LilyAnn’s Birth Story

Birth Timeline for those interested in the story!

Thursday morning I lost what’s called a plug. This doesn’t mean a whole lot, necessarily, but usually means hours or days once term.
Thursday afternoon/evening I had some random uncomfortable contractions, but nothing that made me have to stop and focus.
11:30pm I woke up with some more consistent contractions, but was able to go back to sleep through them.

Friday 1:30am I woke up with consistent contractions 10-12 apart that were strong enough I couldn’t sleep through them, but I still rested in bed between them.

Friday 5:00am I got up when Chad did and contractions had become closer together, averaging 4.5 minutes apart and averaging 30-40 seconds in length.
I continued to labor at home with the same average and length for the morning.
Just before 11am my water broke. I was talking to a doula friend and also called Chad to have him come on home, but since contractions hadn’t changed I wasn’t in a huge rush yet….
Chad came home about 11:20 and by then contractions had picked up to 2-3 apart and were getting stronger. I rushed Chad and myself out the door and mom headed to take Ella to a friend’s and then come to the hospital to take pictures.

As we drove the 20-25 minute drive, contractions continued to become stronger and longer. By the time we were walking in, I had three more that about brought me to tears. I know I was sobbing in a way, just no tears.

We got to the L&D ward and they started to send me to triage until they saw me have a contraction. They quickly moved me straight to a room and had me change. They then started to prep to make sure my water had broken and check my progress, but by the time I was strapped to monitors, they could see that I was in fact losing amniotic fluid. She quickly checked my progress and put me at an 8-9. She asked if I was feeling the need to push and I said no.
During the next contraction, I rolled to my side. Chad says they were asking about epidural, but I don’t remember any of that. Good thing I didn’t plan on one because there wasn’t time… I did apparently have that moment where I said that I wasn’t sure I could do this.

The nurse and tech went to get the doctor and I got up on my knees facing the back of the bed which was reclined up. By then the contractions were almost unbearable and by the second one, I did in fact feel the need to push. I remember I kept saying I was pushing and couldn’t stop it. This is when Chad grabbed the camera. I wasn’t even sure who was in the room or if the doctor was there yet. I felt my body bear down. I literally couldn’t stop it! Three pushes later I saw and felt a gush, followed by another and feeling baby’s head and then another and the body. Apparently the head was about out before the doctor walked over to catch. She caught the baby and, according to Chad wasn’t sure how to hand her to me, so she hesitated and then passed her under me and laid her on the bed where I picked her up. I heard someone say “him” and asked if it was a boy. Chad saw first and corrected us all that she was a girl!

From the time I checked in to the time she was born was only about 20 minutes. They only got 9 minutes of tape on me and baby, also! I pushed maybe 5-10 minutes!

And that’s how our LilyAnn Hope came into this world! 


11 Months Big!

Holy cow! Can I cry?! My baby is a baby for one more month! I treasure the moments of rocking and cuddling! She is going to be a strong, independent, willful child. She is getting closer to not needing to be rocked to sleep at all. I’m soaking up every moment she still lets me! Daddy and I won’t hold her back from flying, but we aren’t pushing certain things to end either! She’ll always be our baby, but soon she’ll be a walking and talking toddler.

So what’s new?

  • Consistently taking a bottle when given with no fights! Even holds it! Yay for date nights!
  • Using sippy cup! With straw! Hallelujah! Praise Jesus! Seemed like it would never happen!
  • Standing unassisted
  • Cruising around on foot with assistance of furniture or adult. Not quite brave enough to let go to get from one thing to another, resorts to crawling
  • Along with waving Hi and Bye, she tries to say the words.
  • She notices her stuffed animals on her dresser. She thinks the Bear is a dog and addresses it as such. We are working on teaching her the word Bear now!
  • She gets smoothies now that she has the straw cup down and she loves them! Spinach and all!!
  • Baby Queen for Miss “Sweet” Heart of the USA pageant! She was adorable both in her appearance and her personality on stage!

New Words:

  • Hi/Hey
  • Bye/Bye-bye
  • Yeah
  • Doggies (sounds almost like Dada, but with a little more “g” sometimes). Definitely addressing her dogs!

That’s about all we have for now! 

Birthday is still April 18th in the afternoon. Please let me know if you’re out of town family and plan to come. I will be sending out an email with more details and a “wish-list” of ideas for her, since most may not know what she has or doesn’t have.

The big TEN… Months!

Seeing as miss thang started crawling hands and knees January 15 just before her 9 month milestone, she has been unstoppable. We are learning boundaries and discipline. Seeing as mom and dad are both quite stubborn, we are in for a ride! When she is told no or disciplined, we get one of two reactions… A grunt coupled with bawled fists at her sides or a facetious smile. Oh yes, momma has to just smile back or give a self-depreciating laugh because I recognize that strong will. It was me 27 years ago, I’m sure of it!

I digress. This girl is all over the place! She loves to get into everything. And she wants what you have or she can’t get into over her toys most moments.

She smiles all the time, has an adorable squeal when she gets excited and loves to climb all over the dogs! She starts dancing almost every time she hears music!

Her new foods are chicken livers (which she absolutely loves), peaches (also loves), breastmilk Popsicles with strawberries and banana, and a tiny taste of ice cream which we kept wanting more of!

Her new skills are waving “Hi” and “Bye”, clapping and saying “yay”, knowing who mama and dada are separately, and starting to understand doggie and baby (the baby doll her Memaw gave her). She also splashes her bath bubbles which means momma may get a shower at the same time!

Her new experiences are Mardi Gras and swings! She loves the mardi gras parades! We went to 2 and other than getting upset the couple times some beads got her, she had a blast! By the second parade she knew what was going on and I could get her to wave! We had fun with our friends and even made tie-dye shirts in mardi gras colors together! Daddy cleaned the swing off one day when it was nice and we pushed her in it and she loved it!

She just hit 17lbs this week, so for now she is still in 6-9 clothes. Although her pants are getting tight in the bottom with her fluff booty! I think she’ll be our tiny tot! We have our birthday dress and Easter dress already picked out! We have a lot going on the next couple months! Birthday party is set for April 18th at our house!
























9 Months!

Holy cow! Today is Christmas Eve and so much has happened I have to start this update so I don’t forget!
The 18th she got up on hands and knees and rocked back and forth for the first time when we were FaceTiming with Nona! That night she started belly-crawling while on FaceTime with Daddy! She kept scooting towards Daddy on the iPad or the presents under the tree!
Over the weekend she started pulling up on the tub to her knees. I stood her at the couch and she took one step to the side before falling on her bottom! Monday the 21st she pulled up on the outside of the tub all the way to her feet! We have a feeling she won’t be scooting/crawling for too long before she walks. She has always preferred being held standing up, after all!
Today she belly crawled with a purpose to some kids at church during the Christmas Eve service and then belly crawled about a yard and a half chasing her new ball on the floor! She also started clapping today! It’s adorable! She clapped during the church service and I was so proud to see this new skill! We finished off the night reading The Christmas Story (a condensed version) and taking pictures in our Christmas Jammies!

Ella’s first Christmas! She did great opening her presents! She loves to tear the paper and then eat it! Haha! She loves her new Laugh and Learn puppy we got her! It was fun to see how excited she got over it! She liked her books, mostly for chewing though! She also got some food bowls, clothes, new diapers, some straws to play with (from Nonna), an ornament from Papa and Shirley, and more!

Grammy and Pop came to visit! She adores them for sure! She got to open presents from them and from Memaw Betty! She loved all of her toys!

We all went to the USS Alabama and USS Drum and met up with Uncle Steve, Aunt Joy, cousin Erik, and 3 foreign exchange students. It was really cool… And very cold! We then ate in downtown Mobile and enjoyed a drive-through light show! Ella loved it as did the rest of us!

We rang in the new year! Ella woke up and I got kisses right before midnight! It’s no longer the year my baby was born!

Since the new year, she is scooting all around and even pulled up over the step from the living room to the rest of the house. She sure can get into quite a bit in a short amount of time! Even today, on the 10th, she surprised us at how quickly she went from one area to another! She is rocking on her hands and knees a lot and has crawled backwards a little ways a few times, but hasn’t made a habit of it yet to go forward except on belly! She is pushing herself into a sitting position consistently! She is pulling up on anything she can, including the crib now, so it’s a really good thing daddy dropped the crib mattress recently!

Jan 15th- holy cow, my baby is 9 months tomorrow! She started to really crawl on hands and knees today! She has taken a few here and there and even gone backwards on knees, but she is getting it down for good! She pulls up all the time. Seriously! Just pulls up on the coffee table and stands there! She can also bend down to pick up toys or other objects with holding onto the table. This is a fun age to watch her change every day!

Other developments over the month include smiling at pictures of babies (even Momma’s baby pictures!) and sticking her tongue out and “blowing bubbles”. Quite hilarious when we were in Home Depot and she looked straight at an older man and blew bubbles with her tongue at him. She finds it quite amusing and Momma and Daddy have a hard time discouraging it because it makes us laugh too!

She has another tooth about to come in. The top left of the middle two. Boy, is teething hard on everyone! We are in for it until the first molars are all in! Hopefully we knock the rest out soon and get a nice long break before 2 year molars!

Doctor’s visit:
She looks great! Weighs 16 lbs 5 oz and is 26 inches tall! She’s dynamite- a lot of personality in a small package! Considering mom was 18 lbs at a year and daddy was a small fry, too, we are on track! Everything looks good and we are reminded each time to be baby-proofing! She sure is showing us every day what we need to be proofing, haha!












8 month photos

I had to wait on a special onesie to arrive from a friend’s new embroidery business so I could take Ella’s 8 mo photos. Some are taken at the Beau Rivage Casino and Hotel with their Christmas set-up while some are taken at home in front of our tree. Ella is quite the getter-into of presents despite only belly scooting to date!












Ella is 8 months

My baby is growing up too fast! For some reason this is the first month mark that has brought some sadness with it. Realizing how fast it’s going by has been hard on this Momma. I digress…
So here’s her 8th month in review!

She has had many new foods including Broccoli, peas, squash, shredded pork, turkey, chicken, yogurt, eggs, and butternut squash soup. She likes it all! She LOVES broccoli, squash soup, and still loves those sweet potatoes! She eats yogurt most mornings, a veggie or fruit for lunch and a meat and veggie for dinner. She still eats small amounts, but food before one is just for fun so it’s all about learning and exploring tastes and textures!

We made some new friends! Three excited one year old triplets and a very adoring and affectionate 3 year old. We like our new friends, but they move around and she can’t yet on her own, so there will be much more fun to be had in the future!

She had fun in New Orleans with Nona and Momma watching the Thanksgiving parade! We had Thanksgiving dinner Friday after doing some Black Friday shopping!

She had a few nights where she was up a lot. She was up almost all night Black Friday after eating sweet potato casserole! Oops! Too much sugar; so much for no added sugar before one. Not so much at once next time!

Daddy said goodbye again that Sunday, but Saturday we met Santa and did quite well! Just very curious about the man!

Tuesday we went back to New Orleans and had fun with Nona and Momma in the French Quarter before saying bye to Nona.

Momma and Ella had a lot going on! We had a Christmas party we were planning as the FRG board with Daddy’s command. We went with friends to a Christmas festival and met Rudolf! We tried to go to a parade, but got rained out. The Command Christmas party happened. She didn’t nap but maybe 30 minutes all day and was not a happy camper the last hour or so, but wouldn’t you know as soon as we got home she was happy as a clam! This past weekend we had a gift wrapping fundraiser and we behaved quite well as well as on Monday also. Sunday we went to Disney on Ice with our friends Melissa and Paisley! We had a lot of fun with all the sights and sounds! It was hard being that it went into nap time, but she had a ball bouncing and flapping her arms when she wasn’t fussing from fighting a nap!

In the midst of all the business, we love to FaceTime with Daddy and she always gives big smiles and squeals! She has started to push on her hands and knees some and “rocks” by bobbing her head up and down and she tries to pull her belly up. She has started pulling up on the edge of the bathtub when she is sitting on the bath mat while mom gets ready. This past weekend she also pulled up on mom and on the lower bar of the coffee table where her feet were the only part touching the floor! Silly girl wants to stand before crawling! Then again she has been standing assisted since before she was 2 months! This next month should prove pretty significant in the movement department! One thing is for sure, she keeps Momma and Daddy on their toes!



























7 months old!

Only a few days into being 6 months old and she was changing so much!

Second night we tried avocado again and did much better and ate much more! Third night we skipped the whole “wait three days between foods” rule and tried a chunk of carrot. We still have some holding issues. ESP since it can be a bit slippery of a food anyway, but we held it to her mouth and she would gum it and swallow! She actually got a pretty decent amount down judging by the diaper proof the next morning! Let’s just say that one was daddy’s and he was a bit shocked! (Momma’s giggling inside) 😝

We have started a “dada” “baba” “lala” “blahblah” series of sounds and sometimes just move the mouth and whisper or make no noise at all! Momma and Daddy are quite excitable and enthralled by these fun new sounds! Momma and Daddy are pretty certain these come with the new motion of learning to chew since they require the same jaw movement! It’s a lot of fun and a lot of excitement to see these changes and developments! Since daddy was knick named “Chadderbox” and Momma has always been known to hold a conversation, it comes as no surprise!

Week of Oct 19
We are getting a better hang of holding onto foods! It’s pretty fun to watch, but the dogs are never far away to catch dropped food. Sadie actually lays under her chair! This week we tried carrots!
We are shaking our head side to side like saying “no”. I’m sure we’ll blink and she’ll be actually telling us know. We also turn our head and lean way over side to side when something is interesting to us!
Thursday we had our 6 month appointment and shots and did great! We came in at 16 lbs 4 ounces and 25 inches long! Then, that night we made a really exciting night of it by getting up on all fours! Hands and knees! Momma and Daddy got pretty dang excited! Not too much longer and we’ll be chasing this little girl all over and teaching her what she can and cannot get into!
Friday (24th) we went to Fright Night on base as Super Girl! We entered the cutest costume contest, but didn’t last until judging. Daddy had to take her home and tried to put her sleep but she decided to reject the bottle and sleep until Momma got home.
On Saturday we had a grocery shopping excursion and she got to sit in the basket for the first time! She loved it!

Week of Oct 26
She got a special gift from Aunt Terri and Uncle Sam! Witch hat socks! So we played dress up! We also got an exersaucer that we love to play in! Finally, we had her first Halloween and she didn’t last long handing out candy! Momma got a ton of cute pictures though!

November 1- one tooth pushing through!

Week of November 2
She got to try bananas next and loved them! She had 2 teeth push through enough by the 6th that Momma caught them on camera!
We got a bouncer and she loves, I mean LOVES bouncing!

Week of November 9
Tried a lime! Hilarious video footage and pictures, but she actually ended up loving it! Our next food was sweet potato and we got a good amount down this time! We tried a little bit of pulled pork on Friday, but didn’t get too much in our mouth!
We fell in love with our zebra! Daddy makes it give kisses and she loves them! We also got a new hat and gloves for these cold winter days, but we are not too sure about them!

We went from 90 degree weather to freezing temps in one month! We went from no teeth to 2 teeth! And tried many new foods! Holidays are coming up so we will get to see some family!IMG_4187.JPGIMG_3753.JPG














6 Months Old! Happy Half Birthday Baby Girl!

Wow! A half year old! I seriously blinked and it’s come and gone! She changes so much! So here is the last month in review!

On the 21st we flew on our first out-of-womb plane ride to see Daddy at his school in Indiana! We did pretty well and slept on both plane rides after giving mom a nice outfit ruining moment at the beginning of the second plane takeoff! Joys of motherhood- changing an entire outfit in a plane bathroom!

On a more enjoyable note, we gave our first full-blown belly laugh to Daddy! Mom and Dad both had tears of joy in that moment! To keep the firsts coming, miss Ella rolled over from back to belly for the first time the next day! What a fun moment for mom and dad to both witness it! We even caught the tail end on video and then the next roll all on video!

We took a nice walk in the woods in which Ella cooed the whole time giving up any chance of seeing deer, but we did see some from the car and hotel room a few times!

September 25th daddy turned 29! We had fun taking pictures, but you’d never know from the look on her face!

October 3rd she said, “MA!” And on October 4th she put it together to say, “MaMa!” She of course doesn’t know what that means but it’s a special day for momma! We have made a couple other advances in speech such as smacking lips and tongue!

We started really working on sitting up since she can roll both ways and she can sit up well for several minutes at a time before leaning too far to the back or one side. She hasn’t quite figured out how to catch herself every time yet! She loves her sit and play toy!

We have discovered a love for football! While mom is sure it’s mostly about the bright colors running back and forth, she definitely shows a preference for watching it when on TV and can get upset if the channel is changed. Daddy loves that! She also enjoys the occasional Super Why! and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and squeals with all sorts if joyful sounds!

To top it all off, after 6 months of exclusively breastfeeding, she got to try her first food on her half birthday! Avocado was on the menu. We don’t quite have the pincer grasp yet, but we like the curious thing mom and dad put in her mouth so far! We are attempting Baby Led Solids (aka Baby Led Weaning), but having to modify a bit until we get the grasp and lose the tongue thrust, which won’t be long!
















5 Months Old!

What a month!

We got our 4 month shots and Momma is proud to report that I did great! She was able to manage my pain and fever with only essential oils! Yay for medication avoidance!

I have only been waking up 1-2 times a night and I very nicely eat and go right back to sleep!

Oh, big deal here- on August 23rd, I got my Daddy home! He took a long time landing and getting to the base and I fell asleep, but once I adjusted to being woken up I was quite happy being back in his arms! In fact, it’s like he never even left! I’m a Daddy’s girl for sure! Daddy has had to get used to new things like my cloth diapers, my mood swings, and my schedule, but he is adjusting pretty well! I’m definitely more fun than when he left! He is great at helping with diapers and bath time, but he gets a little stressed when I’m not happy. I love him anyway and I always give him big smiles!

I get frustrated because I want to play with my dogs, but I can’t get to them on my own. Sometimes Momma and Daddy let me pet on them and I really love that. Sometimes I grab a fist of hair, but they don’t seem to mind. They still give me kisses!

I love to play with my toys and have started sticking them in my mouth a lot! I have 2 buds trying to push through on my bottom gums! Wonder when those teeth will pop out!? When I play on my mat, I scoot myself around in circles whether I’m on my belly or my back! I have also scooted backwards on my belly a couple times! Hey, motion is motion! I started kicking my feet like crazy when I’m on my belly and now mom and dad will press my feet so I can scoot when I kick! Fun times! Since doing that, I have started learning to pull my knees up under my legs and pull my lower belly off of the floor! Mom and Dad are pretty excited about that! I’m also starting to sit up better. I still need assistance either from mom or dad or my Bumbo, but I’m getting there! I rock really well from side to side and grab my feet a lot, but I haven’t QUITE rocked from my back to my belly yet! I love to bounce up and down! Mom holds me and I give her an arm workout while I bounce on my legs with her support!

I haven’t made the Bbbb sound or the lip-suck noises lately and I only give a double chuckle yet for laughs, but I love to squeal as I suck the air out of the room! I have also found my “I’m not happy!” Scream! Mom is praying I don’t do that on the airplane rides this Saturday!
















Young Living and My Labor and Delivery

I wish I could tell you that I have some amazing, magical, all-natural birth. My plan was to have a natural hospital birth as we are military. Kessler Medical Center in Biloxi, Mississippi had amazing doctors, nurses, and techs that were all willing to follow and work with my natural birth plan.

I did all the “right” things. We took a Bradley class to learn how to manage labor pain naturally. I read, studied, informed myself of the various medical interventions and their side effects for myself and baby. At the end of my pregnancy (like literally 38 weeks), I talked to my friend about how she used YL oils for labor and delivery and ordered my kit!

None of that matters as much as God’s plan and He was still glorified through the whole birth experience.

I had my appointment for 40 weeks on my due date. It wasn’t so much that I was done with the pregnancy. It was knowing my husband was joining his unit just about 2 weeks after my due date that had me gunning for her to come out. My mind said, “Get this baby out ASAP so she can meet and have as much time with daddy as possible!” So… After failing all weekend to induce labor with all of the natural methods I could manage, I had my membranes stripped at my 8am appointment on Monday. And then I waited….

I woke up at 3am and was leaking. Hospital had me wait until 4am to see if it was still leaking. It was, so hubby showered and we made the 30 minuted drive to the hospital. I asked for them to give me time to try to get labor started naturally now that I was leaking. By 8 am after madly pacing the halls, no labor. So with it being 5 hrs from my first call, the Pitocin started.

I used Valor on my twists for courage. I used joy on my heart… For joy! I diffused P&C and the whole room had a calming atmosphere despite my incredible Pitocin induced pain. Plus everyone said my room smelled amazing and that most rooms smell horrid! Bonus!

Fast forward to 4pm… After getting up to 36 units of Pitocin, throwing up several times, and feeling like I wanted to die. For reference, my friend that delivered the week before was in full blown labor at 14 units. At 36 units my belly was staying contracted and I was getting no break, just one after another. I was checked and was… 2cm… 2cm!!!!! GIVE ME THR EPIDURAL because this is getting nowhere and not fast! They placed an intrauterine catheter to better measure my contractions and did an ultrasound to make sure she was head down. She was, but she was also sunny side up (aka facing my belly instead of my spine… Explains the back labor and why she hadn’t progressed). They stopped the Pitocin to let my belly relax again then started it back up at 6:30pm. The staff had me prep in case of emergency c-section (I was actually an emergency c-section baby because of a short wrapped cord).

Remembering what my friend said, I applied peppermint twice with about 3 hours between applications. I also forced my swollen numbed lower-body self up onto my knees with the help of my hubby and my tech to try to help baby drop.

I still had my P&C diffusing which helped me remain calm and relaxed. And I love the smell!

They didn’t check me again until about 12am and wouldn’t you know it, she had turned and dropped and I was fully dilated and ready to push! The nurse actually said she was afraid I was still going to be 2cm and everyone was thinking I was headed to a c-section by morning. It was literally a miracle that moment. Her face said it all! We (nurse, me, and my mom) were over joyed and tears started up! I fully attribute this to God and him working through the oils. Hubby had gone to the house to let the dogs in and THANK THE LORD he didn’t stop to eat or nap at the house because he almost did! He got in just before midnight and we started pushing at 1:15 once the doctor was almost there! One hour of pushing and at 2:17am Ella Grace graced us with her presence!

After the birth:
I used Panaway for my epidural site for a few days. The wintergreen in it can possibly effect milk supply but it didn’t effect mine. I also used Peppermint drops in the toilette to help me go. TBH… You will feel like you’re giving birth all over again the first time. And you will feel like everything is going to tear, but it won’t. Maybe Valor for courage would be good! I used Lavender for a sits bath sometime toward the end of the first week.

What I learned:
1. Pitocin induced labor is the equivalent of the Transition phase as far as intensity and pain are concerned. It’s supposed to be the shortest phase for that reason. 8 hours of that and I got the epidural. So if you do too, don’t beat yourself up.
2. “Active labor” as defined by hospitals is 4cm with steady contractions 4 minutes apart. I NEVER went into “active labor” and it doesn’t mean you’re a wimp if you are in excruciating pain on Pitocin and not in “active labor”.
3. If you get to 40 weeks and no natural labor induction method has worked, ask for an ultrasound to check position of baby. If your water leaks and labor doesn’t start, ask for an ultra sound to make sure everything is good to go, preferably before starting Pitocin. If you make it through 8 hours of induced labor and have made no progress, they’ll probably check like my doctor did and they’ll probably be sunny side up. Ask for an ultrasound if they don’t do one….
4. In the end, even if I would have done things differently knowing what I know now, things happened how God allowed them to unfold and my baby was born right on time! And I’m glad it took almost 24 hours from the time I knew I was leaking because she was born April 16 and NOT on “tax day”!