March 20, 2015

Elle Evergreen: A Birth Story

Elle's Birthday

Elle's birth story starts early on the morning of Friday, February 13th. Even though I had hoped to go into labor naturally the second time around, Elle decided to stay put so we scheduled an induction for the 39th week, like we did with Wren. The night before the induction, I did start having real contractions for the first time (instead of the Braxton Hicks contractions I had for weeks), but they weren't strong enough to get labor started that day, so we continued with the induction as planned. 

Jon and I woke up around 4am on the morning of the induction, showered, dressed and finished packing our hospital bags. We woke Wren up around 6am. We went into her room together with the video camera and filmed her waking up, telling her today was the day she would become a big sister. She was so sleepy, and I don't think she understood, but it was a sweet moment to have with her before the big day. I had been emotional for weeks thinking about how the second baby would change things for Wren - I just wanted her to know how much we loved her.

The only family member we have close by is Jon's mom who lives a couple hours away in northern Virginia, and we had asked her to be in the room with us for the birth. Thankfully, Wren's daycare opens at 6:30am everyday, so we made plans to drop her off when they opened since we had to be at the hospital at 7am. We got her dressed for the day, gave her a quick snack, loaded our bags into the car and headed to the daycare - it was still dark outside and very cold.

When we got to the daycare, I walked Wren in like I always do. However, since it was so early, she was going to a different classroom with a different teacher that she didn't know and no other kids had arrived yet. When I bent down to tell her goodbye, she started crying and threw her arms around my neck - scared because everything was so different. I immediately started crying, too. I had been worried about this happening and really wanted her to feel like it was a normal day, nothing to be afraid of. I comforted her and told her that daddy and Gigi (Jon's mom) would see her that afternoon to pick her up to meet her baby sister, and I headed back out to the car. The lady at the front desk stopped me to ask me some questions, and I could not stop crying. I kept apologizing to her - telling her it was an emotional day for me. She probably thought I was a crazy person!

Back in the car, Jon and I headed to the hospital, driving into the most beautiful, brilliant sunrise - all pinks and reds and oranges. My excitement and nervousness grew the closer we got to the hospital.

Elle's Birthday Elle's Birthday

We parked at the hospital and headed up to the labor and delivery floor where we met our nurse for the day, Annika, and got shown to our room. At this hospital, you only have one room for your whole stay. The room that you labor and deliver in is the same room that you stay in for the remaining recovery days. I loved this so much. It meant we could settle in right away and not worry about moving our bags after I delivered. It also meant I had plenty of time to rest and snuggle with Elle after she was born, instead of being rushed to get up and move rooms. I don't see why all hospitals don't do this - it made our experience so smooth.

All of the rooms on the labor and delivery floor are large with big bathrooms, a small table and chairs, a small couch that folds into a bed and a wall of windows. We had the last room at the end of the hallway. Annika gave me a gown to put on and left us to get settled. We unpacked a few things, and I changed and climbed into bed. Annika came back a few minutes later, got me hooked up to all of the monitors and gave us a run down of what to expect for the day. Next, she got everything ready to put my IV in, which turned out to be the worst part of the day - even worse than pushing the baby out!

I have never been a fan of needles, and I get super nauseous when anyone talks about blood, needles, veins, etc. When she was prepping my arm, she joked that my veins were so good she could throw a needle and hit one - which totally jinxed me! It ended up taking her three tries and three different spots to get the IV placed correctly. After the first try didn't go in correctly, she tried wiggling and pushing the needle into place, all while talking about collapsed veins and valves, and I felt myself getting sick and really, really hot. I looked at Jon and told him I was going to pass out and/or throw up. Annika quickly gave me a bucket to throw up in, and I dry heaved a few times (I hadn't had anything to eat or drink since dinner the night before - you can't eat before an induction). Jon got a magazine to fan me and a cold rag for my neck. Annika took the needle out and gave me a break to calm down. I thankfully did not end up passing out, and once I relaxed a bit, Annika tried two more times and was able to get the IV in and start some fluids. I was SO glad when that part was done.

Jon and I hung out for an hour or so, setting up the iPod with our playlist and the camera, until my doctor stopped by the room on her way in for the day, around 9am. She double checked that we for sure wanted to have a baby that day - and we said YES! - so she broke my water and told Annika to go ahead and start the Pitocin. I couldn't believe how quickly things were going - my water was already broke and it was only 9am! I knew from my experience with Wren's birth that the contractions would get a lot more painful now that my water had been broken, and that made me nervous.

Annika came into the room shortly after and confirmed that I did indeed want an epidural (yes, yes I did!), so she set out to get my name on the epidural waiting list. Jon was hungry by this time, and we chatted about where he could go to pick up some breakfast. He had just gotten his jacket on to head out when Annika came back in and let me know the anesthesiologist was on his way. Jon and I were both so surprised - already?! It wasn't even 10am!

Jon went ahead and left in search of food (they don't let anyone stay in the room for the epidural procedure), and the anesthesiologist came in a few minutes later. He was a young guy, super friendly and laid back. I was really nervous about the epidural because I didn't have the best experience with it during Wren's birth. Annika helped me get in the correct sitting position on the bed and basically hugged me from the front to help me hold still. Even though it did hurt going in - a lot of pinching and stinging on the right side (and was probably the second worst part of the day) - the anesthesiologist was able to get it in correctly the first time - hallelujah!

While he finished taping all of the tubes to my back, he joked with me about the teddy bear I had with me (a bear I've had forever and also had during Wren's birth). I told him it was kind of like having an extra pillow - he and Annika laughed and said it was totally fine if I needed it for comfort. I laughed and admitted that maaaaybe it did make me feel better. The mood was light and happy and the sun was streaming in through the windows. I couldn't believe my epidural was already in (before 10am!), and I hadn't felt a single painful contraction yet. It was pretty amazing.

Elle's Birthday Elle's Birthday

When Jon got back from getting breakfast (he ended up going to Krispy Kreme for coffee and donuts, and I was SO jealous), his mom also arrived at the hospital. She entered the room right as Annika was placing my catheter - ha! What a way to greet someone! (You have to have a catheter with an epidural since you're numb from the chest down and can't feel when you have to use the bathroom.) I was not nervous or embarrassed at all about having Jon's mom in the delivery room with us. She has a very laid back, calm personality, and I knew she would be great to have in the room. My mom was with us for Wren's birth, so it was super special that Jon could have his mom there this time around. (Even though she does now know me a lot better than she did before - ha!)

Once Jon's mom arrived, it was really just a waiting game. Jon and I played around with the camera, took selfies (of course!), read magazines, talked to family and friends on the phone and tried to nap a few times. Annika came by to check me and rotate me from side to side every hour or so, and I continued to dilate a little more each hour. After she left, we would make bets on how much more I would be dilated the next time she came back. My doctor was supposed to come by around noon to check on me, but when it hit 12:30pm and she hadn't made it by yet, Annika stopped by again. I told her I was starting to feel the contractions more strongly - not necessarily pain, but a lot of pressure. She said that probably meant we were getting close. Sure enough, she checked and I was dilated almost to 9!

Jon and I were a little shocked - it had all happened so fast! Annika left to call my doctor and gather a few things we'd need in the room when the baby arrived, and Jon and I texted and called family and friends to let them know we were about to have a baby. My doctor got to our room a little after 1pm and helped the nurses get the bed ready for delivery - and then it was time to push!

With Wren, I pushed for one hour, so I was prepared for the pushing to take a while. Little did I know, things go A LOT faster the second time around. I only pushed for 10 minutes with Elle - and I know for sure, because we have all of it on video. The whole delivery was such a fun, peaceful, enjoyable experience. That is probably the weirdest way to describe delivering a baby, but it really was. My doctor started off by giving me a quick reminder on how to push. Then I would push three times in a row, then rest, push three times in a row, then rest - pushing during the contractions and resting in between. In between when I was resting, we would all chit chat - about the weather, about the songs on our playlist, about the baby's name (which we hadn't told the nurses or doctor yet) - and then we'd concentrate again when it was time to push. Jon and I laughed when we first watched the video of the day, because we are all laughing and joking around in between contractions - not what you would expect of giving birth!

Just like with Wren, everyone could see Elle's luxurious head of hair before she made her grand entrance. At one point, my doctor asked me if I wanted to look down and see her coming out. I said a big 'no thanks!' to that - haha! (Jon's mom was hilarious afterward - even though she's had three kids of her own, she kept shaking her head with wide eyes and saying "I just didn't know" when we asked her how it was to see it all happen up close and personal.)

After my fourth set of pushes, Elle Evergreen Klock was born! (And to the song she was named after!) The doctor held her up for Jon to cut the cord and then the nurse wrapped her in a blanket and placed her on my chest. I was able to hold her for a few minutes before she was moved to the bassinet in the room to be weighed, measured and cleaned off a bit. They did all of this right in the room with us, and then gave her back to me as soon as they were done.

Elle's Birthday Elle's Birthday Elle's Birthday

Once Elle and I were both cleaned up, the nurses helped me sit up and get comfy in the bed, then quickly cleaned the room, rolled everything out that was no longer needed and left us alone to snuggle our new little bundle - and I absolutely loved this. When Wren was born, they took her to the nursery for her newborn tests and her first bath shortly after she was born, so we didn't get that special snuggle time. With Elle, we had her all to ourselves for a couple hours before the baby nurse came in and gave her a bath in our room. Then we had her to ourselves for another chunk of time before they took her to the nursery for her newborn tests later that evening.

I don't think I'll ever forget the way I felt in those first few hours after Elle was born. It was such a different experience from Wren's birth. With Wren, there was a lot of nervousness, worry and lack of confidence in those first few hours. With Elle, all I felt was love. Overwhelming, overjoyed love. Love for her, love for Jon, love for the whole wonderful experience. I could not stop smiling, and I just felt so happy. It really was the best day - I would do it over and over again if I could.

Elle's Birthday Elle's Birthday Elle's Birthday Elle's Birthday

Elle was born at 1:42pm. Jon and his mom left around 4pm to pick Wren up from daycare and grab some dinner. They arrived back at the hospital around 6pm with food from one of our favorite BBQ joints, and Wren got to meet Elle for the first time. It was so fun to see them together and to see Wren's reaction. She seemed to understand that the baby came out of my belly (and she still sometimes tells people that when they ask about Elle). She touched Elle's face and counted her fingers and then ran around exploring the hospital room. We ate dinner together, and I finally got up and moved around the room a bit (which is always a little scary after giving birth and having an epidural).

That night, Jon went home to stay with Wren, and I stayed at the hospital by myself. This had been our plan all along, and I was a little nervous about being alone, but I have to say, even though I would've loved having Jon there, I also really loved having those two nights in the hospital just Elle and I. That first night after everyone left, Elle and I snuggled, watched TV, played on Instagram (and loved reading everyone's sweet congratulation notes) and called Jon and my sister a million times to chat. I had planned to send her to the nursery around 10pm so that I could get a good night's sleep, but I was on such a high - I didn't want the day to be over! I stayed up with her until almost 2am, just hanging out, before she headed to the nursery and I went to sleep.

All in all, Elle's birthday was such a great day - probably the best birth experience I could have ever asked for - and a day I will always think back on with a smile and so much love. I can't wait to tell her all about it one day. :)

March 14, 2015

Elle Evergreen: 1 month old

Elle Evergreen: 1 month
Little Elle! I can't believe it's been a whole month since you joined our family! Your dad and I thought we remembered what it was like to have a newborn, but you have managed to surprise us. You are definitely your own little person, and you're already making sure things are done your way. :) Below are a few highlights from your first four weeks with us...

The first couple of weeks, all you did was eat, sleep and poop, and you were barely ever awake. We learned quick that you like to be swaddled up super tight in order to sleep or be content when you are awake. You're our little burrito baby. When your arms and hands are free, they don't stop moving and you get worked up really quickly because of them. (Even one month in, we still prefer to cover your hands either with your sleeves or mittens or your swaddle to keep you the calmest. Your hands are so tiny - little wrinkly old lady hands - but they are crazy. You already sliced your cheek with your razor nails even though I've cut and filed them - sad!)

Around the third week, you started staying awake for longer periods of time, and that's when your gremlin sounds came out. Whenever you are awake and fussy or when you are eating and you're interrupted, you make the craziest grunting and snorting sounds - like a gremlin or a baby zombie. Ha!

We also learned quick that you love the pacifier. We didn't love the idea of giving you one, but it's the easiest way to calm you down when you're being a gremlin so we gave in. You're funny with it, though - sometimes you act like it's the best thing in the world when we put it in your mouth and other times, you act like it's disgusting and you don't want anything to do with it.

At one month old, you still sleep most of the day away. You wake up to eat every three hours or so during the day, but you have started sleeping for five to eight hour stretches at night without eating. That sure is nice! We have the pack 'n play set up next to our bed for you, but you sleep best when you are tucked in close next to someone, so you've been sleeping tucked in on my side of the bed and it's working out great. I like to have you close so I can keep an eye on you during the night, and you are sleeping for longer and longer stretches so we are all happy.

Other things you love include being held (which is fine with me since I'm trying to soak in all the newborn snuggles I can), being worn in the wrap or baby carrier and having your hair played with or washed (you instantly relax and your eyes roll around like it feels amazing). A few things you don't like include diaper changes (aaah! the terror!!), clothes changes (aaaah!! even worse than diaper changes!) and baths (your first bath stressed me out so much I needed a glass of wine after).

Oh little Elle, we can't wait to watch you grow and see your personality come out as the months go on! We are so glad to have you as part of our family. Your dad, sister and I love you so much. Happy one month birthday, and may all your days be happy ones!

March 10, 2015

Elle's Birth Announcement

Elle's Birth Announcement
Jon and I pretended we were professional newborn photographers one day during Elle's first week home, and we snapped a bunch of photos with Jon's fancy camera, hoping to get a good one to use for her birth announcement. I'm so glad we did because Jon captured some of the best images - including this one above. Just look at her shiny eyes and tiny lips and that little hand touching her face - aaah - she is the sweetest! :) We mailed these birth announcements out a couple weeks ago, introducing little miss Elle to our family and friends, and I wanted to share them here, as well. Thanks again to everyone who sent us sweet notes and congrats via social media - we love you guys!

February 28, 2015

Naming Our Elle Evergreen

Elle's Name Inspiration
Below are a few words about the inspiration behind little miss Elle Evergreen's name if you'd like to know how we chose it -

Elle: I had heard the name Elle a couple times over the past two years since having Wren, and I had added it to the ongoing list of baby names I keep in my phone. It took Jon and I forever to decide on Wren's name so I wanted to be prepared with some favorites in advance for our second baby. When I found out I was pregnant, I told Jon that I already had my favorite name picked out. He liked Elle but wanted to consider some other names, so we started a little list and added to it/subtracted from it until I was around six months pregnant. No matter what names we put on the list, we kept coming back to Elle. We liked the sound of it (such a pretty word) and felt that it was classic yet not common and very feminine. When talking names one day (for the millionth time), I again said how much I loved the name and Jon agreed that he loved it, too. I tentatively asked if that meant we had a name and Jon said yes. Exciting!

Evergreen: The middle name was a bit trickier for us. After deciding on Elle as the first name, we thought a middle name that started with a vowel would sound best. We also wanted it to be a nature-inspired name since Wren's first and middle names are both nature-inspired. We started a new list of middle names, but nothing sounded just right. One day we were in the car listening to Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud (a song we both love) and the line "Your soul could never grow old; It's evergreen" stuck out to Jon and he suggested Evergreen as a middle name. I thought it was very interesting and loved the meaning of it. It came down to Evergreen and one other name in the running at the end, and I recited those names in my head all the time, trying to make a final decision, but the more I said Elle and Evergreen together, the more I loved it. We decided to make it official just a few weeks before our induction when we went to tour the hospital and fill out paperwork. We wrote the name on her birth certificate paperwork and then laughed with excitement - we had a name!

Also, a fun little side note - when Jon made the playlist for our hospital stay, he put Ed Sheeran's album on it. We joked at the time that it would be funny if she was born to the song that her name came from, and I told Jon that I had no idea what music was playing when Wren was born because I was so into the moment. Then, on delivery day, as I was nearing the end of pushing, the song came on! The only reason we realized it was playing was because my doctor said "Oh, I love this song!" and then Jon and I both looked at each other and said "No way!!" So Elle Evergreen did indeed end up coming into the world to the song that her middle name came from - how perfect is that? :)

February 18, 2015

Introducing...

Elle Evergreen Klock
Elle Evergreen Klock
Born February 13, 2015 at 1:42 pm
7lbs 4oz, 19 3/4 inches long

Oh Elle, we are so happy you are here! Your labor and delivery were pretty much a breeze, and you are just the sweetest, cutest little thing ever.

I'll be posting Elle's full birth story and a little about the inspiration behind her name soon. Until then, we are in full snuggle mode over here and loving every minute of it. Thanks for all of the well wishes and congratulations - we are all settling in and doing wonderfully. :)

Baby #2: Nine Month Update

Baby #2: Nine Months 
Currently...

Feeling - So much love and happiness to be at home settling in with my little family and gratitude for all that I've been given - two beautiful girls and a husband that loves us all so well.

Craving - Healthy foods! It's funny how quickly I felt motivated to fill myself with healthy foods that will help my body heal. Don't get me wrong - I'm still eating cinnamon rolls and Valentine's Day chocolates - but I am motivated to kick my unhealthy habits soon, for sure.

Wearing - Sweats, leggings and long tshirts. Comfort is my number one priority right now as my body heals and I take it nice and easy. 

Wondering - Who this little bundle of newborn-ness will grow up to be, what she will look like, how she'll be different from (and similar to) her sister. 

Thinking - So many thoughts and having so many emotions. Postpartum hormones are crazy, crazy things, am I right?? But mostly thinking about how incredibly lucky I am. 

Doing - Snuggling Elle, playing with Wren, soaking up the short time that Jon has off of work, cooking yummy meals, catching up on TV shows and taking long naps - basically all my favorite things.

(See all updates for baby #2 here.)