While on maternity leave, I always felt guilty spending any money…even if it was for a necessity. Sure, I had 6 weeks paid leave, which was great, but I also took an additional 6 to max out my FMLA. This left us with 6 weeks unpaid leave, 6 weeks of watching our budget with a close eye. What was even was was all 12 weeks landed over October - December; prime gift buying season!

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Makes girlie girls happy!

Momma's…always remember to never compare your first pregnancy to any following pregnancies. No two pregnancies are alike, from woman to woman and from one woman having multiple pregnancies. Who ever said that couldn't have been more correct!

The 9 months of pregnancy with our son was the complete opposite of my first pregnancy with our daughter. I really enjoyed my first rodeo and had mentioned/thought that I would like a slightly different experience the second time around. Well. I got it. Be careful what you wish for!

It took 6 months to get pregnant (compared to 2!). My body was in a different place physically the second time around. I had recently found out I am severely allergic to almonds…and I had been drinking almond milk for over a year. Add in environmental allergies and an extreme amount of stress…I was a mess. I weighed the lowest since Middle School (110lbs) and was weak. The almond allergy had stripped my digestive tract, I couldn't eat anything without extreme pain, wanting to vomit or having to run to the bathroom. What muscle I had, my body ate to keep me going. I strongly believe that this set me up for the very trying pregnancy I had.

Nothing makes a woman start nesting like seeing a positive pregnancy test, knowing that you have until week 6 to get a move on things before morning sickness sets in. Like clockworks, 6 week mark rolled in town and I was feeling crummy. Assumed week 8 would be the worst of it (according to prior pregnancy). I could not have been any more incorrect. Morning sickness hit harder, later and lasted longer. I was feeling ill clear into week 13-14. I ended up on Zofran just to function. I had one week where I felt great and then my Hubby brought home a flu bug that we all had a touch of. (I was NOT happy!) That was how we spent Easter. Sick. On the couch. 

About a week or so later, I noticed I was having pains while peeing and some shooting leg pain. Assumed UTI. Went and got the meds, took one. Finished running around my lunch break and the back/hip pain was enough to take my breath away. Contacted my OB and they suggested Maternity/ER if the pain continued. Checked in at work, wasn't going away. Ran up to the ER. I'm 16 weeks pregnant. After some tests and a sonogram we have a diagnosis: Kidney Stone. My bought of morning sickness left me so dehydrated it resulted in a kidney stone. Three ER trips and 8 days later I finally passed the darn thing. It looked like a rice crispy and was the same size (GAG!) I was never so happy to be off pain meds and feeling better.

I felt fairly well throughout the rest of the second trimester. Besides a few times feeling faint from being too hot, it wasn't anything overly exciting. My Biffle had her baby girl and we found out we were having a baby BOY!! We had the sonogram room packed full: Me, Hubby, 4yo, my mom and dad and my husband's mom and dad. There was lots of cheering and a few tears when we had a confirmed penis on the sonogram!

Welcome to the third trimester…it rolled in somewhat lamb like and went out like a lion. I had heart burn constantly. Gas bubbles made me feel extremely ill. I hated to eat even though I was starving. Everything from the boobs down were out of control. I went from 110lbs to my final weigh in before birth at 155lbs. I could only sleep on my left side or my legs would fall asleep. I had horrible insomnia. And the WORST pelvic pain I have ever had in my life. I would roll over in bed and you could hear my pelvic bone crack like you'd crack your fingers. Everything was shifting and making room for baby….yet he was still stuck in my rib cage…

And don't get me started on the kicks and punches! This boy was a maniac in womb and was nicknamed "Ninja Turtle" very early on. It got to the point where I'd call my daughter over to feel her brother kick and she's like, nahh…over it! 

I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions since week 26. I was a bit nervous he was going to come early. I was much bigger this time and was experiencing pains earlier than the first pregnancy. I cried the day it turned August 1st on the calendar. I was due October 12th and SO ready to deliver this baby. I had been through so much pain and lack of sleep…it does some crazy things to a person's mind.

Finally! October 1st arrived and baby boy had his blessing to enter the world when he was ready, preferably before my due date. I worked until October 2nd. I was up all night with contractions…that magically went away upon waking up for the day. I was exhausted. Uncomfortable. Ready to be done. I was running out of clothes that fit and FAST! I had lost my mucus plug over night, it hit the toilet water with a "plop!" When I lost my mucus plug with my daughter it was only another 24-32 hours and full labor hit. Not this time. I made it to my 39 week appointment. I had my membranes swept for the second time (first time resulted in some bleeding, a few shooting pains and random cramping that was all finished before I got to bed that night.) I brought my daughter with me and sLily held my hand while I was checked. 2-3 cm and about 75% effaced. Progress. But not as much as I had hoped. After having my membranes were swept, we hit the park, had a Fox's Pizza lunch date, hit Walmart for a few last minute things and then stopped at the pet store before going home. We caught a 45 minute nap before Daddy walked in the door. We were taking the little bowling, I was told I was going "to be babysat" in case something happened. It was a gorgeously sunny day until a half hour before we hit the bowling alley and it started to rain. 

We arrived at the bowling alley around 6pm. DD and DH bowled three games before calling it quits. I had strict orders from the midwife to not time contractions. If I could ignore them, then they weren't the real thing. I had noticed some cramping when we hit the bowling alley and by 7pm I couldn't ignore them, but they weren't take your breath away intense. They were about 10 minutes apart. We get home from bowling around 8pm where I resume my place on the couch. Contractions keep coming, they are averaging about 5 minutes apart. By 9:30 they were around the 3 minute mark. I went into the bedroom and said, "Well, do you want to try to get some sleep and go to the hospital later, waking up DD. Or do you want to just go in now?  This is the real deal, the contractions are pulling the same as they did with DD active labor." *bit of a sigh* "It's up to you…" "Ok, let's go!" We alert DD, who is excited but even more excited for breakfast with Papa in the morning.

Meanwhile, it is just POURING outside. Soak you to the bone wet. And my DH mom is in Cleveland with his Grandpa who had an episode with his COPD. We called Papa to let him know we were going in to maternity, "You're kidding…she's in labor?" Yup. Yup she is! 

With all the rain I couldn't tell if my water broke or not! o.O Needless to say hubby hit the gas a little harder on our way into the hospital, haha. After dropping off Lily, we arrived at Penn Highlands Hospital DuBois. In the 4 year since I delivered Lily, they now have triage. I was handed a gown and a cup and directed towards the bathroom. Yes. I had to pee in a cup. Peeing in a cup while having contractions is pure EVIL! I got checked and was at 4cm with a bulging sac of waters (again!) and I was a keeper! Baby Boy is on his way! We had a wonderful overnight nurse. Renee was a blessing. She had lots of stories and things to talk about to help the time pass through the night. I hopped in the new jacuzzi tub (it's so big compared to the old one and love that there is a toilet in there as well!) The jacuzzi tub feels great on back labor. Highly recommend!

After 45 minutes in the jacuzzi, it was back to our room and epidural time. This Momma hadn't slept in months, so ready for some rest. Baby Boy had other plans…The epidural was flawless. It offered a bit of relief and took the edge off. However, I had a foot pushing my rib the ENTIRE night. It was so painful I had to wedge my fingers between his foot and my rib. And if I wasn't having rib pain I was dealing with BOILING heart burn. BLAH! It was the worst heartburn I ever had in my life. I was a Tum and ice cube monster. I couldn't eat enough of either. I barely slept.

At one point in the night we heard feet running and a nurse ran in and grabbed the baby catcher cart and dashed out with it. Turns out a Momma was in the jacuzzi tub, got out because she thought she had to use the bathroom and turns out baby was RIGHT there! Between getting out of the tub and getting her in a room and the baby came out…3 minutes! Craziness! Only a few hours after this adventure my Dad rolled in. Pretty sure he didn't sleep all night either…not sure if he was excited or nervous…or both :P

Nursing shift switch and the lovely Sheri was with us through the last leg of labor. My water was still intact and I was at a 6-7…Baby Boy still all up in my rib cage (he really didn't want to come out!) and he was "sunny side up" or posterior, meaning he was facing my belly button when he needed to be anterior, his spine on my belly button. Here's where the contractions really kick in. Laying on either side made them more intense. Laying on my back, totally fine. Once he finally got into position, the midwife, Julie came in and hooked my water. It was like a fire hose and landed right in her lap! She changed and came back to give us our game plan. I then rolled onto my left side and the contractions really got intense. By this point my Mom came in, bringing Scott breakfast. I was in the zone when Sheri came to check on me. I had them give me a bolster of the epidural and my Mom was rubbing lavender oil on my back below and away from the epidural site. While it didn't touch the pain spot, it was helping to take my mind off the pain.

After Sheri assessed what was going on she said it was possible I was feeling the urge to push and not so much a contraction. Onto my beck for a quick check and a push…"Whoah, stop pushing! I'm going to grab Julie…we are having a BABY!" YES!! My favorite part and what a relief knowing I could push! Sheri, Julie, a baby catcher (I don't remember her name, she was from the NICU and also pregnant) came in. While everyone was getting prepped, Carrie, the nurse who helped deliver Lily, came in on her lunch break. Everyone was here, my Mom had the camera ready, Scott had left leg duty and it was game on! The first time I really pushed I thought I was going to vomit acid…heartburn was in FULL swing and relentless! I pushed 2 times and I heard "Wah!" Baby Boy's head was out and he was saying "Hi family!!" Another push and his shoulders were out…"Go ahead and pull him out Mom!" Just like Lily, I got to pull the rest of Baby Boy out and onto my chest. I pushed maybe 10 minutes, compared to the hour and 15 minutes I pushed with Lily. There was a 30 second gap after the ninja turtle was out…and THEN the FLOOD came! My Mom was jumping, Scott was jumping…water came gushing out. I was soaked up to the shoulder blades. I didn't notice that after Julie hooked my water not a whole lot came out after that…the ninja turtle had corked it and saved it for a wild exit!

Malcolm Adrian was born at 12:34 PM on October 8, 2014. He weighed 7 lbs 11 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. A whole pound more than his sister and only half an inch longer. I thought for SURE this kid was going to be super long since I could feel him way down in my hips and up in my rib cage. And thank the Lord the heartburn was over! 

But of course the excitement couldn't end there. Around 4:00 PM I asked to get out of bed to pee. Sherri came back and I got my feet to the floor, "How do you feel?" she asks…well. My feet are still a bit numb and wobbly. Ok, so she helps me across the room. Half way there I mention I feel faint and like passing out. Get closer to the potty, say the same thing. I -just- sit down and BOOM, lights out! I come to and my eyes are HUGE and I am staring right at Scott who has Malcolm in his arms and looks scared and helpless. They snapped the salts on me (barf! They stink, bad, and it chokes you when you breathe deep) and in a wheel chair. Back to the bed I went. Sheri yelled at me because I had such a smooth labor without complications and then that happened. "Gray doesn't look good on you, chickie!" LOL  Whoops! :P

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