I’m sure it has something to do with having a newborn at home, but Waverly has been acting like such a big girl lately that honestly, I feel like she has been three for a while now.  She knows that her birthday is July 26th & tells anyone we meet, and always quickly follows with “I am turning five”.  Slow down sister.  Also, almost all of her imaginary friends (Gamma, Gold, Greenie & Keely) have the same birthday, we practice singing happy birthday to them on the daily. 😉

I started planning her party a while back (you can see the post here, our color pallete is mint & pink), mainly because I knew this would be a crazy time for us so I wanted to get anything done early that I could.  It seemed like a great idea at the time, yet since, Waverly has officially decided that her favorite color “in the whole wide world” is purple.  She is seriously obsessed with it & tells me often that all she wants for her birthday is a purple cake & purple balloons.  And that will teach me to be a procrastinator, I’m hoping she will mistake all the mint I already bought for purple?!

Plan B is to roll with our original party the day before her birthday & then do a purple cake on her actual day.  And next year, if she still loves purple (which I feel like she will), an all-purple party she will get! 🙂  In the meantime, I’m excited to share the invites for Waverly’s third birthday party, an ice-cream theme with all sweets at our house.  We worked with Minted on these invites & are so happy with them, the quality is on point & this theme went perfectly with the vision I had for her party.

Invite Design

I feel like Waverly’s birthday is coming at a perfect time after so many changes lately.  We have had our moments, but honestly, she has adjusted to having to share the spotlight with her little sister way better than I ever would have expected & I can’t wait to celebrate her, she definitely deserves it!  As for gifts, we try to keep it small, but I got this make-up set for her & am planning on a new tricycle, I think she will love both! 🙂  We are also planning a trip to Busch Gardens the week after her birthday, they have a Sesame Street attraction that will most likely be the highlight of her life so far.  Even though everyone in our house knows, what would make her happiest on her day would be a box of band-aids & some of Avalon’s pacifiers.

Top from Target
Wishing you all a very happy week!

Thank you for your sweet comments on part 1 of Avalon’s birth story (you can read it here), I am so grateful to be a part of a community that supports each other & also, who can relate to each other’s experiences in such a positive way.  Here is part 2! 🙂

It was around 6am when my contractions started getting crazy intense & I had the familiar feeling of just having to push, the same one I got with Waverly.  I was so excited & relieved that we had made it to that point, but also freaking out because I was starting to feel my legs again & the pain was way higher than I ever remember feeling with Waverly.  I convinced myself that the epidural wasn’t working anymore, my nurse assured me that it was even though I still have doubts, either way, major props to you ladies who do this thing naturally.  Seriously. 😉

I starting pushing & pushed for about 30 minutes before my doctor came in, at that point I figured she was going to be here (uneventfully) within minutes, since that’s what happened in my labor with Waverly.  Then everything changed.  They put an oxygen mask on me because my pulse was going up & so was the baby’s, then told me that her shoulder was stuck on my pelvic bone.  My doctor explained that it would hurt, but they were going to do everything they could to get her out quickly, & all I remember was a whole lot of pain before I felt her come out.

I was so incredibly relieved, but immediately knew something was wrong.  I looked up & could see Avalon from a distance, but she was laying lifeless & was completely blue.  Withing seconds, the NICU team started running in, alarms were going off, & I layed and watched while they swarmed her.  My husband & I didn’t make much eye contact, I asked him if everything was alright & he just looked at me with the blankest face.  Finally (finally!), we heard her cry, the sweetest, most perfect sound. 🙂  At that point we knew she would be alright (my nurses & doctor kept telling us she would be), but emotions were running high.  They were still working on her & wouldn’t let my husband hold her, then when he finally got to, I had to wait about 30 minutes before I could.  I was really trying to remain positive & thought I could keep it together until I looked over at him with tears running down his face.  Something I had never seen in fifteen years of dating.  So of course, I lost it, too, a culmination of all the feelings from the last two days, fear & anxiety from the moments before but also, so much joy that she was finally here.

We know now that Avalon’s crazy entrance into the world was both because of her shoulder getting stuck (shoulder distocia), & because the cord was wrapped around her neck.  She didn’t breath for 1 minute & 40 seconds (though it felt so much longer), and her first apgar was a 2 out of 10.  Thankfully, we have an amazing doctor who we absolutely love, & had wonderful nurses who took such good care of her & within the hour, she was 100% fine.  Yet it definitely was scary, especially since we had been through one birth & knew how different this one was, and we realize more than ever how fortunate we are to have two healthy, beautiful babies. 🙂

And lastly, things I have learned from the labors of my girls. 🙂
One, that I really am not in control, no matter how much I want to be.  I spent so much of this pregnancy hoping that I wouldn’t have to be induced (which is exactly what happened), and in the end, all that mattered was that we had a healthy baby.  Two, I really am the worst dialater ever & if we are lucky enough to have more babies, I just need to go into it knowing that.  And expecting to be in labor for more than one day.  Three, the ultrasound technician totally got it wrong on this one.  The 8 pound & 10 ounce baby we were supposed to have?  She ended up being 7 pounds, 2 ounces, smaller than her older sister. 😉

*All images by Brooke of Brooke Tucker Photography.

It’s hard to believe it’s been over two weeks since little Avalon Elle joined our family, time is flying and though its bittersweet, we are soaking in every minute as a family of four & can’t wait for all that is to come as our girls grow!  I am excited to finally share Avalon’s birth story, I love that I have this space to record it on because even just days later some of the details are already getting hazy (which let’s be honest, is part of the reason that all of us ladies are willing to give birth time & time again).  Childbirth is truly a miracle, & while some parts of it are my favorite ever, they do call it labor for a reason. 😉  Thankfully these babies are more than worth it.

If you followed me throughout my pregnancy, you know that I was induced with Waverly (in a very long labor, 48 hours), & really, really wanted to hold out to see if I could go on my own this time.  Yet at my last appointment, I was four days overdue & still not dialated at all.  My doctor agreed to wait one more week but scheduled an ultrasound for a couple days later to make sure baby girl hadn’t gotten too big or that my amniotic fluid was low.  At that point, I was feeling so ready to deliver, emotionally & physically, but was desperately trying to hang on.  My mom went to the ultrasound with me & after a few measurements, the technician said that our girl was about 8 pounds & 10 ounces, something I didn’t expect at all since Waverly was only 7 pounds & 6 ounces and this pregnancy, the baby had been measuring small from the start.  I immediately started to get nervous about waiting, since I really didn’t want a c-section, & then felt even more uneasy when the technician said that my amniotic fluid was starting to get very low.  As much as I wanted to avoid being induced, my priority from the start was a healthy baby & delivery, and I just knew that at that point, it was best for her to go ahead & get the eviction notice. 😉  My doctor called within an hour of getting the ultrasound report & said I would be induced that evening, she wasn’t even giving me a choice at that point based on the fluid levels, especially since I was overdue.

I spent the rest of the day getting last-minute things together for me, the baby, & Waverly, I had all the feels knowing that we would be meeting our newest girl so soon but also, over these being the last hours of Waverly as an only child.  We dropped Waverly off at my grandparents on the way to the hospital, & even though she had been so excited all day long when I told her that her sister was coming soon (she said she hoped she would have purple eyes!), it was definitely hard to get her out of the car.  I knew it would be emotional for me, but never thought Waverly would take it so hard, which obviously made it that much worse.  Regardless, we feel so, so lucky to have family that Waverly adores to keep her occupied while we were gone, & hope she will be fully recovered from us being away by the time a third baby may come along.
At the hospital, the plan was to give me cervadil overnight to help me dialate more, the same exact thing we did with Waverly.  I was cautiously optimistic, they had checked me as soon as we got there & I had dialated on my own since Tuesday to a 1.5, so even though the cervadil did nothing my first labor, I was hoping it would be different this time.  My parents stopped in to see us & then I tried to get some sleep, though it was obviously hard since we were so anxious and unbelievably excited. 🙂

They pulled the cervadil at 5 am & just as I feared, I had no progress.  The cervadil helped me thin a little, but I was still a 1.5.  They went ahead & started the pitocin at 6 am, at that point I tried to remain hopeful & did, especially when the contractions started coming strong and so close together.  Yet when my doctor stopped in around 10:30, I was still a 1.5, & even worse, when she tried to break my water to get things moving faster, I wasn’t even near dialated enough for it to work.  OMG, it felt like my first labor all over again.  I was way disappointed, contractions are obviously hard to deal with (understatement), but they are even harder when you have nothing to show for it.  That was definitely a low point for me, I was convinced I was the worst dialater ever (which really is probably the case), but knew I had to keep trying rather than give up & ask for the c-section.  So they turned the pitocin up (gradually, as high as it would go), & we all hoped for some sort of miracle.  
The picotin worked for sure, the contractions got strong, really strong, & though after a few hours I still didn’t show any dialation, we kept going.  Around 5 pm, they gave me some pain medication that was the craziest thing I have ever had in my life.  Seriously, the minute they put it in my IV, I was seeing two of everyone & everything.  It totally freaked me out (& I apologize to anyone who saw me during that time), but it also made me really out of it & I finally fell asleep, so I guess we will consider that a win. 😉  I got the epidural around 1 am & that was when finally, things started moving along.  I was able to relax more & fall asleep for short periods of time, in between my nurse coming in to check me.  I was dialating very quickly after nothing happening for so long, which is so funny because that is exactly what happened during Waverly’s labor.  Apparently that’s just how I roll.

Part two of Avalon’s birth story to come later this week, I tried to fit it all in one post but it just was way too much for anyone to read at once. I guess that’s what I get for having these crazy long labors.

PS – All of the images in this post are taken by the amazing & talented Brooke of Brooke Tucker Photography.  I did not have a photographer for Waverly’s birth (& honestly would have thought that was crazy then), but when Brooke came to me with the idea, I knew how much I would cherish having these pictures to look back on one day.  There are so many more images from our labor & meeting Avalon, some I will share in the next post & some I will keep for just our family, but regardless, I definitely recommend a birth photographer if it is something you are open to. 🙂

Happy Monday, hope you all had a wonderful holiday with the special men in your life!  We survived yet another weekend as parents of two, but definitely more notably, the girls & I made it through our second week at home, just the three of us.  Last week was a little harder than the first, my husband had a job that kept him working overnight two days in a row (which would bother me even if I had no kids, because I’m still 12.)  So while most days I can count down the minutes until I have a couple more hands to help & am no longer outnumbered, 6pm came & went and I found myself giving Waverly a bath while breastfeeding Avalon, trying to figure out how somehow, my first adult beverage in ten months could make its way into that equation (which obviously, it didn’t, I don’t even think I found time to pee).  Kind of a circus.  Yet we all made it, alive, & pretty damn ecstatic when daddy finally walked in the door Friday afternoon. 🙂  
And then the weekend.  It has been crazy hot here, like really hot, so we made plans to take the girls to the pool on both Saturday & Sunday, which really is ideal the situation for us right now.  Plus, it gave me the chance to put them in the swimsuits my mom got them a few months back. Avalon might not be old enough to swim yet (or even close), but I could have died at the sight of her in a newborn suit, matching her big sissy.
SwimsuitsAvalon’s Headband & Waverly’s Bow
And of course, we were so excited to celebrate daddy on Sunday!  Waverly & I had picked him out some new shoes last week and naturally, she told him all about them the next day, so although we had no surprises, we had a great day as a family.  We went out to brunch, just the four of us, & then went to the pool with my side of the family for the rest of the day.  After two days in the sun, Waverly was one happy, exhausted toddler & we finished off the weekend with an early bedtime plus an adults only (plus the sleeping baby) dinner. 🙂
Waverly’s Headband, Avalon’s Headband
The biggest shout-out to this guy, who deserves it all for how hard he works for our family!  He is as manly as they come, but rocks it as a girl dad & I just know that these two little ladies will be daddy’s little girls just like I still am today.  Life has just gotten a whole lot crazier, but there is no one else I would rather raise my babies with & I am so, so thankful for him.  
Hope you all have a wonderful week!

I wrote down Avalon’s birth story the day after we got home from the hospital & plan to share it soon, it was such a crazy, special (couple of) days that ended in one of the best gifts I have ever been given. 🙂  In the meantime, I am so excited to share pictures of the girls meeting for the first time!  These images are so special to me & some of my favorite ever, I am so thankful for my friend, Brooke, who captured them! 
We decided a couple months before my due date to keep Waverly away from the hospital until I had a couple hours to recover & bond with Avalon, which is something I am glad we did & would do again, but it was definitely hard on all of us.  We were gone for a long time, by far the longest that we had been away from each other, & Waverly is such a creature of habit that it really threw her for a loop.  We called her throughout the labor but of course things got hazy (especially for me), one of the last times I remember talking to her before Avalon was born she was crying & begging me to come home.  It killed me.  Yet reuniting with her & getting to introduce her to her little sister made it all worth it, even if she still asks me every night to “never leave her again”. 😉
My mother-in-law brought Waverly to the hospital to meet us, she said that Waverly was so excited the entire drive there & kept saying “that’s where my family is” as they pulled into the parking lot.  My husband & I walked to meet her in the lobby, without Avalon, so we could have a few minutes with just her.  Waverly really was as ecstatic as I have seen her.  We told her that her sister was waiting to meet her & she could hardly contain herself, talking a mile a minute, showing us the gift that she got for her, & proudly rocking her big sister sticker that the nurses gave to her.

I spent a lot of time during my pregnancy thinking about the moment that my girls would meet for the first time, so much so that I feel like it could have gone either way (good or bad) by the time it actually happened.  When it came down to it though, it was way better than I ever could have imagined.  Waverly was the sweetest, most excited big sister, she was so curious about every little part of Avalon & wanted nothing more than to hold her the second she walked in the door.  She kept saying, “she was in mommy’s belly & now she is here with me”, & couldn’t smother her with enough kisses.  We are still working on the whole “be gentle” idea, but all in all, I am so proud of her & LOVE the fact that these girls have each other for life.  I can’t wait to watch their relationship grow over the months & years to come! 🙂

Waverly’s Romper, Waverly’s Headband, Avalon’s Blanket & Hat
*All images by my sweet friend, Brooke of Brooke Tucker Photography.  Check out her website if you are in the Hampton Roads area, you will not be disappointed! 🙂

Wishing you all a happy weekend with those you love!