Ember Knight- A Birth Story

As my 39th week kicked off with no signs of labor, my doctor decided the risks of induction outweighed the risks of waiting her out. I had a history with my first daughter of shoulder dystocia, macrosomia, and postpartum hemorrhage. So we packed our bags, tucked Ellie in bed at Grandma’s house and headed to the hospital at midnight for our second induction.

We had two or three scheduling complications. We were send home from our first induction because I was so sick and weak with a cold and sinus infection that they didn’t want to start the induction process. Three days later we went in again and they informed us that they had scheduled us for the precious night, and now we would have to wait and see if one of my doctors would be available to come in for an induction tonight. After a stressful wait in the lobby they finally told us we would be admitted, and wouldn’t be leaving the hospital without a baby again!

We spent 5 hours in a small triage room while the pitocin did its thing. My lovely husband got a nap in, while I mostly watched tv and attempted sleep over and over. The contractions were tight and uncomfortable but for the most part not painful. I finally drifted off around 5:45 a.m. to be rudely awoken by my water breaking at about 6:05 a.m.

Finally, it was time to make the move to our real labor room! Almost instantly after my water broke I was in real-deal pain! The doctors broke my water in my first labor, and I already had an epidural at that point! So this severe pain was new to me! I was ready for an epidural after about an hour of this, but of course it was time for a hospital shift change and I would have to wait another hour.

The epidural this time around brought some relief, but didn’t take on the left side of my body. I felt SO much pressure and pain compared to feeling nothing during my first labor.

They came in to check my dilation at noon and I was only at a 5. I felt really discouraged at that point, and thought that it was going to be a long, long day.

They continually came in to adjust my epidural as I was informing them (very calmly I’m sure) that it was not doing its job. 😂 I wasn’t sure why this hour was SO intense!

Around 1 o’clock I started feeling IMMENSE pressure and like I needed to push. They checked and sure enough I was at a 10. Now the intensity of that last hour made sense! They told me for what was probably about 20 minutes, but felt like two hours, that my doctor was on her way. 🙄 But I needed to push, like now. We gave all our family the call that it was time to head to the hospital!

When the doctor finally came in I was feeling it big time and ready to push!

This is where I felt an advantage over my first delivery. Last time, they had to tell me when to push because I couldn’t feel the contractions coming at all! This time, being able to feel it sped my process along as I was much more aware of what was happening with my body. It may have been more painful but if I had to do it again, I would choose this labor experience over my first one.

I was able to actually feel the moment I gave birth to her this time and immediately pull her up to me for skin to skin. There’s no feeling in the world like holding your baby for that first time and hearing that big cry that means they are healthy.

After about 20 minutes Ember was all cleaned up and we brought Ellie in to meet her. Ellie was tired from skipping her nap, and a little confused. But she was still really happy to see her “baby sissy.”

Ember was born at 2:10 p.m. weighing 9 lbs, and was 22 inches long. We got another big, healthy girl!

It all started to come back to me- the breastfeeding latching, spit up, swaddling, and newborn diapers.

I didn’t sleep much in our one night stay there, mostly because she kept spitting up/ choking on amniotic fluid. I didn’t know anything about this, but they told me it’s really common for babies who were born quicker. Less time in the birth canal=less time for them to get rid of the fluid. This was the first thing that told me, “Hey! This baby is going to come with a totally new set of problems you didn’t know about the first time around!”

24 hours after she was born, we got the clean bill of health to go home!

I couldn’t be happier thinking back on these two days we spent bringing Ember into the world. ❤️

Ellie-21 Months~Ember 2 weeks~Mama-Tired

Wow. The last two weeks have been a total whirlwind! But this is definitely a time of life I never want to forget!

Ellie-

What can I say about this girl? She has adjusted to being a big sister like a CHAMP! I am blown away by her, to be honest.

I was so worried that she would be jealous or rough with the baby. She has been a super generous helper and so gentle with baby sissy. She acts like her little sister has always been a part of her family and I’m so proud of the big girl she’s becoming.

She loves to give baby sissy toys and headbands and bring me diapers and wipes, and even water while I’m breastfeeding! Every night she asks to say night-night to baby sissy, and every morning she wakes up and asks where she is. I can’t believe the capacity for change and love Ellie has at such a young age. ❤️

Ember-

Ember has been a little dream baby! She is so mellow and cuddly! She is a little champion sleeper. At two weeks old she is still sleeping through the night. (Although I rouse her once in the middle of the night to feed her- per doctor’s instruction.)

The only problem we have is that she has a lip and tongue tie like her big sister, which is making breastfeeding a little harder. For a while, I could only get her to take pumped bottles. With lots of patience, we have gotten to a point where she can latch every time. It has been slightly exhausting, because I feel constantly worried that she wasn’t eating well enough. Tomorrow we have a consultation with the doctor who corrected Ellie’s lip tie, and we will decide if Ember’s needs corrected as well.

After a difficult pregnancy and being so sick during labor, I’m still just over the moon that she is here with us- happy and healthy.

Mama-

I am blown away by how quickly my body has recovered the second time around. The labor process may have been more difficult this time, but the recovery has been SO much smoother. My body seems to just remember how to heal. The pain and soreness wore off in a matter of days this time instead of weeks.

I am mentally recovering a little slower than physically. Even though I generally feel happy and blessed to have these two beautiful girls, the postpartum hormones have made me more emotional than I’d like to be. It’s usually happy tears I’m crying, but I still wish I wasn’t this emotional! I can tell already that life with two under two will be difficult. However, so far those super stressful “they both need me at the same time” moments that I thought would happen all the time have been pretty few and far between.

I feel so incredibly lucky to have these two. Overall, this time period has been filled with lots of happiness, love and cuddles. What more can you hope for with a newborn in the house?

Bio-Oil Review

I just want to start this post by stating- this is not a sponsored post!

I love working with brands I love but I also love reviewing things that I am not affiliated with so you always know the opinions expressed are 100% real!

This before and after picture I will share will really speak for itself; but here is the bottom line- Bio-Oil is AMAZING.

With my first pregnancy I relied only on a stretch mark massage lotion, with the second pregnancy only on Bio-Oil.

I couldn’t believe that it was possible, but I had far less visible stretch marks after my second pregnancy than my first!

So not only did the oil keep me from getting more marks during the pregnancy, but it visibly lessened the look of the ones I had from the first time around!

Post Baby Number 1

Post Baby Number 2

*Both photos unedited and taken at 1 week postpartum.

I recommend this product to any mamas-to-be as the best way to combat stretch marks!

Review- Saranghae Skin 5 Step Process

I will preface this post with one fact. Pregnancy makes my skin quite nice on its own, but after I started this skin routine I’ve never gotten more “You’re glowing!” or “Your skin looks amazing!” compliments.

This is a review of the Korean skincare company Saranghae’s 5 step skincare routine.

Here’s a quick run down on what the 5 steps are-

1. I absolutely love the formula of this cleanser! I used to use a very foaming Dermologica cleanser and this one is MUCH more moisturizing. My very dry skin never feels dry after using it, I have never found another cleanser that can do that. I also haven’t had a single blemish since I started using it which is a great bonus.

2. This essence is AMAZING! I use it in the morning and before applying a full face of makeup. I used it like a primer and it made my foundation glide on and look super smooth.

3. The firming cream is very moisturizing, without being thick. It layers on the skin very light and smooth. I can’t say I’ve been able to see firming take place on my skin because I’ve only used it for two weeks, and at only 23 I don’t have TON that needs firming. But I do love to use it as a little moisturizer before bed, and to hopefully prevent aging on my skin. The only thing I’m not crazy for is the scent of this, but if a skin product is effective- it’s much more important than scent!

4. To be honest this is the first eye cream I’ve ever used, but I really like it. I did notice right away less puffiness under my eyes, which is a constant on me since I became a mom! It glides on very smooth, is a pretty thin, and a little goes a long way!

5. I love these! However, the first time I just stuck one straight on my face and it continually dripped liquid down my chest. So, the next time I decided to wring it out just a little bit first and that made it work perfectly. Afterwards, my skin felt insanely smooth and looked very youthful and dewy.

Overall this line of products is a big win in my book!

*This product was sent complimentary for the review purposes. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

About Saranghae Saranghae is an award-winning Korean 5 Step Anti-Aging skin care routine that heals, regenerates and protects your skin. Saranghae’s focus on natural ingredients, highly effective products, and excellence in customer service has helped them become the fastest growing Korean skin care brand in the United States. For more information please visit: www.lovesaranghae.com

Ellie-20 months~ Mama- 38 weeks pregnant

Ellie- She just recently had her 18 month checkup and shots- because mama had a major case of pregnancy brain and forgot to bring her to her appointment last month. She had moved up into 84th percentile for weight and 62nd percentile for height! She’s come a long way from the baby who couldn’t gain weight using a nipple shield and kept falling way behind on the growth charts! So physically, she is getting bigger and stronger every day but she is still very clumsy right now!

Developmentally, she just blows me away. She started using 2-4 word sentences at about 17 months and her vocabulary is incredible at this point. She will repeat absolutely any words we say and is understanding concepts so clearly. She remembers processes so well. The other day she heard the shower turn off and said “Oh, daddy all done, towel!” And ran to bring him one. She also woke up in the morning and went to go get him to remind him he needs to turn the sprinklers on!

She’s also been getting a real sense of imagination, and loving to play dress up and match! Her favorite show is Spongebob, and her favorite movie is Frozen. She still sleeps with her purple owl “lovey” or as she pronounces it, “muffy.” Her favorite toy is Play-Doh! She’s still been sleeping 10 hours a night with a two hour nap during the day.

Mama- Oh, my, goodness. Am I ready to be done with this pregnancy! I’ve been struggling a lot with the ending stages. I’m worried every day now that this baby is growing too big, since Ellie was almost 10 pounds. The anxiety over this is really weighing on me during these last weeks. Coupled with the fact that her movements have slowed down, I’m nervous all the time. Im reminding myself that she moves less because she’s run out of space now, but then I go back to worrying about having another 10 pounder. 😂

Every person I see comments on how huge I am! I understand too, because the bump is OUT there! I keep under estimating where my bump sticks out to and brushing into door frames or tables or counters, and blistering the very thin skin on my belly.

Physically, it is very hard to lift Ellie as she’s just over 25 pounds and the weight limit for lifting while pregnant. Bedtime routine is when I really feel the full extend of this last month of pregnancy. Bathing her has become nearly impossible with the squatting, scrubbing, and even reaching the drain plug! Then I take her to her darkened room for lotion and pjs and getting myself up off the floor after and lowering her into her crib just take everything out of me! Nothing else will be easier once I have baby number two, but at least I won’t have these giant belly struggles anymore!

I go back and forth between the overwhelming desire to be done with this pregnancy and meet my second sweet girl already- and wanting to soak in every last moment of this special time with Ellie before life gets crazier.

Overall, I’m dwelling on the fact that this season of life I’m in is just truly wonderful and exciting. I’m Reminding myself to enjoy the adorable age Ellie is at and savor my one on one time with her. While looking forward to having another one of the most exciting moments of my life to meet my second baby! These two beautiful girls give me so much purpose and happiness. ❤️

How To: Take & Edit Bright, White Photos

Flatlays and white backdrop photos are one of the biggest trends on instagram right now. When posted regularity they create a great, bright aesthetic to your page that draws people in.

I’m too big on outdoor shots to stick exclusively to an exclusively indoor, white aesthetic. However, I still love the way the look as an addition to my page anytime!

I’m going to share my tips on one of my latest photo projects to help you achieve that look for yourself!

Items needed-

If you’ll be photographing a newborn, or flat laying products I’d recommend buying a photo backdrop online. Here’s an example of one from amazon.

If you’re into family lifestyle shots or have older kids, shooting still in front of a small backdrop won’t be best. We got a great fluffy white comforter that has been great for these types of photos.

I love to use my Nikon for these photos to ensure I get crisp photos. If you’re using an iPhone, turn up the sharpness when editing.

Run into Hobby Lobby or Michaels if you need some easy photo props to add. I love to buy the wreaths or anything floral whenever it’s on sale so that I always have some cute things on hand to throw into a photo!

Photo technique-

Make sure you are directly centered above or in front of your subject.

If shooting a sleeping newborn/child add all props quietly around them once they are asleep. If the child is awake, have your area ready and be prepared to take your photos quickly so as not to irritate them.

You’ll also want to (attempt to) remove unwanted distractions like lumpy blankets or binkies.

Editing-

The quickest, easiest tip to instantly improve your photos without an app is to make a few adjustments in your photos app.

First, adjust orientation and cropping so photo is straight, and centered.

Second, turn up the shadows! Instantly lifts your photos brightness without washing out the subjects.

If you need any blemishes removed or lumps/wrinkles blurred out, I would recommend editing with the (free) Airbrush app.

These type of photos don’t need any heavy filters, that will just distract from the white aesthetic you’re trying to create.

Instead focus on adding clarity with sharpness, brightness with shadows, and saturation if more color is needed.

BeforeAfter

I hope that this will help you all to create some great photos!

Baby Breathing Monitors|Review

If you ask almost any new mom to be what their biggest fear entering motherhood is, it’s usually SIDS. As a first time mom, I had no idea what this even was, which scared me more. I feared every single time I tried to sleep.

Mamas, sleeping well whenever you get the chance to during the newborn phase is SO important. If you’re like me, and you’re worried about your tiny little babe’s breathing every time you go to sleep, luckily there are now devices we can use.

I am so passionate about this, like a lot of mamas that have bought one. That is because of just the one night at a couple weeks old where Ellie’s breathing alarm went off, and I saw her face pushed up against side of her bassinet. We had a little bassinet that went in between my husband and I in bed, and we didn’t realize that my husband’s side slightly dipped down causing her to roll and have her side pressed against the side of it. Needless to say we moved it out of our bed after that night! I can’t say for sure whether the monitor saved her life that night but I can tell you that $80 was beyond worth it to me.

So as a first time mom, I did plenty of research when considering which breathing monitor to get, and there was a wide array!

The first I considered was the Owlet monitor. This is a smart sock that not only monitors breathing, but oxygen levels. This information is then sent to your phone. This sounded absolutely incredible to me, however the price was just too steep for us when considering the long list of other baby products we still needed to buy. I also read a lot of reviews saying the sock either fell off easily, or gave their baby a slight rash. We ended up with a squirmy babe with sensitive skin so I’m happy we didn’t go with this one. However if you have a baby with breathing issues or a preemie, I’m sure this one would be worth the extra money and peace of mind.

The next product I looked into was the Angelcare movement monitor. This one monitors the movement of baby with a sensing pad that goes underneath them. This one is closer in price to the one I got so I heavily considered it. However, many moms said after about three months old their babe started rolling off the pad and they started getting a lot of false alarms. I also read it was quite hard to install and I am NOT tech savvy.

I could not be happier with the one I got.

Snuza go!

There are different types of Snuzas. The Snuza Hero has a feature that gently vibrates to try and stir the baby if no movement is detected for a certain amount of seconds. I felt this feature was unnecessary to me, I just wanted to be alerted if breathing movement stopped so I could try to rouse or just check on my baby. The Snuza Go! Is the less expensive version which was also very helpful to me and my budget!

The Snuza is a small clip that goes on the edge of their diaper, and the sensor feels their breathing from their stomach moving up and down. First of all, Ellie never noticed it was there and it never left a mark on her or anything. Secondly, I never had to change the battery! I used it EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. from birth until about 9 months. At 9 months I started getting false alarms as she became really active, rolling and wiggling and also able to take it off on her own. By then, I was naturally ready to stop using it and so was she. Third, and most importantly, it gave this super anxious mama peace of mind. I got so many more hours of sleep thanks to the Snuza. When she had bronchiolitis at 4 months old and I was terrified to sleep every night for weeks, knowing I had the Snuza on was the only thing that made me allow myself to get the sleep I needed.

*Please note, no breathing monitoring devices can prevent SIDS.

Getting a Lash Lift|Review

Here we go, guys. *Sigh*

Among the millions of beauty enhancements we can now make is the lash lift. It’s gaining more popularity lately in the wake of the eyelash extension trend.

A lash lift is essentially, an eyelash perm. It curls and lifts your whole natural lash line. A technician took about 30 minutes to apply and remove the potion to my lashes.

So here’s what I do like:

  • The cost. While the results are less drastic than eyelash extensions, this is a GREAT alternative to extensions price-wise. In my area it’s about a quarter, to a half of the price of eyelash extensions.
  • Takes a short amount of time. Shorter time= easier to get a sitter.
  • No upkeep or maintenance. In this way these are very friendly to my mom life. I didn’t need to go in for a “fill” or a “touch up.” The affects gently started wearing off in about 6 weeks.
  • Genuinely improves everyday mascara. I loved that every day just putting on my mascara it looked better than it ever did before. My lashes looked longer, thicker, and more curled and lifted.

Here’s what I didn’t like:

  • The process of getting it done was uncomfortable. Your eyes have to remain closed for the duration and the solution felt itchy. Your lashes are basically stretching upwards and attached to your eyelid, it’s not painful but definitely made me feel a little squirmy.
  • The first few days my lashes were over-curled. When your lashes are over-curled instead of shooting upwards they curl back in towards your lid. This gave me a great curly effect, but initially it looked like I had less length. Luckily, this period didn’t last more than one or two days. After that it was 6 weeks of pretty lashes.

My before, after, and after with mascara.

I say, why not?! The pros do outweigh the cons in my opinion. It’s worth a try!

Gender Reveal Party!

Baby number two is a girl! We are so excited to have another beautiful little girl and give Ellie a sister. 💕

We chose to do a silly string reveal, after we chose smoke bombs that didn’t arrive in time for the party. 😐 I did pastel pink and blue nails with ombré glitter for the party. Gender Reveal Party NailsWe used streamers to create a little photo booth wall complete with a Polaroid camera, and pink and blue props. The dessert table included baby cake pops, mustache and lip candy molds, colored dipped golden Oreos, and Hersey’s bars I decorated and wrapped with mustaches and pink glitter.I wore a gorgeous PinkBlush maternity dress.