Rowen’s Birth story

We welcomed our beautiful baby girl, Rowen Kathryn Kirby on July 15th at 3:50pm! She was born 8 days early, weighing 6lbs 3oz and 18in. It’s hard to believe it’s already been a month since welcoming her into the world! We are adjusting to our new life as parents which has been challenging and exhausting but also so amazing!! I wanted to share her birth story while details are still relatively fresh in my mind. And just a warning that this post is a long one :)

My blood pressure had been borderline high since 36 weeks so my OB was monitoring it and talked about the possibility of inducing early as a precaution. It wasn’t until Friday July 12th that my doctor called and told me to come into the hospital on Sun July 14th to start the induction process with the Foley catheter, the official induction being Mon July 15th, one day prior to 39 weeks and 8 days prior to baby girl’s original due date of July 23rd.

We had a busy weekend as we hosted a ‘diaper party’ for my husband and his guy friends Saturday afternoon/evening. On Sunday, we cleaned and washed our bedding which I highly recommend, it so nice to come home from the hospital to a fresh bed and clean house. We went to the hospital at 2pm for the foley bulb catheter (this helps dilate the cervix). We were sent home for the evening with instructions to return the next morning to start the IV hormones. Once we knew the plan, my sister made arrangements to be home for the birth which was amazing as I really wanted her and my mom to be in the room along with my husband. I was told I would be really crampy due to the Foley catheter. The process of having it inserted wasn’t too bad, but they did a stretch and sweep at the same time which was not enjoyable but the discomfort subsided. We stopped and grabbed some frozen drinks as a treat on our way home and I started to feel increasingly uncomfortable. We planned to have a quiet evening at home with my mom and sister joining us, making a steak dinner, watching a movie and then hopefully getting some sleep. By the time we got home, the cramping was getting worse and I wasn’t sure if I was having contractions or not (pain was constant but also coming in waves if that makes sense). I actually started crying when my mom arrived because the pain was making me so nervous about what was in store for the next day and what actual labour pains would be like. I ended up getting nauseous and vomiting due to the pain and wasn’t able to eat dinner. Thankfully the cramping subsided a bit and I was able to go for a short walk around the block and then watch a movie. The catheter is meant to dilate the cervix to about 3-4cm and will come out on its own if it has been successful in dilating to this point. Thankfully it came out just before I went to bed so I was much more comfortable and actually managed to get a good nights sleep.

I woke up at 545am to get ready and have something to eat. My nurse recommended not eating anything too heavy for breakfast as a lot of women get sick during labour but it’s important to eat as it could be awhile before I would be able to. We also had to call the hospital to confirm if we could come in first thing. They gave us the go ahead to come so we grabbed our bags and the car seat, snuggled our pup and took one final picture as a family of 3.

Last bump photo

Last bump photo

Last photo as a family of 3

Last photo as a family of 3

My husband and I got settled in our room around 730am and my mom and sister were planning to come between 9-10am. I was 3cm dilated at this point and my OB broke my water. They decided not to start the IV oxytocin right away as someone else carme in in active labour so they needed to tend to her first.

Soon to be mom and dad

Soon to be mom and dad

Ready to get things started and no idea what to expect!

Ready to get things started and no idea what to expect!

Breaking my water actually got things started immediately and I didn’t end up needing the oxytocin as I was having contractions and a lot of pain as a result. We weren’t timing the contractions but I felt like they were on top of each other as I was not getting any relief in between. Similar to Sunday evening, I was again very nauseous and thought I might throw up. As things continued to progress, my nausea got worse and I began to vomit with each contraction. I had Intended to walk around during early labour but given the pain and nausea this was not an option. I would get freezing cold and start shaking so my husband would cover me in fuzzy blankets we brought from home. I would have a painful contraction followed by vomiting and then feel hot and sweaty so they would remove the blankets. And then it would start all over again.

Pre-epidural - not having very much fun!

Pre-epidural - not having very much fun!

My family was really helpful in reminding me to relax my body and breath through the contractions but this got more and more difficult. My doctor asked what I wanted to do in terms of pain management, I knew from the get go I wanted an epidural and requested it at this point as I didn’t think I could continue to manage the nausea and getting sick as things got more intense. The nurse told me my contractions still needed to get more powerful/productive and I was about 5cm dilated at this point so i knew things would get worse and I was already so mentally exhausted and discouraged from getting sick. They called the anesthesiologist and gave me the laughing gas while we waited. I HATED the gas as it didn’t provide any relief for the pain and intensified the nausea. The mask also limited my ability to take deep breaths which wasn’t helpful. Thankfully the doctor arrived fairly quickly, the worst part of the epidural process was having to sit up and lean over for it to be administered. I didn’t want anything touching my stomach or any pressure on it so this was uncomfortable. I had about 3 contractions (and vomiting) while sitting up waiting for the epidural. All I felt was the needle poke of the freezing and was relieved when they let me lay down again. Immediately I started to feel relief, I could still feel pressure but no pain and the nausea went away. Hallelujah!!

Waiting on the epidural- struggling to smile but knowing relief is on the way!!

Waiting on the epidural- struggling to smile but knowing relief is on the way!!

Post epidural - can breathe, talk and smile again!!! Best decision ever. I was so comfortable and relaxed for the remainder of my labour

Post epidural - can breathe, talk and smile again!!! Best decision ever. I was so comfortable and relaxed for the remainder of my labour

I got the epidural around noon and was 6cm dilated at this point. They told me they would check my cervix again at 230pm, not wanting to check sooner as they said it could be discouraging if I hadn’t progressed at all. It was like night and day after having the epidural, I was able to relax, talk to my family, enjoy listening to music and even had a nap! My sister had everyone guess how much I would be dilated before my nurse came back at 230pm. I was optimistic but still realistic only expecting to have progressed a cm or so. I was so shocked when my nurse said I was fully dilated!! They suggested waiting another hour to push given that I was comfortable, this way baby would continue to descend naturally and get into position before pushing. They suggested I have a nap which was impossible given the nerves and excitement of knowing baby girl was coming soon. I had made a labour playlist of all of my favourite slow/relaxing music that had been playing all day. The song “Lullaby” by Dixie Chicks played just prior to pushing which is such a beautiful song, a lullaby from a mama to their baby. I started crying as I sung the lyrics as it felt so meant to be. My sister had been snapping pictures the entire day and I asked that she continue during the birth to capture these amazing, intimate moments. She also had everyone guess what time baby would be born when we knew I would be pushing at 330pm. My sister guessed 3:40pm, my husband 3:45pm and my mom 3:50pm. I was much more conservative guessing 430pm or later. My nurse also suggested it could take anywhere from an hour to two and a half hours or more for a first time mom. At 3:30pm, my nurse had me prepped with my legs in stirrups and they gave me these grab bars to hold onto for leverage which were really helpful for pushing. The woman across the hall was also ready to push so my OB was back and forth between the two of us and the resident remained with me along with my nurse who had been amazing. Because I couldn’t feel much other than some pressure I didn’t know when I was having a contraction. She felt my stomach and told me when I was having one and when / how to push effectively. They said they could see the head almost immediately and my sister asked if we wanted to know what colour her hair was (which looked much darker than the colour it really is). My nurse and family were awesome, reminding me how to breath, to push and just providing general encouragement. My husband understandably wanted to stay near my head :) I honestly had no idea if what I was doing was accomplishing anything but according to my team, it was. After 20 minutes of pushing, our baby girl was born at 3:50pm — Welcome to the world Rowen Kathryn Kirby !!

Hello sweet girl!!

Hello sweet girl!!

“Hi Mama + Daddy”

“Hi Mama + Daddy”

public.jpeg
My moms reaction to finding out she guessed the right birth time - 3:50pm. Also, my husband staring at his baby girl :)

My moms reaction to finding out she guessed the right birth time - 3:50pm. Also, my husband staring at his baby girl :)

Tiny peanut, 6lbs 3oz 18in

Tiny peanut, 6lbs 3oz 18in

They immediately laid her on my chest, which was an absolutely surreal, overwhelming, and amazing experience!! She was crying, I was crying and when I started to talk to her she sort of stopped crying, opened her eyes and looked up at me like “hey Mama, I recognize that voice!” a moment I will never forget!! My husband cut the cord (despite some serious hesitation lol) and she and I did skin to skin while the placenta was delivered (honestly I didn’t even really notice what was going on as I was just focused on my baby). Everything was good with baby and I so the doctors and nurses, along with my sister and mom left the room. My husband and I spent the “golden hour” alone doing skin to skin with our fresh little babe and I nursed for the first time!

My favourite picture !!!!

My favourite picture !!!!

public.jpeg
public.jpeg

My sister and mom along with my in laws joined us afterwards for their first snuggles with baby Rowen! We snapped lots of pictures and popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate our girl’s birthday (and my first drink since last October :) ha!)

public.jpeg
CHEERS!!

CHEERS!!

My sister had to leave to get back to Toronto and my father in law stepped out to grab us a pizza for dinner since I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. My epidural had been taken out along with my catheter, but my legs were still very numb. The nurses wanted me to get up to pee but I didn’t feel like I could walk to the bathroom and thankfully I didn’t as I actually fainted when they tried transferring me to the commode. It was likely a combo of low blood sugar from not eating all day, low blood pressure from the epidural and some blood loss. Thankfully I came to quickly and while baby girl was napping on her grandma, I went ahead and slept too. Our families headed home and our nurse gave baby her first bath and then left us all to get some sleep. Our room was quite large with a couch/cot for my husband and a bassinet for babe. Our first night was pretty uneventful as was the following day. We just hung out watching Friends and enjoying newborn snuggles. We had a few visitors before being given the okay to go home at 5pm.

Little lady’s first outfit - newborn clothes are still pretty big on her!

Little lady’s first outfit - newborn clothes are still pretty big on her!

First time in her car seat. Cried a little at first and then fell asleep.

First time in her car seat. Cried a little at first and then fell asleep.

Let’s roll Daddio!

Let’s roll Daddio!

We were very eager to get home to our pup to introduce her to her sister!! Poppy has been so great, always wanting to be close to a Rowen and is concerned when she cries. She is so gentle and snuggly with her, it is adorable!!

Poppy - so happy to have us home !!

Poppy - so happy to have us home !!

Loves her baby sister !

Loves her baby sister !

We also couldn’t wait to have showers at home. I could have had one at the hospital and took all the necessities to do so but decided to wait until we were home. I overpacked my hospital bag big time! I had a few changes of clothes even though I only wore a nursing tank and robe while at hospital (as well as a hospital gown). I was happy to have brought slippers as well as a few of my own pillows and a comfy blanket. I wore a maxi dress home which was perfect. I was also happy to have brought a speaker for music which we had playing the entire time. A few other helpful items were extra long phone chargers, a tablet with some shows, good lip chap, dry shampoo, gum and hard candies to suck on when I couldn’t eat, some snacks like crackers, nuts and granola bars (mostly for family but I enjoyed the day after delivering), and Gatorade because hello breastfeeding thirst! We had our best friends who live on our street visit over to visit, enjoyed a glass of wine and spent our first sleepless night home as parents with our beautiful baby!

Life has been a bit of a blur since and I can’t get over how quickly time is passing already -although it doesn’t always feel this way during late night feedings and sleepless nights :) There have been hard days as we adjust but I remind myself that this newborn phase will pass quickly and soon I will look back and miss it! It’s a heck of an adventure and we are so happy to be on it together!!

public.jpeg

Jess xx

Baby K's Nursery

It’s pretty wild how quickly 9 months of pregnancy can pass by and all of a sudden we are at the end! I’ve been off work on vacation for two weeks before my maternity leave officially starts and am being induced on Monday so I figured it was time to share our little lady’s nursery before the chaos of newborn life takes over :) it’s actually been pretty well finished for quite awhile but became a bit of a dumping ground for miscellaneous baby items I didn’t want to have all over the house until closer to bringing her home. So now I have finally taken the time to write a post and take pictures to share with you :)

This has been my most favourite home project to date! Creating a space for our baby girl has been so amazing and was a team effort for my husband and I. There have been many projects around the house that I have tackled independently and only called on my husband for some help with heavy lifting or when I needed more than two hands. But this was an exception to that and I am so glad we worked on it together :)

The inspiration for the look and feel of the room obviously came from me. I knew I wanted it to be bright and fresh with a feminine feel. I chose Behr Illuminated for the walls which is a very soft, blush pink (I picked out the colour and had it colour matched at Lowe’s as they had a sale on their Valspar paint + primer).

public.jpeg

We chose to do a white board and batten accent wall. Originally I was looking into floral wallpaper but my husband nixed this idea early on and I am glad I agreed with him. He prepped the room by moving all of the furniture out, taking off the trim and tearing out the old, stained carpet. I filled holes, sanded and painted. And together we laid new laminate flooring. This was our first experience with laminate flooring and it was very easy to install and we are thrilled with the look of it! Also, it was only $0.99 a square foot, it doesn’t get much more affordable than that. It did require the use of underlayment which is the blue tarp looking stuff you see in the photo below. It comes in rolls and we laid it down and stapled down to secure and the floor is laid on top. Some laminate flooring come with an underlayment attached and some require this additional step. I love the colour of the flooring and how it coordinates with the white trim, board and batten and light pink walls. Once the flooring was done, he re-attached the trim and I touched up the paint.

public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg

I had researched a few different tutorials on DIY board and batten and my husband gathered the supplies. I painted half the wall white where the board and batten would be hung. Since our walls are flat, all it required was paint however if you have textured walls, you would likely want to add MDF boards along the entire wall to make the surface smooth but this wasn’t required for us. This was such an easy way to make a big impact in the room.

public.jpeg

The most challenging part (and it wasn’t actually hard) was determining the spacing of the battens. We hung the floor 1x4 board first *make sure to use a level in case your floors are not level. Then we hung the horizontal top 1x4 board at 4 feet from the floor so that we could get two 1x3 battens out of one 8ft board (a great suggestion by my handy husband) this was also a great way to save money on supplies. He did all the cutting of the MDF boards and we hung them together (although you could easily do on your own). We measured the spacing twice and using our level to ensure they were straight and attached to the wall using our brad nailer. We weren’t concerned with nailing them into the stud as they are not very thick boards and seems to be attached well to the drywall. You could attach to the stud or also use liquid nails but we didn’t think this was necessary. We also added the 1x2 hung on top of the horizontal batten to “finish” the look but again this is simply preference. Once everything was hung, I filled the nail holes and seams where the wood met and be another with wood filler. Once dry, I sanded these areas well and wiped everything down prior to painting. In some tutorials I have seen where people choose to use caulking along all of the seams between the boards and walls but I didn’t feel this was necessary. If there was any visible crack between the boards and wall, I used a bit of extra paint to camouflage it. I applied two coats of Valspar semi gloss ultra white. Again, such an easy way to add some interest to this wall and it only cost about $50 in supplies.

The MDF boards come primed white, this is after hanging and prior to painting to match the wall.

The MDF boards come primed white, this is after hanging and prior to painting to match the wall.

The finished product after the wall and boards were painted ultra white.

The finished product after the wall and boards were painted ultra white.

With my leftover white paint, I wanted to give the closet a fresh coat and decided to also add some interest to it. I grabbed some black paint I had on hand and painted some black dots/splotches. I absolutely love how this turned out and have had several people think that it is wall paper. Such an easy and fun detail!

public.jpeg
Will share the interior of the closet in the future once it’s organized and not full of our diaper stockpile

Will share the interior of the closet in the future once it’s organized and not full of our diaper stockpile

At this point, we were ready to buy and set up furniture and start decorating- the most fun part!!

public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg

All of our furniture and decor sources are listed below ; Crib- Walmart

pillow covers -Ikea

stuffed swan- Homesense

rug - Giant Tiger

light fixture - Structube

curtains - Ikea

curtain rod - Giant Tiger

bamboo blinds - Bouclair

bunny prints - Etsy + dollarama frames

white square frames - Dollarama + online prints

gold wire basket + blankets - baby shower gift

palm planet -grocery store

plant basket- Homesense

rocking chair - Structube

stool - Homesense

Black side table - Canadians tire

side lamp + shade - Walmart

gold circle mirrors - Walmart

macrame wall hanging - Homesense

bookshelves -Ikea photo mosslanda ledges

Misc books - baby shower gifts

canvas storage tote- Homesense

Hemnes dresser- Ikea

change pad - Skip Hop (shower gift)

White rustic mirror - Homesense

mosslanda picture ledges from Ikea

flamingo print - homesense

“&” print -Michael’s

Photo frames - homesense + baby shower gifts

gold desk lamp - Walmart

macrame rainbow - Ginger And Pine (Instagram giveaway)

grooming kit and sleepy time spray - Instagram giveaway

gold wire basket for diapers - dollarama

Glass mermaid tale - Dollar Tree

This room gets the best light in the morning and puts a smile on my face everytime I walk by. I have loved getting this space ready, adding little details, putting away tiny clothes and just sitting in the rocking chair anticipating the arrival of our little one, wondering what she will look like and imaging her little personality. It is so surreal how fast this pregnancy has gone and I don’t anticipate time slowing down once she is here! Now that I am off work, her room is finished, we have had showers, maternity photos and our bags are packed for the hospital, I am feeling so ready for our family of 3 to welcome it’s newest member (counting our pup, Poppy of course). Life is about to get a whole lot busier and I cannot wait! We are ready for you little one :)

maternity photos by Jenn Eggleston photography

public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg

-Jess xx

THIRD TRIMESTER update

Hello friends! As I approach 39 weeks I figured it was time to share my third trimester update. I did have a bit of a surprise at my 35 week appointment when my blood pressure was elevated so my OB has been keeping an eye on that with some additional monitoring and tests but everything has looked good for our baby girl. Despite that, my OB has decided to go ahead and induce me on a Monday at 39 weeks to be on the safe side. While it freaked me out when we started talking about induction at 36 weeks, now that I am just over a week away from my due date I am thrilled we are so close to meeting our babe and the fact that it’s scheduled is an added bonus! The planner in me is so happy to not have to deal with the anticipation of when will she come?!

My last day of work was June 27th so I have enjoyed a few weeks of vacation, summer weather and puttering away at the last few tasks on my to do list. It’s really interesting how pregnancy can seem so long and so short all at the same time! I have to admit I am feeling the timing is pretty perfect and that we are as ready as we can be to bring our girl home !! (Remind me that I said this in a few weeks :) )

How far along: 39 weeks

Gender: GIRL !!

Weight gain: 24lbs

Maternity clothes: Loving maxi dresses! I purchased a few non maternity dresses in a size up which have worked perfectly. I’m also getting lots of use out of a maxi dress and skirt from last summer as well as a few cotton dresses. Still rocking my maternity tights with a tank or tee a lot of the time. I have pretty much dropped the maternity jeans due to the heat and wishing I snagged a pair of maternity shorts but I’m too close to the end to get them now :)

Sleep: Sleeping better now that I am off work and not worried about getting up for an alarm. I am still up a few times a night for the bathroom (which I am so accustomed to it’s hard to imagine sleeping through the night) and sometimes have an hour awake period around 2-3am. I’ve also started laying down for 30mins to an hour in the afternoon since being off. Taking advantage of getting good sleep now!! I’ve also ditched my pregnancy pillow now that I’m bigger as I found it restricted my movement too much and made getting in and out of bed even harder. Back to a pillow between my legs and side sleeping.

Best moment so far: 36 week ultrasound, it had been so long since our last ultrasound at 20 weeks. So much has changed and I had tears in my eyes thinking how close we are to seeing her squishy face and holding her! It was amazing the detail we could see in her face and the tech said she has mama’s nose and lips and a good amount of hair! I can’t wait to see what she looks like and what colour her hair is.

public.jpeg

Miss anything: I can confidently say I have had a great pregnancy and have not really struggled with missing things but now being so close to the end, I know I won’t miss the restrictions that come with pregnancy. Not having a glass of wine or 2nd cup of coffee, avoiding certain foods, always having to pee, feeling short of breath, limited clothing options, heartburn, swelling, etc. That being said, I have loved having a bump, feel adorable wearing cute clothes that show it off and more confident in a bikini than before. I will miss definitely miss that! I will also miss how accommodating everyone is to a pregnant lady! and this pregnant lady is very excited to enjoy a cocktail soon!!

Movement: baby girl is pretty chill for the most part but she definitely lets me know she’s there and is starting to run out of room. I can feel her up under my ribs especially towards the end of the day or after a big meal. She’s more of a mover and wiggler than kicker so I often feel her back and bum when she’s stretching out and changing positions. It’s been so hard to capture on video. She also gets hiccups pretty often which is a bizarre feeling. I’ve also started experiencing “lightening crotch” which takes me by surprise and usually causes me to shout out in pain but thankfully it’s just the brief jolt of pain and hopefully means she’s getting into position for her grand entrance into the world :)

Cravings: still loving ice cream at night or some sort of sweet treat! Loving fresh summer fruits like peaches and watermelon and foods with lots of texture and crunch. I have felt like my appetite has decreased a bit lately likely due to baby taking up more room so I feel pretty uncomfortable if I eat too much.

Food aversions; still eggs- I don’t mind hard boiled or egg salad.

Queasy or sick:  Occasional heartburn that is pretty easily managed. Again, I have been SO fortunate to have had a very smooth and enjoyable pregnancy! I am definitely slowing down and trying to relax more with my feet up as I can tell when I have overdone it. Also given that my BP has been elevated, I am trying to avoid anything too strenuous but still being active as I get stuff/sore when I’m not. Love going for walks and just getting things done around the yard and house feels productive physically and mentally.

Looking forward to: meeting our baby girl, seeing what she looks like, knowing what labour is really like, being a mama, bringing our babe home, and the list goes on!! Can’t believe we are so so close!!!!! AAAAHHHH so excited :)

maternity photos by Jenn Eggleston photography

public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg

-Jess, xx