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. 🙂

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!

We are so thrilled to announce the arrival of our second baby girl, Avalon Elle Brickner!  Avalon was born June 6th at 7:28 am, weighing 7 pounds & 2 ounces, and 19 inches long.  She looks so much like her big sister did as a newborn, we really can’t believe it, though her hair is a little more blonde!  So far, she is just the sweetest little lady, she loves to sleep, be swaddled. & most of all, to be held. 🙂  All of us are head over heels in love with her, she is the perfect addition to our little family & my heart is so, so full.
It was a long labor with a scary birth, but that’s another story for another day, all that matters to us right now is that we have a healthy, happy baby girl!  My recovery has actually been way easier this time, I am feeling great & was walking around within hours of delivery, I am really shocked at how much I already feel like myself again.  Avalon has taken to breastfeeding so well, something I was anxious about, I am so thankful & hope it continues, I really have loved that special time with her so far.

We have been at the hospital since Thursday & Waverly has been with family, honestly, it has been tough for all of us to be away from each other.  Waverly has had a harder time than I thought she would, but she is doing much better & I am so incredibly anxious to get home to her later today!  She has been to the hospital twice to see her sister, she absolutely adores Avalon & wanted to hold her the minute she walked in the door!   I knew she would love her, but did not anticipate (at all!), just how much, I can’t wait to watch these girls interact more as we transition to our new normal in the next few weeks.  I have lots of pictures of the girls meeting & will be sure to share them soon, for now, one of the three of us, missing big sister so very much!

Lastly, the BIGGEST thank you for your sweet well wishes & support for our family over the entire pregnancy & the last few days.  We truly are so thankful for it all, though I couldn’t respond to every comment, I read each one & they really mean so much to me.  I am excited to continue to share updates & pictures as we adjust to life as family of FOUR!

Dress c/o Pink Blush
Size of Baby Brickner:  A small pumpkin, which is full circle since we announced our pregnancy (which seems like forever ago), holding one!  My baby book says the average newborn is 7 & a half pounds, Waverly was 7.6 right at 40 weeks, so it will be interesting to see what her baby sister is!  We really have no idea since we haven’t had an ultrasound since 20 weeks. 

Maternity Clothes:  I love the dress above, which was my third look from Pink Blush, it is super comfortable, stretchy & perfect for after the baby is born.  In other fashion news, I ordered a pair of sandals from Nordstrom this week (because shoes always fit, right?), & could not love them more!  I’m excited to wear them all summer long!  

Best Moment This Week:  I’m convinced that anything can be a sign of labor (according to google, everytime I feel a new symptom I search it online to see if it means labor is near, & it always does), but I have had a few moments where I felt like I was getting close & they were so exciting.  They obviously turned into false alarms, but I know they all had to mean something, right?!! 😉  I also am so thankful  for the sweet messages, phone calls, & emails as we wait for our baby girl, they really mean so much and I love that she is coming into a world where she already has so many people who care for her as much as we do.

Miss Anything:  I am staying away from complaining, as easy as it would be, since we are so close to the end! The excitement of holding our baby girl in our arms so soon far outweighs the annoying symptoms of late pregnancy, & as ready as I am (I really am ready), I am just trying to remember that they are all signs that labor is near! 

Movement:  Baby girl has actually been moving more lately than in weeks, lots of rolls & feelings of little feet and knees, the cutest!

Cravings:  Smoothies & light meals.

Queasy or Sick:  Definitely, & tired, but so very excited!!!

Looking Forward To:  BABY DAY!!!!!!!!  

And since I am hoping that this is my last weekly update for baby girl #2, here are the pictures from this pregnancy from 20 weeks on, the first eight are in this update.  I’m not going to lie, taking pictures each week sometimes became a huge pain (& we may go for monthly or trimester updates in the future!), but they are so much fun to look back on & I hope our little lady will love to look at them herself one day. 🙂
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  I hope to be sharing some good news sooner rather than later on my Instagram, thank you all so very much for your sweet support over this pregnancy!

One of the things that I have tried to be better about this pregnancy has been staying true to my personal style.  I’m sure others can relate, the first time around I was all about doing things by the book & that included fashion, I bought pretty much all the clothes that I wore from traditional maternity stores because I just figured that was what you did when you were pregnant.  Most of them looked nothing like me at all, I wouldn’t have worn them pre-pregnancy, & I definitely didn’t want to wear them afterwards.

Round two, I have gotten more creative with pieces I already had, with non-maternity clothes that can accommodate a growing belly, & with a few maternity pieces that I truly love and still make me feel like me.

Top c/o Pink Blush
Pink Blush reached out to me a few weeks ago to review a few of their items, & I honestly was a little hesitant at first since I was still pregnant & would have to look at the maternity line, and I wasn’t sure if I would find anything that I would normally wear.  Then I visited their website, & changed my mind immediately, they have some of the cutest maternity items I have ever seen!  They are so many fashionable options that you would find in other stores, all on trend with what’s currently in style (like these tassels on this top, I can’t get enough of a tassel detail right now!).

They sent me three pieces, the dress I wore in yesterday’s 39 week post, the top above, & this maxi dress I plan to share pictures of soon!  All three are super comfortable, something I feel like is so important to moms all the time anyways, & that becomes extra-important when you are growing another human.  I love, love the fact that all three will also work once baby girl is here, they are stretchy enough that they won’t look awkward once the big belly is gone but won’t be too tight on the little belly that I know will remain for a while. 😉  And I can nurse in them easily, especially in the ones that are strapless, something that will be key in the summer months to come!

You can find all of Pink Blush’s womens line here, & their maternity line here, their prices are also very reasonable, plus they offer free exchanges & free US shipping over $50.  Happy shopping! 🙂

*Pink Blush sent me these products to review but did not compensate me for this point.  All thoughts & opinions are purely my own.