Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Potty Trained Ruby

My sweet Ruby Joy has hit a couple of major mile stones in her little life over this past month. I am ever so proud of her! She is so intelligent, sweet, and catches on to teaching very quickly. Like I mentioned in my last post, she now sleeps only in her "princess" bed, sharing her room with her baby sister. Ruby is 30 months old and POTTY TRAINED! I have dreaded this phase, completely nervous that I couldn't potty train a child. Well, my girl proved me wrong, and I am grateful!

This time last year I tried to be super mom and potty train her at 19 months. I knew it could be done at a young age, and I was sure I could have "that child." I tried the very strict "potty training in 3 days" type method. I was completely prepared with special juices so she would be drinking all day long. I had salty fun snacks to make her thirsty, a doll that could pee when you squeezed it, and tiny little panties. I was also about 6 1/2 months pregnant. I started the day full of vigor and excitement. After about 2 hours of this intense process, I was starting to get tired, but still kept going. Then the hours slowly creeped by and tensions began to rise - in both Ruby and me. I became so exhausted and frustrated by the end of that day, that I just bawled when Brian got home. He proceeded to find a babysitter and take me out to Mexican food for dinner. It helped a little... ;-p

Now, one year later, I finally felt it was time to try again. So Saturday July 27th I buckled down. I used a piece of thin cardboard and write "Ruby's Chart" on it. I pinned it to the wall next to the toilet, along with a couple sheets of stickers. The first 4 or so days was a lot of work on my part. That's the time I questioned if this was the right time, or if she was ready. I was reminding her about every 30 minutes to go sit on the potty. So we sat, and sat, and sat. Sometimes we had successes, sometimes we had accidents. I noticed, however, that by 1 week, she was starting to prompt herself to go. This made me wonder - could she really have it figured out?! Then by 2 weeks she was always telling me when she needed to go, and having no accidents. Then I braved the next step - let her nap with undies on. She amazed me and never had an accident at nap time! Then around week 3 I decided to go on a quick errand and let her stay in undies. I was really nervous we'd have a messy car. But, she held it until we got home! It is just AMAZING how quickly she caught on. Now we go everywhere with her just in undies (and clothes!) and she naps with no diaper or pull up. She isn't shy in other bathrooms either - which is just awesome.

Now at night time she is still in a diaper or pull up. The next big step will be to eliminate that. I am SO thrilled with where we are now, that I'm not even worried about that next step. So excited over here!
I wonder if Cora will be similar..... :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sleep Training Cora

Why, hello there my little friend, Blog! Long time no see. I guess that's what happens when you continually add to your family - less time for these things.

Though I have no desire to blog for fame or fortune (can you tell?!;)), I really do like using my blog as a glimpse into different high lights in life. I recently have both potty trained Ruby, and sleep trained Cora. As I was preparing for the sleep training, I visited my blog and looked back in time, to when I wrote about sleep training Ruby. It was incredibly helpful to remember how things went with her. It's amazing how time can erase some specific memories - I'm so glad I had it documented.

Today Cora Delight is 9 1/2 months old. While it is unbelievable, it is also such a fun stage. By the time Cora hit 8 months of age, I was starting to really feel super ready to get her sleeping through the night. Like I mentioned, I looked back to my post about sleep training Ruby. I couldn't believe I had waited until she was 12 1/2 months old to do that!

At 8 months Cora was really having a horrible time sleeping at night. Therefore I was having a horrible time sleeping at night! It is unbelievable now, but Cora had been waking up AT LEAST 5 times per night. She was still sleeping in our bedroom, half of the time in her pack n play, and half the time in our bed. She was sleeping for 1.5-2 hour stretches at that point, and life was getting kind of miserable for me. There was a lot of crying during those awake times, and only a bit of it was Cora. She had been in that pattern for probably a couple of months.

June 29th we buckled down and put the girl in the crib in her room. Brian and I committed to let her cry it out, with a 20 minute limit. That is ALWAYS the hardest part of sleep training - the first night. At about minute 15 I was about to go in and get her, but instead I tried hard to tune her out and focus on other things. Within the next 5 minutes she was asleep! I think this was around 8pm. I believe then she woke up around 2am, so I nursed her quickly and laid her back down. I heard her cry at 6am, so I nursed again and left. Then she slept until 8 or 9 am. I was shocked by how great of a victory this was! Even with her waking up at 2am, that was after a solid 6 hours!

The nights following were very similar. Down (without crying) at 8pm, awake quickly at 1 or 2am, again at 5 or 6am, then finally at 8 or 9am. Since then, we've had some great nights (solid 10-12 hours) and some rough ones. Each night has its own story, but I still consider her sleep trained at this point. Along with her having to get used to being in a different bed and room, we had to adjust Ruby to sleeping full time in her toddler bed. This was a bit of another challenge, because beforehand she had the option to sleep in the crib or toddler bed. Now Ruby is adjusted to her toddler bed every night, so it's a double victory there!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cora's Birth Story

Oh my! It is so embarrassing that I can even call this site a blog. It's been a long time since I've written anything, and even at that, my posts are few and far between. Thankfully I'm not doing this for fame or fortune, but to keep almost an online journal of special events in my life. One of the biggest, most special recent events in my life has been the birth of our second daughter, Cora Delight Bradley. I wanted to get our story typed out before I forget too many details.

Her due date was November 8th. Since summertime I had been praying... more like begging... that she would be born on November 1st. It was just stuck in my mind as the perfect day for a few reasons. It's my older sister, Heather's, birthday, and she first suggested I have her that day. :) Also, it is an easy day to remember, it is All Saints Day, and it was exactly one week before her due date, which just sounded perfect. I imagined a cozy evening Halloween night with my family, handing candy out to trick-or-treaters. I really wanted it to happen that way.

Well, I had a prenatal appointment the week leading up to the 1st. I asked my midwife to check my cervix so we could have a gage of where I was at. I was a "fat 3" or almost 4 cm dialated and almost totally effaced at that point. So I asked my midwife to give me a membrane sweep at that time, something I had forgotten was not comfortable at all. :-p I had been faithfully taking Magnesium Asporatate since about the half way point of my pregnancy, to help me with a shorter labor. With all these factors in my favor, my midwife actually gave me the go-ahead to try castor oil at my discression. Midwives are usually very stand off-ish when it comes to any form of labor induction, so I was shocked and SO excited she said I could try it. She told me with those factors, I was the perfect candidate to try castor oil. She was pretty positive it would put me right into labor, and that I should head to the birth center almost as soon as I took the stuff. I couldn't stop smiling!

I had of course heard many castor-oil horror stories, but I still wanted to try it. I only wanted to try it that once to try to have my baby on the 1st. If it didn't happen, I wasn't going to try it again. Here's where it gets exciting. Thursday the 31st was here, and I was giddy! My best friend Amy had committed to come over every Thursday afternoon to help me with Ruby, hang out, or let me have a little alone time out and about. I love her for that! So I decided to walk down the street to get some castor oil from Wal-greens, and then to Roth's to get a few ingredients for a castor oil cocktail. More like waddle to those stores. :)

I got back home and told Amy my whole plan. I think she kind of giggled at me on the inside, but went along with my plan like it was a good idea. I found out Brian had to work late that night so Ruby and I headed over to my parents' house to have dinner and pass candy out to the trick-or-treaters there. It was a cozy evening in, and I loved being surrounded my loved ones. My sister and her best friend made dinner, it was spicy Thai curry. Perfect for labor induction!

I announced boldly to everyone at my parents house, exactly 1 hour after dinner, that I was making a castor oil shake. I mixed two table spoons (the minimum amount suggested for labor induction) with vanilla ice cream and downed it. It really wasn't that bad! I don't know what everyone is complaining about. ;) The ice cream had lots of fat which helped my body more slowly digest the castor oil, rather than it just running through me. Instantly I started having light contractions. They were fairly regular right away, but felt just like the Braxton Hicks contractions I had been feeling for weeks, so they didn't bother me. That was around 6:00 pm. I decided to go home around 8:00 to get Ruby in bed. Brian picked us all up from my parent's house and we headed home to lay Ruby down. I have a text in my phone to my midwife at 8:52 pm saying that they were getting intense, but not killing me yet. She told me to head to the birth center. We gathered everything, then they really started picking up. I was leaning on my yoga ball on the floor for some comfort, and POP! My water broke. We knew for sure it was time.

My mom came over quickly to stay with Ruby, and Brian and I loaded up to drive out to Bella Vie. Contractions got closer and closer together on that 30 minute drive out to the birth center. They were probably about 2 minutes apart from then on. As soon as I got to the birth center I got in the huge warm birthing tub that they had prepared for me. The midwives got us settled in, and then left Brian and I alone to labor on our own.

A big difference between this labor and my first labor, is that with this one, the contractions were so intense that I really had to zone out while experiencing them. However, as soon as they were done I was energetic and talkative. It was really interesting! Our wonderful child birth class teacher, Jen, was able to be my doula at this birth! It was incredible to have her there doing what I usually do to help others in labor. Having pressure on my back during contractions and someone brushing my hair through was so wonderful. We would all three be in a lively conversation, then a contraction would come and I would warn them, we would all be quiet, and then as soon as it was over I was happy and chatty. It was really amazing!

Since my water had broken they didn't want to do many vaginal exams, which could introduce infection. After about 2 hours at the birth center I really felt her whole body moving lower in my body. I don't remember that incredible progression so much with my labor with Ruby. At that point I just naturally felt like I needed to bare down during some of my contractions. My midwives were really surprised by this, so they decided to check me after all. I was almost a full 10 cm at that point, which is why my body was so ready to push! It was a short cycle of birthing tub, laying on bed, sitting on bed, and sitting on the toilet. By the time I got to the toilet I was in A LOT of pain and really ready to push her out. I decided to reach down cause she felt so low, and I could feel the top of her head right there! The midwives then told me to quickly get down on all 4's on the bathroom floor, and they surrounded me with towels and assistance. After maybe 4 contractions on my hands and knees, Cora was born! I heard the midwife say, "I've got eyes, ok now nose, now mouth and chin..." and as she was describing that we heard screaming! Cora started crying before even her body was out - it was hilarious and amazing at the same time. Her shoulders and body were quick to follow, and suddenly I had a baby in my arms! After pushing out her little body, I had the most incredible feeling of relief and joy all at the same time. Such bliss! I asked the midwife what time it was, and she told me Cora was born at 1:16 am on the 1st. I was ecstatic!

I consider labor to have started at about 9pm, when the contractions started hurting a bit, and my water broke. Cora Delight was born at 1:16 am on November 1st, 2013! Just a little over 4 hours of 100% natural labor, and she was barely born on the day I wanted her so badly to be born on! It is just so fun for me to recall how badly I wanted her born that day, and that God blessed me with that incredible gift!

There it is, there is Cora's birth story. It couldn't have been any more perfect. Not to mention I felt incredible even the day after she was born. Praise God! We cannot wait to have another one some day. :)
A few minutes after birth
Snuggling in the tub together <3 i="" nbsp="">
 Daddy time while Mom rests