Friday, April 20, 2018

Maternity + newborn shoot with kinderbella photography.

This is just what my 5-week postpartum-self needed... An email from Heidi at Kinderbella Photography, with the photos from my maternity and newborn shoot with her. Seeing these beautiful photos of my three babies, and magical photos of me pregnant with Baby Tony, make all the sleepless nights over the last few weeks seem like a distant memory (kind of). I first met Heidi right after Jameson "Jimmy" (middle child) was born. I completely forgot to book his newborn photoshoot, and Heidi had availability when Jimmy was just a few days old. What she was able to capture with my first two kiddos two years ago, took my breath away. I did a maternity shoot in Heidi's new studio in Minneapolis when I was about 36 weeks pregnant with Baby Tony (third child), and then Baby Tony's newborn shoot with the older two kids when Tony was just a few days old. Again, Heidi's talent gave this Mama ALL the feels. I don't know how she does it, but Heidi is always able to capture the beauty and magic of pregnancy and babies... Even when Mama isn't feeling beautiful or magical. Thank you, Heidi, for capturing these beautiful images...





Mama Saigh, Linna (age 6), Jimmy (age 2), and Baby Saigh #3 at 36 weeks.


Our gorgeous babies: Linna, Jimmy, and Tony.

Baby Tony.

Oldest and youngest: Linna and Tony.

Baby Tony.



Is there anything cuter than a 10-pound newborn in a bucket?!
Kinderbella Photography
(612) 314-3305
Heidi@Kinderbellaphotography.com

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Anthony "Tony" Wallace Saigh is here.

Almost four weeks after our littlest man arrived, and I'm finally getting around to writing about his birth story. I'm pretty sure our first two kids had their birth stories up on the blog the day after they arrived.

Needless to say, life with three kids has been a whirlwind.

(Video of Tony's first couple weeks: Sorry, the audio is all over the place.)

My water broke at home at 4:20 a.m. on March 14th. Papa Saigh fell asleep with our 6-year-old in her bed that night, and had just come back into our bed to sleep with me. I woke up and remember telling him that I was dreaming about horseback riding while I was nine months pregnant. We both laughed, and I rolled over because I had a cramp in my stomach. Then, POP... my water broke. When you have two kids at home, your water breaking in the middle of the night isn't exactly convenient. I texted our neighbors who we had "on call" to see if someone could run over to be in the house with the kids while my sister made the drive from Hopkins. I knew my sister wouldn't be able to be to the house for at least a half hour, and I wanted to get to the hospital so I didn't miss the chance to get an epidural. I was already dilated to 4cm at my last OB visit (38 weeks), so I had no idea how fast this baby would come.

Our wonderful neighbor, Jen, was thankfully able to run over to be in the house with our two older kids while Papa Saigh and I drove to the hospital. I wasn't having contractions or any pain, but the first thing I told the nurses when we got to the hospital was to send the epidural man in. While I was laying in bed and a nurse was examining me, my water gushed out again, and all over my iPhone, which I had laid on the bed next to me.

Gross. My phone still works though!

I think this is my last belly pic at 38 weeks and 2 days with Baby Tony.

For some reason, my epidural took three tries to get it in place. Not only was this incredibly uncomfortable for me, but it almost made Papa Saigh pass out. I remember looking up at him after a nurse told him that he should sit down, and he was as white as a ghost. Thankfully, the epidural was put into place, and Papa Saigh ended up not passing out.

A couple hours went by after my water broke, and since I wasn't progressing as quickly as I should be, the doctor started some Petocin. A short time later (at about 9am to be exact), I told Papa Saigh that my body felt like it was pushing... only I wasn't pushing. The nurse came in to check me, felt the baby's head, and rushed the doctor in. All I remember saying was that I felt like I was going to poop, and that the doctor should put on a mask. Since my epidural was working incredibly well, the doctor, nurses, Papa Saigh and I all laughed about me pushing out the biggest poop of my life (AKA, the baby), between my pushes.


Our oldest with our youngest.

Baby Tony under the bilirubin lights.


After about five rounds of pushing, and less than 20 minutes later, I had pushed out a 10-pound baby boy! While I felt all the pressure of him coming out, I didn't feel any pain. I didn't believe the nurses and doctors when they were getting ready to put him on the scale, predicting he'd be a 9-pound baby. My first two babies were each under 8 lbs., so there was no way I just pushed out that big of a baby at 38 weeks. Sure enough, Baby Tony weighed in at 10 lbs., measured 21.5 in., and was born at 9:18 a.m. on March 14th, 2018 (Pi Day!).

For some reason, Papa Saigh and I were sure this baby was going to be a girl, so we both were very surprised when they put the baby on my chest and told us it was a boy. We were completely undecided on a boy name. My top choice was Wallace (my late maternal grandmother's maiden name - she loved St. Patrick's Day), but I also liked the idea of naming our son after his Dad (Papa Saigh's name is "AJ": Anthony James). To be honest though, I'm not the biggest fan of the name Anthony (sorry, Pammy... lol!). I do, however, love the name Tony. Plus, our butterball of a baby needed a strong, "tough" name.

Going home from the hospital on St. Patrick's Day 2018.




So, Anthony Wallace Saigh it is (AKA, Baby Tony).

Not only did my gestational diabetes give me a 10-pound baby, but Baby Tony's bilirubin levels were very high. So high, in fact, we had to stay an extra night in the hospital so he could lay under the hospital's bilirubin lights. While all I wanted to do was snuggle my newborn, I had to watch him lay in just his diaper under the blue lights, from across my hospital room. It was torture, but I knew it was what was best for him at that moment. On our discharge day (March 17th - St. Patrick's Day), Baby Tony 's bilirubin level had dropped out of the "high risk" category, and we were sent home with a bilirubin-light bed that he needed to lay on for one day. Tony's pediatrician confirmed his normal bilirubin level at an appointment a couple days later.

If you know me, or have followed this blog, you know that I battled postpartum depression and anxiety following the birth of my first two kiddos. This time around, my OB and I came up with a plan to start taking an anti-anxiety/depression medication two weeks after the birth. The two-week wait was my idea, because I was SO sure that I could beat PPD/A this time around. I mean, after two kids, I had learned to be a much calmer mom who no longer sweats the small stuff.

Holy sh*t, was I wrong.

By day two in the hospital, I was an emotional roller coaster. I remember watching our oldest (Linna) walk into the hospital room with her Dad to meet her baby brother, and I completely lost it. She looked so grown up, and the sight of my first baby and my last baby together turned me into a ball of mush. Later that same day, I was FaceTiming with my parents who were in Florida for their regular March getaway from the Minnesota cold. During the call, my mom told me how hard of a time she was having being away from me and her new grandbaby, so she and my Dad decided to fly home a week early.

Again, I lost it, and it was at that point that both my husband and I realized that I needed to start my medication. In fact, I should have started it days ago.

This is a prime example of how mental illness is completely beyond a person's control. I thought I could navigate my own way through the emotional roller coaster I was on after the birth of my third baby, but again, it was completely out of my hands. I could have tried to fight it, or even attempt to ignore it, but this ugly and scary monster was rearing it's ugly head once again.

I am so thankful I surrendered right then and there, even though I was still apprehensive, and wanting to fight it.

For the last three weeks, I've struggled with anxiety daily. While this round is nowhere near as scary as my battles with PPD/A after my first two babies, it's still been a struggle. However, getting on medication sooner, rather than later, has really helped me. And I know that every day will get better.

Big Brother Jimmy with his Baby Brother Tony.

Linna, Tony, and Jimmy on Easter.


I am so thankful for my family, friends, neighbors, husband, and other moms who have been there to support me. Talking about how I'm feeling every day helps, and having others step in to cook for our family, take care of the bigger kids, etc., has been more help than anyone will ever know.

I am beyond grateful.

Our family is now complete, and Baby Tony couldn't be sweeter. His big sister has been a mama bird from the moment she met her baby brother, and while Big Brother Jimmy took a little longer to get used to the idea of having a baby in the house, he's now smothering his baby brother with snuggles and love. Since we brought Tony home, I've been sleeping with him in our master bedroom, while Papa Saigh sleeps with our 6-year-old in her room, and 2-year-old Jimmy sleeps in his room in the crib. While this isn't a forever sleeping arrangement, it's working for us while the baby is up to eat every three hours. Papa Saigh has gotten up with the baby a couple nights, but I'm finding it helpful to go to bed with our 6-year-old in her bed at 7:30 p.m. a couple times a week, so I can get three hours of sleep before I'm up every three hours between 10:30 p.m. - 6:30 a.m. Sleep is SO important, and I'm taking it whenever I can get it. Both Linna and Jimmy run into our room every morning so they can hug and snuggle their baby brother.

While I tried, and was successful at getting Baby Tony to latch, I've decided that nursing him just isn't for me. I know it would be convenient to whip my boob out and feed him without washing, prepping, or pumping milk into a bottle, it's just not the right fit for us. My nipples hurt, and I spend SO much time pumping and nursing, which isn't manageable with two other kids to take care of (in my opinion). Pumping and bottle-feeding is working for us, as it did with my other two kids. However, it's comforting knowing that I can nurse if we're ever in a pinch. This time, I'll pump as long as I'm comfortable with. I'm not letting it stress me out, and I often go 4-5 hours between my pump sessions. I'm an "over-producer", so I was fortunate to save tons milk in the freezer during these past few weeks. So much, that we decided to order a deep-freeze. Once my supply runs dry, or the frozen milk runs out, it's onto formula. But breastmilk is something I refuse to stress about.

We're definitely still in the "thick" of the newborn days, and while Papa Saigh and I are both tired, we know these days are numbered. While it's hard to see it now, one day, we WILL miss this madness. I'm trying to remind myself of this on the really tough days.

Welcome to the world, Baby Tony!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Baby saigh #3 pregnancy: 37 weeks.

37 weeks pregnant, and walking the runway for this year's Go Red for
Women Celebrity Fashion Show.
On Saturday night, I was waddling the runway at 37-weeks pregnant to help raise money for the American Heart Association, as I was asked to be part of this year's Go Red For Women Celebrity Fashion Show. But today, I thought I'd do a quick blog update after we made a visit to the hospital yesterday.

I woke up on Monday morning to back-pain, cramping, contractions that were 5-6 minutes apart, and a winter storm warning. School for our first-grader was canceled the night before, and the snow was on its way. We decided to have my sister come over to stay with the kids, so Papa Saigh and I could head to the hospital. While I wasn't in excruciating pain, what I was feeling was definitely different than all the pre-labor I'd been experiencing for about a month. We probably moved faster and reacted to the situation more quickly, because of the storm on the way.

When we arrived at the hospital, I was hooked up to the monitor and examined by a nurse. I was dilated to 3cm, and 60% effaced (I was a 3 and 70% at my 37-week regular exam on Thursday).

Dang it.

The monitors showed I was having contractions, and the vaginal exam by the nurse was pretty intense (I'm pretty sure she was trying to help move things along). After about 20 minutes, the nurse took me off the monitors and had me walk around for about an hour. I decided to jog, as I was determined to make progress and get this baby out. I started bleeding quite a bit (pink, some red, and dark brown) while I was jogging, which I got excited about, because that could have been my "bloody show". However, I also knew it was most likely from the intense vaginal exam by the nurse. While jogging around was incredibly uncomfortable and painful, I was dilated to a 3+ (AKA 3.5) during my exam an hour later.

Yay! However, in hindsight, this isn't much progress.

My nurse had a second nurse come in to give a second opinion, and she agreed that I was a 3.5. They decided to keep me for another round of monitoring, as they didn't want to send me home in the snowstorm. However, the reality is that doctors won't assist with labor until you hit 39 weeks. If you don't progress (dilate, water break, etc.) on your own, they send you home. I did another round of walking/jogging, but was still dilated to a 3.5 upon examination, and the doctor made the decision to send me home.

F*ck.

I felt so defeated, and was in a lot of pain from all the exams. I knew they made the right decision to send me home, but when you're so hopeful about having your baby, it's incredibly frustrating to be sent home. When I came home, I literally collapsed into my bed from emotional and physical exhaustion, and I had a good cry in the bathtub while Papa Saigh took care of the kids.

After the kids went to bed, I laid in bed feeling defeated, but realized how lucky I am to have such an amazing support system. I also realized that the baby just isn't ready to come out yet, and it's still early. I decided to change my mindset, stay positive, and try to be patient. While I'm incredibly ready to meet this baby, I know I will miss being pregnant soon after he or she arrives. So, I need to enjoy the moment, no matter how painful and uncomfortable things may get. It's temporary, and I'll never get these moments back.

So, here I sit at 37.5 weeks pregnant. My nether-regions are beyond sore, and the baby feels LOW. But I lost my mucus plug last night! Walking is painful and uncomfortable, but I need to keep moving, and simply rest when I need to. Our little bubs will be here before we know it, so I'm doing my best to live in the moment.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Baby saigh #3 pregnancy: 36 weeks.

No make-up, 36-week selfie.
I can sum up my current state in this pregnancy, in just one word: Uncomfortable. To be honest, as I enter into my 37th week of pregnancy, I'd even go as far as saying that this pregnancy has become painful. For the last month, I feel like I've been carrying this baby really low. However, at my last two appointments, my OB did a vaginal exam to confirm that Baby Saigh #3 is NOT engaged in my pelvis, but his or her head IS down. I could have sworn that the baby's head was hanging out of my crotch.

My last appointment was at 35 weeks, and at that point I was uncomfortable. Now, sh*t is getting painful.

If I'm on my feet for too long, I feel stabbing pains in my nether-regions, and I literally need to stop what I'm doing to catch my breath. I'm having irregular contractions all the time... The kind that make me stop what I'm doing so I can breathe through them. My belly gets crazy hard and I can see the baby's amazing little body pushing out of my belly. If this was my first pregnancy, I would assume these symptoms are actual labor. It becomes so tough during the week when I'm chasing 2-year-old Jimmy around by myself, while also carting the 6-year-old around to her activities. I live for the weekends and after 5:30 p.m. on the weekdays, when Papa Saigh is around to help out. I normally bathe our kids daily (hair is only washed once a week), but lately it's gotten too difficult to bathe both kids and get them ready for bed by myself. So, we're averaging like 3 baths a week.

Whateves.

Nighttime is a joke, as I literally wake up every 20 minutes to pee. My acid-reflux is also horrible at night, making it almost impossible to even come close to getting a decent night sleep. I often have to get up to puke in the middle of the night, and I'm even vomiting in my sleep and then inhaling it, to the point of choking.

I know. It's absolutely disgusting.

I experienced this when I was pregnant with Jimmy too, and it happens no matter how much, or little, I eat or drink before I go to bed. Since I'm running on very little sleep at night, I'm taking advantage of Jimmy's naptime most afternoons, sneaking in an hour-long nap of my own. When I look at my profile in the mirror, I can see that the baby/my belly has dropped (please tell me you see this too!), and I'm feeling an incredible amount of pressure in my pelvis. I guess we'll see what my doctor says at my 37-week check-up on Thursday!

While this pregnancy has become painful and uncomfortable, I am beyond excited to hold this little human in my arms, and welcome him or her into our family. Linna asks almost every day when the baby is coming, and Jimmy is becoming familiar with all the baby stuff in the house (MamaRoo, bassinet, etc.). My belly button has flattened and popped out in the last couple days, and Linna loves to feel how squishy it is. The first time she saw it was hilarious, and she was totally confused as to how my belly button looks the way it does. The baby's stuff is all in the nursery where Jimmy is currently sleeping, and the plan is to keep Jimmy in there and in his crib, until the baby is ready to transfer into the crib. Then, Linna and Jimmy will bunk together in Linna's current bedroom. That should be an interesting transition, which we've started, by putting all of Jimmy's clothes, etc. in that room. Thanks, Neat Method!

We have a few boy names and girl names that we like, but we haven't committed to anything quite yet. We're closer to agreeing on our girl name. Boy names are tough! I still have my money on my water breaking and me going into labor, on March 10th. With my gestational diabetes, my OB will induce me at 39 weeks, which is March 15th. Speaking of gestational diabetes, I met with my endocrinologist and dietician a couple weeks ago, and I no longer need those appointments.

Hooray!

I've been keeping my sugar numbers in the normal range, so they'll just continue to check me at my regular OB appointments. The baby is measuring right on schedule too, so my OB isn't concerned about the baby getting too big... Yet.

We still don't have a set plan for what happens when I go into labor. We have a list of family and friends that we can call to help out with the kids, but my mom is currently in Florida through the beginning of April, with my dad heading there next week. It all just depends on what day and time I go into labor. Again, it should be interesting!

We'll see what they say on Thursday at my 37-week check-up. We can't wait to meet you, Baby Saigh #3!bathe our kids daily (hair is only washed once a week), but lately it's gotten too difficult to bathe both kids and get them ready for bed by myself. So, we're averaging like 3 baths a week.

Nighttime is a joke, as I literally wake up every 20 minutes to pee. My acid-reflux is also horrible at night, making it almost impossible to even come close to getting a decent night sleep. I often have to get up to puke in the middle of the night, and I'm even vomiting in my sleep and then inhaling it to the point of choking.

I know. It's absolutely disgusting.

I experienced this when I was pregnant with Jimmy too, and it happens no matter how much or little I eat or drink before I go to bed. Since I'm running on very little sleep at night, I'm taking advantage of Jimmy's naptime most afternoons, sneaking in an hour-long nap of my own. When I look at my profile in the mirror, I can see that the baby/my belly has dropped, and I'm feeling an incredible amount of pressure in my pelvis. I guess we'll see what my doctor says at my 37-week check-up on Thursday!

While this pregnancy has become painful and uncomfortable, I am beyond excited to hold this little human in my arms, and welcome him or her into our family. Linna asks almost every day when the baby is coming, and Jimmy is becoming familiar with all the baby stuff in the house (MamaRoo, bassinet, etc.). My belly button has flattened and popped out in the last couple days, and Linna loves to feel how squishy it is. The first time she saw it was hilarious, and she was totally confused as to how my belly button looks the way it does. The baby's stuff is all in the nursery where Jimmy is currently sleeping, and the plan is to keep him in there and in his crib, until the baby is ready to transfer into the crib. Then, Linna and Jimmy will bunk together in Linna's current bedroom. That should be an interesting transition, which we've started by putting all of Jimmy's clothes, etc. in that room already. Thanks, Neat Method!

We have a few boy names and girl names that we like, but we haven't committed to anything quite yet. We're closer to agreeing on our girl name. Boy names are tough! I still have my money on my water breaking and me going into labor, on March 10th. With my gestational diabetes, my OB will induce me at 39 weeks, which is March 15th. Speaking of gestational diabetes, I met with my endocrinologist and dietician a couple weeks ago, and I no longer need those appointments. I've been keeping my sugar numbers in the normal range, so they'll just continue to check me at my regular OB appointments. The baby is measuring right on schedule too, so my OB isn't concerned about the baby getting too big... Yet.

We still don't have a set plan for what happens when I go into labor. We have a list of family and friends that we can call to help out with the kids, but my mom is currently in Florida through the beginning of April, with my dad heading there next week. It all just depends on what day and time I go into labor. Again, it should be interesting!

We'll see what they say on Thursday at my 37-week check-up. We can't wait to meet you, Baby Saigh #3!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Instant pot meal: Easy fried rice.

This is one of the easiest meals I make in our Instant Pot, and it's a great way for the kids to get a serving of veggies (the 6-year-old loves this, but we're still trying to convince the 2-year-old to try it)! I use whatever frozen veggies I have in my house, as well as left-over meat (chicken or pork), and completely eye-ball this recipe. The best part is that it's cooked all in one pot and takes about 15 minutes (maybe 20) from start to finish. Let me know what you think!


Ingredients/Instructions:

2 cups dry basmati rice
2 cups chicken broth (or water)
Pressure cook on high for 4 mins
Manually vent immediately when finished
Remove rice from pot
Turn Instant Pot on saute
Add oil, veggies + salt to pot
Saute for approx. 5 minutes
Add green onions, salt + cooked rice
Stir
Add 3 eggs and saute for approx. 2 mins.
Add soy sauce to taste
Add cooked meat (optional)
Enjoy!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Christmas 2017.

The holidays are by far my favorite time of year. This year, we spent Christmas in Omaha, NE and Marshalltown, IA, as well as celebrating with my parents and siblings in the Twin Cities, and Pap Saigh’s parents in Mankato, MN. It was so wonderful being with family, especially the little cousins. We may have been a little tired from all the traveling (ok, a LOT tired), but it was worth it to be with family.


Monday, January 29, 2018

Organizing kids' rooms with the neat method.

With the arrival of Baby Saigh #3 just around the corner, we needed to get our two oldest kids (ages 6 and 2) into one shared bedroom, and transform our youngest's bedroom into the baby's nursery. Since we have our hands full right now, we sought out some help from the Neat Method Twin Cities to lead us in the right direction with our organization, bedroom-merging, etc. I am still in shock with what Lauren and her team were able to do in the little time they were in our home. This week, I was back on The Jason Show to share some of the simple ideas that you can do in your home.

CLICK PHOTO TO WATCH THE ENTIRE VIDEO OF MY SEGMENT ON THE JASON SHOW


SIBLINGS SHARING A BEDROOM

The first thing we did when we decided to merge Linna (age 6) and Jameson (age 2) into one bedroom, was purchase bunkbeds from Wayfair. The treehouse design by Birch Lane Kids that we chose had our oldest super excited about sleeping in the top bunk. The top bunk is her own personal space, and we even added a shelf from IKEA, and baskets from The Container Store for Linna to keep her "special belongings" (AKA, her "nick-nacks") in.

Our oldest, Linna, in her top bunk.

The Neat Method advised us to purchase a second rack for the kids' closet, which made a huge difference. I also got some sleek and adorable children's clothing hangers from IKEA, to make the closet look neat and uniform. Linna loves that her clothes are now at her level, so she's able to pick out her outfits for school in the morning. I love the baskets from The Container Store used to organize our oldest's shoes and other belongings.

Linna's closet BEFORE the Neat Method helped us. Yikes!

The kids' new closet AFTER help from the Neat Method.
Both of our kids' clothes and belongings are in here now!

We also removed all the toys from the kids' new bedroom, and focused on making this room a changing, reading, and sleeping room. Toys were moved to our main living areas (rec room and living room), and organized in labeled baskets. Lauren labeled the baskets with chalkboard tags from The Container Store, using a wet chalk-marker from Amazon. Now all of the toys in our main living areas have a "home" so they're not laying out all the time, and the excess toys are in our unfinished basement (a place that no one sees).

Linna's room BEFORE, with toys and clutter galore!

The kids' room AFTER, with dressers and a simple teepee tent for their reading area.


Two IKEA dressers were added to the kids' bedroom to hold all of the clothes that aren't hung up. Lauren taught me a fantastic folding technique that maximizes the space in our kids' drawers. Plus it makes it easy the kids to see all of their options when picking outfits in the morning.

Finally, we added a DIY bookshelf to the kids' room that we made out of an old pallet. It's under a window, so it's easily accessible to both of our kids.

DIY bookshelf from an old pallet, step 1.

DIY bookshelf, step 2. Just needs paint!

DIY bookshelf from an old pallet, hung under the kids' bedroom window for easy-access.


ORGANIZING PLAY-AREAS

Isn't it funny how kids will play with their old toys as if they're brand new, ONLY if they're neatly organized?! We spent a lot of time "editing" the kids' toys, matching "like" with "like" (cars and trucks with trains and planes, figurines with "little people", etc.), and then placing those toys in labeled baskets from IKEA for easy access, and most importantly, easy clean-up. We plan to rotate toys from the basement, as the kids get bored with the toys in our main living areas.

Arts & crafts area.

The Neat Method also helped us create special areas for arts & crafts, and dress-up play. Our daughter is obsessed with the clear paint cans from The Container Store that she can put her supplies in, and I'm obsessed with the price of these adorable containers. These containers add an organized pop of color to this area of the house.

Papa Saigh also built a super-simple dress-up rack for the kids to hang all of their costumes and dress-up clothes on. For this DIY project, you'll need 4 equal-size pieces of wood, a wood dowel, thick string, and 4 screw circle-hooks. It's literally as easy to make as it looks!

If you want The Neat Method Twin Cities to help organize your home, book a consultation with Lauren and her team by February 14th, 2018 and mention The Jason Show, or Minnesota Baby, to get 15% OFF your services!