It's a BOY! Welcoming Baby #2 to the world


A new entry to celebrate my SON’s arrival! Let’s hear it for Dean Harris Wise, born on April 8, 2018!

I'll keep this post pretty short and sweet since I'm still getting the hang of moming for two, and time spent blogging = time not spent napping, which is the secret weapon for surviving night feedings. 

Let me start as the most enlightened of Oscar and ESPY winners do, by giving gratitude to the Lord, because little metal trophy or adorable newborn aside, all praise truly goes to Him for keeping Baby safe and humbling me with a birth experience that was far better than I dared to hope for. 

After all of my pacing, my worry, my anxiety, my fretting the final month of pregnancy over not being in charge of when and where I went into labor, the Lord blessed me with His plan, filled with His abundant  mercies, from the logistics to the labor and beyond.  Here's how the Lord showered me with grace:

Quality Iris Time. 
In the days leading up to labor, Iris was extra clingy, extra cuddly, extra protective of my basketball belly. You might say that she sensed that Baby was coming soon. Look at her sweet little hand on my belly (right picture).


I found it in me to both shush my inner Martha, who loves to be busy doing busy things, AND summon the energy to play hard in spite of my physical discomfort. I was able to be present with Iris mentally, physically, and emotionally while I savored our last days as just us girls. I knew the clock was ticking but let many days get away from me as I felt too miserable to do much more than snuggle on the couch. But then I felt God nudging me that our time as simply Mom and Daughter was drawing to a close very soon and I wanted to make the most of it. 

So Iris and I played all the things from blocks to bubbles. We splashed around in her water table. We danced and giggled in the rain. We played at the park. We fed the neighborhood ducks. We did arts and crafts (even the really messy ones) and basically anything that struck Iris's fancy. We even sat in my car in the driveway pressing all the buttons and singing Iris's requests of Bible songs and Let it Go. The sort of stuff that I wouldn't oblige her in every day due to my own impatience and let's-get-this-or-that-done agenda.

I'm so glad that we had these days to enjoy each other. It was the sweetest time ever, and in those last days before Baby, I went to bed each night feeling settled in my heart and knowing that if I went into labor, I had spent a very good day with my daughter. That makes a mama's heart feel such peace.




Josh’s parents were already in town.
This was HUGE for my peace of mind. We had lined up a dear friend from church to come and sit with Iris whenever the time came in order to cover the couple of hours that it would take for Josh’s parents to travel to our house to take care of Iris while I was in the hospital. 

I stressed over this so much, not wanting to pull our friend away from her home at an inconvenient hour, not wanting to call Josh's parents to wake up and travel in the middle of the night, and not wanting Iris to possibly not handle the arrangement well, even though she had a blast during her play date with our friend a few weeks earlier.

Josh's parents arrived on Friday to stay for the weekend, and I had a chance to show them where all the Iris things are kept and let them practice putting her to bed, making sure to locate Iris's favorite stuffed animals and blanket prior to bedtime. They are seasoned pros with four kids of their own and a gaggle of grands, but we all wondered how Iris would take to them stepping in for Mommy since I haven't been away from Iris overnight. Ever. Baby's arrival was to be the first nights without Mom, and I prepped her for it for months. She sounded very cool with the whole plan, each time supplying that her Mawmaw and Pawpaw would come make her bacon when I went to the hospital to have the baby. 

While my in-laws were visiting, I couldn't stop thinking about how much I wanted to have the Baby that weekend. No pressure! I also had nagging albeit futile thoughts about how frustrated I would be if I went into labor after they left on Sunday afternoon. 

So when contractions began very early on Sunday morning, as much as I wanted to be in labor, I remained in denial for a bit, telling myself that I was imagining the contractions simply because I wanted to have the baby before they packed their truck to leave. I lie in bed staring at the ceiling and hugging my Bump while chatting with myself. Is that a contraction? No, no. Maybe just an upset tummy. How about that? Nah, probably gas pains. Better jot them down in my phone just in case, even though it's probably nothing. 

More on that in a moment.  

Josh and I got to go out for a date on Saturday night! 
We went to River City for burgers and to Melt for ice cream to celebrate what would be our last date before becoming parents of two. This was a big deal for me because we didn't get to do that before Iris arrived since she came early. 

Both stops were fantastic—River City has this burger with guacamole and Doritos on it that I have grown fond of over the course of pregnancy. And it was nice to talk to Josh’s coworker Ashley who owns Melt and who treated me to a free cone of Honey Lavender ice cream since I have blogged and posted about how good Melt is. (It SO is!) And wow, was honey lavender ice cream the perfect punctuation on our rainy day date! Very gourmet tasting and soothing on this anxious girl’s nerves. I think Ashley knew that Baby was coming. I could see the sympathy in her face when she saw my uncomfortable, puffy waddle. 

We almost didn't make it out for our date. It would have been easy to postpone it. It was pouring down rain. The restaurant took extra long. We almost skipped ice cream. But I am so glad that we made the effort to spend the time together and hit up some of my favorite spots. And we did because yet again God was whispering to me that Baby was coming soon. Even I was beginning to feel sure of it. 


To be able to sit across from Josh and talk without being interrupted by a steady stream of adorable, albeit incessant, requests for more cheese/apples/cookies/water was such a gift.  

Another gift was being able to think in a nice, linear fashion for a change and to even have time to engage in fancy free convo about the license plate collection on the restaurant wall (mostly how it pertained to our past vacation travels). Who gets to do that when you're busy cutting up french fries and taking little ones to the potty? Or hear each other talk without trying to out-volume the toddler stream of consciousness dialogue? These are the things that feel like parent vacations, and it was awesome! 

Another bonus to our pre-baby outing was that my getting showered, dressed, and made-up for our date served, unbeknownst to me, to prep me for going to the hospital feeling clean and pulled together, which was noted by my nurses and doctor who told me that I looked really good walking into Labor & Delivery. Not Duchess of Cambridge good, but there was some lip gloss and a coordinated ensemble involved. 

The time of day coincided with Iris’s wake up time. Sort of. 
Contractions started Sunday morning as I mentioned. Officially at 2:30am. Still unsure and unconvinced, I tracked them for two hours at 5 minutes apart before I bothered Josh or messaged my doctor because remember, I thought these so-called contractions were a figment of my wishful imagination. 

I even prayed at some point for God to give me a clear sign that I was in labor. 

What I heard in response was: What's more clear than TWO hours of contractions? How's that for a sign? 

Me: OH. Yeah. Sorry, Lord. 

I guess I was looking for my water to break, which it turns out only happens to 30% of women. 

When I did talk to my doctor, she said I could continue to labor at home for a bit and then head to the hospital when I was ready. Because of this, I got to be home when Iris woke up and help her get her morning going before I explained that it was time for Mommy to go to the hospital to have the baby. She said, “Oh cool!” and then asked to watch Muppet Babies.

Being able to give Iris BIG hugs before we left for the hospital did wonders for my mama heart. I hated the idea of having to leave in the middle of the night without being able to tell Iris what was happening or without getting to see and kiss her only-child face one last time.  

My doctor was the on-call. 
So my doctor accidentally wrote down her cell number wrong a few months ago. She and I were chatting as she was writing and a digit was jotted down in error. Which explained why she didn’t reply to my 4:30am text about contractions. I’m hopeful that the number I sent my text to is a dead number because someone otherwise received a text from me at an impolite hour with a lot of personal info about me. J

When my doctor hadn't replied to my text after an hour, I assumed I must not have followed correct protocol or that she might not have had her phone on yet so I called the after-hours number, and they paged the on-call doctor to dial me back.

My doctor was the on-call and she asked why I didn’t text her, which is when we figured out then that I had the wrong number. Regardless, I was thrilled to know that she was at the hospital, ready and waiting for our arrival. As I mentioned, she told me to take my time and text her when I was on the way to the hospital. I loved how relaxed it all felt! 

The date is a favorite of mine. 
Lame and geeky, I know! I am not superstitious at all, but I do favor even numbers more than odds, and the number 8 is my fave, for whatever purpose that serves a person in life.

Knowing that Baby was going to arrive on 4/8/18 was an added little bit of joy, albeit trivial. It was also another reason that I was in denial about being in labor: my in-laws were in town AND the date was a fantastically even number?! Pshhh, no way I could possibly have all that working in my favor. But boy, doesn't God love to delight and humble us by giving us more than we could hope for? J

Easy like Sunday morning. 
The Maternity ward was quiet, peaceful, and low-key on that unseasonably cold and rainy Sunday morning. I was the only patient in for delivery when we arrived. Our nurses were great and there was no feeling of stress. The mood in the room, which was very different from my experience with Iris, was cheerful.  

This time, without the worry of preeclampsia and with experience on our side, Josh and I were excited that the day we had prayed about and pictured over and over had finally arrived. It seemed to have come both quickly and slowly, going from a positive pregnancy test to nearing the due date overnight but then dragging out a bit over the last few weeks. 

Until my doctor saw me, my one worry was that I had imagined the contractions or that they simply weren’t that strong and that I might get sent back home with a “nice try but you’re not in labor” pat on the back. But on the ride to the hospital Josh and I reasoned that my doctor would likely give me Pitocin and break my water to get things moving along further rather than send me back home. At my last check three days earlier I was 80% effaced and 2-3 cm dilated and Baby was officially 38 weeks. Still I told Josh to hold off on bringing in all the hospital bags just in case. #doubtingthomas  

When the doctor checked me out, I was dilated to 4 and my cervix was 80-90% so she did in fact declare me a keeper and then broke my water and gave me Pitocin. However, the contractions soon got strong enough on their own that Baby’s heart rate was dropping some under the intensity of the Pitocin, so the nurse cut it off and Baby's heart rate returned to normal. This made me feel justified that YES, I WAS IN LEGITIMATE LABOR and that I had not imagined it or tried to force the doctor's hand to get labor going. 

No pain.  
This time around I was fortunate to get my epidural before I got my catheter. J Last time it was the opposite and wasn’t very fun.

The good news about an early epidural this time is that I also didn’t feel the rest of my cervical checks, which for some reason hurt worse than contractions in my opinion. My nurse said I’m not alone in my pain and that at least I’m not a screamer like lots of patients. I’m more of an understated, “Ow. Ouch. OW.” person.   

Expedited Shipping. 
My doctor went out for lunch with her kids after checking me at 5cm, and in less than an hour, the nurse checked me again and said that I was in the range of 7-8 cm and that she could feel no cervix. She said once my doctor got back it would be push time! It was the Amazon Prime of delivery! 

I confess that pushing actually filled me with so much fear that my numb legs began to quiver! When I had Iris I didn't quite get the gist of push breathing, which is not the same as contraction breathing. I remember being terrified of an aneurysm from pushing too hard, and I did have blurred vision in my left eye the next day, which may have been strain or a side effect of being on magnesium due to having preeclampsia. 

Iris ended up arriving with the assistance of forceps, which has always made me feel bad since she has an itty bitty scar on her forehead from it. When I see it, I feel like I did her wrong as a mama for not being able to push her out without extra help. Plus forceps can sometimes lead to even scarier consequences and I feel bad that I even took such a chance. Mom guilt is vicious sometimes. 

As soon as my doctor returned and suited up, it was time to get my feet in the stirrups. I had my poker face on but inside I was sick with worry over the pushing part. 

And God blessed me some more. Please don't hate me. 
Ok, you can. I would hate me too... 
This time my doctor explained the breathing so clearly for me that I understood right away what to do. She said to hold my breath like I was going under water and then bear down with my body. Last time I was trying to push against the breath like when you try to pop your ears. Eventually I kept letting the breath out much to the doctor and nurse's dismay, but this time it made sense and I was ready to try.

We waited for a contraction to come along so we were working with Baby's efforts to head out, and the goal was to do a single set of three pushes to start.

Here's what happened.

Push one. 
Doctor said baby’s head was crowning! 
"Are you SERIOUS?" I asked. As if doctors often joke about such things.

Push two. 

Baby’s head was out!  

Push three. 

Baby was BORN! 
BORN. Can you believe it?? I couldn't.  

I would love to have been able to see my bewildered face. That was it? I was done? It felt as fast as the Kentucky Derby. Lots of hype for only a few short seconds of work! In fact, it takes longer to go pee while wearing a romper than it did for me to deliver our sweet baby! Usain Bolt is only a little faster at the 100m than my labor! It takes longer to withdraw cash from an ATM than it took me to birth this baby. 

You get my point. And I'm not saying that to rub it in or brag. I'm saying it out of sheer disbelief that God would be so kind to me because I've done NOTHING to deserve such a sweet and speedy delivery. 

So yeah, you want to meet our little guy? 

Josh declared Baby was a BOY, and we all cheered for the arrival of Dean Harris Wise, who arrived on 4/8/18 at 38 weeks weighing 6 pounds 8.5 ounces.  

But seriously. I would hate me too, so I don't blame you if you're disgusted that I had an easy birth experience. But know that it was all a blessing from God, who gave me kinder conditions than I even thought were possible and much better than I deserve. Maybe He was giving me second baby grace after the stress and worry of Iris's delivery. Maybe He was grinning from ear to ear at my awe and humility at seeing just how well He had things planned out.      

It. Was. Surreal. I think birthing a baby might always be. The months of praying for a healthy little one, the months of feeling kicks, the months of growing larger and increasingly more uncomfortable and then meeting the little person responsible for all that commotion is unlike anything else.

All this time, it was YOU, Baby Dean.     



Ah, and I'm no Duchess of Cambridge, but I felt really good after delivery. Clearly it was short and sweet and therefore not that taxing. This sleepy face below isn't one worn out from labor but it is awfully sleepy looking thanks to being up since 2am, which was finally catching up to me when we took these pictures in our recovery room Sunday afternoon. 


Then, not quite as quickly as Kate Middleton, it was time to head home with our new bundle and introduce him to Iris. Her reactions below are so great! "Daddy brought Dean!! Daddy brought Dean!! Iris likes it!" 


And here are some cuddly baby pics. Nothing too exciting since babies mostly eat, sleep, and poop, but enjoy seeing how well our guy sleeps. ;) 



And cries. He's not as mellow as I expected. He goes from 0-60 in the time it took for me to push him out. 

All right, all right, I'll stop with the fast delivery jokes. 

Stylishly Yours (even in Depends),

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