Thursday, August 28, 2014

Everly Kate: The Story Behind Her Name

(hoop by my dear friend Amy

It all started with a positive pregnancy test, a family vacation to Sedona over Thanksgiving and the cover of a magazine.

We had just digested the news of our second pregnancy when we headed to Sedona for Thanksgiving. We had told no one our news and were waiting to spill the beans to Joshua's family when we met up with them. While over a Mexican dinner on our first night there, we had a waiter video tape us pretending to take a picture, but in fact he was recording the whole time and we had him say "1, 2, 3" and instead of us saying "3" we said "We're pregnant!" and it was pretty much the most awesome reveal ever ;) Their faces! 

The next couple of days we spent enjoying the gorgeousness that is Sedona and on Thanksgiving evening, while getting ready to enjoy our dinner in the hotel suite, my eyes stumbled across a magazine that was laying down on the coffee table. It had actor Channing Tatum and his wife, Jenna, in it (or on the cover? I can't remember) and they were revealing their new baby girl-- Everly. Both my sister-in-law and mother-in-law expressed they thought the name was so pretty, and to be honest, the name had already crossed our minds so it was kind of funny for us to get affirmation of one of our top name picks without even asking for it. 

We stored the name away but it never really left us. There was just something special about it. And it wasn't something that we tossed around a lot-- it was just like "Ok, this is it." Her middle name was harder... we originally thought of Faith, and then Joy. Eden's middle name is Grace so we kind of thought it would be neat to go along with the Biblical aspect of meanings. But those just didn't fit to us. And I have always loved the name Kate. Kate means "purity" and I love the way it flowed with Everly. So we decided on Everly Kate. 

Everly's original meaning is "grazing meadow" and has been made more popular recently by the Tatum's name choice and the Everly Brothers music duo. Merging the names together, we loved the idea/visual idea of "meadows of purity"-- wide, open spaces of pureness. We also adored its similar sound to "heavenly" and the word scramble of the letters:

"happi(LY) (EV) er aft(ER)"

We love you, Everly Kate,  you are loved beyond compare. You are the perfect addition to our family. We adore you so! xo

Friday, August 15, 2014

Everly Kate's Birth Story

Here I am, writing another birth story. Another baby girl. Another life. Another sweet miracle. I mean, how awesome is God? When I had Eden, I really was torn about whether or not I wanted to document her birth story in such a public forum like my blog. But I did it. And it's something I am so glad I did. I often re-read it and it takes me back to that place. To the details. To the specifics I don't want to forget. So tonight, I want to write about Everly's arrival and have it stored onto this blog for her to read one day and for us to re-live over and over again in the years moving forward. 

My due date was technically August 9th (by ultrasound) and July 30 (by LMP dates). Three things I learned from my last pregnancy-- I knew that 1) I have big babies, 2) my babies like to come late, 3) I labor at home for about a week before I deliver. That being said, I knew that since Eden was 9 days late, I should just chill at home as long as I could and not be annoyed that Everly had not made her grand arrival just yet when July 30th had come and gone.

But I began pre-laboring at home. I had contractions that were stronger than Braxton Hicks but they were not enough to keep me house-bound. I tried to live life like normal. On Friday, August 1, I started having insane back pain. And since I knew back pain to be a sign of impending labor, I tried to take it easy but it completely overtook my body. Joshua was upstairs sleeping and I woke him up and told him I think he needed to start paternity leave. He took Eden for the afternoon and ran some errands and let me rest. During that time, I finished some laundry and took a bath. While soaking in the warm water, I could literally see Everly turn and switch positions from sunny side up, taking the pressure off of my back. The next couple of days, I felt great-- energized, excited and ready to have a baby. 

But she didn't come. And that was okay. My first baby, I was impatient. My second baby, I was fine with waiting. We had a doctor appointment that Monday, August 4th, and I had progressed a bit and was a borderline 3/4 cm. 

The next couple of days came and went. We had a last minute, small, intimate birthday party for Eden's 2nd birthday with close friends and family on Wednesday evening, August 6th. It helped get my mind off of things and just enjoy time with loved ones in my home. We had an induction scheduled for the next morning if she hadn't arrived yet, and I kept watching the clock, wondering if she would come, but she didn't.

And I realized how much I love being induced. HA! I was able to take a bath, go to bed, get last minute things for Eden organized and get a good night's sleep. Well, the latter didn't happen, but we tried. The awesome thing about this induction was that it wasn't really an induction. Since I was already dilated and effaced enough, and progressing well enough on my own, my doctor was simply "inducing" by breaking my water.

We woke up at 4 AM on Thursday morning, August 7th, and we headed to the hospital. The sky was so beautiful; the clouds were like nothing I have ever seen. Both of the days we have had our girls, the weather has been breathtaking. I just tried to take it all in. I was excited and anxious and most of all just at peace. It's different the second time around-- you feel confident and also scared because you know you have that much more to leave behind if, heaven forbid, you don't come out of it alive. I held Eden tight that night before and kissed her over and over again and just prayed to God that all went okay the next day.

We stopped at Starbucks and it was there that we got a call from the hospital, "Hey, where are you?" Apparently, we were supposed to be there at 5:30 AM but we thought it was "somewhere between 5:30-6:30" and it was already 6:10. Oh well. What could we do? We arrived to the Labor & Delivery entrance, walked right in and told the receptionist we were there. Within 2 minutes, our nurse Deborah greeted us and took us down the hallway into Labor & Delivery, and into our room, room 1111. We had a large window and I could see people outside. Just another day to them, and a life changer day for us.

I put on my gown and hopped into bed. Our nurses came in and formally introduced themselves: Deborah and Nicole. They seemed sweet, calm, professional and ready to roll. We told them we had brought candy and licorice and we were there to bribe them with sweet treats in response for an awesome birth experience :) Deborah started my IV and things started moving.

At 6:40 AM, my doctor came in and broke my water. Now, backing up a little bit-- we switched doctors this time around. And by switching doctors, we switched hospitals. Two things that were really risky after having a really great experience with my last labor and delivery. We were referred to our doctor by one of my best friends, and we really did fall in love with her. She was a Christian, and she was touchy-feely, with an awesome bedside manner (something that our other doctor strongly lacked). When she saw Everly on sonograms, it was "Ahh look at God's gift of life" instead of, "Oh hey, there's the fetus." It was such a different experience this time. I'm so glad we jumped at the change because the results were amazing.

So my water was broken. The warmth came over me and it really did feel like I was peeing all over myself. Since I don't remember it with Eden, it was kind of funny to actually experience this time. My contractions stayed the same. We asked the nurses what the schedule looked like for the day. How many planned c-sections were there? When was the anesthesiologist going to be busy? It helped provide a sort of "guideline" for us as to when I might be needing to ask for my epidural and what not. I had always had a feeling that Everly would come fast.

We were told that my doctor had a planned c-section at 8:30 AM. So my epidural could happen at 9:30 AM. Fortunately my contractions lingered about the same, off and on and off and on, and I was comfortable. Joshua and I got to talk about how surreal it was to be experiencing it all over again, not even two years later. How much had changed in our lives, how different we were as people, how good life is, how blessed we are. My mom arrived and was full of positive energy. My heart was full and I was at peace-- I could have this baby now.

We started diffusing lavender in my room (you better believe I will be posting about my experience with oils in my next post) and the contractions continued, increasing more and more. I still wasn't uncomfortable yet, but they were definitely increasing. Our room was calm and relaxing, never once was there any sort of tension or stress. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law would send us texts and videos of Eden playing at home with our nephews, and I heard from sweet friends throughout the morning, wishing us good luck and sending lots of prayers our way. Since my mom had arrived, Joshua decided to take off for a bit and go grab a cup of coffee. He came back with two huge boxes of bagels for the whole nursing staff and I think they all kind of fell in love with him ;) It was about 9:35 AM when one my nurses came in and said that the anesthesiologist had to go to an emergency c-section, so if I still wanted an epidural, it would be happening when he was finished.

Now about the epidural. My first labor I felt like I needed to go as long as I could before asking for it. Which in that case, I was already experiencing wanting to die from the pain and it was really hard to sit still for it. I felt pressure from others, and I put pressure on myself. Pressure to do labor without it. Which is dumb. This time around, I knew I wanted it again and I knew I had nothing to prove. It was there when I wanted it, which is why I got a feel for when I could receive it because I knew for sure I didn't want to ask for it too late. With both pregnancies, we had a birth plan that had specifics but we were both open minded to know that GOD ultimately writes our children's birth plans and that we really have nothing to do with it. So we try to go for a laid-back approach, and I really do believe that in both cases, it has really worked in our favor.

So at 10:40 AM, I was at a 5 and I was feeling awesome. Except my back was so tired from the week of pre-laboring at home. So, so tired. I could not wait to get my sweet girl out and be free of the back pain. Fortunately though, because she had flipped, I was not experiencing back labor like I did with Eden. The anesthesiologist came in and within 10 minutes, he was done with my epidural. While he did it, we all talked about places to eat downtown, where to go to grab food after I delivered this baby, and more. All we talked about the whole day was food. Food, food, food. I was officially starving. And it was only 10:45. The smell of bagels permeated through the room and no, I could not have one. I started taking inventory of all the things I was going to eat after labor. 

The epidural swept through my legs and I got to taste its bliss all over again. I have never been more relaxed than I was after I got my epidural when I was laboring with Eden. I would joke that it was like a good bottle of wine and a bubble bath on crack. This epidural was extra good because I had movement over my entire body, even my legs, but not in my pelvic region. So basically, I could feel everything except where the pain was. And there was no pain. My back pain was gone and my contractions were dull. 

Over the next hour-and-a half, we got to sit and talk, check text messages, and sleep. Joshua kept the lavender diffusing, and he poured Clary Sage oil on my ankles and I put a few drops on my belly button. The nurses gave me this large, plastic, peanut-shaped "pillow" that was put in between my legs. They helped rest me on my left side, with the peanut in-between my legs. And then they rotated me to my right side. We alternated sides every half-hour for an hour-and-a-half, with the intention of Everly lowering more and more and more. 

At 12:40 PM, my nurse Nicole checked me and said she thought I was at a 7, maybe an 8? But since she was new to labor and delivery after working in the OR, she wanted to get a second opinion. So in came CC, another nurse, and she checked me, and I heard the words, "She's at a 10. She's complete." 


After a 19 hour labor with Eden, I could not believe what I just heard. It wasn't even 1 PM in the afternoon, and I was feeling incredible. I could not be in labor. What was happening?! 

Because my doctor was back at the office and was seeing patients, and wanted to ensure that she was there to deliver Everly, my nurses called her and she asked that they try to let me rest. She would be back at 2 PM. So I had an hour and about 10 minutes before I could start pushing but fortunately I had no pressure or desire to. I was comfortable. Joshua ran and got me a popsicle, and the nurses and I started talking about Pinterest. Pinterest, of all things, while at 10 CM.

 The energy in the room was so calm, peaceful, and relaxing. You would never have guessed a baby was coming. I was so, so thankful, because in my heart of hearts I prayed to God that Everly would come while Eden was napping at home. So it couldn't have been more perfect. It was 1 PM, and Eden was at home, going down for a nap, and I could just rest knowing that she was back at home, sleeping peacefully and being taken care of. And that when she woke up, she would get to come up and meet her baby sister.

1:50 PM arrived and my nurses got a call from my doctor saying that she was leaving the office. Since she would be there within 10 minutes, they wanted me to start practicing pushing. Pushing? Were we seriously having a baby? I just could not believe it. It was just so different than last time. I wasn't wiped. I wasn't exhausted. I was completely aware of everything going on, and the contractions were small lulls that came and went and I was feeling great.

We practiced two sets of pushes. Deep breaths. I could not believe it... Our baby was almost here. My doctor came in with a big smile and it was time. Time to have a baby! At the last minute, I remembered! A mirror, a mirror! Someone bring a mirror! So Nicole found one right away and it was placed at the foot of the bed. They situated it perfectly so I could see. And then they asked me to start pushing.

Four sets of pushes, and in-between experiencing the natural feeling to close my eyes between each one, I caught sight of the mirror and could see my sweet girl exiting my body. There was no pain. It felt like small throbs of pressure and that's it. My doctor poured oil all over me and everyone was so encouraging. "Heather, she's almost here!" "Heather, she has tons of hair!" "Heather, she's so beautiful!"

And I could see her. 
Her face!

There she was. It was her all along. She was beautiful. She was everything I prayed for, and more lovely than I imagined. She had dark hair and the most perfect pink skin. She was mine. Ours.

And she was out. Screaming and gorgeous. My doctor held her up and I could not keep back the tears. I looked at Josh and I just fell in love all over again. I looked at my mom and saw her tears and I looked at the nurses and saw all their smiles.

This was heaven.

She was placed on my chest and her cries lit up our room. She had a set of lungs, that's for sure! She struck me with her strong resemblance to Eden. I noticed her lips, how perfectly placed they were. She stayed on my chest for awhile before they whisked her about 10 feet away to get weighed and checked. Joshua cut the umbilical chord, and one of the nurses was laughing about how difficult Everly was to put a diaper on because she would not stop moving. 

I heard Joshua.... "Babe! She's 8 pounds and 6 ounces!" 

19 3/4". Born at 2:13 PM. Healthy, healthy, healthy! And they wrapped her up and brought her back to me and we just stared at her. It's truly just as magical as the first time. The love is the same. The experience no less amazing. It's all so beautiful. 

And just like that, we were a family of 4.

A few hours later, I got wheeled out of the labor and delivery room and moved upstairs to the postpartum unit. My amazing sister-in-law brought Eden to the hospital with her two boys and we prepared for her entrance into the room. In she ran, with a coral shirt that read "Big Sister," her soft blonde curls framing her beautiful face and her smile like nothing I've seen before. She ran towards me and Joshua and curled up on my bed. You would never have noticed a new little babe was there, she had nothing to do with her. She just said, "Mommmm. Mommmm. Mommmmm." With the sweetest, more adoring little voice. Like she missed me something fierce. It was the first thing that brought me to tears since I saw Everly coming into the world a few hours earlier. We sat on the bed and cuddled and then she saw the bags of candy and she couldn't focus on anything else other than stealing a bag of Skittles ;) Over the next hour or two, we got her to kiss her sister and take her in, but she really wanted nothing to do with her. After all, she doesn't talk, play, or do anything fun yet ;) 

Our first night went well and we were sent home the next day in the early afternoon. We came home to a house full of love, my parents and in-laws all there with dinner ready and waiting for us. Transitioning from one to two has been much easier for us than transitioning from none to one. But that's a post for another day. Eden has warmed up to Everly more and more each day and we are so excited to see our girls' relationship blossom. I feel so blessed to have experienced the gift of bringing another life into the world. We feel overwhelmed that God would trust us with another. We are overjoyed to have one more little person in our home to fill our halls with the sound of little footsteps. 

God is so good and we thank Him for our newest blessing, Everly Kate.

Also, a huge, huge thank you to my mom for her incredible help during labor and for taking some incredible photos that we will cherish forever! And to our families for taking such great care of Eden and us :) 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Introducing Our Latest Addition!

Everly Kate Devowe
August 7, 2014
2:13 PM
8 lbs 6 oz
19 3/4 "

We are smitten! Thank you, Jesus, for another beautiful, healthy baby girl.
Birth story coming soon! 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Top 5 Baby Items I'm Not Going Without This Time

So our sweet baby girl #2 is almost here! 
Name to be revealed after delivery ;) 
A hint though-- it is another E name! 

So there are quite a few things that are different with the 2nd pregnancy, well for me at least. 
I feel so much more peaceful. And relaxed.
I just know what I'm going into (of course there will be things that happen that are unexpected), I'm in a house that does not need any work (which was the case last time-- hello foreclosure!), I have a wonderful community around me with church and girlfriends and my parents will actually be here for 5 months this time (living across the street!). We are just in a good place! 

That being said, there are some items that we didn't have when we had Eden and I am pretty sure they would have been awesome to have! I made sure to make these a priority when it came to registering/purchasing. So excited to meet our sweet girl in just a few weeks! 

Do you have any other recommendations for me? Things I can't live without? I would LOVE any input! xo

I can't even begin to tell you how many times I took a monthly growth picture of Eden that was LATE because I had to do the work of numbers and editing via PhotoShop (yes I'm lazy and with a newborn things that are convenient are essential). I was never opposed to the monthly stickers, but I never could find any that I liked. My friend Jenna introduced these to me when she had her daughter Henley! I'm in love :) 

I was hesitant to get this last time because it just didn't seem necessary-- we were given Joshua's childhood bassinet and that seemed like enough. But in all seriousness I would look at Eden in that bassinet and think "Boy that does not look very comfortable!" It is soooo flat. I've had way too many people tell me this is a lifesaver to not go without it this time. I'm just crossing my fingers that it won't cause any problems when we transition baby #2 to the crib (which we had no problems with with Eden). 

Also highly recommend, especially by my friend Ruthie, this was another on the must-have list. I remember countless times where we wanted to throw those nasty nose-suckers that you get from the hospital or Target or wherever at the wall! They just! I am so excited to have this item on hand this go-around.

So a girlfriend at church sold me her never-used Medela (above) for $50! Score! I had a horrible pump when I had Eden and I will be honest that I used it a few times and just gave it up and became an exclusive non-pumper :) I knew that a good pump was essential this time. I really hope to go 13 months of exclusively breast feeding like I did with Eden, but I also have realistic expectations that it might not go as well and or be harder with having a toddler to chase around. I'm trying to just enter into it with a flexible attitude. But that being said, I'm pretty confident that this pump is going to be a lifesaver! 

We will have had two summer babies and it gets so hot here! So finding sleep sacks with velcro that help us cheat in the middle of the night for easy swaddling but that are not TOO much material is essential. With Eden we used the Aiden and Anais swaddle wraps-- which I ADORE-- but I need something a little bit more sturdy. I still have all my A&A wraps and use them as light blankets for Eden, car seat covers, blankets, nursing covers, etc. Love! 

P.S. I also wanted to add that a nursing cover was essential this time around, too! It is something I just had to add, so it's my #6 ;) I bought this one on Etsy. It was kind of pricey but it was essential for me. I never nursed in public because Eden would pull my shirt or the cover and half of me was exposed! The rectangular style just did not work for us. This is a 360 degree cover that I am hoping will really put me at easy with nursing in public. It is super lightweight and can also be used as a scarf and carseat cover :) 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Our Essential Oil Journey

Unless you live under a rock, essential oils are the "trend" of the moment. Fully swarming the blog and celebrity world, as well as influencing moms, grandmas and men alike, people are obsessed. And I'm one of them. 

Back in January, a blog friend of mine started telling me more about essential oils and I was immediately skeptical-- I'll be honest. 

If there's one thing I have always said I would do on my blog, it was be honest. I don't want to lure anyone into something that I don't believe in. And in my blogging journey over the past three years, I've started using things, and one time even selling products that I wasn't "in love with." For one, I can't be passionate about something I don't believe in and two I certainly can't look my friends and family in the eyes and sell them on it. That's why I choose to not do a lot of product reviews here on the blog.

But essential oils.
They just made sense to me.
I researched them and there was not a lot that seemed "off" to me. 
It wasn't like some magic pill that was supposed to help me shed 10 lbs overnight.
It was oil that was bottled up from a plant
This article from the Huffington Post fascinated me. 
Oils were more than just for the immune system though-- they could be added to my beauty regimen (frankincense?), cooking (lemon, oregano?), home fragrance (lemon? purification?) and more. 

My first "oil" post on Instagram

I trusted YoungLiving for several reasons-- #1 being their SeedToSeal quality commitment
I knew that what I was putting on and into my families bodies was safe.
It made the most financial sense and it came with a diffuser which was what I wanted for Eden's nursery (used as a multi-purpose diffuser/humidifier/germ eliminator) so I made the jump and it arrived on my doorstep in about 5 days.

After I bought my kit, friend after friend of ours that we had been around the week before got sick. 
I started diffusing Thieves in my house and putting it on the bottom of Eden's feet.
She never got sick. 
We had so much success that I started letting my friends borrow the diffuser and use my Thieves and I risked getting sick by dropping it off at their sick household's doorstep. Didn't happen.

I fell in love with the diffuser for several reasons. 
I can not stand super sweet smells. My biggest problem with candles is the hot wax and having a little one around. I never joined the Scentsy club. I wanted something that would make my house smell awesome AND do something at the same time. Help eliminate germs in my house? Create a relaxing, spa like experience in my home and not make it smell like a bottle of Sweet Pea? Awesome. One of my piano students walked in the other day and said, "Mrs. Heather, your house always smells nice and peaceful." Bam. 

I use Purification in my washer machine for gross smelling towels. I've used Lemon on my floors in spots where there is a little bit of left-over residue from the new tile placement. It's lifted the grime right up. I've used Lavender to help treat diaper rash on Eden and diffuse Peace and Calming in her room to help her sleep better during nap time. We've been recently obsessed with Cedarwood as it has helped us fall asleep faster and better with crazy, inconsistent schedules. Also helps with postpartum hair loss. Oh and how can I forget Lemongrass for fluid retention these last couple of weeks of pregnancy? So many uses.

I bought my kit in March and have been using my oils ever since with no intentions of stopping. We are so happy to have found relief/help for our family.

I'll be teaching an online oil education class next Friday, July 18th, on Facebook! It's so convenient-- learn more about oils from the comfort of your couch! Information will show up in your feed/"Events" calendar. Please email me at if you'd like an invite or have any other questions about oils. 

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