Sunday, February 17, 2013

Nursery Tour

Hi Friends- We are pretty settled in these days and am loving (mostly) every second with our sweet Gwen. So far, she is a very easy baby and only cries if she is hungry. We'll see what the future holds for Ms. Gwenny, but I'm hoping she's always this easy to please.

I wanted to share Gwen's nursery with you all. Paul and I worked super hard on her room and did lots of DIY and thrifty projects. We achieved the exact look we wanted on a very small budget. We are thrilled with the result. Care to take a peek?

When you walk into Gwenny's room, the first thing you see is a dresser gifted to us by friends. A fresh coat of paint and a little spray paint to the hardware was all it needed to be brought back to life. On top, you will find a few accessories, including a music box from my childhood. We hung a $2.50 thrift store mirror that I spray painted a happy yellow, and called it a day.

 Our old house has lots of nooks and crannies. I have always wanted a window seat and knew that the nursery was the perfect spot to build one! Paul and I built her window seat and I sewed the pillows and cushion to make a sweet, cozy spot to curl up and read to our girl. We added a wall light so that we could read at night as well. We left the bottom of the seat open for easy (and finger safe) access to toys once Gwen is mobile.

 It may be the kindergarten teacher in me, but I am book obsessed. Paul and I built these book shelves to house the slew of books that Gwenny will have. She already has a great start! On the opposite wall, we framed Anthropologie alphabet cards to create  simple, and educational wall art. My girlfriend made the amazing hanging book decor that hangs from the ceiling. How cool are those?

On the other side of the room, you will find Gwen's dresser/changing station that we took from the living room. I love the feminine feel it adds to her room. I also had to incorporate our pup's into the room and ordered a Boston and Boxer print from etsy. I adore them. Throw in a fun and comfy glider and we'll call this side of the room a day.

Gwen's crib is simple and white. I love the classic look and can't wait for her to sleep in it. Above her crib, we built the sign and painted it with a sweet Dave Matthews Band quote that I felt was very nursery appropriate. How amazing is that mobile? It was definitely a splurge, but my amazing girlfriend bought it from my after I registered for it. Baby girl was definitely loved and spoiled before she even made her arrival!

And that concludes our little tour. Please leave a comment for any source info!

Friday, February 08, 2013

The Story Of Gwen

There are moments in your life that you will never forget. Giving birth to your first child is one of them. It is a beautiful moment that takes your breath away. This is our story.

 Note: Our birth story is quite a blur and I am using our text exchanges and phone records with our doula and midwives to write this.

Me two days before delivery

 Paul and I had plans for a natural birth. No drugs, no interventions; just us, our doula, and the midwives that we had grown to trust and get to know over the 39 weeks of our pregnancy. Though my goal was to go completely natural, I was open to an epidural if need be as I had no idea if I could handle it. I wanted to be open minded to anything while still preparing my body and mind to labor naturally.

Our first family photo

To prepare, Paul and I took a natural birthing class. Over our seven week course, we felt well informed and prepared for what was to come our way. We learned how to have a healthy pregnancy, signs of labor, and how to prepare both mentally and physically for labor.  We also hired doulas to help coach both Paul and I during labor. We toured the hospital that I was to deliver in, packed (and repacked) our hospital bags, and  took every step to be confident in ourselves and believe that together, we could handle labor. Little did we know what was to come..

On January 30th, Paul and I went for our 39 week checkup. After showing zero signs of impending labor the week prior, we were ecstatic to find out that I was 2cm dilated, 80% effaced, and 0 station. Lots of progress had been made over the week, but we knew that we still had a ways to go. During the exam, our midwife also raved about my “beautiful pelvis.” I had no idea what that meant, laughed, and took it as the strangest compliment I had ever received.

Cutting the cord

The following two days, I continued life as usual, walking 2-3 miles a day, cleaning, and working full time. I wasn’t slowing down, and like many late stage pregnant women, felt that our baby would never come. 

On Saturday, February 2nd, I woke up after an uninterrupted 9 hours of sleep. I had been a little crampy the night before and still remained so, but knew that this was completely normal this late in the game. After a nice, long, hot shower, lazing around in the morning, and getting dressed, Paul and I decided that we should grab some lunch and do thrift shopping on what we knew was to be one of our last weekends sans baby.

We arrived at Panera at about 12:30 and ordered our lunch. I started to notice that my cramps were becoming more frequent, but still they were nothing to write home about. We gave our doulas a quick text letting them know I was having some cramping and they told us to get back to them if we found they were in a regular pattern.

Gwen's first bath
After lunch, we headed to a thrift shop to look for a hallway mirror. It was here that my contractions became a little stronger, but still were nothing major. I wanted to go home and take a bath. We arrived home at about 1:45. My cramps were still in no apparent pattern but were a little stronger and lasting a little bit longer. I soaked in the bath tub and found some relief; I also worked through some stretches and exercises that we learned in class. At this point, it was 2:27pm, and while I was still a bit uncomfortable, I knew that, if in labor at all, it was still too early to go to the hospital.

For the next hour and a half or so, I continued stretching, walking around our house, and soaking in the tub. My gut told me that this may be the real thing as my contractions were gradually getting stronger. Still, I was able to speak through all of them (even speaking to my doula on the phone at 3:45) got the dogs ready to go to boarding, and tell Paul what he could do to make me comfortable. I was excited that this could be the real thing and that I could possibly meet our sweet girl in the next day or so. 

Loving my girl

By 4:19pm, I was in the bathtub full time; my contractions seemed to be closer and were definitely getting a bit more intense. I was practicing our different poses, doing breathing techniques, and trying to keep my body relaxed- all things we had learned in class. Paul was amazing at coaching me, meeting my needs, and helping me relax. 

Somewhere around 4:35pm, I began to feel something change. Out of nowhere, my contractions became unbearable, and I felt a strange pressure that had not previously been there. Though I had never been in labor, I knew I had to push. I told Paul this and he said that I just needed to relax and that there was no way I had to push. I wasn’t showing any signs of being that far into labor. I felt different and, for the first time, scared. I wanted to go to the hospital. I also had convinced myself that if I was still in early labor (which after laboring only two hours or so I must be), there was no way I could do it without an epidural. 

At 4:46 pm, Paul called our midwife, told them I wanted to head to the hospital, and also asked for our doula to head over. He got me out of the tub, but with my contractions coming back to back- there was no relief and I could not move. At about 4:50, as I was kneeling in front of the toilet, I felt a gush. My water had broken. I knew things were getting real. I was terrified, in agony, and had no idea how I would make the 10 minute car ride to the hospital. I was feeling out of control and overwhelmed. For the next five (I think, there is no way to tell this time frame as all texts stopped) I was in excruciating pain. My contractions were relentless.

Free to go home from the hospital
Then, it happened. I felt something drop and my pain decreased. I put my hand down and felt my baby’s head starting to come. I was holding my baby inside of me and about to deliver my baby in our downstairs bathroom with no medical assistance. Paul did not believe me and I told him as calmly as I could, “Paul, I am holding our baby in with my hand and I need you to call 911 now.” He still did not believe me and asked if I was sure, and I said yes. There was no mistaking what was going on. He cautiously called 911 (I think to appease me) and told them that his wife was in labor and felt she couldn’t make it to the hospital. 

The next thing I know, another contraction came and I was lowering our baby to the bathmat below me. I looked with shock at the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. I was relieved that she was pink and screaming and could not overlook the massive amount of black hair on her head. My sweet Gwendolyn was here. I wrapped our baby in towels and held her against me while Paul rushed around the house looking for a shoelace as he was ordered to do by the 911 operator. I was relieved that labor was over, but absolutely terrified at the same time. Were my baby and I ok?

The rest of the story is a bit of a blur. Within a few minutes (I think) of delivery, our doula arrived followed by the EMT’s. I was carried on a stretcher and rode in an ambulance to the hospital. Both Gwen and I checked out healthy (though I opted for a blood transfusion) and, we were the talk of Labor and Delivery.

Though our birth story is something I never in a million years would have pictured for us, I can honestly say that I have never been more proud of myself, or my husband and our relationship. Paul was amazing for my labor, delivery, and is continuing to step up every day as the best daddy I know. I am also proud of myself and my body. I had a less than three hour labor that went from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye, and held it together in a terrifying situation. I know that this experience has brought us together in a way I never thought possible. Our little Gwen is now five days old, and I am still going over her birth in my head. It was crazy and insane, but I can honestly say I wouldn’t want her story any other way.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Hello World

I'd like to introduce Gwendolyn Lawrence. 
Born February 2, 2013
6lbs 10.2oz
18.5 inches

Loved to pieces.

Stay tuned for our crazy and wonderful birth story.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Time Bomb

I will apologize ahead of time that for the next few days and weeks, this blog will likely be very baby heavy. With my due date 8 days (!!!) away and a lot of progress made this week, it really is all consuming. I feel like a walking time bomb that can pop at any moment!

Last night, I woke up at 3 am and could not fall black asleep I tossed and turned until about 5:30, but by 6:30 am, I had already eaten breakfast and cleaned my kitchen. I was an exhausted wreck and called out of work. I love my job and give it my all everyday, but I am at the point that I am not pushing myself to exhaustion, which is what I would typically do. I've got a lot of work coming up ahead of me and want to be as mentally and physically ready as possible.

I spoke to my doula about my insomnia and she recommended to drink some tea and journal about my feelings to possibly help alleviate some anxiety which, in turn, will let me sleep. I don't journal, so here I am, drinking red raspberry leaf tea and blogging. Bear with me, it's about to get random.

If you know me, I'm very open that I am not very good with unknown and I am a bit of a control freak.  I have always feared giving birth, but as it approaches, my feelings are beginning to change, which has really surprised me.

A friend of mine shared positive birth affirmations and this quote really resonated with me:

“Giving birth should be your greatest achievement not your greatest fear.” ~ Jane Weideman

I don't think there is anything more true than this. I know labor will be hard and it will hurt, but I have the best health care, doulas, and husband there to support me and help me through it. In the end, we will have a beautiful daughter. I cannot think of anything better.

I also think about how this will effect mine and Paul's relationship. Paul and I have been together coming up on 14 years in May. We will be married six years in June. We have a great life together, an amazing marriage, and great support around us. We are ready to be parents and I am so beyond excited to see how our relationship transforms with this new little person in it. Will it be all great? No, I am aware  there will be challenges, but I know this is most important thing we will ever do together.

While I am going into this super positive, I still have reservations about some things. And here, my friends, is my frivolous, and not so frivolous list of concerns:

Should I continue working?
If I don't work, will I like staying at home?
Can we afford for me to stay at home?
Will I feel lonely?
Tearing...enough said.
Lack of sleep.
Will my body ever be the same?
What if we don't like having a baby?

I know that once our girl is here, most of these questions will answer themselves, but I still do have fears. Through it all, I am excited to become a mother, to see Paul become a dad, and to hold our baby girl.

I would love to hear some of your input for those of you that have been there. Did you share any of my same fears or excitement?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

We've Been Busy!

Hi There bloggy friends and real life friends far and near! I know it's been a very, very long while since I've blogged. My excuses for stopping blogging are plenty: life grew crazy, I lost interest etc., but now I'm back and hoping to be on the regular blog scene again.

Life this last year has been a whirlwind. We've taken on many DIY projects (which I can't wait to share), traveled a bit, and just tried to live our happy little life. We've also had some downs, spending the better part of 2012 traveling to and from New Jersey to be with my father who was very sick with heart failure. In November, he lost his battle and that is something I am learning to accept.

The last year has also been sweet to us for one very big...well small, reason:

We are expecting our daughter on February 9th, which means, any day now Paul and I will become "Mommy and Daddy." Not sure those titles have quite sunk in, but we are more than ready to welcome this sweet, joy into our lives. And, for inquiring minds... here is my progression in the belly area:

I will admit that I am huge these days but it was to be expected. This pregnancy has been "easy" as far as pregnancy goes but I am more than ready to no longer be with child!

I'm happy to back in the bloggy world and am looking forward to sharing our adventures with you again :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Leaving on a jet plane...

I may have mentioned a time or two that I love to travel. I've shared my trip to Key West, and our amazing California Coast vacation with you all over the last few months. Well friends, I've got a big vacation coming up reeeaallly soon. I can't disclose when or where I'm going just yet, but I'll fill you in on this much: it's a multi- country trip, I get to see my hubs, and it's good...real good.

I'm super excited for this adventure, but I have to tell ya- I'm having difficulty keeping my cool. Care if a vent a little? For starters, I am taking off the last two weeks of the school year. Closing out the school year is a pain in the patoot and leaving my kiddos before summer arrives gets me a little worked up. Worse than leaving my kiddos, however, is leaving my beloved pups. It's almost too much for my heart to bear. Yes, I know dogs have no concept of time, and yes, they are in great hands, but I'm crazy. Plain and simple.

Lastly, preparation. Oh, the horror...

Would you agree that successfully packing the right about of clothes, toiletries, shoes, other trip necessities all while leaving room for souvenirs should qualify for some sort of prize? Oh right, this is all while keeping things under 50lbs. Clearly a man has set this weight. As of right now, my bag is confidently weighing in at 36lbs without shoes and toiletries. Can I get a 'heck yea' for small sundresses?

I'm doing my best to pull myself together and stay solely excited for this trip and to see my love, but my stress ball self is roaring it's crazy head! Breathe, Trish, just breathe...

Do any of you have any great vacation plans coming up? How about any great packing tips? Does this post give you the urge to sing John Denver?

                                                              All my bags are packed...I'm ready to go...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

long overdue

I've been off the blog scene for quite a bit. With working full time and preparing for that dear hubs of mine to leave for a long deployment, life got busy. For the months leading up to Paul's deployment, I wanted to dedicate every single second to my husband and living our life (and completing house projects!). The blog got kicked to the curb.

But, I missed chronicling our life and house projects, and I missed  you, my blog friends. So, here I am. Truth be told, I actually had many people asked why I stopped blogging. The idea that people actually read this and wanted me to continue was a very happy surprise.

It's been a few weeks since Paul left for deployment and I am back to acting as a "single" mom to my adorable pups. The responsibility of caring for the the house, yard, and life are left for me. And, to be honest, I don't really mind. I actually like having everything in my control- it's the type A in me. But, Paul leaving wasn't all sunshine and roses. I spent the first two days of deployment a little weepy and on edge. Being separated from my husband for over half a year is a daunting idea to carry around.

On day three I woke and said myself, "Trish, you have to get through these next seven plus months whether you want to or not, you may as well live and enjoy this time." Since then, I ended the one person pity party, pulled on my big girl panties, and have faced deployment with a positive attitude. With the school year coming to an end, lots of girlfriends, and an upcoming two week European vacation (more on that later), life is pretty darn good.

I look forward to sharing my life and house with you again, and hope you'll stick around to read about it!


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