Oh, Baby!

NONB-134-2.jpg

My husband and I welcomed our sweet baby girl into the world before the end of 2018! Baby N has completely captured our hearts, and it is already hard to imagine life before her. It has been amazing watching her grow over the last six weeks—each day she is changing and learning new things about the world around her.

Like most birth stories, Baby N’s story is one I could not have predicted. I had an incredibly easy pregnancy. Besides some typical lower back pain, I had no other symptoms except for the growing baby bump—no morning sickness, food cravings, or exhaustion. I feel especially fortunate for this outcome because this pregnancy was considered high risk from the beginning, so Baby N and I were watched particularly closely over our nine months together.

As the weeks passed, we learned that N was going to be a smaller baby. Each ultrasound showed her overall growth percentile decreasing, but her size wasn’t going to become a concern unless she dropped below the tenth percentile. We also learned that N was breech, with her butt down and her head and feet comfortably tucked up under my left ribcage.

While it is possible for babies to flip into the correct position before birth, it becomes less likely in the latter weeks of pregnancy. Even though I didn’t really believe the old wives’ tales on how to flip a breech baby, I spent many evenings positioned upside down anyway, with a bag of frozen blueberries above my bump trying to coax her to flip around to avoid the chill. This method was wildly unsuccessful, along with half a dozen others I tried. Baby N was comfortable and would not be moved.

During our 34 week appointment, N dropped to the eighth percentile and was subsequently diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). The doctors believed this was due to increased resistance to blood flow through the placenta. We were cautioned that it is possible for the resistance to become so great that the blood flow can reverse direction, which is a very serious situation that calls for an emergency C-section to preserve the health of the baby.

This news hit us especially hard—baby N wasn’t due for another six weeks! Along with weekly appointments to closely monitor her health, we were told to pack and bring our hospital bags to the rest of our visits, just in case.

The reality that we could have a baby in a single week’s time was very overwhelming for me, especially since I assumed I would have several more weeks to prepare everything for her arrival. I spent the next week making lists of each task that needed to get done and frantically tried to get everything in order, both at work and at home.

I hoped that Baby N would be allowed to stay snuggled up under my ribcage a little longer. I still felt blindsided by the news and wasn’t ready for the pregnancy to end. I needed more time to enjoy her kicks and soak up my last few days as a non-parent.

Fortunately, my wish was granted. At our 35 week appointment, we learned the resistance was unexpectedly measuring less than it had before. At 36 weeks, the resistance was measuring completely normal, which no one (including the doctors) had anticipated. However, because N was still measuring so small for her age, the doctors believed she would do better outside of the womb. Our induction date was set for 37 weeks exactly. Baby N was going to be an early (full) term baby.

Since N was still breech, I opted to try an external cephalic version (ECV), in which the doctor manually tries to turn the baby into the correct position for birth. After two failed attempts (where Baby N refused to budge even an inch), she was born via C-section shortly thereafter.

Our little peanut was in perfect health, weighing in at a smidge over 5 pounds with a head full of fuzzy hair.

After spending a few nights in the hospital, we were able to return home in time for a quiet holiday. While the shift to parenthood was a huge adjustment, I’ve enjoyed getting to know and learn all about this little peanut. She loves to stretch for minutes at a time when she is unswaddled, clothes are her worst enemy, and her endless goofy expressions make me laugh. Who knew that simple things, like N discovering her tongue, would bring such joy? In the last couple weeks, she’s graduated to newborn sizes, and we discovered she loves to “dance” to music as she lays on the floor and kicks her legs.

Over the last six weeks, I’ve given myself a leave from the blog and social media to spend much needed quality time with Baby N. Parenthood is certainly going to be a balance, but I’m ready to start devoting more time to myself and get back to doing the things that I enjoy—like baking and sharing it with you.

All photographs are ©Amber Rishavy.

All photographs are ©Amber Rishavy.

Our Late Summer Wedding

A huge thank you to our amazing Photographer  Brandon Werth  For capturing these beautiful Images from our wedding day. ALl images are © Brandon Werth .

A huge thank you to our amazing Photographer Brandon Werth For capturing these beautiful Images from our wedding day. ALl images are ©Brandon Werth.

As our families might tell you, our wedding day, August 11th, was a long time coming. After dating for eight and a half years (surviving two years long distance, five moves between three cities, and buying a house together), the question wasn’t if Chris and I were going to get married, but when.

After finding out we were joyously expecting (!), our growing family gave us the nudge we needed to set a date and start planning. We both knew we wanted a small, intimate ceremony with our immediate family. Sharing our day with our closest loved ones felt the most special to us.

Chris+Kristin_11.JPG
Chris+Kristin_84.JPG

With a wedding date set for little more than two months away, we threw ourselves into planning mode and managed to have a majority of the details solidified within a week. Growing up, I had dreams of an outdoor wedding. So, we crossed our fingers against the rain and chose a local arboretum for our ceremony, hoping to enjoy the garden in full bloom.

I thought my wedding dress would prove to be the most difficult, knowing that I had to buy a style off the rack (due to the short deadline) that would also accommodate a baby bump. Moreover, I am notoriously “particular” (as my mother would say). When my sister was married a couple years earlier, we joked how I would have to try on every dress in the city before I would find one.

Yet, despite the restrictions (or perhaps because of them), the second dress I tried on was “the one.”

Although we were working on a short timeline, the ease at which everything came together made it feel as if this was the way it was supposed to be.

Chris+Kristin_89.JPG
Chris+Kristin_97.JPG

Unfortunately, the groom came down with the flu a few days before our wedding day. I kept myself quarantined, making frequent trips to the drug store hoping for some miracle medicine that would quickly cure him. Despite our best efforts, Chris still woke up with a fever on our wedding day. We half-joked that we would have a “first hug” instead of a “first kiss.”

While we had crossed our fingers against rain, we had forgotten to cross them against the flu as well. But, after all, we are committing in sickness and in health, right?

Even so, once the day got started, the whirlwind of getting ready and setting everything up captured our attention and left little room for worrying.

Although I expected to feel nervous about getting married, when the moment was in front of me I found I was pretty calm. After spending so many years together, our life together was already comforting and familiar.

Chris+Kristin_122.JPG
Chris+Kristin_125.JPG

We blocked off a couple hours before the ceremony for photographs, starting with a “first look” in the fern garden. The day may have been hot and humid, but the light was perfect (scattered gently through a Canadian wildfire haze that dappled the ground with occasional pockets of sunlight, before breaking against a clear sky). The time flew by as we wandered the grounds, laughing with our photographer (illness forgotten), and enjoying the last few moments before becoming husband and wife. We picked up a few “friends” along the way, as the tulle on my dress proved to be excellent material for capturing insects of all shapes and sizes.

After taking a few minutes to freshen up (and for my mother to guide the bug friends out from under the layers of tulle), it was time for the big event.

Chris+Kristin_148.JPG
Chris+Kristin_158.JPG

A month earlier, Chris and I made the decision to write our own ceremony, personalizing the details and readings on our relationship together. Instead of the traditional exchange of rings, we chose to “tie the knot,” to signify our two separate lives becoming one. The ceremony ended with our exchange of personal vows. It was short, sweet, and sentimental.

With Ella Fitzgerald’s At Last to send us off—after eight years together it was about time—we were official.

We ended the evening in a private room at a local restuarant, enjoying the several courses of food and family in equal measure.

Our wedding day may have been untraditional in many ways, but it was perfect for us.

Chris+Kristin_163.JPG
Chris+Kristin_212.JPG
Chris+Kristin_277.JPG

Scenes from New York

Life seized my attention for the past few weeks, but I am back and here for a quick check in. Even though this space has been quiet, I have been running around at high speed. I spent the first part of June traveling around New York City, and I am currently packing up my apartment for another big move (which I’ll tell you about soon!).

The first stop on the trip was Brooklyn for the Saveur Food Blog Awards. It was so wonderful to meet the faces behind the blogs that I most admire. While I didn’t win (and certainly didn’t expect to), the bloggers who did were incredibly deserving—you can check out their blogs here! The rest of the holiday was spent sightseeing in Manhattan and generally acting very much like a tourist (much to my boyfriend’s dismay). I geeked out at the American Museum of Natural History, rode bikes through Central Park, watched the sunset from the top of the Empire State Building, enjoyed the Book of Mormon on Broadway, and walked the streets in search of good food.

Easily the best meal we had was in the tavern section at Gramercy Tavern. The food we had (sea bass and pork loin) was delicious, and the wait staff was the most attentive I have ever experienced.  We also sought out ramen on three separate occasions (I blame the recent viewing of Mind of a Chef) and other ethnic foods that are impossible to find in our small town. I started each morning off with a smoothie from a hidden gem down the street (which I plan to share with you once I perfect it) and made a point to stop at one of the countless bakeries, like Milk Bar and Insomnia Cookies, for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

All in all, it was time well spent. I’ll be back soon to share a recipe with you!