August 3, 2016

Eloise Ruby's Birth Story

In typical Ashley fashion, I am over two months late in writing this. And although Eloise was a scheduled C-section, I still wanted to write down my memories from the day of her birth before they are completely gone!

Before we even thought of having another baby, I debated back and forth between trying for a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) or scheduling a repeat C-section. And while I know many think that the surgery has much higher risks, I decided, after much research and feedback from friends who had tried for VBACs, that a planned C-section would be the safer way to go for me. I wanted Eloise to be my "birth without fear." And I am happy with this decision. 

My C-section was scheduled for Sunday, May 29th at 2 pm. We dropped Avery off at her grandparents' house the night before so that we could enjoy one last kid-free date night for the foreseeable future. We enjoyed a nice (and expensive) steak dinner at The Blacksmith's Steakhouse which we'd been wanting to try for some time. 

After we got back home, there were a million things on my to-do list still. We moved into our new house only four short weeks (yep, at 35 weeks pregnant!) before Eloise was due. My plan was to work into the wee hours of the night to get the entire house cleaned and hospital bags packed, but I wasn't able to do that as I started having contractions. I decided to get a good night's sleep and get things done in the morning.

About 7 am, I woke up in full nesting mode and ready to get everything done. I cleaned the kitchen, bathrooms, vacuumed, dusted, and mopped. I showered, got ready, and packed our hospital bags in about five minutes. We took one last baby bump chalkboard picture and hopped in the car to head to the hospital.

We were asked to arrive at noon, but (again, in typical Ashley fashion) made it up to the floor at 12:15 pm. The triage beds were all occupied or dirty, so we were taken to a Labor & Delivery room. It was an unexpected luxury to have a private room with tons of space in preparation for our delivery. I answered a million admission questions, baby was hooked up to the monitor, and my awesome nurse Amy started my IV and drew blood all in just one stick. IV fluids were started, and we waited. The CRNA and my OB stopped by to say hi, and our nurse let us know the surgery scheduled ahead of us was running a bit behind, so it would be closer to 3 when we would have our baby. My in-laws planned to bring Avery up to see us and meet her baby sister afterward.

It didn't take as long as expected, and we were headed back to the OR to have a baby! My husband wasn't allowed back until my spinal was placed and the sterile field prepped and ready to go. I sat on the operating table while the CRNA placed my spinal. I was so incredibly nervous, as my experience with Avery's epidural was less than pleasant. Luckily, he was fantastic and there was no shooting pain and no re-sticks needed. I began to feel the effects of the medication immediately, and from there on out, everything happened very quickly.

The doctors arrived, my husband was there, and my CRNA was awesome and we chatted away about life and I found out he knew my sister-in-law (who later told me that he actually dated her in the past - haha!). After several big tugs and deep breaths, we heard our baby girl utter her very first cry. It was strong, but sweet. In that moment, I started to cry. My husband started to cry too. We were both overjoyed and amazed that our second baby girl was here. She was weighed and measured (unofficially) at 7 lbs, 15 oz and 20 inches long born at 3:15 pm. My husband brought her over to me, and we had our picture taken. 

While I was being sewn up in the OR, my husband went with Eloise to the nursery. We opted to delay her bath from being given right away. Our family photographer, Megan, so graciously offered to come take pictures to add to her portfolio of birth photography, so she was able to capture those moments that I missed due to being in surgery, which I will cherish forever. After recovery and then being taken to my postpartum room, I was finally able to see my sweet girls and our family was all together again.

I couldn't have asked for a better birth experience this time around. And although I did still have a small amount of nausea/vomiting and itching as side effects from the Duramorph, I was up moving much more quickly than my C-section with Avery. {A side note, we learned later that night that her official stats were 7 lbs, 15 oz, and 21 inches long (not 20). Unfortunately, we learned this after we had written on our hospital door hanger - oops!} 

We love you, sweet Eloise. Welcome to the world, baby girl!


July 7, 2016

Our Fourth of July Weekend

We had a very relaxing three-day weekend for the Fourth of July. On Saturday, I had a baby shower for a sweet friend from Texas. Avery went off to her grandparents for a few hours and I brought Eloise with me just in case she got hungry during that time. She was an angel and slept through nearly the whole shower. 

Side note: this was our first holiday since Eloise was born so I was a bit excited for the coordinating/matching sister outfits, so we had three different outfits planned for the weekend! My hubby even made a comment about the thousand dollars in outfits I spent for the weekend. (insert eye-rolling emoji) Avery was a stinker and not into picture-taking so this was the best I could get. Ah, toddlers.

The rest of the day we spent at home, while the landscaper chopped down weeds in preparation for sod installation later this week. This seems boring but is huge for us because we've been waiting for a yard for several months now and the weeds had completely taken over our yard. I'm sure our neighbors are happier than we are, actually.

On Sunday, we made an improptu Target run after checking my weekly Target ad email that morning. There were so many deals for the holiday weekend that we couldn't pass up! I spent the majority of the day and during naptimes deep cleaning the house.

We had a 4th of July party to go to that evening. Our friends have an annual party complete with neighborhood fireworks. Their home backs up onto a lake and then the fireworks are shot over the lake, so it's always a pretty fun experience. The Illinois weather was completely crazy and it was overcast and a high of 64 degrees or so. This didn't mesh well with my planned outfits at all but we switched it up a bit and all worked out. Avery was actually thrilled to take a picture with baby sister so mama was thrilled we got a cute picture!

This was Avery's first experience with fireworks that she was even remotely interested in, even if only for 5 minutes. She absolutely loved the "big booms". She would tell us all the colors, especially if they were purple (her current favorite color, apparently). We were pretty close to the fireworks so they were loud, and she would tell us "no scary Avey". It was too cute!

Monday, I took advantage of the hubby being home for the second day in a row and finished my deep cleaning of the house. We finally got our new living room furniture that we had been waiting on for almost 10 weeks (again, so exciting!) That evening we went over to another 4th of July party our friends were hosting. The weather cooperated so I was able to put the girls in their matching dresses - yay!

Avery had a blast playing on this little slide set in our friends' back yard. 

We then walked down to our usual fireworks spot for the big Peoria show. Our friends live up on the hill overlooking the Illinois river where the fireworks are shot off from, so it's a perfect spot for viewing the show. And far enough away that they aren't super loud. 

The weekend was a perfect combination of laziness and holiday fun, and we ended it by getting home at almost 11 pm on Monday night. Avery was of course wide awake, and returning to our usual routine on Tuesday morning was a bit difficult, but overall, baby's first 4th of July was a success!

June 24, 2016

Five on Friday {Eloise Ruby is here!}

It's been over a year since I last blogged a Five on Friday, so this is super exciting for me! Since our sweet baby girl #2 has been in this world for just shy of 4 weeks (on Sunday!), I thought I'd dedicate my five all to her!


Here she is! Eloise Ruby entered this world on Sunday, May 29th at 3:15 pm. 7 pounds, 15 ounces and 21 inches long. (Almost identical to her big sister, just one ounce more! But nearly two weeks earlier, so had she cooked as long as Avery, she definitely would've been bigger) I just love this image above of her holding Daddy's finger while in the nursery. We were so blessed to have our photographer Meghan from Burnt Toast Photography capture images that first day we were in the hospital. I'll be posting later about her birth story.


The picture above I captured myself one of the first few days home from the hospital. My sister gifted Eloise this gorgeous monogrammed bunny from Peekawhoo and being the good big sister she is, Avery makes sure at all times that Eloise's bunny is nearby her. The most exciting part of this picture is that I was shooting in aperture mode. I took a photography class the Sunday before Eloise was born (at 38 weeks pregnant) and the information I learned really clicked (no pun intended!) this time!


I just love a baby in a hooded bath towel. This was after Eloise's very first big girl bath in her 4moms infant tub. Although you can't tell from the picture, she really did love her first bath! 


Another thing I just can't resist? A sleeping babe in adorable jams. I picked up these panda Kickee Pants pajamas during one of my lunch breaks the week before Eloise's delivery. She's so darn long she's already fitting very comfortably in this 0-3 month pair. I just love this brand - so soft and so breathable. (Sidenote - This flamingo swaddle blanket from Target is just the cutest too! Even cuter is how Avery pronounces the word flamingo - "flor-da-mingo". I die!)


Like I previously mentioned in my final bumpdate, I had to quickly adjust my expectations that the nursery would not be complete before Eloise arrived. I was so lucky to have my mom here an entire week after we came home from the hospital, and she helped me wash, organize, and put away a ton of baby clothes. Just this past week, my hubby finished hanging the collage wall above the changing table dresser and I was able to get all her bow headbands organized. This was even more exciting because we had our photographer Meghan over to our home for a lifestyle shoot to capture images of our family of four. Of course I will share these as soon as I receive them! (Another funny sidenote - I shared in my last Five on Friday from a whole year ago that I loved this Anthropologie wallpaper. Who knew that just one year later we'd have another baby with a nursery to actually use the wallpaper in! Crazy!)

I am linking up with AprilChristina Darci, and Natasha for five things on my mind today!