Rachel & Co.

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2 Months with 2 Kids

Well I've been a mom of 2 now for just over 2 months. (Gavin: 2-1/2 years old, Jax: 2 months old)

Here's what I've learned:

It's possible to wear sweatpants more in 2 months, than you have in the last 5 years combined.

The 2 year old will throw a tantrum, shove a raisin up his nose, climb onto the kitchen counter top, sit on the dog, and do whatever else he knows he's not supposed to do, while you nurse the baby. (which makes time-outs that much more of a pain to follow through with)

As soon as you think they are both going to nap at the same time for you- one will wake up.

Your toddler will suddenly take an interest in breast pumps- and want to help you with it... awkward.

Your scalp will eventually start to feel raw after wearing your hair in the same ponytail for days weeks on end. (don't worry, it was washed within that timespan)

Showers are some days your ONLY privacy... and even then, sometimes the toddler still manages to find his way in there when you forget to lock the door. (ugh)

All babies are different. Some (our first born) are amazing, content, easy babies. Some (our second) are horrible still amazing, but not nearly as content or easy babies.

Your heart will double in size the SECOND you lay eyes on your new baby.

You'll miss spending time with just your older "baby".

You'll forget what life was like with just one child (but you will soon remember once you get the chance to just have one for a couple hours.... oh, how amazingly easy one child is!!!)

You constantly think about what great little buddies your two small kiddos will be in the future.

You daydream about the two of them giggling together, having sleepovers together, getting into trouble together.

You feel guilty a lot of nights... stressing yourself out about whether or not you spent enough time with your older child that day, if you should have handled a tantrum differently, if you're older child misses their one-on-one time like you do. (don't do this to yourself... go ahead and think it, but KNOW that you are so much more than enough to BOTH of your sweet children)

Sometimes YOU just have to cry. (like when your baby has been inconsolably screaming for an hour, you're in the middle of trying to make dinner, your toddler is throwing tantrums, and your hormones are still batshit crazy all over the place... JUST CRY. Don't worry that your husband will be home any minute from work to find you crying, unable to "contain the chaos". F*** that,  JUST CRY. It will help you ...somehow) (...and your husband will be that much sweeter and helpful too!)

Still do your best to soak up every minute. Man, do these little stinkers grow up fast. You know that with your first, but when the second comes along, it makes time go even that much faster! (time flies not just when you're having fun, but when your daily life is a total cluster "F"). 

Repeat to yourself (in your head and out loud if need be) that "this will not last forever, this will not last forever, this will not last forever" or "this too shall pass!!!".... and KNOW, that it will not last forever. The day that brings you to tears in your kitchen at 6pm when your husband gets home... know that THAT phase, those days, will not last forever. Soon life will be easier, more manageable... so for now, just repeat "this will not last forever".

Truly remember that you will eventually develop (get used to) your "new normal". Life will get back to "normal". You will be able to get out of the house again with JUST your husband for date nights. You'll develop a good system for getting both kids, the dog, AND YOURSELF out the door and in the car (but you're still bound to forget SOMETHING).

AND LAST...

You honestly realize at some point in time, your life is beyond crazy. Your days are beyond exhausting. . . but you would NOT trade it for the world. You honestly wouldn't want life any other way. You know that you've been blessed by God to experience true, unconditional love, because you FEEL it every time you tuck in your sleeping toddler, or while you're rocking your peacefully sleeping newborn. It's in these quiet moments that you're able to remind yourself how blessed you are, and how amazing your life really is.

So on that note, embrace the crazy. Go ahead and cry in those extremely shitty trying times, and don't feel silly when you cry tears of pure mama bliss as you think about how blessed you are to have those two babies.

Jaxon Cole - 2 Months!





a little late... but better than never!


Stats: 24-1/4 inches, 12 pounds (and some odd ounces...I forgot exactly from his appointment!)  3 month clothes & jammies

Sleep: We've had a couple nights that he has slept 8-1/2 hours!!! That's not the norm (yet, hopefully soon!!), he usually goes about 5-6 hours his first stretch, then has about a 3 hour stretch after that, and after that we're approaching the start of our day! So he usually wakes up once, maybe twice a night at this point. During the day he takes decent naps, most of them are around an hour long, sometimes he will take a longer afternoon nap. I try to keep him on a good routine of wake up, eat, awake time, nap time! He usually stays awake about 1-1/2 hours at a time. His awake times and nap times vary still... eventually I'm hoping to get it down to a more consistent pattern.

Eating: He still likes to eat every 2-3 hours during the day. I breastfeed him, and occasionally he gets a bottle if I'm gone for a feeding (which isn't too often).  Breastfeeding this time around was a million times easier than with Gavin, but at the same time it came with it's challenges as well. Jax has never had feedings that lasted longer than 1/2 hour... usually his feedings are no longer than 15 minutes, and that's the way it's been since day 1! When I asked his pediatrician about that, she said "Lucky you! You're one of the lucky ones- he's gaining weight and growing like crazy, he's just a fast eater!" Although, I'm not sure how "lucky" I was... I think it made him more gassy (which sucked) and I still would worry "is he still hungry?" "did he eat enough?" "does my supply just suck this time?". BUT, unlike the first time around with Gavin, I didn't let these things get to me or drive me crazy! He was going a couple hours between feeds, sleeping good stretches at night, and growing (he even grew 2 inches in just the first 3 weeks!)... So I knew all was fine and dandy :) 

Milestones: This month he really started cooing A LOT and doing those sweet little baby noises- he started cooing quite a bit at about 6 weeks! He also smiles SO much now... I can't wait for his first sweet laugh! He also loves to chew on his hands!

Likes: Tummy time, "chatting", eating, being held... he loves being held out so he can see what's going on around him :)

Overall: The first couple months with him have been such a blessing, but such an exhausting whirlwind! We had some really, really tough weeks, in which almost every evening consisted of some amount of inconsolable screaming (sometimes hours). Ugh, so tough, so exhausting, so NOT FUN! Thankfully, those evenings seem to be behind us (woo hoo!)! I would say right around the 8 week mark he started becoming more and more content. Now he's happy to sit in his little chair as long as he can see us or his big brother :) ...before he insisted on being held if he was awake! So we are definitely making some good strides with him!

We love our little Jax man so much!!

Jaxon's Nursery

















Jaxon Cole *Birth Story*








INTRODUCING JAXON COLE ARFSTROM!

I have to say, once again we were blessed with such a smooth labor and delivery, not to mention a great doctor and team of nurses that made the experience that much more amazing!
Here's how it all went down:

My due date was December 8th.

From the very beginning, I said my guess for when Jax would be born was "either December 2nd or 3rd". My guess with Gavin was way off, so I really figured I'd be just as wrong this time around too... 

On December 2nd, around 5:00pm I made myself a nice strong, double dose of Raspberry Leaf Tea (which is said to help induce labor...). I drank this stuff all the time in the last week or so of my pregnancy with Gavin, trying to induce labor... and it didn't do a thing. So I really figured nothing was going to happen.

 That evening I also had my niece and nephew over at our house, watching them while my sister Leah and her husband were out. The plan was that at 8:00pm, I would take them home and Aaron would stay back with Gavin and get him to bed. 

Well, baby Jax had other plans!

Right as I was about to leave with my niece and nephew... 
MY WATER BROKE!!!
I was in total shock! 
I wasn't having any contractions (besides my normal braxton hicks).
(IT WAS THE TEA!!!)
;)

Right away we called my doctor to fill him in, and I made a quick call to Leah to let her know they probably needed to end their night out early ;)

At about 9:30pm my Mom came over to our house because she was on Gavin duty while we were gone at the hospital. We actually didn't end up leaving for the hospital until about 10:30 pm. I was just starting to have some good contractions. My sister Leah met us there and was going to be our little photographer :)

At 11:30pm the nurse checked me, I was dilated to 3...which I had been for a couple weeks. Contractions at this point still weren't any stronger, so we walked the halls for about 5 minutes, before I decided that was enough of that! (since my water had broke, I just felt like a nasty, leaking mess walking around......and it didn't take long before I realized I'd had enough of that!) 

We went back to my labor room and I bounced on a labor ball, which I actually really liked! We put in my all time favorite Christmas movie, Christmas Vacation :)
Contractions were still not really picking up much.

At 2:30 am after a lot of bouncing and rocking on the labor ball, the nurse checked me again. I was dilated to 5! My contractions were finally just starting to pick up a little bit. I was finally not able to talk through them, and they were every 3 - 3 1/2 minutes apart.
By this point, Aaron is already napping (which I'm SO glad Leah caught on camera!).
I'm a ridiculously independent laborer... Leah kept offering to rub my back, my legs, my shoulders, and I kept turning her down because all I could do during contractions was close my eyes and focus on my breathing... which she also caught on camera :) For whatever reason that was my go to position for every single contraction... cover my eyes and breathe!

Somewhere around 3:30-4am I decided to get the epidural. I was starting to progress fast, and was in the transition phase- I was getting shaky and nauseous. I was dilated to 7.

At 4:00am the epidural was in... at 5am the epidural still hadn't taken effect!!
My doctor checked me and I was dilated to 8.

I was pretty much mentally preparing myself for the fact that I just wouldn't be getting any relief from the epidural... they had me flipping from side to side, and all I know is I had an anesthesiologist coming in numerous times checking me, and giving me some sort of extra something or another (at that point in labor I was mentally checked out) until FINALLY the epidural took effect!!
I honestly don't even know exactly what time it was, all I know is I finally wasn't in pain or nauseous!

HAPPY DANCE!!!!

(....Oh, and if you were wondering, Aaron is still sleeping at this point...)

I want to say it was around 6:30am that they checked me and I was fully dilated, but I wasn't having pressure yet so they were going to let me "labor low" (which I did the same thing with Gavin)... basically just keep having contractions until I have pressure or I need to start pushing. This usually shortens the pushing phase.

Shortly after I could feel some slight pressure with each contraction, so they checked me and he was right there! It was time to start pushing!

At 8:05am I started pushing, and 1 contraction later (a grand total of 3 pushes, 10 seconds each) and
at 8:05am,
Jaxon Cole was born!!!!

I was in total shock! None of us could believe I delivered him that fast! It was SO surreal!
With Gavin I pushed for an hour, so I was expecting that to be the case this time around- WRONG!
30 seconds and I had this sweet baby in my arms!
(my other sister Sarah who was also with us, videoed the delivery on my phone, and I'm SO glad she did! It's so fun and crazy to go back and watch how fast it all happened! ...I also love being able to relive that moment over and over)

He was wide awake and alert for about the first 2 hours after he was born, it was so precious.
There's just nothing like FINALLY meeting your baby.
It's hard to even put into words the emotions you experience.
We're so thankful everything went as smooth, and as amazing as it did.

God once again answered all of our prayers, and helped us welcome our newest little miracle into the world.

Now enjoy some extra iPhone pics :)
...because I literally have a million...





Not only did this man sleep through 90% of my labor... but he also took more naps in the hospital than I would have even thought possible!! ... I, on the other hand, in this photo, have had ZERO sleep in like 2 days.
But I sure do love him :)

PREGNANCY - *37 weeks with baby #2*


(this update's a little late... but better than never right?!)

How far along: 37 weeks -- FULL TERM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gender: BOY!

Total weight gain so far: 38lbs

Feeling: Like labor could happen at any time now. I've had severe "nesting" this last week, I finished his nursery (well... we still need curtains, but that's it!!), as well as cleaned like every other room in our house...nesting at it's best. I'm to the point where I have weekly doctor appointments, but this next week I'm skipping- due to Thanksgiving. So I'm already SUPER anxious for my next doctor appointment, when I'll be a little over 38 weeks to check and see if I'm dilated at all!

Movement: He still is a mover in there! His movements are way more cramped now, but he still loves to stretch out and stick his bum out one way and his feet way out on the other side of my belly. He also loves to kick me in the ribs every night... can't even be mad at him for this 'cause I love feeling him move around in there, and I know I don't have much longer!!

Contractions: HOLY CONTRACTIONS!!! I get them all the time. Yesterday I actually had contractions ALL DAY. None of them were very strong, or close enough together for me to worry about actual labor, but there were a couple times I wondered if labor was about to happen! My body is doing some serious prepping! I also get a few painful contractions that wake me up every night. I have a feeling labor with this little guy will go quick.... we'll see!!

Best moment this week:
I packed my hospital bag, and it was surreal. This time around I had a better idea of what I actually would use at the hospital. It was fun packing his little outfits, hats, and socks too... I just still can't believe we're so close to meeting him!!

What's In My Hospital Bag... for baby #2


My hospital bag this time around is much lighter than the first time!
If you want a more in depth breakdown of what exactly is in my bag, and why...
keep reading!

For Mom:

Nursing bras, light-weight robe, comfortable tank tops for nursing, and comfortable pants. All things comfortable. I also went out and bought some bigger sized boy short undies, for the supersized pads you wear at the hospital... those things don't fit in regular undies!!! I also prefer nursing bras (especially in the first few weeks of nursing) without any under wire! The ones in the photo above are the ones I use, and I bought them from Target, check them out here if you want. They're the most comfortable nursing bras I have. It also helps to have SUPER comfy nursing bras... since you'll need to be sleeping in them too!
Along with the nursing theme- I bring my own nursing pads.

Last time I brought my own pillow... and I'll do it again this time NO DOUBT! I'm a pillow freak, and I take my pillow anywhere I go that I'll be spending the night. This time around, I'm also bringing my super fuzzy blanket (from Target)... Maybe it's because I'm due in cold ol' December, but I just want to bring a fuzzy, cozy blanket. I also plan to take some newborn photos in the hospital, so I figured a nice, white, fuzzy blanket will be a helpful prop :)

As far as toiletries... I'm trying to stay to the very basics here.
Toothbrush, razor, basic hair accessories, my Norwex face cloth (I use this as my makeup remover...best makeup remover I have EVER used by the way... I will never go back to wipes, or makeup remover goops, this cloth wins), face wash, and super minimal makeup. This time around I'm actually getting eyelash extensions about a week or two before I'm due. My sister is an aesthetician, and does them... so I'm taking advantage of it. I've had them before, and the ease of not having to deal with mascara- AMAZING! I love not having to put it on before I go somewhere, or having to scrub it off.... I'm also excited to not have to worry about any running mascara in those first couple weeks after birth, where the simplest/dumbest things make you cry.
I never wear a lot of make up, so I really don't plan to wear much (if any) in the hospital after giving birth...

As for electronics- again, super basic- chargers (phone & camera) and a nice quality camera!

For Baby

Again, the majority of the baby supplies I use right after birth- are provided by the hospital (diapers, wipes...etc.). This makes packing for the little guy pretty simple!

I LOVE baby sleeping gowns- in fact, we didn't use these just as pajamas- in the first few weeks we had Gavin in these all the time around the house! With newborns it's like you're constantly having to change their diaper, so the "gowns" make this so much easier than pants, or having to unbutton/unzip other clothes. Sleeper gowns for the WIN!

Baby hats, "mittens" (to keep them from scratching themselves) and little socks.

I packed some muslin swaddle blankets. I love how lightweight, and soft these are- perfect for swaddling.

We bring our own Nuks just because we prefer to, most hospitals offer them.

BOPPY PILLOW! This one is also slightly more so for Mom... I use it for breastfeeding. It's a must have for me, no doubt.

Last but not least, a going home outfit
:)


There you have it folks.
I always enjoy seeing what other Mom's pack for their stay in the hospital-
I'm pretty simple and basic, so hopefully this gives you some good, realistic ideas on what to pack for your own hospital stay!!
:)








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