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Our sweet Maple, you are now 3 months old. This marks the end of your 4th trimester … Little lady, we are so very in love with you. With your sister, I really craved the early days and never wanted them to end. With you, being the 2nd baby (and because of germs), I’ve been excited for you to reach this milestone. We’re so, so in love with you, and I can’t believe it’s only been 3 months!!

I tell everyone that you’re the happiest baby on earth. I’ve seriously never met a more chill, happy baby. Your smiles are abundant, and you love cooing and chatting with us. You’re always super talkative first thing in the morning – during your epic stretch sessions. You haven’t laughed just yet, but I assume it’s coming soon.

We had another hearing screening done, and you still didn’t pass. We’re gearing up for a more in-depth screening next week. No matter how it turns out, we’re equipped to ensure you have a full, magical life – 100% hearing or not.

I’m looking at your sister’s 3 month post as I type this, and I’m already seeing some differences. She had already laughed, and loved tummy time. With you, tummy time happens every other day or so, and you’re slowly getting more accustomed to it. Just like your sister at this age, you’re a really, really good sleeper at night. You’re in your co-sleeper for most of the night, and only really wake up once to eat. We cuddle from about 4 or 5 until we get up at 7. Your schedule is pretty consistent, and I’m thankful for it.

Speaking of your sister: we’re coming out of a hard season with her. She had a hard time when you turned two months old, but now, we’re all finding a beautiful groove. She’s so in love with you … she still loves helping take care of you.

We’re getting out and doing more as a family … this month we visited the pumpkin patch with Audrey, did lots of walks, went to the annual Davis Pumpkin party, visited the beach house with the Murrays, and you had your first Halloween (you were the sweetest little ladybug).

As of this last month, you’re 100% breastfed. This never happened with Alba, and I am so thankful we made it happen this month. Funny enough, it’s still hard work: bottles, frozen milk, pumping, supplements, etc., but we’re doing it.

I’m really looking forward to this next month. We’re excited for laughs, more movement and interaction, and seeing how you develop your motor skills. You Yaya is coming back for a long visit, so I’m sure you’ll be spoiled!

Baby girl, you are like sunshine … you just brighten our lives every single day! I love that you smile about 8,304 times a day … I love that you chat & coo with us. You’re now a 1/4 of a year old, and while it makes my head spin, I love to watch you grow. We love you so much! (I copied this from Alba’s post, and ya know what – it turns out: I love my babies!!)

Here are some photos that make us swoon!

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My sweet Maple,

There are so many days that I look at you now and think, “You’re SO BIG!” – now that you’re about 10 pounds, you’re still relatively small, but it’s just the realization that our newborn days are coming to an end. Here’s what we’ve been up to this month …

Surprisingly, we’ve been sleeping! Your 2 hour stretches have gotten a bit longer, and you have quite a consistent pattern at night. You sleep for about 4-5 hours, then about 3-4 more … if it weren’t for your sister’s daycare dropoff, you might even sleep a bit more. You’re a champ, kid! Your tired parents appreciate it!

Breastfeeding has been getting easier! My pain still persists, but it’s manageable. The best news is that my supply is almost at the volume you need (maybe it is there?) … I have a bit of a freezer stash established, and we’re really doing it. You have a little formula each day, but there are some days we don’t need it. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve faced these challenges before (or that it really is better this time), but I have no complaints. You are thriving, and I am so, so happy!

You are starting to look a little less like your sister, and more like … MAMA! I knew from your profile images during our last ultrasound that you were going to resemble me, but over the last couple of weeks, it’s really become more apparent. Your eye lashes are growing, your cheeks are filling out, and you’re starting to get little rolls all over your scrumptious body. You’re dreamy!

Speaking of dreamy: you’re smiling!! You’re still pretty sleepy most days, but when you’re awake, you love interacting with us. Smiles and chatter are the best gift … your coos and little voice! And, one of our favorite things is your love of the ceiling fans. You could go hours without smiling at us, but you go into full flirting mode as soon as the fan catches your eye – it’s amazing!

Now that my body is feeling healed and strong, we’ve been getting outside more … with rain on the way, I’m soaking up any time in the sunshine with you. I can’t wait until you’re more alert and really start interacting with the outside world.

During this month, you got to meet your Aunt (YaYa) … she came to stay with us for a week, and got lots of cuddle time. We went to Mt. Hood, and had a little beach time. The day after she left, I celebrated my birthday … I can’t think of a better way to have celebrated 32, than with two beautiful daughters.

At your two month doctor check-up, we found out you were 10 lb. 13 oz., and 23 inches tall. That means you’ve gained 4 pounds and 5 (FIVE!) inches since you were born. You were so teeny when you were born, so seeing you grow this way gives me so much confidence.

Little one, you are the brightest beam of light. We’re so happy you’re here!

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The first month … it goes by so quickly, and in an instant, babies transform from newborns to these little humans you learn so much about. We did it! Our little Maple is 1 month old, and she is such a wonderful joy.

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I worried about our family growing – mainly, that it would be hard for Alba. But, like last time, welcoming our baby was a beautiful transition that seemed to unfold so naturally. As we prepared to meet this sweet soul, we both wondered what the feeling of our hearts expanding would be like. I can tell you: it was instantaneous … in a single moment, my heart grew – our love grew, and Maple was a part of our family’s story forever.

My sweet, sweet Maple … here’s a bit about your first month:

This first month involved a lot of skin on skin time, just keeping you on us, while we relaxed an focused on healing. Your birth was insanebut thankfully, it was more gentle on my body than the last one, and healing went a lot faster this time around. With that said, there really is a lot to be said for really forcing myself to sit still and rest. Even sitting up a night to nurse felt like a workout … eventually, it got easier. Like last time, you and I slept as a cozy pair – you, right on my chest. As the month came to an end, I could tell your newborn days were coming to a close, and we’d both be more comfortable with you next to me in your co-sleeper.

Just like with your sister, your dad and I were lucky enough to have 5 weeks at home with you. I will always be grateful for this time. Alba still went to school, so dad and I had a lot of solo time with you during the day … this was so special, because we wanted some time to get to know you, just like we got to with your sister.

During your first month, you got to visit with your Gigi – she came to visit you, and got lots of amazing snuggle time. We took a trip to the coast (you slept through most of it – you were a champ).

Breastfeeding, as I predicted, has come with its challenges. On day 10, I got the best news that you had regained weight after initially losing weight after birth (normal). I was so happy (beyond happy), as this was something I’d never experienced before. You were growing, just from my milk. At day 12, things changed a bit, and I realized I wasn’t quite meeting your needs. Thankfully, some amazing mamas in our circle donated milk for you. Around this time, something was bothering your belly, and we had to think about elimination testing. After weeks of belly upset, trying to figure out what was going on, and starting a little formula, it all went back to normal. Now, things are going really, really well. You’re getting 2-3 ounces of my expressed milk, donor milk or formula each day. I am celebrating that things are going this well. I’m still in pain, but we’re figuring it out. Good job, baby girl! We’re doing it!

Watching your sister with you has been beautiful. She’s so eager to help with everything! From bottles to baths, and just simply being able to touch you, she absolutely loves you. My favorite photos are the ones of you two together.

Compared to last time, I’m more emotional. I had a touch of the baby blues, but they’ve seemed to give way to big emotions (but mostly very good ones). I had a hard, hard cry when I found out my supply wasn’t as robust as I thought, but I’ve also had some of the biggest laughs watching you and your sister together.

Maple, we knew you were a little lady since about 1/2 way through my pregnancy, and we decided on your name just before you were born. It was like we just knew so much about you before we met you. And, since you’ve joined us, we’ve learned so much more about you. Mainly, that you are most definitely the sweetest soul I’ve ever known. Your sister is sassy and wild … I can already tell you’ll be more of an observer, but I have no doubts you’ll bring a bit of sass too. We are just so smitten over you.

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Sitting here at 5 days postpartum, I’m still surfing on the familiar waves of this experience feeling so surreal. From the moment I learned of this little girl, I couldn’t believe (or comprehend) that we were having a second baby – the final piece of our family of four. And even though she’s now right in front of me, I’m having so many moments of, “I can’t believe you’re actually here!”.

And just like with the typical 2nd baby thing, it’s now been 4 weeks, and I’m sitting down to finalize Maple’s birth story. 

A few weeks before Maple was born, I made the prediction that I’d go into labor while watching the 3rd episode of Game of Thrones season 7. So, when Sunday night came and went, and we went to bed without watching the episode, I smiled when realizing my prediction was wrong.

The next day, Monday, I check off my “omg I have to get these contracts done” list for work. I picked Alba up from school at 3:30, and assumed that since I worked so hard to get my work done, baby girl would likely take another week or more before she was ready to join us. Murphy’s Law. Also, we were on the verge of a heat wave (4 days of 100 degree temps), so I was slightly hopeful she’d wait.

Later that evening, while cooking dinner, I felt a small gush – I was curious to see if my water was leaking. I paged the midwives, who told me to use the amniotic fluid indicator … while we were on the phone, I used it, but in true Ravyn Style, I dropped the stick in the toilet before I could see if it changed color. Oy! Midwives told me to call if anything changed, and I went back to cooking dinner.

After putting Alba to bed, J and I sat down to watch Game of Thrones (a day late). Almost as soon as we sat down, I felt my belly tightening. It didn’t trigger any red flags, as I’d been having contractions on and off for a few weeks. But, I did think it was pretty funny they were happening during that 3rd episode of GOT. After a few contractions, I decided to download an app on my phone to keep track of them. Sure enough, I was having mild contractions every 7-10 minutes, and they were lasting a minute each. I didn’t say anything to Jimmy at first, because I assumed it was nothing. By the end of the episode, I told him what was going on, and we agreed we should probably pack a “just in case” hospital bag.

After going back and forth about this being labor or not, J convinced me to page the midwives. Alba’s labor/birth was only 6 hours from start to finish, and since I was already over an hour into contractions, we figured they should be in the loop. Since my contractions were still mild, we thought that it would be best to get some rest and call if anything changed.

The notes in my phone tells me I rested from 11:15 – 1:00 before I decided to hop in the shower. I was feeling nauseous, and unable to sleep. I vividly remember looking over at J, silhouetted by the light of our salt lamp, and wondering if this was the last night we’d be a family of three. I took a shower, and then decided to call the midwives to let them know I thought this was it. Even with mild contractions still (6 minutes apart), we were 4.5 hours into this labor, and we all agreed it could change course towards a rapid labor at any point.

My midwives arrived and setup their equipment. After observing me during contractions and monitoring baby girl, they encouraged me to get some more rest. Contractions were getting closer together and more intense, but still manageable. I went back and forth between the bed, leaning on the yoga ball, and walking around the house. At 5:30, not much had changed. When I stood up, my contractions were pretty regular, but when laying down they would stall out. My midwives suggested that I was still in early labor (even so many hours in), and we all agreed that a cervical check (my first ever during pregnancy or labor). It was determined I was 4 cm dilated, and since things were still relatively slow, we decided the midwives would leave and we would try to sleep. Things were pretty calm … I continued having contractions, and could generally make them bearable by standing and adjusting my hips, or just simply focusing on my breath.

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At 7:50, I woke up with a strong contraction, and my water broke. it wasn’t the same huge gush that happened with Alba, so I do wonder if my water really was leaking the night before. We immediately called the midwives, and they headed back our way. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Alba had perched up on our bed, and was holding my hands through these contractions. So special! A few contractions later, I was standing at the edge of our bed and had one of those horrible contractions (the ones that make you want to crawl out of your skin … I explained it to J as feeling like my body was ripping in half – not the most pleasant). I screamed, “Call the midwives, NOW!”, and just then, they walked through the door.

I told my midwives I needed to use the bathroom. They assured me it was just the baby, and I assured them it was just poop. In a move of compromise, they insisted on coming into the bathroom with me. I checked myself and confirmed there was no head. Two minutes later, at 8:20, I reached down and there was very much a head right there. One of the midwives ran out to the dining room to get Jimmy and Alba … they came into the bathroom as I started pushing – given the small dimensions in our bathroom, they hunkered down in the bathtub. I love this. One of my biggest fears was tearing (as it was the one aspect of Alba’s birth that lead to a harder recovery), so my midwife, Sarah, encouraged and coached me to breathe short breaths – to slow things down. At 8:24, baby’s head was born. FOUR MINUTES of pushing. About 10 seconds later, Maple was born into our midwives hands. We were in total shock. In a matter of 34 minutes, I went from sleeping to my water breaking to my baby being born.

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There’s nothing sweeter than those first moments after birth, but I’ll be honest, I was in such shock that most of it is a blur. I remember our dogs barking in the backyard (one of the several comical parts of the birth – trumped by the fact I had my baby on the toilet), and how chaotic those last moments were. I remember looking at Maple’s face and thinking she looked so much different than Alba. I remember the midwives sweetly encouraging Alba while she cut Maple’s cord (our first baby helped officially welcome her little sister into the world).

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A few minutes after Maple was born, I delivered the placenta. J took Al and Maple into our room, and my dear friend, Heather helped me shower. It was then time to get into bed to be examined, and cuddle with my family. I ended up with a superficial tear that didn’t require stitches (thank goodness). I held my baby girl, soaking in the first hour with my family. Maple latched and nursed for the first time, and then the midwives did her newborn exam. Our little peanut was 6 lb. 15 oz., and 18 inches long.

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After we were all settled, the midwives said their goodbyes, and Maple and I settled in for a long nap. Jimmy and Alba popped in throughout the day, and just like last time, we spent most of our time just marveling at the new human we made. This time, many of our friends and family knew we were having a girl, but only a few people knew her name. It was so fun texting and calling people to share our news … officially introducing our girl to the world.

I am so happy we were able to have another home birth. It was the perfect fit for our family. I’m in awe of my caring midwives … their dedication and respect for birthing women is beyond what I could have wished for. Maple’s birth is bittersweet, as we have decided to close the chapter of our lives on having babies. This means it’s the last time I’ll go through a pregnancy with the wonderful women of Vivante Midwifery. Just like last time, it’s amazing how our midwives became a part of our family’s story. I have so much love for them.

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A month into this journey with Maple, and things have been a dream. Of course, having a second baby is quite an adjustment. Alba has settled into her role as a big sister, and we are slowly finding our groove. I have way more to share (there have been some hiccups, but it’s been mostly sweet). She’s such a calm baby. She mostly just sleeps, eats, poops, and cuddles. Grateful for her sweet disposition. Grateful for the experience of being a mom of two beautiful girls. 

I’m feeling happy, blessed, and so, so grateful for this journey.

If you’d like to read it, Alba’s birth story is right here.

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With the fullest heart, I’m happy to share that we’ve welcomed our sweet baby girl into the world … I still have some maternity photos to share, as well as her birth story. For now, I wanted to share this letter I wrote to her about 6 days before she was born. My special, special girl: I am so happy you’re here. The most perfect human to complete our family.

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Dear Maple,

I’m sitting here this morning with a dull ache in my abdomen and my hand on my belly. I’m not sure if you’re coming earthside today … tomorrow … this week? But, I know you’re nearly ready. Things are changing, and I’m getting so eager … still patient enough, but just know that we are so ready to meet you.

We’ve had a wild ride, you and I. Almost from the beginning, you made your presence known. All of the hormones that were sustaining your life went into overdrive, and I was so, so sick. And while it was hard and exhausting, part of me was grateful for the feeling that it meant you were doing ok. And, about 1/2 way through our pregnancy journey together, I started feeling you move. The best part: you never stop moving. It doesn’t matter the time of day … if I need a little reassurance that you’re ok in my belly, I just give you a little poke. You always give me a little movement as if to say you’re still doing just fine. Of course, I’ve Googled, “Can a baby move too much?” about 30 times because you almost seem more active than your sister. Is this even possible?

Even with all of this huge movement (I am convinced you’ve bruised my insides), I have a feeling you are going to be a peaceful baby. Over the last week or so, I’ve been daydreaming about you a ton. I can’t wait to see your face … your hair (for some reason, I feel like it’ll be dark). I can’t wait to see if you are chubby like your sister was, or if you look anything like her (I think you’ll look more like me). I’m so excited to hear you cry for the first time … to see your dad hold you … to introduce you to your biggest fan (your sister). She assures me she’s going to take very good care of you.

I can’t wait to share you with the world, and at the same time, I’m looking forward to our intimate little home over the next few weeks (just our little family). I’m excited to tell people your name. Your dad picked it, and I think it’s going to be so perfect … just like with Alba, I definitely feel like I know you already (like maybe I’ve known you for a really long time). A few months ago, when we were still thinking about names, I found a Robert Frost poem that struck me right in the gut – it was about a little girl named Maple. A name with so much strength … do we choose our baby’s name or does it just find a way to us? I can tell you, when I stood in the kitchen this morning (slow dancing to the Lumineers), I looked out our window to see the sun shining through the maple tree in the front yard … it reminded me of you, and it made my heart so happy. I am fairly certain that you (and your name) found your way to us just as it was all meant to.

With not much time until we meet you, I wanted to sit to reflect on my feelings. To take a little time to slow down and put all of my focus on you. Baby girl, you are already so loved. I am beyond thankful, grateful and humbled that I have had the chance to carry life within my body. You are the exclamation point, the bookend, the last piece of our family. I will always remember our journey together as one of the most magical times of my life. We can’t wait to meet you!

Love,

Mama

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