the physical stress of being this pregnant with a toddler, i still have to assemble the dresser and organize clothes in the nursery, finish Christmas shopping, wrap gifts, pack a hospital bag and about 100 other things i intended to do before the holidays. looks like 90% of this will have to wait. my body is just saying NOPE.

the physical stress is draining. the emotional stress is equally as draining. as we approach the final weeks, i am confronted with a lot of fears and unsettled feelings. some days feel like i am back at week 13 when we learned the news about our special little dude. some days i battle those ugly feelings and then i feel guilty for being back in that space. this baby doesn’t deserve that. i also struggle with the feelings of adding another baby to the mix. my time with Landon will be different and that makes me feel sad at times. Landon doesn’t deserve a distracted momma.

i am also facing the fear of this delivery – the actual physical delivery of this baby. my first labor was pretty awful. Landon was too big for my body and we didn’t know it. this lead to a number of complications and interventions including a vacuum assist, episiotomy, and shoulder dystocia. sparing you any more of the gory details, let’s just say it was traumatic for me, mike, and baby. at the end of the day, everything turned out okay, but it very easily could have been a much different outcome. i know we will have a better understanding of little bug’s size due to all the growth scans we have, but there is still an element of error and unknown. i don’t want to go through that again and i don’t want to put another baby at risk like that again. every night i pray for a safe delivery. we’ll decide in the coming weeks how we plan to go about delivery when we get a clearer picture of bug’s size.

to end on a more positive note, God is working His magic. i would not be able to get through this without the love and support of my husband. for him, i am eternally grateful. my little family is my everything and they get me through the toughest of days. and my friends – man, am i lucky. the constant check-ins and texts really mean the world to me. i don’t know what i did to deserve all of you, but thank you.

remember when i mentioned we took family photos that were disastrous? well, our photographer is SO talented, she captured some really beautiful gems (snack cup and all, because this is real life people)! not only is she talented, but she is also an incredible human being. God put Rachel in our life for a bigger purpose and He’s already showing us why. Please check her out if you are in the Atlanta area (and tell her I sent you)!

Photos: Perfectly Bliss Photography

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the final countdown

it’s me again. sorry, i went dark for the last week plus (by accident). we have had a crazy week and keeping up with my updates kind of fell by the wayside. i’ll start from the top though!

first, we had a lovely visit with my in-laws. Landon just loves all the attention he gets whenever they are in town. literally all eyes and hands on him ALL day and night. that cute little stinker knows how to work his crowd. while here, we visited the Pink Pig, which he was NOT a fan of (see below) and the Garden Lights exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. he, and everyone, absolutely loved the botanical gardens. it was seriously magical. don’t let his face fool you in the photo from the botanical gardens. he LOVED it. i think he just doesn’t like taking photos with me…more on that later.

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the pink pig
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seriously he was loving the botanical gardens

 

my MIL and i worked on some nursery projects as well. we thinned out the faux fiddle leaf fig tree and started painting the infamous green dresser. y’all, i decided on a paint color and i love it. now i just pray, pray, pray that this actually works and doesn’t chip off right away. it’s been a rough go with the paint already, but i am blaming the wet weather and cold weather for that. i just don’t think it is actually drying completely. we’ll see.

this past week, i did get a little ME time. it was long overdue. i had a lovely dinner with some college girlfriends that i haven’t seen all in one sitting since moving back. my heart needed that big time. i also got to escape for a hair cut (which took WAY too long, but oh well) and lady hawks holiday dinner while the team was out of town. all in all, a great week for Landon and i, full of lots of love and fun. only downside, we are still sick. ALL of us.

other life updates before i get to the pregnancy related ones, we failed at our rain date for family photos AGAIN because of….wait for it….RAIN. UGH. then due to Mike’s schedule, we had to schedule them for Tuesday evening. bright sunshine, but freezing. i did not adequately plan outfits for us for freezing temps because we were planning to take these a month ago, so the joke is on me. i only have myself to blame for the cranky husband and crying toddler because everyone was too cold and i thought we could “tough it out” for 30 minutes. NOPE. there’s no toughing it out when you are a toddler who doesn’t understand why we are running around in the cold weather with some stranger following us. luckily, our photographer is INCREDIBLY talented and was able to catch a few smiles and beautiful shots of our family (and my belly). we just might be those people with bright blue snack cup front and center in the photos. anything to keep L happy. i cannot wait to share them with you soon. lesson learned – be prepared with cute outerwear for the family just in case.

little bug/pregnancy updates – it’s the FINAL countdown. t-minus 4 weeks and there will be a baby here. that is NUTS. time to kick our butts in gear and really get things moving with preparation (aka buying diapers, laundering clothes, finishing the nursery, getting the car seat ready). we started our weekly testing last week and since have had two BPP tests and one NST (my second is today). little bug passed his BPP tests with flying colors, scoring an 8 out of 8. the NST was a bit of a different story. he’s not very active in the morning and that is when these tests are occurring. basically, he decided it was the perfect time to nap when i needed him to be active. so what should have only been 20 minutes on the monitor turned into 1 hour on the monitor. thank goodness he ended up passing, but that was stressful. i’m planning to make sure he has all the reason to be awake for the test today.

things are feeling a bit more real and a bit scarier. he’s nice and protected on the inside. it’s the outside world that terrifies me. with cold and flu season at it’s peak, i worry about protecting him and keeping him healthy. we are already a house full of germs! i am working on us first so that we can be 100% when it’s time for his arrival. i started diffusing essential oils last night and will continue to do so until we are all feeling better. if not, medical masks are waiting in my Amazon cart. that is not a joke. if you have any essential oil blends/tips that you love, please send them my way! i am a total newbie, but hoping to fall in love with them like everyone else.

i promise to keep you guys updated more frequently now that we are in the home stretch. i’ll be sure to post my NST results on IG if you follow along there. again, thank you all for the love and support during this journey. we are getting close to meeting our little dude and navigating the new road ahead. this anxious momma appreciates the hugs and encouragement.

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