Monday, January 26, 2015


Ezra's room is our favorite room in the house.
Around a year ago a roof leak ripped this room apart and it stayed that way for months while we waited for insurance money and contractors. When we found out Ezra was on the way, we brought in an electrician to add outlets- and he discovered knob and tube wiring throughout the room and the house- major fire hazard and major bummer. All I wanted to do was decorate this room- it was something I dreamt about since we first toured the house 3+ years ago. We struggled to get financing for the electrical work but with just two months to spare we worked with the greatest electricians ever to re-wire the entire house and make Ezra's room safe. With just a few weeks before our due date we were finally able to rip up carpet (and a million staples), refinish the floor, paint, build the crib and changing table and start to decorate. Since Ezra came 3 weeks early we weren't able to finish the room until now! It was a huge labor of love- and we are so proud and happy to gift this special room to our boy. I am already dreaming of reading in our cozy chair and playing with toys on the awesome floor. <3

The view coming up the stairs 

The E is decoupaged with maps of all the special places in our lives
Kilim rug (Pottery Barn)- super discount thanks to Mike

Lovely banners made by my dear friends for my baby shower
Gorgeous crib thanks to GG <3 
We scored this armoire a few years ago at the Habitat Restore
We moved it from our bedroom, painted to match the crib and
replaced the fabric inserts with chalkboards

My favorite reading corner- loved this Ikea hack I found on Pinterest
The shelves are actually spice racks!

Ikea bookshelf turned changing table- super functional since it can grow into a dresser with Ez

Me and my buddy 

Much of the artwork created by my friend Chris
E artwork by my creative sister in law Alyssa
Gorgeous dream catcher a sweet gift from my friend Tammy

A reminder of where we started 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2 Months!

Height:22 inches   Weight: 9.1    Head Circumference: 39

-Starting to smile
-Stares into your soul with gorgeous huge blue/grey eyes
-Still in newborn clothing
-Has RSV (very mild but no fun)
-Introducing cloth diapers
-Holds head up
-Hates tummy time, hiccups and sleeping alone
-First laugh for GG and Mike
-Loves a warm bath, milk, milk and milk

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ezra - 1 month!

Height: 20 inches
Weight: 7 pounds 4 ounces

-Finally gaining weight
-Staying awake longer during the day
-Wide awake all night :)
-Rocking the newborn clothing
-First outing was typical Cruz behavior- thrift store :)
-Celebrated Christmas and New Years

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Birth Story- Part 2

This was it- I was justified. No false labor, in fact this was active labor- what I had been preparing for for months. I was ready, calm and safe. There were kind, smiling women at every turn and I felt complete peace. As I entered my labor room- it felt like it belonged to I was coming home. Lights were dim, the air was cool and there were no hospital smells or sounds like I had feared. The bed wasn't the focal point- there was a couch, a rocking chair, a birthing ball, a jacuzzi tub and perhaps what stood out most- the baby bassinet ready to welcome a new life. It was surreal- a reminder of what all the classes, reading, preparing was for.

Marie my nurse welcomed with like an old friend. It didn't feel like our first time meeting- it didn't feel like I was in a room that belonged to someone else. This was our room. She just so happened to specialize in natural, un-medicated birth and only made mention of my hopes for such a birth once- "natural right? We can do this. I'll help you every step of the way."

It was never a question,never an outlandish request or silly naive dream - it was just the way it was going to be (unless intervention was medically necessary). I wasn't expecting this from a hospital where birth is primarily seen as medical event rather than a natural process. So from the start, I felt empowered. Marie showed us pressure points to alleviate pain, a labor dance to help move with contractions and how to use the birthing ball to help progress labor. She told me funny stories about her kids and husband and gave me the freedom to do whatever naturally needed to be done. I was entrusted with my own experience- I was allowed to experience my own power.

Thankfully soon after arriving our amazing doula Jamie arrived which was a miracle since we realized as I was contracting in the shower hours earlier that we didn't even have her phone number (since we still had yet to meet for our final consult and still had weeks before our due date). She joined us with ease and grace- her spirit was calming and encouraging. She knew my hopes, dreams and fears and strengths and was there to navigate us through it all.

As contractions got stronger so did I.
They were uncomfortable but not impossible- because I wasn't afraid of them. The best advice I held onto was to ride each let my body relax into the discomfort because it wasn't pain in the normal sense - it was progress.

As contractions got stronger so did I.
They were uncomfortable but not impossible- because I wasn't afraid of them. The best advice I held onto was to ride each let my body relax into the discomfort because it wasn't pain in the normal sense - it was progress. it is amazing what you can put your mind to. 

I stayed away from the bed and allowed gravity to move us along. Each wave would rise and I would look into Mike's eyes and it surprised me how much strength I found there in his resolve, his unwavering gaze; the pride reflecting back at me. It is something I've never experienced in my life- to literally pull strength from someone else. He and Jamie reminded me to use deep breathing and to push my feet into the ground for strength. 

I felt no fear in this phase of labor- just peace and progress. There was very little talking, no hospital sounds or lights. Conversation was saved for moments I wasn't contracting *except for the empowering words from my amazing team.

*I have to take a moment and say how glad I am that I worked hard and gifted myself with a doula- it was the best investment I could have made. The team we built - rallied around, taking on my struggle, anticipating my needs, purposefully facing my fears and building me up in the most important moment of my life was priceless. 

I continued on my feet and on the ball throughout the night and in the early morning when contractions were stronger I climbed into the labor tub. The lights off--only the glow of the lights in the tub creating a dreamy blue haze- I focused on the feeling of the water surging against my feet. It was incredibly relaxing, Not long after, it was time to be monitored and I begrudgingly left the tub and laid on the bed. After being checked the midwife found that I was 9cm and ready to go- only my water was holding back the baby. She encouraged me to break the water and this is when fear kicked in- I hadn't studied this yet- I wasn't sure if it was safe or what the next phase would be like. We all talked about it and I decided to go for it. 

The contractions came in full force now- they felt different, and the intensity scared me. I was no longer managing waves- my body was in control and I was along for the ride now. Pushing was the hardest part- it felt so wrong and yet natural. Mentally, I wasn't ready for labor to be over...for me to be a mother. Releasing this last bit of control was hardest- I looked around the circle of people holding me and begged for help. Jamie reminded me I was powerful,  I was helping myself and meeting this new life was what I had prepared so long and hard for. 

It wasn't until Mike said he could see the baby and his full head of hair that I found the motivation I needed to truly let go and push myself beyond all limits, I was ready to meet my son. The midwife yelled for me to grab him and so I reached down and felt his arms and pulled him to my chest. 

The pride and elation I felt in that moment cannot be described. It was perfect and wonderful all 10 hours of it. My proudest accomplishment - the birth of a new little man and a new me.

This is Ezra's birth story; mine and Mike's too. For me its like I got to be born again- facing down lifelong fears and finding my strength and power- my connection to the Creator and my new purpose. 

Birth is miraculous, fascinating, spiritual, historical and powerful and I already miss it. Each birth is a unique experience no matter where it happens or how and for me there couldn't have been a more perfect way (or a more perfect little boy). 


My recommendations: 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Birth Story Part 1

I've been enthralled with stories of birth for the last few years especially.  So this post is my way of adding to the wealth of experience that surrounds us. It is my fear that I might offend someone who had a different experience than myself or a different philosophy of birth but please know that isn't my intent. You should also know that my own birth was traumatic- born in heart failure with a significant and often fatal heart disease that followed me until my late teenage years. This shaped me in so many ways but in two very specific ways regarding birth-

  • 1- I can remember my mom asking the doctor at each yearly appointment what my prognosis was for one day having kids of my own. As a young girl the question embarrassed me and as a young woman it scared me- the doctor wasn't sure.
  • 2- Physical activity was always limited. This was really great for getting out of gym class but it also meant no competitive sports and the strict order that I was to stop exercising the moment I became out of breath. I was not allowed to push my body to its limits. 
So I entered this pregnancy with immense gratitude that my body was able to make and sustain life after being so unsure that I'd ever get the chance. I also came to the table with the baggage (fear and insecurity) left behind by half a lifetime's worth of physical limitations. 

It was probably this cocktail of wonder and trepidation that inspired my desire to really truly know birth in the deepest possible way. I wanted an un-medicated, peaceful, positive birth for myself and my son. I wanted to celebrate the miracle rather than fear it- to trust my Creator and the gift I was given, to push myself beyond insecurity and know the strength and power inside of myself. It wasn't about being a "hero" as one rude, male doctor assumed - it was about becoming...becoming a new, fuller me.  

So I did something I had almost never done in my life... 
I chose to believe my body could do something incredible, challenging, 
pushed to the limits amazing. 

November 8th-
A beautiful and brisk Saturday, I met up with my dear friend Marna and her son Holden. In typical Marna fashion in lieu of brunch we walked the town with its adorable shops and brick paths...for 2 hours. She shared with me her recent journey into motherhood and I cuddled Holden in my arms. It was so refreshing to be with one of the women I admire and trust the most. I laugh now because Marna and I only see each other a few times a year but shes always somehow with me when the big events happen in my life. I sent her this text not 24 hours later ...

We parted ways and I headed home with an intense determination to finish a few items on my before baby to do list. My sister in law happened to be in the area and dropped by to visit while I decoupaged the heck out of a cardboard letter E for the nursery. We talked about babies and birth and our hopes and fears. Looking back it was perfect timing for me to articulate my birth plan (since it never actually got written). I voiced my desire for a natural birth and my confidence to try it. She asked me what it felt like to be just 3 weeks away from the big day and I told her that I felt like a kid waiting for Christmas- just anxiously waiting for it to be time. Little did I know I was only 15 hours away from my greatest gift. 

Later that night, Mike got home from work and I made a quick dinner and gave him a foot rub to thank him for all the work he would be doing that night on the nursery (*so I suppose it was more of a bribe) and I was back to tackling my list- painting the back staircase. As I painted awkwardly on my hands and knees belly very much in the way, the discomfort grew. I assumed that I was dehydrated from my walk and the way I was scrunched on the stairs. About 3/4 of the way down I stopped to catch my breath. Mike told me to stop but I was hell bent on finishing. I was trying to tell him that  could finish but a wave of pain took my breath away. Once it passed I painted another step...and another until I found myself needing to hold onto the railing in between steps and breaths. Slight nausea kicked in and I surrendered the paint brush and crawled to the tub. The normally comforting water did nothing for me but I was convinced that it wasn't labor. Just the day before at my weekly exam I told the doctor that I thought I had a few contractions but she laughed at me- and told me that I would know when I was in labor. So, since I didn't know I diagnosed myself with dehydration but because dehydration can cause early labor I called the on-call doctor who agreed with me. She half-heartedly told me to call back if the pain came every 5 minutes. Mike took out his cell phone and started timing and sure enough every 5 minutes a wave would hit. IT felt like pressure- intense cramping but still not what I expected labor to feel like.

Mike turned into the new dad to be that you see in the movies- the one who panics when labor starts. He started throwing things into bags and running from room to room. Meanwhile I kept calm, convinced it was a false alarm and in a few hours we'd be home from the hospital. The drive to the hospital felt much longer than usual- even in the traffic free, quiet hours of the night. 

The woman at the front desk struggled to find me in the computer system and I struggled not to wet myself with each wave of pain. Since I was convinced they would laugh at me and send me home I waited what felt like 20 minutes with a forced smile on my face before they whisked me back, dressed me in a hospital gown and awkward socks and hooked me up to a machine. The doctors checked my progress and casually mentioned that I was 4cm dilated and 100% effaced and that I was doing a great job. I was still clueless. People came in and out and then made mention of an IV and getting moved so I asked, "I'm staying?" They politely laughed at me- "honey you are having a baby...and soon." Christmas was coming early!!