Post Author: Rachel
About this time last year, we were on a two week adventure down under! The first week we spent in Australia and the second in New Zealand. It was hands down the greatest trip we've taken. Whenever we travel, we always try to do everything on a budget and pack in as much as possible in a limited window. For the first part of the trip we stopped in Sydney and tried to see and do everything in just three days, so here's the rundown of what to do, where to eat and what to wear!
When we got back to the states I put together a few blog posts recapping our entire visit, but I wanted to summarize it all for you here if you are traveling to Australia anytime soon. Oh and don't forget, you DO need a visa to enter Sydney! We were able to buy one at the ticket counter before departing and it digitally linked to our passports.
What tO DO
Where to Eat
What to Wear
We visited Sydney in April and it was unbelievably, record breaking, hot! This portion of the trip consisted of tanks and shorts. In order to save time and money, we each only took a backpack so we had to be extremely thoughtful about what we brought. I put together a list on Amazon and linked all my outfits on LIKEtoKnowIT.
It's Friday! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend ahead!
Be sure to follow us on LIKEtoKNOWit - click here to shop our looks.
post author: grace
Hello world! I'm sorry I've been a little MIA lately - it turns out babies are actually quite time consuming, who knew ;)
I've had quite a few people ask me to share my birth story, so I figured I would share it in a blog post for all of those wondering how the day went. I plan on sharing pretty much every detail, so if you don't want to hear all about labor, then I suggest skipping to the next post!
pREPARING FOR LABOR
I'm not going to lie, I had an incredible experience. However, this is not how every birth goes and it sometimes helps to have low expectations. I also believe it is key to go in open minded to how God will orchestrate the day. I had *hopes and dreams* but held them very loosely because I had never been in labor and did not know how my body would respond. So while I think it's awesome to have a birth plan, know plans can change. We ultimately are not in control and I believe it will save you a lot of heartache in the end. Preparing for labor, I read a ton of birth stories and saw a common theme - Mom's devastated that it didn't go the way they planned. It made me so sad because that's not what it's about. And if you make the plan ultimate, you miss the greatest joy - giving birth to LIFE! At the end of the day, you just want mom and baby to be safe and healthy. So if you are pregnant and expecting soon, having a plan is wonderful, but trust God's plan for you!
Okie dokie, here we go! At my 36 week checkup, my doctor started checking my cervix. Sidenote: NO ONE TOLD ME THIS IS UNCOMFORTABLE so I was completely unprepared. It was so uncomfortable that I thought surely I had not dilated past a 1. False. My doctor told me that I was between a 3 and 3.5 and 70% effaced. You hear this all the time, women can be dilated to a 3 for weeks and still need to be induced. However, when my doctor kept saying that 37.5 weeks is technically full term and that luckily she would be here for Christmas if I went into labor that week...I started to panic a bit. It also did not help that I bled quite a bit after my appointment, which is normal if it tapers off (I told you I wouldn't spare any details ha!). So after having a bit of a panic attack in the parking lot and feeling totally unprepared, I made sure my bags were packed and ready to go that night. I lost my mucus plug a few days later and the waiting game had officially begun. The last time I got checked I was between a 3.5 and a 4, so I was progressing slowly!
THE WAITING GAME
Well, Christmas came and went, and no baby. Blake's birthday is December 30th and he was selfishly happy he wasn't going to have to share HIS day with our firstborn. However, I had been having contractions on and off all day and that night around midnight we decided to go to the hospital as my contractions were 5-7 minutes apart. They checked us in, took us back to get monitored and we waited an hour. I was told that I was probably in early labor but it wasn't progressing past that so they sent me home. Nothing screams "this is my first baby" like a false alarm trip to the hospital. I felt like such a loser as I casually strolled out of the hospital. BUT safety first because you truly never know. The nurses were so sweet and reassured me I did the right thing by coming in, even though it felt like a total waste.
We made it to the New Year with no baby and I decided I would plan a "Grace day" and do all the things I would soon no longer be able to do with a baby - going to lunch without any interruptions, shopping, pampering, etc. I guess God has a sense of humor because the morning of my "Grace day," I woke up with contractions. I thought I was just having some cramping, which is normal in the morning towards the end, so I drank some water and got back in bed around 4:30 AM. I started timing them and they seemed to be progressing, so I decided to take a bath before heading to the hospital.
Once I got out of the bath my contractions were 3 minutes apart...YIKES. We called the doctor and they told us to get to the hospital quickly. We left our house around 6 AM and began the process. They admitted me after checking my cervix (I was at a 5 at this point) and timing my contractions.
We're having a baby today!
My doctor came in about an hour later, I was dilated to a 6, and she went over my options with me. She told me she could break my water to progress labor, give me pitocin, administer an epidural, etc. I casually looked at Blake and said "Let's enjoy the day, I'm getting the epidural." HA! I am terrified of needles and hated the thought of an epidural, but at that point I was ready for some relief and honestly, was a little terrified of waiting too long and not being able to lay still for an epidural if I wanted one later. I had an amazing anesthesiologist who was so good that I truly don't remember it hurting at all. Three contractions later and I was pretty much pain free. I could still feel pressure in my legs, which was encouraging because I wanted to have some feeling in order to push when it came time.
My doctor broke my water shortly after and then administered pitocin so I would keep progressing. I dilated a centimeter each hour and before we knew it, it was time to get ready to push.
The sweetest part about that day was feeling the presence of God in that room. We had worship music playing and Blake read scripture over me each hour. We invited the Holy Spirit in that room and wow did He show up. It was the sweetest day full of so much peace and joy.
I started pushing around 2:30 PM. The nurses were the BEST cheerleaders and made me feel so empowered that I felt like I could do this! They celebrated each push and kept encouraging me the entire time. Sidenote: Pushing is hard work. If you are pregnant or thinking about having kids soon, be sure to keep exercising. This will really help prepare you for pushing because it is exhausting and you don't get a break. Before we knew it, Asher was delivered by 3:23 PM. It.was.magic! I cannot even explain the moment you see your baby and hold them for the first time. It felt like I had known him forever and at the same time was meeting him for the first time.
Asher has rocked our world in more ways than one, and in the best way. Becoming a parent truly feels like an honor and is the most sanctifying thing I have ever done. It is not easy, but it is absolutely worth it in every way! My love for him grows each week which seems absolutely impossible. He is our greatest joy and we thank God for giving him to us each day.
Post Author: Rachel
Over the weekend, my husband and I gained an incredible new addition to the family! Meet Chief, a 5yr old Golden Retriever who is just the sweetest guy. His family in Oklahoma needed to find him a new home and we are so honored and excited we get to love on him. We are already obsessed with this big guy! He’s such a sweetheart and how perfect that his name is Chief?!
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