What I’ve Learned…8 Weeks Postpartum

Tomorrow I will be returning to work after being on maternity leave and thought I should spend some time reflecting.  The past eight weeks with our son have been an amazing adventure on many levels and trying to put it into words is impossible.  It’s incredible what a newborn can teach you about yourself.

What I learned (or reminded of again)…

  1. Children grow in the blink of an eye, so cherishing the time is important! 
    I realized the most important role in my life right now is to be the best mother to the kids, and girlfriend to Craig. We are a solid unit and need to focus our energy on being the best for them. Cole is almost 16 and thinking about him moving out and on blows my mind…(and insert tears here).  It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that he was a baby and I realize I have been wrapped up in other issues and concerns at times and may have not cherished the moments as much as I could have.  The same for Autumn and McKinley.
  2. It’s ok to cry.  
    I’ve had quite the emotional awakening since Lincoln has been born.  My heart has been softened and sometimes I cry just looking at him…and it’s ok!
  3. Don’t worry about the small things because children don’t care about them. 
    Children don’t care if you have spit up on your shirt, don’t have make-up on, and your hair is a mess.  They will remember how you made them feel…so hold them a little longer, kiss them more, play that board game, watch the show they pick, listen when they are telling you their stories…
  4. Don’t worry about what you can’t control.  
    This can mean not becoming wrapped up in the family or friends who don’t act how you think they should.  People will disappoint you all through life and instead of wasting the time on what a terrible person they are just focus on bettering yourself.
  5. One of the most powerful emotions is evoked when a baby smiles at you…or stares into your soul while holding him.
  6. Just how much happiness a baby can bring to a family!
    We were already happy, but he has added so much more joy to our lives.  Autumn was able to see his birth and was immediately bonded to him (even when he’s spitting up on her).  Cole enjoys playing music for him when he’s fussy and needs calming.  McKinley is never hesitant to pick him up and try to soothe him, and she loves giving him a bath, picking out his clothes, and dressing him (as long as I will put his diaper on).  I’m one blessed momma!
  7. Breastfeeding is not as easy as many assume or how the media portrays, but it is extremely rewarding.  
    With breastfeeding comes moments of painful latching, cluster feeding, engorgement, doubts if your baby is receiving enough, painful clogged milk ducts, the discomfort of the let down, the need for larger shirts, and handling people who have a negative reaction when your child needs to eat.  The look your child gives you while breastfeeding or when he falls asleep at the breast is rewarding…knowing that you overcame all the difficult obstacles to give him the best.  It is a beautiful gift from God not only to create a baby, but to nourish one too—-a woman’s body is beyond amazing!
  8. Giving Lincoln formula is ok.  I have been so focused on exclusively breastfeeding because that is what I have done in the past, but I had to come to realize that feeding him some formula is ok.
  9. Not all babies are the same. 
    Lincoln is different than Autumn, Cole, and McKinley…and I shouldn’t have expected him to be the same as I’m not even the same.  He loves sleeping in his crib, loves laying on his changing table, pees and/or poops after you take his diaper off (be warned), his favorite place to be is eating in mommy and daddy’s bed, and loves taking baths!
  10. How blessed I am!
    I have an amazing man who has supported and encouraged not only me, but my children as well.  Watching him become a father has been a wonderful experience.

Tomorrow will be a bitter-sweet day for sure, but one thing is for sure…the past eight weeks have been pure happiness!


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❤ Crystal

Post slightly inspired by The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: “Story”

Lincoln’s Birth and First Week

A week ago, our son, Lincoln Joseph was born!

My due date was January 14th and I was ready long before he was due to give birth.  The end of my pregnancy brought terrible prodromal labor, a sore, swollen body, heartburn that ended in throwing up, groin pain, shortness of breath,  rolling over in bed was almost impossible, and every time he moved it hurt—I was ready to give birth and tried everything to spark labor naturally.  I drank the red raspberry tea, walked, squatted, washed all my hardwood floors and baseboards on my hands and knees, stair walked, vacuumed the entire house…several times, had sex, walked some more, took baths, and nothing seemed to work.  I even packed my classroom up because we are moving to another school in a week thinking that might push me into labor, but that didn’t work either.

3 days before he was born

The night of my due date I cracked and just cried because I was so uncomfortable and told Craig that I was trying to deal as best as I could, but I wasn’t sure how much longer I could do it.  The prodromal labor is what was really driving me over the edge because I was having contractions for three weeks!  He was supportive as possible with trying to make me comfortable, but I was at my breaking point.

About an hour later I sat on the couch and began to feel strong pains.  I dismissed it thinking it was the way I was sitting.  The pains became stronger, but I dismissed it as prodromal labor.  What made me realize I was in actual labor was when I went to the bathroom and I was bleeding…I knew my son would come soon!

I was not rushing to the hospital after being sent home twice already, so we decided to wait a little before calling the doctor.  Craig dried some laundry he was in the middle of doing and I made sure all the last minute items were added to my hospital bag.  We laid down in bed and decided to watch some TV, but the contractions were stronger—stronger than I had felt in my previous pregnancies.  I decided to call the doctor and I was told to go to the hospital.


I was 5cm when we arrived at 1am…I swear I would be farther along, but nope.  We were admitted and the contractions were more painful.  My doctor was not on call, but I did know the doctor who was.  I wanted to try the water bath to manage the pain, but he wouldn’t allow it because he was afraid I would then be giving birth in the water.  With few natural options to manage my pain I discussed an epidural with him—he said that it would not mean that I would end up delivering in a c-section and that the baby was not at risk.  He said I needed to decide asap because if I waited it would be too late.  I decided to have the epidural and be more comfortable.


While waiting for the epidural I decided it was time to give Craig his surprise I packed in my hospital bag—a dad shirt!


Being administered the epidural is a painful process itself, but I’m glad I decided to have it!  I did slow down my dilating, so needed Pitocin to speed things up again.  At one point I felt out of it and light headed because my blood pressure went down, but laying down helped that and all was good after that.  I dilated pretty quickly after that and we decided to break my water to further the progress.

We sent a few texts to let certain family and friends know that our little one would be here soon!  At this point my father and his girlfriend were in the waiting room, my oldest daughter, Autumn was in the room, and Craig’s cousin, Kayla was in the room.

Then we received some great news!  A shift change was about to happen which the doctor on call would be leaving, and because the doctor coming in had an operation scheduled my doctor would be coming in.  This is the same doctor who delivered Autumn and Cole, so it was nice!

The doctor walked in, I was fully dilated and ready to push.  He changed his clothes and I knew it wasn’t going to be long now.  He put some soapy water down below and I made the comment that cold water would feel good right about now.  He thought I meant a cup of water to drink, but I explained how some cold water poured down below would feel amazing…he said whatever I want and poured some cold water down there, but it didn’t feel as cold as I hoped.  I knew the ring of fire was coming…


I pushed for a little while and then I knew one more push and he would be here…the ring of fire was next and I knew if I could get through that then the majority of the pain would be over.  Listening to everyone encouraging me while Craig held my right leg and my doctor with my left I gave another push and he was here.  I only cursed once through it all…haha!  Craig cut the cord and he was put on my chest.  He immediately began to breastfeed—amazing that he knew what to do so quickly!  We all knew he was a large baby by looking at him—-I felt my entire pregnancy that he was going to be a big baby.

While he was on my chest and we were all checking him out the doctor pushed on my stomach to deliver the placenta and stitched me up.  I sure did grab his hand when he pushed on my stomach…a reflex I just can’t help!

I had about an hour of skin to skin contact with him until they took him to take his weight and do all of the tests they do.

Everything was perfect!

Candid Shot by Kayla

Lincoln Joseph

January 15th @8:45am

9lb. 13 1/4oz. 21″long

Lincoln’s 1st Week

Day 1:  He cluster fed all night, so we did not sleep at all…was a rough night!  The hospital shower is not hot enough and has minimal pressure.  I just want a nice, long, hot, shower!

Day 2:  I wanted to be home asap and my doctor approved, but we needed to stay the minimum of 36 hours—when that 36 hour mark hit we were out of there and home we were!  I wanted my own bed and my own shower!  If the pediatrician saw how we slept we would have been given a scolding…much better night of sleep than the night before.  I have a new found appreciation for the comfort of my own bed!

Day 3:  His first doctor’s visit—all is healthy!  Doc said his eyes are blue with a slight chance to change to hazel (looks like my blue eye gene is pretty dominant…haha).  More cluster feeding…in particular at night.  His siblings are loving him up!

Day 4:  First trip out of the house (other than for the doctor’s appointment).  I made sure to feed him right before we left to be prepared!  We were in the store for about 10 minutes when I heard him begin to fill his diaper…then he began to fuss which turned into us leaving to the car to change him and feed again.  We eventually went back in, but did rush through looking around because he was restless and we didn’t want to be those parents with a screaming child in the store.  As soon as we were walking out the door he passed right out though…haha!  We didn’t even need anything, but just wanted some fresh air and to walk around a bit.

Day 5:  I have been having some pains in my hip which were at their worst, but I’m going to see how it goes over the next week or so until I call the doctor.  Other than that I feel great and have been up and active–maybe I need to slow down a little and give my body time to relax!  Breastfeeding is coming along…he has an insatiable appetite, but he is a big baby.

Today was his big brother’s debut in the musical School of Rock, so Aunt Shannon watched him for a couple hours while we attended (I sure did cry when we dropped him off).  The play was amazing (I also cried watching Cole perform)!  By the end I was feeling the skipped feeding and was quite sore—my sister fed him baby formula because I didn’t have time to pump any milk for her to feed him (insert guilty feeling here).  All was good though and as soon as we were home I latched him on to relieve the pain.

Day 6:  Easiest day so far even if he had his most wardrobe changes today than any other day—he loves peeing and/or pooping all over when his diaper is changed. He does it EVERY diaper change!

Day 7:  Loves to snuggle, eat, and surprise you when you change his diaper.  We are ready with a wash cloth to cover him, so he doesn’t pee all over the blinds again.

We are incredibly happy and in love with him…ready for this next adventure…

❤ Crystal

post slightly inspired by The Daily Post, one word prompt “dominant”

39 Weeks Pregnant Update: Prodromal Labor

Never heard of prodromal labor?  Yea, neither did I until this pregnancy and it is one of the most challenging experiences I’ve had while pregnant!  I would have never even believed it was a real thing if someone told me about it.  My body has been acting like it’s in labor with the exception of dilating.  I have been having contractions for two weeks now and they even become consistent where they are 5-8 minutes apart, so I begin to think it just might be time and then they stop.  It’s frustrating, draining, and exhausting.  Sleeping is a challenge and work is interesting when I start contracting while trying to teach.  I’m trying not to complain…really, but this is driving me insane!

Yesterday I had contractions for 5-10 minutes apart ALL DAY!  I made an appointment with my doctor because I was not going back to the hospital.  On my way home from work I had the brilliant idea to stop home—big mistake that was!  I attempted to pull in the driveway, but got stuck on a patch of ice.  I will spare you the long, frustrating story of being dug/chipped out.  I ended up making it to the office before they closed and my doctor was stressed thinking I was delivering in a snow bank!  Haha!  I am now 3cm dilated, heard the lil’ man’s heartbeat, and all is healthy!


My little wonders…

  • What color eyes will he have?  Blue like mommy?  Brown like daddy?
  • Will he look like daddy?
  • How much will he weigh?  (doctors at the hospital said he weights 7lbs, but my doc says no way and that he is bigger)
  • How long will labor be?  quick?  natural like I’m planning?  smooth? painful?
  • How will labor begin? At home?  At work?  Water breaking?
  • Will labor begin in the middle of the night when I’m in bed with no make-up on or when I look decent?  Yea, hoping I don’t look like a train wreck before even going through labor!
  • Will he have hair?  If the old-wives tale is true that if you have heartburn your baby will have a lot of hair then he sure will have quite a bit of it!
  • How will his big brother and sisters react to holding him?
  • Will I remember how to push?
  • Will I be able to use the water bath/whirlpool for comfort?
  • How will Craig react to seeing his son?
  • What will our first few days home with our new son be like?
  • How many more days will I have to wait until he makes his way into the world?

Share in a comment:  Have you ever experienced prodromal labor?  How did you cope?  How did you end up going into labor?

❤ Crystal

post partially inspired by The Daily Post, One Word Prompt: Brilliant


38 Weeks Pregnant: Contractions, Nesting, and the Bills make the Playoffs!

I have received texts and messages from people asking were I have been, so I decided it was time for an update.  We wanted to take a social media break until our lil man arrived, but many people live far and the updates are reassuring that everything is ok.


After being sent home from the hospital twice I’ve decided that this baby will be born at home or in the car…I’m not going back to be sent home again.

The first time we made a visit to the hospital was this past Saturday.  After a day of shopping, cleaning, and spending time with my youngest daughter at the arcade contractions began.  I have had three previous pregnancies where I delivered fairly quickly, so they had me come in to be checked right away.  I was sure that intense game of air hockey sparked his competitive nature and that he was on the way.

We spent the time in triage and having regular contractions, but was only dilated 2, 70% effaced.  They had me walk around for a while to see if I would dilate, but no progress.  We were sent home…

I thought for sure we would be back in no time, but nope…

I vacuumed, mopped, dusted, put away all the Christmas decorations, carried laundry up and down the stairs, moved furniture around, and then experienced the bloody show (TMI I know, but a good sign labor is on the way), but still no major changes…

After watching that incredible Buffalo Bills win and then the Cincinnati win that clenched the Bills a spot in the playoffs I thought that would have to bring our lil guy out as contractions came and went, but they never became consistent.


Then…at 1am this morning contractions woke me up and were about 15-20 minutes apart.  When I called the doctor’s office they said to call back when they were closer and around 10 minutes apart.  When they were 8-10 minutes apart I called and was told to go to the hospital.  I was also feeling a pinching pain and a lot of movement down low.  After being monitored and more walking I made very little progress…only dilated to 2.5, so we were sent home yet again.  I was bummed because they even reserved a room for me and it was all set up…I thought I would be holding my son today!  I’m still contracting as I write this which is a new experience for me…contracting without dilating, so in a sense my son is being squeezed all day.  Poor lil guy!

I was told to go back when I need to grab a hold of something when feeling a contraction, can’t breath, or my water breaks. Hmmmm….contractions for me have never been painful until after my water was broke and my water has never broke on its own.  We shall see what happens next, but I told Craig that he should prepare to deliver this baby at home because I’m not going back to the hospital to be sent home again.  If I’m in pain enough to have to grab a hold of something I don’t think it will be safe for anyone to be driving me anywhere…haha!  We shall see how this lil one makes his way into the world…

Has anyone else had consistent contractions without dilating?  What was your experience?


Post slightly inspired by The Daily Post one-word prompt, “Reservation”


Mildly Cranky 37 Weeks Pregnancy Update


How far along: 37 Weeks
Baby is size of a: honeydew melon
Total weight gain: this is just annoying now…the water weight alone is to the point I’m just over being pregnant!  I’m going to need new shoes after all this swelling!
Maternity clothes:  Live in them obviously…ready to burn them…ALL!
Sleep:  Maybe one or two days a week I’m able to have a decent night of sleep
Best moment this week:  receiving a gift from a student—so thoughtful!
Food cravings: The gestational diabetes (which I’m pretty confident was inaccurately diagnosed) has pretty much ended any cravings
Food aversions:  None
Gender: Boy…checked again at the last ultrasound to make sure
Name: My #1 favorite is Luke, but he doesn’t like it…still not 100% on a name yet
Labor signs:  I’ve had a lot of pains and Braxton hicks with this pregnancy…never with my others.
What I miss:  Conversations that don’t involve pregnancy, my weight, decisions…and WINE!
What I look forward to:  My pre-pregnancy body…ohhh…how I miss thee!  Let me count the ways!
Milestones: two weeks ago he was measuring 6lb, 9oz—according to the ultrasound (which were highly inaccurate for my other pregnancies, so we shall see)
Bump: feels like it’s growing by the second, and I swear his feet might break a rib soon

Share in a comment:  What week did you go into labor?  Did you do anything to naturally induce labor on your own?


Post inspired by The Daily Post One Word Prompt “Mild” 

Ten People You will Experience at the Thanksgiving Dinner Table


Thanksgiving is Thursday and what would it be without taking time to think about what we are thankful for.  I could write a never-ending list of all the wonderful things God has blessed me with, but instead…

I decided to write a list of people who will be sitting at the table…

which one are you?

dinner table

  1. The host:  Are you the one who hosts dinner?  Does all the planning, preparation, cooking, decorating, table setting, and often times, the one who cleans up as well.
  2. The cleaner: This one is not found at all tables, but when they are the host is much appreciative!  They insist on helping to clear, rinse, pack up leftovers, and even wash and/or load the dish washer!  They also usually offer to help set the table and lend a hand with anything else needed.
  3. The eater: This one does not just eat, but they are the first to mound the plate of food, and begin seconds before grace is even said.  They are often the first one to pass out on the couch after too!
  4. The photographer:  This one needs photos of everything…selfies with the food, the table setting, group shots, desserts…oh…just one more!
  5. The story teller:  There is always one person who has a story ready to share with everyone…sometimes its of a memory of a past family gathering, embarrassing moment, or just some off topic tale of their adventure hiking over the summer.
  6. The gossiper:  This one has the latest news about everyone in the family and is eager to share it with everyone.  Usually this person is the social media junkie who repeats everything…”Did you see what Bob posted yesterday about Veronica?”
  7. The one with the wild child:  There is always one person with the small child who is in that stage where they are just plain irritating…we’ve all been there, so which one of you have the honor this year?
  8. The eat and runner:  This isn’t one who exercises after eating, but one who will eat dinner and then leave because they are avoiding any clean-up or interaction with others…I mean…leave because they have to stop at another family member’s home.
  9. The aspiring politician:  The one who is ready to stir up conversation on a controversial topic just to hear everyone debate.  They are ready with several hooks to throw out for anyone willing to take the bait.
  10. The sulky teen:  We have all been that teenager at the Thanksgiving Day table at some point in our life…who is it this year?

With all the personality types Thanksgiving dinner usually comes together without any major issues, love is felt, laughter is heard, and memories are made ❤

families nuts

Share in a comment:  Which one are you sitting at the table or which one do you love most?


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❤ Crystal

Post inspired by The Daily Post One Word Prompt: Nest

Lesson Learned: Pack a Hospital Bag!

hospital bag blog

Wednesday we had a little scare…I thought I might be in labor…

Craig had his basketball game, and when he left, he gave me a kiss goodbye.  My stomach began feeling very tight, hard, and I kept feeling a sharp pain.  I thought maybe I needed to use the bathroom, so tried that with no luck.  I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and changed into my comfy bed clothes and that is when the pains started to really intensify.

I could barely search google to see if this was normal or what was going on…yes, I google just about everything before calling my doctor.  The pain hurt so bad I started to sweat and couldn’t even look at my phone.  I didn’t want to interrupt Craig’s game because it’s his one time a week he has to enjoy himself, so I decided I would wait.  I knew even if I did call he wouldn’t be able to hear it because he was running down the court…I did send a text for him to call me when he finished.

Maybe the baby is just in a certain position that is causing the pain?

I tried moving around to see if that would alleviate the pain, but that didn’t work.

My daughter looked concerned and asked what she could do…

“Mom, call the doctor or something”

My son began to google reasons for sharp pains, but I eventually told him put the phone down….

“Mom, it might be your cervix” is not something you expect to hear from your fifteen year old.

“Mom, I can drive you to the hospital…”

“Mom, call the doctor, I can talk to him”

Hahaha…what parent thinks they will hear their child say that?

I waited, and my stomach remained rock hard and the pains came and went.  I’ve felt contractions before and these were not what I experienced before.  I gave Craig a call, but knew he wouldn’t hear the ring.  I could wait a little longer!

I don’t even have a bag packed!  This was supposed to be the one time I had a bag ready to go!  I just washed my face and have comfy clothes on!  I don’t want to go to the hospital like this!  Noooo…I don’t want him to be born in November!  This just can’t be!

Fast forward an hour…

…the pains went away and I was able to move around without any discomfort.

Craig called in frantic mode because I sent him a text and called him which is out of the ordinary while he is playing basketball.  When I told him what was going on he said he would be home as fast as he could.

Lesson learned:  we need to write thank you cards, finish up the nursery, pack a hospital bag, and pick a baby name!

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Share in a comment:  What are the must pack items for a hospital bag?

❤ Crystal