Wednesday, February 19, 2020

10 Must Have Baby Essentials (My tried and true favorites)

Even though this isn't my first re-do with a newborn, it definitely feels like it is in many ways! Especially when it comes to baby products!  I can't believe how many new products are out there, and being that it has been almost eights years (along with the fact that we didn't keep anything), I've had my research cut out for me.  And while I have ordered a few things I haven't loved, there have been many items that I have to wonder how I lived without for our first two. 

While there are definitely more than 10 baby items I'm loving this go round, these are my top 10 and ones that I know most new mamas will love as well.  I feel like I could write a separate post on products that have helped baby Reese with her reflux, fussiness, and gas so I would love to know if you guys would be in interested.  Let me know in the comments if you would, and I'll be sure to share what has helped us so far.  I would also love to hear from any of you that have also dealt with reflux, and if you have any must have items or medications that worked. 

These are by far my favorite sleepers!  They are warm and cozy, the price is great, and I love the solid colors along with the patterns that they come in.  Plus, you can't beat the price! 

This little bouncer has been my saving grace when I need to hop in the shower, cook dinner, or help Carson and Taylor with something.  Being that Reese has reflux, most of the time she's crying if I'm not holding her, rocking her, or nursing her, but this little vibrating bouncer seems to help soothe her tummy and keep her happy when she's not in my arms. 

I love this diaper pail so much more than the diaper genie.  For one, it looks, two it's cheaper and so are the refills, and doesn't smell at all! 

I have used Dr. Brown bottles with all of my babies, and while Reese has only taken a pumped bottle a few times, these seem to be her favorite.  Plus, I know from experience in the past that they are hands down the best for reflux and gassy babies! 

I can't say enough wonderful things about this travel system!  My favorite part is that the stroller can also be transformed into a bassinet, so it's perfect for travel and for your infant to be able to lay flat and sleep.  It reminds me a lot of the Bugaboo, but for a fraction of the cost! 

Being that Reese is still in our bedroom, this diaper caddy has been perfect!  We use it to hold her diapers and wipes along other small things like her pacis and diaper rash cream.  Plus, I love the sweet white rope design and the fact that the liner is adjustable!  I also linked up our favorites above, as far as the diapers, pacis, etc. that we also love.

Wi-Fi Baby Monitor Camera with Sound and Movement Detecting

This past weekend, we started putting Reese in her crib for naps so we finally got the chance to try out her new baby monitor and we LOVE it!  The picture and sound are both super clear! 

This is what Reese sleeps in at night and some during the day!  Not only is it a really pretty moses basket, it's a great size and I love that it's so portable.  She is actually napping in it beside me in my office as I type this!  Also, this is the stand I have for it and it fits perfect! 

We had this exact tub in blue for Carson and we loved it!  So when I found it in pink online, I snagged it up and baby Reese has loved her baths in it. 

Even if you don't have babies, I highly recommend this sound machine.  Todd and I both said that when Reese starts sleeping in her crib upstairs, we are ordering one of these for our room...ha!  It plays the most soothing sounds and has helped me fall back to sleep in between those every two-three hour feedings :) 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Winter / Early Spring Amazon Haul - Under $40

Happy Monday! 

First off, thank you all so much for the kind comments and messages about the birth of our sweet Reese.  You have no idea how much those meant to me, and when we finally start to get some sleep around here, I plan to write each and everyone of you back! 

I am so excited to back with my first post-baby amazon haul for you guys!  Today's round is all dresses, but I have a few more things coming in that I'll be adding to this post throughout the month that will include tops and jeans as well.  Also, make sure you guys check out my stories on Instagram today because I'll be sharing all of these dresses live and showing them in more detail! 

This is the dress I wore on Valentine's!  The fit and fabric are both so good, and you can't beat the $25 price tag!  It runs tts and I'm wearing a small.  I wore it with this nursing bra and the wrap front was perfect for nursing. 

This is probably one of the most comfortable dresses I've ever put on.  The fabric is so soft and the fit is super flatting to all body types.  It runs tts and I'm wearing a small.  The price is $27.99 and it ships free in one day on Prime!  

Wrap Knit Sweater Dress // Suede Mule Pump (on major sale) 

The reviews on this sweater dress do not's truly an amazing find.  It looks and feels much more expensive than it is and I love that it comes in so many colors.  The price is $35.99 and it runs tts.  I'm wearing a small. 

Okay, this photo does not do this dress justice at all!!  It's so stunning in person, and the material is so thick and nice.  I am also sharing it below in another color since black is so hard to photograph. The price is $37.99.  I'm wearing a small and it runs tts. 

This dress is another one that looks SO much better in person, plus, I know it would look even better with a tan.  It comes fully lined and the colors / pattern are so pretty.  The price is $26.99 and runs tts. For reference, I'm wearing a small. 

Last, but not least, you need to check out this color block midi dress!  This dress is probably my favorite out of all of them.  It's fully lined, comes in several different colors, and is only $21.99!  As far as sizing goes, it runs a little big, but the fit is supposed to be lose.  For reference, I'm wearing a small. 

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Birth Story of Reese Milly Hewitt

Reese Milly Hewitt

Born on January 24, 2020 
at 5:23 in the morning 
8 lbs, 2 ounces, and 20 inches long 

Our sweet Reese entered this world unlike anything I had ever imagined and definitely not the way I had planned.  It was truly the most terrifying experience of my life and Todd would agree that it was also the scariest experience of his life.  Now that we are both home and healthy, I am able to not only talk about it, but also realize that the whole experience was a huge blessing and that we were right where we were supposed to be the entire time. 

Let's rewind to ten months ago when Todd and I found out I was pregnant.  Initially, I started out seeing my regular OBGYN, whom I absolutely LOVE!  She was there with me holding my hand through all the complications with Carson, and in the end, we had to deliver him via c-section (his birth story is in another blogpost).  Either way, she was amazing, and I felt that I was in great hands the entire time.  

Later, when I got pregnant with Taylor, I decided to schedule another c-section.  At that point in my life, it just seemed like the right thing, and if I'm being honest, what I thought was the easiest thing to do.  Not to mention, I had done zero research on a vbac, and it just wasn't something that I thought was possible. At that point in my life, trying and having the possibility of failing wasn't something I was willing to gamble on, so another scheduled c-section is what I chose to do.  

I have to say, recovery from both c-sections wasn't easy.  My mom came down for a few days, but other than that, I didn't have any extra help with either one.  I struggled a lot in the beginning with both Carson and Taylor and the struggle was both mental and physical.  At the time, I just told myself that having babies with severe reflux while recovering from a c-section wasn't easy (which I still stand by), but I know now my mental state played a much bigger role than I realized in my struggle with healing and my postpartum depression. 

All of that to say, this time around I felt different about things.  Let's face it, being pregnant ten years after your first born gives you a lot of time to reflect, grow, and it gave me time to heal.  So, after I was about three months along, I asked my doctor what her thoughts were on me being able to deliver this baby vaginally.  

After taking a look at my past medical history, both pregnancies, and calculating my TOLAC score, she thought it was a great idea for me try.  Being that I had two prior c-sections, she informed me that MUSC was the only hospital that would allow me to try and give birth this way.  The reason for this is because MUSC is equipped to handle any emergency that may arise with me or the baby.  So with that said, I switched over to MUSC where I met a variety of new doctors pretty much every visit. 

From this point on the pregnancy was going great, baby Reese stayed in the perfect position, and I felt comfortable with every doctor that I met.  And I mentioned earlier that I know now that it was meant for me to be at MUSC (keep in mind they have a trauma team and a NICU team), so now I'll tell the story and how tragic things could have been had we not been there. 

Here's the story from the time I was induced all the way to through the thirty hours of labor and then the emergency c-section. On Wednesday, January the 22nd, Todd and I had planned to check into MUSC for a scheduled labor induction at 8pm.  The original plan was since I was 40 weeks along, almost 100% effaced, and only half a centimeter dilated they would admit me and insert a foley bulb to help my dilation progress.

That being said, the original time got changed when I got a call around 6pm from MUSC saying that the labor and delivery floor was full and it would probably be later in the night or possibly the next morning before they could get me in.  I knew I would probably be going in that night regardless, because I had been having contractions all day and by the time I received the call they were starting to get stronger and a closer together.  The pain was manageable so I knew it wasn't "real labor" quite yet and I could wait at home a little longer unless my contractions became less manageable.

Luckily, my parents were already in town to stay with Carson and Taylor, so I felt at peace knowing that we could leave at anytime if they called or if my contractions got stronger.  As the evening went on, by 10:30 my contractions were about two minutes apart and I was starting to feel more pain so I picked up the phone to call MUSC, and I kid you not, they had just called two minutes prior to tell me my bed was ready.  I am still not sure how I missed the call because I had my phone right by my side, but either way, we were in the car within five minutes and on our way to MUSC to have our baby girl! 

When we arrived at the hospital shortly after 11pm my contractions were about a minute apart and they were getting too strong for me to walk or stand.  They quickly checked us in and immediately hooked me up to the heart monitor for the baby, and another monitor to track my contractions, and  started my iv.  At around 2am, the doctor came in, and since I hadn't dilated any more than half a centimeter, she decided to go ahead and put in the foley bulb.  After the foley bulb was in place, within a couple of hours I had dilated to around five centimeters.  And by this time, my contractions were super strong so they decided to go ahead and give me an epidural.

At this point, things were looking really good for my vbac to be successful and after they gave me the epidural I felt great.  I was able to move my legs completely and change positions in the bed on my own, and while I could still feel my contractions, they weren't very painful at all. Over the next six hours or so, they came in to check my progress a few times and I had only progressed to around five and a half centimeters so they decided to break my water around 11am Thursday morning.

After they broke my water, Reese had a bowel movement, but they didn't seem too concerned by this at all and they let me know that they would have the NICU team called in when she was close to being born for precaution in case there was any infection.  They let me continue to labor on my own for a few more hours, and when there was still no progress they decided to start me on a slow dose of pitocin and they had me start doing different labor inducing positions to help her continue to drop.  A nurse would come in every thirty minutes to an hour to show me a new position and to help me get situated on "the peanut ball".

After about six hours of doing this nonstop, the doctor came in and let me know that while they weren't going to call it yet being that baby Reese's heart rate still looked good and she wasn't in any distress, but to get myself prepared that there was a chance I may have to have a c-section.  At this point, I was so exhausted, but I was still holding out hope for the vbac.  And with everything I had read, I had hoped that she was just taking her sweet time so I continued to change positions every thirty minutes.

After changing positions for hours, her heart rate stopped being as consistent as it had and started to go up and down, but not to the point that there needed to be an emergency c-section.  To be safe, however, they wanted to go ahead and get everything prepared for a c-section.  I was beyond exhausted by this point, and my only thought was that I was ready to hold my baby and I wanted to do whatever they thought was best for baby Reese. 

At around 3am Friday morning, the anesthesiologist came in and we discussed how he would leave the epidural in place and would just administer a stronger drug to numb me a little more.  Just over thirty minutes later, they came in and gave Todd his scrubs and took me on back to the operating room.  I was taken back to begin the c-section around 3:45am

In the operating room there were a lot of people being that MUSC is a teaching hospital, and besides being very exhausted and also worrying that I was still able to move my legs, I was feeling okay about everything.  While everyone was getting prepped for the surgery, the anesthesiologist was working towards numbing me a little more being that I was still able to move my legs.  When they did a test to see if I could feel sharp pain on my abdomen I couldn't feel pain, but I could feel something moving across my lower abdomen. They reassured me that this was somewhat normal with an epidural vs a spinal, but that I should not feel any pain.  After administering the extra drugs, I started shivering uncontrollably, but still felt okay and very much awake.  They let me know that shivering like this is nothing to worry about and they see it all the time.

Shortly after 4am, they brought Todd in and had him sitting my by head just like they did in my two prior c-sections.  After ten minutes or so passed, I looked at Todd and said, "I feel like something isn't right."  At this point, we asked them if everything was okay and how much longer before they would be getting our baby out.  A doctor, whom I can't see because of the curtain, says everything is fine and that they are just working through a lot of scar tissue.  Shortly after that I hear another doctor say in a very low whisper, "Go ahead and call trauma."

At this point, I still remained somewhat calm, but I asked them why they are calling trauma.  At first, I think to try and keep me calm they say, "Oh, we were talking about something else."  They tried to assure me everything was still fine, but I knew they were absolutely talking about me because I could feel several hands holding my incision together.  We had been in there for over 30 minutes at this time and when I told them I could feel them holding it together, a doctor came from behind the curtain and said, "Caycee, we did call trauma, but stay calm because everything is going to be fine."  She quickly explained that a lot of my organs had basically fused together because there was so much scar tissue, and that they needed the trauma surgeon that was more familiar with handling a situation like this to come in.  They assured me that she would be able to get baby Reese out in no time.

At this point, I remember hearing a lot of people going on and on about how good this surgeon was, and how excited they were to see her work.  After about ten or fifteen minutes went by, she came in and immediately got to work.  I could smell what I thought smelled like something burning, but at the time I was only feeling a lot of pressure and tugging.  Another 15 or so minutes go by, and I can start to feel actual pain and a burning sensation that is extremely painful.  Then, I hear the doctors and the trauma surgeon having a disagreement over what is my uterus or my bowel.  I let them know I can feel burning and pain, and the obgyn comes to our side of the curtain and let's me know that the trauma surgeon has decided that they're going to need to do a vertical incision because there is not enough room to get the baby out through the horizontal incision.

After finding out the news that I'll now have two incisions, I hear the trauma surgeon request that they call the head of trauma to come in and that they need to put me to sleep immediately.  At this point, they ask Todd to leave the operating room being that they need to put me to sleep.  I look at Todd and see his eyes watering up, and he leans over to kiss me while trying to hide the fearful look that's come over him.  I hear him ask if there is any way possible he could stay, and after hearing them tell him no, but that everything was going to be okay, I immediately became very upset and really scared.

I remember them placing a mask over my face and hearing an obgyn say that she's not sure how the baby will tolerate the anesthesia.  Being that I was still awake, when I heard this, I snatched the mask off and tell them to just strap me down more, and please go ahead and get my baby out.  Apparently, with me being able to feel the pain my body was doing a lot of moving and jerking, making it harder to work.  I also suggested while being scared, awake, and probably in shock that they give me nitrous oxide because I remembered reading that it was safe during a c-section.  I also knew from my experiences at the dentist, that it would work to help me stop feeling pain. The anesthesiologist and the two interns laughed and said something to the nature of, "Wow, how did you know we could use that?"  Then, they proceeded to tell me they had something better to use, and they let me know they would be giving me ketamine, and that things might get fuzzy.

Well boy did they get fuzzy.  I am pretty sure I went into what is called the k-hole, and all I remember after that is going into another world.  Sometime in between, through blurred vision I remember seeing them pull Reese out and them telling me that she was perfect and completely healthy.  After that, I remember a doctor saying "Caycee, we're going to put you to sleep now to close you up." 

To give you a timeline, they took me back for the c-section at 3:45am and Reese was born at 5:23am.  By the time I was closed up, I woke up in a recovery room at 8:15am with a nurse and Todd leaning over me asking how I felt.  Todd said my first words were, "Where is our baby?"  He let me know she was fine and in the nursery, and that they would bring her to me very soon.  They had to do an iv on Reese and I both to get us on an antibiotic because we both had a slight fever, but as soon as she could, the sweet nurse in recovery left to get Reese and I was able to hold our baby girl for the first time.  I am not sure if I've ever felt more at peace than I did in that moment. 

Carson and Taylor have truly blown us way with how in love and how amazing that they have been with their new baby sister.  They are truly fascinated by her. 

I am aware that this may be too much for some people, but this is the only photo I have that one of the nurses snapped when Reese was first born.  And while I thought about not sharing this, I decided  that I wanted to because this is real life and is what it really looked like behind the curtain.  And yes, that is my intestines, which along with stitching up two incisions, is why the procedure took so long.

I thought I should add that they immediately let Todd know that they weren't able to get to my tubes through the scar tissue in order to tie them, but that I should not have any more babies and that Todd needed to get a vasectomy asap! 

So like I said, our little Reese didn't enter this world in any way I could've ever imagined nor the way I had planned, but in the end, we are so thankful she's here and that she's healthy.  We are all so in love with this baby girl and we couldn't imagine our lives without her.