Thursday, April 21, 2016

How We Potty-Trained Our Toddler Boy!

by Sarah




This isn'te going to be a very glamorous post, but I wanted to take a minute to share a few tips on potty training for any parents out there who are either planning to start or currently in the process of training their toddlers. 

We began potty-training Noah when he started to give us signs that he was ready, which started to happen right around the time that he turned two. Truthfully, this might be the most important tip I can give you-- do not get serious until you know your child is ready. If your child isn't starting to show signs and they aren't ready, you will just end up frustrating yourself. 

We didn't do any crazy "potty training boot camps" or "potty train your toddler in one week!" routines. I see pins floating around on Pinterest for similar potty-training techniques all the time and I don't buy it. I had a breastfeeding infant to throw into the mix, after all. My son is also extremely stubborn.

In the beginning, we started off by simply letting Noah hang out in the bathroom with us (which isn't that crazy because if you aren't familiar with toddlers, they come into the bathroom with you every time that you go to the bathroom, ever.) Letting them see you is the only real introduction to using the potty. 

1. Wait until they show you signs that they are ready-- As I mentioned above, right around the time that Noah turned two, he began doing things like hiding in his closet to poop (in his diaper.) Being that he is my first child, I didn't really pick up on this meaning anything. However, I randomly brought it up with his pediatrician and apparently, it meant something really important: that he was able to hold it in until he could hide. This is a huge sign that your toddler is ready to be potty-trained because if they know how to hold it, they know how to hold it until they can make it to a toilet. 

2. Make a sticker chart-- When we were first beginning to brainstorm how we would go about potty training Noah, a few of our friends recommended rewarding him with chocolate every time he used his toilet. While it did work a little, a sticker chart, surprisingly, proved to be way more effective. I think Noah loved it because he was able to see his progress. I keep a variety of stickers in a small basket in the bathroom and every time he used the potty, he could pick one out for his chart. (I still keep the basket of stickers in the bathroom because we are currently using the sticker chart technique to motivate him to brush his teeth twice a day.) It makes Noah so happy to be able to pick out a sticker and place it on the chart himself. 

3. Themed Underwear (and lots and lots of laundry detergent)- I'm not really a fan of buying Disney merchandise but boy, Noah gets so excited about it. He loves Mickey Mouse, Mater from Cars and Star Wars. If you aren't familiar with potty training at all, it pretty much is simply putting underwear on your toddler instead of a diaper and encouraging them to make it to the toilet when the feel the urge to go. Since it is all pretty new to them, seeing characters they love to watch on tv will make it more exciting for them. You spend most of your time at home in the beginning because it is the easiest. You go through a lot of underwear because they have tons of accidents at first so buy at least 5 packs of underwear and make sure you are stocked up on laundry detergent. 

4. Toddler Potty (and a step stool)- The night before I gave birth to Meadow, Dan and I went to Target to walk around because I was having mild labor pains. In full nesting mode, I bought two styles of toddler potties-- an actual one that sits on the floor and one that sits on the regular toilet--to make it easier for a tiny toddler bum to use it and not fall in. He actually likes to use both and the one that sits on the regular toilet has proven to be great for traveling. When I go to work, my mom or my sister will watch him so I send the toilet seat over with him! The step stool, as I will get into more in a minute, is necessary for potty training a boy because they eventually pee standing up. 

5. Patience and persistence Potty training does take time. At first, it seemed like there was no hope. In the beginning, I remember being on my knees scrubbing my carpets every day thinking that my son would never get the hang of making it to the potty to go to the bathroom. Every kid eventually gets the hang of it. You just have to give them the time they need and remember: if you don't put the work in, they won't either! 

6. Dark chocolate- for you. 

To all of the parents out there who are potty-training: you will get through it, I promise! I would also love to know- how did you potty-train your child (or children)? Any tips or tricks?

Image Credit: Essential Baby, AU

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Our Wedding

by Sarah Davis Temple



When Daniel and I initially began to plan our wedding, it made sense to just sneak down to the Allegheny County courthouse and make our love and the relationship that we've built official. For many couples, their weddings become a huge production, but for us, we wanted something simple. I don't have a large family and I'm a textbook introvert. I wanted something very sophisticated, but very intimate.

As time went on and with the encouragement of my Mother-in-Law, I began to realize how important it is to plan a wedding, not for show, but rather to celebrate something that we are extremely proud of: our love. It didn't need to be over the top. It didn't need to have swans and hashtags and a band. But the fact that I found a handsome man with a beautiful soul who was willing to marry me needed to be celebrated. It is so, so comforting to marry your best friend. It's almost as though your soul has finally found another soul to cozy up next to and walk through life with. It's remarkable. 

It also seemed comforting knowing that only our closest friends and family would be there to witness the actual ceremony and then eat a meal afterward. So, we had everyone come down to the Allegheny County Building, walk over to the old Court House for photographs to be taken, and then we ended the night by eating a fantastic meal at the Grand Concourse. 
















Monday, November 16, 2015

Some Love For The Overwhelmed Mama


by Sarah

I take a lot of beautiful photos of my kids, but I usually have to take a lot of photos to get one good one. Here's to keeping the photos that aren't "perfect" and admiring your kids just being themselves for a moment, which sometimes includes a todzilla tantrum. This is real life, folks.  :)

I always promise to write more mommy blogs and I actually have a whole list of things I am working on--including what to pack in your hospital bag, breastfeeding, postpartum care (down there!) and much more. I thought I would start with something that all mamas-- and fathers- can relate to-- those days that just get to be overwhelming because your kids are being crazy!
When you're a mother, you can sometimes feel like your hard work is going completely unnoticed. From the time that you wake up in the morning to the time that your little ones go to bed, it can be non-stop craziness. Now that I have two babies (one infant, one toddler) it can get overwhelming to show them both affection, find activities for them to do, make them wholesome meals, clean the house, work on laundry, manage to get makeup on, have dinner ready before 5pm, work on my writing...AND spend time with Dan after he gets home with work. All of this happens on my days off from work! These days usually go somewhat smoothly if the kids are happy, but some days, it can be mayhem if someone is grumpy or didn't get a good night's sleep.

I'm not writing this blog to complain, because I really truly love being a mother and I love the life we are building for them. But, these "Mommy Mayhem" days do sneak their way in every once in a while. They usually happen when the kids refuse to take naps, throw tantrums, make messes and after I clean it up, make the same mess over again, etc. I am one of those people who likes to have a clean house and stick to a routine so as much as I would like to admit that I can go with the flow, these off days really throw me for a loop.

Last week, I had a particularly difficult day with my toddler. I woke up and thought I would make a trip to Target and maybe...stop into Homegoods. (Target is one of the few places I can go to with my kids because they have Wi-Fi, it is never too crowded, and we can get Starbucks while we're in there. Homegoods is a different story. Homegoods is an anti-toddler zone.) However, as soon as we made our way into Target, Noah insisted on throwing a tantrum because I forgot to charge up our ipad so that he could watch an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while I shopped. He wouldn't sit in the cart. He screamed and threw himself on the floor and kicked his legs if I tried to pick him up... I just couldn't get him to calm down so we all had to leave the store.

When I was leaving, I felt so overwhelmed and defeated because I hear so many other mothers say things like, "Toddlers live in our world. We don't live in their world, so they need to suck it up while I finish my shopping." I began to compare myself to other mothers who in my head, appear to have a better handle on their toddlers.

Noah is usually a peach in Target and even enjoys it usually, but on this day, he just insisted on throwing a tantrum and it took so much out of me. Out of all of us.

As a mother of two kids only 20 months apart, sometimes I feel like I have it all together and other days, I feel like a total failure. I collapse into bed after I get both of my kids to sleep and wonder how I made it through the day. I'm nursing a 6 month old and I'm trying to navigate my way through Noah's "Terrible Two's" and potty train him.

And there are other days when everything works out. Everyone has on cute outfits that stay clean, I manage to do my makeup, clean the house, make a dinner, give them both a bath and get them to bed. I just always try to remind myself that "it's their day, too" (a quote that I saw on Pinterest one day) and that even when I'm feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, that I need to remind myself that these are the days that I will look back on when I'm much older than I am now and wish I could revisit.

So if you are feeling overwhelmed today, pack up your kids and go to a drive thru Starbucks, take a deep breath, relax today, and try again tomorrow. I need reminded daily that things do not need to be perfect because I have TWO BABIES so if you are reading this and need that reminder, soak it in. When you put your kids down for a nap, watch an episode of Scandal instead of vigorously mopping all of your hardwood floors. Have your husband watch the kids for an hour when he gets home and go to Target to "buy diapers" (i.e. get lost in the Christmas section.) Take a little break whenever you can for just a moment and recharge your soul.

**And here's a shoutout to the fathers of these little ones. It's not just the mamas who go through this.




Thursday, October 15, 2015

Easy DIY Kids Bookshelf!

by Sarah

 
 
For Noah's second birthday, one of the things we did for him was transition him out of his crib and into a toddler bed.  While it still makes me a little sad to think that he is already out of his crib, it isn't as bad because Meadow will be in his old crib in about a month. So, I don't have to deal with the sadness that is going to come from packing up the crib just yet! I went for a very dark shade of blue-- Revel Blue by Sherwin Williams-- because the theme of his room is outer space.  I am still looking for curtains and curtain rods so I am not going to share the entire room just yet, but I did want to share a few photos of the parts I love--including this DIY bookshelf I made for him!
 
I have been wanting to put up shelves like this for Noah since I was pregnant and planning his nursery. Maybe it was because we were renting from a strict landlord or maybe it was because I just didn't have the home-decorating bug yet, but I never did it.  However, I recently went ahead and finally accomplished a book shelf made out of picture ledges from IKEA! Of course, you guys know where I got the idea from-- Pinterest--so head over there if you need more inspiration for putting up one of your own. It's literally one of the easiest DIY projects I've done around the house (unlike the toddler bed below which needs to be fixed at some point...) so I'm sure why I didn't do it sooner.
 
The picture ledges come in a smaller size (which is what I used) for only $6 and a larger size that is only $10. Totally affordable!
 
{N's solar system wall decal from good old Target.}
 
 
 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Two Years Old


 
For Noah--we made it to 2.
 
Sometimes I think back to the days when I sat on a yoga mat in Shining Light Prenatal Education here in Pittsburgh before I had my first baby. I had swollen feet and a belly so big that I could barely stand up at the end. I absorbed the information like my life depended on it and while it did, I smile back at the girl who I was while sitting in that class and I wish I could tell her that it would be hard, but it would all be okay.  Because with your first baby, it is hard. You're learning what motherhood is. You're learning how to breastfeed for the first time. You're learning what it's like to care for a newborn for the first time. You're learning what it's like to heal from childbirth for the first time. (Because they never seem to mention that in childbirth classes.) Even if you've seen other people do it or you've taken classes, nothing prepares you for the first weeks of being a mom. It's a time period that you will only get once with one baby, because all babies after your first are pretty much a breeze.
 
It's funny how much changes after you meet a baby you've carried for 9 months. The work you put into birth. The anxiety. The fear. The high of getting through it all. And then... you realize you're in charge of raising a little person. It's not just about buying cute baby outfits or making a stylish nursery anymore, it's about all of the hard stuff, too. It's about holding someone who you love more than life itself down while they get shots or bloodwork. It's about disciplining them even when they look devastated because you know it's good for them in the long run. It's about the guilt you experience when you leave your baby to go to work. It's about setting an example in every day life, even in the boring moments, about making good decisions. 
 
I literally spent the first year of Noah's life feeling on edge because I wanted to hold him constantly and protect him from everything. I didn't ease up on myself until I found out I was pregnant with his little sister, right before his first birthday. I feel so calm when I'm pregnant that it helped me to just go with the flow and focus on myself a little more. Now, I try to go with the motto that anything that us mothers go through is normal. It's all normal.
 
I know that this post seems to be more about my journey as a mother but it truly amazes me that it isn't just Noah who is growing every single day- it's me, too. From the early days of childbirth classes to the sleepless nights with a newborn (and stitches) to the world of sippy cups and tantrums... To having a little friend who was always up for laying around as I experienced morning sickness for the second time around and came with Dan & I as we had our first ultrasound of Meadow... To standing on a stepstool to help me mix his eggs in the morning before scrambling them... To witnessing him learn all of the things that adults forget were magical once-- like the colors-- and from the days when he thought pulling my hair was a good idea to today, when he crawled on top on me and asked for a kiss on his head, and then said, "Love You, Mommy" (for the first time). There isn't a day that goes by that I don't go to bed completely in love with him (and Meadow, too) and so deeply grateful to be his mommy.
 
 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday


When I decided to "remodel" my blog, I knew I wanted to include a "What I Ate Wednesday" post. I have wanted to make a blog post like this for over a year now but I was always hesitant because I thought it could potentially be too boring. However, when I'm bored, I love watching "What I Ate Wednesday" videos on Youtube.  I don't know why, but I just love them. I am always interested to see what other mamas make their families for lunch and dinner because I am always looking for new ideas. Since I eat with my toddler, I thought it would be fun to include what make for Noah, as well!    
 
 
Breakfast: So, since I have two kids under age 2, it took me a little bit of time to establish a routine for breakfast that works for everyone.  I usually make coffee first and then I fix Noah's breakfast. Today, I made him 2 pieces of whole wheat French toast with a little bit of syrup and powdered sugar with half of a banana.  He doesn't always get meals like this (sugary breakfasts, I mean), but he has been sick this week and hasn't been eating like his usual self so I wanted to make him something special.  Then, once he is set up, I fix myself something that I can eat while breastfeeding Meadow.  Today, it was cereal with organic whole milk, strawberries, and coffee in my favorite Anthro mug! I also polished off the other half of Noah's banana.
 
 
Lunch- We decided to pick up some Chipotle! Every time I order from Chipotle, I debate if I want the salad or the burrito bowl and I always end up ordering the burrito bowl because I love rice too much to miss out on it.  We brought it home and I ate mine while Noah took his nap and then he ate his when he woke up. (He always eats his "munch" after he wakes up from his nap.) When we eat at Chipotle, I usually give him some of my burrito bowl because it is usually too much for me but today we got him two chicken tacos.
 

Snacks- I try to make sure Noah and I eat a yogurt every day.  I don't usually eat Yoplait yogurt anymore because it has a lot of sugar in it, but I tried a sample of their whipped Greek yogurt at Sam's Club and ended up buying a bunch of these in bulk. They are so delicious! As for Noah, he eats Trader Joe's yogurt cups (they are pretty much always in our fridge). In the past, I bought YoToddler yogurt cups but these are way better (I've been known to eat them, too) and cheaper. Also, anyone who knows Mr. Noah knows he is the number 1 fan of "fishies" so he usually has some in his snack catcher cup by Munchkin.
 
Dinner- Yesterday, I felt like making beef stew. I usually get the urge to make something like this on a cold winter day, but Noah and I have had a bit of a cold this week and I had a craving for it. I made a big batch of it in our dutch oven full of potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, whole peeled tomatoes, and organic beef. It was so amazing and tonight, we had the stew that was left over with some yummy crusty bread.  Noah had the same exact thing, so I figured that it would be overkill to share a photo of what he ate!
 
 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Meadow's 3 Month Update


 
Meadow was officially 3 months old this past Thursday so I thought I would do an update on her. I've noticed that babies really calm down around 3 months and get into a routine that they follow every day. They seem to be a bit more adjusted to the world by this point. It's a really sweet time because they show more of their personality, too.
 
One of the big things that M is doing right now is smiling intentionally at people. Sometimes we even hear her chat and coo. She has one of the brightest smile I've ever seen. Noah's first smiles were some of my most cherished memories as a mother and somehow they both have very different smiles. Noah had a more relaxed and pleasant smile (oozing with charm) as an infant, whereas Meadow has more of a light-up-the-whole-room smile (oozing with sheer happiness). Some of the best moments of my entire life have been looking down at my two babies and seeing them smile at me like I'm the only person in the world. It's the best.

She had a little bit of colic when she was around a month old but it has all cleared up now. It definitely wasn't a horror story case of colic by any means, but every evening when we would put Noah to bed, she would begin crying uncontrollably and it would last for a few hours. Around 2 months old, however, it magically disappeared. According to her pediatrician, colic tends to do that. Now, she has established a bedtime and wakes up one time throughout the night to nurse.
 
The best thing about her hitting 3 months has been to hear her laughing for the first time. Of course, she was laughing at her big bro when they were in the bathtub together and he was playing with his bath toys. She just began to laugh at him uncontrollably and then Noah and I laughed because it was contagious. At first, it scared me a little because I had never heard her laugh before, especially an uncontrollable laugh!

Overall, she has always been an efficient baby. She does what she needs to do and then relaxes and takes it all in. She nurses like a pro (I will do a breastfeeding post soon about nursing the second time around), does tummy time like a pro, and loves to observe everyone's behavior. She has a calm demeanor but knows when to speak up when she needs something. With a toddler brother, she seems to know that she needs to speak up.
 
P.S. With your second baby, everything goes by so fast. Everything is just as amazing and just as special, it just flies by. I feel like I was pregnant just yesterday and now my sweet girl is 3 months!
 
 

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Best of Mindy Mae's Market


I've recently fallen in love with an online shop I follow on Instagram: Mindy Mae's Market. It seems as though there aren't many pieces offered, but the ones that are have been carefully selected. As I will be turning 30 at the end of the year, I have been taking steps to be more mindful of everything I purchase, whether it be food or clothing. Here are a few items from MMM I just adore and will hopefully incorporate into my wardrobe:
 
 
Image Credit: Mindy Mae's Market
 
1. Navy Double Hooded Sweatshirt- This is item that introduced me to MMM--so comfy. I was informed by a friend that this sweatshirt goes on sale every once in a while and it does. It is so comfy. I love how the site offers styling tips in their blog, which is linked to the photo above, and I just love how they have styled this hoodie with a pair of Birkenstocks.  
 
2. Cutest Stripe Comfs- I desperately need want these comfy pants! I picture myself staying at home, doing laundry, chasing after my babies with these pants on a cool Fall day.  
 
3. Lace Topped Tee- I am waiting to buy this because this is currently sold out, but I just love how simple this tee is. It reminds me of something a chic French woman would wear (even though I've never been to France.)
 
(Please note: I am not working with Mindy Mae's Market or being compensated in any way to write this post. As I said above, I am making an effort in every aspect of life to be more mindful of what I choose to purchase, eat, and write about.)
 
 
 












 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Johanna Basford's Adult Coloring Books

by Sarah


 
I might not have much spare time these days with two babies under two years old, but I've managed to pick up a truly addictive hobby. When N & M both happen to both take a nap at the same time, I get my colored pencils out, make a cup of coffee, and get lost in Johanna Basford's coloring books.  It is relaxing to get lost in something that stimulates your creativity while letting your brain rest and I find that it reduces stress because the designs are so intricate.  I am currently working through Secret Garden and it will probably take me a while to get through it since it is so time consuming, but I plan on buying Basford's Enchanted Forest coloring book next.
 
I had originally planned on taking this to the hospital to keep myself busy during labor, but the books are so popular that there was a 7 week waiting list on Amazon at the time. I think it's safe to say that other people are obsessed with these coloring books, too. 
 
 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Meadow Rose: Labor & Delivery Story


by Sarah

If you read the birth story about my son, Noah, about a year and a half ago, you know that I went through a long labor and gave birth to a healthy baby boy who was 9 pounds, 8 ounces. Because he was a larger baby and because I would be giving birth for the second time, everyone warned me that my labor & delivery could be very quick. So quick, that I might not have time for an epidural, or even make it to the hospital in time to give birth.
 
Our baby girl, Meadow, came in the blink of an eye, but that isn't to say she didn't bring with her a little bit of hospital drama. I lucked out in many ways; however, one thing I learned is that if I have more any more babies I will most definitely be delivering in a birthing center rather than in a hospital.

Meadow Rose Temple was born at 7:17 am on Thursday, April 23, 2015 and we love her ineffably.
 
**
 
My due date was on Monday April 20th, 2015. When the date arrived I had no signs of labor. I went to a doctor's appointment with Noah and while I felt a tinge of disappointment because nothing was happening, she assured me that Meadow would most likely arrive before 41 weeks. But, If I did reach 41 weeks, she suggested we schedule an induction.
 
Admittedly, I was nervous to give birth again, since the first time left me with a still salient postpartum recovery--emotionally and physically--so I wasn't really in any hurry to induce labor.
 
On Tuesday, I began noticing irregular contractions and by Wednesday afternoon, they were happening every 10-15 minutes.  I could tell that I was beginning to enter early labor, but since I was overdue already, I worried that the birth could be days away.  Dan left work early to come home, thinking that the birth was imminent. However, I had a visceral sense that it wouldn't happen any time soon, because the contractions were still so far apart. 

The evening came and my mom offered to watch Noah so that I could take it easy and be able to go to the hospital if necessary.  I was happy to be able to rest, but I worried that if I went to the hospital too early they would just send me home. So, Dan & I went to Target to walk around.  During this pregnancy, walking around Target became a comforting routine so we thought, what better place for a soothing walk. Then we went to pick up some dinner because I was starving, and again, this made me think I that wasn't in real labor. When I was in labor with Noah, I couldn't think about food at all. But I couldn't deny how much the contractions hurt.  

Around 8pm, we headed home to meet my mom, as she brought Noah home to get ready for bed. My sister also came over so she could stay the night with Noah if we went to the hospital, which is what everyone thought would end up happening. 
 
After Noah got settled into bed, we ended up hanging out for a few hours and then, with plenty of deliberation, Dan and I decided to head to the hospital around 10:30pm.

**

When we got into the Triage unit, we checked in and the receptionist informed us that we were coming in at the end of a long, busy day. Once we were in a Triage room we met our nurse who was visibly exhausted and annoyed by any questions out of the ordinary. , She behaved as though she'd done this same thing thousand times already that day: she attached two monitors to my belly and took my blood pressure without saying a word.

The doctor was older, he had a slightly condescending and know-it-all air to him but had no idea or worries that others saw him in that light, just who every woman wants a vaginal exam from. He entered shortly after the nurse was done with my blood pressure to check my cervix. My cervix was only at a 4.  (To be in active labor and to be admitted into a LDR suite, you have to be 5 cm dilated). I thought surely he would send me home.
 
However, he immediately suggests that we get on "active path" to getting our baby delivered since I am over 40 weeks (by two days...) and that I begin a dose of Pitocin and order an epidural (at just 4cm dilated...). I mentioned earlier that I am very nervous to induce labor with Pitocin because the literature demonstrates it increases the likelihood of a C-section without added benefit. It seems that doctors offer it up so easily because they want to get you in and out...like a baby factory would.
 
Naturally, I tell him I would just like to wait a little bit before immediately receiving augmentation.  He responded with a anecdote about how he was around in the 70's when all the (presumably) hippies wanted to "go natural", and he knows about natural birth. Then he explained how in the 1800's, when women were giving birth in the back of horse-drawn wagons, the health of children born of truly natural child birth were horrendous.   He was actually comparing my wanting to delay Pitocin to giving birth on the back of a wagon in the 1800's.  At this point I knew I just needed to be away from this man.

"What if we just want to wait a few hours before making any decisions?" "Can we leave and come back in a few hours?" You would think these would be normal questions for someone who wasn't yet in active labor and showed up to the hospital a tad too early.
 
Our nurse chimes in with, "Regardless of whatever decision you make, there aren't any LDR rooms open anyway, so you will have to stay in this room. You can take your time and wait it out and we'll check on you in two hours."

My head was about to explode from the sound of the doctor and the nurse talking at me. I asked them if I could have a minute alone and finally they left. Before I knew it, we were in the car and heading back home. We were literally at the point where we called a few of the other hospitals in Pittsburgh to see if they had any rooms open and what it would take to deliver somewhere different. But, every hospital had the same answer: Magee was my hospital-- it had all of my medical records and my OB group practiced there.
 
When we got back home, I crawled into bed. I was overwhelmed with anxiety because my contractions were getting so strong that my whole body began to shake while they reached their peak and then eased away.  I knew that things were picking up quickly now, but the fact that the hospital I had prepared to give birth in didn't have any rooms open for me made me anxious about going back.  However, at that moment I knew that I had made the right decision to leave the discomforting Triage room where I was trapped in a tiny bed, strapped to machines, and being pressured at every turn.  Meanwhile back at home I was in my own bed, free to move as necessary; consequentially, my body was more relaxed and free to do what it needed.   This was the sphincter law in action.
 
Eventually, I got to the point where I couldn't take it anymore.
 
"C'mon, we're going back to the hospital," I said with certainty to Dan. "I don't understand why these ones hurt so much more than the last time." I was curled up in a mangled ball underneath our down comforter and I knew that if I got to the hospital, I could at least get the epidural and take a little nap.
 
**
 
When we arrived back to Magee for Round 2 at around 2:30 am, we were surprisingly greeted by a nurse who had a much better attitude.  She took us to a different Triage room, a room that seemed much brighter and much cleaner. As she was handing me a drab hospital gown to change into she said, "We thought you went to a different hospital. Someone called here and asked us about a patient that might be coming there."
 
We did call around, but we never gave any personal information when we did. It never got to that point because everywhere we called told us that they didn't advise switching hospitals while in labor.
 
I was honest with her and told her that I called around to see if anyone had an open room, since they didn't. In a refreshed tone, she told us that they always have rooms open for patients in labor...
 
A few minutes later, a new nurse and a resident doctor--a down to earth female probably a little older than us--came in to check my cervix. I can't even begin to tell you how relieved I was to see a female doctor.
 
"You're at a 7. No wonder your contractions hurt so bad. You got through the hard part already. It's almost time to have this baby." (Now if you remember, the ancient asshole doctor advised me to get Pitocin just two hours before to speed labor up. I went from a 4 to a 7 in two hours on my own.)
 
The nurse in the room immediately jammed an IV into my wrist and I was whisked away to a LDR suite. I ordered an epidural as soon as I was settled into my new hospital bed because I didn't want to have to be stitched up without it. And, it's amazing to go from extreme pain to a level of comfort where you can take a nap.
 
In my last birth story, I wrote that I was terrified to receive an epidural, but that when I got it I was so surprised by how much it didn't hurt. For some reason, when I learned I was pregnant again, the fear of the epidural returned and every day I would spend a few minutes dreading it. This time around, it was the same exact thing as the first time-- it didn't hurt. It is uncomfortable, for sure, and it takes a long time to do, but it isn't as painful as contractions.
 
After the epidural kicked in at about 4am, we turned on the lights and tried to take a nap. I couldn't get a wink of sleep, but it was still nice to lay there and watch an episode of Secrets and Lies and enjoy having no pain. Dan slept on the couch next to me.
 
After about an hour, I worried that the epidural slowed down my labor. I couldn't feel my stomach tightening, so I constantly asked the nurse every time she came in to check on me if any more contractions were happening. Every time I asked, she looked at the monitor and said, "nothing appears to be happening."
 
A midwife eventually came in to check my cervix before the end of her shift around 6:30am and told me I was still at a 7. She offered to either give me Pitocin (again) or break my water.
 
"Break my water," I said. This was familiar territory because I had my water broken towards the end of my labor with Noah, and I remember my body knew it had to push a baby out shortly after.
 
So, after she left, I turned Secrets and Lies back on and wondered how I was going to push a baby out. Getting the epidural was one of the things I was most nervous about, but now I realized I still had to push. As I began to get lost in my own thoughts and Ryan Phillippe's voice on my iPad I began to have an intense back pain, but only in one tiny spot.
 
Huh? Was my epidural not working?
 
I switched from side to side and hit the epidural button. I asked my nurse when she came in and she told me to keep switching sides.  I asked her if I was having any contractions now that my water had been broken. She told me I wasn't having any contractions because she didn't see any on the monitor and that I should just continue to switch what side I was laying on and hit my epidural button every 8 minutes.
 
I did what she suggested, but the tiny pain kept getting more intense. It was only in one spot-- a spot as tiny as a needle prick but it grew and grew until I began to get a little vicious. I was beginning to feel a little pressure, but since the monitors weren't picking up my contractions, I didn't believe it was the pressure that you feel when it is time to push. I just thought my epidural was failing me.
 
The nurse came back in to check on my belly monitors and I told her I needed a better epidural. She looked at the monitor, confused since no contractions appeared to be happening and finally after I pestered her enough, she told me she would go find a doctor to check me (because a doctor has to check you before you get another dose of an epidural).
 
About a minute after she left, the pressure began to pick up and I yelled at Dan to wake up. "GO GET A DOCTOR," I yelled. He went outside in the hall and I could hear him say, with skepticism and as though he was still half asleep, "Um, she needs a doctor."
 
Even while he was just outside in the hall, the pressure grew worse and worse. FAST. I began yelling and crying from the discomfort and I realized it wasn't anything I could control. I knew people could hear me and it made me wonder why I was doing it.
 
All of the sudden, my doctor comes running in. It was 7am and a new shift had begun, which meant that the doctor changed. I cannot even begin to describe how happy I was to see the doctor who I scheduled my appointments with in the office. She has the best bedside manner and she has made a special bond with Noah over the course of this pregnancy. She jumped into action, checked my cervix and didn't even bother saying anything other than, "It's time."

About 10 minutes later, and less than two sets of pushes later (you do 3 pushes every set), Meadow Rose Temple was here. She arrived at 7:17am and weighed 7 pounds 13 ounces. I didn't even need one stitch! We left the hospital a day early because all I wanted to do was be in my own bed and at home with Noah. 

**

Almost two weeks later, it's hard to remember what life was like without her. My second pregnancy was much different than my first because I worried that Noah wouldn't understand having a new baby around and that he would feel replaced. But, he has adjusted so well. During the first week, I would catch him staring at her in amazement. **He has had his moments (we certainly aren't a perfect family) where he tosses one of his toys at her or does something wild, but it has been very rare and usually happens before a nap.

My recovery, compared to last time, has been a dream.  Even though the hospital let us down a lot this time around, I couldn't ask for an easier labor and delivery.

If you have any questions for me, don't hesitate to email me or leave a comment below!
xo,
Sarah
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