31 January 2017

31 January 2017

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eating: more veggies and less sweets, or at least trying to. Kind of silly to start working out without at least attempting to change your diet, right? So we're doing THM dinners and some modified aspects so I don't lose my supply for nursing.

drinking: water, and currently some leftover iced coffee from Starbucks. I went and worked there on Sunday and got my free refill (for Star members) right before leaving in order to strettttch it as far as I could. I'll make it last at least another day. #thrifty

listening to: Hiss Golden Messenger, LANY, the 1975. (Spotify links if you're curious.) Also Dear Hank and John podcast episodes, because they are just hilarious.

watching: Call the Midwife and the Bachelor. Call the Midwife has made me cry in every episode so far, and my picks for the Bachelor (I didn't see last night's episode yet so no spoilers!) are Raven and Rachel. If he doesn't pick Raven can I please be her new best friend?? She is just straight awesome. David and I are still working our way through The West Wing (my second time).

reading: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Guys. guys. GUYS. This book. Oh my gosh. I'm only like 34% of the way through (thank you Kindle percentages) and I am so enthralled already. I got the recommendation from my favorite podcast (see above) and finally got the digital copy a few days ago, and I haven't been able to put it down. Except unfortunately the Omaha digital library only lets you rent things for a week, and there aren't any renewals unless there's no one behind you in line to read it. So I'm desperately trying to finish by tomorrow, which isn't going to happen because it is longggg so I'm trying to decide if I should buy the Kindle edition or a print copy or borrow it from someone (anyone have it? haha).

wearing: sweats and leggings, and anything comfy I don't mind getting spit up on.

working on: working out. I got cleared for exercise last week and started a workout program this last Sunday. You're welcome to follow along on Instagram, if you're so inclined - hannahjogetsfit. There's nothing like a healthy social media presence to motivate me not to give up.

smelling: our stinky dog who needs a bath, and some laundry spinning in the dryer.

thanking: Jesus for all the great friendships we made in college, and the ability to catch up with those friends and feel like we're right back where we were. Good friendships are worth their weight in gold, and even for introverts like me, worth making the time and space to invest in them.

thinking: I would really like it if Cora would get on a schedule sometime soon. I know she's only 6 weeks old, but the unpredictability of her nights are what stress me out the most, not the nights she doesn't sleep that great. I'd just like to know ahead of time that I'll have to get up x times each night, or what have you. She's been doing some really great nights (a 7 hour stretch one night!) and some not-so-good-but-still-tolerable nights (waking every 3 hours or every 2 towards the early morning). But she's not bad overall so I don't have much to complain about.

making: a sweet little knitted cap for Cora's baptism in a couple weeks, and plans for craft organization in our basement.

wanting: a pedicure and a hair dye, but neither are in the budget right now so I'm forced to wait. wah wah.

disliking: almost every single political thing that has happened in the last week, AND all the crazy assumptions people make about other people who hold specific beliefs. I don't like scrolling through the news and reading it, but I also don't like NOT knowing, so it's a lose-lose situation.

trying: to pray more about things like the above that bother me, and trying to become more engaged so I feel like I can actually do something about the things I don't like.

loving: Cora's real social smiles. I went to get her up from a nap in her crib the other day, and her whole face lit up when she caught a glimpse of me standing over her, the sweetest, biggest smile on her face and her eyes crinkling at the corners. Wish I had had my camera.

and you?

Life with 2

26 January 2017

26 January 2017
There aren't enough categorized words in the English language to accurately describe what life is like with two kiddos, but I'm going to attempt for posterity's sake. Because I'm sure I'm going to look back at this in future years and wonder what it was like and possibly contemplate how I survived, and/or look back at how easy it was back then...I guess we'll have to wait and see.


Two kids.
We're finally here, kids.
Kids. Plural. See what I did there?

I'll be honest. I know this stage, later in life, is going to seem like a breeze. We can still play man-to-man defense, we can still enjoy plenty of quiet time after the toddler's bedtime, and heck - the littlest still stays in her car seat during outings, at Mass, etc.

But I think mentally this transition has been a little more difficult than our transition with just Kateri. (I know everybody has differing opinions on this, and who knows - maybe I'll change my mind in a bit.) Having one baby was hard, sure - the introduction to giving up your schedule isn't easy, having to be ready at any moment to respond to the whim of a baby. But Kate was an easy baby. Like, an easy baby. So this whole two-kids thing has been harder, at least on me.

To be fair, we're also in the throes of potty training, which hasn't helped in the adjustment. I am not entirely sure why we decided to do potty training with a one-month old, but there you go. Suddenly both of them seem a lot more involved than I'm prepared for at any moment of the day, and it is exhausting. Most days during nap time I collapse on the couch and stare off into the distance, trying to decide if I should sleep, veg out to TV (Bachelor anyone?), or do all of the chores staring me in the face. And that was before I started to go back to work -- which means most of naptime is devoted to spastically trying to finish work projects in silence until the baby needs to nurse again.

These two. They are a blessing. They challenge me every day, and we're only a few weeks into this gig. But there are major sweet moments too. I'll look over to Kate staring devotedly at Cora, saying "Ohhh, Cora. You so cute!" or running to me saying "Mama, Cora's crying wittle bit!" with a very concerned look on her face. Or I'll find Kate next to the baby swing, talking, and Cora is staring straight at her with a huge smile on her face, listening to her big sister babble on about who-knows-what.

This love for them hurts, too. I'm even more emotional this time around - realizing how fleeting this cuddle 24/7 stage is, wondering how she will grow into a tiny person just like Kate did, wishing time didn't go so fast and also looking excitedly into her future, with visions of playing together and sibling bonding to come.

Suffice it to say this 2 kids thing isn't for the weak, and I'm learning more and growing more - albeit painfully, and slowly, and not without a lot of grumbling - every day. It's a good thing they're both so cute, eh?

And now that Kate's officially no longer the baby of the family, I'm going to need a new tagging system for the blog. :)

Cora, one month.

18 January 2017

18 January 2017

Cora Jane is one month old!

And I decided to embark on another attempt to document our kiddos growing up, starting with Cora's one month post. I think I made it every month with Kateri, so I'll be linking back to those each month. (I just refreshed myself with her one month post, and holy cow she and C look SO different! Kate looks like an albino baby in comparison to how dark Cora is!)

Being a mom of two is still weird to say, but we're slowly adjusting. (That's a whole 'nother post, though, one coming soon hopefully.) Kate has been as helpful as she can, and actually on the whole is adjusting much better than I anticipated. Although I purposely didn't get my hopes up just in case it wasn't easy...haha.

Onto the stats!

Weight: She was born 8 lbs 10 oz. She lost 5% of her body weight in the hospital, and then 6 days after birth was already 9 lbs 1 oz. She was at 9 lbs 9 oz two weeks after she was born, and last week at the doctor was 10 lbz 10 she is gaining weight steadily just like her big sister did. I seem to make babies who grow very quickly and easily, which is quite a blessing!

Height: Cora was 21.5" inches when she was born. At least I think so, that's the memory I have in my head but newborn fog confuses everything. I haven't measured her since.

Firsts this month: social smile, eye contact, sleeping 5 hours at a time! (so great!).

Nicknames: Squishy Face has resuscitated, as well as Smelly because her toots and poops are WOOF.

Other things to note:
+Right now Cora seems a more difficult baby than Kate was. She goes through fussy periods in the late morning and late evening where she wants to nurse, but she also doesn't want to nurse so it's a lot of snacking and then being fussy that she's not snacking. And generally just wants to be held more than Kate did at this age.
+I'm looking forward to her settling into a more predictable rhythm. I don't mind the uncertainty at night, but since my maternity leave is officially over, it would be nice to predict when she's going to be needing me and when she'll sleep for a good stretch so I can prep to work during those times.
+Like mentioned, I'm going back to work now (when the projects come in) and really, Kate's potty training shenanigans are preventing me from working more than Cora is. I have a feeling I am going to be putting in more early morning hours and late evening hours to work when David gets home, though.
+She's not as completely lulled to sleep by the car seat as Kate. Luckily Kate seems to sleep through her screaming in the car so that's a good thing!
+Cora's definitely inherited my complexion in comparison to Kate taking David's paleness. Glad she has at least one thing from me so far.

We are enamored with her, as one can imagine.

Kate's one month again, for reference.
See you next month! (just kidding, I'll blog again before that happens. I hope.)

End of the Year Survey 2016

12 January 2017

12 January 2017
I found this year-in-review interview from Jolie's blog who says she originally got it from another blog and I thought it was just the way to sum up 2016. I haven't been good at making resolutions or thinking much about the coming of 2017 with the fog of newborn haze but I really love resolution-type things so I thought I'd do this first and then eventually my brain will catch up to the reality that it's 2017. 

1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?

Whew, a lot of things. Most importantly moved to a new city - I had previously lived in Lincoln my entire life (even for college) and now we're in Omaha. Even though it's like, 45 minutes away it feels like a significant change!

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Ohhhh yeah I did. Here's my post on them from last year if you want to peruse. I'll sum it up for you quick.

Go to Confession once a month? I didn't quite make it every month, but I made it lots more times than I did in 2015. The whole moving-to-a-new-city thing kind of backburner-ed it for a few months there as we adjusted to a new place, but I give myself a solid B- on this one.
Do 12 weeks of BBG and THM? I didn't make it through BBG but I did THM for a full month, aaaaand then we got pregnant. Solid B.
Read 35 books? Again, the moving and pregnancy thing kind of trainwrecked this but I read 23 books so not bad. Technically a fail but I give myself a D because I read some long books.
Craft more? I made a baby quilt and did some knitting but not a ton. B+.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Heck yes - I did! That counts, right? Cora's birth was definitely the highlight and the hardest part of 2016, no question about it. Cora Jane was born on December 13 and she's great. Lots of other friends also had babies but too many to list out here, so I'll just blanket statement say lots of them!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My uncle Dick died, and David's great-uncle who was a priest died as well. 

5. What countries did you visit?


6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

More peace of mind and more hours in the day, please. I know those are impossible desires but that's truly what I want out of life. I want to be more patient and more easy-going in this land of small children and diapers and monotonous days, and I really want more hours in the day to get things done and read more books, watch more TV, etc. etc.

7. What dates from 2016 will be etched upon your memory, and why?

May 30: Kate's 2nd birthday. I have to say, I think two years old is my favorite stage so far. She is so curious and her birthday was finally something she kind of understood, so it was fun to celebrate together.

July 22: the day we closed on our old house in Lincoln and our new house in Omaha. (Yes, both on the same day.) We didn't really live at the new house til about a week later but I still count that as our move date.

July 29: David's sister's wedding which was a great party and Kate made a million friends.

December 6: my due date, which came and passed uneventfully. No surprises there.

December 13: is the biggest one as that's Cora's birthday. 12/13/16 is close to a very symmetrical birthday so that (hopefully) will make it easy to remember. (For some reason I can never remember the year Kate was born until I think the timeline through, horrible I know.) 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Having a baby definitely tops the list. I am not quite sure how you beat that, but I also qualify another year working from home with a crazy toddler and a puppy as a feat worthy of mentioning. 

9. What was your biggest failure?

I probably spent too much time on the Internet. Aaaand spent too much time feeling sorry for myself for silly reasons, too many and too personal to detail publicly on the blog. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nope! I mean, I had a few colds and that was about it. 

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Our new house by far tops that list, although having a second car is also super nice. Our new place is a lot nicer than our old one, and much easier to live in (number of bathrooms, space to spend time in, etc.) but being able to transport all of our children (plural, still weird) and dog and stuff when we travel is also very nice. And having two cars in general is nice, so I don't have to drive David to work whenever we have a doctor's appointment or I need to run an errand.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Our resident two-year-old deserves recognition for how well she's handled not being the complete center of attention since the arrival of her baby sister. Admittedly it was a bit of a learning curve the first two weeks, but she has seriously done a great job of both helping with the baby and being able to step back from the spotlight a little bit when Cora's needs are more pressing. She still gets plenty of attention from all her relatives, which definitely helps, but she has done a great job with all the changes and I'm super proud of her for it.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Is it rude to say anyone who posted about the election on Facebook? That blanket statement isn't true because I did encounter and participate in a few actually decent discussions on FB about the election but most of the ones I saw were horrible and made me sad for our country and our future. And that's as political as I am going to get.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Truthfully the new house and new car got the biggest chunks of our incomes, but David has been reworking a budget for us in the past couple days and saw the total dollar amount we spent at Target last year and had a little bit of a heart attack about it, so I'll throw Target in the mix as well. Also Amazon Prime for Christmas gifts. 

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The prospect of a new baby joining the family! When we originally talked about trying to get pregnant with number 2, I wasn't sure what my emotions would be like if it actually happened. We spent a few months trying before succeeding, and those were rough for many reasons but whenever I saw the "negative" result on the pregnancy test, I had a weird mixture of emotions of both great sadness that we weren't pregnant, and relief that our lives were going to stay the same for a little bit longer. When we finally did get pregnant, and after the initial shock and adjustment period wore off, I was glad to realize how excited I was for baby 2, even through all the ups and downs of pregnancy. 

16. What songs will always remind you of 2016?

Ophelia by the Lumineers, because it was one of the first songs Kate learned to sing along to without any prompting from me or David. Three Thirty by Eighty Ninety, because multiple pregnancy mood swings made me cry listening to it. Our House by Crosby, Stills, & Nash because it was on an episode of the Blacklist and was so distinctive that I started to listen to it constantly. (Thank you, Spotify, for helping me remember!)

17. Did you make any new friendships?

To be honest not any new friendships in real life, but I made a bunch of new internet friends and tried to deepen the real-life friendships I already had. Moving to a different city has made that difficult but I'm hoping to work on this in 2017.

18. Did you go on vacation?

Yes! We went on our first kid-free vacation since having Kate to Colorado in May with a group of friends. It was right after we found out we were pregnant so we had to tell everyone in the group since it was pretty obvious I wouldn't be drinking (not that our friends are crazy drinkers, but you know) and the morning sickness wasn't the greatest. But it was really fun! Pictures below. Vail in May is deserted - we had multiple shop owners say we were the only group of tourists in the entire town. I mean, it was also cold and snowy but the feeling of being the only ones there was pretty fun.

19. What do you wish you had done more (and less) of?

I wish I had appreciated my free time more when we only had Kate -- I can already feel the hours of free time slipping out of my hands. Don't get me wrong, all for a good reason! But with the hours of child care adding up as well as starting back to work, I'm seeing less and less time for just-me-activities. 

20. How did you spend the holidays?

Christmas was split between the two sides of the family like it usually is. Christmas Eve was just our little family, going to an evening Mass at a parish unfamiliar to us where we had to stand in the back (David's first experience with a full Christmas Eve Mass, which apparently doesn't happen where he went to Mass growing up on Christmas) and then exchanging presents and eating Chick-Fil-A as celebration. Christmas Day we spent with my family, and then over New Year's Eve we celebrated with David's family in Columbus since his brother was back from Philadelphia. It was a tiring two weeks (as it usually is) but we did less than normal due to Cora so it was nice.

21. What new food did you discover?

Umm...I don't know if this qualifies, but I tried the spicy salsa at Chipotle for the first time and holy cow that is SPICY. I'm not sure I tried anything else new this year.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Ohhh, hard to answer. We started watching The West Wing together (my second time through) and that will always be one of my favorite shows. Amount of time spent watching would 100% be The Office, because we are always rewatching that. (I'm pretty sure we're on our 20+ rewatch of the entire 9 seasons. No joke.) I think the beginning of the year was spent watching House and Arrow, but I'm not entirely sure. 

23. What was one of your favorite experiences of the year?

Going to a Husker football game for the first time since before we had Kate was really fun, thanks to David's sister and brother-in-law, who have seasons tickets. I'm hoping we can convince them to give us a chance at tickets somewhat regularly now. ;) And even being pretty pregnant and sitting on bleacher seats it was still super enjoyable! 

24. What was the best book you read?

How are you supposed to answer that?? I only read 23 books this year even though my goal was 35 (you can see my year in books here) so I am a little disappointed in myself for that. My two favorites were In the Woods by Tana French and The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber. I also loved the Cormoran Strike novels I read (JK Rowling's mystery books) and the Game of Thrones ones I finished at the beginning of the year. I liked pretty much all of them, I'm not super picky.

25. What was your greatest musical or artist discovery?

Hmm. San Fermin was a good band to discover, but I probably had heard them before. I got re-obsessed with Gregory Alan Isakov, too - it comes and goes in waves. 

26. What did you want and get?

A new house with pretty much everything on our wishlist (minus a fireplace) and a new (used) car. 

27. What did you want and not get?

A fireplace in our new house (lol previous answer) and way more clothes than I didn't buy but really wanted to. I have much too expensive taste for my budget.

28. What was your favorite film of the year?

We actually didn't watch many movies this year, in comparison to previous years, it feels like. I wish I could see all the movies we've watched on Netflix this year to maybe jog my memory? Hmm. I'm not even sure we saw a movie in the theater this year.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

We spent my birthday in Omaha. David had to work in the morning at his new job back when he was commuting, and in the afternoon we were going to look at houses. I treated myself to a pedicure for the first time...maybe ever? that morning, and spent the rest of it reading, BY MYSELF, in a coffee shop. It was glorious. 

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Maybe a device to make it so you don't have to pee every 2 hours at night when you're pregnant. That would have made the third trimester a ton better.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept for 2016?

Umm...maternity clothing that doesn't break the budget, and then sweats. Classy. Also bridesmaid dresses.

32. What kept you sane?

A set bedtime for Kate and plenty of Diet Coke.

33. What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

The only interactions I have with celebrities is following them on Instagram or Twitter. Mindy Kaling is by far my favorite Instagram personality (especially her interactions with BJ Novak) and Ben Sasse is pretty funny on Twitter.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

I still can't talk about political things so I'm gonna skip this one.

35. Who did you miss?

Once we moved to Omaha, I missed living in the same city as a bunch of free babysitters (aka my family). I miss my college friends who mostly live in different places now. I also miss the old me who didn't color her hair, but that's a different story.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I didn't meet a ton of new people, but our new neighbors have all been so friendly and helpful so I'm going to put them.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

Life lesson? Gosh. I learned that it's okay to let go of your own timeline and just go with the flow. I never anticipated moving out of Lincoln before David got his new job, and although I still miss Lincoln the reality of living in Omaha has been really fun and a great adventure. If I would have written out a life plan I never would have envisioned moving, but here we are - and everything is fine! There are lots of ways our lives have improved and even though I was pretty stubborn about the idea originally, I've come around. So yeah, life lesson is go with the flow and don't worry too much about deviating from what you think is going to happen, because it might turn out better than you envision anyway!

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

They say the work is gonna come again, boy -
The work is gonna make you old.
I think I'd rather be poor than cold.
So be careful what you've gone and wished for.
They say the money makes a man grow mean,
And I don't care if it's gold or green.

So bless my soul and take me back to Fort Worth.
I've packed my things, I've got my lady too.
Here I stand, until the Lord is gonna call me -
So I guess I'll get up,
I guess I got things to do.

- Things to Do by Grady Spencer and the Work


Thanks for a great year, 2016. Bring it on, 2017!

Cora Jane's birth story

02 January 2017

02 January 2017
As Cora is almost three weeks old, I figured I better write down the birth story because the fog of newborn-ness is already making my memory shoddy, so I shouldn't risk it any further than it already has been.

Of course as soon as I typed that sentence, Cora immediately started crying, even though I just fed and burped be continued in a spare moment. False alarm! Just a sleep cry. Which she does a lot, and way more than Kate ever least in my memory.

But I digress! If you're curious, here are Kate's two birth stories, part 1 and part 2. They're worth the read if you like very long birth stories about labor that doesn't like to be labor and end with cute pictures of a baby (as most do).

Same disclaimer as the last one: if you're squeamish or a male reader (do I have any of those?? haha) I highly recommend skipping this one. Lots of (somewhat) gory details ahead.

Here we go!

As you may have surmised from my incessant whining on every version of social media, Cora was not exactly prompt in her arrival. My due date was December 6, and the date came and passed with no movement on the labor front.

I was bouncing on the exercise ball every night, trying to eat spicy food, and feeling Braxton Hicks every so often in the last weeks of pregnancy. I'd go to bed with somewhat consistent contractions, and then end up falling asleep and waking up without labor having started. I was used to that with Kate's labor, but it's still disheartening when you really REALLY don't want to be pregnant anymore and your due date is fast approaching.

Above is the last bump shot we took on Sunday morning after church when I was 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant. Not exactly the most flattering photo of me (#endofpregnancytired) but we had to document it. Kate was NOT having the picture taking, so this was the best one of the 10 we took. Oh well. Also, Gap Maternity dress for the win - one of the two that actually fit me throughout the whole pregnancy. 

At 36 weeks, I was zero dilated and zero effaced, which was disappointing but not surprising. When the doctor checked me again at 40 weeks and 6 days, I was 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced, so that was super exciting! In the first 24 hours of labor with Kate I hadn't made that much progress, so it was a good sign that something was happening or that it'd be a little easier than last time. 

But seeing as it was already a day before I would turn 41 weeks, we made an appointment for an induction the next morning. Of course I still had high hopes that something would happen for me to go into labor on my own, but it didn't happen. 

So bright and early on the 13th, David and I woke up and headed to the hospital. Of course I was too nervous the night before to get a great night of sleep, so I was up at 4:45 and we made it to the hospital at 6 a.m.

They started my IV, which in my opinion is the absolute WORST part about hospital births. Of course I was GBS positive, so that's why I had to have one right away, but good lord, I was more annoyed by the stupid IV moving around especially after having her than almost any other part of the entire labor process, so yeah. Not my favorite part of the morning.

The nurse checked me and I was still the same as before - 2 cm, not more than 50% effaced. After all the checking in and question and fetal monitoring, my OB came in around 7 a.m. to try to break my water. He and the nurse tried 3 different times to break it. I'm not sure exactly what the problem was, because I could feel him at the very least pricking it, but no big gush of water ended up coming out so no one was sure that they had actually broken it. It was a very strange sensation and I got a little worried that nothing happened but it worked out.

After breaking my water, they started me on Pitocin and we kind of just chilled for awhile. Nothing was feeling all that painful - we watched some TV (glamorous hospital life with cable and everything!), texted some friends, watched the Office on Netflix, tried to talk more about baby names because we didn't have anything set for either gender, typical labor stuff. Just about every half hour the nurse came in and upped my dose of Pitocin to try and get the contractions going a little more steadily. I was having them at consistent intervals, but they weren't all too painful yet so it was pretty obvious I was still in "early" labor, whatever that means.

For some reason this time around, the fluids they gave me did NOT react well with my body. After every bag of fluid, the first one right around 8 a.m. and then 2 more times throughout the day, I got really shaky and feverish and nauseous and actually ended up throwing up each time, just once. Of course by the second and third times there wasn't anything in my stomach so it wasn't terrible, but I am not somebody who throws up easily so it was rather horrifying. (Before I got pregnant with Kate, I hadn't thrown up in about 12 years, and I only threw up from morning sickness twice with Cora's pregnancy.) The nurse offered to get me some anti-nausea medicine but every time she did, I immediately started feeling better and didn't need it. Perhaps in hindsight I should have taken some like half an hour before the next bag of fluids, but oh well. Poor David - if there's anything I hate worse than throwing up, it's watching someone throw up and he had to witness it multiple times in the span of 16 hours. He's a champ.

cliche matching jammies picture!

For awhile between 9 a.m. and about noon, I got to walk around the halls toting my very fancy IV pole and dolled up in the fancy back-and-front hospital gowns. We did a couple laps of the maternity floor, funnily enough followed closely by another mom in labor who was a little bit further along than I was so she was making more noise and struggling a bit more than me. I also bounced on the exercise ball for a solid couple hours with breaks to be monitored, which seemed to help my contractions get a little more steady but didn't really give me any relief like some people claim it does.

I'm getting fuzzy on the time line here, or rather actual time stamps, but after getting my Pitocin up into the 20s, I started to really feel the contractions. Again before being induced, I had high hopes of laboring at home for awhile, maybe possibly going without an epidural, and that thought kept going through my mind every time a contraction hit. I'm thinking it was around 1:00 p.m. that they started really hurting, and I couldn't decide if I wanted to get an epidural then or not. I was having two contractions lasting a minute each, two minutes apart, and then I'd get a longer 3 minute break before the next one. (This was a consistent pattern throughout my entire labor, which is interesting to me because I don't remember it with Kate? But maybe we just didn't notice.)

At this point I was standing up next to the bed, and gripping the bed rail as tight as I possibly could and swaying back and forth whenever a contraction hit. I definitely couldn't talk through them anymore - it was taking all of my willpower to not be yelling so instead I clammed up and shut my eyes through each one, trying to make my way through a couple Hail Marys but it usually went like this in my head: "Hail Mary UGH full of UGH what are the words to this UGH this hurts so BAD oh yeah I'm trying to pray OUCH full of grace OUCH" etc etc. I don't think I got an entire Hail Mary prayed the entire time, but I figured the effort was what counted.

I kept asking David if he thought it was time to get the epidural yet, and poor guy, he didn't know how to answer. It was pretty obvious I was in pain but I also didn't want to get it too early and then stall my labor out. Around 1:30 I finally told him "Okay, call the nurse RIGHT NOW I need this epidural STAT PLEASE LORD" and almost started crying because they really picked up in intensity. After he called the nurse to get the epidural I realized I wasn't going to make it the half hour without some sort of pain relief (I'm a wimp and probably just waited too long to ask) so I made him call her back and ask for the IV meds to tide me over until the fluids were in and I could get an epidural.

God bless my nurse Lexi because she was amazing - as soon as she got that second call she must have practically sprinted to the pharmacy and gotten them and then come right back and put them in my IV. And let me tell you, if you've never had those IV meds during labor it's worth it just for the experience. I instantly felt like I was drunk and the pain didn't matter anymore as soon as she stuck them in my IV. The room kind of slightly spun and apparently I had a kind of dopey look on my face but it was a good thing I asked for them, because it was a solid hour before I ended up getting the epidural. They didn't take the pain away, just like they tell you, but it made it so I didn't care what kind of pain I was in. Magic of modern medicine.

I'm trying to remember how dilated I was at this point, and I'm not quite sure - I think it was somewhere around a 5 to a 6 during contractions. Eventually the bag of fluids was all in me (yep threw up again), and the anesthesiologist came and gave me the epidural. Just like with Kate, I barely felt even the numbing medicine and had no bad reactions to her placing it, just sweet, sweet relief. This time I was a lot more able to lift and move my legs, but no pain whatsoever. It was glorious.

Once the epidural kicked in all the way, we got to take a nap (#heavenly) for another couple hours. Which was amaaaaazing. Knowing you're in labor and having contractions and being able to sleep peacefully during all that is beautiful. I think I woke back up around 4, still having contractions and everything but no pain, and then around 6 p.m. my OB came to check me...and I was still a 6 c.m.

BOO. I instantly got super worried about the fact that I'd basically made no progress in 4ish hours, and my mind jumped to c-section and baby troubles and all that jazz. I didn't voice any of this but my OB was not at all concerned and just had the nurse turn up the Pitocin again one more crank and said he'd stick around and come and check me again in a little bit. At some point in here they put Cora on an internal fetal monitor and had me on an internal monitor as well to make sure I was contracting the correct way, and everything still looked good so the nurse said not to worry but it was still hard.

David and I had a couple of worried conversations about the "what ifs" while I still labored for another hour or so. Around 7:15 my doctor came back in and checked me again - 9.5 cm, basically a 10! I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. I'm not sure why I was stuck at a 6 for like 4 hours and then went another 3 in an hour, but I was so happy to hear that things were happening and I was actually making progress in a significant way.

I missed it during labor with Kate because I basically had my eyes closed for 3 hours while I pushed, but the nurses came in and set all the instruments up and my doctor was in there, chatting away with us while we waited a little bit longer. Around 7:45 or so, they checked me again and I was a 10!!!! Best news ever! And they gave me the okay to start pushing.

This time around was SO much easier pushing-wise -- like I said, I pushed for 2 solid hours with Kate and I was so exhausted from so many hours of labor that I probably wasn't very effective. This time around I had two pushes and my OB was already commenting on how dark her hair was! Which was another surprising thing, because Kate was blonde and practically bald when she was born. So that motivation was exciting.

17 minutes of pushing later and Cora Jane was born at 8:07 p.m.! The doctor caught her, and lifted her up for David to announce the gender and we both said in shock, "it's a girl!". (Although to be fair, I definitely picked girl ahead of time although I wasn't confident.) And then I cried like a baby and kissed her for like 20 minutes because she was just SO beautiful and SO perfect and I couldn't believe but also totally knew that it was her inside me the whole time. She did a great job of instantly crying when she was born, and calmed down at the sounds of our voices, and it was just magical.

During the 2 hours of skin-to-skin time, we decided on her name which was David's pick. We both had a girl name picked out and when we were trying to decide between our two options, Cora just felt right. Afterwards we found out David has some distant ancestors with the name Cora so that's very cool and obviously was meant to be.

tired labor face, woof <3
We spent the night taking advantage of the nursery (hello, sweet sleep!) and she instantly nursed like a champ - much better than Kate did when we were in the hospital still. The next morning Kate and my family came to visit and it went pretty well. She had the biggest eyes and looked at Cora in wonder for a solid 10 minutes, asked to hold her and look at her fingers and toes a hundred times, and then she kind of moved on and wanted the attention back on her. (She's done great since then, but that's another post for another time.)

David's family came to visit later that day, and we spent another night and left around 10 a.m. on the 3rd day. Not before taking some cute pictures, though.

She has since perfected this face, and it's just as cute in person as you might imagine.

Whew. that was a DOOZY. Glad you made it through til the end - apologies for typos and such, I don't have the brain power or energy to go back through and make my usual corrections. I'm hoping to get back on the blogging bandwagon soon, now that Cora's getting into a better rhythm and Kate has somewhat adjusted to her presence (and Mama's somewhat absence, you know). Thanks for sticking with it and look for more posts soon!

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