Birth Stories

The Birth Story of Orion David

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I am not even really sure where to start this. I’m pretty positive that no matter how good you are at writing (which let’s be honest- is not my strong point) you can’t really express in words all that you feel about the birth of your children. I’ll start off by saying that I was very, very scared about Orion’s birth. The weight of what was ahead (you know the whole labor thing) really weighed heavy on me the last few weeks before his birth. I don’t really know why. I love birth! I love the strength, power and beauty behind it all. I trust my body and what it has to do but something about Finley’s birth really had me full of fear of how this one would go down. And especially how I would handle it all. Finley’s birth was such a whirlwind. Going from nothing (no early signs of labor, no beginning contractions, etc..) to everything (hello transition!) and having a baby in 2 hours really had me feeling completely out of control during the whole thing. The only thing that made me feel in control was being at home. In reality though, the whole labor was very much in control but I felt like emotionally, I was alway a few steps behind what was happening. Never really ever being able to ground myself. In the end I was left with a “what the heck just happened?” feeling. I never felt that empowered feeling that I felt after Rowan’s birth. Which is ok. Sometimes labor doesn’t happen how we pictured and really, once our sweet babies are here none of that matters anyways right? However, I spent a lot of time praying that no matter how Orion’s birth was to happen that I would feel confident, in control and full of peace.

I chose to have a home birth again because honestly, I can’t imagine it any other way. I have no judgement on other’s choices but for me (as long as everything is going well with the pregnancy) being at home is the only way I would want to give birth. I love it with every fiber of my being. Like seriously guys! It means so much to me and has brought me so much joy to bring these babies into the world in our own loving space. If it’s ever been something that has peaked your interest, I recommend whole heartily to do some research on it and see if it’s the right fit for you. It’s so magical!

Anyway, on to the little guys birth! I figure since it’s such a personal story between Orion and I would would write out his birth story in a letter to him. I hope one day he will read this and know just how special this day was for me.

Dear Sweet Orion.

Hi Baby. You’re here! You are growing and you are wonderful! What a day we shared together as you came into this world. I hope I can express how much love surrounded you (us) that day! Let’s start the day before you were born. It was a Monday. Just a regular ol’ Monday. Dad was at work, Rowan had school, Finley and I were hanging out like normal. I’ve never had any feelings about when your sisters were going to be born. They both just sort of came. Bam! like that. For some reason though, on that particular Monday I knew you were coming soon. It was 2 days before my due date and normally I go very late but I knew it wasn’t going to be like that this time around. Well, maybe it was just some serious wishing on my part. We went about our day and around lunch time I called your Dad. I asked him to cancel bible study on Tuesday night because I just felt like you would be here. I wasn’t having any contractions or early signs of labor but let’s just call it Mama intuition. We picked Rowan up from school and headed out to meet up with Meme who had just come into town. She always comes right around mommy’s due dates and then just stays and hangs out and takes care of us all. She is such a good Meme!

That night I think we all went to bed thinking that you were going to be born that night. I don’t know why I have this idea that all births happen in the middle of the night. The only activity that happened that night was that Rowan came into our room like 5 times saying her tummy hurt. Which ended in her throwing up all over our bed at 5am. Not a great way to start the day of your birth! But in a way it helped us savor the day. Slowed us down. Kept Rowan home with us from school. She was only sick that one time and then really was fine the rest of the day. I love the pictures we took that morning at home. The light pouring in through the windows. I feel like we all knew it was your day.

I started having mild contractions that morning. They were inconsistent and not too intense, I figured it was just 3rd baby preterm labor that would for sure go away. I think I was trying to not psych myself up too much incase it wasn’t going to lead to anything. It lasted through out the day but never really turned into anything timeable. They would get close but then fizzle out. Mommy way able to take a nap, go for a nice long walk with Daddy and just relax as much as I could at home. Around 3:30 I decided I would call our Midwife Kelly just to let her know. She had told me to keep her in the loop even if I thought it was nothing because of how fast Finley came. She was just finishing up with another birth and then was going to head over and see how I was doing. She got there about 30 mins later and by the time she got there I was pretty sure things were starting for real. I had started to pace. Hahah. Daddy and Meme always say I have this pace thing I do- walk back and forth and keep pushing my hands down or something.

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IMG_4907^^barf bowl. hahaha.

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We had set up the whole sun room like a little birth sanctuary. The pool was inflated, the chaise lounge was out there, there were candles and lights strung up and music all ready to go. Something that was really, really important to me was having some of my favorite bible verses up around the room. A few days prior to you being born I had worked on drawing out some of them and hanging them around the birth pool, so that I could focus on them if things got really tough or out of control feeling during the labor (5 months later they are still hanging up out there- I can’t bring myself to take them down). I was so excited to have a water birth! When kelly came she was like “ok, lets check things out and see where you are at”. As she was checking things out down there, a look came across her face. I thought for sure it was a look of “oh honey, this is just the beginning”. I was waiting for her to say that it was early labor but I still had a while yet to go. She looked at me though and said “I don’t think you are getting in that pool”. I was confused at first. I didn’t know why I couldn’t get in there. It was all blown up ready to go. She then said… “You are fully dilated, this baby is coming!” Haha omgosh. There was not going to be any time to fill and heat the tub. Out the window went that birth plan and we kicked the pool to the side and mentally I switched gears. I thought that would have rattled me. I had really put a lot of hope in the warm water helping me feel grounded in a fast labor. God had another plan though…

Kelly’s assistant had called her right after. She had stopped for coffee (no one had realized it was go time yet) and was calling to see if Kelly wanted anything. I remember Kelly on the phone like “everyone needs to get here now”. Kelly calmly hustled around getting everything ready and I paced and breathed and it quickly, quickly escalated into go time. Contractions were strong but the music was playing and I was praying over the verses I saw around the room. I was still standing, walking around but after awhile the pressure and intensity brought me to my hands and knees. It was a good position. I felt strong, powerful and in control. When a break would come I would lean back into child’s pose, the stretch always felt really good. Your Dad was at my side, holding my hand and whispering prayers and encouragement in my ear. Kelly was at my back at this point rubbing all the right pressure points which helped so much. The room felt light hearted and warm. There was laughter and talking and sounds of your sisters in the other room with Meme. I had struggled with how involved I wanted your sisters to be. Rowan is such a sensitive soul (as I am sure you will find out), she is very aware of people’s emotions so I didn’t want it to be too much for her to see me in labor. It all played out perfectly though. Meme had them in the kitchen which is right next to the sun room. She’d made cupcakes that the girls were decorating for you. As I was pushing, I could hear them giggling and making videos to welcome you to the family. All of us in the other room were laughing at the sweet words they were saying. Mommy couldn’t have felt more in love- being there working hard at bringing you into the world, holding hands with Daddy and hearing your sisters making videos saying they loved you in the other room. My whole world right there.

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Kelly brought 2 assistants with her, both of which I loved so very much. Everyone in the room felt like an extension of our family. Shelby was right there with me and Kristen was my knight in shining armor taking pictures for me. I had been so stressed out about getting a few pictures to remember the moment. You will learn very quickly how much Mommy loves photos. You are going to have a camera in your face most of your life. Just learn to love it kid! I can’t express how much I love the pictures that were taken. I LOVE the one of your sisters peering around the corner for the first time as they came out to see you moments after you arrived. I also love the one of your Dad holding you with wide, teary eyes. Oh my heart! I pushed only a few times and out you popped about 45 mins after kelly had first arrived at the house. You were placed right on my chest and our hearts exploded all over the place. Hahah. Seriously though. What is it about boys? Everyone had told me, but oh man! You are something special little dude. That hour or so after you were born was pretty magical. Everyone helped me up off the floor and onto the chaise lounge and then the midwives and assistants kinda quietly disappeared into the kitchen for awhile so we could spend some alone time together. The girls brought out gifts and kissed your head. I sat there holding you, unable to stop crying over the joy I felt. You came as fast, if not way faster than Finley (but in a way not at all because I was really in labor all day) but you had redeemed so much about birth for me. God had guided that whole day to be a complete answer to prayer. I can honestly not express how wonderful it was.

When I was ready, we headed upstairs so I could take a shower and then we all climbed into bed. We took guesses at how much you weighed as Kelly did your first little exam. I love the picture of us all on the bed. Papa, Meme, Rowan, Finley, Daddy, you and Mommy. It’s like a perfect picture of the love filled chaos that our family just entered into. hahah. Finley also looks like she just got a rose from The Bachelor. Yes, Mommy likes watching The Bachelor don’t judge. Well, that’s pretty much it Orion. You won us over instantly. These past 5 months have been about the craziest, most fun, exhausting moments of my life. You are like a ray of sun- your face lights up whenever someone smiles at you. God has shown me more about who He is and His character and love for us than I ever thought through my pregnancy with you and by naming you Orion. There’s a song called Orion by a band name Ghost Ship- crazy huh? A friend sent it to us after you were born. The words have been hanging heavy with me lately (in the best possible way!)…

I look at the deep dark sky,
mighty throne of the Most High.
I’m aware of my true place,
won’t You come and save me?

Still I know that You are near,
speaking comfort in my ear.
God, I long to see Your face,
won’t You come and save me?

I was answered by my Lord,
“Can You bind Orion’s form
or guide his path?”
I looked up and answered, “No,
but You can, so I will hold
in Your strong hands.”

The hands that own the stars above,
will never let me go.
The one who holds the heavens up,
in Him I put my hope.

Yeah, who am I that You should love,
and bind in Your embrace.
Well, God is this who holds the stars
and guides me in His grace

See? Oh man. So Good. Amos 5:9 says “He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD is his name” Nothing is too big for God. He will meet you in every situation, every doubt, every trouble, the good, the bad, whatever. There He is. He created the heavens but he also fearfully and wonderfully made you. There is no limit to His love for you11 I pray daily that you will know that love.

I love you sweet boy!
Mommy

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IMG_5121^^My AMAZING birth team. These ladies are rockstars! So much love for them!!

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SOOOOOOOooooo here is the exciting part! I recorded a podcast with Bryn from The Birth Hour and it just went live today! Good timing. You can pop over there and listen to me talk about all my births and especially Orion’s on the podcast. I promise you will become obsessed with every episode Bryn puts out. Love hearing such empowering stories of ladies from around the world! Go check it out!! If you are new to podcasts this is a helpful page to get started.

The Birth Story of Finley James

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It has been 6 weeks since Finley came into this world. In a lot of ways it feels like she has been part of our family forever. In other ways it feels like it was just yesterday that I was down on all fours in the midst of labor. After Finley was born I wasn’t sure I was even going to write a birth story. It seemed too raw, too personal and too real to share. I had grand plans of making a video (we took some over the shoulder footage of Finley’s birth) and talk about all the details of our home birth. After it happened though, I just wasn’t sure.

When Rowan was born I felt like super women. Like no matter what life threw at me from then on, I could knock it out of the park because I had given birth to her. In the weeks leading up to Finley’s birth, I held on to that strength. I wasn’t scared. I remembered Rowan’s labor being hard, but I remember feeling strong throughout and digging deep to find strength to get through. As I starting getting closer to my due date with Finley my courage starting slipping. My due date came and went and fear starting creeping in. Going past your due date is a very emotionally tiring thing for most women, at least for me it is. I was tired, anxious and loosing confidence that I wouldn’t be able get through having a home birth. I don’t know why I let it get the best of me. I knew I was stronger than that. Labor is a funny thing though. It really is one of the most life changing moments you experience and you have absolutely no control over when it’s going to happen. Yes, you have a ballpark but being a ticking time bomb really does a number on your mental state.

I am not going to go into all the details of her birth but here’s the quick little story… It was Saturday the 5th. I wasn’t feeling all that well. Kev drew me a bath and then he left to go sledding with Rowan to give me some peace and quiet. I started having some really randomly spaced contractions. Some were a few mins apart, some were 15 mins or more apart. Didn’t think too much about it. About 45mins later- Bam! Contractions were 2 mins apart and consistently 2 mins apart. I called Kev and told him to come home. Home he came. We called our Midwife at 2:30pm. She arrived by 3pm. Contractions were pretty much a minute or less apart. They were right on top of each other, I hardly could get a break. It was extremely intense and I think that is what caught me off guard. I had no time to even gather some strength or dig deep inside. I honestly felt like I was just barely getting by. I cried. I screamed. I wanted to give up. The fact that she wasn’t tucking her chin down and that I had a full bladder left me in some pretty intense pain on top of the contractions. I didn’t even make it upstairs to our bedroom where I thought she would be born. 2.5 hours after it all started, little Miss Finley James was born in our family room as Rowan took a nap upstairs.

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She was healthy, beautiful and our home birth was more than I ever expected it to be, but I was left feeling really defeated after all was said and done. I hate to admit that out loud, it makes me cry even thinking about it. Her birth really was amazing and I wouldn’t want to change any of it, but for a few weeks I struggled with this feeling of embarassment over how I thought I handled it mentally. I felt like I only got through it because well, there is no stopping a baby once they decided to make their entrance. Then one day as I was holding her, staring at this mini version of myself, it hit me… A wave of emotion came over me and I finally felt proud. In that moment with the sun shining in, cuddling my sweet baby girl, I felt invincible. Who cares how I think I handled it. You are always your worst critic, right? Finley was a part of me. She will always be half me, half Kev. I slowly created her with my heart, soul and body for nine whole months. Psalm 139:13 says “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my motherรขโ‚ฌโ„ขs womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” And here I was stuck on the fact that I thought I did a bad job bringing her into this world. She was absolutely perfect and nothing about how she came into this world could change that.

I was able to have a 9lbs 8oz. baby girl at home, with no drugs, in 2.5 hours and for that I have decided I deserve a jump high five and a piece of chocolate.

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p.s. I think any way you end up having a baby deserves a jump high five!!

p.p.s Having a home birth was so dang awesome! Nothing about me feeling defeated had anything to do with being at home. If anything it made me feel more relaxed, more comfortable and more in charge of what was going on. Let me just say there is no better feeling than going through labor and then being able to get into your very own bed, in your very own pjs and have your mom bring you a home cooked meal and then falling asleep cuddled next to your new little one and your husband. If we are blessed to have any more kids, each and every one of them (Lord willing) will be born at home.

& the picture of all of us the morning after her birth cracks me up. Talk about bed head!

A Special Family Video…

Yesterday’s post may have included some of my favorite pictures, but today’s post is by far my most favorite video we have made to date (of course in close competition with this one)! Enjoy!
xoxo

p.p.s Song is called Lucky One (Slow Club Remix) by Au Revoir Simone

A Birth Story

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I am not sure even where to begin with this. There is so much that I want to express and I am not really sure how to get it all out in written form. There is so much more to the birth of your child than you can really ever express to someone. It is a moment in time that will always stand still as its own very magical moment in your life. No matter how tough it is, as soon as its over and you are holding your little one the experience cements itself in your brain as this very surreal time frame that really can’t be explained in full detail to anyone that wasn’t there with you. That’s how I feel anyways.

Rowan was 9 days late. Every day that went by that she didn’t come had me more convinced that she was never coming. Then one night at 3:30am in the morning I woke up and all that changed.

I had mentioned before that my family had come out on Friday night because my midwife told me I was 3 centimeters dilated and could go anytime. I wrote how we spent the evening swimming and eating chinese food. It was a wonderful evening except there was still no baby. Kev and I were sure she was going to come that day. Friday ended and Saturday began and we filled the day with activities to keep us all (kev, me and my family) entertained. We went to a Tugboat Fair on the waterfront, we went for a walk around Peebles Island, we went and saw Toy Story 3. We even came back to our place and watched Fantastic Mr. Fox all together. We finally had to say good nite to my family and they went back to the hotel. I was pretty discouraged. Everyone was here to welcome this baby and she just was not coming. That night Kev and me got into bed and spent what seems like forever talking, giggling and just enjoying each others company. It will be a night I will always remember. It was if we were both waiting for that evening to happen. It settled our nerves and I think deep down made us ready for Rowan to arrive. We fell asleep that night holding hands like we always do. At 3:30am I woke up. My stomach was killing me. So crampy. I got up because I thought I had to go to the bathroom. Nope and then my stomach started feeling better. I went back to bed. I woke up again about 15 mins later. My stomach killed again. I laid in the dark room wondering is this what contractions feel like? I wasn’t sure. I grabbed my iphone and looked up “what do contractions feel like?” haha. After reading some message boards and getting the consensus that they do indeed feel like very strong period cramps. I was sure I was having contractions. I got up. Walked around a little bit trying to get myself ready for what was ahead. I said a prayer that I would stay calm and that Rowan and myself would have a safe and health labor. I woke up Kev.

“I think I am having contractions” I said. He jumped out of bed grabbing his glasses, trying to put on clothes and asking “Really?” I told him what I was feeling and he started to get all our stuff together and by the door. He asked if I wanted some music on and he put on some Frank Sinatra for me. I love Jazz/lounge music. Frank Sinatra, Etta James, Ella Fitagerald you name it I love it. It was dark but with a few lamps on. I paced back and forth taking some very deep breaths while he finished getting everything packed. I could tell he was a little frazzled. He went down stairs to pack the car and when he came back up he had this calm and strong demeanor. Something had changed. He came over and gave me a hug. He said “we can do this, I know we can!”

We started timing the contractions and they were coming every 5 mins. Kev kept telling me we should call our midwife, I wasn’t ready though. I really wanted to stay home as long as possible, but within 30 mins of having 5min contractions they were down to 2 mins. I finally agreed. These were no longer strong period cramp feeling contractions. She told us to come in. So off we went to the birth center at the hospital. It’s only about 10 mins away but it seemed to take forever. Every bump was torture. The contractions were getting more intense with every one that was coming. I was still in good spirits and was able to breath thru them. We got the the hospital at exactly 6am. We went upstairs and I got checked in. I got into our room and the contractions were getting very, very intense. Walking around was not cutting it anymore for easing the pain. I was starting to moan thru each one and I was starting to get a little scared. My mom hadnt arrived yet and it was just Kev and I in the room. We were waiting for the nurses to come in still. I remember starting to cry and I asked kev “what if i couldnt do this? What if I can’t do this with out an epidural?” I really wanted to go natural. Its not a choice for everyone and I don’t have any judgement on anyone and how they labor but for me that is what I wanted. So badly too. He told me he knew I could do it and if I wanted to have a natural birth he had faith in me that I could do it.

The nurses came and said I had to get into the bed for just a few mins so they could monitor the baby, see how everything was going and do an exam. They checked and I was still only 3 centimeters dilated. Ahh I was crushed. I thought for sure I would be farther along than that. Sitting in that bed while they monitored the baby for a bit was absolute torture. Having contractions while laying there was the most pain I felt. I hated every minute of it. At 7am there was a staff change. The new nurse that came in was seriously like my guardian angel. I really feel like she helped me in the exact way I needed. Tara was a young, super sweet, gentile natured girl. She came right in got me out of the bed and got me set up on a birth ball next to the bed. She kept telling me I could do this and I believed her. As soon as I was out of the bed and on the birth ball the pain became so much more manageable. I straddled the ball and leaned forward with my head on a pilliow on the bed. I rocked from side to side to help move the baby downward. Kev sat behind me rubbing my back and pushing in when I had a contraction.

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Everything was more intesnse. The contractions were coming so fast. When they hit you- it takes over your entire body. It takes everything in your power to try to not tense up thru them. This part really all becomes a blur to me. I think I was very focused and almost kind of retreated into myself a little. I remember listening to the music, laying my head on the pillow, and focusing on rocking side to side. Every once and a while I would hear my mom tell me to take a drink of water and she would hold a cup next to me with a cute pink and white stripped straw from our baby shower so I could sip some water. I never got angry or snappy. I was just quiet. No talking. I could also hear kev whispering to me every once in a while, telling me he loved me and that I could do this. I sat on that ball and rocked for a very long while. I started getting the urge to push with each contraction at around 8am. They were surprised that I was already feeling that so they got me back on the bed to check and sure enough I was already 8 centimeters dilated. They could feel that the baby was ready to come but because my water hadn’t broken yet it was slowing her down a little. They told me as soon as the midwife was there she would break my water and that the baby would “ride the wave” out. Waiting for the midwife seemed like forever. I was def. in transition. I sat back on the ball and rocked. All I could think about was to contining to rock back and forth.

There was an emergnecy c-section down the hall so the midwife that was coming in for me had to go into surgery. They called another one of the midwives. I had to wait a little longer. I was passing out in between each contraction. Exhaustion starts to take over. I wasnt sure I could do it anymore. I think I started whimpering and crying. I was tired. Everyone ralled around me and were so encouraging. The 2 nurses were so great to me. The last 30 mins were extremely hard. I remember finally hearing Margarets voice in the hall. She was one of my favorite midwifes and I couldnt be happier that she was finally here. She came into the room. I got back on the the bed and she broke my water. It was a rush of very warm water. She told me if I wanted to I could start pushing when I was ready. It seemed so surreal.

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The room was so calm. It felt like a cozy little bedroom. My midwife sat right on the bed with me, coaching me thru what I needed to do. The nurse held one foot, Kev held the other and I grabbed under my legs. When I had a contraction I would lean forward and push with everything I had. I remember feeling a very distinct movement the first push. I feel like I actually felt her move down and become ready to come out. I felt a burst of energy. I could feel her with every push. You really have to push and give it everything you have. I didn’t push all that long. Maybe 15 mins. I remember giving it that last final push and having the greatest feeling of relief. It was like this rush and then everything was over. She was born at 9:38am and weighted 8lbs. 11oz.

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Rowan was instantly put up on my chest, covered with blankets and there for me to hold. It was absolutely amazing. Tears just pour from your face as you look at this little being that you just birthed. A real little baby. The room may have been busy but I dont remember any of it. I laid there in a bubble with Kev and Rowan. In that moment it’s all that I remember, crying and laughing with Kev as we stared in disbelief at our 1st baby. She was perfect, half me and half Kev. I hardly remember having to push out the placenta or that I even had to be stitched up. You are so focused on the baby that nothing else seems to matter. I did tear a little and I got 3 tiny stitches. At the birth center they let you delay everything that needs to be done to the baby for up to 2 hours. We totally opted for that. We took those 2 hours to sit in the room by ourselves with her cuddled together on the bed. Letting her get to know us and feel safe and secure in our arms. It will be 2 hours I will never forget. What a magical moment.

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The whole thing although hard was everything I had hoped it would be. Afterwards you are on cloud nine because 1. you are holding your baby but 2. You feel like super women. I was so proud of myself for what I just accomplished. That is why I say it was amazing. It was such a rush of emotional highs and lows, but to go thru that and then be rewarded afterwards with a healthy beautiful baby. No feeling can top that. I still look at her now a month later completely in shock that she was inside of me, that I pushed her out and that she is here. It is so crazy sometimes to think of.

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I have to say our nurses, midwives and birth center were the perfect match for us. That is the only advice I would give someone in all this. Every women labors different so there is no right in wrong in how you give birth but just make sure you are giving birth in a place that supports you in every way. A place where you trust every thing they say and a place where you know your voice will be heard. It will make for such a rewarding experience in the end. I wanted to give birth in a very natural way. I didn’t want lots of cords, and machines and drugs. For me that is what worked. Our room was calm, relaxed and I was able to move around. We had Cat Power playing the whole time. It helped keep everything feeling relaxed. I wanted the baby to come into this world feeling that calm atmosphere. To Kev and My Mom: I could not have done that with out you. You helped keep me calm and were there for everything I needed. You encouraged me thru every doubt I might have had and I love you guys forever.

Rowan Winter is our perfect little baby and I love her more than I ever thought I could.

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Jen Loves Kev
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