March 7th, 2016 was an emotional day for us. It was a Monday. Tyler was exactly 19 months old. And it was the fourth (and final) attempt for us to conceive through IUI. We arrived at Conceptions with dread outweighing the excitement. We’d been down this road three times already in the past four months, each time the anticipation waning and the fear growing. What if it didn’t work? Thankfully, we never had to answer that question. Two weeks later we learned we were pregnant.
With Tyler, Eric diligently took a photo of me everyday and made an amazing video to document that special time in our lives. You can see that here. It still makes me cry.
With Salem….second child. I’m sorry, sweetie. We just weren’t that committed to the daily, or even weekly, photo. But here are a few shots of me in some really cute maternity dresses growing a really cute baby.
Salem arrived eight days after the snowy photo, three days before her due date. She’s now just over three months old. When people say so much can change in a year, it’s amazingly true. One year ago we didn’t know if we’d ever have another baby, and now we have Salem, who’s not even a newborn anymore.
And Tyler…he’s now been around for THREE March 7ths.
OK OK both of those are from March 6th, which was a weekend both years. Besides, once he hit 100 breweries by age 2, he kind of got over it.
He has an adorable dinosaur button-down on but insisted on wearing his “baseball jacket” which he will make you snap up to the neck.
I know most people don’t recognize the day their babies were made, but for us, those days were really significant. Tyler was made on Eric’s 33rd birthday! So March 7th, here’s to you, an otherwise uneventful day. Thank you!
Baboo #2 was due November 28th. I was blissfully confident I would make it to my due date–after all, Tyler was three days late. Salem arrived three days early, which was more than excellent after a somewhat interesting third trimester.
Back in September, my fundal measurement–the superscientific measurement of your pregnant belly from pubic bone to top of the uterus using a tape measure–was small. Normally, your centimeters match your weeks pregnant. But all of a sudden I was measuring almost four centimeters smaller than I should have. I wasn’t alarmed–after all, the way they do it seems kind of ridiculous, I felt fine, and our 20 week ultrasound showed baby growing on track. But the OB wanted another ultrasound, so we happily obliged. We learned that our baby was pretty small, particularly the baby’s head–it was in the 3rd percentile. The OB sent us to see a specialist for a more in-depth ultrasound. She wanted to confirm the baby was growing and it wasn’t a case of IUGR, intrauterine growth restriction. Or Zika. What was happening?! We stayed positive and tried not to think too much about it. There was nothing we could do about it. But the OB told us if they did suspect IUGR the baby would be delivered at 34 weeks. Which was a week after we received this news. It was a tad unsettling to say the least.
Fortunately, the next ultrasound both confirmed our baby had a tiny head and also that there was no growth concern, and it was overwhelmingly likely that we would just have a proportionally smallish baby with a dainty noggin. Tyler’s head has always measured below the 10th percentile, and I can fit a child’s XS ski helmet on my cranium, so it follows that our baby had a genetically small head. Because of my “advanced maternal age” (I don’t remember getting old, BTW) I would receive weekly ultrasounds for the remainder of my pregnancy. Baby’s head continued to be small–at the very end, we were down in the 1st percentile. But still, we were told not to worry, so we didn’t.
We enjoyed a wedding weekend in Cincinnati.
We enjoyed a beautiful weekend in Aspen.
We had our 9th(?) Annual Fall Fest with our friends in Winter Park.
We hosted a kid-friendly Holleween Party in lieu of our traditional Happy Holledays ugly sweater party. I came across an adorable dragon costume for Tyler, so naturally Eric and I went as Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen. Because I’m the Mother of Dragons, obviously.
During the World Series, my blood pressure went up. A couple of nights I thought I might deliver right there on our couch. But that passed and I was still pregnant and we were still banking on November 28th, the Monday after Thanksgiving. I had the week of Thanksgiving off from school, and I really wanted to enjoy it with Tyler and getting ready for the holidays. And for the most part, I did. Salem’s birth story, coming soon!
Our sweet little second-born arrived on November 25th, 2016. Here is the long (and not-too-graphic) story of her birth.
We started off Thanksgiving day with the Louisville Turkey Trot–a wonderful, free 5k that is all about collecting food and clothing and spending time as a community. It was a gorgeous, sunny morning albeit quite windy.
We planned to walk the 5k, and I felt great. But I was also feeling some internal pressure, for lack of a better word, so we actually took a shortcut and walked a tad more slowly back to town. I didn’t think anything of it and was ready to enjoy our big turkey dinner over at Matt and Molly’s house. We went, we ate, we conquered, we didn’t take any photos. We went home full and were glad to have the next three days off to spend with Tyler.
The next morning, Friday, I woke up feeling…something. But nothing alarming. My favorite yoga teacher instructs the 9:15 Friday morning class at the rec center, and I was determined to go because I knew it would be the last time I could for a few weeks. All three of us went to the rec and we dropped Tyler off at the daycare there. I went and placed my mat in class, but came back to find Eric and tell him, “I think we’re going to have a baby today!” He was taken aback (obviously!) but I assured him I’d be fine for awhile.
I actually felt painless contractions during yoga, but know that these things supposedly take awhile. (And also that we were warned to get to the hospital sooner rather than later because Tyler came quite quickly.) I finished the class, and we got home about 10:30am. I told Eric he needed to make the calls to get Tyler taken care of, and that I would call the hospital. I had a few more contractions with a pain level of zero. And then, as I was putting the final items in my bag and Eric was waiting with Tyler in the driveway for his ride, I had a BIG contraction. Pain level of 7. And then 8. We almost took Tyler to the hospital with us because it was happening too fast. I called my parents to let them know I was in labor. Our friends came for Tyler (and I was crying about leaving him). And then we drove to the hospital, and didn’t get pulled over this time.
We parked and I walked in, and we were up in our room in just a few minutes. I was doubled over with pain. It was 11:25am. The nurse tossed me a gown and Eric must have helped me change because I don’t remember that. All of that stuff we brushed up on in Labor Lab to ease the pain and pass the time went out the window. I was 6 cm. I demanded an epidural. Fortunately, the anaesthesiologist was there almost right away. But something happened, we’re not sure what, we heard them talking about an equipment failure. The anaesthesiologist said it didn’t work because I moved. Anyhow, I didn’t get an epidural. But thankfully, oh so thankfully, they gave me a spinal. My contractions were so much more than a 10. Through the roof. I calmed down with the spinal, maybe a little too much, because Eric said my eyes were rolling back in my head and they gave me oxygen. Somewhere in there my water broke.
And then they said I had to push. Now. What?! I just got here. It was tough, mentally and physically. I was terrified because I didn’t have an epidural and was also totally out of it. I couldn’t wrap my brain around what I needed to do. But Eric is the World’s Best Cheerleader and got me to push. It all just happened so fast. Completely unromantic and totally undignified. But all of a sudden–at 12:37pm–there she was. SHE. She. A girl!
I think I was laughing. I know I didn’t cry like I did with Tyler. We were thrilled and in disbelief. Among my first thoughts was What are we going to name her? Because that had been contentious for our whole pregnancy. We had finally agreed upon a name for a boy who we suddenly didn’t have, but for a girl we wanted different names. Elizabeth for a middle name was a given as it’s also mine. Eric was flexible; there were several names he was rooting for. But for me there was only one name. I had seen it on the screen at church months ago, before we were even pregnant, but I knew if I ever had a daughter that I would love for that word to be her name.
She didn’t have a name for an hour or so. The nurses came and went doing their checking and measuring and administering, and we called her Baby Girl. Eventually we were alone with our daughter. Eric looked at me and said, “Mama, what’s her name?” I was nervous and happy and sad and I said, “For me, there’s only one name. Salem Elizabeth.” And Eric said, “OK. She’s Salem Elizabeth.” And then I cried, because I was so, so happy to have our healthy daughter here with us, and her name would be Salem Elizabeth. Salem means “peace” in Hebrew and I think it’s perfect. Her arrival brings us peace after a difficult time of not knowing whether we would ever have another baby.
Of course, Eric pointed out before she was born that Salem also refers to glamorous things like cigarettes and witch trials. I just figured we could tell people the origin of her name if they asked, and assumed that they wouldn’t think we actually named our daughter after a tobacco product or a terrible time in American history.
Salem was born 11/25/16, the day after Thanksgiving, on Black Friday. She weighed 7 lbs 5 oz and measured 20″ long. She was born one hour and twelve minutes after we checked into the hospital; two hours and seven minutes after I left yoga.
Tyler wasn’t so sure about her in the hospital.
We took her home when she was 27 hours old, beating Tyler’s record by five hours.
I remember taking Tyler home and Eric driving about 10 mph and me sitting in the backseat trying not to freak out. This time, when we clicked the carseat into the van, we realized I couldn’t sit next to her because Tyler’s carseat was in the other captain’s seat. So I sat up front like a grown-up and Eric drove the speed limit, and then we were home. Just like that. And Tyler came around!
You may or may not recall, or may have never known, that we did fertility with Tyler, our firstborn Baboo Monkey. You can read about his story here and here. Many people, friends and friends-of-friends alike, contacted us with questions about the whole crazy process, and we welcomed it. I felt like being able to somehow help others made our difficulties getting pregnant all worth it. And in the end, doing one round of IUI to conceive Tyler was NOT that big of a deal.
Fast forward to wanting another baby. We always knew we wanted two, or three, but definitely more than one. Eric is only 18 months apart from his brother AND his sister, and I’m 26 months older than my brother. Did you know to have kids 18 months apart you’re actually pregnant when your baby is about EIGHT MONTHS old? Reality check!
We went to the fertility clinic in April of 2015, when Tyler was about 8 months old. We were told we couldn’t proceed with any treatment until I was finished breastfeeding because of the drugs involved. I was slightly crushed, being anxious to grow our family, but also resolute to continue nursing Tyler for a much, much longer time than 8 months (we had a good thing going–lucky us). In retrospect, I’m very glad we couldn’t begin trying again, yet, at that time. I ended up switching teaching jobs that summer, and things would have been complicated if not impossible had I been pregnant. So, phew.
I began weaning Tyler when I went back to work that fall, nursing him only morning and night. It seemed as if we could have managed that forever, but the desire for another baby was growing and I really didn’t want to be a Boulder Mom nursing a kindergartner. So, I picked a busy week at work and nursed Tyler for the last time at the end of October. He was 14 1/2 months old. It was much harder for me than for him. But I felt better knowing we were headed back to Conceptions as soon as my cycle allowed.
As it turned out, we got the green light for IUI on Eric’s birthday, November 10th…which was the same day we conceived Tyler two years earlier! How could this not work out? Our kids could have the same birthday! Well, it didn’t. We took a pregnancy test an hour before we flew to Chicago for Thanksgiving, it was negative, and that was that.
Repeat scenario in December. IUI Round #2. We took a pregnancy test the day before we flew to Tucson for Christmas. It was negative, and that was that. Both of these rounds, I just had a feeling I wasn’t pregnant. I felt crampy and different and had dreams about not being pregnant. But since we were only allowed/recommended to do three rounds of IUI before moving on to IVF, I just figured it would HAVE to work out by the third round in January. I cried in church one Sunday before Christmas and a stranger came up to me and said that whatever was wrong, it would all be fine next year. I believed her, because I had to.
Except Southwest Airlines cancelled our flight home from Tucson and we had to stay an extra two days in Arizona. Which meant I missed a blood test back at the clinic, and therefore we couldn’t do IUI in January. Which was partially devastating but also partly a relief to not have to think about it for a month. And, the situation allowed me to drink on New Year’s Eve and make the clouded decision to sign up for a marathon in May. I was betting that if I spent the money on a race, I’d definitely get pregnant and not be able to run it.
We did Round #3 in February, a week before my birthday. It HAD to work because it was our last chance. I even had an extra trigger shot to increase our chances. But I had a terrible dream about a strange fertility clinic filled with ex-boyfriends and strangers yelling and pointing at me that I wasn’t pregnant. It was awful. And again, I wasn’t pregnant. I had to work that day and it was terrible because I could barely hold it together. That weekend we didn’t know what else to do so we did a 16 mile training run pushing Tyler in the BOB. That kid is a champ and had no idea what it was like for us that day. Eric was trying to be positive but I felt like somebody died. Were we really not ever going to have another child? I had changed jobs, and therefore insurance, and it covered nothing. Three rounds of IUI ended up costing us practically what IVF would have. There was no way we could think about that at the time, though.
When I had to call the clinic to tell them I wasn’t pregnant, again, I had a moment of desperation when I asked them if we could do another round of IUI. My reasoning was that I wasn’t on Clomid for three consecutive months because we’d taken January off, and that we knew it could work because we already had Tyler. Much to my surprise, the nurse agreed we could give it one last try. They would change up my meds and see what happened.
I was good to go on March 7th. I was so panicked it was hardly even joyful. Even with the best husband in the world (that’s you, Eric) there is nothing romantic about IUI. It’s sterile and silent and kind of sad. But I didn’t have any cramps this time and was hopeful. I had a dream I gave birth, which was encouraging. I diligently waited until Test Day and there wasn’t really a line. Not really. I took another test. Barely visible. Eric wasn’t sure, either. I was hardly convinced. But I had to call the clinic line or no line, so they told me to come in for a blood test.
I left school to go into the clinic. There’s a song they play on KLOVE called “Sweetly Broken” by Jeremy Riddle. This song is a decade old at least and they hardly ever play it anymore. But it plays every time I need to hear it.
The nurse called me back later that day at work and asked for Amy in a distant, distracted voice. My heart sank until all of a sudden she said, “Hey! Good news!” I couldn’t even stand up. I called Eric and made him leave a meeting so I could tell him. He was thrilled, of course.
The clinic has you come back three days later to test again and make sure some numbers are going up. It was a snow day from school. Eric stayed home to drive me to the clinic. We were those people, out on the road in a horribly dangerous spring snowstorm with cars sliding all over the road and accidents and emergency vehicles everywhere. We made it in time for my blood to get out to the lab, but the lab driver wrecked and it all got delayed a day anyway.
She called me again, at work. The test showed my numbers were going up and everything looked great. I was officially, finally, pregnant. I felt great. We had our first ultrasound on April 12; a blueberry with a heartbeat. On April 21 tiny leg and arm buds waved at us. On April 29 we graduated from Conceptions, probably forever.
We didn’t find out if we were having a boy or a girl. Life’s last great surprise, right? I didn’t run the full marathon, but I did run the half at 10 weeks pregnant. It was a freezing, snowy May day, and the first night I had ever spent away from Tyler, without Eric. I was thrilled to be running less knowing a baby was growing.
Tyler, my beloved Baboo Monkey, will be a big brother in just a couple of weeks. So much is about to change. But we wouldn’t have it any other way…even though it was a heck of a ride to get where we are now.
Way back in the spring, we wanted to tell our families we were pregnant before we blogged about it. Obviously. But it got complicated, because I wanted to do it in person with my parents (we had to Skype the first time around). My mom had knee surgery in April, and it didn’t go very well, making travel for my parents impossible in May. I knew I had to fit a trip in, so Tyler (still free) and I flew to Ohio for Mother’s Day.
I dressed Tyler in his blue #1 Brother shirt, and being Cleveland in May, he had to wear a fleece over it. I was so excited for my parents to see his shirt! I wasn’t really showing yet at 12 weeks, so I knew they wouldn’t notice any belly on me. I kept Tyler zipped up until Dad drove us home, and claimed it was hot in the house so I could take Tyler’s jacket off.
They didn’t notice.
We ate lunch and I purposely had Mom feed him and wipe dribbles off of his shirt.
They didn’t notice.
Mom claimed I was too thin and needed to put on weight. We ate dinner together with Tyler, still in his shirt, laughing and playing in his high chair. At bathtime, I made Mom take off Tyler’s clothes.
She noticed. “Wait,” she said. “This doesn’t mean anything, does it?”
“Um, yeah!” I said. I scolded her for being so imperceptive and blamed it on the painkillers for her knee. She was predictably ecstatic and defended herself by saying Dad didn’t notice, either. After his bath, she put Tyler’s #1 Brother shirt back on him, took him downstairs to Dad, and told him to read the shirt again. Dad STILL didn’t get it. Mom basically had to just tell him there was another baby on the way, and he was very much in shock. “I guess I never even offered you a beer, so I didn’t notice!” he said.
I know because it’d been hard for us, they didn’t have their hopes up, and they’d learned not to ask. But that is definitely NOT the way I had pictured our “big reveal” going! Fortunately we got to spend two more days together. Mom’s spirits were up, we took Grandma out to breakfast, and Dad got to take Tyler to the zoo.
It was a quick trip home, but a memorable one. Mom claims that “#1 Brother” doesn’t necessarily mean “Big Brother” and that she thought he was just wearing a hand-me-down. Really, Mom? You think I’d fly across the country with my kid in some random secondhand tee shirt? You know me better than that. Besides, it only took Eric’s parents about 6o seconds to break the “#1 Brother” code!
Well, now he’s closer to seven months old, but these photos are darn cute. Also particularly nostalgic for me because of the outfit he is wearing. It is the lone outfit I purchased when I was pregnant with Tyler, and very early on, maybe in my first trimester. We knew we weren’t going to find out if the baby was a boy or a girl, so that made it easier to refrain from purchasing baby items. But I also didn’t want to get things ready for a baby because I was afraid that something might happen. Not cause-and-effect, as I knew that buying things for our baby wouldn’t actually make something (bad) happen. I wasn’t comfortable making preparations because it wasn’t easy for us to conceive and I just couldn’t get into nesting…just in case. Eric always remained positive to counteract my (very out-of-character) negativity, but it was still there.
There were many times during pregnancy I would comment that I couldn’t believe I was pregnant, or that it just didn’t feel real. Even when my belly grew, and grew, and grew….it just never felt real to me. Until our baby was born, and it was a boy…it was Tyler. THEN I was as happy and joyful and crying like crazy as a person could be.
So this little outfit, in gender-neutral aqua and navy, reminds me of how happy/scared I was when I was pregnant with Tyler. An outfit that I bought probably over a year ago for this baby we wanted to love so badly. The ONLY outfit I’ve ever purchased for him (thanks to hand-me-downs and gifts and of course Nana.)
I can’t believe it finally fits.
He fell over on his own. But he didn’t cry, so we took a picture. He’s even giving us a thumbs up if you look closely.
For those who have been following our posts, and the amazing writing of my beautiful bride, you know that Tyler’s journey started last November. The day that we we found out the we were indeed pregnant, I started taking photos of Amy. Every day.
At first she was annoyed, and even when she started to embrace the concept of a photo a day, Amy still didn’t see the vision that I saw coming to life. It was going to be awesome: To watch Amy’s body transform as the external representation of the internal growth of Tyler. Watching a baby grow every day, leading up to the most amazing day of any parent’s life. It is truly a miracle. And can only be a gift from God.
If you pay close attention, you’ll notice the beauty there is in a pregnant woman. Joy. Fear. Happiness. Exhaustion. Annoyed. Pretty. Sad. Excited. Cautious. And beauty. Resounding beauty for the life that is coming to be from within.
We put off working on the nursery for awhile. It was for a lot of reasons, but mainly because I have the whole summer off, so there was no rush. My parents came out in July to help put the room together (don’t even ask about the Great Crown Moulding Debacle of 2014).
Eric and I wanted an outdoor/parks/map theme and decided on gray and green and yellow. This is the fruit of our labors, in pictures taken in poor lighting with my phone:
Heidi made these cute flags for our baby shower in Ohio!
When we take better photos, we’ll get the crown moulding in the shots!
I resisted the melodramatic urge to take professional maternity photos for many, many months. Why would I want these, later in my life? But as the weeks crept by and summer heated up, our hair got blonder and our skin got tanner. If there was ever a decent time to nab some cute bump photos, the time was now. Strangely/luckily, we know several professional photographers, many of whom dabble in the baby business. But Tara Harmon Low has been a friend of mine since I was twelve (she’s my pal Shannon’s older sister) and she lives conveniently down the road. Tara has a new baby herself so she’s definitely in the baby zone. At the last minute, Tara agreed to a quick session with us in Louisville. I wanted two things (besides Chandler, and for that matter, Eric) in the photos: Sweet Cow ice cream and Lilly.
Here are (just) 24 of our favorites, appearing in a slideshow format.