Phin’s Birth Story

This pregnancy was different in so many ways than my first. But as we neared the end it became even more different. With Phoebe I had to be induced at 37 weeks, once I was “full term”, so there was no waiting around, no wondering when I would go into labor or thinking that I might be having contractions. I wasn’t even sure that I would recognize labor once it started, since I didn’t even realize I was having contractions with Phoebe when I was in the hospital bed hooked up to pitocin.

Around 37 and a half weeks I started having irregular contractions a lot of the time. They would start and last for a little while, but never come at regular intervals or get stronger. Still I was beginning to hope I wouldn’t go all the way to 40 weeks. A few times – especially at night – I would think we might be headed to the hospital in the next few hours. Once Harrison even got up and started packing, but pretty soon I told him to go back to sleep.

So the Saturday that I was 39 weeks I decided to spend the morning preparing freezer meals to eat after the baby arrived. Auburn had an off-week so we didn’t have a football game to be concerned about. We had a regular Saturday hanging around the house.

Late that afternoon Harrison went to the grocery store to get a few things for dinner. While he was gone I started having contractions, but I tried not to get my hopes up. But these were much stronger than they had been before, in fact I scared Phoebe during one particular contraction where I had to stop and hold on to the door frame. She stopped playing, looked up at me with a very concerned look and said “Mommy, ok?”.

When Harrison got home I explained what was going on and said the words I had been waiting to say “I think I’m in labor.”

I started trying to time the contractions with an app on my phone, but even though they were strong they weren’t super regular. Harrison grilled steaks for dinner and we got to enjoy our meal and hang out with Phoebe for a while. After we ate I decided we should go for a walk and see how things progressed from there. We didn’t go very far, but I was having trouble talking through the contractions as we walked, so we both felt like we would be going to the hospital before the night was over.

I called my mom and asked her if she could come get Phoebe. We figured at the worst she would spend the night at Nonna’s and my parents could bring her to church if we ended up not going to the hospital. I talked to the nurse on call at my doctor’s office and went over what I was feeling. She told me she didn’t think I was in a rush, but agreed we would probably be going that night. So Harrison and I moved around the house, packing last minute things and loading the car. I wanted to take a shower and dry my hair before we left and Harrison kept telling me to go do that, but I kept finding other things to do.

Once I finally took a shower and got dressed we called the nurse one more time to tell her our progress and headed on to the hospital.

Of course we arrived at the hospital around the same time that they admitted about eight other women in labor. So one nurse took us down to a room, gave me the lovely hospital gone and said she would be back in a few minutes.

Well 55 minutes later she came back. She apologized that they had an emergency and all the nurses got called in. She also told us that they had so many patients that each nurse was handling two or three patients. So we were assigned another nurse. She was with us for a little bit before she had to go with another patient to a c-section. So we were assigned another nurse. That nurse stayed with us until shift change when we got a new nurse again. So we ended up with four different nurses.

I wasn’t concerned at that point because my contractions had really slowed and I wasn’t sure we would be staying.

This actually worked out really great in my opinion because we didn’t end up with over attentive nurses when I was still in earlier stages of labor. And since we were planning a natural birth the staff was pretty hands off unless we needed something.

When they checked me I wasn’t as far along as I had hoped. In fact the doctor came in and basically said, you can stay a while and see if you progress, but if not you’re welcome to go home.

Fortunately, just minutes after he left I really began to have strong, regular contractions and I knew we were in for the long haul.

We turned down the lights in the room and I spent a long time walking around the room, bouncing on the birthing  ball, whatever felt most comfortable. I turned some music on on my phone and enjoyed worship songs by Shane and Shane. I felt strong and capable and proud that I could do this.

There aren’t really a lot of other details worth mentioning. Harrison was incredibly supportive and encouraging to me. He rubbed my back and talked me through the tough parts. I labored fairly comfortably for a while and was checked periodically and seemed to be progressing just fine. However, my water never broke. So after laboring for a very long time (and very UNcomfortably…) without making any progress we decided to let them break my water. They assured me that this would move things along pretty quickly.

They were right!

Probably 15 minutes after they broke my water, Phin was born.

I was thrilled and relieved to have him in my arms!

I’m not really sure how long it was, but it seemed like just a few minutes later, Phoebe came in the room (the timing worked out perfectly since my parents and Harrison’s parents arrived at the hospital about the same time not long after he was born). Even though I was totally exhausted, I was so happy to see our little girl and to have her and her brother in the same room with us. I’ll never forget that time with them. I had really wanted Phoebe to be the first one in to see him and I’m so thankful that she was!

Giving birth is such an incredible experience. It is absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever done and the most rewarding at the same time. I feel so honored to be able to experience it!

We are so thankful for this life we have been entrusted with.

Day 7: Plan to Fail

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This month I’m joining in for The Nester’s 31 Days of Writing. I’m sharing all about Planning Ahead and how I strive to do this so that my life, our family and our household runs smoothly. Don’t miss a post! You can find the whole series here. 

 You might notice that today is October 27th (at the time of writing) and you might do the math on “Day 7″ and realize that I’m a little bit behind…

I didn’t exactly plan for that to happen, however, I DID plan to write this post – plan to fail – and so now I’m thinking that it’s pretty perfect. Just FYI, I’m still going to finish this series, because I have all the posts planned (no pun intended) so keep coming back for those.

Plan to fail. That doesn’t really sound like a great way to start something, but here me out.

We need to have room in our plans for failure…or maybe not even failure, but we need to plan that things aren’t always going to go exactly as planned. We need to give ourselves grace, lots and lots of grace.

I haven’t taken that advice to heart lately. I’ve been beating myself up about the failed plans. The cleaning schedule that isn’t happening. The freezer meals that have been thawed and cooked and no new plan made to feed our family. The blog series that hasn’t been finished.

But guess what. Our house is a little crazy town right now. We have a six-week-old that I need to sit down to nurse every three hours and a two-year-old that never stops. We are eating a lot of thrown together at the last minute meals and watching a lot of Sesame Street. And that’s ok. Seriously.

So as I’m in the “just trying to keep my head above water” stage, some (or all) of my plans may be thrown out the window. And some of the planning may be the thing that keeps us going. But either way, when things don’t line up according to the To Do list or the perfectly planned out calendar, we’ve got to just keep going and walk in grace.

Grace for the busy college student who forgot to call her mom this week, or had to bail on her friends to study.

Grace for the working lady who’s burning the candle at both ends.

Grace for the wife who fell asleep while her husband was in mid-sentence.

Grace for the mama with the spit-up and the dirty dishes and the unfolded laundry.

Grace that things don’t always go the way we expect and that failure (or just less than perfection) is a part of life.

Day 6: Plan to Eat

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This month I’m joining in for The Nester’s 31 Days of Writing. I’m sharing all about Planning Ahead and how I strive to do this so that my life, our family and our household runs smoothly. Don’t miss a post! You can find the whole series here. 

 

The BIGGEST reason I started planning ahead was MEALS!

If I don’t have a plan for eating I literally stand in the kitchen staring at the contents of the fridge with a blank start (and potentially tears).

OK, so it’s actually gotten better over a couple of years, I can actually throw some simple meals together, but I actually think that’s because after spending a lot of time creating meal plans, I have a lot of those meals in my mind, so I can draw on that memory.

But, meal planning is a HUGE help to me in our household and it can be the difference between a stressful evening (translating to feeling like that entire day/week was stressful) and a  simple time of putting together a meal for our family to enjoy.

I’ve tried everything when it comes to meal planning: once a month meals, once a week cooking, plans that were all laid out and a list of meals with flexibility. And all of those have worked at least for a period of time for me. I can honestly recommend each of those, just depending on your personality and taste.

Online services like emealz.com will plan everything out for you and include a grocery list for a small fee. If you are the kind of person that likes for a plan that’s all laid out for you, and you’re not super picky about food choices, this can be a great option for you.

Once a month and once a week meal plans are a great way to get a lot of work done at one time and then forget about it for a little while. It’s best if your available prep time is proportionate to the amount of time you want to prepare food for. For example, it might take you an entire day or weekend to plan ahead meals for a whole month, but an hour or two could allow you to plan meals for a week ahead of time.

I do like to prepare a few freezer meals, or freezer to crockpot meals every so often so that I have a stash of meals to grab when we’re in a pinch.

But, the simplest way I’ve found for meal planning is this:

  • I plan one week (maybe two) weeks at a time
  • We have “salad bar” with lettuce, veggies and maybe some grilled chicken at least once a week
  • I plan one crock pot meal a week
  • The meals that I plan provide leftovers for one additional meal
  • We have pizza on Fridays

This makes it pretty simple to sit down and plan out a week or two! Once I’ve plugged in our “usuals” (salad and pizza) I need to plan two or three meals that will feed us the rest of the week. Easy Peasy!

Do you have a guide you follow for meal planning? Is it stressful for you to get dinner on the table? Why or why not?

Day 5: Plan to Have Fun

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This month I’m joining in for The Nester’s 31 Days of Writing. I’m sharing all about Planning Ahead and how I strive to do this so that my life, our family and our household runs smoothly. Don’t miss a post! You can find the whole series here. 

 

I plan to tell you all about planning for the needed tasks we have in our daily lives (cleaning, cooking, etc.), but I wanted to start by telling you to plan to have fun!

That may seem unnecessary, fun things can be spontaneous, right? Of course they can. But there are also a lot of things you can plan to do for fun that you might miss out on if you’re not planning ahead.

Start by planning fun for your week. As you think through your days and the things you HAVE to do, look for space in your week to have fun. Consider having a family movie night or game night each week to give your people something to look forward to. Or think ahead to what your weekend will look like so you can plan a fun outing or meal.

Think through the seasons for fun things to do at different times of year. This past summer a friend of mine posted their family’s “Summer Bucket List” up at their house and made a true effort to complete every experience before the summer was over. They went to the splash pad, picked berries, went to baseball games, ate ice cream from the ice cream truck and so much more. All that happened because they planned ahead to be intentional about having fun! There are so many seasonal activities you can plan to enjoy, but you might miss out if you don’t think ahead and put them on the calendar now.

So start thinking ahead for your week, month, season and plan to have fun with your people! Whether they are simple activities or elaborate events to attend, just start training your brain to think ahead about having fun.

What are some things you’re planning to do for fun this fall season?

Day 4: Free Printable October Planners

31 days plan header

This month I’m joining in for The Nester’s 31 Days of Writing. I’m sharing all about Planning Ahead and how I strive to do this so that my life, our family and our household runs smoothly. Don’t miss a post! You can find the whole series here. 

On day two I talked about keeping your plan where you can see it, so today I’m offering you some free October Printable Planners to help you do that!

(Yes, I know we’re already a few days in to the month, but if you don’t have a calendar yet it’s not too late to start planning the rest of the month.)

Below are a free printable monthly calendar for October and a weekly planner for planning each day of the week.

Enjoy!

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Day 3: Plan For Your Day

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This month I’m joining in for The Nester’s 31 Days of Writing. I’m sharing all about Planning Ahead and how I strive to do this so that my life, our family and our household runs smoothly. Don’t miss a post! You can find the whole series here. 

Planning ahead can mean planning for far away in the future or just for the time you can see right in front on you.

The best place to start in your planning ahead journey is to plan your day.

As a stay-at-home mom, my days are filled with a lot of the same activities over and over and sometimes not a lot of structure. If I wake up in the morning without a plan or list for the day then I usually finish the day feeling like I have accomplished nothing.

BUT, if I write down even just a few things that I want to do during the day, I almost always get them done and feel like the day was a success.

My challenge to you is this: Either at night before going to bed, or first thing in the morning, write a list of the Five Most Important things to be done that day. (If you’re schedule is crazy, or if – like me – you’re at home with a newborn, it’s ok to only put down two or three things! Write down what will be a little challenging, but is reasonably doable.) These might be work tasks, jobs around the house or things to do for your husband or kids. But write it down in your notebook, planner, or on your smart phone (did you read yesterday’s post?) Look over this list first thing in the morning so that it’s fresh in your mind and you know what needs to be done. Consider any activities you have during the day and think around those time frames and you plan to accomplish those tasks.

That’s it, that’s your plan for the day!

My list usually looks something like this:

  • Laundry
  • Clean up the kitchen
  • Cook Dinner
  • Write Blog Post

 

What would your Most Important List look like for today?

Day 2: Put Your Plan Where You Can See It

31 days plan header

This month I’m joining in for The Nester’s 31 Days of Writing. I’m sharing all about Planning Ahead and how I strive to do this so that my life, our family and our household runs smoothly. Don’t miss a post! You can find the whole series here. 

Welcome to Day 2, I’m glad you’re back!

Planning ahead is all well and good, but if you only plan in your head, or you put a plan in writing and then stash it away somewhere it’s not very likely that you will follow through.

It’s important to put your plan where you can see it!

A To Do list on your fridge, a calendar that stays open on your desk, a checklist on your smart phone, all of these are great ways to keep your plan in front of you so that you know where you’re going.

Personally I like to plan with a pen and paper, I enjoy the action of actually writing down my list or plan and then being able to check things off. You might prefer a digital list or a dry erase board. Whatever you prefer the important thing is to make your plan concrete and keep it in front of you.

So here’s a task for you on Day 2: Decide where you will make your plan and start using it. If you’re a notebook fan (like me…I LOVE a new notebook!) buy a new notebook. Put up a dry erase board or bulletin board, stock up on sticky notes or familiarize yourself with a smartphone app. Just choose one and start using it! If you find later that that particular method doesn’t work for you, you can switch it up.

We’ll talk more soon about actually doing some planning, but your first step is to decide where you will plan.

Comment and tell me your favorite tool for planning!

Day 1: Why Plan Ahead?

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Welcome to 31 Days of Planning Ahead!

I hope that this series will be a challenge and an encouragement to you. I hope that it will be a help to you in thriving in this busy life!

So why should we plan ahead?

For me planning ahead has become not only a necessity and something that I enjoy doing, but it is a way to simplify life for me and my family and an extremely helpful tool in our day to day life.

I find that the times I feel most out of control, and when I’m frequently apologizing to my husband for the chaos in our home, it’s because I have simply failed to plan ahead.

  • What’s for dinner? I don’t know, I don’t have a plan.
  • Do we have clean clothes? hmm, probably not, the laundry hasn’t been washed this week.
  • Did you have a good day? I can’t remember, it’s been crazy.
  • Can we have friends over for dinner this weekend? Ummm, are you serious?

Planning ahead frees me up to actually enjoy my life and my family.  You may have other reasons for planning ahead, here are just a few:

  • Planning ahead simplifies things
  • Planning ahead often helps avoid waste (time, money, groceries, etc.)
  • Planning ahead means you are headed in a specific direction
  • Planning ahead allows your husband, family, significant other, etc. to know what to expect
  • Planning is fun!

If you don’t have a good reason or goal in planning ahead, take a few minutes to think about how your life could be different/improved by planning ahead. And be sure to comment and tell me what your reasons are!

I hope that you will see the benefits of planning ahead, not just today, but throughout the series, and especially as you begin to put these ideas in to practice!

See you tomorrow!

 

31 Days of Planning Ahead

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Hello and Welcome!

If you’re new to the blog from The Nester’s 31 Day Link-up I’m so glad you’re here!

Check out my About Me Page to get to know me a little bit and then jump right in. I would love your comments and feedback as you join in the 31 Day Series.

You can come to this page to find all of the posts in the series, it will be updated throughout the month.

This month I’ll be sharing some tips and tricks for planning ahead, as well as some of my own successes and failures in this area, and throughout the month there will be some fun FREE PRINTABLES!

I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Happy Planning!

Day 1: Why Plan Ahead?

Day 2: Put Your Plan Where You Can See It

Day 3: Plan Your Day

Day 4: Free Printable October Planners

Day 5: Plan to Have Fun

Day 6: Plan to Eat

Day 7: Plan to Fail

 

Family of Four

He’s here! And he’s made us a family of four!

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John Phinehas Abbott

“Phin”

September 14, 2014

We are so excited to have this little man in our family. He has been a joy and a blessing already. So far he’s a pretty chill baby, he’s eating well and sleeping a lot.

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And the best part? Phoebe LOVES him. Seriously. There is no end to the kisses and the begging to hold him all day long. And during the first few days we were home she would literally cry, giant crocodile tears when I would put him down to sleep. She couldn’t stand for him to be in the other room where she can’t see him.

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I plan to share more about his birth story as well as LOADS of pictures in the near future.

We’re so thankful for this gift!