Friday, October 21, 2016

First Few Days as a Family of Five

My mom just left, and I don't know who was more sad: the boys, my mom, or me! I couldn't have survived without her help. I'm very glad Senior Harvards are coming this weekend. If we could just keep a constant rotation of grandparents for the next 18 years, I would be set!

I seriously can't believe I have three kids. I am quickly learning that things can get a bit crazy, but my heart has never been more full.

This was right when we got home from the hospital on Sunday. Gaines was getting up from a nap, so excuse the hair. Both boys were so excited that their baby sister was home. Woody loves to tell Gaines when Mae Stanley "poops in hims pants."

Later that night

Before the boys went to bed, they wanted to tuck Mae Stanley in for the night. Gaines gave her some letters to keep her company through the night.

Mimi went to help stock her closet as soon as she was born. It seems surreal to see all the pink!

First Dr Appointment. Brooks wore pink to match her <3
And let me just say, this guy has been awesome. Watching him become a dad again makes me fall in love all over again.

My amazing Aunt Emma made my gown

Aunt Emma also made the boys some "big brother" shirts and Mae Stanley a "little sister" gown. Do you know how hard it is to get pictures of these three?!

First and last time they will hold her

Gaines was so nervous!

He loves to give her "hugs"

Bright Eyes!

In one of my baby dresses

Saban was on hand to welcome her to her first Gameday at home

Then the boys had fun pretending to be Saban

After church- thank you Brooks for giving us a little quiet time on Sunday mornings!

Not loving her first bath

They constantly want to know what she is doing.
Don't you love what Gaines chose to wear?

The World's Best Big Brothers!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Mae Stanley's Birth Story

Even though I started this blog when I was young and childless, there are no more precious posts than the stories of when my children came into this world. They are so special to me, and every time I read them, I am flooded with memories of those incredible days. Mae Stanley's is no different.

Before I get to the BIG Day, I wanted to share a few funny moments about that week. She was born on a Thursday, but that Monday, I woke up with slight cramping. I had been having lots of Braxton Hicks, but they were mostly at night. Monday I felt funny all day. On Tuesday, both boys were at school, and I had a day full of errands. However, the cramping feeling was getting worse and worse, and deep down, I kinda thought I might go into labor before my c-section date. When I got home after picking up the boys, a Home Improvement marathon was on the television. This was one of my favorite shows growing up, but I rarely see it on TV. If you don't already know, the family has three boys. I couldn't help but wonder if it was a sign that we would shortly be welcoming another boy to our family. However, the first episode I watched, Heidi, the assistant, has a baby! A baby girl! I quickly switched from Team Blue to Team Pink. Then, that night, the Friends episode was on where Rachel has Baby Emma. (In case you are wondering, things like this drove me halfway crazy during my pregnancy!)

On Wednesday, I just knew my cramps would be leading into labor. WRONG! They completely went away, felt great, and did my best to somewhat clean the house since the cleaners cancelled their appointment the day before....ugh. The Harvards and my parents both came in town Wednesday. I started to get so excited- Pam had bought "Squeak" a precious, white Pixie Lilly set and my parents had two huge boxes that my sister had put together.

**Let me back up a little. I swear I am eventually going to get around to having a baby! Brooks wanted to be surprised with the gender, which I was okay with, but I love all things monogrammed. So I got the idea to have the ultrasound tech mail my sister the gender! My sister is so special to me, and she is amazing at not spilling the beans. Yes, she kept the secret for almost five months! She didn't even tell my mom! So those boxes contained her gift to Squeak (filled with monogrammed greatness) and a box that my mom had given her money for and she filled with cute clothes and the going home outfit. Do you know how hard it was to have those boxes Wednesday night and not go through them!?

The rest of Wednesday night consisted of Woody and Gaines not sleeping AT ALL. Seriously. My typically good sleepers where cranky all night. Finally, Thursday was here and I caught the cranky bug because I was very hungry, and knew I wouldn't really be able to eat the rest of the day.

A little after 10:00, Savanna, Brooks's sister came over to keep the boys. She is so sweet and took a day off work to keep the boys so that all the grandparents could be there. I felt good leaving the boys with one of their favorite people. We got to the hospital at about a quarter til 11:00. It started to hit me that this was my last time to do this, and I found myself obsessed with wanting to capture every moment... yes, even in the waiting room.

Let's do this!

Second (and last) picture of the bump

Our sweet pre-op nurse, Belinda came to get us a little after 11:00 to get the ball rolling. I felt myself starting to get nervous, so I was glad to have such a funny and kind nurse. At the last moment, Brooks said that we should play Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide what we were having. I was Team Girl, he was Team Boy, and I won. I guess that settled it- we were going to have a girl. (I know, we are weird)

The anesthesiology team came in to get my epidural rolling. Just like with Gaines, some of the nicest people ever, which is good that they make you feel so comfortable...they are going to be seeing a whole lot of you in the OR. Soon, I was nice a numb, and it was time to head to the OR to meet Squeak! I prayed and prayed just to feel God's peace and to let Squeak be healthy. I wasn't alone in the OR very long before Brooks came back. With Woody and Gaines, he walked in by my head, but with Squeak, the door was by my feet, so he walked right by as they were getting started, which was a bit odd.

Right before

The doctor then yelled for Brooks to stand up and watch his baby being born. Yes, they actually encouraged him to look over the blue curtain. He did and snapped the camera away. I will save those pictures just for me, because they are very unsettling to look at! (Hey! There are my guts and a baby's head! Ick.)

At 1:35 PM, Squeak was here, and when the doctor told Brooks to tell me what we had, all I heard was laughter...and finally, "Oh my goodness, is it really a girl!?"

Mae Stanley was here. Weighing in at 7lbs 12 oz (1 ounce less than Woody) and 20 inches long. And you guys, I cried...and cried...and cried. Part of the tears were from the excitement of a girl, but most were just the joy of a third healthy baby that God had just given me. I kept asking Brooks to wipe my tears...and when he walked over to check on Mae Stanley, I kept asking this poor doctor from the anesthesiology team to do so. Again, the guys were saints.

So happy

The rest of the day, we just cuddled our sweet girl. I was so thankful she nursed like a champ in recovery. On Friday, the boys came to meet their sister. I had these grand ideas of these beautiful family pictures...and this is what I got...

At least my parents got a sweet picture. Brooks failed to get one of his parents with her, so I stole this one of Pam and Mae Stanley.

Woody and Gaines were much more interested in the gifts (that they requested) Mae Stanley bring them.
Preschool Logic: New Sister=Santa Claus

The next few days were spend in our little hospital room, secluded from the craziness of the world. Part of me can't wait to get home and resume life as I know it. Part of me wants time to stand still and just remain in the safe hospital forever.

Saturday Pictures

Sunday- Ready to Go Home!!!

Loving the combination of her outfit and carseat

Mae Stanley, welcome to our crazy family. I love you more than you will ever know.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Dear Squeak,

Dear Squeak,

(Sorry...I am just not the belly pic/maternity photo kind of girl. I take one belly pic the week I deliver. Squeak, if you want to inquire more about what I look like- I was big, with unwashed hair, and lived in Nike running shorts for my entire pregnancy.)

Let me start by saying, your real name is not Squeak. It is just a nickname we have for you until we meet your sweet face. Please find it endearing if two little boys continue to call you that (and sometimes your momma and daddy!) You have been my most cooperative baby, and I hope your sunny disposition lasts! You dad and I can't wait to hold you, love you, and let you grow up in our crazy family.

You are my third baby. In some ways, that seems unreal. I still feel like a first-time mom. I know, I know, how do I not have my act together yet? My search history consists of a lot of "is this normal" hits, and I know that won't stop once you are here. As much as I obsessively worry, my promise to you is to try to obsessively pray for you instead. That seems to get better results.

I don't want you to worry that you are my third baby. My heart has already grown larger for you. I know your personality will be completely unique and you will have your own special identity; God has been carefully working on it for some time. If I do say so myself, there is something special about being the third child.

Those two little boys I mentioned earlier are Woody and Gaines. They are pretty incredible and live one room over from you. They are also really excited about meeting you. Don't worry, they have silly nicknames too. Let them protect you and try to tolerate their noise. When you get mad at your dad and me, you can commiserate with them, but try to sleep in a little later than them if you can.

You are a pretty lucky baby. Your daddy is rather spectacular too. He will teach you one day to ride a bike and do magic tricks, but for now, he will change dirty diapers, sing you silly songs, and walk with you on sleepless nights. He keeps your momma sane...thank him when you get a chance.

And who am I? This lady that has rambled on and on? I am your momma. Your blessed beyond measure momma. From the moment I first heard your heartbeat, I knew that you were mine, that I needed you desperately, and that I loved you immensely. I wish I could promise to be perfect, because that is what you deserve. But I won't be. I will mess up. Let me apologize now. Thankfully, our Heavenly Father is the Perfect Parent, and through my failures, hopefully you will witness His grace.

I love you little Squeak. Can't wait to meet you tomorrow.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Surviving This Pregnancy

Since we knew this would be my last pregnancy, I tried to make a concious attempt to soak up and enjoy every minute of this pregnancy. It truly is a miracle that isn't a guarentee. I am thankful to God for my two healthy children and the one growing in me. is hot. And I am big and am getting pretty uncomfortable. Luckily, we are in the final stretch!

So I have invested in a few new products that have helped me this go around!

La Croix and OJ

I have craved La Croix with a splash of orange juice. I normally don't even like orange juice! It just tastes so cold and fizzy. Plus is gets Squeak moving around, which eases some of my obsessive panic and worry or shim's well-being.

I was lucky in the last two pregnancies to not really have any stretch marks (despite the many, many poiunds I gained), and the ones that appeared, quickly went away after baby. I love this stuff, and I like to think it is preventing them (or at least keeping them at minimum!) It keeps my skin smooth and soft and doesn't have a weird smell to it either.

Ugh, pregnancy acne. It is the worst! And you have to be super careful about what products you use. This is safe to use on your face and body, and it actually works. My skin cleared up as soon as I started using it. I use it twice a day, and the bar still looks barely used, so I am glad it will last me a while. Thanks to my sister for introducing this to me!

True Life: I cried when I got this. Back pain is a common pregnancy symptom, but this time around it has been unbearable at times. I had gotten by just fine with my first two pregnancies without a pregnancy pillow, and felt silly about getting one when I had just over two months to go. However, after tossing and turning every night, Brooks just ordered me this. It is life changing people! I use it in bed and when I am on the couch. It has helped my back pain so much.

Is this hot or what!? After I had Gaines, I found out I had Diastasis Recti. Once I learned more about it, I worked our carefully to not make it worse and hoped over time it would correct itself somewhat. My fear is this pregnancy has split those muscles wide open again. This belt helps hold more up and in place (like a first pregnancy.) It also provides some back support. I don't wear it all the time, because it can be uncomforatble after a while and is HOT! However, I am glad I have it.
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