New Baby Advice : Little Green Notebook

We are so excited to have Jenny from Little Green Notebook here sharing her new baby advice and the most unbelievably amazing birth story we’ve heard to date, just try to read it without your jaw dropping! Jenny is one of the most wise and savvy women we know in this industry (her DIYs and decor style are so great!) and of course her advice for mothers is the same way.SF New Baby : Little Green Notebook
1. What is one thing you would go back to tell your new-mom self?
I would tell my new-mom self to really commit to writing in my journal at least three days a week. All of those mommy moments where you think to yourself, ‘I will remember this face/sentence/moment for the rest of my life! There’s no way I could forget something this cute, right?’ Wrong! You’ll forget like 90% of everything! Write it down. And unless you print them out in a book every year, instagrams don’t really count. :)
2. Was there anything surprising or shocking that happened that no one warned you about?
I was hit with a bout of postpartum depression after having my second baby, Claire. After months of slogging through weird sadness and emptiness, my friends and family finally helped me figure out that what was happening was treatable and not permanent. I started taking St. Johns Wart, which helped, and I started writing a blog about my favorite things (mostly interior design stuff), which really helped. And then I remember waking up one day when Claire was about six months old and it was like a switch had flipped and the fog had lifted and I was totally back to my old self. It was completely unreal.
A couple years later, when I was in my last trimester with Evelyn, I remember being so worried that I was going to have postpartum depression again after giving birth. My blog and design business had taken off and my two other girls were still so young – there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room in the schedule.
I don’t pretend to understand the psychology behind postpartum mental states, but for some reason I was fine (better than, even!) after Evie’s birth. I was on top of the world and I remember being so grateful every single day that this time I wasn’t experiencing any of that really hard stuff. Maybe it was her exciting entrance into this world, or maybe it was that
Evie was a super easy and happy baby, or maybe it was just plain and simple good luck? But being healthy and clear-minded was such a huge blessing for me then, and even now. We’ve struggled with infertility for the past few years and I’m coming to grips with the reality that Evie might be my last, even though we’ve hoped for more. I hold onto those beautiful, nothing short of heavenly moments in 2010, when all of my girls were still practically babies and life was simpler, and we could have cuddle parties in my bed until 10:00 am every morning. :) I’m equal parts thrilled about my future as a mother of older children, and devastated at how fast it’s going by. I’m so, so grateful for these angel-girls I have, who are always willing to show up for the long-standing cuddle party date in my bed every Sunday morning. :) How lucky am I?

SF New Baby : Little Green Notebook

3. Do you have a special routine for bedtime?
Each night we have family prayers and then we all pile into one bed for the book(s) du jour. My husband and I love when the girls choose Goodnight, Moon (such a classic) because it pretty much guarantees sleepy-eyes with only one reading! Baby Mine, that heartbreaking song the momma elephant sings to Dumbo, has always been our go-to lullabye. Evie loves it so much and always has.
And keep reading after the jump for Jenny’s birth story for her daughter Evie, born on Christmas Eve! You will NOT believe this story, it’s so incredible.

7:15 a.m. – I wake up. My husband, Michael, is getting dressed for work. We had been up talking and praying (and me crying – I was so done being pregnant!) until the wee hours of the morning. He looks at me, surprised, when I whisper that I think today’s going to be the day.

7:20 a.m. – Still laying in bed, I have my first contraction, but I’ve grown skeptical over the past two weeks. I have a doctor’s appointment at 8:30 and I’m worried they’ll make me wait longer if I’m not yet in active labor. The hospital does not schedule inductions on holidays or weekends, and my family was leaving on Sunday. I’m feeling anxious, but decide to get up and get ready for my appointment, hoping that I have another good contraction soon.

7:27 a.m. – The second contraction comes seven minutes after the first. My hopes for real labor without an induction are increasing.

7:50 a.m. – I get out of the shower and the contractions are coming pretty strong. They are increasingly painful but I figure that I’ve got some time because my water hasn’t broken yet. (This was my first experience with back labor – not fun.) Michael and I decide that this is the real deal and we should probably just go straight to the hospital. He calls my doctor to advise them that I won’t be making my appointment. The plan is to get ready for the day, drop off some stuff at Michael’s work, and head down to the hospital.

8:00 a.m. – I put on some make up and start to blow dry my hair, chatting with my family in between contractions. My mom wants my 20 year-old sister to see my labor pains and we all joke about how this is the ultimate birth control! Everyone gets excited that the baby is finally coming! We all hope together that she will arrive sometime before that evening so that I have a chance of spending at least some of Christmas Day with my other girls at home.

8:15 a.m. – Contractions are really starting to hurt and they are coming faster. It takes all my focus to manage the pain. I try as hard as I can to relax and breathe low. There is less chatting and joking with my family – it was game time. New plan: Michael calls a co-worker and asks him to swing by our house to pick up some paperwork because we need to head to the hospital right away. I’m still convinced there is time though because my water had not yet broken. I brush my teeth and pack my toiletries bag for the hospital.

8:35 a.m. – It feels like there is no break between my contractions. They come one after another. Somehow, using all my willpower, and with Michael and my dad on each arm, we make it down the stairs and out the front door. My water breaks during a particularly hard contraction on the front porch and all I can manage to yell is “Water!!” Michael runs inside to grab my water bottle and suddenly realizes that I am talking about a different water.

8:36 a.m. – I’m absolutely frozen in pain on the porch. Even though our hospital is about two blocks away, it felt like it might as well have been in another state. My legs start to shake and give and I blurt out “I need to push – NOW!” My dad (a family doctor in Arizona who also does OB) says, “Looks like we’re having this baby right here.” Thank goodness he was with us!

SF New Baby : Little Green Notebook

8:40 a.m. – We get back in the house and head for the living room. Michael and my dad lay me down on my ottoman. The baby is crowning. I start pushing, with my sister holding my back up and Michael and my mom holding my legs.

8:54 a.m. – Baby Evie is born in my living room, two feet from our Christmas tree. There is not a dry eye in the place. We tie the cord with dental floss (no clean shoelaces available) and Michael cuts it with my trusty pair of sewing scissors (sanitized with Purell, of course). All of the clean towels have been used already, so we wrap her in a beach towel. Evelyn is absolute perfection and I am so in love.

8:56 a.m. – The doorbell rings! Its Michael’s co-worker, coming to pick up the paperwork. My mom and sister quickly hold up a sheet to block the view before the front door is opened. The conversation is very brief and sort of awkward, I’m sure, for Michael’s co-worker. He becomes the first person to find out the baby has just been born.

8:58 a.m. – A rustle at the top of the stairs. Thankfully, both of my girls had stayed up late the night before and had slept through all the commotion of the morning. Claire (my two-year old) is awake now and shouts from the landing “Hey guys! What’s goin’ on?!” We direct Claire’s attention to the baby as she rounds the corner, so that she doesn’t notice the afterbirth just then being caught in my (formerly) favorite casserole dish. Grace (my four-year old) comes downstairs shortly thereafter. The girls begin presenting Evie with pacifiers, blankets, toys, and presents from under the tree. We decide that we should probably still go to hospital to have everyone checked out.

9:45 a.m. – We arrive at the hospital and there are no wheelchairs so we walk up to the labor and delivery wing and announce, “I just had a baby. Where should I go?”

10:00 a.m – We are checked out by the doctors and nurses and the results all come back great. Evie weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs even!! We recount our story about 20 times. A guy comes in and takes my picture with Evie in a giant Christmas stocking ((awesome)) for the Dover newspaper. After a few short hours at the hospital, we are cleared to head back home happily to spend Christmas as a family. Hooray!

The rest of Christmas Eve is full of BBC chick flicks, my mom’s famous Swedish meatballs and collective head-shaking. I am SO not a home birth kind of gal, but the experience was nothing short of life-changing and completely spiritual for me and my family.

The birth of any baby is amazing and miraculous, but we’re all feeling a special connection to sweet Evelyn Jane, our little Christmas Evie.

Comments

  1. Felicia:
    on February 20, 2014 at 7:02 am said:

    What a beautiful story! Honestly, I’m in tears, though maybe that’s because of all the pregnancy hormones, haha. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Tiffany:
    on February 20, 2014 at 8:13 am said:

    Wow wow wow! What an incredible story! It is both amazing and beautiful and terrifying (to this 36 week pregnant lady!). My labor with my daughter was about 12 hours so I CANNOT imagine it going so incredibly fast!

  3. on February 20, 2014 at 10:10 am said:

    I LOVE to hear that others have had babies at home by accident! I had a similar experience with my fourth, and almost the same with my last one!! So crazy, yet so exciting and so special!! I’m just jealous that they let you go home hours later. They made us stay two days because the baby was born in “a fairly unsterile environment.” I was so confused since it was his house–where he would live when he went home regardless.

  4. on February 20, 2014 at 10:17 am said:

    Totally bawling right now {It may have a little something to do with my pregnancy hormones :)} But what an absolutely incredible story!! Thanks so much for sharing this!

  5. on February 20, 2014 at 3:57 pm said:

    Oh my GOODNESS!! I cannot believe how fast you went from contractions to labor!! I will have to mentally note this for August when my little one arrives!

  6. Heidi:
    on February 20, 2014 at 4:29 pm said:

    I can’t get through a single one of these stories without crying. I’m expecting my third baby in about 8 weeks and can not wait for the delivery experience. It’s truly the most spiritual, miraculous experience. I cry just anticipating it. :)

  7. on February 20, 2014 at 5:37 pm said:

    This totally made me tear up! I remember you telling me this story but reading it again — wow! You are amazing, mama!

  8. on February 20, 2014 at 9:04 pm said:

    this truly is the most incredible birth story i have EVER read! my heart was racing and i cried too. so beautiful, thanks for sharing jenny and small fry girls! i love this week of celebrating babies. you sure have me majorly baby hungry!! :)

  9. Lexie:
    on February 20, 2014 at 9:22 pm said:

    Wow. I am literally shaking with adrenaline just from reading this! We’re total opposites – I planned home births for both of my kids, but labored for a million years with dropping heart rates and had to have them in the hospital. I’ll never regret the way things happened, but it’s so crazy how differently things can go!

  10. Mary:
    on February 20, 2014 at 10:44 pm said:

    I love this story! I was a reader of Jenny’s back when this happened, but I enjoyed reading the full dialogue here.

    I just have to say what a treasure Jenny is. She is such an inspiration as a mother, and as a hard-working lady, I always leave her site wanting to be better. She is so genuine and I never feel like she is putting on a show, she’s just real, and that’s why she’s my favorite blogger, and has been for years.

    • on February 21, 2014 at 6:05 pm said:

      Ditto! Completely agree.

  11. Kathryn:
    on February 21, 2014 at 3:09 am said:

    I literally laugh/snorted at ‘my (formally) favourite casserole dish’!

  12. Kaylene:
    on February 21, 2014 at 9:20 am said:

    All I can say is wow! You are incredible. Such a cool story.

  13. on February 21, 2014 at 11:17 am said:

    Whoa that is amazing ! Now that is a birth story – really unique and special !

  14. on February 21, 2014 at 2:04 pm said:

    Made my way over here from Jenny’s blog :)
    Such an amazing birth story! Holy cow! I’m due with my first this June and am terrified of something like that happening, my husband would probably just pass out haha Props to you Jenny, that is absolutely amazing!

  15. on February 21, 2014 at 8:32 pm said:

    How awesome! Love Jenny’s story. What a great Christmas gift:) My son was almost born on my living room floor too! I woke up in full on active labor and my water broke on the bedroom floor! He was born on the ambulance gurney before we could make it into the hospital room. All of this went down in matter of an hour. When they are ready to come trees no stopping them.

  16. Christy B.:
    on February 22, 2014 at 3:31 am said:

    So absolutely true about breastfeeding not hurting! I breast fed baby girl #1 for 6 months and being the first time, it took us about 3 weeks to get it. I got scared everytime she got hungry thinking if the pain. With baby girl #2, I thought it wouldn’t be as bad.,.boy was I wrong!! It still hurt as much, but 2 weeks is the magic number. She’s now 2 months and it’s smooth sailing! It’s amazing!!

  17. on February 22, 2014 at 5:36 am said:

    Wow! This birth story is the closest to mine that I’ve ever heard! I had a 40 min. labor, also not realizing till the last min. that it was happening, however, my husband (a pilot ) was out flying that morning with a friend, i must have called and left messages like a dozen times, he made it just as i was pushing, I also used my sofa cushions (ruined them, but who cares, right?). My two year old daughter was right there with my mother, I remember being worried about her but as my son was born, she excitedly said, “Baby, baby!”. Our Springer Spaniel dog was in the doorway trying to figure it all out. Awesome memories!For me, short labor equaled short recovery. God is good!

  18. on February 22, 2014 at 10:02 am said:

    I have read this story so many times on Jenny’s blog but still it was heart touching to read it again today.

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