If you are like me, you have a closet full of clothes, but still feel like you can never find anything to wear. So, I typically end up wearing the same assortment of clothes over and over again. It must be comfortable and allow me to move easy as I play with the boys. Khaki shorts, I love you. You really go with everything. V-Neck Ts, you come in so many colors and so does your distant cousin the cotton tank-top. And, to prove I haven’t totally given up on being hip, I love you light-wash ripped jeans. You are like wearing shorts because you have holes that keep me cool, even in the summer.
Dressing for work has been simplified to dresses and skirts only. I never plan on wearing dress pants every again. And capris, no thank you. I love a fitted sleeveless sheath dress like no other. And, as for sleeves, well, that’s what sweaters are for. Sleeves in Florida are reserved for about three months out of the year. Sleeveless tops can be worn year round with the right cardigan.
When it comes to the more formal occasion, like a wedding, I can’t say that my style varies much from my daily staples. One factor that all of these clothes have in common: I can nurse in them. That’s right folks, I am in the phase a life that not only calls for comfort and agility, but also access to my bust so I can feed the little one. Going strong since 2014 (!).
I longingly look at high neck lines and zipper-less sheaths, but sadly turn away as I know there is no appropriate access to the milk. Someday those pretty things won’t be so far from my grasp. For now I need a low front, but not too low, I’m a mom after all. Or a strap that I can easily slide off my shoulder so I can nurse. I have become quite the pro at zipping and up-zipping dresses with zippers in the back, so that I can shimmy one shoulder out for access to a quick snack.
With my ultra unique clothing requirements, I am quite the picky shopper. I am extremely selective about what items I even attempt to try on because there is a finite amount of time that I can force my babe to hang out in a fitting room. I often play roulette and just purchase clothing without trying it on. Thank goodness for returns. That is IF I manage to remember to return said items and not lose the receipt.
Naturally, Target is my Mecca. If it cannot be bought at Target, then I most certainly do not need it. End of Story. But, I do find that wedding attire is not easy to find there. Sigh. This means more stops with the kiddo in tow.
Sometimes I try on clothes that I know scream 80 year old woman, but my kid has to eat and I am getting desperate since the wedding is on Saturday. I try on this off the shoulder number, who do I think I am? These are pretty trendy now, right? But, wait! It actually looks decent and this may be the easiest access for nursing ever! Clearly the stars have aligned and my prayers have been answered! Now, if I can just get both of my sisters to respond to my text with their stamp of approval. Let’s be real, I’d probably just give up and wear my ripped jeans with wedges if that wasn’t totally unacceptable.
It can’t just be me, right? Even non-nursing moms (and non-moms) must have their “things” when it comes to choosing clothes. And, what’s with the added pressure of a timeline that always makes it impossible to find an acceptable option? I can’t be the only one, right?
Oh, well. Both sisters give the thumbs up! I don’t care how much this dress is, I’ll take it! And, I have a 20% off coupon! Winning!
After nine months of growing little LBD 2, I was ready to meet our little one. I was happy to hear that I was dilating and effacing, but then again, since it was my second child, I guess that is to be expected. This time around my back was killing me and I was way more uncomfortable than I had been previously. We went in for a doctor appointment a few days before my due date as my final check up. My doctor said that things were progressing and I should expect a much quicker birth experience. We told him that we would have a 30 minute drive to the hospital. And he said that would be too much. And, like that he scheduled my induction for Friday, March 11th!
Finally knowing when this baby would arrive gave us a huge sense of relief. There was always a chance that the baby could decide to arrive on his or her own, but we were focused on the 11th. We frantically finished last minute projects and I cleaned the house like a madwoman. We finished just in time to celebrate Doug’s birthday and my due date! We had a gathering at Top Golf with friends a week before. For Doug’s actual birthday, we decided to enjoy one last family dinner. The Cottones and my sisters came over to play a game of Catan.
In a horrible turn of events, I dropped my phone and the screen was blank. Nothing was cracked. It just didn’t show anything. This became a difficult issue since it was about 7pm and I really couldn’t be without a phone the next day and I was having a baby the following day! Leah and I went to the mall to have some guy at a kiosk fix it but then he camera wasn’t working…and who wants a phone without a camera?!? Especially when I was about to have a new baby to take pictures of?
The next day, I basically spent a few hours running errands and getting my phone fixed for real. It was way too much to worry about when I had to get ready to have a baby. But, all is well that ends well. I got to spend lots of quality time with my little guy, who had been fighting off a bug for a week. He kept getting a random fever and I was hoping that he would be healthy in time for his sibling to arrive.
The timing of my delivery was perfect because Rachel was home for spring break. She was my on-call person if I happened to go into labor and needed someone to watch D. She came over that night and we had dinner and got ready for the big day. It was hard to believe that we would be meeting our little one so soon.
One of the many perks of being induced is that you have time to shower and do you hair and make up before heading to the hospital. We arrived at St. Joes around 6am. After the usual questions and medical history review I was hooked up and ready to go. I assumed that it would be the same as before when they used Cervadil, but this time they used Pitocin. I was dreading this because of the horror stories I had heard about how intense this drug made your contractions. I had heard that they could make your contractions really close together and very strong.
My doctor came in around 7am and said he was going to break my water. This was also new since my water wasn’t broken until the very end last time. It was the weirdest feeling. Just like a warm gush of water. And every so often, more would leak out. Especially during contractions. It was so strange because it literally felt like I was peeing or something because water just kept on coming out. How much water was in there?
So Doug and I were just hanging out. I started getting contractions and we would watch them spike on the machines and the go down. We played Phase 10 again. I was feeling lots of contractions as we played so I was a bit distracted and yet, I still won! My nurse kept checking on me and would turn up the pitocin each time, which was both horrible and wonderful. I was progressing more and more.
Since they had broken my water, they did not want to check to my progress too often since I would be more susceptible to infection. Last time I got updated often so I knew how far along I was. The contractions weren’t great but I was able to breath through them and I wasn’t in too much pain. I didn’t want to get the epidural to early since I knew it could slow my contractions and stall the process. My nurse was really sweet and kept saying that she would know that I was ready for pain meds when I couldn’t joke around any more. I like to keep things light when I’m stressed and I guess I never really got to a point of sheer horrible pain. Finally, I was ready for the epidural. Thankfully, there wasn’t a long wait for the anesthesiologist. The epidural wasn’t bad at all and I was happy that I would be able to feel some relief soon….or so I thought!
As the team was leaving the room, a nurse asked me if I felt any pressure yet. Literally as she said that I felt a huge surge of pressure. It caught me off guard and she checked my progress. I was 10 cm and ready to go. I suddenly had the urge to push. She told me this baby was coming and to not push and she ran out to get the doctor. Doug and I both were both looking at each other in shock that it had all happened so quick. I immediately started pushing the button for my epidural meds because I could still feel everything. Apparently, it takes a bit for the epidural to kick in. I was not ready to have a natural childbirth!
Quickly the doors burst open and the whole medical crew rushed in. They set up all of their surgical paper and wheeled in all of the instruments. It is amazing how fast they all arrive and your empty room becomes instantly packed in a matter of seconds. My doctor came in smiling and said that he knew I would have this baby quickly.
Meanwhile, I was freaking out. I was not ready to have this baby. It had only been a few hours. And, my epidural was doing nothing! I looked at Doug and told him I could not do this. I mean, what were my options? Couldn’t this all just wait for a few more minutes? It was all happening so fast My doctor asked if I had ever been skiing. Maybe he was trying to lighten the mood. He told me this baby was coming now and to start pushing.
The pushing was harder than I remembered but I wasn’t pushing long. After 8 pushes, Camdon Richard DeGroot was born at 10:43am! That’s less than 5 hours of labor! They handed him to me and he was all slimy but I was happy to hold my sweet boy for the first time.
Thankfully, my epidural kicked in just enough to not feel a thing. Camdon was 8 pounds 4 ounces and 21 inches long. The nurse who was taking his vitals said that he was really strong for a newborn. We enjoyed a bit of time nursing and holding our new little guy. It is so unbelievable how tiny and perfect new babies are. Soon we headed off to our hospital room.
That afternoon my Mom and Dad arrived. Rachel and D came after nap. It was such a special moment introducing D to his new brother. I think he was more excited about the special gifts he got for becoming a big brother. Leah, John, and the Motleys all arrived to welcome Camdon to the world.
We left the hospital at about 10pm Saturday night. We were not interested in hanging out any longer than we had to. We wanted to get back to be with D and so that we could actually sleep without being woken up for vitals every hour. When we got home, it was decorated by my family. And our fridge was stocked with lots of frozen meals!
We felt so much more confident in our abilities as parent this time and we were happy to be home with our healthy baby boy.
Today our country has a new president. Every four or eight years a new one takes over the leadership of our country. This year, Donald Trump is our new president and this is the first time you have witnessed this peaceful transfer of power. While you might not be old enough to remember all that has occurred in electing Mr. Trump, I do want you to learn a few life lessons from this historic day.
Some people are celebrating today, while others are in mourning. Some people are excited and happy, while others are fearful and scared. People will always have different feelings. People will always disagree. No event will ever elicit the same response from all people. And that is ok. People are different. And, that is was makes life special. Your feelings are always ok because they are your own. Learning to accept and respect people who feel differently than you is a hard and, sometimes, frustrating thing to do. You must always try. People deserve respect even when they do not show you the same.
People will always have different opinions. As you form your own opinions, know that disagreement is natural. When you meet people with an open mind and listening ears, you will learn. When you listen with empathy and speak with respect, you will gain more understanding and you will grow. When you hear without listening or speak in a combative nature, you will shut down the opportunity to grow and will only become more rigid in your opinion, as right or wrong as it may be. I encourage you to always seek to learn and grow and pay close attention to the credibility of those sources.
It would be simple if life was reduced to a binary. Right or wrong and good or bad are not that simple. As you grow, I hope that we can teach you values and morals that will guide you to follow what we believe to be true. But, never be foolish enough to think that your view of ‘right’ is true for every person.
We hope that you learn you treat others with kindness. In both your words and your actions. As a Christian, you will be asked to love your neighbor, which will be a challenging task sometimes. People will not always be nice or respectful or kind to you. Even when you meet them with nothing but kindness. You will be asked to love them anyway. Not only will we encourage you to love them, we will teach you to show them kindness in return. That is called integrity and class.
Losing will be part of life. It isn’t fun. Sometimes it will really hurt. Disappointment is not fun. Even when you work your hardest, you may still lose. Winning is not everything. When you lose you are forced to look at what you did and find ways to improve. It gives you motivation and it reminds you that winning is not always the outcome. When you do lose, even when it makes you mad, you must be a good sport. You must show kindness to those who beat you. You must not blame others and you must learn from the moment and work towards the future you want.
My boys, you are privileged. You did not chose your race or your sex or the family that you have been born into. You will receive advantages based on these characteristics. Whether it is the way you will be treated or the opportunities that you may have or the situations that you will never have to question. And, although you did not ask to be treated any different, you must always remember that you are. This might make you feel bad or guilty. Those feelings are ok. What you must remember is that “to whom much is given, much will be required.” You do not need to feel guilty but you do need to feel compassion and empathy for others. You should speak up for others and you should be thoughtful in your words and actions. And, if you feel called to do more, you should work to dismantle the systems and the prejudice that exists in our society and work to create a better tomorrow. If that work isn’t what you desire, then at the very least, do not reinforce or condone actions that hurt or marginalize others.
Finally, my sweet boys, I pray that you always find hope. The future is what you make it. You have control of your life through your choices and your actions. Never let factors outside of yourself cause you to feel like you are not in control. You are not a victim of anything. Being a victim is a choice. You always have a choice. Systems and situations seems so much bigger than us. And, they are big and complicated. Always remember that what you focus on expands and when you dwell in the darkness it becomes harder to see the light.
Donald Trump is our president, imperfect and flawed, just like each of us. His choices and actions may not represent the values or expectations that we have for you. Being a leader is a hard job. Some people are more natural in these roles than others. Some people inspire others and encourage them through their actions and words. Pay attention to how Mr. Trump behaves and speaks. Make note of how he makes you and others feel. Learn from his example. And, remember, as the president he deserves our respect. As a person he deserves our love. But, as a model of who I hope you will become, he is not. Learn from this loss. Find hope for tomorrow. And, never allow hate to motivate your life.
We love you, sweet boys. We pray for you to grow up to be men of character, living lives filled with purpose and love. We pray for our leader because all leaders need guidance and support.
I had written this right before Camdon was born. So, I’m going to leave it the way I wrote it, even though the tenses will be wrong. It is so fun to look back and read this now!
Get ready for the birth story! Coming up next!
The third trimester total caught me off guard. Pregnancy seems to go on forever and each week I have felt that I still have more time to wait until the baby arrives. I have felt less anxious and concerned about getting things finished, that is, until the very end. I think we might have underestimated the number of projects that we wanted to complete before the baby arrived. Of course, if anything was left unfinished, we could finish it later, but then we would be contending with two children instead of one. And one of those children will be very demanding for a while.
I had painted the soon-to-be-nursery over the summer, not too long after we found out that we were pregnant. In January, I got the idea that our beige master bedroom was too dull and needed to be repainted. So, I painted it a light blue and we rearranged the bedroom, which was Doug’s idea. I was pretty against it, but it did end up opening the space and made it feel bigger. The painting process required more coats than I expected because the beige was darker than I thought so we basically had to do the trim and walls three times. It was a project that I thought could be accomplished in a weekend and dragged out to a full week. But, it was so worth it in the end!
The biggest project was relocating Doug’s office to the space in our garage and relocating his tools and outdoor equipment to a shed. We explored shed options and even though Doug is pretty handy, we didn’t want the stress and the time commitment of building it on our own. We opted for a pre-made shed from a local company. Once we got it delivered, Doug then needed to build shelves inside and reorganize the garage. Thankfully, my Dad was able to help with the building and they got it done in one day. Sorting and moving and reorganizing the garage took a little bit longer, but it felt good to get it done and we are enjoying the additional space!
Doug’s office was the next space to tackle. Once it was emptied it had to be painted. We went with Red and gray to set a Keller Williams vibe. At 38 weeks pregnant, I was out there with Doug painting and getting that room finished. Oh, and we decided to make my Dad a cornhole set for his birthday, so that project took over our garage for about a week. And, if you decide to make one set, you might as well make one for yourself, too. Right?
Having the nursery cleared out we had to decide what to do about furniture. We had finally found a sleep training system that was working for us and D, which was really awesome as we all were getting more sleep. But, we should have done this sooner than we did. We also didn’t feel right about taking away D’s crib after he was finally sleeping so well. Plus, I’ve heard from many people that you want your child contained in a crib as long as they will stay in it. So, we bought another crib. I even assembled it myself! I reorganized D’s room and moved over a bunch of items that he didn’t need in his room anymore. It is nice that now he has room for more toys, which frees up our living room from a ton of clutter. Having the nursery set has been a huge relief. Although, I really liked not having to do this at all last time.
And then there are all of these little projects that you want to accomplish…crafts, decorations, fixing things that haven’t been working, making spaces more functional, moving clutter around. We have done some serious reorganizing in preparation for this baby to arrive. I feels so good to cross those things off of our list. Any it makes us realize that we have so much “stuff” and that we need do this more regularly so it doesn’t become such a long list…easier said than done 🙂
How are you feeling?
Overall, I have felt pretty well this whole pregnancy. I am certainly more tired as the end approaches. As I mentioned before, this baby is carrying much lower than D did. As I approach my due date, I am becoming more miserable. D was induced a week after my due date. I wasn’t have any contractions and I wasn’t dilating or effacing. So, while I was “over it”, physically, it wasn’t bad at all. This time around I am and it feels awful. The only plus is that this baby is lower than D so I’m not getting kicked in the ribs at all hours. But, it is leading to lots of lower back pain.
I am far less annoyed and crabby this time around. I think I have mentally prepared myself to accept the fact that I will go late and there isn’t much that I can do about it. Plus, this is extra time to get projects done and enjoy time with Doug and D as a family of three.
I had such a hard time getting started with Donovan and I worked so hard to keep with breastfeeding. I loved the bond it allowed for Donovan and I and I decided to let him wean when he was ready. Being pregnant wasn’t go to stop or change anything for me. At some point in November it just become really uncomfortable and I was always annoyed that he needed me all the time. It was hard for me to end our breastfeeding relationship, but it was nice to finally enjoy a bit of freedom from it. I am happy to have given him 21 months of milk and to see him become a little more independent. I hated that it had to be imposed on him instead of him choosing to wean, but breastfeeding a toddler is pretty minimal anyway. He only got a little milk each time and it was really more for comfort. We still snuggle all the time and he knows that I’m still there for him.
Does D know what is about to happen?
Donovan notices my belly more but that doesn’t keep him from climbing all over me. He will put his ear on my belly and say that the baby is sleeping. Recently, we have been watching Daniel Tiger on PBS and in a few of the more recent episodes Daniel’s mommy has a baby girl. It was pretty cute talking about it with him and it seems to be the thing that has made the most sense to him. The following episodes have addressed how life changes with a baby. We might need to rewatch them later.
Last minute predictions
I still think girl. Doug still thinks boy. We are getting so close to finding out!! It was fun seeing the predictions on the baby bookie. It looks like the votes are pretty even for boy and girl.
Sorry, folks! We loved waiting for the big surprise to be revealed at the delivery, so you will have to stay tuned until March.
How we found out:
Since Doug and I were trying to get pregnant, I was completely aware of every change that occurred in my body. Since I was pregnant before, I was absolutely positive that I knew I was pregnant. I think I surprised Doug with my certainty.
When you are trying to get pregnant, any time spent waiting is miserable. You just want to know if you are pregnant or not. Given my certainty, I opted to try the early detection pregnancy tests. I took the first test on June 28th and it was negative. Since I knew it was really early, and I was sure that I was in fact pregnant, I didn’t really think much of it.
On June 30th, as Doug was getting ready for a trip to Wisconsin, I took another early test. This one had a faint line. I began googling and reading discussion boards to see if I could take this as a good sign or if I had to wait longer. We decided to be cautiously optimistic, yet celebrate that we had a new baby on the way.
On July 3rd as Doug returned, I took one more test. This one had a full dark line, so we felt more confident in our exciting news.
Jenna-I knew I was right!
Doug-Yay! LBD 2!
Donovan-Has no clue what is going on 🙂
Keeping the secret and Sharing the news:
This time around, we didn’t feel any rush to share our secret with anyone. After having one child, you suddenly become a target for questions about when you will have the next one. People observe when you drink and when you don’t and how you act or if you seem tired or sick. It seemed that everyone was just looking for clues that I could be pregnant. It was was a little bit obnoxious, so I felt more justified in holding on to the news a little longer.
We told my family first because they would be the most likely to figure out that I was pregnant. While we were at Anna Maria Island, we had Donovan wear his “Big Brother” shirt and wait for my parents and sisters to notice. They were all excited about the news and all admitted that they were suspicious that something was going on.
We shared the news with Doug’s family via FaceTime in a similar fashion. Adam and Kristin took the longest to notice the shirt, but to be fair, they were also taking care of their new son, Simon.
Once our family knew, we started making calls to friends. It was a great reason to catch up with people when you have exciting news to share.
We shared our big news with most of our family and friends at my parents Labor Day party. We had taken a few pictures of Donovan and put them up on the TV.
Our Facebook announcement came the following weekend.
How I was feeling:
This time around the morning sickness was way worse. I needed to eat as soon as I woke up and I always felt as if I could throw up at any moment. I only wanted to eat carbs. Frozen food was the only way that I could satisfy my urgency to eat immediately. Snacking was critical to not feeling too sick all the time. And, dinners, well, let’s just say that there was a lot of eating out and frozen meals. I just could not bring myself to cook because then I would want nothing to do with what I had made. I also adopted what I like to call, fourth meal. As if the snacks didn’t add up to additional meals, this meal came after dinner. If I missed fourth meal, then the night and the morning were extra nauseating.
No one warns you that having a toddler is a lot of work. It is wonderful, and exhausting on a typical day. Add in being pregnant and you reach a whole new level of fatigue. This time around, I did not have the luxury of laying on my couch while watching mindless TV. I still had to take care of my little guy who needed my attention and wanted me to play. The silver lining was nap time. I greatly appreciated snuggling with Donovan and taking long naps together. The only problem was that I could have taken at least two more naps a day, but he wasn’t interested.
The first few appointments are so exciting as you get that final confirmation that you are pregnant. My new doctor does more ultrasounds that my doctor in North Carolina. So, we could see our little one growing.
Soon the excitement wears off a bit as I remembered how many doctors appointments there are and how much waiting you do for quick check ups. And, I hate having my blood taken, even though I have gotten better. It seems that your blood is needed way more frequently at the beginning to make sure that you and the baby are healthy.
First pregnancy and second pregnancy comparisons:
As I mentioned before, I completely underestimated how much work it would be taking care of Donovan and being pregnant. I tried so hard to be fun and playful, but there were days that I was just not on my parenting game. I had to cut myself some slack and realize that I could get through this and I would feel better one day!
There was certainly less anxiety with this pregnancy than the first. Since I had been through it all before, I knew what was coming next. I didn’t need to read “What to Expect When You are Expecting” and I didn’t need to google every symptom. I still had the first trimester worry that the baby would be health and that we would make it to the second trimester successfully, yet it wasn’t at the front of my mind because I was busy with LBD 1.
It is amazing how quickly you forget the misery of the first trimester when you decide to have a second child. Since I felt worse this time, I found myself wondering how I forgot about this from before. As a parent you learn to not wish time away because your child grows so quickly. I felt a simultaneous urge to hope that I would feel better as soon as the second trimester began.
Doug and I did not anticipate to get pregnant so quickly. We expected a few months of trying before we would have our intended outcome. We are so thankful that we were blessed with such an smooth process. The timing will put Donovan and the new baby at exactly two years apart. I guess March was meant to be birthday month for the DeGroots 🙂
As I mentioned before, Doug and I were not in a rush to share our news. It wasn’t that we were not excited, but more that maybe we were not ready to admit how much our lives were about to change. We wanted to continue to enjoy our lives as our little family of three and not get too wrapped up in what was to come. We knew there would be plenty of time for preparations once I started to feel better 🙂
I did start to wonder how I could love a child any more than I love Donovan. I know that my love for him completely caught me off guard so I assume that the new love for LBD 2 will do the same. But, I do worry about comparing the two. What if I do love Donovan more? And, how do parents of multiple children give their children all the love that they need? It was easy with Donovan because he was the only one. He has always been the focus and has received my full attention. How do second children even come close to experiencing what the first received from their parents? I’m sure that instead of dividing your love for two children, it will just grow. For now, we are enjoying each day before everything changes in March 🙂
As you can see from the pictures below, this time around I opted to take my “bump” picture in whatever I was wearing that day, instead of wearing the same thing. I also have a new little buddy joining me in each picture. Stella voted to sit these weekly pictures out. And, let me tell you, Stella was a much easier customer than Donovan. It is fun to look back and see how Donovan has changed over the past few months.
When I found out that I was pregnant, I said that I would start a blog. I thought it would be a great way to keep all of our friends and family up-to-date. And, I like to write, so why not?
Well, that didn’t happen. Understandably, the idea got lost in the excitement and preparation for LBD to arrive. Now that Donovan is here, I cannot believe how quickly he is growing and changing. Every day I notice how he is learning and growing. So, it is time to get serious about sharing our special moments with you, our friends and family.
When we were choosing a title for the blog, which is shared by me and Doug, we wanted to find something simple. And, being the music lovers that we are, we chose a classic from the Beatles to capture our simple sentiment.
We hope that you will enjoy our photos, updates, and stories.