London June’s First Week

Dear London June,

My heart swells. 

It feels as if it may implode at any second a thousand and one times. 

Joy abounds. 

and abounds. 

Our cup has been filled and it runneth over filling every dark and dim crevice with light. 

My daughter has been born and she breathes in the same air I do. 

I’ve never known joy or love like this. I’ve never been more proud of anything in my entire life. You are perfection personified. You have brought God into our house more than any prayer prayed here. I find myself knee deep in overwhelming holiness and joy and I’m convinced we’ve brought a little bit of Heaven to earth. 

London June Hutson 

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7.3lbs 19inches of smiling perfection born at 8:44am on a glorious Friday. 

After 13 hours of non-medicated, all natural labor you took your first breath, cried and made us all the do the same thing. 

I will eventually write you your entire birth story when I’m in the right state of mind- every time I think about writing it, I end up in a puddle of tears. For now, I want to share every little detail of your first week of life. As I’m typing now, you are nursing and doing such a great job! You have made the first week of motherhood so easy.

London June, during your first week you:

+ haven’t stopped smiling. You smile when we talk to you, especially in the morning. You smile in your sleep constantly and make another million other little facial expressions that your Daddy & I could watch for hours. Everyone comments on how smiley of a newborn you are! You’re a rare gem.

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Image+are so alert. You are constantly staring at us with your beautiful almond eyes that are currently a beautiful blue. I wonder if they will change into a dark brown or hazel like your Daddy and I have. 

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+You adore your Daddy and he is absolutely head over heels smitten for you. I have literally been in tears after watching him love you so tenderly. We are constantly fighting over you but I’ve tried to let go a bit and let him have you since he will have to go back to work soon. He enjoys being your Daddy so much- from diaper changes to dressing you to you sleeping on his chest, (his most favorite thing in the world) he is just relishing in all of it. 

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+ you have DELICIOUS dimples!!! I am so in love with them. We can thank Daddy for that genetic contribution. 

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+ your Mommy is ridiculously in love and obsessed with you. I have posted far too many photos of you on various social media outlets shamelessly. 

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+ You celebrated your 1st 4th of July and got to meet more family and church family at GrandMum’s house. 

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London June, you have won over every fiber of our hearts and everyone who meets you just swoons over you!

You are joy.

You are love.

You are pure heaven.

You are quite magnetic.

Lots of people told us to just dig our heels in and survive “those first two weeks” and we must have gotten so very lucky because this first week as just been pure bliss. You sleep through the night and we have had to set alarms so we can wake you up to nurse (however, the pediatrician told us to let you sleep since you haven’t lost weight!). You are such an easy, happy baby and you are teaching us about a whole new type of love. One that is deeper, wider and less explainable. You are making our marriage more dynamic and strong- we are learning about real team work. To see our love fleshed out in such a precious life is the biggest blessing I’ve received. We are a family and you have made that so. We are standing on Holy ground.  

You are my biggest, most joyful adventure and I love you more than words. Always and forever. 

Love, 

Mom xo 

 

Fashionably Late: On Community & 40 Weeks Update

…just like your Mama.

Girl, we can never be on time and it drives your Dad nuts. I have a feeling you will be following my free spirited philosophy about being prompt and on schedule. My due date has come and gone and I am now 40 weeks + 4 days.

This is what I know:

Babies very rarely come on their due date.

The average 1st time mom has her baby 40 weeks + 5 days.

You are safe and healthy.

I am safe and healthy.

You will come when you are ready.

Knowing all of this, I still found myself curled up in a ball crying because you didn’t come on a specific, estimated date. I know it is silly, and as I was crying I knew it then too but I still could not control the tears. Since then, I’ve shed tears more times than I would like to admit. The reason for my tears is a mixed bag. Sometimes, I’m not really even sure why I am crying. I think a good deal of them is because:

+ I’m a little scared. Scared of the huge change that will occur once your here. I’m nervous about how the dynamic of your Dad and I’s relationship will change. Again, I know it will be  beyond words wonderful once you’re here but the unknown is still nerve wrecking.

+ I definitely feel the pressure from loved ones that are sooo excited about you. One day in particular I had a ton of people check in on me and wanted to know when you would be here. I feel so appreciative that I have such an awesome support system and a community who reaches out to us. However that day, I felt the weight of anticipation of everyone else and combined with my already out of control anxiety of not knowing when you would come, I crumbled. I turned off my phone and cried. I just couldn’t face another question or labor inducing suggestion. I already feel on edge not knowing the minute you will decide to join us and some days the introvert in me does not know how to handle community. So I always default to withdrawing. Sometimes, I just need to shut down in order to remain sane. Thankfully, this just lasted a day and I was able to bounce back the next morning and welcome my community back into my life. Little London, always welcome community. However, if it all seems too much sometimes, just like Jesus, we all need to retreat for some quiet to regain our composure so that we can go back nourished in Spirit, ready to dance with our community again.

Here are the two biggest emotions I have been dealing with:

+ I am sad to let you go. This sounds funny, I know. I was reading about how sometimes mental walls can delay labor. Our own sub conscience fears can actually send signals to our body telling us that we aren’t ready to give birth. At first, I scoffed at the idea and thought that there was nothing standing in the way of me wanting you here. But a few days passed and I found myself in deep reflection and quiet and I quickly realized that I indeed had some mental blocks and fears. I realized that I am nervous to let you go from the home you’ve built inside my womb. I have really come (and in the beginning, I never thought I would come to this place) to love being pregnant and having you inside my tummy. I have loved feeling you grow and change. I have loved being able to feel you wrestle, twist and turn. I have loved being able to know how you are positioned and always feeling you stick out that little booty of yours every day. I have loved feeling you hiccup and kick Daddy in the ear anytime he lays his head on my tummy. I have loved feeling you dance anytime I play music. I have loved that you are with me no matter where I go. I have loved seeing a little bit more of God within me. And of course I realize the better part of the deal is about to reveal itself, but I will miss this type of relationship with you. It’s so very fleeting in comparison to the time I will have with you on this side of the world. As this time slips away, I am faced with both sadness and anticipation. I have been praying a prayer of release- asking God to give me the courage and wisdom to gracefully accept the change that will inevitably happen.

+ I am so ready to hear you take your first breath. While I am sad to let you go from my womb, I am so ready to hold you and be done with the waiting game and constant anticipation and the anxiety that accompanies it. I want to feel you in my arms and see your Daddy get his turn of holding you after all this time. I want to kiss you and count your rolls and smell the top of your head. I can’t wait to breastfeed and give you the nourishment you need. I can’t wait for your family to meet you and fall in love with you. The past few days I have really come to terms with the next step of meeting you and releasing you from me. I have prayed for release a thousand times and I am so ready for you now.

No pregnancy book or experienced mom can prepare you for these feelings because no one pregnancy is the same. Sure, you hear stories but creating your own that directly affects your dynamics of life can not be taught. Others stories can be helpful and sometimes even hurtful to your own depending how you decide to hear hear it. Living in community can be difficult and it’s the farthest thing from perfect but it can be wildly beautiful too. Being pregnant pushes introverts like myself in direct contact with community whether you pursue it or not. It forces you to vulnerable with people you never intended to share some of the most vulnerable parts of your story with. For me, I definitely struggle with my new relationship to my community- it has come and continues to come with a lot of growing pains. When I want to slam the door to relationship, I find people knocking that door down and I am humbled. Sometimes, I think I could do this on my own and that it would be easier and more efficient if I just locked myself from community. I realize now though, that not only do I need community, I want it. I have come to even love it. Sure, it can be a pain in the ass sometimes but that’s just part of its wild and beautiful nature. So, my little London, you have introduced and helped me find my place in community. You have given me the courage to open the door and say “yes” instead of slamming it shut and saying “no”. I’m glad to welcome you to the community I have struggled to be vulnerable with. I am glad you are a part of my community.

So along with all these feelings, emotions and reflections I thought I would share a 40 week update:

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At 40 weeks I am:

+craving cold cubes of watermelon. I can not get enough of it.

+having severe sciatic back pain whenever I put weight on my left leg.

+walking a lot which funny enough seems to help with the sciatic pain.

+1 cm dilated which I was happy to hear since the past two times I wasn’t dilated at all!

+scheduled to be induced  the night of June 28th (right at 42 weeks). This is absolute latest they will allow me to be pregnant

+praying that I won’t have to make that appointment and that you come on your own.

+trying every possible natural induction technique there is- walking, spicy food, sex, acupuncture and even doing handstands in the pool! Image

+your daddy and I had a “vacation” day yesterday- he could see that I was slipping back into a funk so we went to our midwife appointment,

ate at our favorite coffee shop FidoImage

actually convinced your Daddy to get a pedicure with me (!!!!)

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had lunch with my family,

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and then ended by going to Aunt KK’s and cousins’ house to celebrate your Gramp’s father day with yummy dinner

A funny, short video clip of your cousins!

So my sweet baby, until you arrive I will try to remain in vulnerability with my wonderful community, continue to pray for release and rest in the love of our maker. I love you. Always. Forever.

Love,

Mom xo

Your Nursery

Dear London, 

   I am 39 Weeks + 5 days pregnant with you. Your due date is just 2 days away! Today, I made a quick decision to try acupuncture which is an all-natural, completely safe method to induce labor. It was the best experience and one that I want to repeat. When consulting with the acupuncturist, he told me that most of his pregnant patients go into labor within 24 hours to 3 or 4 days from their treatment. Even if it didn’t work, it was completely worth the amazing 2 hour nap I had while I was there. I haven’t slept that well in months! 

  I have been wanting to post about your nursery for some time and I am excited to document how I have transformed my craft room into your little home. It took a lot of work but we were able to put it together over an extended course of time. Without your Daddy’s help, there was no way I could have done it myself. I really regret not taking before pictures of when it was the craft/guest room! 

Your Nursery 

  Because we rent, we haven’t painted a wall in this entire house. All the walls are white and honestly, I have come to love them because they really allow each room to speak for themselves. When we have a house of our own, I would love to add some color to the walls but white works well for us now. We played with the idea of painting your nursery but decided against it and I am glad! Your nursery is so cozy, feminine, eclectic and vintage inspired.

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The Light Fixture: Your Daddy surprised me by making and installing the light while I was at work one day! I love it. Note the missing light bulb- we need to put one in! hehe. I love it because you can turn each lightbulb off individually or the entire thing depending on how bright or dim you prefer. This was a HUGE improvement to the horrible, dated ceiling fan light that was there before. I always kept it off because it only had one speed: The speed of light and I was so nervous that it would take off one day and chop my head off while crafting. 

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The Crib: I was so excited to find this crib on Craigslist for only $40! Originally, it was dark cherry wood stained. I saw an Instagram shop post  a picture of a Mint crib a long time ago and knew then that I wanted to do the same! The color actually turned out to be more blue than I had intended but it is still amazing none the less. Your Dad (who painted the entire thing) was worried it looked too boyish but I knew it would be perfect once we added all the other feminine details and colors to your nursery. This was the very first nursery purchase and project and I was so very pleased with it! 

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The Bedding: At first, I was really getting frustrated at the bedding I was finding at the stores. Everything was just too themed for the vision I had for your nursery. So, I went to the quilting Goddess for help. Lucas’ grandmother (we all call her Memother) can quilt like no other. She made us the most wonderful, beautiful quilt for our wedding. So, it only made sense, especially since the June of London June was named after her, that we ask her to make a quilt for you! I knew I wanted to incorporate the Union Jack in some way but when I came across an Union Jack quilt on Pinterest I knew that would be perfect for your bedding! So, your Dad and I went to the fabric store to pick out fabric samples per Memother’s request. I had a difficult time choosing fabric for each part of the flag so your Dad ended up taking some of the fabric I had picked out (I chose far too many) and matched it to each part of the flag. We gave the fabric and plan to Memother and she had it made in just a couple of weeks! It’s one of the most beautiful things I have ever laid my eyes on and it is PERFECT for you and your nursery. It will be part of you and your history. 

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The Banner: This was a decoration that one of my dearest friends, Rachel provided for your baby shower. Afterwards, she let me have it and it really fits the room and ties it all together. I love the vintage colors used! It’s from Rifle Paper Co.  

ImageYour Wardrobe: Our little house lacks MAJOR storage space. When we removed all the craft room stuff, I became a little panicked because I had no idea what we would do with it all. We condensed a lot but still found ourselves short of space. You have a small closet in your nursery but it contains all our Christmas decor and wrapping paper. So, when I saw a branch used as a way to display clothes on Pinterest I knew this would not only be an effective way to store your clothes but a beautiful way to do it. Especially, since your whole wardrobe is thrifted vintage! I painted a branch that we found in the back yard and your Dad used thick twine to wrap around the branch and hang from hooks he installed in the ceiling. I am glad that our lack of storage forced us to be creative because it’s one of my favorite elements of your nursery. I would have hated to lock your beautiful vintage dresses behind a door! Everyone that has visited loves to look at your little wardrobe! 

Your Changing Table: 

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This was a piece from Mum Mum (my mom). Again, I saw this idea on Pinterest and fell in love. Instead of buying an expensive changing table that can only be used for a couple of years, using a armoire can be a better transition piece. 

ImageThis was so easy to transform. All we had to do was take out a shelf that was dividing the open space that now holds your changing pad. That was it! The changing pad was the perfect size and I was so glad it fit. The drawers are perfect and we stored diapers, wipes, Febreeze, diaper cream, etc. in the first drawer. In the second drawer are your sweet and soft sleeping gowns, onesies and bloomers. 

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In the bottom drawers, we have stored clothing that you won’t fit in for a while and extra crib sheets. Again, I’m glad we had to become creative with storage because this turned out to be an excellent and efficient way of doing so. 

Your Window Treatments:

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I really dread spending money on window treatments, especially since we rent. I rather spend money on them when I know we will be in our own house. So, I’m not really sure where I got this idea…probably Pinterest again! This was super cost effective and I adore them way more than regular curtains. Off to Goodwill I went in search of vintage sheets. I love vintage sheets. They are made so much better and are so feminine. The only thing I hated about this was cutting them up but I think it was so worth it. I measured the length I needed and then cut the sheets in varying widths. I didn’t try to be neat or precise because that wasn’t the look I was going for. Also, I’m pregnant and my patience is limited. I then added strips of burlap left over from our wedding to them too. Your Dad helped me make a pattern and then we tied them onto the existing curtain rod. Originally, we had cream curtains hung in that room and I decided to tie the fabric strips in front of the existing curtain to provide more privacy and coverage from sunlight so you might sleep better. They turned out way better than I had hoped and they add texture to the room. I also love that the air vent moves them around a bit when the air is on- magical! 

Your bookshelf: 

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We were lucky enough to have had built in bookshelves when we moved in. In fact, it was one of the main reasons I was attracted to this house when we were looking at rentals. I knew it would be perfect for my craft room. Never, did I imagine trading my crafting supplies for children’s books but I think it was a way better trade. I love displaying books cover out instead of lining them up- especially with children’s books and their beautiful illustrations. My Mom pulled out 3 huge plastic tubs of our books from when we were little and let me pick out some for you! I was so excited to dig through them and find my childhood favorites. Some of them were my Mom’s when she was little which makes them all the more special. Not to mention, they are vintage and look great in your vintage inspired nursery! I also added trinkets and toys you have received to the shelves. 

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I really hope we help create and instill a love of reading and learning in you! I was blessed by that myself as a child and it is something that you will be able to carry along with you as you become an adult. I love that this bookshelf isn’t stuffy and boring but bright, cheery and exciting! 

Other Decor Elements: 

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ImageMost of the things in the photos above were gifts from people that already love you. I love that when I look around your nursery, it is filled with people’s craft, talent and generosity. Your Aunt Whinnie gave you the beautiful hat box filled with the softest baby blanket at Christmas and Aunt KK gifted the wall art! The yellow dress is something I found at a thrift store and to this day it is my all time favorite thrifting find! It is the most beautiful, well constructed, vintage smocked dress! I originally listed it to sale in my Instagram Shop but after lots of offers, I just could not part with it and eventually took it down. I know you won’t be able to wear it for years and years so instead of storing it in a box somewhere and misplacing it, I decided to hang it for all to see. I am so glad that I kept now and can’t wait ( and really I can, please don’t grow up!) for you to wear it one day. 

Well, there you go my dear! A look into your little nest. It has become one of my favorite places in the house and often I read my morning devotion and drink my coffee in there. I have even caught your Dad reading in the rocker. I asked him why he wasn’t reading in his study and he replied that he liked your nursery better. Warmed my heart! I think the real reason we both like being in there is because it makes us feel a little closer to home with you! 

Love you always, 

Mom xo

 

False Labor & Cheeks for Days

Dear London June, 

This week has been a whirlwind of emotions.

Monday morning I woke up at 3am very nauseous and feeling really weird. I threw up and threw up and shortly after had some intense pressure waves (contractions). I also had some extreme lightning bolt type pain through my pelvis, lots of pressure and excruciating back pain. I was sure this was the onset of my ‘birthing time’ (labor). I called the midwife and she told me all the signs pointed toward GO but I needed to time my pressure waves, take a warm bath, drink water and see if I still progressed. After I got out of the bath I noticed the pressure waves dwindling and finally laid down and before I knew it I had fallen asleep from exhaustion. I woke up and the pressure waves had completely gone and I felt defeated, sad and unsure. I had given so much of my focus and hard work during the false labor and had gotten so excited that I would finally be meeting you. I called into work to let them know that there was no way I could come in after all of that and your Dad called in too so he could stay with me.

We took another early morning nap and when I woke up I felt the strong urge to walk. I don’t know where I got that burst of energy but that’s all I wanted to do. So we went to the local park and power walked about 2 miles in the hot sun. We came home, ate lunch and then got ready for my Midwife appointment that had already been scheduled. I was so hopeful that after all that hard work that I must be a little bit dilated. She checked me and nope, not dilated at all. I almost wept. So silly, I realize but I was sure I would just be a tad dilated. I was a little bit effaced though and that made me feel better. She checked to see if she was head down and was nearly sure she was but not 100% certain. I voiced my concern that it had felt like you had flipped or moved into a higher position because since 32 weeks you dropped really low but the past few days you have seemed to be up so very high. So she suggested an ordered ultrasound just to check and make sure you were not breach. Just her saying that made my stomach turn and I instantly agreed just so that I could have the peace of mind. So this morning your Daddy and I went for the ultrasound and she checked all your organs and measured your bones and checked your position. Sure enough, you were head down and I sighed a huge breath of relief.

When we went in for your 4D ultrasound at 30 weeks we discovered that the umbilical cord was lassoed around your neck. This was unnerving to see and I asked the Midwives if there was anything we could do. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done while in utero but she assured me that this is quite common and most of the time they simply just unwrap the cord as they are delivered. I didn’t let this stress me out but it has lingered in my mind since and I have prayed that you would remain safe and healthy. So today, as she was conducting the ultrasound I asked if there was any way she could check to see if the cord was still wrapped around your neck and she surprised us by agreeing that she could and she switched to the 4D ultrasound. Thankfully, she said the umbilical cord was no longer wrapped around your neck but floating in front of your face. Once again, I breathed a huge sigh of relief!Image

I was even more surprised that she got a terrific angle of your sweet squished face! I really had no idea we would be able to see you because you were head down and facing my back. 

Let me tell you, I have never been so tickled in all my life! It was such a pleasant surprise and treat especially after my disappointment from earlier this week. We oohed and awed and giggled over your AMAZING, to die for chubby cheeks. There is NOTHING better than chubby baby cheeks and I was really hoping that you would inherit them from your Daddy and I. 

Here you are at 39 weeks and 4 days- just 3 days away from your due date! 

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The ultrasound tech also let us know that you have a head full of hair so we better get our bows ready. I failed to tell her that I already have a variety packed in your hospital bag ready to go. My Dad thought the black shadow around your head was your hair and I laughed and let him know that was just where the picture cut off because the rest of your head was too far into my pelvis to capture. If that was your hair I would laugh hysterically because it looks like an Elvis wig! Mom was concerned about the photo of you sucking your thumb because she though your eye looked like a frog eye and again we laughed. That is just the distortion of the ultrasound from where you were moving while they took the photo. I absolutely love that you were sucking your thumb and you really remind me of my sister, your Aunt Whinnie. Everyone is so smitten over how beautiful and cute you are…get ready for lots of cheek pinchers coming your way! I can not even express how smitten I am. Seeing your sweet, chubby face was exactly what I needed to get through this week and gives me something to focus on as I try to patiently await your arrival. 

As I was getting my hair trimmed today, Amanda my hair dresser & friend brought up a great point. She reminded me that Monday night, although disappointing, might just be God’s way of giving my body and mind a final dress rehearsal. That totally clicked and made sense to me and even though I am a bit disappointed you aren’t here to cuddle with, I am blessed that I got a chance to prepare myself for what’s to come. And when I look back on it, I am pretty proud at how I did and how calm and relaxed I remained. It gives me hope that I can really do Hypnobirthing and have a safe, quick and easy birthing. 

So my little chubby cheeked cherub, I will cherish the very few moments, movements & hiccups I feel inside of me because I know I will miss them and feel empty without you in there. I will feel good that you will never be more safe and cared for than you are now in my womb. I will take joy in the anticipation of awaiting your arrival and gawk at your chubby cheeks a thousand more times before I get to see, kiss and squeeze them on this side of the world. 

Love you always, 

Your very excited Mama xo 

HypnoBirthing & My Birth Plan

Dear London,

You are still comfortable in my tummy and I am happy to make you feel at home there for long as you need. Of course, I am ready to count your leg rolls and kiss your cheeks too. Whenever your ready sweet love…you are the best teacher of patience I have ever had. 

I wanted to share today about my “planned” method of birthing you. After watching “The Business of Being Born” I started to completely re-evaluate my preconceived knowledge, ideas and perception of how I pictured my pregnancy, labor and delivery experience. I used to just instantly assume I would want an epidural and that was pretty much the extent of my plan of birth. I just assumed I would arrive at the hospital, ask them to hook me up to the good stuff and let the doctors take it from there. Since then, I have consumed myself in research, reading and asking a lot of moms who all had very different births a lot of questions. From there, I started researching what type of birth would be best for me and my nature. I no longer wanted to just blindly trust the doctors and hospital with this because A. they don’t know me B. I don’t know them C. I feel like I should be highly involved in the planning of my birth.

I’m pretty sure I have planned this more than I did my wedding. And girl, did I plan my wedding.

My first best move was to pair with the Vanderbilt Midwives for my prenatal care. When I first became pregnant we decided not to share our news with anyone until I was 12 weeks. So, finding prenatal care was a little lonely and difficult since I couldn’t ask around without giving away that I was pregnant. So off to the internet web search I went. I searched high and low of  reviews of countless OBs and it just didn’t feel right. And then I stumbled upon a glowing review…several reviews about how wonderful and unique the Vandy Midwives were. At first, I wasn’t really sure what a midwife was or if it would be the right fit. After visiting their website and reading tens of birth stories and their philosophy, I knew I wanted to meet with them. I was blown away by the amount of care and concern they had for me and baby Blueberry and I loved that I could talk to them woman to woman instead of doctor to patient. I continue to be amazed by the calming spirit they provide and the reassurance they give to me that my body was made to birth and that labor doesn’t have to be a scary medical emergency.

I would say half my pregnancy (until about week 20) I was still all go for an epidural as my birth plan. Honestly, I was so focused of growing you that I intentionally blocked out delivery because it scared the life out of me. But the more I read and researched and heard story after story of women birthing healthily, the more confident and curious I became about my own delivery. Also, I realized that I would have to face it eventually, so I better go ahead and plan it-this isn’t something you procrastinate on. I started researching different pain management options and labor techniques and it was a bit overwhelming because there are SO many options today. Bradley Method, Water Birth, Alpha Childbirth, Lamaze and Hypnobirthing to name just a few.

Hypnobirthing kept drawing my curiosity in and I was really compelled by other couples’ testimonies and birth stories. I was highly skeptical also. So I bought a book about it and began reading (HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie Mongan) and by the second chapter I knew this was the right method for Lucas and I. It just made sense to me. As someone with knowingly very low pain tolerance, I surprised myself (and continue to do so) that I even considered a natural method of pain management, especially something like self-hypnosis and deep relaxation techniques.

So what is Hypnobirthing?

Basically, it is a really fresh but natural way to view pregnancy, birth and delivery. The first thing about the philosophy of Hypnobirthing that caught my attention was this idea: When there is fear, there is pain. When there is no fear, there is no pain. The author went onto to explain the physical aspect of this theory- when we are scared what do we do? We tense our muscles which can lead to unnecessary pain. Such a simple but revolutionary idea. As a society that views labor has a scary medical procedure via T.V. shows, youtube clips and exaggerated scenes on comedies we subconsciously internalize the fear and pain that is played out and we believe it. So when we birth, we go into it fearing the very worse. And when we fear….we tense up…and when we tense up we end up laboring far more painfully than need be. So hypnobirthing is less about techniques (although it does provide some wonderful mediation, relaxation and positions) and more about a complete revival of our view of birth. Hypnobirthing advocates that birth can be a life altering, beautiful, healing and even comfortable experience. They advocate that with enough positive mindset women can achieve birth with OUT pain. Yes, you read right. And although, I sometimes have my doubts because the way I have been conditioned to view labor negatively and the horror stories I have heard have affected me, I have also heard countless accounts about how amazing this method truly works for millions of couples.

Just a few weeks ago, I was reading the book while waiting to be seen my the midwives when a husband of one of the women also waiting shared how it truly works and how he or the hospital staff could not tell she was having contractions by her state but only by the machine that monitors them. He went on to gush about how wonderful and calming it was for both of them and their baby. After talking with them, I just became more confident that I could do this! Little ole me that tears up when she gets her eyebrows waxed might just have the chance to birth naturally.

Am I above an epidural? Absolutely not. But do I want to try to birth without any medication? Absolutely. If anything, I just want to give it my very best shot and surprise myself. There are many obvious health benefits of not using interventions too that I am too intimidated to go into in fear that this post will end up being 20 pages long. And if I end up asking for an epidural, then Hypnobirthing has been totally worth it just for my pregnancy. As a very anxious person, I have surprisingly been very calm throughout my pregnancy. I have actually enjoyed and embraced it. I listen to my self-hypnosis (and at first, I was totally turned off by them because it sounded SO cheesy but I let go and allowed myself to listen past that) almost daily and nearly every time I fall asleep because it relaxes me so much. I always wake up after feeling refreshed with energy and I have a more positive outlook on the rest of the day/evening. Because of the hypnosis tapes and book, I have gone from having zero confidence that natural birth was a possibility for me to believing that I absolutely can with the help of Lucas and regular practice of self-hypnosis and deep relaxation.

And although I can’t share the outcome of my birthing experience yet, I already highly recommend it to pregnant couples just to feel empowered and relaxed through out your pregnancy. Never, and I mean never did I think I would even investigate natural birth plans, let alone pursue this path but Hypnobirthing has completely won me over and I am really looking forward to my birthing time. I am not scared or nervous about it at all and that is enough for me to click my heels and exclaim about it. That is a huge accomplishment for me. I think if I hadn’t pursued this path, I would be suffering some major anxiety/panic attacks.

If you are curious about this method, I highly recommend watching this video of an actual hypnobirthing. You will hear them refer to “Pressure Waves” and that is just a Hypnobirth term for “Contractions”. Another way to change your mindset of birth is to change the language associated with general births which can have deeply negative connotations.

So now that you know a little bit of Hypnobirthing, (I feel like I gave a very inadequate summary of it so I challenge you to research it yourself) I wanted to also include a copy of our birth plan. We have already gone over it with one of midwives and she really liked it and scanned it so that it will already be on file when we arrive at the hospital. A birth plan is just that: a plan. It exists so that all the nurses, midwives and staff can be on the same page of how they couple wishes their birth to be like.

Sydney’s Birth Plan

 The people who will be present during labor and delivery are Lucas Hutson (Husband) and Heather Dawbarn (Mother).

 

Hypnobirthing

We have chosen Hypnobirthing as our method of birthing. Because we have chosen this method we ask that there be as few people in the room as possible in order to maintain calm and deep relaxation (No students please). We also ask that when communicating important matters you speak with Lucas first and he will communicate to Sydney. 

 

Environment

 

  • Dim Lighting
  • Soft Voices
  • Music
  • No Speaking During Actual Delivery. (Unless Necessary)

 

Induction

If induction becomes necessary I would like to try natural induction techniques first.

 

  • Walking
  • Breast Stimulation
  • Enema
  • Castor Oil

 If medical induction becomes necessary we would like to avoid using pitocin and only use it as absolute last resort. 

 

Pain Relief

 Please do not offer pain medication options unless I request them. I am attempting to manage pain using natural methods. If I choose to use pain relief I would like to use nitrous gas. An epidural would be a last resort effort.

 

Second Stage Labor

 As long as the baby and I are healthy I prefer to have no time limits on pushing. Please no staff lead coaching or cheering while delivering. When cervical checks are performed please relay information to Lucas and not Sydney. 

To help prevent tearing please apply hot compresses and perform perineal massages.

 

Delivery

 

  • I would like the room to be silent as our baby is born.
  • We would like our voices to be the first ones our baby hears.
  • I would like to touch my baby’s head as it crowns.
  • I would like to push instinctively and would not like to be prompted to push.
  • My husband will be catching our baby and cutting the cord after it is allowed to pulse.

 

Newborn Procedures

 Golden Hour

 We want to bond with our baby by using the Golden Hour.

 Administration of eye drops

Please do not administer eye drops to my baby. I am willing to sign a waiver form if need be.

 Vitamin K

Please do not administer Vitamin K to my baby. I am willing to sign a waiver form if need be.

 Immunizations

 I prefer all immunizations be postponed to a later time.

 Bathing Baby

 We would like to give our baby her first bath using our own baby products.

 

Thank you for respecting our birth plan. We appreciate all that you do.

You might have noticed that we are denying the Vitamin K shot, eye drops and postponing the Hep B vaccine. If you have any questions, please ask but please do not attack our decisions. We decided upon these huge decisions after a TON of research, consultation with our midwives and deep personal conviction. I would love to share why we decided the way we did if you are curious! We really feel like we are making the best decisions for our family which may look different than yours and we think thats perfectly okay. 🙂

Your Name

Dear London June,

Today I am 38 weeks pregnant with you and never have I been more excited and less patient. Every jab of pain, discomfort or Braxton Hicks contraction makes me wonder if the onset of labor is here. Even though, I am very uncomfortable these days, I am still not at the point that I have heard other mothers recall where all they want to do is “get it out!!!”. Maybe that phase is on the horizon but more than anything I am just so anxious and curious about when you will come and how. Your arrival could begin before I start typing the next paragraph or it could be next week. Your Daddy is so ready- he is willing you into existence every day. Last night he suggested we do the typical suggested natural induction techniques (spicy food, walking etc.) but I told him to just be patient. He is just so excited to meet you and he still reads to you nearly every night. So very sweet.

photo-106

Well I’ve moved onto the next paragraph and you still haven’t started labor which is good because I would like to get in a couple more blog posts before you arrive. Today, I wanted to take time to explain why we chose your name.

London June.

I have loved the name London far longer than you were thought of. I love it because it connects you to my heritage. My grandparents and Mom’s side of the family are from England. I lived there for 3 years and feel deeply connected to that culture. My Mom (your Mum Mum) is both an American and British citizen. I can’t wait for you to meet my Grandparents- they are some of the most interesting people I know and you will surely be intrigued by their accents that now have a bit of Tennessean peppering some of their words. I also liked the name because it links you to a place just like my name links me to a place. I was named after my Great Grandfather (my Mom’s Grandfather) who lived in England until he moved over to the states- he was named Sydney because his brother moved to Sydney, Australia.

When we tell people your middle name they instantly assume we chose “June” because that’s the month you are due. However, we chose this name a very long time ago, again before you were thought of. It’s just a beautiful coincidence and stroke of grace that you will also be born in June. Your middle name is honoring Lucas’ Grandmother, Verla June and I think she is quite smitten about it. She has been busy the past month or so creating you a beautiful quilt, just as she did for our wedding. It will be something you will treasure and cherish forever.

I can’t wait to hold you, London June and see all the little ways that make you who you are and who you will be. I can’t wait to see my biggest dream brought to flesh.

I have a feeling you will be arriving sooner than later and I don’t think that’s my wishful thinking talking. My body is definitely trying to tell me that you will be here soon and preparing for labor. My spirit has followed suit and I find myself nesting like crazy and trying to prepare for you in every way.

In the mean time, I have been listening and practicing my Hypnobirthing techniques and deep relaxation methods. Your Dad has learned how to help prompt and guide me through it and is so good at motivating me to practice. We have a full moon coming up and it is said that lots of women go into labor on a full moon. June 8th (next Saturday) the moon will be in full swing and who knows you might be too which I would love because 8 has always been my favorite number, silly I know.

I hope to do my next post about Hypnobirthing and perhaps you will wait until I can do that. But, if not, I guess I will have to post about my biggest adventure and proudest joy. I think I might just be able to manage that 😉

Love you so,

Mom xo

 EDIT: I went to the midwife today and she checked me…not dilated at all! She said she would be surprised if you came next week. So, it looks like I have a week or two to enjoy you in my tummy- just the two of us. Soon, I will have to share you with the rest of the world and although that excites me, I will miss feeling you move inside me and having you with me wherever I go. 

Getting to Know You a Little Better

Dear sweet girl,

This week has been a week of getting stuff done! I have been on Spring Break and decided to take this time to be productive and get organized because I knew this would be one of the last chunks of time I would get before you arrive. I finally changed my last name and took your Daddy’s. I am such a procrastinator when it comes to things like that. I loathed the idea of standing in a ton of waiting lines and filling out paper work- and for good reason! I spent the entire week in ridiculous long lines while people gave me the panicked “oh my goodness, is her water going to break?” look. A lady in front of me jokingly asked if she was going to have to catch you while we waited and I just had to laugh and say “Maybe!”.

I also tackled two midwife visits. The first was a one hour glucose test to check for Gestational Diabetes. I failed so I had to go back today for a 3 hour test- what a doozy! I had to drink a glucose drink way sweeter than the first after fasting for 8 hours. I chugged it down and 30 mins later I went to the bathroom because I knew something wasn’t right. After I rocked myself and tried to calm myself there was no stopping what was about to happen. I threw that glucose drink up all over that bathroom with a force to be reckoned with..it was NOT pretty or fun. I went ahead with 2 1/2 hours of the visit and my blood was taken a total of 4 times. I had never been more ready to leave that place! I’m praying that my results come back negative because I do not want to relive that. Only for you my baby.

Thankfully, in the midst of all the errands, waiting lines and vomit there was quite a big highlight to brag about! This week, we got to know you just a bit better. We got to see your face,  fingers and toes. We went and had a 4D ultrasound done and it was amazing to see your full little figure and facial features. You slept the majority of the time but woke up half way through by rubbing your eyes and then the kicks and stretching shortly followed. It was an outer body experience to feel and see your movement at the same time! I could have done that all day- it was just magical. And when you smiled, well, that changed everything. I have never been more proud or fulfilled in my life. Oh, London June- you’ve got us tied around your tiny, little finger.

Here is a short video compilation of some of your epicness:

I love your smile already.

Love,

Mom

Filling your Closet & Self Worth

Dear London June,

27 weeks later, I still find you to be my biggest joy- even when I’m not feeling quite cheerful all the time. I haven’t written to you since Granny Boo’s funeral because life happens so quickly. I feel like every time I find my “new normal” something else comes along and twirls me off my feet and I’m left trying to regroup and reorder. Such is life. Learn to flex when life does or you’ll end up breaking into pieces.  The flexing might be uncomfortable and it will stretch you to extremes but it’s much more difficult to move forward when your trying to gather and mend the million pieces of your shattered spirit. So move with the wind and make friends with it. Dance with it and invite others to join you. Don’t go it alone.

We recently found out that you are 2 whole weeks older than we originally thought. I think that news hit your Dad pretty hard. I’m excited to see you two weeks earlier but your Dad and I are feeling the time constraints of buying our first home tighten. …And so we go with the wind and learn to flex. We are trying to find peace in the midst of the unknown. We want to be as prepared as we can for you and make things perfect but we know that life doesn’t come in a perfect package. You, however are the greatest gift I could wish for and I’m like a little girl on Christmas Eve waiting for your arrival. Giddy while standing tippy-toed.

I’ve been avidly shopping for you on Instagram. It’s gotten out of control. Your wardrobe (you already have a full one waiting for you) is full of vintage perfection. In fact, 99% of it is vintage.

London wardrobe 1

london wardrobe 3

london wardrobe 2

It’s swoon worthy.

Instagram is a social media outlet that allows you to upload photos and share them instantly with your friends. A huge community of moms trying to make a little money sell their used and vintage thrift baby clothes finds for VERY affordable prices. Some use it to make money where most use it to afford new clothes for their children. I recently opened up my own shop called “LovedbyLondon” (inspired by you London June, obviously!) where I have been selling my vintage finds from thrift stores! My goal is to save enough money from my profit to buy a fancy dancy digital SLR camera before you arrive so I can take ridiculous (and ridiculously high quality ) amounts of photos of you.

lovedbylondon

I was surprised how well I’ve done so far. I have found it just as fun to sell as it is to buy! I love sharing unique, precious and vintage pieces that make other mamas and babies happy to wear. I plan on doing this as long as it makes sense. One day I hope to sell the clothes you out grow even though parting with it already seems unbearable. You will be one fabulously dressed little lady. When I go into big box stores, I rarely find things I like for you. It seems like dressing your baby in teenage styles is the “in” thing but I can’t bare the thought of putting you in a neon pink onesie with a garish logo slapped onto the chest. Oh lawdy. No ma’am!

Today a fellow IG Shop owner @babylegslove (Go follow her adorable shop!) is hosting an IG Shop Appreciation Day. Each shopper is encouraged to post a picture of an item they have bought from an IG and tag the shop they bought it from. What a cool way to connect, share joy and spread the love! It’s also just too fun.

IG

I love that I’ve found this little community of mothers that share my joy and love for vintage and baby wear. I have made several shopping buddies and I am really thankful for all the support and encouragement this community exudes. For all my readers out there I highly encourage you to jump this bandwagon if you are looking for a fun, affordable, quick and easy way to shop for you and your kiddos. It’s like a giant yard sale with out the early mornings and  gas money. Not only can you find something for your little one, you can also find something for you. Housewares (like vintage pyrex, afghans and decor), jewelry, shoes & makeup. And unlike shopping at that creepy old man’s yard sale next door, you know that the money you are spending is helping out a fellow mama! Now that I am selling, I can truly say that it is fun but it is also a TON of hard work and coordination. I have always been treated so well while shopping my friends’ shops and I really appreciate the time they take to answer questions, take detail photos of their product and tag me in products they think I would like. Not to mention that many take time to write sweet little notes and tuck them away in your package! You can’t get that kind of compassionate customer service anywhere else.  I love opening my mailbox and finding packages from my IG shopping friends- I’m sure my mailman is suspicious though.

So how do you get started?

Follow some of my favorite shops:

@rockitvintage @irisandfriends @mythriftedgoodies @la_luneandstars @jandmcloset  @ottoandadelaide  @baileyandmommy @lydiaslittles @shopholeinmypocket @finnleysgarden @riversthings @hazelandgray @babylegslove @babylovesclothes @punky_mac @minascloset @djshandsies @djsvintage @gocharliejo @shoplittlemouse @juliesvintagefinds @modernnest @ohhadaleelee @penelopesthings @lydielove @scarlettandkhloe @kimballscloset @0nelittlehanger (spelt with a zero) @aboyandgirlshop @thriftyjune @wornbyus @kingsklothz @emptyingemm@chels_littleones @shoplittleacorn @robinsonthread @kingandnavy @moxie_mina_shop 

All of my items posted in the above photos were bought from shops like these! All you need to do is set up a Paypal account if you do not have one already. Then start shopping! Most shops have a policy that is pretty standard: Claim your item by leaving you Paypal address. Pay for your item(s) within 24 hours. No refunds/returns. Some shops include shipping into their prices but others, like myself price items as sold and are determined by the buyers zip code/weight of items.  Before claiming an item, make sure you read the shop’s policy because they can vary.

Before you know it, you will have made friends, shopping buddies and scored some priceless treasures. I already know I want to save a lot of my IG finds for London’s memory box/future little girls.

Now, back to you my sweet little girl.
Not only has my spirit been flexed and stretched but so has my body. I feel like a giant elephant on a hot summer African day. In other words, mama aint feelin too sexy these days.
I know I’m supposed to embrace this new “shape” I’m taking (expanding) on but I avoid full length mirrors (especially right out of the shower) like the plague. I have literally doubled in two weeks and this is by far the most extreme change I’ve endured so far. (and it definitely shows in my facial expressions- LOL.) (Also, the second photo was taken after my beloved hair dryer died during mid blow and my hair was outta control. wah wah)
photo-46
photo-48
I’m not wanting sympathy; I just want to shine light on the fact that watching your body grow uncontrollably at race car speeds is tough. It’s really tough. And it’s okay to acknowledge that. Yes, I know my belly resembles Santa Clause’s tummy after a full world’s helping of Christmas Eve because I am growing a spectacular little human being but I’m just trying to learn how to love the stranger I see in the mirror. London June, if you are anything like me and every other woman in the world, you will struggle with your self-worth, identity and image. Please know that it is normal and okay to face that struggle. But please also know not to allow that struggle to lie to you and tell you that you are nothing less than important. People can be really mean..really really mean (especially girls, and even women). Surround yourself with people that exude love and encouragement. Let their words be the ones that you take to heart and spirit. And if you ever have a single doubt that you are beautiful run to me so that I can gush over you and confirm your beauty. Even, especially when you are going through those awkward teenager years. I will probably be thrifting amazing clothes for you then and hopefully encouraging you to create your very own style but just know that all the amazing (and beautiful vintage) clothes your closet holds can never hold a light to your inner beauty (I know, cheeeeeeesy but oh so true). I hope I can model that your wardrobe is just the (fabulous) outer shell of the even more fabulous inner spirit of you.  So, as I struggle to embrace the sexy pregnant goddess within, I encourage you to embrace whatever stage you find yourself in when you read this. You might miserably fail and end up stripping down naked and crying in an empty bath tub after trying on 6 different outfits that made you feel more elephant than the last one. But then you can call me and I will tell you to get your naked ass up and get dressed and do what you have to do. Move on, learn to flex and bend and dance with the wind. And if you do end up snapping and your spirit breaks into a million pieces, I will be there to help mend them back together. One by one.
Love you so much already, London June. You are still my biggest adventure.
-Mom.

Dear London June,

That’s correct. You are a London June. A sweet little girl. The fulfillment of my wildest dreams. Everyone seemed to know you were a girl too, especially Daddy. He knew from the very beginning. I have a feeling you will be a daddy’s girl. Ever since I was a little girl and I would play pretend, my babies were always girls. I’ve only ever imagined myself with a little girl and when I got pregnant I tried my best to be unbiased and open my heart to receiving a little boy. By the time it was time to find out what you were, I had convinced myself that you were a boy.

We chose not to find out your sex while having the ultrasound. We wanted to wait so we could share the moment with just the two of us and record our reactions on video. While the ultrasound tech was examining me, she said “..and there’s his little nose…” and I instantly accepted the fact that you were a Finley Monroe and not a London June. I asked your Daddy as we were leaving if he caught her slip up and he did indeed.

But to my great surprise, you were a girl! Joy of joys!!

Seeing you on the ultrasound was holy and wonderful. I felt like I’ve never studied or focused on something more in my life. I was absolutely captivated, blown away and giddy. She told us where everything was located and I could hardly believe it all. She would point out your kidneys and liver and heart which we saw beating at 155 bpm! We even saw your blood flow from the umbilical cord to your heart and it was amazing.

ultrasound

While she was trying to capture and measure all the necessary pictures you were busily flipping, rolling and kicking up a storm! She even felt a huge kick to the doppler. I think it must have been the cold O.J. I drank before because I really felt you a lot!

nails oj

You kept your hands by your sweet little face the entire time- I wonder if you will do that once you are out here with us. You also open and closed your little mouth back and forth the entire time and it took my breath away! We truly got to view a miracle in the making and I wish I could watch you forever in there. You are perfection defined.

After we celebrated the fact that you were a girl, we had a party to throw in your honor! But first, we had to buy your first outfit. Your Dad and I fell in love with a beautiful dusty pink dress decorated with white tree and bunny silhouettes from the Beatrix Potter line at GAP. Your Daddy is especially proud of it and shows a picture of it to all his friends. He’s so smitten over you.

1st dress

We came home, finished decorating and filled black balloons with pink confetti inside.

bunting

finley or london

boy or girl

joy to the world

wall

Once guests arrived, they voted on whether you were a boy or a girl. There was lots more girl votes!

boy girl

We gave everyone a balloon and a pin and counted to 3. On 3, everyone popped their balloon and pink confetti flew all over our tiny living room. Shrills and screams of excitement filled the room and everyone celebrated London June. Hugs and kisses were exchanged and joy abounded. It was a blessed evening. Your Mum Mum (my Mom) and your Aunt Winnie (my sister) had presents a ready. There was a boy gift and a girl gift. The girl gift was filled with lace, your first tu-tu, frills and pink. The boy gift was filled with beautiful books which weren’t boyish. They both knew you were London at heart. They are already spoiling you like crazy=

gifts

We recorded it all on video and then posted it on Facebook late that night. Everyone was so thrilled to know you by name and shared so much love and excitement. You have a wonderful community already that cherishes and celebrates you. I hope you learn to cherish the importance of community.

Your Aunt Winnie and I went on a thrifting exploration for you. I think she is my thrifiting good luck charm because she found most of the amazing vintage pieces we bought. They are so London June and so classy and precious. I hate most of the modern baby clothes you find in the stores. Its mostly loud, bright and far too old for itty bitty precious babes like you. Vintage baby clothes are so delicate, soft and unique. I love finding hand embroidered  little animals. Every little girl should be just that, a little girl. No zebra, silly sayings or neon colors for you little baby.

thrift haul

I have been busy Instagramming and discovered Instagram shops. Mamas from all over the country sell their baby’s used clothing often in excellent condition for very little money. I have been on a rampage that was uncontrollable and they steadily are arriving in the mailbox every day. I had to ban myself from anymore near future purchases because it was out of control girlfriend. You will be the best vintage inspired dressed baby in town and I can hardly stand it! When you start outgrowing your outfits I plan on opening up my own Instagram shop and selling some of your things. (readers can add the shop now @ lovedbylondon and keep track with recent purchases and baby growing updates or follow my personal account @ sydneyarden)

Oh, baby London- how I adore you and your kicks and the joy you already spill into our lives. You’ve given us life molding memories that I can’t wait to share with you while I tuck you into bed. You are just spectacular.

Love you sweet GIRL!

Love,

One over-joyed Mama

its a girl

And one smitten Daddy

love daddy