Transverse to Breech to Head Down :: Our Story at 37 Weeks

I went into my 34 week appointment feeling good. Big, but good.

We had our appointment routine down and it was typically the same. I made our appointment for 8am. I met with the midwife. They weighed me, asked me questions, gave me some paperwork and away I’d go.

Week 34 was a little different.

“Well, it feels like baby is transverse.”, my midwife said as she was palpating my stomach.

My head quickly flicked her direction. “Wait, what?”

“Transverse.”, she said, explaining his positioning within my womb.

That wasn’t what I was expecting but after she said it, it made sense. I felt his kicking in different places, it was extremely uncomfortable and what I thought was a round little butt I was feeling when I put my hands on my tummy was actually his head.

Well, darn. I needed to know more!

She said it wasn’t a big concern at 34 weeks and he’d most likely flip head down in the coming weeks. I was given a Spinning Babies website to check out and she advised me to start doing some exercises to encourage him to flip.

As some of you know, I was really set with Thomas George’s birth plan. Although empowering and perfect, it didn’t go the way I’d wanted at all. This time I was going in with the same birth plan — my number one goal of experiencing an unmedicated birth.

This? Transverse? This threw me for a loop.

I jumped online and read different articles. I did my spinning babies exercises everyday. On the couch, upside down, stacked pillows, inverting, ice packs.. Tom even talked to my pubic bone a few times!

 36 weeks

36 weeks

We went to our 36 week appointment and I was hopeful. Two weeks had passed and he moved around so much that I couldn’t really tell what end was what. I felt a little lump I prayed was his butt in my ribcage but didn’t want to make any assumptions.

“Breech.”, was all she had to say this time.

He had made his way from transverse to completely breech.

My heart sank. That wasn’t the news I wanted to hear at all. She assured me that it was good he was moving and that he still had time to turn.

I wasn’t feeling confident but she let me know I was a great candidate for external version. She gave me a card to call and schedule an appointment with the OB downstairs.. we were going to try to manually flip this baby.

Before the consult, they wanted to gather as much information as they could for the OB. They had me schedule an ultrasound at 7:00am the morning of Halloween.

I went to the appointment without much thought, got home and Tom headed into work. When they called with the results, it was the last thing I was expecting.

They told me that my amniotic fluid was low, really low. They thought maybe my water broke and had been leaking. The mentioned cord compression and I started to cry. I wasn’t feeling the best anyway. The nurse said they wanted me to pack a bag and get there ASAP — they needed to monitor and check me. She told me to prepare to stay for a couple days.

I should have taken a couple deep breathes before I called Tom but I called him right as I hung up with the nurse. All of the emotion came up when I heard his voice and I could barely talk between the sobbing. Poor Tom! He came straight home.

We arrived at the Maternity Care Center in Woodbury midday and they had my room ready. Right away they hooked me up to an IV and started to monitor baby.

When I met with the OB Dr. later in the evening he had very few options. He said even if my amniotic fluid went up, there is no way it would get high enough to be in normal range. If it didn’t change at the morning ultrasound we’d have to get baby out via c-section.

Our other option, if the fluid went up a bit, was to attempt the version to flip baby. If it worked, he wanted to induce me so that we could get baby out of the low fluid. If it didn’t work, he still wanted to do a c-section.

Worried about the baby, the compression, the c-section — I was a mess. Thank goodness for my midwife who brought me tissues and promised me I had options. She said to wait until morning before I get too concerned and we’ll go from there. One thing at a time.

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Going to bed that night, I was almost 100% positive we’d be meeting baby the next day. From the way the morning started to how the day was ending just wasn’t what I was expecting at all, I just tried to go with the flow and believe it was all playing out as it should.

Tom arrived the next morning at 6:45 and we headed to our appointment downstairs.

I laid on the table, they gunked up my belly and she started the ultrasound.

Instantly the tech looks at me and says, “So you did have the version.”

Tom and I locked eyes, “No, no we didn’t do the version.” I quickly responded.

“Well baby is head down. Yep, there is his head, far down into your pubic bone.”, she said.

With angels singing her words rang through my ears and I couldn’t help but smile the biggest smile in the world! He flipped in the night!

We were so happy knowing we didn’t have to do the version. There were still so many things up in the air and we didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves but the fact that baby was head down meant a lot and it just really set the tone for the day.

When we got the final results from the ultrasound we couldn’t believe it. My amniotic fluid levels went from a 2.3 to a 7.9 overnight. (We were hoping to get them to a 4 or 5). The nurses and midwives celebrated with us in our room and when the OB walked in that morning he said, “It’s magic!”

Magic, prayers or the will of baby boy Jokinen — we got discharged a few hours later.

With baby’s head down, I’m so much more comfortable. I’m feeling so ready to knock out the final weeks at home and prepare for a water birth. (Hey, anything is possible and I believe that even more now!)

So grateful for all the well wishes and prayers from family and friends all over the US! We love you guys so much! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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October in Review | FALL is here!

The 365 Blog Circle is a collection of friends working through their 365 photography projects together. We are posting favorite shots on a monthly basis. Welcome to our October round up! 

FALL in Minnesota!!

If there was one season I really missed while living out of state for the past 10 years it was FALL. I love crispy air so much and there is truly nothing more beautiful than the changing of the leaves.

Whenever our family found ourselves back in Minnesota it was always in July — it’s been a while since we’ve experienced fall and it’s magnificence.

Seeing it all with new eyes.

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I said I wanted visitors, didn’t I? Well we got them! Five weekends in a row! My parents and in laws and sister and hubby’s buddy from Dallas and more sisters and more in laws and cousins and aunts. THIS IS WHAT I ASKED FOR and I love, love, love it.

It felt like I was turning over my house like a hotel and the visits are never long enough but it’s been awesome actually hosting people in our home.

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With all the action going on having visitors every weekend, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to dwell on my pregnancy. I hit 30 weeks and next thing I knew I was at 35 in a blink of an eye. By the end of the month, I’ll be at 37 weeks with only about 3 weeks to go!

We’re slowly but surely checking things off our list to prepare for our newest addition and our family has made it so much easier already!
All the little clothes are washed, sorted and hung in the closet. We’ve got a nursery that is ALMOST set up and I just had the carseat installed last week!

 34 weeks preggy!

34 weeks preggy!

Next time you hear from me, I’ll be a mama of TWO, family of four! I’m going to do my best to do a November recap but if you don’t hear from me right away I’m sure to be positing squishy baby pictures on instagram.

Oh, before I go — last weekend I got to do a real photo session and it was the best!! I won’t be sharing photos yet (it was a Christmas card family session) but I’ll definitely recap it at the beginning of the year with some thoughts and dreams moving forward. Can’t wait for more camera play in 2019 — maybe we can connect!

Up next: Photographer Kris McNeil — beautiful photos of her recent travels. Check it out!

As always, I appreciate you guys being here and reading.

Many blessings,

Elyse’

September in Review | Let the Settling Begin!

Sweet September.

Warm days, cool days and the wind down of summer.

It was the first full month in our new house and as you can tell by the tardiness of my post, it was a busy one. (Will I ever not say that?)

We took the time to really settle into this place and dang that felt good. It was the first time we’ve had a chance to do so since we were in Hawaii at the beginning of the year!

All of our boxes are unpacked and I actually organized my kitchen! There are still so many projects to do, I’ll putz forever, but as of now, it feels like home.

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One of the things that made September was going to the Renaissance Festival with my aunt. It has been so long since I’ve had a chance to go and it’s so fun to get lost in the magic. My all time favorite festival for sure!

My hubby picked up a work car which has made life so much easier already! With my appointments increasing to weekly, this felt so necessary!

The start to our 5 weekend of visitors began this month and it was everything I hoped it would be. I love being close to our family!

 32 weeks pregnant!

32 weeks pregnant!

Soaking up every minute before the summer fades to fall.

We’re here, in Minnesota. Settling in a house. Preparing for baby and just taking a big exhale.

I almost feel ready to start reflecting on the year, what a year it’s been, but we still have a little living to do. Hope you are all enjoying the small moments and taking time to exhale in your own way.

Thanks so much for reading,

Elyse’

August in Review | Home Sweet Home

Sweet, sweet August in Minnesota. I don't know if there's anything better!

Crisp morning air and sun filled days... I've loved every minute of it and so has George!

It was a busy month, I'm sure each and every one of us could say that!

Walks to the park, a trip up north and spending time with family. We did the State Fair and a birthday party at the Mall of America. We celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary and my 31st birthday. We had baby appointments and pediatric appointments and sure enjoyed the downtime in between.

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The most exciting part of August though, was purchasing our first ever HOME.
We did it! We found one and they accepted our offer!

We got our keys at the very end of the month and it's been an incredible whirlwind of days since.

You guys, it feels like we've waited so very long for this moment and it's here. I cried twice on moving day. My greatest dream is to create place for my children to grow and flourish.. a place they can always come back to.. a safe, warm home with good food and so much love.

I see it here, I see it all here! 

  My beautiful niece on a trip up north -- she's just the coolest little girl!

My beautiful niece on a trip up north -- she's just the coolest little girl!

  28 weeks ~ in the third trimester!

28 weeks ~ in the third trimester!

  Self portrait on my 31st birthday.

Self portrait on my 31st birthday.

I've been dabbling in my dreams a bit and we've been almost too busy to fully grasp what it is I am doing here but I know there is magic to be made ahead.
Women. Photography. Art. Light. Words.
I have faith it will all come together at the perfect time!

  243/365 August 31st -- the first day in our new home!

243/365 August 31st -- the first day in our new home!

I appreciate all the shared enthusiasm this month - family and friends, near and far, personal and social - you're all the best! Thanks for following as I document the biggest life transitions for my family. What a trip.

There are a few of us still going strong for our 365 Project Blog Circle. I'm so grateful for these talented women who keep me motivated to shoot every day. If you click through to Alyssa Kellert's post, you'll see a beautiful new website with a summer recap. These are the Days

Onward to September!

 

Baby J -- GIRL or BOY?

When we first found out we were pregnant, we decided that we didn't want to know if we were having a girl or a boy until labor and delivery.

Ok, well, yes, that didn't last. Anyone who knows me knows I surely don't have the patience for that. As soon as we could find out, I wanted to know. 

For our first, Thomas George, we did a big reveal party. It was so much fun, but I knew I didn't want to do that again.

So at our anatomy scan we had them write the gender down for us and put it in an envelope. We got home that night and decided we'd open it that weekend. Just 48 hours later we were holding a photo in our hand. I reached down and touched my belly but this time I knew....

My second little SON!

We're having another boy and I have to tell you, we're pretty darn excited.

  There it is! Another little    BOY    bump!

There it is! Another little BOY bump!

Now, to be honest, when I found out I was pregnant with Thomas George I really, really wanted to have a girl. I grew up with two sisters and just couldn't imagine having a son.

This go around though, after knowing my little dude and the heart bursting love I have for him, I felt SUPER cool either way!

A boy. Bros. Boy mom.

Dad cried, I cried.... all the grandma and grandpas cried.

What will he be like? What color will his hair be? Will he look like mom or dad? Tall like his brother, er, I mean whole family?

I just don't know and that's the most exciting part of it all.

In just 11 short weeks we'll be meeting our second son and I am pretty sure we already have his name picked out! A family of FOUR!

 

Second Trimester -- Baby J

  18 Weeks Pregnant

18 Weeks Pregnant

- Ahh, the sweet, sweet second trimester! Around week 15 my energy came back full force and it was so welcomed. Like last time, I just got to the point where I wondered if it'd ever come back... phew. Back to functioning like a human!

- I decided this is by far my favorite trimester and I put it on cruise control. We've been very busy with moving and buying a house and just summer in general -- I haven't has near as much time this pregnancy to watch my app each week. The whole thing is going by so incredibly fast!

- By the evening and night I feel pretty tired but always sleep decent and wake up with a lot of energy... and I'm currently sleeping on an air mattress! Luckily I'll be in a nice big bed next week for the rest of my pregnancy!

- Thomas George is not quite sure about mama's growing belly. If I'd let him, he'd bounce on it with incredible toddler energy many times a day. Sometimes I ask him where baby is and he points to my belly... other times he goes and gets his book to show me the baby in the book. Little does he know I'm growing his best friend for life!

- I'm finally all set up with my prenatal care. I'll be working with the midwives in Woodbury at their Birth Center. It feels a bit like Castle where I had George and I already feel at home there. It feels good to finally be established and ready for the big day!

- GENDER!!!! We got the gender and I'll be back to update this as soon as we announce it! :D 

  26 Weeks Pregnant

26 Weeks Pregnant

- Movement! This baby is a mover and a groover, just like George. I started feeling my first flutters in week 14 and they just continued to get stronger and more noticeable as the weeks went on. By the end of the second trimester we can feel and see baby's many movements!

- I haven't really experienced any cravings this trimester and the cravings of all things hot and spicy sort of subsided. I am pretty sure that I am eating more overall and not as well as I did with George. I'm blaming the move and busy season of our life....

- At the start of second trimester we found out there was a calcium deposit on baby's heart. Everything else seemed to be fine and they said it's pretty common. We were asked if we wanted to do any kind of genetic testing and we decided not to. I don't feel worried about it at all and no matter what happens, I'll be lovin' this baby until the end of time!

- I made it sleeping on my belly to about week 27 which is sort of crazy because I'm pretty sure I should have been done around week 22 this time. It's seriously so hard for me to sleep on my side! I wake up on my back a lot which is bad news, and heave myself to my side. Seriously. The thing I miss MOST is sleeping on my stomach (and wearing normal clothes).

- At my last appointment in the second trimester I had gained 12 lbs so far. She said that at my next appointment is when my weight will probably make a leap since that really isn't a lot... which is weird because I FEEL SO DIFFERENT AND SO BIG.

- I am pretty sure we have this baby's name narrowed down between two. We might just have to meet before we decide!! Naming a baby is crazy hard!

- Our family and friends are so so excited to meet this new baby... we are too! It's my in laws 2nd grand baby and my parent's 6th grand baby! I just keep thinking about what he will look like and how he will be. Mama is hoping he looks more like her this time but I'd be happy with another little George (daddy clone) too!

Baby is the size of a: PEACH
Length & weight: 8 3/4 in. & 1.5 lbs.
Mama's cravings: Not so much a specific thing but more like cold stuff. I have been eating a lot of dairy free ice cream! I also just like to feel FULL. No way can I be hungry at all. 
Weight update: Gained 12 lbs. since appointment number one!
We're feeling: Excited... but yet, a part of it doesn't feel real! I can't believe our family will be growing like this so soon! I am ready but not ready at all!
Highlight of the second trimester: Finding out baby's gender and telling everyone!
Energy levels: Rockstar energy in the morning and real tired in the evening and night.
Habits: Honestly, we've been so busy! But I take my prenatals and DHA everyday, get to all my appointments and of course do my legs up the wall 4-5x a week!

H O M E | July in Review

Goodbye, Arizona!

After being in the desert for three months, we packed up and hit the road. Homeward bound!

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It took us four days to get from AZ to MN.

Traveling at 22 weeks pregnant with a 1.5 year old that doesn't like his carseat and a small chihuahua that shakes and whimpers when he gets nervous... I really wouldn't recommend it to anyone! Those four days tested every ounce of our patience... but can you imagine the relief we shared as we drove across the Minnesota state line??

Excitement, relief and a huge exhale.

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After arriving in the twin cities we moved into a temporary townhouse. Did I mention we had a huge change of plans at the start of the month?  My hubby had a job opportunity that he just couldn't pass up and it landed us in the suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

So now we're here, half unpacked and we're house hunting in a crazy way. I think we've seen close to 10 homes so far! The market in this area (I guess all over!) is just bonkers. We're close to finding "the one" though and I hope to have a super positive update next month!

Between the madness we've spent a lot of time with our family that lives here, it's truly been the biggest blessing. Oh, and the park. Clockin' hours in at the park!

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My last bump picture of the month catches me at 24 weeks pregnant. Unreal how fast this pregnancy has gone... but I guess I'm not too surprised! We're all set up at the birth center in Woodbury for our first appointment and excited to be working with a midwife again!

We got the gender in an envelope this month and within a couple days opened it. I can't WAIT to share... we just have one more set of grandparents to tell first so definitely next month!

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Thank you guys for reading. These photos are a part of a 365 project I'm participating in and we're already past day 200! What a year... so many celebrations and challenges, for all of us! The July round up is Kris and I. I love her perspective -- you can check it out HERE.

I feel a shift coming, yet again when it comes to this online space... but I'm not sure what it is quite yet. I think when things slow down enough, it will all fall into place. Photo journal, motherhood... excited to get writing again.

Wishing you all many blessings, always,

Elyse'

 

June in Review | Al... most... there!

I thought maybe I'd be starting this month's review with news of a home purchase or a move to Minnesota, but we're just not quite there yet. I am certain though, that July will be our month to shake things up. This could truly be the calm before the most hardcore storm yet!

Things in Arizona have been hot but good. We've truly adjusted to the mainland well and I'm so grateful for that... that doesn't mean we haven't been antsy. I know I am going to look back at this time and wish maybe I would have just relaxed and enjoyed our down time a bit more. We're just so incredibly ready to unpack our boxes in a house and start getting settled. So ready. Patience, Elyse'.

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My last bump photo of the month was at 18 weeks. I've reached the point in my pregnancy where although my bump is growing rapidly I feel pretty normal. I have energy again and that has been the best gift. Almost halfway to baby! Gender appointment is coming up... the question is, do we wait or find out!

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Our little George has been keeping us on our toes this month. Besides being incredibly curious and absolutely adorable.. his temper is emerging and do I dare say a glimpse of the terrible twos? Melt downs for no reason, hollering at the top of his lungs when he wants something that just isn't possible.. stuff like that. My patience is being tested in so many ways this month! Add pregnancy hormones and I'm telling you, I have moments that I am just getting by!

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We've never been closer to being home... or having a home. I know that the next life stage is right around the corner. We're opening and closing chapters (MN, AZ, HI, family growth etc.), exploring all opportunities (job changes, location changes etc.) and having some tough conversations along the way (maybe when things didn't play out as we first expected).
It's not always easy but it's growth and no matter what I know we'll make it through.

Thank you guys for reading. I'm so grateful for the gift of photography and this 365 group that I'm a part. It forces me to pause along the way during a whirlwind of a time.
As you know, I'm part of a blog series of talented photographers all over the US -- please click through to see their work and what they've been up to this summer. Up next is KRIS!

First Trimester -- Baby J

 8 Weeks Pregnant! Kailua, Hawaii

8 Weeks Pregnant! Kailua, Hawaii

It just feels crazy to be writing this -- didn't I just write a first trimester post? I did! This time, however, it was an entirely different experience.

We found out really early we were pregnant with baby number two. According to the app on my phone I was only 3, almost 4 weeks pregnant!

The day I took the test, other than my boobs hurting, I felt pretty darn normal. I decided to enjoy it because I knew what was coming.

I found out with George at about 5 almost 6 weeks. Not long after I found out, I got so sick. I only ran to the toilet a couple times but I had full day nausea for 9 straight weeks. 

With baby number two, I prepared myself for the worst..... but it just never came! (Praise the Lord, dance, shout and sing hallelujah!) 

 12 Weeks Pregnant! Mesa, AZ

12 Weeks Pregnant! Mesa, AZ

Other than feeling like a total slug in the evenings and having some foods just not "look good", I felt pretty ok! I was shocked.. so VERY different. Opposite first trimesters, that's for sure!

- The best best part of the first trimester, again, is telling people! Everyone cries! We had fun calling our family and friends to spread the news. I also blogged about our positive test because I can't NOT tell people. It's hard for me to keep it to myself once I know. We shared sooner this time around.

- I didn't have any real cravings with Thomas George... but that was not the case with this pregnancy! I've had quite a bit of cravings. I like HOT & SPICY! (I hope this isn't a sign of what this baby is going to be like, lol)
Seriously though, I am taking hot sauce down like it's going out of style. I've been eating more bagely type foods which I'm not stoked on but I'm just so happy I can EAT during my first trimester at all! I'm hoping to move to more fresh kind of foods soon!

- We're sort of in between home right now so when it comes to maternity care I'm doing my best. I did my first appointment at Castle Medical Center with the midwife that delivered Thomas George. We got to see the little bean and hear it's heartbeat. My first question was: Is there only one in there? Phew, ok.
Now we're in AZ and I might have to do one appointment here. I am hoping to establish care with Robin, a family friend and midwife back home in Hibbing, MN!

- Hormones have been pretty up and down. I cry for some of the weirdest reasons. One day I asked Tom if he thinks TG will want to go to Hawaii when he gets big because he was born there. Then I thought, what if he wants to move to Hawaii and I cried. I cried and cried thinking of him leaving. He's 1.5 years old.
Things like... seeing a beautiful dress online in an instagram ad and crying because I would never fit into it right now as my body gets bigger and bigger. Just weird things like that. Just cry. LOL

- Bring on the maternity clothes. I started wearing maternity clothes right at the end of the first trimester. No shame. Comfort number one!

 7 Week Appointment!

7 Week Appointment!

Baby is the size of a: LIME
Length & weight: 2.13 in. & .49 oz.
Mama's cravings: HOT SAUCE and spicy foods! Cold apples. 
Weight update: < 5 lbs. ~ I didn't actually weigh myself until later in the second trimester in which I had gained 5 lbs. so I had to have gained less in the first trimester!
We're feeling: Excited, ready to settle into a home, happy for TG to have a sibling and we are dying to know if you're a girl or a boy!
Highlight of the first trimester: Once again, telling our family!!
Energy levels: TOTAL SLUG!! 
Habits: Long morning walks, legs up the wall every few days, prenatal vitamins!

What It Takes | Story of an Ironman

It starts with a decision. You make a commitment to yourself backed with discipline, determination and grit.

For the past two years, my husband Tom has trained at an Ironman level. Not only have I seen him at the finish line wrapped in glory, lights and a cheering crowd but I've also seen him in the trenches. The grueling hours, weekly sacrifice and that early morning wake up 6 days a week.

I'm excited to share a sliver of his story with you. This is what it takes.

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When I got the final assignment for my Visual Storytelling class at the Define School, Tom came to mind right away. He does this day after day and I wanted to help him see it from an outside perspective.

I'm so proud of him and he truly inspires me to do what it takes to make my dreams come true.

Anything is possible if you're willing to put in the work.

Lots of love and Aloha,

Elyse'