Winter’s Beautiful Birth Story

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Here is the birth story that I will never forget and always cherish.  I hope that I wrote this in the best way possible.  It’s very long, but I did not want to leave anything out.  I absolutely loved Winter’s birth and would not change a thing about it.  Here is how she came into the world…

Winter’s Beautiful Birth Story 

When I hit 39 weeks on October 1st, I all of the sudden felt very “ready” to have my baby.  Something just suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks: I was ready to be done with my pregnancy and ready to meet our little girl.  I started to think that she was coming any day, and then nothing ever happened.  My Braxton Hicks contractions were becoming more frequent and much stronger, sometimes even painful!  “Surely today is the day,” I kept thinking to myself — everyday.  And then nothing would result.

My due date came and went.  As I was a runner all the way throughout my pregnancy, there was something special about the run I went on that Tuesday morning — my due date.  It felt like a momentous day.  It felt great that I could celebrate that day with a healthy run outside in the gorgeous fall weather.  I started trying all kinds of old wives tales for helping stimulate labor…with no avail.  At my O.B. appointment that afternoon on Tuesday, October 8th (baby’s due date), my doctor said her best friend always swears by eating eggplant parmesan to induce labor.  So I thought I’d give it a whirl if nothing had happened in a few days. I just wanted to meet our girl!

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Post run on my due date!

On Wednesday, October 9th I felt very emotional and depressed because I was still baby-less.  It felt as if every single day was a year long.  At that moment, it felt as if I were NEVER going to go into labor.  I was in a bad mood and I felt awful — both emotionally and physically exhausted.  My back was killing me from sciatic nerve pressure and I was just feeling defeated.  I went to the gym to workout and made myself do an “extra intense” workout just to see if that could get baby motivated to make her grand appearance.  I worked out on the stairmaster, the rowing machine and jacob’s ladder (that was probably hilarious to watch a pregnant lady use).  After over an hour of cardio, I did a full body weight lifting.  As I left the gym, the front desk person and I briefly chatted how if they saw me again I was going to be sad that I still hadn’t given birth.  Well, thankfully they wouldn’t see me again — since that night I went into labor!

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Jacob’s Ladder – I bet that was interesting to watch a pregnant lady use!

Because of my sciatic back pain, I went to see my chiropractor for an adjustment around 6pm on Wednesday evening, which was my second adjustment that week.  On the drive home, I called and talked with my dad for a half an hour.  During that drive home/phone call with Dad, I was noticing really strong Braxton Hicks contractions, but didn’t allow myself to get my hopes up.  After all, these were just more of the same.

When I got home, Eric and I decided to go out to dinner for our weekly date night early since we hoped that by Friday the baby would already be here.  The eggplant parmesan recommendation from my doctor was ringing in my head, so I suggested the Macaroni Grill.  Just before heading out to dinner, I went to the bathroom and noticed a bit of a bloody show….that got my heart racing…maybe this was the start of something?!

At dinner I found myself feeling extra excited and told Eric what had happened in the bathroom at home.  Neither of us wanted to get our hopes up yet.  As we ate dinner, I noticed my Braxton Hicks contractions started to feel painful — a different type of painful than I had previously experienced.  To be honest, I was not quite sure if I was having gas pains or contractions.  If they were gas pains, I needed to find out!  So I went to the bathroom to investigate, and no, they were not gas pains.  During the rest of dinner we both started to get more excited that we could potentially be at the beginning of something real!

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Macaroni Grill – where my contractions started.

We left the restaurant and arrived home about 9pm (we are late eaters).  Because we were now in the comfort of our home, we decided to start timing my contractions.  The way I would describe what I was feeling was a menstrual cramp/pain down low in the bottom of my belly.  It felt like a sting or a sharp pain, or almost like someone was sticking a knife in my uterus.  Ouch!  At that point in the evening, it hurt, but was still very manageable.  We decided to run a bath, so I hopped in the tub and tried to relax between contractions from 9-10pm.  We continued timing, and the pains were very regular, ranging from 5-7 minutes apart.

At around 10:30 p.m. I decided to call my mom since my parents are on Eastern time.  If this truly was labor, I wanted to inform her before things progressed too much and had to call her with a middle-of-the-night phone call.  I described my “knife stabbing into my uterus” pains to Mom, and she said I needed to stop calling them that, and call them contractions.  Haha!  I still was not really 100% convinced that I was in labor.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up just yet — but my excitement was growing.

Between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. my contractions were coming every 4-6 minutes and getting stronger and more painful.  Eric was my dutiful timer.  We used an app on his phone to time the contractions, which made things really easy!  During that period of time I bounced on my exercise ball, got on my hands and knees to allow baby to hang down, and rocked my hips constantly to encourage baby to move down.  I took a second bath, and this time the water felt SO AMAZING on my body.

At 1:00 a.m. I needed to get out of the house, so we decided to go for a walk outside.  Yes, at 1:00 a.m.!  We walked laps and laps around our neighborhood, trying to be quiet since we didn’t want to wake anyone.  We probably walked 2 miles on that crisp fall night.  I was still able to walk through the contractions, though they were getting stronger and sometimes coming every 2 1/2 minutes apart.

After our walk, I decided I wanted to take a hot shower.  I needed the pain relief as well as I wanted to look decent for birth.  Ha, of course!  After my shower, I was starving, so Eric and I sat down at the table and ate our Macaroni Grill leftovers from dinner at around 2:30 a.m.  I continued having contractions, but it felt SO GREAT to get a bit of food in my stomach.  I was starting to feel exhausted from getting no sleep combined with the pain I was feeling.  After eating, we deemed it felt necessary to go to the hospital.  I was feeling quite a lot of pain during each contraction and I knew that SURELY I was getting really fair along at this point.  So Eric loaded the car with our bags, he snapped a couple of photos of me, and we were off!

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Heading to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning, nearly 3am.

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One last look from both sides.

During that 15 minute drive to the hospital, I had at least 3 or 4 strong contractions.  Sitting down in the car, being unable to move through the contraction, was really excruciating for me.  At least when I was at home I could move around as needed or roll/bounce on my ball to help ease the pain.  Sitting in a seatbelt in a vehicle is NOT ideal for labor.

We arrived at the hospital at 3:00 a.m. and I called my mom to let her know an update of where things stood.  I still was unsure of how “far along” into labor I was, but I knew surely we were making some definite progress since I was in a lot of pain and the contractions were 2-5 minutes apart lasting for a minute or longer.  We entered the emergency entrance and notified the staff that I was in active labor.  A nurse was sent down to escort me up to the labor and delivery wing via wheelchair.  I was wheeled up to the maternity floor — my first time ever being a patient at a hospital.

From the moment I arrived in the hospital, I noticed an extreme change in my contractions.  They seemed to slow down and feel less intense.  Perhaps it was the adrenaline rush from being at the hospital, who knows???  We were brought into a room and the nurse had me change into a gown and give a urine sample.  They hooked up the two monitors to my belly to start monitoring contractions and baby’s heartrate.  For about an hour we dealt with logistics: 100 million questions that I had to answer.  My contractions continued coming, but not as close together or quite at the intensity they were before my admittance.

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Talking to my mom while at the hospital,

At the end of that hour, the nurse finally checked my cervix.  She estimated I was over 3 but less than 4 centimeters dilated.  This just about crushed my spirit!  Just on Tuesday, I had been just under 3 centimeters at my O.B. appointment.  How on earth had I not made ANY progress after all these hours of painful contractions?!  It just left me feeling so discouraged.

The nurse suggested that Eric and I get up and walk around the hospital halls for an hour to see if that caused any cervical change.  Being SO EXHAUSTED from pulling an all-nighter, that hour of walking felt like it lasted for 5 hours.  Plus, I was walking around in a hospital gown (with one over the back for extra modesty), so I felt less than comfortable.  A few times during the walk I stopped to use the rest room and noticed heavy bleeding.  Bleeding that somewhat scared me!  It was heavy like a period, and each time I used the restroom, there was lots more blood.  This is something I notified the nurses of, and they seemed to think it was normal for labor.

At 5:30 a.m. we returned to our room to see if our hour-plus walk had made any cervical change.  I was feeling extremely beat and worn down from a lack of sleep combined with the exhaustion from being in labor all night.  I did not feel hopeful because I was having hardly any contractions at that time.  The nurse, Amy (a different one because of a shift change during our time walking) came in to check me to see if there was any more progress.  After checking my cervix, she estimated that I was 3-4 cm dilated.  BIG bummer.  Again, I felt so frustrated and defeated.

This nurse, Amy, was a really pushy and opinionated gal.  She strongly suggested we could use pitocin to get labor jumpstarted and sped along.  RED FLAG!!  I did NOT want pitocin AT ALL.  No way, no how.  In my mind, my baby girl was going to come out when she was darn well ready, and I did NOT need pitocin to make her mad.  I expressed this to the nurse, and she looked at me like I was a whacko.  I told her that I wanted to leave the hospital and go home because apparently the baby wasn’t quite ready yet.  Being pushy and opinionated, she pleaded with me to stay.  It really took a lot of courage for me to stand up for myself and say no.  I wanted to go home, be in my comfort zone and labor at home as I pleased.  I did NOT want to stay strapped to a hospital bed, exhausted from an all-nighter and having some bitchy (sorry for the language) nurse push her opinions and drugs on me.  She left the room so Eric and I could talk.

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We said NO to Pitocin!

We decided to check ourselves out and go home.  The nurse returned and said, “well, I guess if your baby wants to be born today, you will probably be back by noon anyway, so go home.”  What relief.  They let us go.  At this time it was 6:00 a.m. and I was having basically no contractions.  My level of discouragement was prevalent.  But I felt we were making the right choice for us to go home rather than staying at the hospital.  I needed to do this the RIGHT way.

Upon arriving home around 6:45 a.m., we thought it would be best to try to get some sleep, since we were both extremely exhausted from getting none all night long.  We lied down in our bed and I think I was able to be restful (translation: not ACTUALLY fall asleep) for a period of time.  I did not actually sleep, but the rest gave me a nice jumpstart.  I  needed anything I could get in the way of relaxation,

Around 9:00 a.m. I was started to get extremely painful contractions again.  In fact, the pain was SO MUCH stronger now than anything from the entire night before!  Eric was still asleep in the bed and I didn’t want to disturb him yet, so I ran a hot bath.  While the bath was running, I found myself dropping on the floor to my knees in such extreme pain.  THIS WAS IT!  Things were rolling again!  I was excited but still not positive that we were having a baby that day yet.  From 9:30-10:30 a.m. I soaked in the tub, breathing through really intense painful contractions every 3-5 minutes apart.  Eric, who was awake now, was so supportive and helpful and tried to help me through each one.

Eric called my O.B. office to see if there was any way I could come in to the office to be checked for cervical change rather than going to the hospital before we truly felt ready to go again.  She apologized that the earliest they could see me was 2:00 p.m. if I could even make it that long.  So my goal was to get myself to 2:00.  At that point, it was really hard to focus on anything because I was in such extreme pain.  I remember calling my mom while lying on the floor in pain saying, “Mom, how on earth do people do this?!?” and she said, “Katy, after the baby is born, you will forget all of this pain.”

From 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. the contractions were SO INTENSE and coming 2-4 minutes apart.  I couldn’t focus on anything and I dreaded the next contraction ahead.  I bounced on my exercise ball, leaned over pieces of furniture and just tried to breathe through each one.  I found that they would come on really strong and peak and then fade out.  It helped me to close my eyes and breathe deeply throughout the peak of each contraction.  After one was finished, at least I never had to “deal with THAT contraction again!”

At 12:00 p.m. I needed to get outside and walk the neighborhood.  I was walking SO SLOWLY and had to stop to hold myself up against Eric or fences when the contractions would come.  I felt miserable that 2:00 p.m. was still so far away.  My pain was SO BAD and I was crying on an off.  We got back home from our walk and I called my sister Maggie.  I had to hand off the phone to Eric when a contraction came because I couldn’t talk.  In fact, I ran to the kitchen sink and vomited.  Eric hung up the phone and said that Maggie said to get to the hospital immediately if I was throwing up.  Throwing up means things are really progressed far.  She thought I might even be close to the transition phase of labor.

We drove to the hospital and were admitted at 1:30 p.m.  Thankfully I was assigned a new nurse, Shauna, who was the most friendly gal I’ve ever met.  I was so relieved I didn’t have my previous pushy nurse from that morning.  After getting changed and hooked up to the monitors, Shauna checked me and estimated I was 5 cm dilated and we decided to stay.  She said she was being modest with that number, so even though she said I was at a 5, it could have really been a 6 or more according to other nurses she said…but her theory is that she doesn’t like to tell someone a higher number, just in case.  She hooked up my IV to administer the standard fluids, and we found that I was extremely dehydrated as I had not eaten or drank anything at all since my 2:30 a.m. snack.

Only 20 minutes after arriving, the doctor came in to check me and I had already dilated to 7 cm!  They went ahead and broke my water and I notified them that I wanted an epidural.  I figured the worst of the pain was behind me, but I was just so READY to feel better.

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Seeing the baby station in our room was making things feel more real!

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At the hospital – ready for a bit of pain relief.

Before the epidural, my entire body started shaking violently.  The shakes were so violent and I could hear Shauna in the background telling someone that we need to get this epidural quickly since I was in transition phase.  It felt like they were in a different world — I was in a cloudy space, almost like an out of body experience.  I kept wondering “how am I going to hold still for 10 minutes for this epidural?!?” since I was shaking so uncontrollably.

Eric went to move the car (since he was parked in 2 hour parking because the garage was full), and barely made it back in time to hold my shoulders while they put the epidural needle in.   Anesthesiology moved fairly quickly.  Right before they prepped me for the epidural, they checked again and I was 8 cm!  Wow, things sure were moving along now!  At this time, it was approximately 3:30 p.m.  By this point I was having such terrible contraction pains and being trapped on a bed was MISERABLE.  Thankfully Eric walked in right in the nick of time to hold me while the needle was inserted.  My violent shakes were going on uncontrollably, but with all my might I held still.

The epidural was easy breezy and took effect quickly.  From that point on, my experience when from “chaotic and miserable-feeling” to “happy and relaxed.”  All of the sudden I began to ENJOY the experience!  My pain was now gone and I could finally relax and enjoy the ride.  I have no regrets about getting the epidural.  I could still feel my legs and was able to somewhat move them and wiggle my toes, so I was not completely numb.

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Happy to meet our daughter shortly!  I was feeling amazing now that I had the epidural.

It was about 4:00 p.m. and I was feeling absolutely wonderful.  For the next period of time, our nurse Shauna hung out in our room and we chatted lightheartedly about this and that.  She monitored the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions while we visited.  It was really fun to see that I was having regular/frequent contractions without having to feel them!  Shauna decided rather than checking my cervix, she wanted to just wait until I felt pressure to see when I’d made it to a 10.  Since I was so relaxed, Eric went to grab a quick bite to eat (as did Shauna), and this allowed me time to make a few phone calls.  Up until this point, I had notified no one (besides family) that we were in labor.  I sent out several texts to get friends up to speed.

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Post epidural when I could finally smile!

At just before 6:00 p.m. Shauna came back and took my temperature.  She became slightly concerned when she saw that I was running a bit of a fever.  She went ahead and gave me Tylenol to help bring the fever down, and suggested that she check to see if I was at 10 cm dilated yet.  She checked, and sure enough, I was 100% effaced and 10 cm dilated!  Who knows how long I had been dilated to a 10!  It had probably been for a while!!  Shauna said because of my fever, it was wise to start pushing now rather than waiting for me to feel the urge to push, so we started a few “practice pushes.”  I was nervous that I wouldn’t know how to do it correctly or that I would be too numb to push, but with her guidance, she said my pushing was perfect right from the get-go.  With the next several contractions, she continued having me push to get the baby to move further down into the birth canal.

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Shauna took our photo right before I started pushing.  Last family photo as a family of only two!

My doctor, Dr. Lewkowski, arrived to the room shortly after (this was right after 6:00 p.m.).  She was supposed to be getting off work at 5:00 p.m. but decided rather than leaving, it would be more fun to stick around and deliver a baby tonight!  I was so grateful that she did that!  It really meant a lot to have her there to deliver my baby.  My doctor and nurse then began guiding me through pushes with each contraction that came.  We would do three 10-second pushes with each contraction.  Eric held my left leg and Shauna held the right.  The pushes were very effective, but I was shocked at how much energy it took out of me!

At one point during the pushing process (perhaps 6:20 p.m.), another nurse rushed in the room in a panic to check my blood pressure reading because she saw that it was really low suddenly.  Moments later, I began feeling really light headed and the room started to fade in and out.  I don’t remember exactly what they said my blood pressure was, but I thought I heard something in the neighborhood of 70/50…scary!  It turns out that I was lying flat on my back, which was causing some sort of blockage in one of my major arteries.  After moving me onto my side, they quickly put a bag of fluid into my IV.

After a few minutes my blood pressure came back up to a healthy level.  I started feeling more normal at that point, thank the Lord.  That was a scary few minutes because the room suddenly swarmed with all kinds of medical staff.  Eric later told me that he felt really scared too.  In those few seconds where I felt like I was “fading out” I remember thinking, “what if I die today?” or “Lord help my baby be ok!” or “I hope they don’t rush us into an emergency c-section.”  Thankfully all it took to get me back into running order was giving me fluid and moving me onto my side.  Once my blood was able to get moving through the arteries again and my blood pressure came back up, I was back in great shape.

With that brief fiasco behind us, it was time to continue pushing and meet our baby!  9 months of pregnancy got us to this point, and it was time to SHINE!  I continued pushing three times for 10 seconds each with every contraction.  The doctor asked if I wanted a mirror (which the nurses all thought she asked if I wanted a beer, how funny!), and my response was a quick, “No thanks!”  As the baby started crowning, I didn’t even need a mirror because I could see her head coming out anyway!  I could see a head with tons of dark hair — that was such a crazy sight to see!  Dr. Lewkowski asked if I wanted to feel her head, so I did, and boy was that nuts.  MY BABY WAS COMING OUT!!!

Once her head was out, the doctor asked me to just keep on pushing, so quickly our baby slid out and they placed her immediately on my chest.  All I remember thinking was “how the heck did this entire human being just come out of my body?!”  I started sobbing with joy as Winter Elizabeth’s wide eyes stared into mine.  Her eyes were so bright blue and she was SO ALERT!  She didn’t really cry much, but she was more looking all around taking everything in.  She was just so perfect.  I cannot even describe the utter joy of those first few moments bonding with her skin to skin.  It was amazing how much my heart could immediately love her.  It felt like my heart could burst from happiness and love.

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Here we are just seconds after they placed her on my chest.  I cannot even describe how happy I felt in this moment.

My doctor asked me to give one good push to deliver the placenta.  After it came out, I asked to see it.  Dr. Lewkowski brought it up to where I could see it and she showed me all the different parts of it and explained how it worked.  That was so neat!

Eric said to me, “Katy, good thing you got an epidural, because you are being stitched up right now.”  I hadn’t even realized what was going on around me because I was so engrossed in my baby.  Dr. Lewkowski said I had a 2nd degree tear, the “most common type” according to what she sees in her patients.  I honestly didn’t even care a bit.  I was too happy to care about something like that.

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A few minutes after Winter’s delivery!

While bonding with Winter skin to skin on my chest, the doctor stitched me up, and Shauna did several fundal massages on my belly to encourage my uterus to shrink down.  The nurses later took Winter so they could give her shots and get her birth weight and height.  When she was away from me, her cries came and she cried and so hard!  That girl has got some lungs!!  She didn’t like her shots or being weighed (what girl does?!).  She was a healthy 7 pounds, 2.5 ounces and measured 18.5 inches long.  Just perfect.  What a fun birthday: 10/10/13!

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Crying little girl!

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After being weighed and measured!

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Waiting on her while she was weighed and measured.

After an hour, Shauna had me get up, and I could walk, though somewhat wobbly on my legs.  We were moved into our recovery room.  Shauna gave Eric and I big hugs…we just LOVED her.  She made our experience so wonderful.  It was sad to say goodbye, but we were so excited to enjoy the next few days and hours getting to know Winter.

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 Just moments after we were moved into our recovery room, so happy.  Getting to know each other.

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We stayed in the hospital until Saturday.  It was so fun getting to know our precious daughter in those first hours/days at the hospital.  It felt like we were living in a dream.  I could have never imagined how beautiful and how much love I could feel for a person.  Winter is my little angel and I love her immensely.

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Arriving home with our daughter!

Winter’s birth was SO SPECIAL.  I will never forget how she made her entrance into the world.  Eric and I love our daughter more than words could ever describe.  I hope that I didn’t leave out any details…the whole experience was simply magical.  Our Winter came on the day and the hour that God picked for her.

Psalm 139:13-16 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

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Pregnancy Wrap-Up

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I loved my pregnancy with Winter.  She was such a joy to carry in my belly.  Now that she is 2.5 weeks old, sometimes I miss feeling her movements inside me:)  But I wouldn’t trade her being here for anything!  We just love our little girl!  I thought it would be neat to do a little pregnancy wrap up/summary…so here it is:

How long was this pregnancy?: 40 weeks and 2 days

Total Weight Gain: 23 pounds!  I feel AWESOME that I stayed within my goal weight gain amount (I wanted to stay under 30 lbs gained).  It took a lot of work to keep my number at 23 pounds.

Stretchmarks: None, thankfully!

Best Moment of the Pregnancy:  Getting the positive test in January.  Plus I loved feeling her movements/hiccups inside my belly.  SO SWEET!  I miss it sometimes.

Movement: Winter was constantly “on the go” in my belly.  She favored my right side, so I guess she will be a right handed girl.  We will see.  Now that she is born, she is SO strong….now I know why those kicks and jabs were so strong in my belly.

Gender: Girl

Belly Button: Out, but it’s back to an innie now.

Linea Nigra: None.  Though I think while in Florida I got a bit of a pregnancy mask on my face.  It’s gone now.

Workouts/Running While Pregnant: I ran ALL THE WAY UNTIL DELIVERY!!  I feel absolutely so proud of myself for this!  My running schedule was Sun/Tue/Thur with gym days on Mon/Wed/Fri.  I ran several miles on my due date (Tue, 10/8), and then did a gym workout on Wed (10/9), and went into labor that evening.  So I literally ran all the way until I possibly could:)

What I Missed Most While Pregnant: Feeling light and not being able to do “basic things” easily (bend over, paint toe nails, harder time running/working out, shaving, etc).

Biggest Cravings: Apples with peanut butter & vanilla greek yogurt.

Pregnancy Numbers:

# of positive pregnancy tests: 4 – at the end of January 2013 when 4 weeks pregnant
# ER visits: 0 – thankfully
# outie belly buttons: 1
# of intact belly button rings: 0 – I took my belly button ring out in the 1st trimester, will probably put it back in within a few weeks/months
# of stretch marks: 0 – lucky here
# weeks running while pregnant: 40 weeks (never took off a single week during my whole pregnancy!)
# of normal (vaginal) births: 1
# of healthy babies born: 1 – Winter Elizabeth Lute
Total pounds gained: 23 lbs
Total waist measurement: Good question – I honestly don’t know!
Total hours at Swedish Hospital before Winter arrived: 5 hours (1:30 pm until 6:37 pm)
Total hours in labor (defined as time after contractions started): 22 hours (8:30 pm on October 9th until 6:37 pm on October 10th)
# of weeks pregnant when I delivered: 40 weeks, 2 days (only 2 days past due!!)
# OBGYN doctors: 3 – Dr. Lewkowski & Dr. Peters (at my regular Denver office) and Dr. Caplan (at my Florida office)
# of ultrasounds: 5 – at 6 weeks, 9 weeks, 19 weeks, 33 weeks and 36 weeks
# of hours driving across the country on a roadtrip: 58+ hours (28 hours from Denver to Florida in July and 30 hours from Florida to Denver in September)
# of movements felt: TONS!  This was the best part of pregnancy!
# of things I loved about being pregnant: 100s! – Feeling her movements, I loved my belly, hearing her heartbeat at appts, feeling her hiccups, etc
# of things I disliked about being pregnant: 3 –  1. sickness/fatigue of the 1st trimester, 2. feeling heavy/slow and 3. achy hips/back

Well, that’s a wrap!  This pregnancy is over.  I am loving motherhood so far.  I can’t wait to start writing more about my experiences as they come.  I already feel like I have so much to write about.  With family visitors/helpers here for the past 2 weeks, I haven’t had any time for blogging.  Whenever I got a chance, I have snuck away here and there to write out Winter’s birth story.  So stay tuned, because I will be posting about her birth very soon!  It took me hours and hours to write (and it’s very long!), so I hope you enjoy reading about it!

To tide you over, here are two more beautiful photos we got back from Winter’s newborn photography session: 

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Winter’s First 10 Days

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Today Winter is 10 days old.

It’s hard to believe that 10 days have already passed.  Having a newborn baby is quite the lifestyle change, let me tell ya!  Eric, Winter and I are working on getting our routine down.  Slowly but surely.  Since coming home from the hospital a week ago, we have gone to the pediatrician for her first doctor visit, had a newborn photography shoot, gone to church twice, gone to our couples Bible study, taken many walks (which is my current amount of daily exercise — walking only for the time being), and spent much time with Grandpa and Grandma!  My parents arrived on Tuesday night and it has been just wonderful having them here to help.  My parents raised all 8 kids in my family, and Winter is their 10th grandchild, so they really are experts in baby care/parenting.

Here is a look back at what Winter has been up to for the past week:

NEWBORN PHOTOS.  We had Winter’s newborn photography shoot when she was 6 days old.  It was so fun to see her in all different cute headbands, scarves, etc.  I can’t WAIT to see how the photos turned out.  Our photographer sent us these 2 photos as a short preview.

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A preview of Winter’s newborn session!  I can’t wait to see all of the photos and how they turned out!  They are seriously going to be the most adorable photos ever!

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Adorable.

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Mommy and Winter pre-photoshoot.  She was the perfect little model!

GRANDPA AND GRANDMA.  My parents are here in Colorado to help with the baby.  It is SO WONDERFUL to have them here.  Winter is my parents’ 10th grandchild, but only their 2nd granddaughter.  My mom has been cooking meals and taking care of us while here — it’s so nice!  She has also helped with breastfeeding and in general taking care of Winter.  I appreciate my mom and dad so much!

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Winter meeting Grandma in the airport.

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Grandpa and Winter.

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Winter wearing her “Nuts about Grandma” shirt!

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Getting to know each other.

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PEDIATRICIAN APPOINTMENT.  At 6 days old, Winter went to the doctor for her first appointment after the hospital.  Our pediatrician’s office has really fun decorations in the office.  We were put in the arctic room, which is perfect for our little Winter girl!  The doctor said they might just have to always reserve that room for Winter’s appointments.  Winter is doing SO GREAT that she has already gotten taller (she is now 19 inches, up from 18.5) and regained and surpassed her birth weight!!  The pediatrician thought that was just incredible considering they hope that babies reach their birthweight by 2 weeks old.  At her appointment she was already 7 lbs 7 oz, and she left the hospital just days before at 7 lbs even (birth weight was 7 lbs 2.5 oz).  This little gal is a GREAT eater.  Seriously, a champion at breastfeeding!

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My mom and Eric with Winter at the doctor appointment.

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Mommy and Winter at her first check-up at 6 days old.

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Fun wintery room!

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SNOW DAY!  In Colorado we get fluke weather days.  We woke up to snow on the ground one day this week!  Snow in October is not unheard of.  In fact, the snowfall we got this week wasn’t our first snow of the season!  It was fun to go out walking on Winter’s first snow day!

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Winter’s first snowy day!

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Family picture on our snow day walk.

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WALKING.  For any of you that have followed my pregnancy, you know just how important fitness is to me.  I decided that once the baby was born, I was going to take a short break from “formal exercise” for a few weeks to allow my body proper rest for healing.  The doctor said that walking doesn’t count and is completely fine to do, so I have been taking long walks every single day.  It’s very important for me to get out in the fresh air and get some exercise.  I’m looking forward to getting back to “real exercise” soon…but for now walking has been such a great time.  Our daily walks are a fun boding time….and plus we just love our BOB stroller!

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Walking around the lake by our house.

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Family walk.

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On our walk one evening.

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WINTER’S NURSERY. We are having Winter sleep in our bedroom in a bassinet for the first few months, but we are still getting use of the nursery.  We always change her diapers in there, and sometimes I go in the nursery to breastfeed in the glider rocking chair.

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Winter has yet to use her crib, but we placed her in the crib to snap a photo of her!

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My mom helped finish the nursery by sewing the final touches on the pillows.  I still hadn’t sewed up the stuffing holes:)  Thanks Mom!

MY HUSBAND IS NOW THE WORLD’S GREATEST DADDY.  Eric is the best.  I seriously couldn’t ask for a better husband and father.  He loves Winter so much and he is perfect with her.  I think I love him now more than I ever have:)

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Naptime on the couch.

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On a walk with Winter.

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MORE PHOTOS OF MY BABY!  And now I just have several more photos of our sweet little Winnie girl.  We just love her so much.  She is an angel baby.  She rarely cries or fusses.  She eats like clockwork every 3 hours.  She is a rockstar at breastfeeding.  And she is just so beautiful.

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BUMP{LESS} REPORT – Baby Winter Elizabeth

41weeksbabychalkboardBABY LUTE WAS BORN!

Welcome to the world, Winter Elizabeth Lute!  Winter was born on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 6:37 p.m. in Denver, Colorado.  She weighs 7 pounds, 2.5 ounces and measures 18.5 inches long.  She has a full head of dark brown hair and daddy’s blue eyes.  She is healthy and completely perfect.  Eric and I couldn’t feel happier or more blessed.

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As I sit down to write, I have no idea where to begin.  I will plan to write a completely separate blog post about our birth story, but wanted to give an update on what’s been going on and how we are doing!  The past 5 days have been a blur, but we are enjoying every second of this precious addition to our family.

We arrived to the hospital on Thursday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. and welcomed Winter into the world by 6:37 p.m. that day.  Her birth was beautiful and I would not change a single thing.  (But as I mentioned, I will write out the full story when I have more time.)  We stayed in the hospital for two nights and arrived home on Saturday afternoon, ready for our brand new adventure!  We haven’t gotten a whole lot of sleep since then, but it’s well worth every second.

The winner of the baby pool is my brother-in-law Jason.  He must have great intuition, because he guessed her name, birthday, weight and length (nearly perfectly).  Way to go, Jason!  We also had a lot of other great guessers who got the birthday correct, including me!  Other correct 10/10 guesses were: my sister Maggie, blog friends Priscilla Marie, Carin, and Katie, my Aunt Carol, Eric’s Grandma Helen, and my college friend Franki.  Way to go, everyone!  10/10 is a cool birthday!

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Baby Pool final results — way to go Jason!

Until I get a chance to write Winter’s birth story, here is just a series of snapshots of what we have been up to:

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First family photo!  This was taken just moments after Winter was born.  We had skin-on-skin time before she was weighed and measured.  She even started breastfeeding right away!

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Mommy is SO PROUD of her little girl!  This was taken right after we were moved into our recovery room post-delivery.

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Before her first bath.  Just an hour or so old here.

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We are so proud of our little angel!

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Winter is the most beautiful little girl I’ve ever seen!

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Getting ready to take her home.

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One proud Daddy!  He is so amazing with her.

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Snuggling baby Winter before leaving the hospital.

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First car ride!

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Family photo as we arrived home! 

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The sleepy Winter just melts my heart.  This is how she looks after she breastfeeds.

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Winter loves being a baby burrito.  Daddy is the best at swaddling her!

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This is what I get to live and breathe for now.  Winter is my precious angel.

Thank you so much for all of your kind words.  We are all doing great.  Recovery from birth is going well.  Just pray that we get some sleep every now and again:)

Until next time,

Katy

Maternity Photography

Maternity photos are in! I’m so excited to share these maternity photos with you! They arrived this week, and Eric and I love them. Dueck Photography did an amazing job capturing these beautiful moments. http://www.dueckphotography.com We had these photos taken at 36 weeks. Towards the end of the photoshoot, we were battling the POURING rain! Regardless, the pictures turned out beautiful.

BUMP REPORT – 40 Weeks

ImagePREGNANCY WEEK 40

Here we are at 40 weeks.  I honestly did not think there would STILL be a baby in my belly at this time.  With the way I have been feeling for the past few weeks, I was dead-on sure that our baby was fully cooked and ready to make her appearance before her due date.  With the amount of super frequent/strong Braxton Hicks contractions and other “labor signs” I have been experiencing, I was just SURE this baby was coming a few times within the past week.  Guess I was wrong.  Now technically the “official” due date is Tuesday (when calculating it originally, some charts put me to Oct 7th and some put me to Oct 8th).  I have always been in the habit of writing weekly blog updates on Mondays…so I guess there is still a chance she could be born on time.  At around 37 and 38 weeks I was freaking out because I didn’t feel mentally “ready” for baby girl’s birth yet.  Then there was a 180.  When I hit 39 weeks, I all the sudden was “READY!”  This past week has been an emotional battle of ups and downs as I kept thinking that “this is it” or “tomorrow is definitely the day!”  Talk about feeling frustrated.  I know she will be here any day, but I am mentally SO OVER IT!  I just want her here.  So does Daddy.  If there is a 41 week blog update — I will be beyond annoyed, HAHA!  Please pray that this baby comes.

Here is a month-by-month recap of Baby Lute’s bump progress….

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…And a look at some of my pictures that include the size-comparisons…

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….and here are all of the pregnancy weeks below!  Started with a plum and ended with a pumpkin!

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My age: 27

How far along: 40 weeks

How big is baby: the size of gallon of milk.  She is approximately 19-22 inches long and weighs 7.5-8 pounds.

What have you been up to: This week had much less on the calendar than the previous week, which was MUCH NEEDED.  It allowed me down time to relax and take it a bit easier.  I had a chance to get together with three different girlfriends all on separate days.  I also had the opportunity to re-read labor & delivery chapters in several of my pregnancy books.  Eric and I went on our weekly date this weekend, we tried a new restaurant called the Hurricane Grill.  It is a beachy/surfer theme place — so much fun.  It was delicious food too!  I got grilled chicken sliders with a HOT sauce called “the boss” (and no, the spicy food didn’t induce labor).  Also this week we made a belly cast (I’ll talk more about that in a minute).

At my O.B. appointment last Wednesday, the doctor was pleasantly surprised that things really seem to be progressing nicely.  When she did my cervical exam, she estimated I was 70% effaced and a good 2 cm dilated already!  She really seemed to think that labor could coming be any day….so that started getting my hopes up.  Ever since Wednesday I have been on this emotional rollercoaster thinking that the baby is finally coming!  On Thursday, I was just SURE it was the day.  And then Friday, same thing.  And NO–she hasn’t come yet.  I have been experiencing non-stop Braxton Hicks (some are very regular and even painful), but then they always end up stopping and never resulting in real labor.  And I am so exhausted of well-intentioned friends/people texting me asking for updates or to see if I am in labor yet.  Those text messages make me feel frustrated, because there is literally zero I can do to control this situation.  Yes, I want to be in labor, but no, I am not.  Stop asking.  I know people care and are excited, but it makes me feel defeated.  I finally started responding with “there is currently nothing to update on, and I will keep you posted when that changes.”  So if you happen to be someone who I have told that to, please take no offense, I am just really emotional and frustrated with my body.

Now, with all that emotional negativity out there, let’s focus on some fun!  Let’s talk about making a belly cast!  Over the weekend, instead of focusing my energy on the fact that I STILL wasn’t in labor yet, we decided to make a memento of this pregnant belly.

BELLY CAST.  I’ve seen people make molds of their pregnant bellies before and thought it was kind of a neat keepsake to have.  I was not sure I would end up doing something like that or not.  Well, I decided to do it — on the cheap was the only way!  I did not feel it necessary to buy one of those expensive kits, so if I could find an easy and cheap way to do it, I was all in.  And I did!  All I needed was a product I found at Michaels.  It is a “plaster wrap” or it can also be called “rigid wrap”…. it’s basically gauze that you dip in water and it hardens.  I spent less than $10 on this project and it turned out great.  Here is the tutorial I found to make mine: http://entergentlyblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/make-your-own-pregnant-belly-cast.html

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STEP 1: Cut a lot of strips of the gauze and lay them out.  I used 2 rolls.  Get out a shallow pan with warm water in it to dip the strips.

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STEP 2: Protect your skin with olive oil.  It felt really yucky to wipe cooking oil all over my skin, but it was worth it to protect my skin.  I also put plastic wrap over my pants since it was a messy project.  It also didn’t hurt to cover the table and floor too.

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STEP 3: Work quickly because these set up fast.  Have your husband/helper dip the strips of gauze in warm water and place them all over your belly.  Make sure you smooth out any air pockets.

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STEP 4: After putting 2 layers all over, allow it to set up and dry.  It will literally come away from your skin–don’t pull it off until it comes off on it’s own.

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STEP 5: After it comes off your skin, let it dry for a while — as in a few days.  It’s going to be really neat to have this keepsake in the future when I forget how big my belly was!

Exercise/Activity Level: I feel very proud that I’m still working out (and running) 6 days per week at 40 weeks pregnant!!  3 runs and 3 gym days.  I think that’s a real accomplishment.  It has been NO FUN working out this week as my body is kind of feeling “over it” at this point.  Somehow God gives you what you need to keep on going though.  At all 3 of my gym workouts this week (45 minutes cardio & 20 minutes weight lifting), each day there was at least one individual who approached me and gave me very nice compliments.  One day a lady walked up to me (while with 15 lb dumbbells over my head doing shoulder presses) and told me what a beautiful photo I’d make (a photo of a woman lifting weights while pregnant).  Another day a lady told me “you are so smart to be exercising during your pregnancy, girl.”  And another day, one of the young male personal trainers told me “You are doing such a great job.  I was watching you workout and you are doing so great — you will have no problem getting your body back after the baby is born.”  God used all 3 of those people this week because I really needed to hear some positive feedback with the way I was feeling.  I know all of this exercise is important and will pay off — I’m just READY to be done with pregnancy at this point.  My body just hurts.  Running somehow feels better than walking though, I still find that amazing.  (I think it may have something to do with my gait—I strive to be a toe/midfoot runner instead of a heel-striker.  I think that walking, a heel-striking gait, hurts my achy body worse than my midfoot/toe running gait.)

Maternity clothes:  Somehow my belly has gotten so huge that some of my shirts are having a hard time covering it up!

Stretch marks: Still none.

Belly Button: Outie.

Sleep: Sleeping really solid.  Thankfully.  At least I have that.  I’m taking advantage of the cliché “sleep as much as you can before the baby comes!”

Newest baby milestones this week: Baby is fully cooked.  Now just come on out, little girl!

Best Moment of the Week: At my doctor appointment after the nurse weighed me, she said “Wow, you haven’t gained any weight since July!”  I know this seems like a weird thing for me to be excited about, but I really feel proud that I have been able to keep my weight gain within a healthy amount (23 pounds).  It makes me so happy that after the baby comes out, I won’t have 50 extra pounds clinging to my entire body — hopefully just 13 pounds (I’ve heard 10 pounds is usually the amount lost during birth).  When I was 30 weeks pregnant, I was on a road to high-weight-gain with my habits at that time….it has taken a lot of work to remain firm in my decision to eat healthy.

Worst Moment of the Week: Getting into a miscommunication with my husband.  I hate those.  Thankfully we love each other.  A lot.

Food cravings: Apples with peanut butter.

Food aversions: None.

Symptoms: Strong and regular Braxton Hicks.  Baby feels very low in my pelvis.  I’ve been getting a lot of “menstrual pains” in my belly.  My sciatic nerve is KILLING me (left side of my low back that shoots pain down my left leg).  Feeling UNCOMFORTABLE and sometimes I can barely walk.

Movement: She is totally out of room.  But yet she still moves all over.  It’s uncomfortable at this point because she is so low in my pelvis that it sometimes feels like she could “fall out!”

Gender: Girl

What I’m looking forward to: Meeting baby girl!  Holding her in my arms for the first time.  I also can’t wait to see the look in Eric’s eyes when he finally gets to see her for the first time.  I have been experiencing this baby inside my body for 9 months, and once she is born he will FINALLY get to start experiencing her too.  I know he is so ready for that.  I just can’t wait to watch him as he finally gets to have that magic happen.  He is going to be the best dad EVER!

What I’m nervous about/praying for: Praying for a safe delivery for baby.  I hope things go smoothly and that a normal, uncomplicated vaginal delivery happens.

What I miss: Feeling like a normal human being.  I just want to be un-pregnant:)  I know, soon!

Next appointment: Tuesday, October 8th @ 3:45 P.M.

To-do list before baby’s arrival:  It’s an awfully short list this week:

-HAVE THE BABY!

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9 months: A look back

Baby Lute has gotten to go a lot of places and do a lot of fun things while in Mommy’s belly.  Let’s take a look back over the past 9 months of Baby Lute’s life in the womb….

January 2013: Here we are just days before finding out about you, little girl!  On this day I first suspected I was pregnant because I lost my phone (forgetfulness), freaked out about it and cried all day (raging hormones) and started suspecting….  In this picture we were at a concert at the Grizzly Rose.

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January 28, 2013: the day we found out about you!  I took a sharpie and wrote on my stomach: “HI DADDY”….then I made Eric lift up my shirt.  We were both thrilled!

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Early February 2013: We took a weekend trip to Glenwood Springs.  It was fun, and mommy stayed out of the really hot springs…she stayed in the lukewarm temps only.

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February 2013: Mommy and Daddy skied most weekends as long as Mommy still had energy.  We skied a lot of fun powder days this season.  You got to go down many black diamonds and extreme terrain!  Skiing is our favorite thing to do.  We can’t wait to put you on your first set of skis and share our hobby with you, little one!!

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March 2013: We took a trip to Indiana to share the news about you to my side of the family.  We made t-shirts that said “Baby Skier Makes the Lutes Three”….but hardly anyone noticed the shirts!  Here I am with my 4 sisters.  Below, my sister took me to a maternity store, where I tried on a fake pregnant belly.

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March 2013: You met your Great Grandma and Great Grandpa.  It was fun to visit Grandpa and Grandma.  Sadly, though we thought she was in decent health, Grandma passed away just 5 short days after seeing her (she was 88 years old).  I will always feel so blessed and cherish that last conversation with my sweet Grandma.  Just looking at this photo of me with Grandma Anna Jane is causing me to cry remembering her and feeling sad over losing her.

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March 2013: We planned a Lute family trip to Las Vegas.  On this trip is when we told Eric’s family about you!  We wrapped a picture frame with YOUR ultrasound photo in it.  We told them we had a “late Christmas gift” to give them (in March!)…they are overjoyed to become grandparents.

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April 2013: At 13 weeks into the pregnancy, we make a public announcement on Facebook that you were coming!  It was so fun to receive warm love and support from friends.  Here is our photo we used to announce the pregnancy:

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April 2013: Mommy and Daddy ran a 5K with some friends.  It was a beautiful day for a run!

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May 2013: We went to several concerts in May, the first one was Chris Tomlin at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

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May 2013: We had our anatomy ultrasound and were thrilled to find out that you were healthy and a GIRL!  Mommy has raccoon eyes because she was crying out of pure joy during the ultrasound.

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May 2013: We took a trip to southern Colorado.  One of our stops was to Four Corners.  We/you stood on the corner of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah!  You were in four places at once.

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June 2013: Mommy got surprised at a baby shower thrown by your wonderful Grandma and Aunts in Indiana.  Your Aunt Maggie was also pregnant with your cousin Silas.  It was fun to see each other pregnant.

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June 2013: It was really fun for me to surprise your Aunt Christine and Uncle Mark with a surprise visit to celebrate their high school graduation.  And boy were they surprised!

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June 2013: Mommy and Daddy took you on your first camping trip!

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June 2013: Your Uncle Luke, Aunt Ellen, and cousins David and Emily came to Colorado to visit.  They are missionaries in Nicaragua, very far away.  It was such a joy to see them.  While here, Aunt Ellen came to the Tim McGraw concert with Mommy and Daddy.

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June 2013: The ladies from work threw you a beautiful baby shower!  They gave Mommy lots of advice about birth and being a mom.

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July 2013: Mommy’s friends threw a baby shower where you got lots of wonderful gifts from friends.  The colors of the shower even matched your nursery (purple and teal).

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July 2013: Daddy’s work required a 6-7 week stay in Florida, so we drove 30 hours each way.  Mommy and Daddy loved living in Florida.

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August 2013: Your grandparents and aunt and uncle visited us while in Florida.  Here we are visiting your great-grandpa and great-grandma’s graves (my dad’s side).

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August 2013: Your Aunt Melody and Uncle Andrew came to Florida for a visit too.  It was so much fun!

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September 2013: Just after Labor day weekend, we said goodbye to Florida and drove home (30 hours) to Colorado.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeptember 2013: Safely back home in Colorado, we prepared and got things ready for you, baby girl (including finishing your nursery).  Below we are at the Luke Bryan/Florida Georgia Line concert just 3 weeks before your due date.

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October 2013: Before your arrival, we wanted to take a quick trip up to the mountains to see the changing leaves!  Daddy and Mommy are ready to meet you, baby girl!

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