Tag: Pearl Girl

Eleanor Pearl at One Year


Our darling girl turned one this spring, and I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown. I photographed her each month on a quilt made by my great grandmother, Alice.  The color looks a bit different with changing lighting and effects, but I love how you can see her grow with the pattern of the quilt. Our Ellie Pearl girl is a delight and a challenge and a dream. She is fiesty and full of energy, and a girl who knows her mind. She has no fear and no sense of self preservation. She keeps us on our toes and keeps us laughing. She is such a gift and blessing to our family, and it is pure joy to be her mama.


A Shared Birthday



One year ago today, labor pains started around 2 in the morning. Around 6 am I woke Jed up and told him he wouldn’t be going to work today because we were having a baby. It was his 32nd birthday. Our Eleanor Pearl was born that afternoon, and now two of my loves forever share a birthday. You can read her full birth story here.  I am so thankful for their lives and their love. In Jed I have a partner who loves me unconditionally and is more to me than I could ever imagine or deserve. We will celebrate 6 years of marriage next Saturday. Our Ellie Pearl is truly a blessing, a gift, and a reward. She brings us pure joy every day and we are so thankful to be her parents.


Eleanor Pearl at Eight Months

We have officially reached the age of impossible photo shoots.  My big girl won’t stay still for more than 3 seconds unless she is asleep.  She is crawling and pulling up on everything in sight.  I can’t believe it.  She has the sweetest disposition with just the right amount of sass.  She loves to watch her brother and giggle with him over nothing.  She sits up like a champ and loves to crawl anywhere she shouldn’t be.

Eleanor Pearl at Seven Months

Our Pearl girl is seven months old and pretty much unstoppable.
She is loud, fun, and fiesty.
She can crawl anywhere and is working on sitting up.
She is pure joy and delight.

She still doesn’t have any teeth, but chews on anything and everything.
She is loving baby puffs and pureed fruit, squash, green beans, and sweet potatoes.
She nurses 5 times a day and loves to snuggle up with mama.
Watching her big brother is her favorite activity, and the two of them just giggle at each other all day.

Her hair is strawberry blonde and her eyes are the most beautiful clear blue.

My favorite Ellie move is the fast crawl to lounging pose.
She’ll lean back on her elbow and survey the area.
So cute.
I forgot to add her stats in her six month update, and told a friend the other day that she weighed 14 pounds.  Not so much.  I checked her little binder from our pediatrician’s office and I was waaaay off.
Stats at Six Months:
She weighed 16 pounds 10 ounces.
She was 26 inches long.
We are so thankful for this happy, giggly, healthy girl.

DIY Baby’s First Christmas Footprint Ornament {For Under $2}

Teeny tiny baby footprints are one of my favorite ways to preserve a snapshot of a child’s growth.  I made a sweet and simple ornament for our Pearl girl’s first Christmas using one of her newborn footprints.  It was so easy to make and really inexpensive. Make your own Christmas footprint ornament to celebrate your baby’s first Christmas with the instructions below.


Eleanor Pearl at Six Months

Our little girl is getting so big.

I’m a bit behind on her monthly updates
but I’m determined not to skip one.
My bright eyed and beautiful baby is such a joy.
She smiles and giggles constantly 
and is so curious about the world around her.

At six months, our girl started solid foods and was not a fan at first.
She refused to be fed unless she could use the spoon herself.
She eventually let me feed her, and likes everything but bananas.
Her first foods were avocado, banana, and sweet potato.

Our girl started scooting herself along this month.
Her crawling style resembles a dancer doing the worm.
She is getting faster by the day and gets wherever she wants to go.
She will scoot along and the roll on her side and look around.

One of Ellie’s favorite things is to be serenaded.
She loves songs, and it calms her down like nothing else.

I cannot believe our girl is already half way to being 1.
Her infancy is going by way too fast.
I want to soak up every minute.

Eleanor Pearl at Five Months

Time is flying, and our girl is already five months old.
She is so bright eyed and delightful.
She laughs at her brother all day long.
She is incredibly curious and always taking in her surroundings.
She is *this close* to crawling.
She pushes up and rocks back and forth.
Sometimes she even launches herself forward.
She can get pretty much wherever she wants by rolling.
Rolling and chewing, that’s how she spend her days.
Judging by the amount of drool and chewing,
I think her first tooth is not far off.
She loves to be worn in the Ergo or pushed in the stroller and is up for any adventure.
Floor time makes her happy, especially when it is outside on a blanket.
She is loving her “baby office”, and exersaucer from a consignment sale.  

Sweet Eleanor is still exclusively breastfed.
She refuses a bottle, so she is mama’s little sidekick wherever I go.
Sometimes I wish she would take a bottle, 
but I wouldn’t trade our precious nursing relationship for the world.  

We didn’t have a check up this month, 
so I’m guessing her weight is around 15-16 pounds.
Judging by her rubber band wrists and chunky little thighs
she is healthy and growing fast.
She wears 6-12 month clothes.
We are using cloth diapers almost exclusively, and it is so much easier now that the Bear is potty trained (except for nap & night).  One in cloth is WAY easier than two.  Captain Obvious, reporting for duty.
Every time she outgrows something, it breaks my heart just a little.

Our Pearl Girl’s eyes are still a bright, clear blue.
Her hair is still an auburn shade and her eyebrows are red.
I’m on the hunt for soft, handmade, red-haired dolls for Christmas.
Her natural mohawk went away this month as we battled cradle cap.

Ellie and Fisher are really starting to play together, 
and nothing is sweeter.
He loves to make her laugh.
I thank God every day for this precious angel baby.
She is sweet and beautiful and brings us such joy 
and we are so blessed to be her parents.   

Eleanor Pearl at Four Months

Our little Pearl girl is pure joy and sweetness.  Her hair is still an lovely auburn and her eyes are the clearest blue.  She is such a snuggler and loves to rock and listen to mama’s singing.  

Big Milestones at Four Months:

rolling over from back to front
rolling over both ways to travel
laughing and giggling

Ellie is in the 75th percentile for weight and height at 14 pounds 15 ounces and 25 inches long.  Her head is still nice and normal at 16 1/4 inches and the 50th percentile.  Bless her. The rest of us all have giant noggins.  

She is still wearing 3-6 month clothes and the occasional  6 month outfit.  She wears cloth diapers most of the time and looks so cute with a fluffy booty.  She surprised us once again by rolling over from back to front.  Now that she can roll both ways she figured out that she can get where she wants to by rolling over and over.  She is sitting up in her bumbo chair and wants to sit up straight in the stroller and in our laps.  

Ellie sleeps like a champ with only occasional wake ups at night. I feed her around 7 and then wake her up again around 10 pm to eat.  After that she sleeps until around 7 am.  She is becoming a more efficient nurser and loves to look around while nursing.  She has never taken a bottle though we have tried a few times.  I love nursing her, but definitely wish she would take a bottle so that I could be away from her for more than a few hours if necessary.  The Bear never took one either, so I’m used to it.  

We love our sweet Pearl girl and are so excited to see more of her personality emerge every day.  She is such a precious gift to our family.

Eleanor Pearl at Three Months

Our Pearl Girl is already 3 months old, and I’m in shock.  The last three months have passed in the blink of an eye and our Ellie has transitioned from newborn to baby before I was ready for it.  She is such a joy and I love every minute of being her mama.

We didn’t go to the doctor this month, so our best guess for weight is about 13.5 pounds.  She has moved into 3-6 month clothes and wears size 2 diapers when we use disposables.  We’ve gotten into a good routine with her cloth diapers.  She is still exclusively breastfed and our one attempt at pumping and bottle feeding was a big fail.  She typically goes 3-4 hours in between nursing sessions during the day and does a 9 hour stretch at night from 10 pm to 7 am.  Mama feels like a new woman.  She takes two long naps every day as well as one shorter cap nap.  She prefers the swing for her cat nap, but also loves to sleep when being worn by Mama or Daddy.  

Her hair is still an auburn shade, and her eyes are bright blue just like Daddy’s. Somehow her tresses fall naturally into a mohawk.  Little punk rocker.

The biggest surprise this month came when our sweet girl started rolling over from front to back.  The Bear didn’t do this until he was 7 months old so we were totally shocked.  She is smiling at us and reacts when we talk to her.  We LOVE it.  Her big brother loves to hug and kiss her, and especially likes going in to get her from naps.

 We can’t wait to see who our precious girl is as her personality develops more each day.  She is a delight and we are so in love.

Trying for a VBAC: Eleanor Pearl’s Birth Story

Eleanor came into this world just three months ago, but it seems as though she has been a part of our family forever.  Her story begins with my journey towards a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) even before she was a twinkle in my eye.  After the Bear’s traumatic birth, I knew I wanted something different, something better, for my next child and for myself.  I started researching like crazy and reading everything I could about birth.  I joined my local ICAN chapter (International Cesarean Awareness Network) and read blogs like Birth Without Fear on a regular basis.  You can read more about from my Trying for a VBAC series here to get the whole background story.  I found a supportive OB, hired a doula, and wrote my birth plan.  I visited a chiropractor, read many books, and practiced my coping techniques.  I prepared myself to go past my due date because induction brings unnecessary risk and my previous birth was “late.”  I was as ready as I could be.  I posted my 39 week update and was sure I’d have to share a 40 week blog post soon.  Eleanor had other plans.
Sunday morning came, four days before her “guess date”, and we attended the baptism and celebration of our sweet little friend Grace.  We had a fun day and that evening I felt a little off, but chalked it up to a big day.  I was already dilated to between 3-4 centimeters and completely effaced, and had real and Braxton Hicks contractions daily for weeks.  At 2 am I woke up with real and steady contractions.  Because I am the best wife ever, I dealt with them on my own for four hours without waking Jed up.  I bounced on my birth ball, used my Spinning Babies positions to relieve the wicked back labor, got in and out of the tub and shower, and reheated my rice sock heating pad over and over.  I texted and talked a few times with my doula, Erica.  She was such a trooper, having arrived home from a 24 hour birth just a few hours before.  She talked me through positions over the phone and helped me decide when it was time to wake up Jed and call our babysitter.  I had been throwing up consistently, but that is how I’ve always dealt with pain so it wasn’t that abnormal.  At 6 am I woke Jed up and told him he wouldn’t be going to work that day because we were having a baby.  I also wished him a happy birthday and was excited and overwhelmed that our daughter would most likely share her daddy’s birthday.  We decided it was best to head to the hospital to beat rush hour traffic, because we live in a northern suburb and Baylor Hospital is downtown.  Our awesome friend Raychel came over to take care of Bear when he woke up, and we took off for the hospital.

{Unfortunately we only have phone photos from her birth because of a computer crash.}

The ride to the hospital was rough, but faster than we’d hoped with early morning traffic.  We arrived at the hospital around 7 am.  I was checked and still not 4 cm, but was still 100% effaced and at a 0 station.  Erica (my doula) arrived at 7:30 am and got straight to work positioning me to relieve the back labor.  The pretzel position really helped, with one leg crossed over my body and up as high as I could get it.  Dr. Lawson asked that I be monitored for an hour, and if I had not progressed be allowed to leave and walk around.  I prayed hard for progress and doubts began to creep in reminding me of my previous birth trauma.  I labored in my own clothes which was a powerful way to feel less like a sick patient and more like an individual working towards a healthy birth. I used our DIY heating pad scented with lavender essential oil to help relieve pain and help me relax. Ocean wave sounds played on my phone to help my mind focus.

The nurse checked me at 9:05 am and I had reached 5 cm.  Yay for progress!  They moved me from the labor and delivery triage over to the real labor and delivery wing.  We were able to settle in for a few minutes before my pressure waves really cranked up a notch.  At a little past 11, my doula called my chiropractor and asked her to come in and adjust me to help with the back labor.  Dr. Denisa Weber arrived at 11:40 and adjusted me which really seemed to help.  I was officially in labor land and things got really fuzzy after that.  Later I realized it was because I had moved into transition, and was floating through it.  There was pain and hard work, but I wouldn’t change a thing.  Baylor requires VBAC mamas to be continuously monitored, but most doctors and nurses will allow you a 15 minute break every hour to “go to the bathroom”.  For me this was time to get up and move around, try to empty my bladder, and try new positions.  My amazing nurse gave me lots of grace with the time limits, and even held the monitors in crazy positions while I moved through contractions.

I labored hanging over the bed, on the toilet, hanging on Jed, pushing on the bed, and on the birth ball.  Kneeling backwards over the bed was my favorite.  After several adjustments by Dr. Denisa, I felt the baby move down more and felt intense pressure and the sensation of pushing around noon.  I continued to labor her down and was checked by a nurse at 12:36 pm who thought I was between 8-9 cm and possibly even complete.  Transition happened while being adjusted and I really believe that the chiropractic help made it much easier to deal with.  A resident came in and checked me, confirming that I had reached 10 cm at 12:45 pm.  At 1 pm my nurse, Julie, confirmed that Eleanor had reached a +1 station.  This was HUGE for me because the Bear never got past 0 station.  I wept with pure joy and a sense of victory, but the battle was far from over.
Dr. Lawson arrived at 1:10 pm, even though it was her day off.  I cry just thinking about how crucial she (and the rest of my birth team) were to the birthing process.  She decided to break my bag of waters after a bit of observation, hoping that it would help bring the baby down.  After that I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life to get my daughter to move down into the birth canal.  She was stuck behind my pubic bone, just like my son before his cesarean birth.  After and hour and half of hard work, at 2:39 pm we added a squat bar and changed positions multiple times to try and get her to move down.  Pushing was the hardest work of my life, but the most rewarding by far.  I struggled with self doubt and began to feel that maybe my body was broken, was a lemon, and I couldn’t do this.  Dr. Lawson saw the look in my eyes and told me that I could do it, was in fact doing it, and to keep going.  Her words pushed me past the pain and helped me to keep going.  Erica continued to encourage me and provide counter pressure to my hips and back as she had done throughout the day.  She was incredible.

Someone brought the mirror over so I could watch the progress, and it was incredibly motivating.  Such a change from my first birth where I wanted no part of the mirror.  Jed watched and held my hand as out beautiful daughter came into the world at 3:56 pm after almost 14 hours of all natural labor.  She had the cord wrapped around her neck and was a little blue.  After greeting her for a few minutes the nurse had to suction her for a while to get her to breathe well.  Dr. Lawson stitched my 2nd degree tear, which I hardly noticed.  I couldn’t believe my girl was here and my body was able to do what it was designed to do.   Ina May Gaskin’s words rang so true in my mind, “Your body is not a lemon!”

Eleanor Pearl weighed in at 7 lbs 15 oz, and was 20 in long with a beautiful head full of hair.  We were able to nurse as soon as her little lungs cleared out, and she stayed with us the entire time we were in the hospital.  We waited to bathe her until the next day and Jed and I both helped with her first bath.  We got so much support from the Baylor Hospital staff with the birth process, breastfeeding, and rooming in.  I didn’t have to fight for any part of my birth plan and the whole experience was incredibly healing.  I am so thankful to have had a healthy, normal, natural birth.  Every piece of the postpartum process was easier because of the VBAC.  Healing, recovery, breastfeeding, adjusting to life with a newborn, all of it went so much smoother.  My daughter is such a joy and a healthy, happy little girl.
If you have had a cesarean section, I would strongly encourage you to do your research, find your local ICAN chapter, and consider trying for a VBAC.  It is worth it.  Your body is not a lemon.

My Birth Team:
If you are in the Dallas area and looking for a VBAC supportive OB, I highly recommend Dr. Lawson at Madewell OB/GYN.  You can find her here.
If you are in DFW and in search of a doula who will support you through labor, Erica Sosa is your woman.  She has personally experienced c-section and VBAC and supported many clients through their births.  You can find her here.
My Webster certified chiropractor is Dr. Denisa Weber.  She is also an experienced doula and played a critical role in Eleanor’s birth story.  I would definitely recommend her services.  You can find her here.