Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Baby Jaxton: Pregnancy-Week 19

We're at week 19!!!! Yay!!! This is such a big week! Why is this a big week? Because it's the week before 20 weeks and 20 weeks means we're half way there!!! Eeeekkkk!!!

In last weeks pregnancy update I talked about my favorite pregnancy app, Ovia! Ovia gives cute little comparison pics and sweet little updates to let you know how mom and baby are doing!

For week 19 I chose the fruits and veggies theme for Jaxton's body size comparison, and that showed he is the size of a zucchini! 



Here is the size of his hand! This is still and will always be my favorite thing to watch grow! His hands are so incredibly tiny right now, but they grow so incredibly fast!



This past week Jax has gotten SO strong! I've been able to feel his movements here and there for a while now, but this past week I can literally feel every single time he moves! And I love it! Me and Cole were about to go to sleep a few nights ago and Jaxton gave me a couple really strong kicks, so I told Cole to put his hand there. Cole has felt him move before, but seeing his face light up when he got to feel a really strong kick made me almost cry! I just love that he's into this pregnancy as much as I am. Also, I had a dream last night that I could grab Jax's head through my belly and when I woke up he was moving around like a wild child, so his movements are strong even while I'm sleeping, making me dream about him! So cool! Here is this weeks belly pic!



With each weeks pregnancy update, I am going to link a blog post that I write about pregnancy or parenting, so I hope you read, enjoy, and share those with other moms as well! This week I wrote two posts: Birth: Hospital Bag Checklist and The ONLY 6 Things You Need For A Baby

The ONLY 6 Things You Need For A Baby

As a first time mom, my first child had EVERYTHING! A swing for upstairs, a swing for down stairs, walker, crib, bassinet, pack n' play, bouncy seat, bumbo, bath seat, stroller, and more. Just so many things he didn't need. Thankfully most things I had for my son were given to us, but still. He didn't need all of that. Then I had my daughter and she had some things that were left over from my son, but I got rid of everything after she grew too old for it. Now I am pregnant with baby #3 and I know that he doesn't need all these things that just take up room. So here is a true list of what you need for your new babe.

Clothes
Obviously, babies need clothes. If you're worried about all of the money it's going to cost clothing your rapidly growing little human, hit up your local second hand store! I have no shame at all buying my children second hand clothes. You could even ask if anyone has any baby clothes they're willing to give away for free or sell for a decent price on your local buy/sell/trade Facebook groups. There are some moms that love helping out other moms who need things for their littles!

Swaddlers
I did not know that babies needed to be swaddled until I had my second child. My first didn't have arms or legs, so I didn't know that babies flinging their arms and legs unexpectedly would send them into automatic freakout mode! If you want to save yourself a couple minutes of sleep during the night, swaddle that newborn babe!

Diapers
Well, something has to catch that runny newborn poop, and I'm sure you don't want it to be your lap or the furniture! Diapering a baby can get expensive. Especially if you have an every 30 minute breastfed pooper like I did. There was so much money spent on newborn disposables with my first two, that I honestly don't even want to think about it. This time around we will be using cloth diapers and cloth wipes from the beginning! With cloth diapering you spend money one time (or two times if you start off at newborn cloth like I am) and never have to spend a dime again, unless you get addicted to buying all the diapers. Newborn cloth diapers typically fit until around 12 pounds, then you need to buy the next size up or one-size diapers. Since newborn cloth can be just as pricey as one-size cloth and they don't stay in it for all of their diapering years, I recommend buying pre-loved diapers from your local cloth diaper store or from one of the MANY cloth b/s/t groups on Facebook. Moms are ALWAYS selling cloth diapers and you better keep an eye out and not wait too long deciding or the good stuff will be gone before you know it!

Boobs
Literally yall. Boobs. Baby hungry? Stick a boob in it. Baby crying? Stick a boob in it. Baby sick? Stick a boob in it. Baby overstimulated? Stick a boob in it. Don't want anyone holding your baby? Whip it out and stick a boob in it. I mean, you wouldn't do this if you bottle fed, but I'm the type of mom that doesn't like to take all these extra steps and just likes to stick a boob in it. Also, if you cannot or do not want to breastfeed or pump and can't really get on board with the price of formula, you can always give your baby donated breastmilk. There are places you can buy breastmilk from and there are pages and groups on Facebook FILLED with mothers who want to help your baby and donate their milk to them with nothing in return, besides storage bags to replace the ones they've given you. Look it up! Some of the stories are so very touching.

Car seat
To leave the hospital or even go anywhere, you have to have a car seat. And it doesn't have to be a top of the line $300 seat. Walmart has some great prices for infant seats! Another way to save money is buying a convertible car seat that'll fit your baby from birth to two, or more, years old rear facing and up to 65 pounds forward facing OR you could set up a donation fund so your friends and family can help get your baby a seat! But please please please never get a used seat! You do not know what that seat has been through and there is always a possibility the seat could not properly protect your child in an accident.

Baby carrier
This right here, y'all. A baby carrier, wrap, or ring sling will save your life! Your newborn baby has just spent the first 9 months of their life inside of your warm comforting belly. Where they want and need to be after that is against your warm comforting chest where they can hear the heartbeat that they've heard all of their life. But let get real. You cannot hold a baby all day. You have things you need to get done that you can't do while holding a baby. That's where the carrier comes in! You can have your baby right where they need to be with no need of using your arms or hands! With my second child, I had her in the ring sling as soon as we got home and that's where she stayed most times I had to do something, until she was aware enough to explore her surroundings.

So that's all you need. Literally.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Not Just A Step Dad

This is my significant other and my oldest two children's Daddy-Cole, as they call him. He's their step dad. But he's not just a step dad.



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He told me a few days ago that when my son was born and he heard that he didn't have arms or legs, he didn't know how anyone could raise a child with such a disability. He thought to himself that HE definitely couldn't do it if he were his child. But then he said that God heard that and 2 1/2 years later made the mother of that child the love of his life and that disabled child and his little sister his children.

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This man didn't have to take on the challenge of having a disabled child.

This man didn't have to take off work, drive hours, and get a hotel room just to go to my child's prosthetics and wheelchair appointment.

This man didn't have to take on the challenge of jumping into parenthood right at the toddler years.

This man didn't have to take on the financial responsibility of two children that aren't legally or biologically his.

This man didn't have to take on the task of tucking in sleepy and whiny toddlers.

This man didn't have to take on the job of a "one more kiss" and "one more hug" giver.

This man didn't have to take on the responsibility of getting up with a crying child in the night.

This man didn't have to buy them hats or bows just because he wanted them to look super cute.

This man didn't have to buy my daughter a jacket so she wouldn't be cold during the winter.

This man didn't have to take them out to the park and help my limbless child learn to climb the stairs and go down the slide all by himself, without me there.



This man didn't have to make sure that my children take their vitamins, drink their milk, and eat all of their food everyday.

This man didn't have to take on the name Daddy-Cole.

This man didn't have to take ALL of the responsibilities of another man.

But he did.

Why?

Because he's not just a step dad.

He's a super hero.




Birth: Hospital Bag Checklist

I am due with baby #3 in July and with this being my third, I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what to pack in your hospital bag(s). I have had two previous csections, so my list may be a little different from the mom's who birth vaginally, but not too different. Hopefully I'll be able to give you a few ideas to add to your checklist! And if you have anything to add, please comment! I may need it or want it this time around!






For mom:

  • Chapstick
I really really REALLY reccomend bringing Chapstick when you're going to give birth to your baby. It is always so cold and dry in the hospital and it would always dry my lips out so bad. I would go crazy without it!
  • Snacks
Bring snacks! Hospital snacks can get super expensive super fast. Sometimes the nurses will have snacks for you, but let's face it. No one wants to eat peanut butter crackers or saltines all day for 2-4 days. And if you're going to be breastfeeding, you're going to be very hungry all day. 
  • Laptop/iPad/phone
You're probably going to think that you don't need or will even want these things, but you will. When you're there all alone or your partner is snoring on the guest cot, and you're up every hour of the night bottle feeding, pumping, or learning to breastfeed your new baby, you're going to want something to do and/or help keep you awake other than boring hospital cable. Plus, you can keep up with your Netflix and Hulu shows! 
  • Charger cords and USB outlet
DON'T FORGET THESE! 
  • Camera
I use my phone camera to take pics once we are back in our room all by ourselves, but I've had someone in my family with a professional camera to take pics for both of my deliveries and if I didn't have that, I would regret it 100%. Being able to look back at my babies being surgically born into this world is such a blessing to me since I was not able to watch it myself.
  • Csection support panties
If you're having a planned csection GET THESE CSECTION SUPPORT PANTIES. If you had an emergency csection MAKE SOMEONE GO GET YOU THESE CSECTION SUPPORT PANTIES. They're seriously the best. I wore them for months. They give such good support and a thick layer of protection from your pants rubbing on your incision. 
  • Abdominal binder for csection support
I didn't even know I needed this until my nurse put one on me after I had my first child. You NEED this. Getting out of bed after a csection is one of the most painful things I've experienced. But with the abdominal binder, it holds it all in place for you so you don't feel like you're literally going to bust open your gut if you move. Call your hospital before you purchase an abdominal binder to see if they provide them. The hospital I had my first in provided it for me, but the hospital I had my second child in did NOT provide one for me. Thankfully my mom held on to the one I had with my first child, or else I would've had to purchase one online.
  • Your own pads
When I was laying in bed not able to get up, the hospital pads and mesh panties are fine. Once I got up, I hated both of them. I know. You hate me. Mesh panties were sent to earth from God himself and you stole several pairs and took them home. I just didn't care for them though. And the hospital pads made me feel like I was wearing a diaper because I could hear it every time I walked. What I did was get some comfy brief panties that wouldn't rub on my csection scar and bought some overnight Infinity pads for during the day and regular always overnight pads with the big butt panel for during the night. So comfy and I didn't leak.
  • Your own clothes
I know that some women prefer to stay in their hospital gown the entire time, but not me. Once I was allowed to take a shower, I wanted to start feeling as normal as possible and that meant getting into my own clothes. I brought a few big t-shirts, tank tops, pajama bottoms, and of course a comfy maxi dress to wear home. 
  • Boppy pillow
Even if you aren't going to breastfeed, get a boppy pillow. It is great for back support and makes it a lot easier for a super tired mama to hold and feed baby.
  • Your own pillow
Hospital pillows suck. Don't wait until it's too late to find that out. Take my word. Bring your own pillow. Heck, bring two pillows! You're going to be in that bed a lot, so you might as well make it as comfy as possible! I was even allowed to use my pillow during my csection!
  • Makeup
You may not think you'll want this either, but I sure did! I felt so tired, and looking at myself in the mirror made me feel even more tired because of how completely exhausted I looked. Bringing my makeup and putting a little on helped me feel more awake and more like myself. 
  • Hair products
I have super curly hair. If I don't put anything in it, I look pretty scary. So I brought my hair cream, hairspray, and hair drier. I wasn't able to do much bending to get my hair completely dry, but oh well. It turned out fine. And I didn't look like a jungle woman in all of my hospital pictures haha!
  • Comfy slippers/socks
I'm not going to lie to you and tell you I brought slippers to the hospital, because I didn't. And I probably won't this time either because I don't leave my room, unless I have a baby in the NICU. I personally love those big scratchy hospital socks. If I still had them, I would probably wear them now because they keep my feet so warm. So, if you don't want to bring slippers and don't like the hospital socks, bring socks! All different kinds of socks. You're going to be hot and cold all the time and you'll need socks to go with the the temperature! And if you're the type that likes to leave your room and walk around, bring the slippers!

For baby:

  • Clothes
Some people keep their babies in what the hospital provides, some people keep their babies naked, and some people bring several outfits, onesies, and sleepers. I'm the last type of person. I love to put my babies in several different outifits when I start feeling well enough to move around. I had I think three different outfits to take pictures in, onesies and diaper shirts for during the day and then sleepers for the night when they're in their own bassinet. Other than that, they're skin to skin with me while we are learning to nurse together.   
  • Socks
Baby's feet stay cold all the time, so you're going to want to bring socks to keep their little baby feet warm.
  • Mittens
My first child doesn't have hands, so I didn't realize how important these are until I had my second child. She scratched her face up pretty good and scratched me a couple times. If you don't want to spend the extra money on mittens, socks on the hands work just as well.
  • Hats
I love the hospital hats. I think they're cute. But after a while I get sick of looking at them and want to see my baby in all the cute stuff that has been waiting so long to go on their little heads.  
  • Blankets
The hospital provides blankets, but I like to use my own after the first day. I have some family members who crochet blankets for my babies, so I love to use those too. 
  • Cloth diapers
Not everyone cloth diapers, and I didn't cloth diaper my first two babies from the beginning, but we will be using cloth from the beginning this time. I don't know if I really want to use cloth in the hospital and then have to wash diapers right when I get home, but I will bring a few to get some cute pictures!
  • Baby book
If you're like me and want your baby's sweet little feet and hand prints in their baby book, then bring the baby book! And make sure you have an extra sheet of paper in there so the ink doesn't transfer to the page next to it. 
  • Info stickers and cards for baby's bed
I personally do not circumcise my boys and I do not formula or bottle feed any of my babies, so I do not feel comfortable with my boys being retracted or any of my babies being given a pacifier or bottle unless there is a true medical need. The best way to make sure that everyone knows your wishes is to have info stickers and/or cards in your baby's hospital bed. You can get info stickers and cards for your intact boys at the Your Whole Baby Shop. I haven't been able to find any info stickers or cards for "Do Not Bottle Feed" or "Do Not Give Pacifier", but you if find some, please please please let me know so I can link it here and get some for my sweet boy due in July!
  • Car seat 
This right here is more important than anything. You cannot take your baby home if you do not have a car seat. Make sure that your car seat is not expired and that you do not have any accessories on the seat that it did NOT come with. Purchasing items that did not come with the seat, unless made by the company and is approved for the seat, is dangerous because it has not been crash tested with your baby's seat. Also make sure you are up to date on your car seat safety knowledge. Straps are supposed to be snug and coming from BELOW the shoulders for a rear facing child and chest clip is supposed to be even with the armpits. To read more about car seat safety, click here.  

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Camden & Ryleigh's First Beach Trip!

Saturday morning I woke up with tons of energy, which every mother knows is rare and very welcomed when you're pregnant, and wanted to get out and do something fun with the kids! We were eating breakfast and I hinted to Cole that today would be a nice day to take the kids to the beach for their very first time. He said let's go, and so we did! 

We got to Saint Simons Island around 1pm, had a little picnic, then took the kids down to the beach.












Ryleigh was 100% in her element and LOVED EVERYTHING about the beach! She was picking up shells, seaweed, wood, and little sea creatures. 








Camden got his name drawn in the sand and he thought that was awesome!

I was so proud of Camden for playing in the sand. If you know Camden very well, you know that he HATES getting dirty. But he got right into it and started building himself a house!




This was the funniest thing! Cole dug this hole and put Camden in it. He sat in it until it started filling up and when Cole pulled him out his shorts stayed in the sand, so everyone had to see his little booty!


Daddy-Cole made Camden a sand chair and he thought it was the coolest thing!

Ryleigh spent 85% of her time in these warm little pools picking up all of the little animals.



This was their first time on a pier and they loved that too! There were ducks, planes, and boats and they were fascinated by every one of them.

We had the best time on our little beach trip! There were no meltdowns, Camden overcame his fear of big bodies of water and getting dirty, and Ryleigh was an awesome sister and showed Camden all of the shells she picked up. It only cost us $15 for gas and we brought our own food, so we will definitely be doing this again soon!


Friday, February 24, 2017

A Letter To My 18 Year Old Pregnant Self

Dear 18 year old pregnant self,
This is your 22 year old pregnant self. Crazy, right? I just need to tell you 1 or 2 or 20 things. I know that you want a girl as your first child. You've always wanted it. You can feel that's what you're having. But you're not having a girl.

And that's not going to be what flips your world and all of your plans upside down. Your precious boy is going to be born with a disability. And not any typical disability that you're familiar with or have even heard of. Your son is going to be born without arms or legs. 

BUT DONT FREAK OUT! I already know you'll freak out, because I am you and I know it's scary, but please know everything is going to be okay. I know you're going to consider abortion because you can't imagine your child living like that, I know you're going to make the appointment, and I know you're going to wait until the last day to decide that you're a selfish person and want your baby anyways despite what the doctors and some "friends and family" have said. You're going to be okay though. And he is going to be okay too. And ohhhh that sweet peace you will feel once you decide you are going to keep that boy of yours. 

He is three now and is one of the most amazing people we know. He can do so many of the things we told ourself he wouldn't ever be able to do. I know that you think this life is going to be hard, and some of it is, but it's not as hard as you think. He will become your normal and you will learn that his two year old sister, yes you will have 2 children 13 months apart and yes that means you'll have three children 3 and younger, is a lot harder to parent than he is. I know you don't believe me, but your daughter is a wild crazy child and will leave you speechless 85% of the time. 

I also want to you listen to me right now when I tell you not to listen to that awful man who told you that no one will ever truly love you or want to be with you because you have a disabled child. "No one in their right mind would take on that responsibility.", he said. But I know you won't listen to me. And don't listen to him when he tells you no one will ever truly love you or want to be with you because you have a disabled 1 year old AND a newborn. But I know you won't listen to me. And don't listen to him when he tells you that you're too damaged to ever find someone to love you.

And this time you listen. God sends you a man you would've never thought would be the one He would send. He goes to church and bible study 3-4 times a week. He doesn't drink or do drugs. He has the sweetest kindest soul that you can see through his eyes without having to know him at all. He will love you despite all of the reasons you were told why no one would ever love you. He will even love your children. He will spend love, time, and money on them that he doesn't have to and was never asked to spend.

He will start putting payments on a ring to ask you to marry him. Then you will find out that you're pregnant with his child. And for once, you are so so so very happy and have no doubts. Then you'll turn into a big pregnant turd and he will still love you. He will rub your growing belly. He will bring you home your cravings after he gets off work. He will tell you that you're beautiful, even if you haven't washed your hair in three days or shaved your legs in a month. He will go to all of your ultrasound appointments because he knows how nervous they make you. He will love everything great about you and everything bad about you. All those times you wondered if God was listening and what did God do? He gave you exactly what you needed. Every.single.time. Because He loves you.

So, 18 year old pregnant self, your life is going to be hard. But God is still going to continue loving you and blessing you so much more than you deserve. Sometimes you're going to want to give up, but you're going to end up exactly where you are needed. You're going to feel unloved, and God is going to bless you with the four greatest and sweetest loves you will ever know. Then you're going to feel a burden in your heart to share your love and blessings with whoever is willing to listen or read, in hopes that it will help them too. 18 year old pregnant self, you're going to be okay and you will learn that with time.



Photo credit: Tiffany Christie Photography

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Baby Jaxton: Pregnancy-Week 18

Today I am 18 weeks and 2 days pregnant with our little boy, Jaxton. I had my anatomy scan this morning. Anatomy scans always make me super nervous. First we had a scan at 12 weeks to make sure he had all of his arms and legs because of Camden not having his, so that was out of the way. Then we had the anatomy scan and that made me nervous because Ryleigh has a sacral dimple and even though I think all of my babies are perfect and I wouldn't change a single thing about them, it still makes me worry because this time it could be a serious internal defect. But thankfully Jaxton looks great! He is measuring right on track with how old he is and he weighs 8 ounces. We got to watch him move all around and watch the 4 chambers of his strong little heart pump in and out blood. I saw my midwife and she said everything looks 100% healthy and I should get my blood results back next week from the spina bifida and Down's syndrome tests. I am soooo thankful that we were blessed with a third healthy child!

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I love to use the Ovia pregnancy app to get all of my pregnancy updates! They have cute little pictures and four different themes to choose from to compare to baby's size. This week I chose the Fruits & Vegetables theme and Jaxton is the size of a sweet potato! 

Another photo option that they offer is a hand size comparison. It's so neat seeing how fast their little hands grow. Me and Cole have the same reaction every week when we see how much Jaxton's hands have grown in just 7 days. It's really awesome. 
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So after I got home from my appointment this morning I was showing Camden and Ryleigh all of the pictures of their new baby and Camden said the funniest thing. "Mama! He has a wiener just like mine!!!" And that is life with a typical three year old boy, haha!



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

We're Back!

Like the title says, WE'RE BACK! I haven't posted anything since October 2nd, 2014, which was Camden's first birthday. He is THREE now! I've mostly been posting on the Facebook page, and I've been neglecting that too lately. BUT! I'm ready to get back into my groove of writing and sharing. I'm about to be a mommy of three children ages three and under and I NEED something to do that does not require stuffing little non stop talking mouths with food or wiping any poop butts.
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An update for those of you who do not have Facebook or follow me on my personal Instagram:
Camden is now a know-it-all three year old, Ryleigh is a sassy pants two year old, and we will be welcoming baby Jaxton (he will go by Jax) sometime in July! Oh, and we also have Camden and Ryleigh's bonus-dad, Cole! I love him, the kids adore him, and he knows how to deal with all of our craziness! God definitely sent us a great one!

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I'm not entirely sure what this blog is going to contain, but it's going to be a about a little of everything! What the kids are up to, going a little deeper into our story, dealing with the public and disability, cloth diapering toddlers and a newborn(hopefully the older 2 will be fully potty learned by the time Jax gets here), get into a few of my parenting choices, and I might even show you guys my next months ipsy bag if it's as good as what I got this month! But whatever this blog ends up being or not being, I know it's going to be fun! And I really really hope you enjoy following along!