I’m a Better Mom When I’m Not Pregnant

Dear Lyla and Simon, 

We are about five weeks away from welcoming your new sibling into our family and your mama is basically counting down the days (and hoping the countdown is a littler shorter than that). 

Man, do I feel guilty admitting that.

I really don’t want to wish away the last few weeks that we have together as a family of four. We are in a great groove right now. We’ve figured out schedules that work for us. We’re happy. 

But, babies, I’m a much better mom when I’m not pregnant.

As we near the end of this pregnancy, I find myself feeling guilty all the time. 

Like when you ask me to chase you around the coffee farm and I can’t. 

When all you want is to be held but my swollen body is just too tired to hold you for another minute. 

When I skip out on family trips to the playground so I can have a few minutes in silence with my feet up. 

When you tell me your belly hurts and my initial thought is “oh no, I don’t have the energy to be up all night”. 

The bigger my belly gets, the shorter my fuse becomes. My nightly prayers are filled with cries to the Lord for more patience. 

I start each day with the best intentions, and I almost always feel like I come up short. 

It’s those times when I feel like a terrible mom. Like I’m failing you both. 

But, somehow, you both know just when I need you to crawl into my lap for the extra snuggles. When I can’t break up another fight in the car so, instead, you hold hands. Your sweet little hearts are so loving and forgiving and I am beyond grateful for that. 

I know I’ll have hard days when there are three of you running around the house. With each new stage there will be an adjustment period. I will never be a perfect mom, but with the complications from this pregnancy behind me, I know I will be able to do a better job than I am doing now. Because, babies, I’m a much better mom when I’m not pregnant. 

Thank you for loving me always. For reminding me on a daily basis what sweet, loving beings you are. I can’t wait to see you in your new roles as big brother and sister (again!).

I Love You,

Mama

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Lyla’s Birth Story

Before I started exclusively blogging here, Alex and I hosted a little website/blog that we mostly used to keep up with family living outside of Hawaii. Eventually, the lines between what I shared here and what we shared on the other blog started to blur and this site became home to all of our online updates.

We are getting ready to take our other site down, so Alex suggested I visit the site and save any posts that I don’t want to see deleted and boy am I glad I listened. 

For obvious reasons, the post that stuck out to me the most was Lyla’s birth story. When I was pregnant with her, I loved reading birth stories. I wanted to hear the good, the bad and the ugly. Reading all of the different stories helped me feel more at ease about doing it myself. 

As I get ready to deliver our second baby, I have been experiencing all sorts of anxiety. Funnily enough, reading my own birth story from just a year and a half ago has helped me relax about going through the process again. It reminded me of how amazing it is when you finally meet the little person that you have been bonding with for the last 9 months. How the pain and the discomfort just melts away as soon as that little baby is put in your arms. How beautiful the whole process is. 

Since I enjoyed re-reading her birth story so much, I’ve decided to share it here. 

I’ll warn you: it’s long. 

So, if reading birth stories is your jam – you’re welcome. If not, I’ll see you next post! 

In the middle of the night (3:38AM to be exact) I woke up thinking to myself “I think my water is going to break” so I jumpedhobbled out of bed and ran into the bathroom and sure enough, after I used the toilet I stood up and there it went. Keeping in mind the words of the nurse from earlier that day, I decided not to wake anyone up just yet. I thought to myself that even if this was the start of my labor, we had plenty of time until I had to be at the hospital.

Knowing that I wanted to be fresh when we did finally decide to go in, I decided to jump in the shower. I started to have semi-painful contractions while showering and the hot water felt so good on my back that I ended up staying in there for about an hour. When I got out of the shower, Alex was awake and I let him know that my water had officially broken. I also woke up my mom and decided to call the hospital to see when we should come in (their answer: right away!)

The drive was pretty uneventful, my contractions were getting stronger and more painful but I had nice breaks in between each one. The closer we got to the hospital, the more excited I started to become – we were going to meet our baby (hopefully) TODAY!

We finally got to the hospital around 7AM. Unfortunately, it was shift-change time so we had to wait around for a while before they put me into a triage room.

Once we were in the triage room, it was like a switch was flipped in my body and I was in full-on “this is not a joke” labor. At least, I thought so. A nurse came in to check my progress (4cm) and to make sure that it was actually my water that broke (it was).

LYLA BIRTH 1

Throughout my pregnancy, I knew I wanted as natural as a labor as I could handle. The nurse that was helping us in the beginning saw I was in a lot of pain and started to push the epidural, but I declined. (not having an epidural was my only “hard rule” that I set for myself) I was open to other drugs for pain management though, and found myself asking for Tylenol to “take the edge off” (HA).

No drugs could be administered though, until we moved to the delivery room. The nurse informed us that there weren’t any rooms ready at that time and that as soon as one was available, they would move me to it.

WHAT.

I remember being really upset by that news. I needed to move to a room, and I needed to move soon. My contractions were right on top of each other and I was literally writhing in pain. I’m sure the nurses thought I was being dramatic — just another first-time mom in the beginning stages of labor who has NO idea how bad it’s going to get. (HA again)

LYLA BIRTH 2

After what seemed like an eternity, they came to get me and wheeled me to the labor and delivery room. They transfered me to the new bed and our nurse told me she was going to check my progress.

“You’ve got to be kidding me” were here words.

My heart sank. I was convinced that I had somehow gone backwards in my progress and if that was the case, I surely would die.

But thankfully, I didn’t move backwards (really don’t think that it possible) but instead I had progressed from 4cm- 10cm (in less than two hours) and it was time to have baby!

Everyone in the room was shocked. I felt a little bit of relief knowing that I was near the end, and that the reason I was in SO much pain so early on was because I was going through the hardest part of labor, and I was doing it FAST.

LYLA BIRTH 3

The room was ready for delivery, my body was ready to push & I could see the end in sight and then I hear the nurses tell me not to push.

Again, WHAT?!

My doctor wasn’t there yet, and they wanted me to wait for him. At this point, I don’t even remeber having a reaction to this. I knew he would get there when he got there and I just focused on trying not to push (which is almost impossible) Luckily, there was a really great nurse by my side who encouraged me and let me know to do small pushes during the contractions to help with some of the pressure.

Not long after, Dr. Oh arrived and quickly put a gown on. FINALLY it was show time. We wasted no time and I started to push. Apparently, my pushes were effective (and girl was more than ready to make her appearance) because 11 short minutes later, she was out!

Well, halfway.

Lyla came out with her cord wrapped around her neck twice. It was so tight that the doctor wasn’t able to unwind it so they had to cut it there before she was able to come all the way out. I was always told that the head and shoulders were the hardest part to deliver, and after that the baby would just “fall” out so I was not a happy camper when I didn’t feel that relief that I was expecting (it was at this point where I let a few expletives fly — whoops!)

Once they got the cords cut, she was out and they took her to the warming table and Alex was able to do a ceremonial cord cutting.

I did it. 

I was over the moon. Baby girl was here.

I knew I still had to deliver the placenta, and that the doctors would have to stitch me up so I wasn’t concerned that they were working on me. I had a sweet baby to meet.

They gave Lyla to me and just like that, my world was changed. I’m not even going to try to describe it. You can listen to a million people try to explain that feeling, read a billion birth stories like this, and picture it in your head a trillion times but nothing will ever fully prepare you for the moment that you meet your child.

It’s magical.

While we were off in baby la-la land, the mood in the room quickly changed. The team of doctors and nurses suddenly got serious and we realized that they still weren’t done working on me.

I remember thinking, “this definitely isn’t normal”. (I was right)

Without getting too graphic, I was hemorraghing & the doctors were having a really hard time getting it to stop. The small team of nurses that were in the room for delivery quickly multiplied and I was all of a sudden surrounded by people giving me shots, applying pressure and attempting to give me IV medications (my veins were flattening out because I was losing so much blood, so getting an IV in place was a challenge)

Luckily, the team was able to get the bleeding under control before I needed a blood transfusion (the team was in-room ready to go). Slowly, the room started emptying out and I was able to relax.

While all of that “excitement” was going on, the nurses had taken Lyla out to the nursery. But once my doctor gave them the ok, they brought her back in the room and we were able to soak her in.

She’s perfect.

She is everything I imagined her to be, and nothing like I imagined all at the same time.

LYLA BIRTH 4

The experience as a whole was nothing like I expected. There was no laboring on a birthing ball or time for family face-time calls. It was fast and it was furious. It was the hard and it was scary. And I would do it all again in a heartbeat (cliche, I know)

When I think back on that day, I am so beyond thankful for Alex & my mom. Together, they were an incredible support team and I think I would have lost my mind without them there.

LYLA BIRTH 6LYLA BIRTH 7

We spent two nights in the hospital before coming home. The nurses took amazing care of us and I was almost sad when it was time to leave!

LYLA BIRTH 8

 

Told you it was long! Fellow mom bloggers: did you share your birth story? I would love to read it! 

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30 weeks

 

30-weeks-pregnant

As of yesterday, I am now 30 weeks pregnant with our little man. We celebrated with a (apparently very blustery) trip to our neighborhood’s farmers market. Just about 10 weeks left. Ten weeks that I know are going to fly by and I am all sorts of anxious about that. 

Just for fun, here is a look at the bump over the last 20 (!!!) weeks…

pregnancy-progression

Happy Thursday, friends!

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Thoughts on Family Size

thoughts-on-family-size

“How many kids are you guys going to have?”

That’s probably the question that we get asked most these days. Alex usually tells people that we are trying to keep up with the Duggars which brings on an equal number of laughs and eye-rolls. I’ve always tried to answer with a more realistic number of three or four, but, as I enter the third trimester of this (my second) pregnancy, I’m not so sure about that answer anymore. 

In just a few months we are going to be welcoming another little nugget to our family and the reality of that is starting to hit me hard. 

We are going to have children.

As in more than one. 

A boy and a girl.

An oldest and a youngest. 

To me, it’s mind-blowing. 

I am over the moon excited but I’m also scared.

Sure, I’ve done the newborn thing already. I am way better prepared this time and more or less know what to expect. But, let’s face it, parenting is hard.

Some days, I feel like I struggle with just one. Some days, when I walk through the grocery store trying to wrangle my toddler who just wont sit down in the cart no matter how tight I’ve pulled the belt, I wonder how I am going to manage when I’m outnumbered. 

It’s days like those when I start to think that this will be my last pregnancy. It’s on days like those that I start daydreaming about living our life as a family of four. 

But then we get home, and Lyla follows me around the house with a giant smile on her face. She pulls me into the living room, snuggles up on my lap and we read books together. She plants sweet kisses on my lips. She struts in from a walk with Alex and brings me a flower for my hair – proud as can be. I watch her in awe and can’t believe how fast she is growing. 

And then I feel her brother – kicking and rolling and making his presence known. It’s hard to imagine never feeling these sweet baby movements from the inside again. 

While cooking dinner, I hear Alex and his daughter singing and dancing and laughing. It is truly the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. 

I feel our house being filled with love. 

It’s moments like those that I instantly start feeling silly for thinking about putting a limit on our family size just because I’m scared. I feel silly for putting pressure on myself to have all the answers right now. How quickly I seem to forget that I am not in complete control. Never have been and never will be. 

“Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from Him” [Psalm 127:3]

Who am I to turn down such a beautiful, special gift? 

Now, I’m not saying that larger families are more blessed than smaller ones. There is nothing wrong with having just one child, or two. All children are a blessing. And a blessing is a blessing is a blessing amiright? 

So how many kids are we going to have?

I don’t know. Maybe we will be done after baby number two – or maybe we wont.

Only time will tell.

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Pregnancy Update | 25 weeks

Wow! This pregnancy is flying by. I’m already more than halfway there…

…by a month…

…plus a week…

Ah!

I haven’t been taking weekly bump photos this time like I did when I was pregnant with Lyla and my guilt levels about this are all over the place so last night I had Alex take a nice 25 week shot of my growing belly. 

25-weeks-pregnant

[I have, however, been taking “bumpies” (don’t hate me) every 5 weeks to document Mister Byrd’s growth. That counts for something right?!]

Anyways, to help tame some of my mom guilt and to answer a lot of your questions as to how this pregnancy is going, I decided to fill out one of those pregnancy surveys that are floating along in the blogosphere.

Hope you’re ready – it’s a long one! 

What fruit are you || I track my pregnancy in the What to Expect app and I love checking in every Wednesday to see what sort of food they are comparing our sweet little baby to. This week he is as big as a rutabaga and should be able to hear us now. 

Due date || December 3. I had Lyla a little early and even though I know every pregnancy is different, I’m betting that her little brother is going to be coming early too. I’ve said since the beginning that we will be in the hospital on Thanksgiving this year – we will see! 

How far along || 25 weeks on the nose. 

Gender || It’s a boy! Simon Earl is his name and being cute is his game. No mom bias here šŸ˜‰ It’s still hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that we are having a little boy soon – I don’t know how to be a boy mom! But, I guess I didn’t know how to be a mom at all before I had Lyla and I think I’m doing alright. 

second-pregnancy-10-weeks

Total weight gain || At my last appointment I was up 10 pounds (about 3 weeks ago). I don’t weigh myself at home because I really try not to worry about the weight gain part of pregnancy. My body knows what it needs to do and will get it done. 

Exercise || Every morning I take Lyla and Rocco out for a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood and, depending on how I’m feeling, will do another one with Alex, Lyla and Rocco again after dinner. I’m also trying out a local Stroller Strides class to meet other moms/get some intentional exercise in. Add those things to the amount of time I spend chasing Lyla around all day and I’d say things are looking pretty good on the exercise front.

Stretch marks || So far, so good! I didn’t get any last time until the verrrrrrry end so I hope I am as lucky this time. 

Swelling || My fingers have felt super swollen lately. Not sure if it’s heat or pregnancy related but either way it’s gross. 

second-pregnancy-15-weeks

Maternity clothes || Yes! I don’t have many pieces though so you will probably see me in the same three outfits over and over for the next few months. Comfort is key, people. 

Belly button || Still an innie but flattening out. Belly buttons totally freak me out and I hope it stays in for a very long time. 

Sleep || What’s sleep?! Between the heat, a sickness that I just can’t seem to shake and general pregnancy insomnia, this mama doesn’t get much good rest at all. 

Food cravings || I’m just going to say food in general. I’m just hungry. ALL.THE.TIME. 

second-pregnancy-20-weeks

Symptoms || My old friend, heartburn, is back. He usually shows up in response to my insanely hearty appetite. It’s a great partnership. 

Movement || Yes! Like any expectant mama, I love feeling those kicks, jabs and rolls. So far, Simon hasn’t proved to be as active as his sister but when he moves, he moves

What I miss || Ice cold beer. It’s definitely harder to give up alcohol in the summer than it is the winter. 

What Iā€™m loving || Our little family. Lyla is at such a fun age right now. I just want to bottle her up and keep her like this forever. She is so sweet with her daddy (and he with her) and my heart melts daily. 

What Iā€™m looking forward to || Volunteer opportunities at our church, exciting changes to the blog, family time, and Christmas.

Best moment this week || We took a great trip to North Shore this weekend. It’s always fun to circle the island, eat good food and just enjoy each other’s company. 

second-pregnancy-25-weeks

 

Happy “bump” day šŸ˜‰

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its a boy

We had our anatomy scan over the weekend and found out that baby Byrd #2 is a boy!

its-a-boy

 

We are over the moon excited to be giving Lyla a brother at the end of the year. I’m still in shock because I was sure it was another girl. So much for that mother’s intuition I always hear about šŸ˜‰

The three of us took turns being sick last week, so it was refreshing to see our little guy up on the screen healthy as can be. God is good! 

As excited as I am to meet our new bambino, I’m sort of freaking out too. I don’t know how to be a boy mom – help! All you experienced boy mamas (and dads) out there – any advice?!

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Baby Byrd Number Two

If you follow along on Facebook or Instagram, you might have seen our big announcement over the weekend. But in case you missed it – the Byrd family is growing. We are expecting our second baby this December!

pregnancy announcement

For all of you who sent your congratulations, thank you. We were floored by all of the love we received and are so thankful for each and every one of you! It really means a lot to know that we have the support of our family and friends.

Physically, this pregnancy has been pretty similar to my first. Aside from a few nights of nausea, I haven’t had any episodes of the dreaded morning sickness. I also haven’t had any intense if-I-don’t-get-this-now-someone-is-going-to-get-hurt cravings, but I have been requesting a lot of iced tea and Gatorade. My biggest symptom by far is exhaustion…zzzzZZZ

Emotionally, this pregnancy is a lot different.

The excitement level is higher. We now know first hand just how amazingly beautiful bringing another life into this world is. How rewarding it is to watch your baby grow and hit milestones. How special it is to build a family. Knowing that we get to do that again is thrilling.

The fear is also higher the second time around. Some days I feel like I am just getting the hang of this whole “being a mom” thing and then I realize that in six short months I will be a mother of two under two and think omghowamigoingtodoit?! Rationally, I know I will figure it out. Two will be our new normal and we will find our groove. But some days I just can’t wrap my brain around it. (I can hear all you moms with two or more laughing right now – that’s ok) Oh, and that whole giving birth thing? I can’t believe I’m doing it again! Hopefully this time it will be less traumatic (for all parties involved).

Lyla and her sibling will be 18 months apart. In some ways, I think that age gap is perfect and in other ways it makes me feel all sorts of guilty. Did she have enough time with just the two of us?! She has such a sweet heart and soul and I know that she will be an amazing big sister but it still makes me sad sometimes. It’s hard to imagine there being enough room in my heart for another little munchkin! I’m pretty sure every mom struggles with these feelings whether they are expecting number two or number seven (right?!) so I just keep reminding myself that giving Lyla a brother or a sister is such a blessing and really, I can’t wait to watch them grow up together.

Already this pregnancy is flying by. December will be here before we know it, so I am trying to make sure that I soak it all in – the excitement, the fear, the love, the exhaustion. It’s all part of this beautiful little thing we call life and I’m so thankful for it.

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