The BUMP -- Mikko James

From Hawaii to Arizona to Minnesota -- I've been on a mission to document my bump progress every two weeks. It's been so fun to look back and see the growth each and every month!

I think 22 weeks is where I really “popped” but I can’t tell for sure!

  8 Weeks

8 Weeks


  10 Weeks

10 Weeks


  12 Weeks

12 Weeks


  14 Weeks

14 Weeks


  16 Weeks

16 Weeks


  18 Weeks

18 Weeks


  20 Weeks

20 Weeks


  22 Weeks

22 Weeks


  24 Weeks

24 Weeks


  26 Weeks

26 Weeks


  28 Weeks

28 Weeks


  30 Weeks

30 Weeks


  32 Weeks

32 Weeks


  34 Weeks

34 Weeks


  36 Weeks

36 Weeks


  38 Weeks

38 Weeks


 “40 Weeks” — holding Mikko James (one week old) on my due date!

“40 Weeks” — holding Mikko James (one week old) on my due date!


I gained a total of 31 pounds this pregnancy… it sure felt like more! My hubby likes to remind me that I lost all of my muscle tone… lol. It’s true!

Oh well, I’m too busy with baby snuggles to think about any of that right now.
Busy with baby snuggles and grateful beyond measure for my body that created this miracle.

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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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’

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!

 

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!

That Positive Test | Round 2

It was March 8th, 2018.

I was laying on the couch in all my grumpiness when my boobs started to hurt again

I was dozing in and out, thoughts whirling through my head when my eyes shot open. 
It was like a scene out of a movie.

Ten minutes earlier I was raging at my husband about seriously who knows what when grabbed my pillow and blanket and stomped into the living room. 

Just that morning I posted a question to my mom group on FB asking why on earth my boobs were feeling achey when I quit nursing the month before without any pain?

Then it hit me.

I was pregnant.

I was freakin' pregnant. Now it all made sense.

I tip toed back to the room, slid under the covers and did my best to stay calm. Butterflies were dancing in my chest but I didn't breathe a word to Tom. I knew, deep down I knew, but I needed confirmation.


After Thomas woke up from his nap the next day we took a casual stroll to Target. Laundry detergent, birthday card, avocados and a box of pregnancy tests.

I got home about 2:30pm and although it was 6 days before my missed period and it wasn't my first pee of the morning I took a test anyway. It was a pack of three, what did I have to lose?

Peed on the stick, placed it on the counter and glanced at it back and forth as I saw the test start to read. The first line showed up right away.. my heart was seriously pounding.

And then there it was. The second line, although faint, was very much there.

"Oh dear. Oh dear goodness. Oh my. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear goodness. Oh. Oh my. Oh my gosh." I said aloud over and over for what felt like 10 minutes.

We were pregnant. Three weeks pregnant according to the Bump app on my phone.

I couldn't wait to tell Tom.

I have to admit. I've been hesitant to grow our family. Between Finn and Thomas I feel like there isn't any more of me to go around!
But Tom? Tom's ready. Tom's been ready since Thomas George was 3 months old!

He got home from work and I ushered him to the couch. I had my phone hiding strategically on the TV stand, recording it all.

I sat him down and gave him a long sappy love note that I wrote early that day.

I apologized for raging the night before, reminding him that I'd love him forever, through anything.

When he flipped to the back my heart started to race.

I could see his eyes scanning the words: "Today I took a pregnancy test, sweet thang... and it was POSITIVE."

He instantly lost it. He cried. I cried.

Just blubbery, slobbery messes.

This family is growing.

A blessing. This little chia seed is already such a blessing.

And now I say, with much excitement, here we go again!

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I started a pregnancy diaries series with little George. I pretty much documented it all but missed the third trimester. I'm going to try to do a full series with baby number two! You can read George's series here.

CHANGES // Some Big, Gnarly Ones

I'm thinking I could label each month as CHANGES but I've been feeling it in March more than ever before.

Our Tommy George had his very first haircut last week. Dad really wanted to grow it out and I was ready to cut it. We both ended up loving the cut but did find a little compromise by leaving a rat tail blonde curl in the back. Man, it was emotional watching my baby turn into a little boy. So handsome.

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This month, Tom and I made one of the hardest decisions we've ever had to make.
We're moving home!
We will be heading back to the mainland mid-April. I can't believe it. Even typing it here I can't believe it.
The pieces are divinely falling into place and I sure can't wait to share more. Until then, I've been trying to document this beautiful town of Kailua, Hawaii that I've grown to love so much.

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Alright, I've got one more big one for you, you ready? If moving over the ocean wasn't change enough for us, we're adding another little human to the mix. That's right, this family is growing! It's still really early and our first appointment isn't until the first week of April but I just can't hold stuff like this in. Ever. So here it is!

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It's been a month full of big decisions... lots of packing, shipping and selling. I've got a bit of pregnancy brain going on and it feels like there are cement blocks tied to my feet making this whole experience really fun. LOL

I see the light at the end of the tunnel though... there's nothing like being closer to family and we're almost there!

I'm so excited to be in a 365 photo project, especially right now. A chance to document this special time in my family's life is something I know I'll forever cherish.

I'll be linking this post to the talented photographer, Laura. I really admire the light and composition of her work. Also, Laura and I are both in the first trimester of pregnancy which make it even more fun! 

Aloha friends and thank you so much for reading. 

See you next month!

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A Year in Photos - Thomas George

We got these monthly airplane stickers as a gift from Auntie Alicia and I was so determined to use them. I pictured myself compiling the photos at the end of the year to see the changes our little man made each month. It was more fun than I expected.

Thomas George // February 1st, 2017 - January 1st, 2018

 1 Month Old ~

1 Month Old ~

 2 Months Old ~

2 Months Old ~

 3 Months Old ~

3 Months Old ~

 4 Months Old ~

4 Months Old ~

 5 Months Old ~

5 Months Old ~

 6 Months Old ~

6 Months Old ~

 7 Months Old ~

7 Months Old ~

 8 Months Old ~

8 Months Old ~

 9 Months Old ~

9 Months Old ~

 10 Months Old ~

10 Months Old ~

 11 Months Old ~&nbsp;

11 Months Old ~ 

 One Year Old ~

One Year Old ~

He's such a spunk -- more fun now than ever before. We love you Thomas George!

6 Surefire Ways to Pull Yourself Out of a Funk

I was 34 weeks pregnant sitting with one of my friends and she asked me, "Elyse, what is your biggest fear about becoming a mom?"

Here she expected me to talk about labor and delivery or maybe the sleepless nights or you know, the fact that I'll be raising a little human in this crazy world.

Nope.

Without missing a beat, I instantly replied, "Getting frumpy."

It was seriously what was keeping me up at night.

Am I going to totally lose myself in mommyhood? I pictured spending day in and day out with baby and no time to nourish my inner free bird.

So now, here I sit, with an almost one year old.
Did I dodge the frumpy life or did it get me?

I guess I could say yes to both of those. There were times I was most definitely so far in the pits I thought I'd never get out and then there were days, even weeks, where I was running on a mommy ass-kickin' high.

When I'm in a funk or feelin' frumpy I have to consciously choose how to spend my days.. choose to do what could pull me up when I feel myself slippin' into endless unwashed hair and a Netflix marathon of Friends

Oh! And you definitely don't need to be a mom to get into a funk -- all it takes is the routine of the adult life sometimes . A routine that MUST be shaken up every so often.

So alright, these are my musts musts.

1. MUSIC - MUSIC - MUSIC

I seriously had to get real with myself and turn off the damn TV because it turns me into an unhappy zombie to binge watch shows. I get sucked in so easy. Oh geeze, it's 2pm already and I've done nothing productive today.
Sometimes, it's nice for ONE day but not multiple days in a row.. at least not for me! I don't do well with that.
MUSIC just makes me feel happy and alive and I love hearing an old song that I haven't heard forever but LOVE. I love to dance and sing and jam and it just makes me really happy. So maybe you too?
CCR Pandora usually has me covered -- or I'll throw on my Island Vibes playlist on Spotify!

Make a kickass Spotify playlist of all your feel good tunes and let it lift you UP! 

2. Make Art

I struggled with what to make number one, this is such a close second. Don't let your creativity die, EVER. Make art, in some way shape or form, somehow, someway. Write, knit, draw, dance... take pictures! Whatever you have to do to keep that spark, do it... you don't even need to share with anyone ever, just do it... for you, for your soul!

3. MOVE

There are no rules attached to this one... no time commitment, no specific routine. Just MOVE in some way shape or form. Go for a walk -- that usually always works. Get on your Yoga mat. When you turn on that music from number one, dance. I've been dancing a lot, in the living room with a gawking one year old lookin' at me like I'm totally crazy but still, I dance. Find something that makes you feel GOOD (not punished) and do it for 5 minutes, or 10 minutes, or 30 minutes. Whatever you CAN do for however long you CAN do it. DO IT. 

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4. GO

Number four is a tad bit aimed at my mom friends, specifically my stay-at-home mom friends... and maybe you don't do this at all... but maybe you do. But - don't let too many days go by without leaving the house. You've got to go. And for me, two days at the house is too many, and three for sure so find something that is out of home and do it. GO.

5. Connect

Connect with others. I don't know about you but when I'm in a funk I tend to sort of keep to myself. I keep to myself to a fault. I know that each of us has that someone in our life that we can connect with -- be it your partner at the day's end, a phone call to your sister, a meet up with your mama (mama's always make things better) -- tell someone you love you're feeling funky and TALK to them. It helps. I know it.

6. PAMPER

Lastly, I asked my Earthen Women group a while back... what do you do to get out of a funk? This is a collective of their response: Make yourself feel good/pretty. Polish your nails your favorite color. Get your hair cut. If you don't normally, try putting on a little makeup or lip gloss. If it's in the budget, get a massage. SHOWER + shave (your WHOLE leg - haha) or even take a bath. Dress up in that thing you love but you're saving. You don't need to be extravagant (or hey, if you can/want to - then be extravagant. You're worth it.).

Alright, I think that's it for me. Do you do one of these already? What one do you agree with the most? If you're favorite's not here, please please share. I'd love to know.

Also, I should say that sometimes for me it just feels good to put the PJs on and be a slug on the couch and sometimes we need just that. Just not for prolonged periods of time, ya know. It's all about listening to your inner wisdom. She knows.

Alright, so have an amazing year you guys!
I hope it's filled with golden moments and less funks. I'll be here, always! xo

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Searching for the Answer

"I would seriously cut off my pinky toe for some alone time. Seriously. Even just TWO DAYS." I dramatically whine to my husband over the phone.

He's about half way through his work trip on the East Coast and he's homesick for his family.

I see him there, staying at a nice hotel in DC, and I'm not going to lie, I'm jealous.

He wakes up, works out, gets a coffee, heads to the conference where he discusses important things with important people (adult conversations!) and gets to eat a tasty dinner at a lively restaurant before bed.

Damn right I'm jealous!

I've been stuck in an endless cycle of feeding baby, changing diapers, picking up dog poop while trying to keep up with the house.

It's been over a month since I've been anywhere without my 9 month old.

Now here's where things get funny.

My husband, well, you see, he's jealous.

He misses his boys and his wife. He see's my snaps of our son trying to walk and talk. As we FaceTime Thomas George is learning to clap and giggles while I kiss his toes. I tell Tom how intense his son's determination is as he tries to swim in the pool and we laugh, Finn nuzzled on my lap.

All he wants is his family.
All I want is some space.

FREAKIN' LIFE RIGHT.

So it got me thinking about always wanting what we can't have, the whole grass is always greener thing.

I'll never forget a Tony Robbins video I watched years ago, I'll do my best to paraphrase, he said that the biggest source of unhappiness is being in one place (location or situation) and wanting to be somewhere else.

Oh goodness, I can be so guilty of this. For someone who has studied mindful living and who has spent hours on a Yoga mat, you think I'd have a better handle on it. Patience is not my strong point and it's something I'll be working on until the end of time.

And, yes, it's good to have dreams and direction for what you want out of life and of course there are certain situations that should be left promptly... but generally speaking, living outside of the now can surely rob you from being happy.

There's got to be a healthy balance and I suppose since I'm writing this post I should offer up some sort of advice but this is something I'm still figuring out. An answer that I'm still searching for.

Is the key to happiness presence or gratitude?
Is acceptance the answer?

Maybe it's.... perspective.

I'm not sure right now. All I do know is that all we can do is our best and we've just got to keep truckin' no matter what. We've got to be grateful for what we do have because when you stop to really think about it, it's a lot.

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