lucy’s birth story

Posted on: Monday, February 5, 2018

NAME: Lucy Grey Burdullis

DATE + TIME: Thursday, January 25 at 10:28am

SIZE: 6 lbs 11oz, 18 in long

It’s surreal for me to think that just over a week ago we were welcoming baby Lucy to the world! The entire birthing experience feels like a whirlwind, with some parts super vivid and others blending together, all at once. Like other life updates, I wanted to document and share Lucy’s birth story here. I’ve enjoyed reading other people’s birth stories (they often make me cry!) so taking time to reflect and write out our own little (but very long) story feels important and special to me. 💛 So here we go!

While the second trimester and beginning of the third trimester seemed to go by super quickly, the last few weeks of my pregnancy (pretty much the entire month of January) went by very slowly. I had wrapped a large portion of my work, so had a lot more free time and was anxiously and eagerly waiting for baby’s arrival! It was really strange, because we knew this big and exciting thing was happening, but had no idea or control over when or how. Our due date was Wednesday, January 24th, but throughout my pregnancy, I tried to not get too tied down to that date. Instead I tried to view the entire month as “baby month”; she would arrive when the time was right, not on our schedule. We had heard that first time moms often go past their due date, so I was sort of expecting that January 24th would come and go. I had a doctor’s appointment on January 25th where I could get a membrane sweep, which apparently would likely help get baby moving down there and kickstart the labor process. Little did I know that appointment wouldn’t be necessary!

I wouldn’t say I was necessarily scared of labor or having a baby, but definitely felt a little uneasy about all of the unknowns. How would I know when labor was starting? Would it happen while I was at home or out of the apartment? What would contractions feel like? How would I know the contractions were the real deal and not Braxton Hicks?

Starting in mid-January, I began trying out different natural labor-inducing techniques. I don’t think any of these are backed by science, but had heard different things worked for different people – eating pineapple, dates, and spicy foods, drinking third trimester tea, weekly acupuncture, taking long walks, bouncing on the yoga ball, etc. I took long, uphill walks with Jack and had acupuncture appointments both on Monday and Tuesday, but still felt the same – very pregnant – when we went to bed on Tuesday night.


Early Wednesday morning at 2:45am, I woke up to go to the bathroom (for probably the fifth time) and felt different. My lower abdomen felt sore and cramp-y, but I wasn’t in pain or anything, so I went back to sleep. When I woke up at 6am, I knew something was different. I felt the same stomach pressure and cramping and realized, oh hey! I think these are contractions! I talked on the phone with my mom who said we should start timing them, just in case. The contractions started off really sporadic and random – not in an obvious pattern and coming and going at different times. E stayed home from work and we ate breakfast and just lounged and kept timing them. We joke now that he was like a track coach; I would say “Time!” when a contraction started and he would begin tracking on a contraction timer app. Late morning, we went on a walk around the neighborhood with Jack while contractions continued. They were sharp and surprising at this point, but not intensely painful. We ordered Chinese takeout for lunch and tried to just rest as much as possible.

I had written out affirmation cards for myself during labor and would read them or recite them in my head. These were a mix of quotes, Bible verses, mindfulness tips, encouraging reminders and affirmations like “My body is strong and resilient. My body can do this.” and “On the other side of this pain, I get to meet my baby.” I am a total affirmations person, so having these reminders was really encouraging and helpful for me. Eric also wrote out affirmation notecards “from Jack” which were hilarious and definitely lightened my overall mood when reading them. 😝

By late afternoon (around 3-4pm), things started getting really intense. The contractions were a lot more painful and regular. The extra hard part was that I was having back labor, so had really terrible lower back pain throughout each contraction. When the contraction ended, the lower back pain still continued during the “rest period.” The doctor and doula said this was likely from the baby’s positioning. Looking back, the ongoing, deep back pain was the most challenging part of labor. I just wanted that part to stop! I rotated from the bed to the yoga ball to the bathtub throughout the afternoon. By later in the evening (6-7pm), it was getting to a point where I could barely talk during contractions and wanted to cry during each one. And I was SO tired. I could barely keep my eyes open and felt physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. Throughout the entire day, we were updating my mom and also our doula Julia, both who were super helpful and encouraging. E was amazing and the entire time, he would encourage me, massage my back and feet, put pressure on my back to alleviate contractions, try to get me to eat and drink, etc. He was truly the best birthing partner ever and I’m so grateful for him (among millions of other reasons). Julia came over to our apartment around 8pm and we continued laboring at home. The pain and exhaustion level both continued to increase and by 9pm, I knew it was time for me to go into hospital. At this point, we had been doing this whole labor thing for about 13 hours!

Eric dropped Julia and I off at the hospital and parked the car. At this point, the contractions were so painful that every time they hit, I couldn’t stand up and would have to squat down during that minute. E met us in the triage room, where they measured me at 5cm dilated. Woo hoo, halfway there!  In our birthing plan, I had wanted to labor as much at home as possible and wait until I reached 5cm to get an epidural. I didn’t actually think I would make it to 5cm without pain meds, because I have a fairly low pain tolerance, so was thrilled I had made it this far — getting closer to meeting baby! 🙌🏼 I asked for the epidural and thankfully, they were able to administer fairly quickly around 10:30pm. I IMMEDIATELY felt better. Like amazingly better. All of my back pain went away and while I could still feel the pressure of contractions, I didn’t feel pain itself. It was incredible. If you haven’t read Jessi Klein’s brilliant essay Get the Epidural, stop reading this post and immediately read her article. Everything about it is 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼. I was so happy, in fact, that I was like gushing to the nurses, Eric and Julia how grateful I was for everyone and how happy I was that they were on our birthing team. 🤪

We tried to sleep, but it was hard because the nurses were constantly coming in to check on blood pressure, heart rate, baby’s movements, etc. and also because I was so excited – baby was coming soon(ish)! At 4am, I was still at 5cm dilated 😩 and the doctor broke my water. It wasn’t the gushing water experience you think of from movies (or that epic Charlotte and Mr. Big scene in SATC) but instead like a slow trickle. I honestly didn’t even notice because of that blessed epidural. 👌🏼We continued to intermittently nap and chat/ask questions to Julia. The overall mood in the room was pretty relaxed, which I’m really grateful for. We kept the lights off so the room was dim with twinkly lights and Julia had positioned tons of pillows to make me really comfortable. When they checked me again at 6am, I was at 9cm and I was also really happy knowing my mom was on a flight out to SF and would arrive at 10:15am. A little after 8am, I was at 10cm so it was time to push!

My OBGYN wasn’t on call in the hospital that day, but came over anyway, since we had that other 40 week appointment scheduled. She was able to do the early phases of pushing with me, which was really awesome, because she’s been so awesome and supportive throughout my entire pregnancy (and before). After an hour or so pushing, the doctor and her supervisor warned me that the baby’s heart rate was dropping after contractions so they wanted to keep closely monitoring that and said we might need to use vacuum extraction to get the baby out. This was yet another moment where I was super grateful we hired Julia as our doula, because she was able to advocate for us and ask questions – what was this process exactly? What were the potential risks? Was this necessary to do right at this moment? Could we continue to trying pushing like we’d been doing until it was completely necessary to move on to Option B? Could we try other positions for pushing? After two hours of pushing, the doctor and her supervisor said they really wanted us to do the vacuum extraction because they were concerned about the baby being in distress and wanted to avoid C-section. The primary way the baby would come out would be from pushing, of course, but the vacuum (which really is a terrible word for it – it looked more like a little suction cup that sticks to the baby’s head) would help ensure she would come out quickly and safely. The room was PACKED — the three of us, 2-3 nurses, the doctor and her supervisor, and three pediatricians, all in a small little room. The doctor cued me to push and began counting as I held my breath pushing and the next thing I knew, someone set the baby on my chest.

SHE WAS HERE!!!

It sounds so cliché, but right when she arrived, it’s like I forgot about everything that had previously happened. The 28ish (!!) hours of labor, including 2 hours and 15 minutes (!!) of pushing — it all just faded away from my memory. The feeling was indescribable. It was overwhelming and beautiful and exciting and terrifying! She was so small and pink and cute and fluttered her eyes open at me like “WHAT IS GOING ON?” and we just kept saying to each other how perfect she was. Those first few moments holding her were so special and unforgettable. It was magical to watch Eric hold her for the first time and see her open her eyes to look at him, in so much peace. It was truly one of the sweetest moments and a something I won’t ever forget.

I am really amazed at the female body and what it’s capable of. It’s surreal to think that my body housed, protected and nourished this baby for nine months, brought her into the world and is now learning how to take care of her and feed her, all on its own. Throughout different periods of my life, I’ve been unhappy with my body for not looking the way I wanted or doing what I wanted. I would compare my body with others, critique my body for not being “good enough” and measure my body and self-worth against an unrealistic expectation I set for myself. The process of being pregnant and having a baby has already taught me a whole new level of self-love, respect, and admiration for myself and my body, and I’m now reminded daily of the importance of being kind to myself. We are all incredible beings, “perfectly and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and bringing this baby into the world reminded me not only of the baby’s perfection, but that my body is *just right* too.

We named our daughter Lucy, a name that means “of light.” She’s already brightened our lives in her week or so of life. The world and life itself is full of hard stuff – pain, difficulties, darkness – but it’s also filled with so, so, so much goodness, love and light. And I truly believe that light always overpowers all darkness. It’s our dream and prayer that she recognizes how much light and love shines within her and all around her. We’re grateful for our little bundle of joy and light, Lucy. ✨

 

Thank you for reading and again, for all of your kind words and encouraging messages! I am so grateful by all of the love, encouragement and support our little family has received throughout my pregnancy and especially since Lucy arrived.

All photos by our amazing doula Julia Lorraine

books for baby

Posted on: Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Another baby post! 🙃

I will likely share more photos of baby’s room/nursery/closet after she arrives, but in the meantime, wanted to share a sneak peek at a little area within her room – her bookshelf! Both E and I looooove to read so it was a no brainer that we wanted to have lots of books for baby. I added quite a few to our baby registry and we received a few favorites that way, but other people have sent us so many other good ones! Her bookshelf is already full so we’re now trying to figure out where to put the rest of her books. A good problem to have! 📕 📚

E hung these white floating shelves and we’ve been adding books to the shelves as we receive them from generous friends and family. I wish we had space for MORE shelves because I love seeing all of the adorable and sweet books on display. I already can’t wait to read to her! 💛

Here are some of my favorite books we have for baby already! Everything is linked below (in random categories I made up for organization’s sake) and also available on this dedicated Amazon page! If you know someone having a baby soon, or want to stock up on your own little kids’ bookshelf at home, these are great options. 🙌🏼

Classics: Goodnight Moon, The Giving Tree, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Soft Book, Keep Curious and Carry a Banana: Words of Wisdom from the World of Curious George

Beautiful Covers/Cute Stories: Flora and the Flamingo, Gaston, Last Stop on Market Street

Color/Senses: TouchThinkLearn: Opposites, Pantone: Box of Color: 6 Mini Board Books, Technicolor Treasure Hunt

#girlpower: Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World, Little Feminist Board Book Set

SF/West Coast: San Francisco: A Book of Numbers, All Aboard! California, All Aboard! National Parks, All Aboard Pacific Northwest

Cult Faves (according to other moms): Dragons Love Tacos, Your Baby’s First Word will be DADA , Mr Tiger Goes Wild

Thanks for reading! And P.S., you can shop all my favorite books (and other products) on this dedicated Amazon page! I’ll be adding more and more stuff on there that I end up using in our apartment, for baby, etc.!

Photos by Hannah Pobar of Home Studio

third trimester update

Posted on: Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Two blog posts in one week?! Who adm I? This is what happens when I’ve ramped down most of my client work and have much more free time before #littlebabyburd‘s arrival!

Today I wanted to share a quick third trimester update on how things have been going during the home stretch of my pregnancy. I shared a second trimester update here and a first trimester update / baby announcement here.  So today’s post covers approximately weeks 28-38 (today!). Here’s some highlights from the past few weeks as well as random info like how I’m feeling physically/emotionally, how we’re prepping for baby, what I’m reading, etc.!

38 weeks!

THIRD TRIMESTER HIGHLIGHTS

So many baby celebrations – my mother-in-law threw a baby shower brunch in Southern California, my mom/sisters/aunts threw a baby shower in Ohio and last weekend, my besties through a baby shower here in SF. So overwhelmed and grateful with all the love for our little one! 💛 More photos from baby showers are at the bottom of this post.

Celebrating my FIL’s retirement in LA!

Getting our apartment / life fully prepped (or as prepped as we can!) for baby! The nursery area is ready for her, the carseat is installed, hospital bags are packed, etc. It’s almost go time!

Spending two weeks in Ohio over Thanksgiving and early December with my family. It was sooo good to catch up with everyone and spend quality time with my parents, sister, grandparents and other family.

Our family photo session with Minted 📹

Spending the holidays here in SF. It was really relaxing not traveling over the holidays and spending time in (empty) San Francisco. I also loved 1) going to typically busy places and getting in right away and 2) being able to easily park everywhere. 😛

Celebrating my birthday with E and Jack! It was such a special day – coffee in bed, Pilates, brunch at Outerlands, a beach walk, an afternoon nap and dinner at Frances.

The overwhelming kindness, generosity and love from family and friends throughout my pregnancy but especially in these last few weeks. People have been so kind and helpful, from offering to help us with random errands to sending sweet gifts and cards in the mail. Seriously, I feel so fortunate for such loving people surrounding me + bebe!

FEELING (PHYSICALLY): Large! I’ve gained ~25 pounds during my pregnancy and I can definitely feel the weight and heaviness on my body (obviously). Doing “regular” things like walking and getting dressed are much more difficult! I know several people who said by 38-39 weeks they were just DONE and very ready for baby to come out. I don’t think I’m quite there yet and I think it’s just because I’ve overall felt alright, minus some slight aches, pains and general uncomfortableness. I definitely have to eat smaller portions because I get full so much faster. During the third trimester, I’ve had on and off back pain. It was especially bad in my tailbone area at around 30 weeks to a point where I could barely walk for a few days. I also had a week or so (around Christmas at like 34 weeks) where I had intense pain in my left foot. Again, it was super difficult to walk and so painful. Thankfully, the pain went away (I just did the whole RICE – rest, ice, compress, elevate thing). Other than those two somewhat random painful, short-lived symptoms, I’ve been feeling okay physically! Oh, I’ve also been experiencing what Ashley from Sugar and Cloth coined “lightning crotch” – this really intense pelvis pain that comes in and out randomly almost every day. 😱

FEELING (EMOTIONALLY/MENTALLY): Excited to meet her! A little bit nervous about the labor process. In wonder of the human body. Incredibly grateful to have such an awesome, generous, loving and encouraging support system around me. Overwhelmed by all of it!

PREPARING FOR BABY: We are ready! 👏🏼 👏🏼 Or as ready as we’ll ever be! 😉H er room is ready and we’re all set in terms of “baby things” in the apartment, although I’m sure we’ll be doing diaper runs and last minute Amazon Prime purchases when she gets here. I have her dresser organized with newborn and 0-3M clothes with 3-6M in baskets in her closet and anything bigger in bins in the garage. Our apartment is outfitted with baby gear like the baby changer (we opted for this Keekaroo Peanut Changer), a rocker (with cute side table and lots of plants nearby 🌿) and her Moses basket. We also have our hospital bags packed — might share more about this in a later post!

READING: Mama Natural Week-by-Week Pregnancy Guide (each week), Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding, 25 Things Every New Mom Should Learn

WEARING: Just shared a big blog post about my maternity wardrobe HERE! In that post, I link to all the products I’ve been wearing on a regular basis. For the most part, I haven’t been wearing *real* maternity clothes and opted more for “transitional clothing” that will work during pregnancy and afterwards! I also just bought this black Modern Citizen dress that literally feels like I’m wearing a bathrobe, so I think this will be in heavy rotation the rest of pregnancy and once baby is here.

FITNESS: I am still feeling good enough to work out, but at a much lower intensity. I’m probably working out 4-5x/week and still doing a mix of swimming, prenatal yoga and prenatal Pilates. I also got a resistance band for Christmas so will try to do some resistance band reps on days I don’t work out for my arms/glutes.

FOOD AVERSIONS/CRAVINGS: Again, I feel like such a boring pregnant person because I haven’t had intense cravings! From about 31-35 weeks, grapefruit juice sounded reallllllllllly good and I drank a lot of that. Other than that, nothing has been out of the ordinary, although nothing ever sounds SUPER good and tasty to me, especially around dinner time. I feel like I’ve been more indecisive, probably because I can’t fit as much in my stomach anymore!

VITAMINS: Still taking my pre-natal and probiotic vitamins 💊

HELPFUL PRODUCTS: not a product per se, but my morning coffee is V important (“my only vice”), Earth Mama Angel Baby third trimester tea (I drink every evening), my Minnetoka slippers

Thanks for reading!

statement art + gallery wall with minted

Posted on: Sunday, January 7, 2018

Up until recently, we had the same art hanging in our apartment (#aesfnest). In our living room, above our dining table (and previously above the couch), we had four vintage prints of San Francisco. They were a gift from my parents a few years ago and while I love them, I have been itching for a change in that room. In or bedroom, we have two gallery walls on either side of the bed and I’ve changed around some of the art over the last few years, but there were still some stragglers – pieces that weren’t great or contributing to the overall aesthetic but just there.

We don’t have a ton of wiggle room when it comes to moving furniture, so the best and easiest way to change up the overall look and feel of our living room was with a massive piece of statement art. And, I decided to kill two birds withd one stone (or online order?) and update our gallery walls to. Enter: Minted (also where I’ve purchased baby shower invites, wedding save the dates, thank you notes and other smaller prints). Today, I’m excited to share the new art prints in our apartment!

STATEMENT PIECE IN LIVING ROOM:

For the living room, I decided to GO BIG! This abstract piece immediately caught my eye. I thought the colors and somewhat floral aesthetic in the print would really work in the room. We have some light pink accent pieces (dining chair, some kilim pillows, etc.) and obviously have tons of greenery with our little plant fam! 🌿 I snagged the largest size – 30″ x 40″ and decided to spend a bit more to make sure the print was matted and framed (vs. canvas print or having to get it framed myself eventually). Based on some Pinterest inspiration (looking at you, Joanna Gaines) and out of laziness, I decided to not hang the piece and instead just lean against the wall. Right now, I like it that way but might eventually hang it up above the table. The piece is called Fresh Indigo and by Tennessee-based artist Laci Fowler.

I originally snagged the second, smaller piece for the bedroom gallery walls (more on that below) but accidentally measured incorrectly. So – for now, that print (CURAÇAO) is hanging out in living room too, but will eventually move into bedroom when I do a larger overall of the gallery walls!

Minted art in the living rom — Fresh Indigo and CURAÇAO

GALLERY WALL IN BEDROOM:

The pieces I wanted to swap out in the bedroom were smaller – both 5″ x 7″. As mentioned, I wanted the larger 8″ x 10″ print to work with where we had existing nails (can you tell I’m lazy?) in the wall, but it didn’t fit! We’ll see if these small prints stay in their current spot or how I’ll rearrange/build onto the gallery wall once I move the larger pieces around. Similar to the statement piece in the living room, the small prints I purchased – The Layers Beneath and Summer Skies, both in white frames, were also abstract and nature-inspired with pops of color. I love the deep shades of green and turquoise with hints of blush pink in both. Both of the smaller prints I added to the gallery walls in our bedroom were by Brooklyn-based mixed-media artist Lauren Packard.

Minted art in the bedroom — The Layers Beneath and Summer Skies

 


Thanks for reading, and thanks to Minted for partnering with me on this post and here’s links to the four art prints I snagged!

Fresh Indigo // CURAÇAO// The Layers Beneath // Summer Skies

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