Reece & Reagan: A Birth Story

My twin pregnancy had been pretty complication-free until around 30 weeks, when I started swelling and my blood pressure started rising. My OB was monitoring me very closely for preeclampsia and doing weekly non-stress tests and ultrasounds to check on the babies. He kept telling me that he knew I had preeclampsia, he was just waiting for it to show up in the tests. At every appointment at the end, he would apologize that he was not willing to induce me yet, because my swelling was just ridiculous (I gained 12 pounds of fluid in one week), I had PUPPPs rash, etc.

On Monday, January 30, I was 36 weeks + 3 days pregnant. I got up to go to the bathroom around 1:00am and felt totally normal. But then I couldn’t get back to sleep. I laid in bed and felt super anxious and very worried, but I couldn’t pinpoint what I was worried about. Looking back now, I had read a list of preeclampsia symptoms that included extreme swelling (check), high blood pressure (check), and at the bottom of the list was “a sense of impending doom”. I thought it was really bizarre. But yep, now I know exactly what that meant.

Around 2:00am I rolled over in bed and thought it felt like maybe my water had broken. That or I was peeing my pants and couldn’t stop. 🙂 I told Ryan and he got up, called Cheryl to come stay with Ellie the rest of the night, we got dressed, and were on the way to the hospital by 3:00.

We made the one hour drive to the hospital in about 45 minutes on roads that turned snow-covered about halfway there. Ryan took me into the ER and they wheeled me to labor and delivery triage. I wasn’t yet having contractions, but they confirmed that my water had broken and did a urine test for protein. The threshold for preeclampsia is 300mg and above. Mine came back at 778. Preeclampsia had finally officially shown up and my body was getting the babies out. I was dilated to 4cm and just starting to have very light contractions so they wheeled me to the biggest labor room available (two babies coming and all).

Very quickly my contractions started getting VERY serious. I delivered Ellie naturally so I’d been through it before and this time I was thinking that I didn’t know how I had done it. I had no intentions of delivering the twins without medication as the second baby often has to be turned or delivered by c-section, in which case I might have to be put under general anesthesia if I didn’t already have an epidural.

Around 6:00am the nurse said I was at 6 cm and I decided to get the epidural. The anesthesiologist was not happy that I’d been taking a daily baby aspirin (prescribed by my OB, who later confirmed I WAS supposed to still be taking it). He said there was a chance I could bleed into my back and if that happened I’d have to be rushed in for emergency surgery. But the epidural was placed without problems and the relief came quickly. I went from 6 cm to fully dilated in about an hour.

When my OB arrived he did an ultrasound and Reece (baby B) had turned breech (he had been transverse – sideways across my belly – the entire pregnancy. I’m almost positive he moved on the ride to the hospital). He gave us the option of trying for a vaginal delivery but said it was likely he’d come down breech after Reagan was born. So if Reece wouldn’t turn after Reagan was born, I’d be having a c-section anyway. We hemmed and hawed back and forth and were really undecided. I asked the doctor a couple of questions and finally he said, “we’re doing a c-section. He’s breech. We’re doing a c-section.” Everything started moving very quickly but I was so tired, I kept dozing off while they moved around me.

They wheeled me back to the OR, put my arms out, and put the drape up and the whole time I was just fighting to stay awake. My doctor came in and was playing name that tune with the resident and nurses. He did something to my belly and asked if I felt any pain. I said no and he said that was great. Ryan came in and squeezed my hand. I felt a lot of pulling, jerking, and pressure and the anesthesiologist told Ryan to get ready to take a picture. Reagan Jo was born at 9:29 weighing 5 lb 1 oz (such a peanut!!) and 19” long. They held her up and she cried a lot. They took her over to the waiting warmer to check her out and get her cleaned up.

It felt like it took them forever to get Reece out. There was a LOT of pulling and jerking me around on the table and he came out butt first at 9:31 weighing 7 lb 9 oz and 21” long. He was gray and he didn’t cry so they took him over to work on him. They put an oxygen mask on him but were having trouble with the equipment.

Ryan brought Reagan over to me all bundled up and her neonatologist and nurses went over to help with Reece. They wheeled him to the NICU. 

Before my doctor left the OR, he came over and said, “we made the right call. We would’ve ended up in here for him anyway.” When they were done stitching me up, they took Ryan, Reagan, and I out to a recovery room and the nurse put her skin-to-skin on me and she started nursing.

Once they had a room ready for me upstairs, they wheeled all of us through the NICU to see Reece. He had all kinds of tubes and wires in him, but they said he was doing well. He was on a CPAP machine to help him breathe. They’d pulled 10-15 cc of fluid out of him and they had a tube down into his stomach to help remove air. After we got filled in by his nurse and visited with him for a bit, they wheeled me to my room. Even seeing all of the babies who were much worse off than ours, it was so hard to leave him and go upstairs.

He was in the NICU for a total of about 48 hours and was improving steadily over that time. They ran blood work to check for infection in case there was another reason he was having breathing problems initially, but it all came back good. By the time I was able to get out of bed and go see him around 4:00 the next morning, he was off the CPAP machine and breathing room air.

I was able to go down Tuesday afternoon and nurse him and he did really well. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to visit him as much as I would’ve liked as they were really concerned about my blood pressure (and threatening to send me downstairs for a magnesium drip for 24 hours to prevent seizures if it didn’t improve quickly), but they were able to get it under control with blood pressure medication. Ryan visited him and got updates from the nurses in the NICU and he was released and able to join us in our room Wednesday morning. We went home as a family of five (!!) as scheduled Thursday afternoon!

28 Books of 2016

  1. Tone It Up


2. After You


3. No Bad Kids Toddler Discipline Without Shame


4. Hands Free Mama


5. Elevate the Everyday


6. Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money


7. Circling the Sun


8. One with You


9. Summer Breeze


10. My Fight/Your Fight


11. The Island House


12. I’m Glad About You


13. What to Do When You’re Having Two: The Twins Survival Guide from Pregnancy Through the First Year


14. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change


15. Beach Town


16. A Man Called Ove


17. Living Well Spending Less


18. The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify


19. Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose


20. Savannah Blues


21. Savannah Breeze


22. It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff


23. Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up


24. Before the Fall


25. Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins or More!


26. Multiples Illuminated: A Collection of Stories and Advice from Parents of Twins, Triplets, and More


27. The Little Paris Bookshop


28. Christmas Bliss


Project Life 2015 Catch-Up: Weeks 47 – 49

Just stopping in to share a few weeks of my Project Life layouts from the end of 2015. I’ve got the year finished and my Blurb book ordered (40% off on sale last week!). Now I just need to start on 2016…only about 15 weeks behind! 🙂

Week 47

Week 47 BLOG

Cass took our family pictures in a coffee shop and it snowed.

Week 47 Left BLOG

Week 47 Right BLOG

Supply List: 

Project Life Project 52 core kit

One Little Bird’s Around Here journaling cards

One Little Bird’s At Week’s End journaling cards

Ali‘s “With Gratitude” set – no longer available.

Week 48

Ryan went duck hunting. I ran a Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving morning. That 6″ wide page on the right is like an insert. I actually filled the rest of the 12″ page with black in the file I uploaded to Blurb, and I’ll cut it off when my book comes!

Week 48 1 BLOG

Thanksgiving, taking Ellie to see Santa, putting up our tree.

Week 48 2 BLOG

Supply List: 

Project Life Project 52 core kit

Kelly Purkey Thanksgiving freebie


Week 49

A double page spread for week 49.

Week 49 1 BLOG

I signed up for the Indianapolis Mini Marathon (13.1 miles – in 18 days from now! EEK!), we were surprised by the porch horseshoe art fairy again, Ryan worked at Purdue, and I went to the eye doctor (again!).

Week 49 1 Left BLOG

Ellie got a video message from Santa, we opened daily Christmas countdown books, the Amazon packages started coming hot and heavy.

Week 49 1 Right BLOG

And the second spread.

Week 49 2 BLOG

Ellie’s second trip to Christmas at the Zoo. She was much more interested this year. 😉

Week 49 2 Left BLOG

Mailing Christmas cards, another (!) eye doctor appointment, and a little photo session in front of our Christmas tree.

Week 49 2 Right BLOG

Supply List: 

Project Life Project 52 core kit

Check back soon to see my pages for the rest of the 2015!

Project Life 2015 Catch-Up: Weeks 43 – 46

I’m making big progress on my 2015 Project Life album. Just a few weeks left to finish up, and I have a goal to have it ordered by the end of the month! I’m working on week 50 now, so I’ll have a few more layouts to share soon.

Week 43

A doctor’s appointment, a work trip, a new checking account, and a little Halloween photo shoot.

Week 43 BLOG

Week 43 BLOG Left

Week 43 BLOG Right

Supply List: 

Project Life Project 52 Core Kit

Ali Edwards‘ Wordart (not currently available)


Week 44

The end of harvest, trick-or-treating, and the stomach flu.

Week 44 BLOG

Week 44 Left BLOG

Week 44 Right BLOG

Supply List: 

Project Life Project 52 Core Kit

Ali Edwards‘ What Today Looked Like Word art (not currently available)

Kristin Cronin Barrow’s Halloween Sweetie cards


Week 45

Daycare fun, our first Santa sighting, and a lazy weekend at home.

Week 45 BLOG

Week 45 Left BLOG

Week 45 Right BLOG

Supply List: 

Project Life Project 52 Core Kit

One Little Bird’s At Week’s End journaling cards


Week 46

Scrapbooking, a doctor’s appointment, reading, Red Cups, and a breakfast date.

Week 46 BLOG

Week 46 Left BLOG

Week 46 Right BLOG

Supply List: 

Project Life Project 52 Core Kit

One Little Bird’s Around Here journaling cards


Check back soon for week 47 – 52!

Overheard Lately #1

2016-02-07 18.28.14 (2)

I put Ellie to bed one night, then about an hour later she was awake and crying while I was asleep on the couch. Daddy rocked her for a while and told her I was asleep on the couch (“No Mommy, wake!”). I finally went in to put them both out of their misery and told her Daddy was being so good and rocking her and she needed to be nice to him:

(Pointing to the rocking chair) “No, Mommy rock!”

(Pointing to the door of her room) “Daddy get out room!”

5:24am, everyone in the house is sound asleep:

“No way Jose, Mommy. No way Jose, Mommy.”

Right back to sleep.

At daycare, Ellie asked Marianne to put on Mickey Mouse and Marianne told her she’d do it as soon as she finished what she was doing:

“May-anne, TV DAT way!”, while turning Marianne’s chin with her hands.

Ellie knocked her sippy cup off the coffee table, after she’d just knocked my cup over (with a lid on it):

“Gosh darn it! Water. Fell over. Speeled. Clean it up.”

When Ryan accidentally dropped a roll of aluminum foil on the floor and had to roll it back up:

“Oh Mommy yookie! Happened Daddy?”

Goals: January and February

I’m not a huge fan of year-long resolutions for a lot of reasons, but I love setting goals each month. The first of each month is like a new beginning, a fresh start. I posted about my January goals on Instagram, but I never shared them here. I’ve got new goals for February, but here’s how January’s goals shook out.

January’s Goals:

Bed by 10:00pm: Miserable fail for the most part. Something I will continue to shoot for all year because I have GOT to get more sleep. Getting up at 4:45 and going to bed at 11:30 is just brutal, and the fact that I’ve been doing that consistently for 9 months or so is probably why I’ve been sick for almost 4 weeks and can’t shake it.

Drink 100 ounces of water a day: I did pretty well on this one. I have my 24 oz Starbucks cold cups (that I LOVE) and I make a mark in my planner every time I finish one of my big cups (nerdy, I know, but if I don’t track it I drink hardly anything). I do well keeping up with it at work, but I’m not keeping up with my water in the evenings or on the weekends. I need to do better about that.

NO SPEND JANUARY: November and December were out of control, and not just with gifts for others. So I set a goal to make no purchases for me or the house, or anything unnecessary for Ellie in January, with a few exceptions (some major). I did really well on that goal, only purchasing those exceptions (including things for Ellie’s birthday party at the beginning of February). I added things I wanted to my wishlist board on Pinterest, and some of those things I’ve already purchased this month. But it is a habit that is continuing into February, being more mindful of what I’m buying, not buying things immediately when I see/think of them (which often means I lose interest and don’t buy them at all). I’m calling this one a win.

Do all of the TIU workouts during the TIU Challenge and try new TIU recipes: I don’t think I did EVERY workout, but I did almost all of them and I made new TIU recipes, so this one is a win too.

And now for February’s Goals:

NO FACEBOOK FEBRUARY: I had been spending entirely too long every day scrolling Instagram and Facebook. For a long time, I felt like I had to be “caught up” on both. I didn’t want to miss anything anyone posted. That’s just crazy. Add into that the fact that Facebook is now almost entirely junk, ads, memes, or re-shares of stuff that I mostly don’t care about and there’s so much of that that I barely see the photos or posts from people I actually know…it was time to get off of it. I don’t think I’ll ever give up Instagram, although I pared back the number of people I was following so I spend less time there also, and I’ve given up being “caught up” on it. I miss things people post and that’s totally fine. But it was time for Facebook to go, at least for now. I posted on January 31 that I was taking a break from it for a month, and then I moved the app into a folder on my second page of apps, and I haven’t looked at it since. The first day or two I’d catch myself thinking ‘I’ll just see if anyone has commented on anything I’ve posted’, or at bedtime thinking ‘huh, I’m caught up on Instgram, I looked at Timehop, I’ll pop into Facebook for a few minutes’. Nope. Okay, so now I have a few minutes for reading before I turn off the light. Win-win.

February Goals BLOG

Move Blog to WordPress: This is something I’ve been thinking about that’s been hanging over my head for over a year. I just had no idea what I was doing. I even procrastinated all fall when the company I had my domain registered with was sold/changed hands and I thought ‘I should just get everything switched over before all that happens’. I had months of warning, and never made it happen. I decided last month that once Ellie’s birthday party was done, this was becoming a priority. For at least a year or more, no one’s been able to get to my blog if they leave off the ‘www’ and just type in ‘’. I have no idea what I did to make it do that, but that’s another reason I wanted to get things switched over, fixed, cleaned up, etc. So last week, I just started with what I thought was the first step. It was hard and confusing and I had to read a bunch of tutorials, but it’s pretty much done. I need to do a lot of tweaking, customizing, figuring out why my pictures aren’t showing up, etc., but it’s moved.

Catch Up on Project Life: I won’t be able to get totally caught up on Project Life this month, but I want to make progress on it. I took a couple weeks off of working on it to work on stuff for Ellie’s birthday party, but now that that’s done (post coming soon), I’m back into Project Life catch-up and I’ve got two weeks done in the last week. I’m trying to get faster about choosing the pictures I want to include and moving on. I want to get that 2015 book ordered! And I’m excited to work on 2016 with new products.

So there you go. January and February’s goals. What goals are you working on? Maybe I’ll be able to share my March goals before the month is half over…

Ellie’s 2nd Birthday Video

Like last year, I made a little video with pictures and video clips for Ellie’s 2nd birthday. You guys, time is a BULLET TRAIN. These videos are a huge labor of love for me every year (mainly because I have to relearn the software every year) but I know I’ll be SO glad I made them. I already love them so much.

I know it’s a long one, but if you watch nothing else, fast forward to 14:15 or so (“nice to meet you!” – I am still LOLing at that one) and 15:24. Oh my Lordy, the girl absolutely kills me. I could watch those short clips over and over. Anyway, enjoy.

Project Life 2015 Catch-Up: Weeks 38 – 42

I’ve been chugging along, working as quickly as I can to finish up Project Life 2015. I wanted to have the pages done and the book ordered and in hands the first week of February. Yeah, not happening. But I’ll just keep chugging as fast as I can, while I continue to upload current photos and journaling so I don’t lose anything from my current memory keeping while I catch up on these past weeks. If you missed it, you can see more about how I do that here.

Week 38
Lots of exercise, LOTS of vehicle repairs (UGH), the dentist, a baby shower, and a big girl at daycare (my baby is growing up!).

2015 Project Life - Week 38 2015 Project Life - Week 38 Left 2015 Project Life - Week 38 Right
Supply List:
Project Life Project 52 kit
One Little Bird’s Cabana journaling cards
Digital Design Essentials Daily Notes cards
Ali Edwards Say Hello No. 2 Word Art

Week 39
A 19-month checkup and shots, new Thursday night TV, a bald eagle in our backyard, lots of working out, scrapbooking, farming, and a birthday party!

2015 Project Life - Week 39 2015 Project Life - Week 39 Left 2015 Project Life - Week 39 Right
Supply List:
Project Life Project 52 kit
Project Life Happy Edition
The Starbucks card is an image saved from the Starbucks emails (love them!).
The “You are my favorite” card is a freebie from Christine Herrin’s email newsletter.

Week 40 
Farming, family, scrapbooking at work, a full moon in the crib, and more farming.

Project Life 2015: Week 40 Project Life 2015: Week 40 Project Life 2015: Week 40
Supply List:
Project Life Project 52 kit
Project Life Perfectly Imperfect cards (recolored to match)
In a Creative Bubble’s Real Life cards (no longer available – but check out the awesome designs now in her shoppe!).

Week 41
Lots of farming, horseshoe art left on our porch, running, Mama-and-Ellie day at the Bridge Festival (and a lost [and found] cell phone – UGH), and Daddy cutting his first beans.

Project Life 2015 Week 41 Project Life 2015 Week 41 Project Life 2015 Week 41
Supply List:
Project Life Project 52 cards

Week 42
A new planner, a sign painting party, plenty of Ellie gems, farming, fall colors, and Bridge Festival-ing.

Project Life 2015: Week 42 Project Life 2015: Week 42 Project Life 2015: Week 42
Supply List:
Project Life Project 52 kit
Everyday Edition kit
Ali Edwards Fall Boxes from Designer Digitals (no longer available).

Staying Organized for (Digital) Project Life

As I recently shared, I am currently 16 weeks 13 weeks (progress!) behind on Project Life. I’m not really stressing about it because I have a system (do you know me? Obviously I have a system.). As promised, today I’m going to share a little peek into that system which helps me keep my photos, journaling, etc. organized so I don’t have to worry when I get behind.

I take a ridiculous number of photos every week, mostly on my iPhone. I like to get the photos off my phone once a week so they’re getting backed up and so I don’t lose track of where I am. So on Mondays I upload the previous week’s photos to Dropbox. (I just recently turned the Camera Upload feature back on in Dropbox so this part may be changing soon.) In Dropbox, I have a folder called _PHOTOS (the _ is so it shows up at the top of my list of folders alphabetically), and inside that folder I put a folder for each week.

How I upload/organize photos and journaling for Project Life.
Here’s how that looks on my phone:

How I upload/organize photos and journaling for Project Life.

Sidenote: There are two Week 52 folders because I’d already uploaded all of the photos from December 21 – 27 before I decided to include 12/28 – 12/31 in that last week of the year, so I made a second folder to keep things straight while uploading, then lumped them all into one folder on my computer called ‘Week 51 12-21 to 12-31’.

While those photos are uploading, I look back over my planner and my photos from the previous week and type up a short list of what we did that week, along with anything Ellie said or did that I want to remember, etc. Anything I might want in a Project Life layout for that week gets typed into a plain text file (so it opens easily on PC or Mac) and saved right in that same week’s folder of photos in Dropbox. Every couple of weeks I copy the photos and text file to a corresponding folder on my laptop and my desktop. On my desktop, in my Photos folder, I have a 2015 folder that has a folder for each month (01 January, 02 February, etc.), and then inside each of those folders is a folder for each week that falls into that month.

>01 January
>>Week 1 1-5 to 1-11
>>Week 2 1-12 to 1-18

My laptop is just for scrapbooking, web surfing, etc. – not for long-term storage – so I just have a Project Life folder that has a folder for each week with the week number and dates. Once I scrapbook that week, I drag that week’s folder into a “DONE” folder and I’ll eventually just delete those since the photos, layouts, etc. are stored on my desktop (and backed up from there to the cloud).

Usually on Sunday evenings, I upload any photos I took on my dSLR that week into the corresponding week’s folder on my laptop (and into the folder in Dropbox so I can easily copy them over to my desktop for long-term storage) so those are ready to go with the iPhone photos. I keep a list in Evernote of all of the weeks of of the year with the week number and the date that looks like this:

How I upload/organize photos and journaling for Project Life.
The check boxes are:

  • to make sure I’ve uploaded the pictures to Dropbox
  • to make sure I’ve put the photos on both my laptop and my desktop
  • to make sure I’ve tagged and renamed them on my desktop in Bridge (I tag with the names of the people in the photos, the location or subject of the photo, etc. then rename with Year_Month_Day_’Original Filename from camera’ so they’ll show up in chronological order no matter if they’re iPhone photos or dSLR photos.
  • to be sure I’ve scrapbooked the layout on my MacBook
  • to be sure I’ve copied the layout to my iMac for long-term storage/backup

Once I’ve done all of those things, I will delete most of the checkboxes so it just looks like this:

How I upload/organize photos and journaling for Project Life.
So, WOW. That looks really time intensive and confusing. I promise it’s not, not at all. And now, looking at 13 weeks to catch up on, I’ve got 13 folders labeled with the week number and the dates stored on my laptop. Each folder contains all of the photos and information about that week ready to go, along with any digi supplies I want to be sure to use. I can access my list in Evernote from any computer, so I can always see where I’m at and what I need to work on next. When I’m done with a layout, I save the finished Photoshop file, full-size 12” x 12” JPGs of both sides of the layout (for printing), and any files resized to share on Instagram or my blog into Dropbox so I can get the full-size files onto my desktop and the small files onto my phone to share.

Clear as mud? Any questions? Fire away!