Cecilia Rae

We welcomed our daughter, Cecilia Rae, on March 20 at 5:21 am.

She was born at home, weighing 7 pounds 4 ounces and was 20.25 inches long.

I plan to share her birth story very soon!

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In anticipation of the arrival of our third baby, I’m sharing my first two birth stories!

I shared Paxton’s birth story Tuesday, and today I’m sharing Weston’s! The two births were completely different, both resulted in beautiful baby boys but Weston’s birth and recovery was so much easier.

Weston is definitely our surprise baby. With Paxton, everything was planned, we were trying when we got pregnant with him and he was induced according to our plan. With Weston, from the beginning he’s been a surprise. We weren’t planning on getting pregnant with him (although we were thrilled when we found out) and his entrance into the world was quite a surprise too.

I was due December 31 but hoping I’d be a day or two overdue so he’d be born in 2012 (Paxton was born in 2010 and I liked the thought of even birth years.) I just knew since he was my second baby that I’d be miserable around 32 weeks to the end of the pregnancy but I was wrong! I felt fabulous throughout the entire pregnancy, I had quite a bit of energy and I was still able to do everything as normal with Paxton (including putting a sleeping 20-month-old into his crib at 38 weeks pregnant!)

Since Paxton’s birth was so fast for a first time birth, 5 hours from the time they broke my water and started pitocin until the time he was born, I was convinced that my second baby would come quickly and one of my fears throughout this pregnancy was not making it to the hospital on time.

On Tuesday, December 20, I was 38 weeks 3 days pregnant and I had quite the day. I cleaned our home thoroughly, did some pre-Christmas de-cluttering and a lot of laundry. By the end of the day I was tired from all of the ‘nesting’. That night when I laid down to go to sleep, I felt what could best be described as a burrowing sensation. I could feel his little head moving further down. I had never felt anything like that with Paxton. I didn’t sleep very well that night and then Paxton woke up around 2 am and he slept the rest of the night with us. I had trouble sleeping, I kept tossing and turning and just couldn’t get comfortable.

Wednesday morning I woke up feeling really good especially considering the rough night I’d had. I did decide to take the day easy though since I didn’t want to do anything that could put me into labor, especially since John David was working late that night. Paxton and I stayed in our jammies well into the morning. I updated our finances, scheduling our mortgage payment so we wouldn’t have to worry about that on January 1. The day was pretty typical except for John David being gone all evening. I put Paxton down around 8:00 and I was feeling tired too so I decided to go ahead and get in bed after starting a load of diaper laundry.

I stayed up waiting for John David to get home and he finally arrived around 10. We stayed up talking and playing Words with Friends until 11:30. Once again I felt the burrowing sensation when I laid down. I was having an occasional contraction but they were typical Braxton-Hicks. I went to sleep fairly easily.

Between going to bed at 11:30 and 1:30, I woke up 2 or 3 times having a mild contraction. While I was having the contraction, I’d walk to the bathroom, pee and then walk back to bed and go back to sleep. They were slightly uncomfortable but nothing painful. After the contraction I had around 1:30 I was unable to get comfortable so I got out of bed, went to the bathroom again and then turned on my lamp.

I had another contraction at 1:40 and decided to start timing them since it was appearing that they were getting closer together. I had contractions at 1:40, 1:48, 1:54, 1:58 so they were very quickly getting closer together. I wasn’t incredibly uncomfortable as long as I was standing so I could sway my hips and move around with the contractions. I had a little bit of back labor with Paxton and these contractions were very similar, the contraction would start in my back and move around to my belly and my back hurt more than anything! I decided to run out to the laundry around 2 to run the final rinse on diapers and I came back in and my contractions were still 4 minutes apart.

I still wasn’t sure if I was really in labor or if it was false labor. I knew you were supposed to go to the hospital when contractions were 5 minutes apart but I really wasn’t in horrible, unbearable pain. Around 2:30, I woke up John David and started packing the hospital bags. I still wasn’t convinced I was in real labor even though the labor book we were referring to at this point indicated that I was in active labor. Finally, we decided it was labor and we needed to start really preparing to go to the hospital.

John David called my friend Ashley around 3:20 to see if she would come stay with Paxton. While we were waiting on Ashley, I was packing a bag for Paxton and gathering stuff for our bags while John David was loading the car. (I should add here that John David got the clean diapers out of the wash and hung them on the drying rack. I had been very concerned about leaving dirty diapers at home when I went into labor so this was a relief.)

Ashley arrived around 3:35 and we gave her a few instructions for Paxton and we left after I had a contraction while attempting to get into the car. At this point, contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and I had about 3 contractions which were so uncomfortable since I couldn’t move much. Riding in the car made contractions even worse.

We arrived at the hospital around 3:30 and got a front row spot so I was able to walk in. We went into the registration room where I had 2 more contractions. After I was checked in, they sent us to a waiting area and I had 3 contractions which were very intense and I had the urge to push.

A nurse came out and we went to an admitting room where I changed into a gown through another contraction. I was checked and was dilated to 10 centimeters. I was wheeled into a delivery room while having contractions lying flat on my back which was so uncomfortable. At this point, I also was fighting the urge to push.

We got into the delivery room and I was moved onto the bed. I was hooked up to a monitor at 3:58, had my blood drawn and an IV put in. At this point, I had an overwhelming urge to push and was begging to be allowed to push. The nurses kept telling me to just breathe through the contractions and not push because the midwife was not there yet. (I should add that this period of not being able to push was the worst part of the whole labor and delivery. My body was ready to do what it was supposed to do and trying not to was so hard.)

While waiting for the midwife to arrive, John David ran out to the car to grab our camera and while he was gone and as our midwife was arriving, I couldn’t fight the urge to push anymore. I pushed and my water broke. Then John David got back and the midwife was there and I was finally able to start pushing. It was such a relief to be able to push. It didn’t feel good nor was it easy but it was so wonderful to be able to do what my body needed to do.

I pushed about 4 or 5 times in a period of 5 minutes or less and Weston was born at 4:16 am on December 22. It was such a relief to feel him come out. I was so excited that I had delivered without any medication but a bit embarrassed at how loud I was while delivering him.

Weston weighed 6 pounds 14 ounces and was 20 inches long. (Paxton was 8 pounds 8 ounces, so he was considerably smaller.)

Unfortunately I did rip at the site of my old tear but thankfully it was only a second degree tear instead of a third degree which I had with Paxton. Finally, after stitches (which to me was almost worse than the delivery even though I had local anesthesia) I was able to hold him again and count his fingers and toes.

I unwrapped him for skin to skin and nursing, he latched on perfectly and started nursing right away, it was completely natural for both of us. It was amazing how much more confident I felt nursing him, I suppose 15 months of breastfeeding experience gives a mama confidence.  After Weston finished nursing, we moved to our postpartum room around 6:30 am.

We werel in disbelief that labor started at 1:30 and Weston was born at 4:16. That’s only 2 hours and 45 minutes of labor.

Around 2:30 that afternoon, John David got Paxton and brought him back to the hospital to meet his new brother and spend some time with us. He noticed Weston right when he walked in the room and was thrilled to see ‘baby’.

We’re adjusting well as a family of four. Paxton has not acted jealous of Weston and is taking his role as big brother quite seriously.

We feel so blessed that I had a quick and easy labor and delivery and we have another healthy and beautiful son.

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In anticipation of the arrival of our third baby, I’m sharing my first two birth stories!

This is the birth story of my first son, Paxton. Looking back at his birth experience, there are things I wish I would have done differently {mainly not being induced and having an epidural}.  Even though I don’t agree with the choices I made then, we’re so thankful the induction resulted in an easy labor, delivery and healthy baby boy! 

On Monday, April 12th, we decided, under the guidance of our OB, that we were going to induce on Friday, April 16. I was 1 centimeter dilated and 70% effaced which my OB said was better than dilation. There wasn’t any medical reason to induce but according to my calculations I would be 40 weeks on the 16th.

I had some friends inquire about our decision to induce and honestly I wondered if we had made the right decision. I prayed about it and asked God to reveal to me through John David or my parents or someone very close to me if we weren’t supposed to induce. Over the next few days no one mentioned it and I had a peace about our decision.

On the 16th, we woke up at 5:00 and got ready to head to the hospital. We arrived around 6:00 and were lead to our room, room 405.

One last belly picture, me at 39 weeks, 2 days.

With our friend Megan who is a Nursery Nurse. She got off shift at 7 a.m. and came for a quick visit and encouraged me.

As Megan was leaving around 7:10, a nurse came in and hooked me up to the monitors. We were able to hear our sweet boy’s heartbeat.

At 7:30 another L&D nurse came in with our OB and he checked me, at this point I was 70% effaced and a tight 2 centimeters dilated.  Then they broke my water. I was unsure about how this would go, I expected it to be very uncomfortable but it wasn’t that bad at all.

After my water had been broken and before my L&D nurse arrived and I was hooked up to my IV.

I was able to journal throughout the process and I am so glad I did because my memory of all of the events of the morning are somewhat fuzzy now.

Around 9:00 my contractions started picking up and becoming more and more intense. John David and I worked through them. I breathed and he had me count 1, 2, 3…..we got up to 45 a few times. Contractions were so strange, on one hand they were not painful but then they were absolutely horrible! Around 9:30 they were about 2 minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds.

Working through one of the contractions. (When this one was over I looked at John David and said “I know you didn’t take a picture of me!” I am glad he did now…this picture truly conveys the way I felt.

At 9:45 my nurse came in to check me and she said, “Oh my goodness, you are 7 centimeters.” We were shocked but it explained the intensity of my contractions. She told me if I was going to have an epidural that I needed to have it done then. She told me she thought I could go natural but I decided that I was going to brave my fear of the needle for some pain relief. She also saw a little meconium in the amniotic fluid and notified the nursery, it actually was very light colored so she thought it happened recently.

Around 10:00 I received my epidural. My anesthesiologist did a wonderful job and my husband did an even better job helping me through contractions while I was getting the epidural. In fact, the anesthesiologist told us John David was the best dad he’s seen.

Losing feeling in my legs was really strange but not feeling my contractions was awesome. I felt completely relaxed and wonderful and was able to enjoy the next 2 hours and continue my journaling (I never would have been able to journal otherwise.) Since things were progressing so quickly we started joking that we’d have a baby by lunchtime. Our doctor had been telling us hopefully you’ll come in and progress quickly and have a baby by lunch. (We thought that sounded wonderful!)

Our last picture as a family of two.

Around 11:50 I was completely dilated and our nurse said we were ready for pushing. We did 3 practice pushes with a contraction and she called my OB.  While we were waiting to start really pushing I asked our nurse what she guessed the baby would weigh, she said I think he is going to be a small baby, about 7 pounds. I told her I was guessing no more than 7.5 pounds.

At 12:05 we started pushing and even stopped for about 5 minutes as the baby was crowning to wait for my OB to arrive. My OB arrived, the nursery nurse came to the room and we started pushing. After 29 minutes of pushing, at 12:34 Paxton Graham arrived crying loudly. Both our OB and L&D nurse said that is a big baby. My OB asked where was I hiding him. After he was delivered I inquired if I had an episitomy (which I was really hoping to avoid). He told me yes, I had an episitomy and then ripped because baby was so big he had to tug pretty hard on his shoulders.

Seeing my baby boy for the first time. He was the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen and I was overwhelmed with emotion and crying.

Our beautiful baby. His daddy cut the cord and watched him get cleaned off.

Our OB had another patient almost ready to deliver but he waited for Paxton to be weighed before he left because he wanted to see how much he weighed.

Paxton weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces. I think everybody in the delivery room was shocked. I really was expecting a small baby but we got a healthy 8.5 pound baby boy.

After seeing meconium in the amniotic fluid and delivering an 8.5 pound baby we were confident that inducing was the best thing for us to do. Our OB said if we had waited until our due date he probably would have weighed around 9 pounds and since it was difficult to get him out at 8.5 there was a possibility that I would have had a c-section.

We are so thankful that I had an easy labor and delivery and a completely healthy, perfectly formed baby boy. Now the adventure truly begins, parenting our little miracle.

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Basics for Baby

What do babies really need?

After having two babies and expecting my third (due in just a few weeks!), I’ve learned that babies really don’t need much at all.

With each baby, we’ve pared down more and more and now are left with the basics.

Here’s my list of basics for baby:


If you’re breastfeeding, you provide the food! (And, it’s nice to have a breast pumpand 2-3 bottles as well as nursing bras, camisoles and nursing pads for mama!)

For formula feeding you’ll need bottles, formula, maybe even a bottle warmer.

Diapers and Wipes

If you’re using disposables, you just need diapers, wipes and diaper cream!

If you’re using cloth diapers and planning to do it full time, I recommend a minimum of 20 diapers. Baby should average about 8 diapers a day so 20 is a good number with washing every other day. You’ll also need wipes, dirty diaper storage (either an actual diaper pail or a hanging wet bag) and a small or medium wet bag if you plan to cloth diaper outside the home. And, you’ll need a cloth diaper safe diaper cream and laundry detergent.


Baby clothes are adorable but there are a ton of clothes out there that are impractical and maybe even uncomfortable for a baby. For little bitty babies, I prefer cotton body suits, pants and one pieces.

Here are the basics for newborns:

8-10 bodysuits (long or short sleeve depending on season)
4-6 cotton pants
2-6 one piece outfits (long or short rompers)
6-8 sleepers (I personally prefer snaps, others love the zippers)
10 pair of socks
2-4 hats
2-4 pair of mittens

You can get by with less if you are washing clothes regularly. I do a load of laundry nearly every day to stay on top of laundry so we can get by with fewer clothes. If you do laundry less often, you probably will want to have more.

Baby clothes are definitely a fun part of having a baby (especially a first baby) but it’s good to have limits so you don’t get overrun with baby clothes!

A place to sleep

This just depends on your preference. If you’re setting up the nursery in your room, baby can sleep in the crib from day one.

With our first baby, we had a (borrowed) Pack ‘n Play in our room. With our second baby, we had a (borrowed) bassinet in our room. Our second son actually slept better slightly propped so we ended up using our Infant To Toddler Rocker and some nights he co-slept just because it was so much easier!

And you’ll need 2-3 crib sheets and 1-2 crib mattress pad covers. The fancy crib bedding is not necessary. We used bumpers for about 6 months with our first and never with our second.

Car Seat

Infant car seats are not an absolute necessity but are nice. If you have a winter baby, they are more of a need since baby can stay snug in the seat while out and about. For a spring and summer baby, you can get by without one and just start out with a convertible car seat. We have an infant seat that we received when our first baby was born. We used it with our second too since we had it. (Although, we got it out of the car maybe 5 times ever – thanks to a mild winter). We still have that seat so we’ll use it for #3 too.


I love muslin swaddle blankets, a four pack should be plenty. They’re great for swaddling, for nursing covers, and to use as crib blankets when baby gets older (My boys still sleep with them in the summer).

A quilt is nice to use as a play mat and thicker blankets (muslin, crocheted or knitted) are nice when it gets cooler. 1 quilt and 1-2 thicker blankets should be plenty.

Bibs/Burp Cloths

4-6 bibs as a minimum, if baby spits up a lot or is a drooler, you’ll need more.

10-12 burp cloths. I prefer thin ‘cloth diapers’, they make great ‘hankies’ too!

Baby Carrier

This is a must have for me because I believe having a baby in a carrier is much easier for mama than lugging a heavy infant seat around and baby would much rather be on mama than in a seat.

I had a Moby Wrap with my first baby. It was very comfortable but tying it up isn’t exactly easy, especially while out of the home.

For my second baby, I purchased a Baby K’tan which feels a lot like a Moby but is much easier! I used the Baby K’tan when he was tiny. When he was about 6 months, I switched to a soft structured carrier, a BOBA 3G.

A bottle of baby shampoo & wash and baby nail clippers. Baby lotion is nice but I almost never use it.

Babies really don’t need much.

There’s no need to spend a lot on expensive baby gear, the latest and greatest baby gadgets and huge wardrobes for tiny babies. Stick to the basics, you’ll have more money and your home will not be overtaken with baby things!

What’s on your baby basics list?

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