the c-section elephant in the room.

where my heart resides-1 Dearest blog readers,

I feel obligated to tell you that I have decided to have another c-section.

Say whaaaaaaaat?

It's true. In case you're relatively new to this blog, here's the short version of my first birth:

I found out at 36 weeks pregnant that Everett was breech. I did everything in my human power to flip him around (picture me lying upside down on an ironing board with frozen fried rice on the top of my stomach and headphones in my underwear). Nothing worked. I even had a painful procedure done where a doctor stood over me and manually tried to turn the baby with her hands. That didn't work either. So, my casual laid-back birth plan of maybe-I'll-use-a-birthing-tub/maybe-I'll-use-a-doula/maybe-I'll-use drugs turned into C-SECTION OR BUST. I had no choice.

And Everett was born healthy as could be and we were all fine.

This past January when I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I had a decision to make: VBAC or repeat c-section. That decision haunted me almost immediately, but I was grateful to have the choice.

And here's where I am going to be totally, perfectly, 100% honest with you. The truth is: I had no desire to do a VBAC.

And nobody was shocked by this more than me.

I remember during my c-section, I explicitly asked the doctor to check out my insides and make sure there was nothing wrong with me. I remember asking that same doctor during my postpartum checkup if I would be a good candidate for a VBAC and feeling a sense of relief when she said yes.

So, what changed?

I have no idea. Time and perspective, I suppose. Looking back, I actually had a wonderful c-section experience. There were a lot of pros. It's nice to know exactly when your baby will be born. It's nice to show up at the hospital showered with clean hair and shaved legs. It's nice to get the baby out of you in 15 minutes while you feel no pain whatsoever, and it's nice to enjoy your first moments with your baby protected by a blue sheet bubble.

(Also, real talk: it's nice to keep your lady parts in tact and not pee every time you sneeze.)

When I think back to my c-section with Everett, I remember it as a magical, wonderful, life-changing experience. I do not feel like I missed out on anything because I didn't go into labor or feel contractions or tear certain things that were not meant to be torn. It was not the birth I had planned on, but it was the birth that I had. And because of that, the bright operating room and sterile environment that once terrified me is now my comfort zone. Meanwhile, the thought of doing a VBAC completely terrifies me. It feels foreign, and strange, and anxiety-inducing. I have a million fears about doing a VBAC, most of which are related to Everett's 95th percentile head size and the possibility of ending up in a c-section anyways. I don't feel confident about it, I don't feel connected to it, and most importantly: I feel no burning desire to do it. 

So that, friends, is where I have landed. I have done the research. I have talked to the doctors and midwives. I have read the stats and gone over the risk factors with both options. There are risk factors with both options. And ultimately, I have chosen the path I believe will be best for my baby and my body and my mind and my soul, and that is to have another scheduled c-section.

Our sweet baby boy will be born on Monday, October 27th. Barring no complications, we should be home in time for Halloween so Everett can go trick-or-treating while I stuff my face with well-earned candy bars.

Here's to all of our birth stories, whether they involve water tubs or hospital beds or the backseats of cars (!) or operating tables. Let us all remember we are blessed to bring babies into this world, no matter how they get here.

third trimester faves.

Thirdtrimesterfavorites2 1. Jellyfish leather t-bar flats - Last month, ASOS was having a huuuuge sale, and I decided to treat myself to something that would surely fit at this point in pregnancy: shoes. At 8.5 months pregnant, I'm pretty much wearing flats exclusively, and these just so happen to look great with everything.

2. Split shoulder tee - You know where I'm not gaining weight these days? My shoulders. Might as well show those bad boys off. (Seriously though, this shirt is super flattering and one of my faves this month.)

3. ASOS shapewear leggings - We went to Santa Cruz a couple weekends ago---you know, where it's not 103 degrees---and I was finally able to bust out my favorite maternity leggings. These fit like a dream, and I plan to wear them all winter long while my body slowly shrinks back to normal.

4. Dr. Jart BB cream - I have terrible skin when I'm pregnant. Terrible. My skin gets super oily and I break out a lot more than usual. This is my go-to "face base" and I cannot recommend it enough. I got a sample of this in my Birchbox a year ago, and have been hooked ever since. Some days I add a light layer of foundation on top, but most of the time I just apply concealer under my eyes and I'm good to go!

5. Unisom - Real talk: I am addicted to sleeping pills. Okay, not really, but kind of. I have legit insomnia when I am pregnant. As in---I will wake up at 3am and watch TV for two hours on the couch, eating bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios like it's my job. And then I'll work on my laptop until everyone else wakes up, at which point I'll be a walking zombie for the rest of the day. It's not cute. After complaining to my midwife, she suggested I try Unisom and it has been a LIFESAVER this pregnancy. I take half a tablet almost every night and have been sleeping like a dream. This is probably my #1 pregnancy staple this time around.

6. MAMA skinny jeans - Confession: this was an impulse buy last week. I don't know, I got caught up in the Pumpkin Spice Latte hype or something. It's still way too hot to wear jeans but I tried these on in the fitting room and couldn't believe how well they fit. I couldn't justify buying a "real" new pair of jeans this fall/winter since I know my body will be changing so much, but $35 for skinny jeans with a stretchy waistband seemed like a reasonable purchase. Happy sweater weather to me.

7. Floral nightgown - Last month I went shopping with my friend Christina who is due one week before me. We treated ourselves to new nursing bras, new sweatpants, and pretty new nightgowns to bring to the hospital. I wear this every single night and basically want to live in it. Plus! It has nursing straps, which is perfect for middle-of-the-night feedings.

This officially concludes the roundups of pregnancy faves, but in case you missed em, I am still enjoying all of these as well: first trimester faves // second trimester faves

second trimester faves.

Second trimester favorites | where my heart resides

1. Dry body brush - Have you guys heard of this? Full disclaimer: I came across the concept of dry body brushing while googling how to get rid of cellulite. In related news: the beauty blogs had me at "reduces the appearance of cellulite." Apparently there are a lot of other benefits.....it increases circulation, encourages new cell growth, releases toxins, rejuvenates the nervous system, helps with muscle toning, etc. But really, if I'm being honest, I'm in it for the reduced cellulite. I use this brush every morning right before I get in the shower, and then lather myself with coconut oil when I get out. It's only been a week since I've started dry brushing, but I'm really starting to love it being part of my routine. It's super relaxing, feels good, and my skin has been noticeable softer. Will report back on the cellulite.

2. Dream lace boyshorts - Real talk! I need to tell you about The Underwear Crisis of 2014. It went something like this.....I found out I was pregnant and two days later, none of my underwear fit. No exaggeration. I am not sure what happened but somehow all of my underwear was suddenly, noticeably, much too small. Naturally, I started ordering underwear every other day on Amazon and picking up three pairs every time I went to to Target. I think I bought close to 28 pairs in two weeks, and I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. I mean, it's underwear. The essential of all essentials. I wanted something that was a) soft/flattering around the hips, b) seamless, and c) could be worn with tight fitting clothes/maxi dresses without lines. And I am happy to report that 28 pairs of underwear later, I FOUND THE PERFECT ONES. If you're pregnant (heck, even if you're not pregnant), I cannot recommend these boyshorts enough. I also bought a few pairs of these and like them just as much. If you're pregnant, order one size up. And while we're on the subject of undergarments and TMI things, I also recently discovered maternity spanx and my life has been changed forever. This was my first time wearing spanx and really, I just want to buy five more because I love them so much. They are worth every penny and then some.

3. Wedge sandals - I love a good pair of wedges, and I love a good pair of sandals. These are the best of both worlds, and give me the perfect amount of height when I want to remain casual. They look great with dresses, shorts, maxi skirts, everything. Plus, they're comfy. Win-win.

4. Burts Bees Momma Oil - After I lather up with coconut oil in the morning, I slather a thin layer of Cocoa Butter lotion + this all over my belly, hips, and chest. It sounds like a lot, but my skin soaks it up. Call it my stretch mark prevention plan.

5. Babylist - I don't know what all the rules are about registering for a second baby, especially when the second baby is also the same gender as your first baby, but there are a few things on our wishlist so I figured I would make one just in case anyone asked for a gift idea. I used Babylist the first time around, and loved it, so obviously I'm using it again. I love that you can register for items from any store, it's super easy to use, it's pretty (!!), and they are in the process of adding completion discounts. If you want to see our little wishlist in progress, here it is. (Thanks for not judging the fact that I made one in the first place.)

6. Hair color conceal spray - Mmmmk. So, when I am not pregnant, my hair grows really fast. When I am pregnant, my hair grows abnormally fast. And when I say abnormally fast, I mean two weeks after I get my hair colored, my roots are showing. I bumped up my appointments to every six weeks while pregnant (normally I go between eight-ten), and no joke---by week three, my roots are straight up embarrassing. My natural hair color is an ashy brown, which tends to look gray-ish along the roots. NOT OKAY. After hunting around on Amazon, I came across this little gem, which basically sprays dry color directly onto your roots. AMAZING. You only have to use a little, it sprays on just like dry shampoo, and lasts until you wash your hair again. If you have quick hair outgrowth and color your hair, this stuff is the bomb.com. Also! When your hair falls out after you have a baby (it will!), this is great because it makes your hair look fuller along the part line.

7. Peony one-piece swimsuit - I ordered this bad boy for our upcoming trip to Puerto Vallarta after trying on approximately 47 bikinis at Target and having a (small) meltdown in the dressing room. Fingers crossed it fits!

8. Pregnancy pillow - My friend Christina ordered this and didn't like it, but I think she's crazy because it's the best thing since sliced bread. Brett and I have a lot of inappropriate nicknames for this pillow, but the bottom line is: IT HELPS ME SLEEP BETTER. Also helping me sleep better? Unisom. Ask your doctor/midwife if you can take some if you have crazy pregnancy insomnia like I do (and by crazy, I mean I can be often be found on the couch at 3am eating cheerios and watching Bravo).

9. ASOS maternity striped dress - This dress is on sale for $23. You should definitely get one (order a size up, it's short!). If I haven't mentioned this before, ASOS is by far, my favorite place for maternity clothes. Other favorites: this dress, this dress, this dress, this top.

The end.

As usual, this post contains affiliate links, which means if you decide to make a purchase, I earn a few dollars. Thanks for supporting me and funding my coffee addiction.  

it's a boy!

IMG_3579In case you missed our announcement yesterday, we're having another baby boy!

There is so much to be happy about: brothers! Another momma's boy! Matching Christmas pjs! No wedding to pay for! When I close my eyes I can picture another little Everett-esque child running around the house and it feels right. I can see them sharing a room with bunk beds and looking out for each other at school and playing video games together when their homework is finished. I can see Brett planning boys nights and I can see trucks and legos and trains covering my house for the next few years.

I can see all of it, and I love what I see.

I have more to say about this, some other day, but right now I'm praising God for a healthy baby, and enjoying each and every kick and flutter.

Thank you for celebrating with us!

halfway there.

Where My Heart Resides Where My Heart ResidesWhere My Heart Resides Where My Heart ResidesWhere My Heart Resides-11 Where My Heart Resides{ 20 weeks | wearing this dress }

20 weeks. Halfway there. I've been trying to find the words to write about this pregnancy, but they have not come without effort.

The second pregnancy has been much different than my first: physically, mentally, emotionally. It's been harder, more trying---a difference marked, no doubt, by the fact that I'm chasing a toddler all day.

It's been hard to pay attention to this baby growing in my belly, as if my mind and heart don't have room for anything else right now. When I was pregnant with Everett, I vividly remember being consumed by him, unable to think of anything else. I felt connected to him, body and soul, perfectly in sync with his flutters and kicks. Everything about that pregnancy was impossible to ignore; he was a part of me from the moment I knew of his existence.

This pregnancy, on the other hand, has felt the opposite. Almost as if I need to remind myself daily that I am, indeed, pregnant. If it wasn't for the fact that every morning I run a soapy loofa over a foreign protruding belly button, I might forget altogether.

I don't feel as connected, as in sync, as in love as I did during my first pregnancy. I keep waiting for it to hit me, but if I'm being honest with myself and with you, I am still waiting. There is, of course, that all too familiar feeling that follows. Guilt. Everyone keeps telling me that it is normal to feel this way with your second pregnancy, but it doesn't feel normal to me.

Bonding with Everett was effortless, from the pregnancy to the second they laid him on my chest. He was mine in every way, and I loved him instantly. I didn't have to try the first time around.

And now here I am, trying so dang hard.

I'm not consumed by this pregnancy; I'm consumed by the trying. Trying to feel excited, trying to feel in sync, trying to feel connected to a baby who, more often than not, feels like a stranger to me.

I can't force it; I can only pray and wait. I know the connection will come eventually, of that I am certain. Just like Everett, this baby is a piece of me, of my heart and my body and my soul, and the love is there inherently, even if I cannot feel it strongly yet.

In the meantime, I am trying to remind myself of one of my favorite motherhood mantras: grace is greater than guilt.

Grace is greater than guilt.

Grace. Is. Greater. Than. Guilt.

february 25th.

It was a Tuesday and I was feeling sick, that same feeling I get after I've been on a boat for a while. A pack of pregnancy tests was set to arrive in my mailbox the next day, thanks to Amazon prime, but suddenly that seemed too far away. Could I wait 24 hours? I paced. I ate crackers. I drank juice. I paced some more. Finally, I called Brett.

"Can you pick up a pregnancy test on your way home from work?"

Accustomed to running occasional awkward errands for me, he willingly stopped by CVS on the way home because he's a saint like that. Unlike the first time, there was no stalling that afternoon. There were no towels to fold. The second he got home, I grabbed the test and made a beeline for the bathroom.

"You're going to take it now?!"

"Yes! The suspense is killing me!"

I was 99% sure I was pregnant, but I had taken a test the week before and it had been negative. I didn't want to try again until I was sure.

A minute later I saw two lines, the same two lines I had seen when I first found out about Everett's existence. It was both expected and unexpected, like the way a rainbow appears after a hard rain---a pleasant surprise and the mark of a promise, a sign of hope and good things to come. I carried the test out into the living room with a huge smile on my face.

"Two lines!"

Brett's face said it all, really.

"WHAT?" he said incredulously.

He looked at it with me, in disbelief, before calmly suggesting I take another one. The box had two tests in it, one with lines and one with a yes/no. Brett never believes the first pregnancy test. Ever. He didn't believe I was pregnant with Everett until our first ultrasound, despite the fact that we had already told a dozen people.

I took the second test, which revealed a prompt "yes". I squealed. We hugged, both of us in slight shock. We told Everett he was going to be a big brother and he said, "choo choo?"

Sure kid, we can play choo choos.

I called my friend Christina, who had found out she was pregnant the week before. She screamed; I screamed back. It was all very surreal. We had joked about trying to get pregnant together but I never imagined our due dates would be nine days apart.

We made spinach tortellini for dinner, and prayed for the baby before we ate together at the kitchen table. We sat there, just the three of us, like any other Tuesday night. Sunlight poured in through the window, creating shadows of our three silhouettes on the wall.

Everything was the same.

And everything was different.

stating the obvious.

where my heart resides As Everett is underway in developing his vocabulary, he has started a lovely habit I like to refer to as stating the obvious. Wherever we are, whatever we see, he announces his observations as if I cannot see them with my own two eyes.

"Doggie!"

"Airplane!"

"Bird!"

"Water!"

I am 99% positive that this habit will get worse before it gets better. For now, I'm rolling with it and graciously applauding his speech and object awareness. I'm sure three months from now I will be more annoyed than proud, but I've vowed to fake enthusiasm for as long as I can.

But I digress.

Everett's innocent declarations remind me of how often people feel the need to "state the obvious" when dealing with pregnancy. Once an expecting mother starts showing, a lot of people feel obligated to comment on the fact that she is showing, or rather---her body in general.

It's weird, right? At no other time in life do friends and strangers alike walk around commenting on your body shape, right to your face, on a regular basis. Most people have really good intentions with this---they want you to feel confident and beautiful and good about yourself. And I'm sure some would argue that many expecting mothers seek out these types of comments by posting nonstop belly pictures on Instagram, etc. But no matter how we get there, the truth remains: those comments, even with the best of intentions, can sometimes come across as awkward.

Generally speaking, these are things you should not say to a pregnant woman:

1. "Oh my gosh you're SO TINY! You're not even showing at all! Where is the baby?!"

There are two problems with this: 1) It implies the mother is growing a freakishly small baby, and 2) It implies she looks exactly the same as she does when she isn't pregnant, which to her, is probably not the truth.

2. "Oh my gosh you're SO BIG! You look like you're ready to pop!"

This is never, ever okay to say. To anyone. Ever.

3. "Are you sure there's only one baby in there?!"

Nope. Don't say that.

4. "You must be having a girl!" or "You must be having a boy!"

Carrying high, carrying low---I have no idea what the difference is, but to assume you know the gender of an unborn child by the shape of the mother's stomach is not an acceptable comment. Keep your weird predictions to yourself.

5. "WHOA! You have gotten so much bigger since the last time I saw you!"

Yes, duh. She is growing a human, and also eating cheeseburgers on the regular. What did you expect? Leave it be, no need to be shocked.

6. "Wait, when is your due date again?"

This implies you are trying to figure out how much bigger she is going to get in the forthcoming weeks. Don't do that.

7. "You are glowing!!"

We all know glowing is a nice way to say sweating. She is sweating. She is always, always sweating. There is no need to call attention to it. Being pregnant makes you ten degrees warmer than you usually are. It's unfortunate.

Here's the thing. You don't NEED to say anything to a pregnant woman regarding her looks or her body. I think sometimes people think it's rude to not acknowledge the baby bump, but let me tell you: saying nothing about her appearance is better than saying the wrong thing about her appearance. Having said that, if you absolutely positively feel the unavoidable urge to speak up, this is the best thing you can say:

"You look great!"

Three words. Repeat after me. You. Look. Great.

It's simple, it's sweet, it's complimentary, and it does not refer specifically to her body or shape or weight gain in any capacity.

When I was pregnant with Everett, people commented on my body throughout my entire pregnancy, both online and at the grocery store. They said nice things and not very nice things and awkward things and sometimes touched me without asking, which made me very uncomfortable. And do you know what I remember the most about those comments and interactions? I remember my friend Camille, because she said the exact same thing every single time she saw me over the course of those nine long months.

Every time we saw each other, she smiled at me and said, "You look great!"

Not one word more, not one word less. It didn't matter how pregnant I was, or what I was wearing, or whether or not I had makeup on.

And you know what? Every time I was around Camille, I felt great.

Knowledge is power. Go forth and make your pregnant friends feel great, too.

p.s. Please don't take this post too seriously. It is meant to be 95% facetious. Also: Please don't worry if you have said any of these things to me. I have said almost every single one to a pregnant woman at some point myself.

first trimester faves.

Firsttrimesterfavorites

I'm well into my second trimester now (!!!), but wanted to share a few first trimester favorites while they were still on my mind. Not pictured but also definitely considered favorites: cheeseburgers, binge watching TV shows on Netflix (aka resting), my trusty heating pad for when I have a sore back, and every kind of chewing gum on the planet to help when I'm feeling barfy.

1. Fitbit - You guys. I just got this, and I am super into it. In a perfect world, I'd take Everett for a walk every single day, but truth be told, it's really easy for me to come up with excuses not to (I'm tired! Allergies! It's hot! It's cold! Whine whine whine!). There is something to be said for the power of accountability that exists in this little bracelet because every time I check my stats for the day, I can't help but feel motivated to take more steps. I've also been tracking my sleep and water intake which is fun in a weird and OCD kind of way.

2. Organic rosehip seed oil - After reading Lauren's rave review, I ordered this out of sheer curiosity. Also, my skin gets really oily when I'm pregnant (glowing? not so much). This stuff is magic. I swapped out my usual moisturizer and now use this instead: five drops in the morning and five drops at night. My skin absorbs it quickly, but still feels super hydrated. It's light and natural and organic and I don't know what else to say about it other than I LOVE IT. During the day I wear it under makeup, and at night it's the only thing I put on my face after washing it. Highly recommend.

3. Barre class. I was going to barre 2-3 times a week before I got pregnant, and basically haven't stopped. I made a few minor adjustments, but I can still do 95% of the class at this point, and plan to continue going for the rest of my pregnancy. If you're in Sacramento, you can join me at U Barre, and if you're looking for a DVD to do at home, this one has good reviews. Also check out my friend Robin's prenatal pilates program. (Speaking of which, would anyone be interested in a 5-7 minute prenatal barre video series on this blog? Contemplating it.)

4. Long tanks - Gap had a sale on their essential rib tanks a few months ago and I stocked up. They're super comfy, slimming, come in tons of colors, and look fabulous tucked into a maxi skirt. I also have a few of these from Target, but I like the Gap ones better.

5. Belly band - Seriously, what would I even do without this? I didn't start showing with Everett until I was about 4-5 months pregnant. This time around, I started showing two days after I peed on the stick. Apparently your uterus is like a memory foam mattress and after you've been pregnant once, everything shifts into place much quicker the second time around. That being said, there was no way I was going to keep squeezing into my skinny jeans without the help of the belly band. I have it in black and nude and literally wear it every single time I wear anything that buttons. Must-have.

6. Fruit infuser water bottle - I went through a 3-4 week phase where I was craving lemon water like a crazy person. I don't drink nearly as much water as I should, so I treated myself to a fancy water bottle to a) keep me motivated to drink more water, and b) infuse fruit flavors into my water (meyer lemon is my fave). Win-win.

7. Maxi skirts. I have basically lived in maxi skirts for the past two months. Long tank + a high-waisted skirt make for a cute, comfortable look when you're in the awkward "is she pregnant or addicted to donuts?" phase. You can easily hide your bump or show it off, depending on how tight your skirt is. I have this skirt (wearing it here) and this skirt and love both of them. You can find the skirt pictured above here.

8. Cocoa butter - I go through one bottle of this a month. Let's talk about stretch marks, shall we? The day I went in for my c-section with Everett, I did not have a single one. Nada. Three weeks later, post-partum? I had stretch marks all over my chest, and a few on my stomach. I panicked. Somehow I had gotten stretch marks after delivery, which I did not even know was possible. And then! Magically.....they disappeared. I can't remember when exactly (it took a couple of months), but I never stopped using the cocoa butter, even after Everett was born. I used it every single day on my entire body, during and after pregnancy. So maybe it was the cocoa butter, maybe it was good genes, maybe it was a fluke, or maybe it was a combination. Regardless, I am a huge believer in this stuff. Plus, it's paraben free and smells like chocolate. (p.s. once I get into the third trimester, I also add a layer of Burt's Bees Mama Bee Body Oil)

9. Black scalloped maternity shorts - I was pregnant with Everett from September-May so I do not have any summer maternity clothes. While most of my summer tops are loose and will fit for a while, shorts are a whole different story. These black shorts are super cute and can be dressed up or dressed down. Love!

Mommas, what were some your first trimester favorites?