Pregnancy + Harvey's Birth Story

Harvey Joseph

Let me start from the beginning, after having Ezra we decided that we were done having kids. Birth, postpartum, and the first year of Ezra’s life was HARD. We were perfectly content having one child + being done. I still worked after having Ezra, which made things even harder. In November 2016 we went on a trip to Jasper, AR + I felt car sick the whole time. I blamed it on how curvy the roads are in Jasper. When we got home I just couldn’t shake how tired I was, but blamed it on Ezra still waking every two hours to eat at night! I found a random pregnancy test in my bathroom and decided to take it. It was the cheap kind that didn’t even have a label on the side to say if it meant pregnant or not. I took it + waited. The next thing I know I saw a plus sign..I was pretty sure it was not suppose to have a plus sign. I quickly called Zach into the room freaking out + he was like no plus sign means not pregnant. We argued back and forth about it then decided the next best thing was to Google. (always) Google told me plus sign meant pregnant, but google told Zach that it meant not pregnant. So at 10pm I made Zach run to the store to get another test. I cried the whole time Zach was gone, I knew in my heart I was pregnant + I was not mentally prepared for it. Zach hurried home + I took 3 tests. They all came back pregnant. At this point Zach and I both broke down. Now, let me just state. I know that children are a blessing from God + I’ve walked with friends through infertility. So what I’m about to write next is hard + I’m sure you’re going to judge me, but I’m sharing a real season of life we went through. With that said, excitement was the last emotion on our list when we saw pregnant on the little stick. Ezra was almost 16 months old + life had finally gotten to our new normal. Work was going smoother. Ezra wasn’t crying (all the time). I had officially lost all my baby weight. Our budget for money was going smoothly. Basically life was good + we had no room to add another baby. I was still traumatized from birthing Ezra. We couldn’t afford health insurance for another baby…can I get an amen from self-employed peeps?!.. Health insurance is ridiculous folks! Our routine now was perfect. We both sat on the bathroom floor crying. Zach tried to comfort me + told me I’d be okay. I actually even texted my mom, “I know you wont believe this, but somehow I’m pregnant.” I’m pretty sure her response was.. “are you sure?” In that moment I felt so helpless. This was not planned + for this control freak it sent me over the edge. This all happened about 60 seconds after all the pregnancy tests I took. Then out of NO WHERE, Zach’s phone goes off. It made a noise we’ve never heard. A few months before Zach started an Etsy page, but he’s never had any sales. The noise that went off was a notification that Zach had just sold something on Etsy. I immediately felt God’s presence + Him say “Don't worry about money, I will come through, even if its in strange ways”. I should have felt immediate peace + started to feel joy, but I didn’t.

I struggled for the first half of my pregnancy with negative thoughts. I totally let the enemy steal my joy. I went to my first doctor’s appointment thinking I was 8-10 weeks pregnant. She hooked up the ultrasound machine + at this point I am still thinking maybe the test was wrong + she’ll tell me I’m not pregnant. Nope! She said “wow, this is a big baby..you’re 17 weeks pregnant!!” Do you want to know the sex?” Zach + I’s jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe I was that far along, I think God almost intended it that way so I had less time to think about things. Well now its time for me to have Harvey. I was dreading delivery. With Ezra I was 8 days late + induced. I went in the night before to have Cervadil done, which is so painful + we found out the next day it did nothing. Then the doctor broke my water + started the pitocin. I had my birth plan in my hand ready to conquer this natural labor with no epidural. HA! As soon as pitocin started I cried for an epidural. Two warnings from the doctor that I would probably need a section because my body wasn’t progressing + one round of nurses walking in scrubs handing Zach scrubs to go in for a section + I was a mess. I did not want a section at all. I cried and begged the doctor to check me one more time. I guess my body went into fight or flight seeing everyone in scrubs. She checked me one last time and said I had progressed all the way to a 9! At this point I had almost been in labor for 24 hours. Once pushing began I pushed for 3 hours. It was pure hell. Ezra’s head got to a point + had gotten stuck because it was so big. She was concerned they’d have to push him back up + section. He finally came + I tore h-o-r-r-i-b-l-y. Needless to say, my birth experience went exactly how I didn’t want it to. Oh man, I completely forgot to mention a big reason I didn’t want to be pregnant again after Ezra.. I had “PUPPS”, google it. 1% of women have it in pregnancy and it is PURE HELL- like I have seen what hell is like and I don’t want to go to that place. Basically it feels like poison ivy is all over your body + there’s nothing you can do until the baby is born. The doctors don’t know much on it and theres nothing for them to do besides steroids. And being the non medicine freak that I am, I decided to suffer through it. It is suppose to magically go away after you have the baby + mine got worse. I really contemplated asking if I could go into a medical coma until it went away. From what I've researched your liver can’t break down all the extra hormones from pregnancy making your body have the reaction to say ‘hey something is wrong'. (If you have PUPPS, msg me + I will tell you the only thing that worked for me + what I wish I would have done sooner) So maybe that's a peak into another big reason I didn’t want to be pregnant again.. + spoiler alert, I totally had PUPPS again with Harvey, but this time I started taking milk thistle to cleanse my liver as soon as the itching started and stayed on it my whole pregnancy. (Wahoo for herbal medicine, but hey i’m not a doctor.. always check with your doctor before trying anything!) 

So here I am, 9 days late from my due date with Harvey.  I told my doctor there was no way I’d be induced this time, because I couldn’t go through what happened last time. She kept checking me + said baby and I were healthy enough to stick it out. I woke up at 3:45am on June 25th with contractions. (this was my second scare with them.) I txted my mom at 5am letting her know that they were finally constant and she needed to come over. They rushed over, but now its 6am and my contractions have spread apart. I was so upset + felt awful for making them come to my house so early. They kept encouraging me to go get checked at the doctor, but I knew any false alarms she’d probably make me go to the hospital. So we decided to go grocery shopping + run some errands.  Through the day my contractions were up and down, but nothing I needed to go get checked for. My mom encouraged me to go get checked before bed since we lived an hour away. Zach wanted me to also, so we decided to drive to Conway and eat dinner. We ate at Market Place and my contractions were 9-10 min apart, but I wasn’t dying. Then we sat in the hospital parking lot debating if we should go get a hotel room or go check in the hospital to see how far I was dilated. We sat there for a good hour before we decided to go in. When they checked me in triage she said I was only at a 3, but since I was so many days late and lived an hour away they wanted me to stay. I said I would only agree if I still had the freedom to roam, because I really wanted to try to have this baby natural and not be stuck in bed laboring. They agreed + here's where the fun began. Zach + I walked the halls of the floor all night long while my contractions got harder and harder.

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The nurse told me I was lucky to do this through the night, because during the day they don’t really allow people out of their rooms. I labored all night into the morning + when they checked me in the am I was at an 8. My doctor asked to break my water at 7:30am June 26, and ya’ll if you want to go natural I do not recommend letting them break your water. Contractions were a breeze all night. I could talk through every one of them. The nurses were so impressed with my pain level and thought I was crazy for not wanting an epidural. But, once she broke my water my contractions literally went 984571948357134 times worse. I cried for an epidural!!! But the anesthesiologist was in a c-section and couldn’t get to me in time. I kept asking the nurses at what point do I start pushing and they said since I didn’t have an epidural I would just feel a push come on, and I was so confused by that. They also said you might feel like you have to poop. So, I got the nurse to check me every 5 minutes because I couldn’t tell if that was the feeling or not. Then all of a  sudden, boom! My body started to naturally push. I had no control over it, I just felt a contraction come on and it was like my body pushed on its own. The nurse told me to hold on while she got the doctor, but if you’ve ever had a baby naturally you know there is no holding on. LOL The doctor got there right in time and I only had to push for 30 minutes before our sweet little Harvey was born at 8:36am. I immediately felt as if God had redeemed my view on birthing. I felt so empowered by my body naturally pushing a baby out of me. I tore so little I didn’t even need stitches. I was up and about right after delivery. I remember telling Zach, ok if this is what birthing can be like, I can totally have more kids! If it’s God’s plan for us to have another biological baby we really want to go the midwife/home birth route. 

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After having Harvey I realized he was the missing piece to our puzzle we didn’t know was missing. God’s plan is always bigger + better than ours, even if our circumstances cloud our vision for the moment. Harvey was never in my plans, but I’m thankful God’s will always prevails. And here we are one year later. We survived mentally, physically, + financially. God has always come through, even if its the midnight hour. I hope this post encourages you to trust God’s plan even if its scary + seems impossible. 

My favorite pictures of introducing Ezra to Harvey. From left to right - "ok put him in my lap" -"omg, what was I thinking?!" -"take him away mom, take him away"

Hope you enjoy some of Harvey's birthday pictures below!

XO, 

Colleen Cashio

A Peak Into Our Playroom

Our original plans for this room was a nursery for Ezra. But kids have a way of making you do everything you said you would not do. Both kids co-sleep, so our nursery quickly turned into a playroom. I love the boys playroom though. We have way too many toys, I'll admit. But, somehow they all get played with. In this post I'll address some of our must haves in our playroom.

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#1 A Chalk Board

We have a wall that’s behind a sliding door that has made the perfect chalkboard wall. Ezra loves drawing on it + really try’s to stretch Zach + I's artist creativity. Which is really none. I have been successful with Elephant heads. Which is good, because that’s our obsession at the moment. I used this chalkboard paint + painted the wall. Then got chalk + an eraser! Easy Peasy!

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#2 A Kitchen Set

This was Ezra's gift one Christmas + I love it! Im a sucker for all things wood. I found this one on Amazon + got all the accessories to go along with it. Ezra loves to cook in his kitchen, because he is use to helping mom in the real kitchen.

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#3 A Tool Building Table

Again, all things wood I am a sucker for + this is no different. I love this for little boys, because he gets to feel like he is building like DaDa does. It’s also nice that the colors match each piece of tools so that he understands the screwdriver goes with the screws, etc. 

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#4 Drum Set

They say "don’t force your kids to do things", but I truly believe about introducing our kids to everything (sports, instruments, etc) and letting them figure out if they like it or not. Everyone thought I was crazy for wanting my toddler to have a drum set because obviously that would be a lot of commotion. But I love it. I love watching him play even if he has no idea what he's playing. I love seeing his imagination + if it turns into something one day that’s great. If he isn’t musically inclined, that’s fine too! I just prefer to expose them at a young age! Zach + I both wish we would have learned/stuck with playing an instrument. 

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#5 A Kid Sized Table

This wooden table is a centerpiece in our playroom. We color, stamp, eat, + just about anything else on this table! I love wooden tables so this was a must for us! I love homemaking pizza for our lunch + in the pictures below you will see Ezra enjoying pizza.

If you want my recipe for homemade pizza comment your email below + subscribe! 

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If you love that sign as much as I do, you should check out our friend's website www.darkthreatfab.com + request a custom order!

XO Colleen Cashio

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Hello, World!

The Explorer

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Am I the only one who doesn't want my kids to grow up? When Ezra was a newborn I wished that stage away. It truly was an awful experience. But when he hit 18 months I was praying I could freeze time. It is the best age. They are so sweet, so curious, + like a sponge soaking up everything. It’s also a bonus because they think mom knows best. Now Ezra is two and a half years old + I still love the age he's in now. But I won't lie, I can see slivers of himself changing + evolving in his boyhood. It absolutely breaks my heart. I think most moms would agree at some point we've thought about experimenting with freezing time and living in an age for the rest of our lives; I have at least. 

I have been reading "Wild Things the art of nurturing boys" + y'all, honestly I've debated about stopping after chapter 2. It is going through explaining the different stages in boyhood: what to expect, how to help, etc., etc., etc. And I literally thought to myself, maybe if I stop reading time will stay still and I won't need to prepare for the next season because we can just stay nice + comfy right here. Sighhh… I know that's not true or possible. This book is so helpful though; I wish I heard about it before Ezra turned 2. I come from a family of all girls, so I knew nothing about boys. Which is why I had a mild panic attack when I found out I was pregnant with a boy. Y'all, boys are so different than girls. Reading this book has helped me in understanding boys better + help change some things up that I am currently doing. 

 

Ages 2-4 in the book are labeled as ‘explorers’, which is so Ezra. This child is so curious + it makes my heart skip a beat. I love just watching him play + talk. I wish I knew everything that was going on in his head. At this age though it can be frustrating that all they like to do is wrestle. Literally, it's all we do. Especially if you're in a compromised position like bending over to pick something off the ground, he uses that to his advantage and pounces! My mom jokes that every time she leaves our house she has a new battle wound. But rest assured the book told me that this is totally normal + good. Haha, well that's a relief! It's also hard that they can't sit still. Like ever. The only time we are able to get Ezra still, well semi still is in church. If you know me you know I am SUPER anal about what my kids eat. If it's not homemade + healthy you can pretty much forget about it. (I am a grandparents worst nightmare, sorry not sorry). But on Sunday mom sneaks him Cheetos + m&ms. It really bothered me at first, but he started sitting still in church, so bribery at its best I guess! This is also totally normal in the explorer stage. After reading this chapter I really realized I was putting too much pressure on him + myself in this area.  

Is there anyone else guilty of expecting too much from kids? Sometimes though I can tell Ezra just isn't mentally ready for things. Once I finally let go + give him time he totally gets it on his own. Key though- on his time frame, not mine or what textbook says. I have to constantly remind myself that each child, boy or girl, develops at different times. Growing up isn't a race. In fact, it’s not even about reaching the finish line. It’s more about enjoying each step and not dwelling on the imperfections. Example; Ezra was a slow talker. Which made me worry + made our lives frustrating. He would get so frustrated that he couldn’t communicate exactly what he was thinking, which ended in a temper tantrum. At his second birthday I was still really worried that his words weren't like his other friends his age. We tried flash cards. The WHOLE Shebang. My friend, who is a speech therapist, reassured me to just give it time. So I trusted her + thought his words will come whenever he was comfortable. Well what do you know! One day he woke up with a whole new vocabulary + we are constantly amazed at how good he can talk now. (Which sometimes doesn't work in our favor - it's a lot easier to tell kids ‘no’ when you cant understand them).

 

Here is a snip it from the beginning of the book, I think most boy moms will totally be able to relate! –

         “What’s Normal?

For as long as we have been working with boys and parents of boys, we have been asked the question, “Is this normal?” hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Usually, what is behind the question is a deeper, scarier concern that parents have: “Is my son normal?” Most often, the answer is yes, and much of the parents’ fears and concerns can be allayed by good information and education. But whenever boys are in the equation, you may have to broaden your definition of normal. (This is especially true for women.) Once you have a boy in your life, things you never dreamed of become normal.

With boys, you will find yourself saying things and hearing things that you never thought needed to be said or heard. Like the night my (Stephen’s) wife had to insist to our two-year-old twins that “sixteen times is really enough washing to get your penis clean.” Or the one-day my sons screamed from the bathroom, “Guys! Come see how big my poop is!” As a caregiver to boys, you will be blown away by how many thousands of times you will have to say things such as, “Please keep your feet to yourself” or “Don’t lick the floor” or “Hey! Farting is for private.”

Boys are quite their own creatures, yet there’s much about the way they respond to their environment, themselves, and others that can be explained by the various stages of their development. Understanding how boys develop is foundational to our worries and concerns as our boys pass through the different stages. (It also can help us sound really smart at PTA meetings.)“– Pages 4&5 in Wild Things the art of nurturing boys by Stephen James and David Thomas

 

At the end of each chapter they give you tips if you have boys in this age group. I can't wait for Zach + I to implement some of these things and see how it works for us. While keeping in mind some things that might work for some kids might not be the best fit for others. Dealing with boys is unlike anything I’ve done before, but now I feel so blessed to be a boy mom. It is such a huge responsibility. The boys in our beds now will be someone’s husband, someone’s father, + someone’s grandfather in the future. The prayers we pray now will impact future generations. Pretty neat if you really sit and ponder the seeds we are planting. 

XO Colleen Cashio

Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys
By Stephen James, David Thomas
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Good for my Soul

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Spontaneous road trips are good for my soul. Especially when they involve my boys.  Our original Saturday plan was the same as every other Saturday. Drive to Tannenbaum where the airstream is located + let Zach work all day. Well, at the last minute we decided to change things up and head to Conway. We ate at one of our favorite places, Taziki’s. Ezra double-fisted his grill cheese + devoured his fruit. My greek salad never disappoints + Zach got his usual, a basil pesto chicken gyro. After we finished lunch we decided to head to TarJay(Target in a french accent), our other love in Conway.  After we shopped we ended with our favorite birthday cake pops from Starbucks. Since we gave up coffee last month Zach tried something new + got an iced snicker-doodle hot cocoa. Umm, do yourself a favor + go try it! Make sure you look at Ezra's pitiful picture after we passed the toy aisle. His room, every area in our house, + my car are overflowing with toys, so we skipped the toy aisle. He was not too happy with us.

Then we decided to go downtown for their Illuminate festival. Our first stop was at our favorite backdrop. I love taking pictures with my family. I love documenting our time together to look back on. Everyone says it, but kids really do grow up too fast. I love all the in-between memories, like Ezra picking up every leaf in the alley and throwing it on dad. Growing up I always wanted just one girl. I had never been around boys + they just were not my thing. Now having boys I can’t imagine anything else. I love how dirty they get, how much they love to wrestle, + how tender their love is. I also love how kids make you stop + breathe life in. We're always late to everything, which can make my husband super frustrated. But normally it’s because Ezra is making us stop to do something that will make a memory. And I'm always thankful for that. Two is a hard age, but at the same time it is so rewarding. Ignore his cowlick on the side - life can't be perfect so sometimes you have to roll with the bedhead look. But really, how good does my hubby look?! I am a sucker for white tees.

We started to head towards the big ferris wheel, but heard a train in the distance. If you know Ezra then you know he has an obsession with trains. Zach swooped Ezra up + ran to go find 'Thomas'. If you aren't a parent yet I'm referring to Thomas the train. Just wait - you will know all his songs by heart soon. Ezra giggled with excitement the whole time running down the alley in pursuit of finding the train. That’s what I love about Zach, he isn't afraid to drop what he is doing in order to make us happy. We may disagree on a lot of things, but our parenting styles mesh so well. We are all about our kids + making memories. There is nothing more that warms my heart then when you see your husband love your kids deeply. Many people thought we were crazy for wanting to start a family so young. We wouldn't trade it for the world though!

We finally made our way to the Ferris wheel only to find out Ezra was too short, even with Zach and I riding with him! We were so bummed, but the huge Christmas tree + train ride for the kids made up for it. Daddy is always such a good sport. Ezra is very reserved + never wants to ride or do anything alone. So Zach got the privilege of riding on the train. The train was really neat; I will link their Facebook page if you ever need any birthday party services. It would definitely be a hit with any kiddos who love “choo twrain” as Ezra calls them.  We also got to see a couple fire trucks. To end our day we stopped at the parked railcar in Simon Park. Ezra loved pretending to drive the “choo twrain”. We were even lucky enough to see another train come back on the tracks. He also learned about making a wish + throwing a penny in the water. He really didn't understand why we couldn't pick it out of the water after we threw it! On the way home I was thinking about how thankful I was for today, that we decided to switch things up this weekend + go for it.  Its so easy to get stuck in the cycle of life + do the same exact things over + over. It refreshed my soul having no scheduled plans and just doing life with my guys. The last picture is a picture of a toddler meltdown; life wouldn't be complete without those! 

 

We ended our weekend going to church + celebrating Harvey turning five months. Our favorite series of the year was happening, Big Screen series. They take movies and make a sermon around it.  Basically how Jesus used parables to teach his followers and fellow bystanders. This weekend they played 'Hidden Figures' (SUCH A GOOD MOVIE) + talked about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the book of Daniel, who endured what the world threw at them. Just like these three ladies in the movie. They were tested, but remained faithful, respectful, + endured what life threw at them. It really hit home with me, because I could relate with 'enduring'. Some seasons in life are harder than others, but if we endure and remain faithful, God is faithful. He will get us through any hardships.

Here is the Facebook page for the train @conwaytrain / https://www.facebook.com/conwaytrain 

Saturday night we watched the movie 'Glass Castle'.  If you have not seen it, I highly recommend finding a redbox near you or I linked it from amazon below! It is from a memoir by Jeannette Walls.

I linked my favorite baby carrier, I seriously could not survive without it! 

 

The Glass Castle
Starring Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts, Max Greenfield, Sarah Snook
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