The Deans Eat & An Update

It’s been a while since I last wrote and an even longer while since I shared our meal plan, but I think I have a pretty good (& adorable) excuse. The last time I wrote I talked about Baby H and his upcoming surgery. He had skull surgery almost a month ago and honestly, he is doing so well sometimes I forget how recently he had major surgery. He is wearing his helmet 23 hours a day and I update on his life pretty regularly on Instagram if you want more adorableness in your life. Right now he is sleeping peacefully while I enjoy a little me time before we run some errands. 

Baby H is 15 weeks old and now that we are post surgery I am working on gaining some normalcy and routine in my life. He feeds on demand and I don’t want to have a crazy strict schedule for his sleep, but I want to have a basic routine to help me and to add a little structure to my days at home. This wasn’t a goal before surgery because I knew it would be all messed up and the past few weeks since surgery have been taken for healing and rest but now is time to figure this Stay-At-Home-Mom life out. I want to blog more, I want to get my home in shape, and then maybe get a little crafty. I need to stop spending my days watching Netflix or playing on my phone and instead actually doing things! I’m hoping to write about this more, but I would love any tips you have for helping you be the best SAHM you can be.

One thing that has been going pretty well has been menu planning! This is such an important part of my life that I have been doing even since I was in high school. We struggled a bit when Baby H came home, mostly because I struggled to menu plan and make it to the store each weekend and couldn’t manage a full grocery trip with the baby by myself so Husband would run to the store for a few items every day or we were eating out way too often. In May I decided to menu plan for 3 weeks (through the end of the month) and do a big shopping trip. It went great and I knew I wanted to keep it up for June. So after spending a week working on a meal plan and grocery list we did a big Aldi & Kroger shopping trip the first weekend of June and it has been SUCH a lifesaver. It has given me back my weekends and I don’t want to go back to weekly planning any time soon. I found that I ruined my weekends stressing about menu planning and trying to get to the store but now I have my weekends back and it is wonderful! Because I buy things for many meals I have more flexibility and can move things around, so now I spend about 30 minutes checking the remaining meals I have left, choosing what we want for the week, and making a small grocery list for produce or things we ran out of or forgot. I am so happy with this new plan and apparently had many words to share about it. Now I’ll shut-up, share my menu, go feed my baby and head to the store. Have a great week!

Monday – Taco Salad

Tuesday – Chicken & Zucchini 

Wednesday – Spaghetti & Salad

Thursday – Burritos

Fridays – Burgers

Saturday – Out/Make-up

Letters to H | Forehead Kisses

My Sweet Baby Boy,

In less than a week we will put you in a little hospital gown, I’ll kiss that sweet perfect forehead of yours and physically hand you over to the hospital to operate on your skull. Your perfect, tiny, skull that grew inside of me. That little skull of yours decided to close early though and to make sure your brain has lots of room to grow, they need to open it back up. You have Craniosynostosis which means “premature fusion of an infant’s skull”. Specifically you have Metopic Synostosis with Trigonocephaly. This means the front suture from your soft spot to your nose closed before it was supposed to and that now your head is shaped a bit like a triangle or an egg.

Thankfully, because God brought us to Cincinnati you will be at one of the top Children’s hospitals in the country and you have some pretty great doctors. They recommended an Endoscopic surgery be done as soon as possible and then they said you would need to wear a helmet for the next year to help shape your head properly. We had another option too but God gave us peace that this was the very best thing for you even if it would be hard for all of us. So now we wait for everything to change in just 5 short days.

As I lay in bed nursing you in bed in the middle of the night I run my fingers across every bit of your head. Memorizing the way it feels, swirling around your little bit of hair, and trying to soak it all in. When you fall asleep on my chest your head tucked beneath my chin, I nuzzle your head in closer and take deep breaths in. Every time I hold you, I plant a thousand kisses across your head. Sometimes my emotions overtake me and the tears spill down my cheeks on to the top of your head and I wonder if you’ll ever know how many tears have been shed over that little head of yours. We know this is what’s best for you and you’ll never remember having surgery or spending the first year of your life in a helmet, but oh your momma & daddy will.

I wonder how I’ll respond when strangers make comments about it whether rude or kind. I hope I can be gracious. I’m concerned you won’t sleep with the helmet on and we will have many more sleepless nights. I’m desperately praying it doesn’t affect our breastfeeding relationship and trying to accept it won’t be quite so cuddly or comfortable anymore. I know you’ll be extra hot, sweaty, and sometimes stinky as your little body tries to adjust to the heat of the helmet and I just hope it doesn’t bother you too much. I worry about so many things. What if it takes you longer to sit up? Crawl? Walk? These are are the thoughts that fill my mind.

I’m sad. I’m sad your precious head shape will be changing. I’ve read it can change your “look”. I’m sad to think of your precious little head having a scar and it never being the same perfectly smooth skin again. I’m sad I won’t have endless access to cuddle and kiss your head. I’ve dreamt of this cuddly baby stage for so long and now I feel like it’s being stolen away from me…from us. I’m scared. I’m scared something will go wrong or that you’ll need more surgeries in the future. I’m scared you’ll have bad swelling and I won’t recognize you. I’m scared you’ll cry in lots of pain that I can’t take away.

But this motherhood thing is so much more than cuddling babies…so I’ll pull myself together for you. I’ll love you fiercely, I’ll pray without ceasing, and I’ll hold you close as you fight this battle as such a tiny baby boy. Soon this year will be over, you’ll be helmet free, and running around as a growing little boy. One day we will look back on this first year of your life as a distant memory. For now we will continue to trust in the Great Physician and soon we will be on the other side.

Be brave my little one, Momma loves you.


Baby H will have surgery at Cincinnati Children’s on Monday 5/22. Please pray for us as we prepare for the surgery, that the surgery would go well, and recovery would be smooth. Also, these pictures are from his newborn session that I’m just getting around to sharing. They are perfect & we LOVE our photographer – we just captured some more images tonight that I can’t wait to see.

Baby H | Birth Story

Friends, my little man is 7 weeks old (as of Friday)! Life has been good, hard, wonderful, exhausting, and more than I could have ever dreamed of. Before the time passed too quickly (I mean the past 7 weeks FLEW), I wanted to share his birth story. I have been a birth story junkie for quite a while and I love reading other’s stories and experiences. Our story may not be what I had hoped for, but it is our story and I am so thankful for it. This is going to be a long post (pictures too!), so just bare with me and if birth stories aren’t your thing then you might want to skip this post.

I was diagnosed with Placenta Previa around 20 weeks. We waited with hope and prayed it would resolve itself as Previa normally does. We went for a scan at 29 weeks feeling confident and much to our surprise, it seemed to be worse – not better. With a crushed spirit I began to come to terms with what would likely be a very different birth experience than I had once imagined. I began reading, researching and talking to as many people as I could to prepare myself for the best c-section experience I could have. With Previa a scheduled c-section around 37 weeks is the safest option as you need to avoid going into labor for the protection of mother and baby. Around 34 weeks we double checked my placenta (which hadn’t budged) and agreed with our Dr that a scheduled c-section at 37 weeks was the best plan. The date was picked and we left the appointment with me heading home and Husband heading back to work. We knew the day our son would arrive and it didn’t even feel real! March 3 would never be the same again.

It was so surreal knowing the day our sweet boy would arrive. Most talk about the whole having a baby experience has to do with your water breaking, rushing to the hospital unexpectedly, hours of horrible pain, and pushing the baby out of you. This was not going to be my experience. I traded this typical experience for being able to plan for a specific birthday. We spent the last 2.5 weeks cleaning, completing projects, and running errands. I was trying to feel as prepared as I could for this big change, but I quickly found there was no way to feel fully prepared so I just embraced the crazy and waited for that special day.

The night before the big day Husband and I went out to eat, grabbed some last minute things at Target (of course!), and enjoyed some Graeter’s Ice Cream. We came home and tried to finish getting the house ready as well as enjoying some time just us which included playing video games (per Husband’s request!). I finally went to bed sometime after 1am and hoped I would be able to sleep. I woke up at around 6 and started getting ready to leave. It was such a strange morning knowing in a few short hours we would be meeting our little boy. We took some final pictures, said a prayer and headed to the hospital.

We met my mom and sister at the hospital and they took me back to start getting me prepped. Most c-section patients are in a room with other patients before the surgery and only one other person can be with you at a time. However the hospital was super busy this day so I ended up getting to be placed in a labor & delivery room which meant Husband, my mom and sister could join me when I was ready. Such a blessing! I headed into my room and my sweet cousin who is an L&D nurse along with her awesome friend (who is like family!) were there to greet me. Her friend was my main nurse and she was such an encouragement and exactly what I needed through this whole experience. We talked, listened to Baby H’s heartbeat, got my IV’s in (yes TWO – they wanted to make sure I was ready for a blood transfusion in case of an emergency), and fully prepped me for surgery. My family quickly joined me and it was so nice having that time to just talk and rest before such a drastic life change. My nurse warned me that things were backed up so it would probably be a while before I went back and that was perfectly fine with me – I was in no rush.

While I was in no rush, I had one request, please just keep me updated so I had time to process and wouldn’t be rushed straight into surgery without time to mentally prepare. Well… a few things happened and they made a last minute decision to go ahead and take me back to surgery because if we didn’t do it now it could be a few hours and they didn’t want me to wait that long. I was immediately shaking as I attempted to mentally prepare myself and Husband was also looking a little pale which made me even more nervous! It was time – I walked back to the OR with the promise Husband would join me soon.

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Once in the OR I talked with my Dr and nurses about what to expect while we waited on the Anesthesiologist. We ended up waiting quite a while which ended up being a good thing as it gave me a chance to mentally prepare a little more. At this point I think I was still in shock or denial that I was about to have a baby! Finally the Anesthesiologist came in and it was time for things to officially begin and I knew things would move quickly at this point and we would be meeting our baby in just a few minutes.

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My OB, Nurse & Cousin/Nurse

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I was most nervous about the spinal block since that would be one of the main things I would actually feel. However, while it wasn’t comfortable it wasn’t exactly painful. It was probably the strangest sensation I’ve ever felt though and I’m not eager to experience it again anytime soon. I quickly felt the affects of the spinal block and unfortunately it somewhat overtook me. I felt lightheaded, I couldn’t breathe and I was sick to my stomach. My sweet nurse talked me through it encouraging me that my oxygen levels were fine and I just needed to breathe. I was given some medicine and I quickly felt better. It probably only lasted a few minutes, but during that short period of time I felt like I was going to die and I was terrified that I would feel that way the whole time and I didn’t think I could go through with it. I’m so thankful it passed so quickly. By the time Husband came in I was feeling wonderful and I was the one giving my nervous husband a pep-talk.

Not only did I have Placenta Previa, but Baby H was also Transverse (aka sideways) and up pretty high. We were prepared that multiple things could go wrong that could turn it into an emergency or could result in an additional incision. I was a bit nervous about the possible complications and later found out Husband was beyond nervous about what could go wrong on my side. God is good though and we avoided all complications.After what felt like a few short minutes I heard my sweet baby boy cry and then I saw his face. He was handed off to my cousin & nurse who checked him out to make sure he was okay. With being born at 37 weeks, he could have had lung issues or sugar issues (or other issues!) but thankfully he was perfect with no concerns. They invited Husband over to see him but he opted not to go since he would have had to have walked past me and my open incision to get to him ;). Thankfully I wasn’t too worried since I knew he was in good loving hands. After just a few short minutes he was placed skin-to-skin on my chest which resulted in some of the greatest moments of my life. I knew before hand that we would try for skin-to-skin but there was no guarantee we would be able to get him on my chest. Thankfully he was able to curl up on my chest and I was completely overwhelmed. I’d been dreaming of this feeling for SO LONG and it was finally here!

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Sweet vernix covered baby. 

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After a little while on my chest it was Husband’s turn. Our nurse cut open the scrub top he was “borrowing” so Baby H & Husband could have skin-to-skin time as well. Within a few minutes things were finished and it was time to send me back to my room. The hour in recovery was bliss as we bonded, breastfed, and cuddled this new bundle of total joy. Soon we were in our postpartum room and introducing him to family.

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That day was the longest, greatest, hardest day of my life. I can’t believe it’s been over 7 weeks since he came into our lives, I can’t imagine life without him in it. We’ve been dealing with some hard things which I’ll write more about soon, but I wouldn’t trade this motherhood gig for anything. Life is good.

April is Cesarean Awareness Month. This is my contribution to bringing awareness and normality. Sometimes, like when you have Placenta Previa, Cesarean’s truly are the only option. I still believe Cesarean’s occur far too often in situations where they aren’t truly needed, but when they are needed they are still a wonderful option for birthing your baby. Your story is not ruined just because your baby was birthed via surgery instead of vaginally. It is still your wonderful birth story. 

 

Currently | April 2017

Somehow April is already here. This year is flying by and the last month since Baby H arrived has been the fastest of my entire life! Wow! These days I spend basically all day caring for my sweet boy and right now he’s taking a cat nap on my chest. I read some friends blogs and it reminded of what today was so I grabbed my phone and typed up this post because I’ve missed this link-up so much! I hope you’ll enjoy this little update and please excuse the fact that everything revolves around the baby now, but my entire life is wrapped around this little human and his schedule, so naturally he has to show up in what I’m currently doing ;). I’m still hoping to write his birth story soon, but until then enjoy this post about what I’m currently up to! 


ACCOMPLISHING | Nourishing a human. Friends, when you are breastfeeding it’s near impossible to accomplish anything in the first few months. This kid eats constantly and the past few days he’s been prepping for a growth spurt which means even more eating than normal. I’m literally putting in full time hours breastfeeding. Some days I don’t get off the couch. Feed, change diaper, sleep. It’s all we do. But today we found out Baby H gained THIRTY OUNCES in the last 17 days, so I guess the feeding is paying off. I do dream of when I can get some other things accomplished though, until then thank the Lord for an amazing husband who is picking up my slack! 

FEELING | Great! Minus the sleep deprivation of course.  It’s been a month since my c-section and while I’m not 100% back to normal, things are so much better than I thought they would be. Most of the time I completely forget I had major abdominal surgery a month ago. I know everyone’s experiences are so very different but I’m very thankful for my experience overall. 

NEEDING | to start packing. We are going to West Virginia this weekend for a very quick visit so Baby H can meet some of his great-grandparents and so we can introduce our sweet boy to the mountain state we call home. I’ve obviously never traveled with a baby before and I’m trying to avoid overpacking too much. Also knowing how long it takes me to get anything done these days and that I have to pack for two people this time I know I need to start packing ASAP if I want to be ready to go this weekend! Any tips for packing for a baby or traveling with baby? 

PRACTICING | patience. While I’m absolutely adoring this cuddly newborn baby stage, I do sometimes struggle with wanting to be able to get things done, go places, and get some sleep. Motherhood is definitely teaching me patience. For now I will keep practicing patience and work on savoring all of these moments when all my baby boy wants is to be in my arms. 

PINNING | Home decor ideas. Sitting in the living room nearly 24/7 has me very tired of the little decorating we’ve done since moving and with spring here I’m in the mood to spruce things up a bit. I also still have a few pieces of winter decor out that desperately needs to go. I’m specifically looking at budget home decor ideas as a one income family with a new baby we don’t have much money to spare. Hopefully I can update a few little things on the cheap soon! Check out my Pinterest here

Thanks to Anne and Jess for hosting this great link-up.

Welcome Baby H!

On March 3 our sweet little boy made his entrance into the world. He is precious, cuddly, and so much more than I ever dreamed. The last 4 weeks have been wonderful & exhausting but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Parenthood is so incredibly difficult and we’ve already been handed some cards we weren’t expecting, but raising this little human is the greatest calling in the world and it is worth every sleepless night and tear shed. We praise God for this life He has entrusted to us!

Welcome Baby H, we are so very glad you are here.