Packing our bags for our biggest summer adventure yet

This “Flavor Your Adventure” post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more snack ideas to “Flavor Your Adventure” this summer, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Just the other day, I was feeling sorry for myself when I realized we have no big adventures planned for this summer. My co-workers have been galavanting all over Europe and friends are taking some pretty fabulous trips. Then, I started thinking how uh, I guess we DO have a big adventure planned for the summer — we’re having a baby! We even have to pack for this big adventure. For someone who packs for trips a week in advance, one would think our bags have been packed for weeks now. But, with a busy summer schedule and perhaps a little trauma from my last pregnancy, it just kept dropping down on the priority list. But we finally got around to it, and here’s what we’re packing:

My bag:

  • Two nightgowns (one to possibly labor in and one for postpartum)
  • Two nursing bras and two nursing tanks
  • Wunder Unders
  • Oiselle lux track pants
  • Zip up hoodie
  • Three options for baby’s coming home outfit — in two different sizes
  • Toiletries
  • Headphones and an external speaker for listening to my Hypnobabies tracks
  • Swaddle blankets
  • Flip flops and slipper socks
  • Extra copies of our birth plan

J’s bag:

  • A couple of outfits
  • Toiletries
  • Hypnobabies birth partners’ guide

Postpartum tote:

  • Nursing pillows
  • Books – the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn
  • Kindle
  • Nursing pads and nipple balm



  • A cooler that J calls “the placenta cooler,” which is fitting because, well, my placenta will be going in it
  • Camera bag with our DSLR
  • Birth ball (we may or may not bring our own or just use one at the hospital)
  • Our own pillows
  • SNACKS. In J’s mind, this is the most important thing we’re packing. I’ll be honest, even if I’m not up for eating during labor (which I’m allowed to do), I’ll be glad we have these for the middle of the night AND because J gets h-a-n-g-r-y. So far we have:
    • Coconut water to keep me hydrated throughout labor
    • Blue Diamond lightly salted and (my favorite) roasted salted almonds – some satisfying, healthy fatsIMG_4094
    • Granola bars – an easy, portable snack. I try to find a brand that doesn’t have too much sugar.
    • Beef jerky – protein!
    • Gummy bears – I love anything gummy, and these might be good for some sugar during labor?
    • White cheddar Pirate’s Booty – I’m addicted to this stuff.

Am I overpacked? Yep! I usually do, and I knew that I’d especially be prone to overpacking for this.

Any other snacks we should throw in the bag?

What big summer adventures do you have planned?


Third Trimester Recap: Weeks 33 – 34

Just over one month to go! And today I’ve reached the 35/35 milestone (35 weeks pregnant and 35 days to go). The last couple of weeks I’ve noticed that while I still have some time to go, my body seems to be getting ready (or at least moving in that direction) to give birth. Two possible signs: my steady weight gain has seemed to slow down and some of my Braxton Hicks are quite a bit more intense than they’ve been.

Life has been moving super fast. Work is busy, we were both a part of a friend’s wedding last weekend, I’ve been nesting like crazy, my parents came into town and we’re still working on the kitchen remodel. Right about now, I’m pretty happy that I decided early on to keep the month of July open, with no plans.

A couple of weekends ago, J ran Grandma’s marathon. After a lot of going back and forth, I decided to take the trip and I’m really glad I did. It was fun to cheer on J and his brother-in-law and all of the runners and it’s always good to spend time with J’s sister and our nephews. I have to admit, I’m glad J is done with marathon training (for now). It’s nice to have him around more often 🙂


Overall, I’m feeling pretty good. Sleep is still no bueno and I had a migraine a couple of days ago, but seeing a chiropractor has really helped me feel pretty decent during the day. Although, I’m glad I can work from home pretty often because I need to change positions frequently throughout the day. Our last doctor appointment was exciting — our doctor said that basically, baby could come any day now (hopefully he will wait a bit longer, but he could come now and they wouldn’t try to stop labor at this point). He’s also still head down, which is great. He’s not in the greatest position yet (his back end is on one side and legs/feet on the other) but we still have time, so I’m trying not to freak out yet!

We got some things knocked off the to-do list, including:

  • Finished up all of our childbirth education classes
  • Loaded Hypnobabies tracks on my iPhone and the iPad
  • Washed a couple loads of baby clothes and blankets
  • Bought some items for postpartum recovery
  • Purchased some things off of our registry (like our diaper bag (!) and the baby monitor) since our next baby shower isn’t until September

Priorities for the next couple of weeks

  • Install car seat and have it inspected
  • Prepare FREEZER MEALS!
  • Hang nursery art
  • Finish the kitchen – We’ve ordered our countertops and are really close to having the plumbing all ready to go for the sink, dishwasher and waterline to the ice maker in the freezer. We also still need to install the microhood and backsplash. But it’s getting there.

Just a few more days of a hectic schedule and then things slow down quite a bit and I cannot wait!

Third Trimester Recap: Weeks 31 – 32

50 days to go!

The days during the last couple of weeks have felt like I’m repeatedly going through a series of events that include:

  • Go to bed. Wake up a zillion times because either I have to go to the bathroom or my hip pain causes me to need to change positions.
  • Wake up super early because it’s no use trying to sleep anymore.
  • Be tired all day. If it’s the weekend, take a nap.
  • Eat lots of snacks throughout the day.
  • Drink a ton of water. Pee a million times.
  • Feel so tired by the time 9 p.m. rolls around, I can hardly see straight.
  • Repeat.

I did start seeing a chiropractor during week 31. WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG?! Seriously. Life changing. I’m still having that hip pain at night, but it’s improved and during the day, I’m feeling a lot better than I had been.

This past weekend, some friends threw me a lovely baseball-themed baby shower!


I loved the activities they had planned. Like, all of the guests created a page of an alphabet book that they later bound and gave to me.


Guests also got entered into a prize raffle if they brought us a pack of diapers 🙂 I’m feeling more stocked up now!

Of course we all took a selfie with Jen’s selfie stick.


After getting pregnant again, I wasn’t sure I wanted to have a shower, but I’m really glad I did and that I have such amazing friends who wanted to throw me one! And between this shower and my work one, we’re feeling really good about the short list of items we need to go out and buy to absolutely have on hand before baby arrives.

Our 32 week doctor appointment was quick and easy. I got my TDAP booster shot and baby was still head down. Fingers crossed he stays that way! Two more bi-weekly appointments and then they start taking place every week!

Finally, here’s another kitchen progress picture. The cabinets are all installed and some doors are on. And the range is in — it’s SO nice to have an oven again.


Weeks 31-32 snapshot:

  • My first and second trimester maternity clothes have stopped fitting. Thank goodness for my friend Katrina, who is letting me borrow some clothes to get me through the next month and a half.
  • I walked the Flag Day 5K this past Saturday in 58:34. Definitely slowing down from the last 5K I walked, but felt good for the most part!
  • I’m feeling lots of movement these days. I will never get sick of feeling the punches, kicks and rolls!
  • Overall, I’m feeling very ready for baby to arrive. This past weekend, we got to meet our friends’ brand new adorable baby and then after my shower, I went into major nesting mode and got a bunch of things put away and organized. J also got the rest of the trim up and floating shelves hung up in the nursery. I also had ordered a glider cushion a month ago on Etsy and that arrived this week. Here are a couple of nursery photos!



Third Trimester Recap: Weeks 29-30


Feeling sore and large — that’s how I’d sum up the past couple of weeks. But at the suggestion of my acupuncturist, I picked up some epsom salt and have been getting in a few soaks. Not only have the baths been super relaxing, I feel like the epsom salt has been really good for my sore, aching joints and muscles. I even had a couple nights of decent sleep!

We also had a great first prenatal meeting with our doula, Angie. Already, her presence makes me feel calm and reassured — I’d say that’s definitely a good sign! We spent the two hours talking about my last pregnancy and delivery, important pieces of this birth plan and fun things like eating my placenta (as much as I actually want to do this, I’m having it encapsulated instead) — it’s all getting so real. Our next meeting is going to be somewhere around 34-35 weeks. I also borrowed a nice stack of books and a DVD from her lending library.

The day after our meeting with Angie, we had our VBAC consult. My doctor is a family practice doctor, which means that if for some reason after I attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after a cesarean), or TOLAC (trial of labor after a cesarean), it isn’t successful and I need a repeat cesarean, an OB would perform the surgery. So J and I met with an OB who took a look through my medical records and cesarean surgery notes to make sure he agreed that I’d be a good candidate for a VBAC. I wasn’t nervous because I’ve done a ton of research into this, my doctor is supportive, the last OB I was seeing was supportive, and we took a VBAC education course already, but a small part of me was afraid that the OB would say something that totally changed my plans. Luckily, it was a quick conversation and he said I’m a “great candidate” for a VBAC and have a high probability for success.

We took a newborn class called All About Babies this past weekend. It went over things like how to soothe your baby, when to call your health care provider, etc. Here’s J giving our “baby” a bath:

His face is because I'm taking his picture, not because of the bath/diapering. Or so he tells me.

His face is because I’m taking his picture, not because of the bath/diapering. Or so he tells me.

We’re also now halfway done with our Hypnobabies classes. I’ve been surprised that the weekly 3.5 hour class actually goes by pretty quickly and we’ve been doing a good job of keeping up on our homework.

Finally, more kitchen progress!


Cutest little dishwasher ever. Also, that’s not the final color of the cabinets.

Looking forward to: July. June is incredibly busy since I’ve scheduled everything I want to get done, dinners with people I want to see, etc. prior to July. I’m hoping to spend July trying to relax as much as possible since baby could show up in July! July also means that J will be done with marathon training! (His marathon is June 20.)

Most embarrassing moment: I had my first official pregnancy breakdown on our way to/once we arrived at our VBAC consult appointment. I somehow mixed up the street name for where the clinic was located and got us lost and we were late to our appointment. This was particularly stressful for me since I: 1) Don’t like making mistakes and 2) HATE being late to things. After crying in the waiting room and again in the exam room, I felt sufficiently silly and pulled myself together.

Most surreal moment: My co-workers threw me a baby shower!


It was such a nice shower, complete with an adorable diaper cake, (truly) fun games, delicious lemon cake and awesome and thoughtful gifts. It still didn’t feel real that I was actually having a baby shower — incredible.

Current stresses: Trying to stay on top of kick counting and then deciding if baby is moving enough/same as usual, etc. I understand why kick counting is so controversial. Also, getting everything done that’s on my to-do list! Also, overbooking myself. Bad idea when 30+ weeks pregnant. Breakdowns happen (see: Most embarrassing moment, above.)

Third Trimester Recap: Weeks 27-28

Ohhh man, a part of me can’t believe we’re in the third trimester already, and the other part of me feels like it’s going to be forever until we meet our rainbow baby. (Rainbow baby. For those unfamiliar with the term, it means a baby born following a loss. I’m not a fan of the term, but sometimes it’s the best term to use.)

Right on cue, fatigue set back in last week, at the beginning of the third trimester. I napped both days of the weekend.

Oh, and remember our kitchen remodel project? Yeah, that’s still going on. Going on six and a half months without a proper kitchen! But it’s SO going to be worth it. It’s just hard not to be able to contribute as much to its progress these days.

Floor is grouted!

Floor is grouted!

I’m feeling pretty nesty these days, and inspired by this book, I’ve been tidying up like crazy. Also, we got some fun baby items handed down to us this past week. One big haul came from the lovely Laura, who I finally got to meet in person!

Mother’s Day was two weekends ago. I’m not going to lie and say that it was any easier of a day for me than it was last year, even with my little guy kicking away all day. Last year, it was especially rough, since it came less than two weeks after we got Charlie’s diagnosis. But this year, I felt caught in the middle of feeling like those who wished me a Happy Mother’s Day were referring to the fact that I’m expecting, and not that I’m already a mom. But some sweet and thoughtful messages from friends who specifically mentioned Charlie turned my day around and then there was this amazing gift from Jen:


We also had our 28 week appointment. Baby’s heart rate was great and the doctor felt to see how he was positioned. He was head down, curled up with his backside near my belly button. He had us feel where baby’s head and butt were — it was so cool! I also had more blood drawn and scheduled my VBAC consult. Even though I had been going in for appointments every two weeks, we’re officially on that schedule now until 36 weeks, when it’ll change to weekly appointments.

Weeks 27-28 snapshot:

  • New symptoms – waking up in the middle of the night with hip pain.
  • More intense Braxton Hicks contractions.
  • Started Hypnobabies class.
  • Looking forward to: my baby shower in less than one month!
  • I started kick counting. I’m hoping this provides more reassurance than anxiety. So far, it’s a toss up.
  • Most relaxing moment: an amazing prenatal massage. Deborah is a magic-maker.
  • The weirdest moment: feeling what might have been a knee or elbow sticking out of my belly.
  • The most special moment was walking with friends and family in honor of Charlie at the Faith’s Lodge Hope Walks and Rolls 5K.

Even with our kitchen progress, we’re also managing to cross things off of the baby to-do list. Next up: After not even having one name we like at all, we are really close to picking one! Also, we are meeting with our doula next week and then we can get started on (and finish) our birth plan. Lots going on!

Charlie’s Birth Story

After going back and forth about how detailed I wanted to be in Charlie’s birth story, this is what I landed on. I wrote a more detailed one for J and myself to have but decided to keep that private.

It would be an understatement to say that so many things about my pregnancy didn’t work out anywhere close to what I had imagined or hoped for (I realize that they rarely do). One of those things is that all along I wanted nothing more than to have a vaginal delivery if it was possible, but once it became clear that we were going to need to deliver Charlie to be able to give him a shot at life, that option went out the door. The doctor strongly recommended a C-section because she was worried about Charlie being able to tolerate labor.

The events leading up to the decision to deliver Charlie all happened very quickly and once we made that decision, things continued to move quickly. The conversation with the doctor took place at 10:26 p.m., the anesthesiologist was in the room less than ten minutes later, and then before we knew it, it was go time. The rest of the team was in place, and they got Jesse suited up. The adrenaline started kicking in and I couldn’t help but start shaking uncontrollably. They took me up to the OR first and got me all numbed up (luckily I was able to hold still for long enough that they got my spinal in without any issues or pain). They brought J in shortly after and at 11:12 p.m., Charlie was born. J then saw them whisk Charlie away.

The anesthesiologist went to check on Charlie and came back to let us know that the neonatal team was working on inserting a breathing tube. He also let us know that he was struggling and that his heart rate was quite low, around 60 bpm. Minutes later, one of the neonatalogists came in and I think we knew what she was going to say even before she said it, but her words still hit us like a ton of bricks: “I’m so sorry, but Charlie isn’t going to make it.”
They cleaned and bundled Charlie up, brought him into the OR and handed him to me so we could  hold him while he was still alive. I was starting to feel nauseous from all of the pulling and tugging, so J then took him into his arms and we held our precious baby boy until they came back to check him again, at 11:46 p.m., when they let us know they could no longer find a heartbeat. Our sweet boy passed away peacefully in our arms.

Once I was all stitched back up, we were moved into recovery, where we took turns snuggling Charlie some more. As the shock started to wear off (slightly), we were able to admire just how cute our sweet baby boy was.

Just before 2 a.m., after a couple of hours in recovery, they brought us to our room and got us settled in. Jesse’s family joined us in the room and my parents arrived a couple of hours later, around 4:30 a.m., to meet their grandson.

The rest of Friday (the Fourth of July) was busy, the hospital chaplain that I’d reached out to after we got Charlie’s diagnosis, came to perform the naming ceremony that Jesse and I had picked out. Shortly after, Megan, a professional photographer volunteer with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep arrived to take some photos of Charlie and of Jesse and me with Charlie. The day was mostly a blur, I had barely slept at all since we were first admitted to the hospital and I remember not wanting to sleep, just to spend as much time with our little family as possible.

**All photos in this post are by Megan Crown with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
On Saturday evening, we decided to keep Charlie in our room for one final night. After they got my discharge information drawn up and prescriptions filled, we started packing up and I got ready and put on some real clothes. We said our final goodbyes and Jesse went to pull the car up while the nurse wheeled me down a back hallway instead of by the rest of the postpartum rooms. Letting the nurses know that we were ready for them to take Charlie away and then leaving the hospital without him, was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do.


We are so thankful for the outstanding care we received throughout this entire ordeal and for the amazing nurses (seriously, we can’t say enough good things about our nurses), doctors, care coordinators, social workers, our doulas and other members of our care team. The past ten weeks have been a roller coaster (to say the least), but it also made us cherish each day that Charlie was still alive and fighting.

We’re also very thankful that we were able to keep Charlie in our room with us for as long as we wanted. We’ll never forget that precious time we had that gave us the chance to snuggle him and give him lots of love and to take our time saying goodbye. His grandparents, aunts and uncles (both blood and not) and cousins were also able to meet and say goodbye to him.

Last Tuesday, J and I met with the funeral home in the morning. After that was over, we headed up to his family’s cabin, where we stayed until Friday afternoon. I’m so glad we decided to get away for a few days. And as hard as it was to come back home, we came home to beautiful flowers and sympathy cards and home cooked meals (seriously, thank you for helping me not have to think about cooking right now) and people wanting to stop by to visit with us. We’re so grateful.

Tomorrow I have my first postpartum appointment — I’m still sore, but recovering and feeling a little better physically every day. And I keep reminding myself that my body, like everything else, needs time to heal.