The Oregon Tale » Our Adventure Journal

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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.

August-13

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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Happy July!! It’s been a bit since I popped in to update, but we’ve been taking photos and I have a lot to share. Currently sitting right at “full term”, meaning baby could safely come at anytime. This pregnancy has seriously flown by … how is this real life?!

Mama:

  • After a particularly hard first 22-ish weeks, I’ve had a really lovely remainder of my pregnancy. I thought about splitting this post though, because there’s definitely a difference that’s shifted right at my 37th week. More on that in a minute!! Up until the last week, I was feeling really, really good.
  • Baby is still moving … all. of. the. time. I seriously don’t go more than 2-5 minutes without feeling major movements. And, kicks have been replaced with those crazy alien-like movements. Baby is a bruiser. That said, it’s really reassuring to feel movements all day!! 
  • Food and eating is weird. Something I didn’t experience with Alba was feeling super full (and miserable) even after a small meal. Digestion is slower during pregnancy anyway, and I’m rocking 1 less organ this time (gallbladder was removed after Al was born). I think this combination just makes for a pretty awful experience with food. I’ll be so happy to have the room to eat again.
  • I’m starting to feel super pregnant. I feel mostly great during the day. Maybe a bit tired … then the miserable stomach fullness, but relatively great. At night, it all changes. My hips kill me … I toss and turn all night, and feel like I’m made of stone when I wake up in the morning. Taking cal-mag before bed helps a bit. My heartburn has gotten worse since the last time I updated, but it’s still nowhere near as bad as it was when I was pregnant with Alba. Thank goodness!!
  • I’m having real contractions now. It usually happens in the evening, and it’s usually only 1-2, and they are over 10-15 minutes apart. It’s a bit “scary”, as every time I have one, I don’t know if it’ll be the start of the real thing.
  • Aside from the physical side of things, week 37 brought major hormonal changes which have manifested as some big emotions. I am suddenly feeling a bit sad and anxious. I think it’s my body’s way of getting me to slow down and not make plans. Also, I have a bit of a to-do list to finish for work (working so hard to get this done), so it’s just a combination of so many things. Really focusing on small, simple moments that bring me joy. Trying to savor these last weeks of my pregnancy. It’s the last time I’ll go through this. 
  • We are feeling pretty ready to meet this little human. Our home to-do list is pretty much done. Just a few more things to gather for the home birth. There is palpable excitement in our house these days. Lots of laughter about the weird quirks of being a giant pregnant person + all of Alba’s interpretation of this experience. Our home visit went really well (always fun to welcome the midwives into our home before labor starts).
  • Alba seems really excited to meet her sibling. We just went through a REALLY rough patch with Al … major sleep disruption and behavioral issues. After about 3 weeks of pure chaos at home, things seem to be leveling back out. I’m not sure what the cause was, but I’m guessing a growth spurt plus some general anxieties about all of the changes around here. It was really stressful, and we were feeling sad that our last weeks before Baby were so disrupted. Thankfully, she’s seeming normal again. She talks about helping with Baby … I cannot wait to see how she bonds with them.
  • Things are different the 2nd time around. There’s definitely less fanfare surrounding baby number two. Maybe people just assume we’ve been through it before and we’ll just end up on the other side again? Honestly, not receiving, “Is the baby here yet?” texts is nice – that part was annoying last time. There’s less unsolicited advice, and I think people trust that we have put energy, intention, and lots of thought into our choices. I assume more celebration will come when Baby arrives (versus people really being too interested during my pregnancy), so I’m really excited for the birth … I can’t wait to celebrate this little human!!
  • We’ve picked a name! We’re sure of Baby’s first name, and I couldn’t be more excited! The middle name is proving to be a little harder, but I know it’ll come to us when the time is right. Oh yeah, we know the sex of the baby. We are just waiting until “labor day” to announce. It’s been really cool to know this time around (just as it was equally awesome to not know last time). 
  • Overall, we’re ready, but I’d REALLY like two more weeks of pregnancy to get more work done. I’d love to have a work-free maternity leave!! I predict I’ll go into labor right after the 3rd episode of Game of Thrones (so, two weeks from last night). I’m sure I’ll be WAY off, but it’s fun to play this game.

Baby:

  • At this point, baby is ready to make their appearance!! We have a fully-cooked baby … now, it’s just a matter of baby “fattening” up. The baby sites say baby is about 6.5 lbs right now.
  • During our home visit, the midwives confirmed that baby is a little nugget. Likely to be under 7.5 lbs at birth. Alba was 7.7 … my intuition says 8 lb 2 oz, but we shall see. Their guess is about 7 lb 2 oz. if I make it to 39 weeks and some change.
  • I think this baby is going to look more like me … Alba totally looks like Jimmy, so it’ll be really, really cool to see how this turns out!
  • Baby gets hiccups every day.
  • Just like with Alba, Jimmy can put his ear on my stomach and hear the heartbeat. Such a magical little thing he gets to experience.

Okay, now to bombard you with belly photos. I’ve really hit a growth spurt lately!!

Week 28

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Week 30

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Week 31

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Week 32 (from our maternity session with Murray Photography)

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Week 33

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Week 35

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Week 37

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Dear Baby,

I was sitting here working, and I just had a few thoughts I wanted to share.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the fact that this journey we’re on together is the last time I’ll ever carry a baby in my body. You are the bookmark to our family …

The first half of this pregnancy was rough – so rough, and I didn’t really take the time to really think about how important all of the first moments were.

When we went to our first ultrasound in December, I was so anxious to see you … within a few seconds, I saw your little peanut shaped body, and your tiny heart flickering. In that moment, we felt such relief (and it felt so much more real than before). Of course, now it seems like that was a lifetime ago …

In January, we saw you again. This time, you looked more like a human. We got reassurance that everything looked to be developing just as it should. It was around this time that we started talking about names … trust me, I had some really cool ones for you, but your dad vetoed them all! Dads!

Over the next few months, our life had some major turns that we weren’t expecting. The biggest: we learned we’d be moving. I always imagined we’d have both of our babies in our previous home (where I had your sister), but due to the nature of our city, the house wasn’t a sustainable option for our future. At first, it seemed scary, but now that we’ve settled into our new place, things are feeling just like they should. I’ve been finding myself imagining your birth, and organizing spaces just for you.

In March, we saw you one more time (likely, the last ultrasound we’ll have), and I could tell a few things … mainly, that your profile looks different from your sister’s. I’ve always had this idea that our kids would all look the same (since your dad’s genes are so strong), but now I realize you might take after my family! After all of the name vetoing, your dad went and did something pretty cool: he found the name! I think you’ll love it. Oh yeah, we found out your sex. With your sister, we didn’t know until she was born. This time, it was a way to connect with you (especially for your sister – she’s pretty excited and talks about you all of the time). For me, it was a much-needed bright spot in the 5 months of extreme morning sickness I had been experiencing. We’re waiting until your birthday to tell everyone … afterall, for now, you are just our baby – no expectations beyond just being your wonderful self. With that said, your sister tells everyone about you, so it’s really only a matter of time before everyone knows. I promise we’ll wait to share your name – you’ll get to do your own bit of surprising on your birthday.

Since March, life has been a blur … we’ve hosted your Gigi and your YaYa … we’ve moved … we’ve been doing a ton of house and garden work … we’ve been chasing your sister around (she’s a wild one). Now it’s June, and we’re so close to meeting you. We fly to Indiana this week, and then once we’re home, we get to settle in to wait for you.

I hope that I get a little better at writing down these moments that mean so much, but really, I’m just so grateful for the experience of carrying you with me. Even though I might not have as much time to write down my thoughts, I do think of you all of the time. I’m so excited to hold you … to meet you … to learn all about you! You keep doing your baby thing – you seem pretty good at it so far. Only 8ish more weeks, baby. We can do this!

Love,

Mama

PS, we still can’t think of a middle name. Maybe you could send us a sign. That would be awesome. 

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