Pre-Baby Bodies

Why I dont care about my pre-baby body
I’ve been a mom now for over 4 years.  Ryley turned 4 this past February and it was bitter sweet.  Its amazing and sometimes sad to watch your kids grow up.  I love watching her and Avery grow but at the same time I miss them when they were babies.  I wonder if Im doing a good job as a mom, if they are getting the right things to eat and if they watch too much TV.  With so much to worry about the one that is hardly ever on my mind is my pre-baby body.  
 
 
I’m not sure were this notion came about that we should ever have our pre-baby bodies back.  My body will never be pre-baby.  And I’m ok with that.  I have two beautiful children that have literally shaped me both mentally and physically.  And you know what?  I’m pretty sure they don’t care about what my body looked like before them anyways.  All they know is mommas body gives them hugs, piggyback rides, boat rides and I sometimes double as a chair.  My old body was not capable of any of those things until they were born because they were not here. 
 
 
And yes I have some weight  I could lose.  I don’t blame those few extra pounds on my kids.  Its from poor food choices and lack of exercise.  Plain and simple.  I would never point the finger at them as my reason for being big.  Heck, if I could keep up with them Im sure Id be smaller.  I’m just tired of women worrying about their pre-baby bodies.  Your body will not ever be the same again.  And that’s ok, because its a work of beauty.  We carried our babies for 9 months and with that we stretched and grew.  Our babies molded our bodies from the inside out!  Things aren’t in the right places anymore and things don’t sit as high.  [Ahem.]  But our bodies nourished these little babies and continue to do so every day. 
 
 
I wont ever have my high school body, or my pre-wedding body or even my pre-baby body.  My body has and will continue to change every single day. Every day.  I feel like worrying about having a body from the past is an unattainable goal.  I can either choose to focus on the past or savor the present with my kids in my current [and very much loved] body.  I choose the present. 
 
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Big Border Baby Blanket Tutorial

Big Border Baby Blanket - DIY Boutique Baby Blanet
Hey there Grant Life friends! It’s Michaela from Covered in Mod Podge again. I’m here today to share a tutorial for a fun baby blanket. This blanket features a big border and is perfect for showing off two fun fabrics!
Want to make your own? You’ll need:
1 1/4 yd of flannel
1 yd of contrasting flannel
Contrasting thread
Rotary cutter/mat
Start out by cutting your back fabric to 42 by 42 inches. Then, cut your front fabric to 32 by 32 inches. You can honestly make this blanket any sized. I like the look of a very thick border. Therefore, I make my back fabric 10 inches larger than my front fabric.
Find a large, clean work space. Lay your back fabric down, right side up.
Then, put your front fabric on top, right side down. You’ll want to center your fabric on the edge of one side. So, you’ll have five inches of back fabric on each side of your front fabric.
Sew along this edge, using your presser foot your seam allowance guide. Start and stop your seam 1/4 inch from the beginning and then end.  Back stitch at the beginning and end of your seam.
Now you’ll move your blanket back to the ground. Its time to center your front fabric along the edge of the next side of your back fabric. You’ll again have five inches on either side of your front fabric. This will form a triangle of your back fabric on the side where you had sewn along the other edge.
Sew again, starting and stopping leaving 1/4 inch on each side.
Continue on the same way with your third side. On your fourth side, make sure you leave a 5 inch gap in the middle for turning.
Alright, now its time to get rid of all that excess fabric floating around. You’ll do this by cutting off the fabric at the corners. Start by making a triangle with the excess back fabric on one corner.
Fold the tip of the triangle down to the edge where your front fabric is.
Cut along the fold. Now sew along the open edge you just create.
Repeat for all four corners.
Go ahead and turn your blanket. Press well, making sure to turn in the fabric from your turning gap.
When you turn your blanket, make sure your corners are pushed out all the way.
Now, top stitch along the seam between the front and back fabrics. Make sure you’re careful to close the gap you left for turning the blanket.
Once you get the hang of this blanket, you’ll easily be able to make it in 30 minutes, cutting included!
Use your scraps for a bow and you have a simple, affordable baby gift!

 

Love this post?  Check out the other amazing things Michaela has made!

Boutique Baby Blanket Tutorial 9 Diaper Changing Pad Clutch 16 Car Seat Canopy Tutorial 16

Avery’s Birth Story

Birth story

The reason I started blogging was to share my birth story with other moms.  I felt compelled to talk about Ryley’s birth after a 32 hour labor.  Two years later, I havent told Avery’s birth story.  [Poor second child.]  Its completely different from his sisters, just like their personalities now.

Birth story

I found out I was pregnant with Avery when I was 4 months along.  Crazy, right?  I knew I was pregnant two months into my pregnancy but was in denial.  Ryley was only 9 months!  There was no way I could be pregnant again.  Plus I was breastfeeding, you cant get pregnant while you breastfeed!  [Side note – before I got pregnant with Ryley I said if it wasn’t twins then we should have Irish twins.  I was just joking.  God thought I was serious.]

Avery Sono

I went in for my first ob appointment and she went to an ultrasound and asked if I wanted to know the sex of our baby.  Yup.  First appointment and we were finding out the sex.  I was NOT prepared for this at all.   I had a really easy pregnancy but it went fast!

When I was 36 weeks I started spotting bright red blood, so we rushed to the ER.  I was examined and everything was fine.  I was slightly dilated but nothing to worry about.  They also guessed that the baby was about 6 pounds from an ultrasound.  I was put on bed rest for a week and told to take it easy.

My estimated due date was May 5th, but I kept telling my doctor I was ready at my 38 week appointment.  I asked her to put me on bedrest so I didnt have to work.  I was tired and I was fat and I was miserable.  Taking care of a toddler, working full time and moving into a new house was a lot.  She couldnt put me on bedrest just because I was tired, but we scheduled my induction day for April 25th.  I was so happy!  I called work and told them I was going out.  That was probably my second favorite phone call to make.

Ryon and I went to the hospital that evening and Ryley stayed with grandma.  They started pitocin at 7PM that evening and my doctor told me I would have the baby before noon the next day.  I thought, ‘Yea right!  I was in labor for over 32 hours with Ryley.  Ill be here awhile.’  I was able to sleep most of the night, which was a blessing.

When I woke up the next day my contractions were getting really painful.  They were completley different from what I had experienced with Ryley.  I wasnt even sure they were contractions but we looked at the monitors and they said they were.  It was like a really bad period cramp.  That lasted for minutes at a time.

I was scared to get an epidural because my first one was so miserable.  At one of my ob appointments I had my doctor give me a pep talk about getting one.  She told me just talk to the anesthesiologist before and let them know my experience.  I still wasnt sold but when I couldnt talk through my contractions and I was only 5 cm dilated I decided I needed an epidural.

My anesthesiologist was amazing.  He threaded the line on the first try and even made me laugh.  [Side note – getting an epidural is NOT fun.  I shuddered just thinking about having one put it.  Know going in that they suck and talk to your anesthesiologist beforehand to ease your mind.]  I was able to fall back asleep after the epidural kicked in.

I woke up at 11AM because I had a ton of pressure down below.  I waited til my nurse came in and told her ‘Either I have to poop or I need to push.’  She checked me and said I was almost fully dilated but I wasnt there yet.  She upped my pitocin and within 30 minutes I was ready to push.  I had so much pressure I knew this baby was ready to come out.  [SO different from Ryley!  I had nothing but back labor with her.  This was a whole new experience with Avery.]

They called my doctor to come in around 1130 AM.  She scrubbed in and I started to push.  I had my mom on one side and Ryon on the other for support.  I pushed for 15 minutes and Avery James Grant was born.  He was born at 1147 AM and weighed 9 pounds 1 ounce.

my beautiful baby boy

He was a few pounds bigger then we had expected.  Still so very beautiful and healthy!

meeting grandma

Meeting Grandma for the first time.

bear meeting her brother

Ryley meeting her little brother for the first time.  Oh my goodness I love these two so much!

avery coming home

Heading home from the hospital.  He was born with a full head of jet black hair.

My Everyday Valentine

Today he is a blonde hair blue eyed little terror.  He has his own opinion and make sure you know it.  He is also the sweetest little boy ever and I love when he says ‘mommee’.

644440_739852383491_1354254800_n

Happy 2nd birthday Avery James!  We love you so very much!

 

Boutique Baby Blanket Tutorial

Hey there Grant Life friends. It’s Michaela again from Covered in Mod Podge.  I’m thrilled to be sharing with you a tutorial for my finally finish {twenty some odd months late} Boutique Baby Blanket…complete with tutorial. While this baby blanket is sure late, I am over the moon with how it turned out!

This blanket defiantly has some scary elements to it. However, with some simple tips it becomes a manageable project. I’d call it a “confident beginner with lots of pins” level project.

Want to make your own? You’ll need:

* 1 1/4 yd quilting cotton {I used Sarah Jane’s Children at Play for Michael Miller Balloons in Aqua}

* 1 1/4 yd minky {From Joann’s

* 1 yd satin fabric {Mine was $2.99/ yd at Hobby Lobby}

* Matching thread for both front and back fabric

* Sewing machine, cutting supplies, iron, and TONS of pins

Start out by squaring up your quilting cotton. Here’s a tutorial if you need help with that step. Then, cut your minky down to the same size as your quilting cotton. Minky stretches and sheds. Basically, its a beast to work with. Go slow when cutting and be prepared to have to clean your cutting surface when all is said and done.

Use a bowl to round the corners of your fabrics.

Now, its time to get busy making a whole ton of ruffles. I cut 7 strips of satin that were 4 inches by the width of the fabric {WOF}. This should work for you if your satin is 60 inches wide and you are making a 1 1/4 yd by WOF blanket.

If you’d like to do a different sized blanket, let me tell you why I cut 7 strips. I measured the perimeter of my blanket and multiplied that by 2 {because I wanted things to be very ruffly}. I then divided the doubled perimeter number by 60 and rounded up to the nearest whole number. That meant 7 strips. And we’re done with math…I promise.

Sew you satin strips together, end to end, until you have a massive length of stain. Iron your giant strip, wrong sides together, hot dog style.

Get to ruffling. If you have a ruffle foot or a favorite method for ruffling, have at it. Otherwise, check out this tip. It will make your day. Sew your choice of ruffling stitch as close to the edge of your fabric as you can. But, make sure you’re catching both layers of fabric!

Now its time to really start working with minky. I have called minky some pretty terrible names in my sewing days. I do everything I can not to work with it. However, Pinterest has been my best friend for learning to make my peace with this awful, comfy fabric. The answer? Tons and tons of pins and sewing super, duper slow! Also, you want to sew with the minky on the bottom to take advantage of the feed dogs.

Lay your minky right side up on a large, clean work surface. Smooth the living daylights out of your minky. Then, lay your quilting cotton on top, right side down. Smooth everything out.

I worked in small sections at a time to add in the ruffle and pin. Fold up a bit of your quilting cotton and lay your ruffle on top of your minky. The seam of the satin should be lined up with the edge of your fabrics. Now pin like you’ve never pinned before.

You should be pinning every inch. Seriously. I hate pinning. But this is sooo important to not want to curse out fabric as you sew.

Keep working all the way around your fabric. When you get back to your start, cut the satin down to two inches of overlap. Then, fold the raw seams in on both sides of the satin strip. Carefully stuff one side of the satin into the other and finish pinning.

At this point, you should have pinned all the way around the fabric. I’m guessing you’re a bit upset that I’ve forgot to tell you to leave a gap to turn. The need for pinning with minky is so stinking intense that I recommend pinning all the way around your blanket. Then, when you sew {with a presser foot seam allowance}, be careful to stop 6 inches from where you started sewing. And back stitch. Sew very, very slow. This will reduce the stretching and other weird things that minky will do.

Go ahead and unpin the gap and turn your blanket. Make sure your curves are all the way rounded. Press the blanket well, minky side down. Make sure you tuck in the minky and fabric at the gap in. Also, make sure the ruffle is well tucked in. Now, pin that gap like crazy.

Use a thread that blends in well with your top for your spool and a thread that blends in well with your minky in your bobbin. Top stitch as close to the edge of the blanket as you can. Again, go very slower. The minky will still try to stretch and shift.

That’s it! You have a boutique styled baby blanket for much less than the boutique price.

Want to add a personal touch? Have an embroiderer add your little love bug’s name to the top layer of your blanket after you’ve squared, cut, and rounded all your fabric but before you start sewing. I just love that little detail!

Both my husband and I still have our hand made baby blankets in our linen closets. My husband’s is really gross and mine is missing all of the beautiful hand embroidery it once had. Regardless, these blankets hold special meaning for both of us. I hope many years from now my daughter will still feel safe and loved just knowing that this blanket is somewhere in the back of her linen closet.

Happy Birthday Ryley!

happy birthday bear

My sweet baby girl is THREE today!  She is our princess and we love her so very much.
happy birthday bear

We picked your name on a trip to Michigan.

I was in labor over 30 hours and I’d do it all over in a heart beat.

Your first birthday was bear themed and your second was Blue’s Clues.  I learned how to make tutus for my princess.

You love your baby brother and want nothing to do with him all in the same minute.

We love to shop together.

You love to help me bake, especially for grandma.

You are quite the picture taker.

You are sweet, caring, funny and my best buddy.  I love you with all my heart.  Happy birthday baby girl!

Simple Valentine’s Day Toddler Shirt

30 Minute Valentine's Day Shirt Tutorial 6

Hey Grant Life friends! I’m back again from Covered in Mod Podge. I’m here to share a 30 minute Valentine’s Day shirt that can be worn all year long.

Want to make your own? You’ll need:
A plain t-shirt
1/8 yard of fabric {for toddlers…you’ll need more for a bigger kiddo}
Rotary cutter/mat
Disappearing ink pen
Iron/ironing board
Heart template

 

This project requires some ironing. Ick. But you don’t have to pin, so be sure to take the time to iron.

Start out by ironing the shirt to and fabric to have good materials to work with.

For a toddler, cut your fabric into two strips measuring 2 inches by 22ish inches {half of whatever your length of fabric happens to be}. You’ll need to do three strips for a bigger kiddo.

Fold a strip in half, right sides together, hot dog style. Sew up the long side using your presser foot as  your seam allowance.

 

Turn your tube and press well, hiding the seam. Repeat for the second tube.

Now, its time to ruffle. There’s all sorts of ruffling methods out there. If you have a favorite, use that. If not, use mine!

Set your stitch length to the longest you can and your tension to the tightest {for me this is a 0}. This will help your fabric ruffle up all on its own. While you sew, hold the thread right next to the spool with a bit of pressure. This will make the fabric ruffle like crazy without having to pull infuriating strings!

 

So, for this project, you’ll want to sew a ruffling stitch right down the middle of both your fabric strips. Make sure you tuck in all of the ends so you don’t end up with a fraying mess after the wash.

If you’re the free handing type, draw a heart onto your shirt using your disappearing ink pen. If you’re like me and that idea scares you, make a template and trace it.

Starting at the bottom of the heart, sew the ruffle to the shirt. Back stitch to start. Follow the pen marking. Go slow and turn often. Leave your needle down and lift your presser foot adjusting as needed.

At the top of the heart, back stitch. Then, add the second ruffle. Be sure that you overlap the two ruffles so there’s no gap. When you get to the bottom of the heart, overlap and back stitch.

 

Ta-da! You’re set.

Want to make a matching hair clip? Come on over to Covered in Mod Podge and I’ll show you how!

Have a blast dressing up your little ones for Valentine’s Day. I just melt over toddlers all dressed up in pink and ruffles!

Easy Car Seat Canopy Tutorial

Car Seat Canopy Tutorial 16

Easy Car Seat Canopy Tutorial

Hey there Grant Life readers! It’s Michaela from Covered in Mod Podge again. I’m back today to share an easy car seat canopy tutorial.

Easy Car Seat Canopy Tutorial

We moved from California to Texas when I was five months pregnant. We had our little miss in a strange city and away from family and friends. I was very blessed to have a couple of women bring me meals, get me out of the house, and keep me company during wonderful and hard transition into motherhood.

One of these sweet women recently had her second little boy. She asked if I could make her a car seat canopy to keep her little man warm on cold winter days. I was only too happy to oblige!

Want to make your own? You’ll need:
1 1/4 yd outside fabric
1 1/4 yd inside fabric
4 1/2 yds jumbo ric rac
1 inch covered button kit
6 inches of velcro

Start out by prepping your fabric. You should wash and iron your fabric before cutting, as this is something that will be good friends with the washing machine.

I like to do all of my cutting at once. Start by cutting your two pieces of fabric down to 36 X 41 inches. Cut two 8.5 X 10 inch pieces the inside fabric for straps. Cut two circles of your main fabric for the covered buttons. Follow your kits instructions to make your fabric covered buttons. Cut a 6 X 8 inch rectangle from both the main and inside fabric for the flap. Also, cut your velcro into two 3 inch strips.

Easy Car Seat Canopy Tutorial
 
 

Now its time to get down to business. Place your main and inside fabrics right sides together. Make sure they are the same size and lined up perfectly. Use a bowl as a template to round the corners.

Sandwich the jumbo ric rac between your fabrics, pinning the curves well. Make sure you mark a four inch gap for turning.

Sew using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Easy Car Seat Canopy Tutorial

 

Turn and press, pinning your gap closed. Top stitch as close to the edge as you can.

Easy Car Seat Canopy Tutorial

 

Now its strap making time. Fold the strap hot dog style with right sides together. Sew using 1/4 inch seam allowance. Make sure you leave a gap on the long edge for turning.

Easy Car Seat Canopy Tutorial

 

Carefully clip the corners and then turn and press. Top stitch as close to the edge as you can. Sew your velcro as pictured.

Easy Car Seat Canopy Tutorial

 

Then, hand sew on your button on the part of the strap that will be on top. Repeat for the second strap.

Next its time to make your flap. Place the two 6 X 8 inch rectangles right sides together. Be mindful of print directions if you have directional fabric. Sew with 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving an inch gap for turning.

Clip corners, turn, and press. Then, top stitch as close to the edge as you can.

Easy Car Seat Canopy Tutorial

 

Ok, now its time to cut out the window. Measure 14.5 inches in and 14.5 inches up on your main fabric. This is where you’ll mark out your window. Using disappearing ink, draw a 2 X 4 inch rectangle. Then, draw a 3 X 5 inch rectangle around the small one. Draw a line connecting the corners of your big and small rectangle.

 

CAREFULLY cut out the small rectangle. Then, cut along the lines that connected the corners. Make sure you don’t go past your outline of the large rectangle.

Turn the edges of the small rectangle in, using the large rectangle as your guide. Press well and pin.

 

Now, top stitch as close to the edge as you can.

 

Time to add the flap to your window. Center your flap over the window, placing it 1/2 inch above the opening. Sew down only the top. Keep in mind, whatever fabric you have on the bottom of the flap will be what shows on the canopy when you’ve got the flap open to peek on your sweet little baby.

Its best to use your car seat to measure where you’d like to attach the straps. I only had access to my giant Britax, so I more or less winged it. I sewed them about 20 inches up and 12 inches in. This seemed to work well both on my giant Britax as well as the more reasonably sized Graco car seat that this little man rides in.

 

Really, this is a great sewing project for a beginner. Mostly, your sewing rectangles. The hardest part is sewing in the window. I promise, it isn’t hard at all!

 

Happy Sewing!

 

Like this post?  Check out these other great baby related tutorials!

Diaper Changing Pad Clutch 16 Boutique Baby Blanket Tutorial 9

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Picking Baby Names

ryleynewborn
This post is sponsored on part by Baby Ballot.  All opinions are my own.  

Some girls grow up dreaming of their future wedding, home, and babies.  I never dreamed of my wedding and I never planned anything out for my future, until I met Ryon.  I knew I was going to marry him and I knew he was going to be my baby daddy.  We even named our future children on our trip from Texas to Michigan and wrote them all down in the back of a book.

When we got pregnant with Ryley I couldnt find the book that we had written the names in two years earlier.  It bummed me out but Ryon and I decided pretty quickly on our first borns name – Ryley Ellen.  Ryley is a combination of Ryon and Kelley and Ellen is my grandmas name.

Ryley Ellen Grant – 2/26/2010
 
Around the time we were pregnant with Avery, my in-laws good friends passed away.  I was fortunate to be able to meet them and they were truly amazing people.  We decided to name our second Avery James – Avery was their last name and James was Ryon’s grandpa.  
Avery James Grant – 4/26/2011
 
A few months before Avery was born we moved into our townhouse.  And while we were unpacking we found our book with the baby names!  I flipped to the back and my jaw hit the floor.  These two names were highlighted:
 
Riley Ellen
Avery  
 
I honestly did not remember any of the names we had picked, but there they were in the back of our book.  We changed the spelling of Riley’s name and gave Avery a middle name, but there they were, our babies.  
 
With both babies we knew before the second trimester their names, boy or girl we were ready.  I dont know what I would do if I didnt have a list of names on standby, in the back of our book.  But what do you do if you have no idea what to name your sweet angel?  How do you find the perfect name?  
 
Enter Belly Ballot.  Its a website that allows your family and friends to vote on their favorite baby name!  How cool is that?!  
 
 
NAMING YOUR BABY HAS NEVER BEEN THIS FUN
  1. Pick 5 favorite names for your BellyBallot
  2. Invite friends & family to vote. More votes = cool prizes!
  3. Announce your final choice on Facebook & Twitter!

 

Each week they give away prizes to the momma who has the most votes and once you pick your babies name they will email your friends and family your choice!  Its the super hip way to pick your baby name.  Well, thats what I hear anyways.While I was surfing around I picked my two favorite names.  And no, these ones arent in our book.

Braelyn – I do remember telling my best friend in high school I wanted to name my daughter Bray.  Her exact words were ‘The sound a cow makes?’  Check.  Perfect name for a baby.

Quinn – I just really like this name, more and more lately.  It does remind me of the sister from Daira [throwback MTV yall], but is still super pretty.

How did you pick your perfect baby name?  I love how everyone’s story for naming is different!  

 

 

The Mommy Panel – First Words!

Our question this week is:
What was your babies first word?
Michaela – My little miss is 13 months old. She “talks” all the time. However, we’re not at actual words yet. My husband and I are placing bets as to if it will be “mama” or “dada” first. Part of me still thinks it will be “Fudge” {our cat}. Emma is in love with that cat!
Liz S.  – All 3 said Dada first : ( then Mama.
As soon as they started making real sounds, my husband started coaching them.  
It’s ok though, since I was home with them while he was working, I got (and still do get) more hugs and snuggle time.
Karen – Kitty cat at 12 months, but he stopped using it by 15 months. At some point later on (17 months or so) “mama” made it’s appearance. Like music to my ears that was!
Meredith – This makes me laugh!  Jackson is now one and he still doesn’t really have any words yet.  He does say dada and mama, but not often, and not intentionally.  He ALWAYS says BAAA!  Everything is BAAA (his milk, his bear, taking a bath, changing his diaper, eating food).  I keep thinking he’s just going to surprise us one day and speak in complete sentences out of no where.  Until then, it’s BAAA!

Emily – Dada!! Of course, he was thrilled :)
Natalia – Daddy!  I think both of their first words were daddy.  And a close second being ‘ball’ and ‘no’!  
Liz B – Olivia’s first word was “cat” that she’d say while signing it.  Althought, now it seems like her first word was probably “no.”  Avery’s first real word was “dog.”  She has yet to consistantly call me Mom, however.  But the pets, they’re covered in our house!
Pamela – Seems like all my babies first word was dada! But I taught my 2 year old sign language starting at 7 months old, and her first signing word was more, and then dada :-)

Tonii - With all 4 of my kids the answer has been exactly the same…“Daddy!!”  No fair, right?! ;)
Tricia – Da-da!  (for all 3 of my kids!!!)
Janette – With my first two babies, they both said Da-Da in a hurry.  It broke my heart because I spent hours practicing with them when their Daddy wasn’t around.  When I would practice in front of my husband, he would follow up with say DA-DA! So when my third baby came along, I gave up.  I was very surprised to hear her call my name first!! Finally MA-MA!! Its a close tie with Bubba which is what we call my oldest.  I still claim Ma-Ma was the first with her.
Jelli – Papa. She only really uses it when she wakes up in the morning and wants a quick ticket out of her crib.
Reading all the answers to this question cracked me up!  We want nothing more then their first word to be mama!  [Or ‘Mama I love you Im sorry for putting you through all that back labor’ would be nice.. but that is wishful thinking.’]  Both of my kiddos said ‘dada’ first too.. although we practiced mama more then dada.  Avery still [at 15 months] wont say mama, unless is he hurt and wailing.  Then its a cry/whine mama.  Ahh the joys of motherhood!
Want more info on the Mommy Panel?  Check it out here!


–[Lovely July Sponsor]– 
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Labor of Love – Janiene’s Story!

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Hello All! I am Janiene from A Bunch of Bishops and I’m here to share one of my birth stories with you. I am a Mom of 3 and I have had 3 very different births. I find it funny that my birth stories match the personalities of my children – coincidence, maybe – but still fun to think about! 
 
When I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd child I wanted nothing more than to birth at home. Without going into too many details about my first 2 births, I never wanted to step foot in a hospital to birth a child again. I have a friend who was a licensed midwife and she became my amazing midwife for my 3rd pregnancy. I still went to an OB and had that as a backup plan just in case something went wrong with either the pregnancy or the delivery.
 
My pregnancy was amazing with my 3rd child. I was sicker than I was with my first 2 but other than that – amazing! I found out that I was having a daughter and was nervous and excited. I will be honest with you all, I never wanted a daughter. But, God knows me so well and knew just what daughter to bless me with, and so I learned to trust even more in the sovereignty of God through this! :)
 
On to the good stuff…
 
All my pregnancies go “late”. 
I hate due dates and what it does psychologically to the Mom (and what it does to Dr’s once you pass said “due date”). Now on my 3rd baby, I knew there was nothing “wrong” with the size of the baby – I just have big babies…there is nothing “wrong” with the size of my pelvis – 2 other babies passed through just fine…there must be something “wrong” with the whole practice of assigning a “due date”. I talked to my midwife about it and she said back in the day they used to give you a birth month – so that is what I started to tell my family…I am due in April – some time in April :)
 
On April 15th (almost 2 weeks past my due date) I started to have some slight menstrual cramping. I sat on my exercise ball and just rested and let my belly hammock forward so that my daughter would be in the best possibly position. I went to bed around 10:30pm and was awoken at 5am with some pretty strong cramps. I went to the bathroom and drank some water and tried to go back to sleep. My cramps started getting more painful and consistent and then before I knew it I was having pretty regular contractions. 
 
I let my husband sleep and got my kids up and ready, fed them breakfast and called my sister to take my kids to my Dad’s house. I knew this was the real deal :)
 
 I called my midwife at 10am and asked if she could come over. I then called my best friend Stacy and asked her to come. Stacy brought me Starbucks ice – what a perfect best friend. Stacy has been at the births of all of my children – she is an amazing support in labor & delivery! My husband and my midwife set up the birthing tub. Once filled, I hopped in and relaxed through my contractions. Here is one of my favorite photos from laboring in the birthing pool. I was in the middle of a contraction and Stacy was pushing on my lower back to relieve the pressure and ease the pain…
 
I labored until 3pm and I felt ready but my water had not yet broken. I was not surprised seeing as how my water never broke on my first 2 births either. My midwife checked me and the water bag was in the way of my daughters head. My midwife did not want to break my water unnaturally so she recommended that I walk around and allow my water to break naturally. Ummm, this was not a fun part of the process for me. I wanted to get the baby out but she was blocked by the bag of water. I tried and tried but nothing. I finally asked her to check me one more time to see if the baby’s head was further down. Right when I laid down and before she got a glove fully on, my water burst! I rushed (well as much as a huge pregnant lady can rush while about to push) over to the tub and pushed a few times but something didn’t feel right. I would push and my daughters head would come out and then spring back up. My midwife checked me and then told me to get out of the pool and sit on the birthing stool. I sat on the stool and she told me to get the baby out with one push. I prayed and took a breath and pushed my sweet daughter out with everything in me. My daughter came spinning out and we saw that the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. My midwife was there to catch her and hand her to me. I snuggled her tight and my midwife gave her a breath and she pinked up and opened her eyes. She was so calm and so quiet – and so beautiful. She was not quiet in a bad way, she just seemed to be taking in the moments and I could feel her sense of calm and comfort in my arms…
 
We welcomed our daughter
Ava Marie Bishop
into the world (via our bedroom, haha)
at 5:02pm on April 16th, 2011.
 
While I moved over to the bed to rest and all, my husband got to snuggle his sweet daughter. It was a bright spring day and the weather was perfect for her arrival!!
 
My boys came home and met their new sister…
 
My midwife asked me how much I thought she weighed and I said that I thought she looked smaller than Owen and so I was guessing 8-1/2 lbs. She just laughed and said I was almost a pound off. I was shocked when she told me that I just homebirthed a 9lb 7oz baby! Wowzers!! 
 
My favorite things about this birth…
~peaceful~
~worship music played the entire time~
~I was able to close my eyes and labor uninterrupted~
~comfortable~
~simple~
~I was able to have the birth that i wanted~
~I did what felt right for my body~
~my midwife stayed with me for like 6 hours after the birth and gave me such tender, attentive, amazing postpardum care~
 
My daughter is 15 months old now and such a wonderful addition to the Bishop bunch…
 
Thank you Kelley for letting me share my amazing birth experience with your readers. And thank you to you all for reading it! :)