Wednesday, January 4, 2017


There are five of us now. FIVE! Which means I am one of the most neglectful bloggers ever. So, as I sit next to our precious one almost THREE month old, I thought I would dust things off and brush away the cobwebs to share her birth story.

Due date: Oct. 3, 2016
Cameron Grace Gilles joined our family on 7 October, 2016 at 2:39pm. She was due 3 October and clearly shared her siblings' tendency to arrive fashionably late. It was a wonderful pregnancy, but I definitely felt like my body had been through it before...and not in a good way. I carried low throughout the pregnancy and Cameron managed to drop lower and lower those last few weeks which made things pretty uncomfortable at times. 

I figured I would probably deliver late (which was important because my folks didn't get home from Europe until the night before my due date), but I was pretty determined that I would not make my 40 week appointment (which was actually at the 40 weeks 3 days mark). True to form, my child proved me wrong. I had been having some light, early labor type contractions throughout the day and when my OB checked me, I was dilated 2 cm and about 60% effaced -- which encouraged me that things were getting ready to roll, but I also knew it could still be a few days. 

That evening, I went for a walk, read a special book to Riley and Caroline, and went to bed. I was still having contractions, but they were pretty far apart and still somewhat inconsistent. This was nothing like my early labor with Caroline, I was able to get some rest and sleep before the real deal commenced. I woke up around midnight contracting and having symptoms of active labor. As the contractions ramped up, I picked out clothes to change into and made sure I had everything in my hospital bag. I fixed Riley's lunch and laid out the new "big brother" and "big sister" shirts I had picked up for Riley and Caroline. I even managed to put together an overnight bag for the kiddos' stay with Grandma and Grandpa while we were hospital bound. I timed contractions and as they gradually got closer and closer together, I got in touch with my mom sometime between 5 and 6am. She was able to make it to the house to help feed kids, get Riley ready for school, and wrangle Caroline so I could shower and try to relax between contractions. I gave myself a goal to stay home until the OB office opened at 8am so I could just call the regular nurse triage line -- they asked me to come into the office across from the hospital so they could do a labor check, I told them I would be there around 9am which would allow me to get Riley on the bus before we had to go. All the parents at the bus stop took one look at me and knew I was in labor -- ultimately, I didn't stick around for the bus and waddled to Kevin's car and we drove past the bus on its way to pick up the kiddos on our way out of the neighborhood. Our sweet bus driver saw us leave and apparently asked Riley if his baby brother or sister was on its way -- pretty sure Riley was beaming all day, excited to be a big brother again (and not so secretly hoping for a baby brother).

Contractions had been pretty manageable all morning and while I was uncomfortable during contractions, I was able to move around and talk pretty easily between them. We arrived at the OB office around 9am and I was anxious to confirm that this was, indeed, active labor. I had been laboring for nearly 9 hours at this point and contractions had been about a minute long and about 3 minutes apart for the last few hours. In typical fashion, I opted to walk to the front door of the office instead of having Kevin drop me off. We waited briefly while the office staff figured out which doc could squeeze me into their schedule for a quick check. It wasn't long before we were in a room and a doctor came in to make sure baby was doing well and that I was in active labor -- sure enough, baby was sounding strong as ever and I was dilated 5 cm. At that point, we headed straight to the hospital to be directly admitted.

Once at the hospital (which is a stone's throw away from the OB office), we had a short wait in the lobby before they assigned us a room and escorted us upstairs to L&D.  As we navigated the L&D hallways, we realized we were headed to the exact room we had occupied on 4 August 2013, so we felt like we had some good karma lingering from Caroline's birth to help us through this one.  I got into my fancy hospital gown and we finished up paperwork.  On more than one occasion, I was asked if I was there for an induction or if I was in labor...I guess I should play poker...I was still in a pretty manageable stage of labor, but I had less and less patience for idle chatter as time passed.  By the time we finished paperwork and I had my IV antibiotics going, it was probably close to 10am.  I asked for a wireless monitor, so I could move around as much as I wanted after I finished the first round of antibiotics (highly recommend that option).  I spent awhile wandering around the room and tried to sit on the labor ball, but I already had so much pelvic pressure, that it was not in the least bit comfortable.

Contractions! Weeeeeeeee!
I really lost track of time at this point and ended up getting back in bed after an hour or two (??) when the doctor came in to check my progress.  I had dilated to 8 cm at that point, but we decided to wait to break my water until I could have another round of IV antibiotics (unless, of course, my water broke on its own).  Once I was back in bed, I was afraid to get out again, because I was pretty sure my legs would buckle underneath me.  I tried to keep the incline pretty steep so that gravity could contribute and I reluctantly labored through a few contractions on one side, then the other.  Probably a little after 1pm, I really felt like the pressure had intensified and started to feel the urge to push.  I made all sorts of weird sounds, starting with a low hum/groan type sound all the way to an all out yell/scream.  I had a white knuckle grip on the bed rails and made Kevin push on my hips during each contraction (so, he actually got quite the workout, too -- what a champ!).  I never took a child birth class or really practiced any coping techniques, so I just thought about prenatal yoga relaxation exercises and breathing and tried to keep my mind right -- I wasn't in pain, because I wasn't injured, I was birthing our child!  It's kind of amazing how you can kind of guide yourself through labor by being very logical and rational about why you're feeling a certain way...purposeful discomfort is a lot easier to deal with, if you ask me.  It was a bit like really pushing myself through ACL surgery rehab exercises, except times about a thousand.  While I had intended to give it a go without an epidural, I hadn't really thought about how I would make it a reality.  I think I only said "I don't know if I can do this" one time -- and I believe Kevin replied "Well, you're doing it."  And that was that.  I was going to have another VBAC and it was going to be unmedicated...and it was almost like I was just along for the ride.  There's something to be said for inertia.

Somewhere around 2pm, I was doing a hybrid grunt-scream trying to keep myself from pushing and it was getting ridiculous, so the doctor came in and confirmed that I was fully dilated and +2 -- my 2nd round of IV antibiotics had just finished and I could push as soon as she broke my water.  At that point, I was just eager to do what my body was trying to get me to do for what seemed like the last hour.  I was completely exhausted from the contractions and having to fight my urge to push, and I would actually fall asleep between contractions.  I think that little bit of "rest" gave me the extra energy I needed to really push effectively and efficiently.  I started pushing around 2:27 pm and just about 12 minutes later, the most petite little red-headed baby girl (Kevin made the announcement, which was cool) was placed directly on my chest. I'm sure it helped that Cameron was so teeny, but I didn't really think the whole "ring of fire" thing was that bad...It was almost a welcome relief, because I knew that labor was ALMOST over (except for those pesky contractions that keep happening every damn time you breastfeed for weeks after delivery). Once the cord stopped pulsing, Kevin was able to make the cut and I attempted to get Cameron nursing right away -- she kind of figured it out, but was super content just to cuddle and suck on her hand.  Unfortunately, I had to be hooked up to pitocin at that point to try and get my bleeding wasn't life threatening or anything, but I was definitely bleeding more than they like to see.  My nurse made it her mission in life to get every last little clot out of my uterus before I went to the Mom/Baby unit -- her uterine massage was the most brutal thing ever, but it did the trick.  After a solid hour of skin to skin with our little girl, they did the standard vitals work on her to make sure she was in good shape.  She ended up being "SGA" - small for gestational age - so, she had to have blood sugar checks periodically over the next 24 hours.  I started having lots of mom guilt at that point because I had worried that I hadn't gained enough weight at the tail end of my pregnancy -- Cameron grew fine, but didn't put on a lot of fat.  I struggled with a lack of appetite in the last month of pregnancy and clearly didn't force myself to eat enough.  But everything else checked out fine and she was incredibly content, even through all the extra sticks to check her blood sugar...we barely heard her cry during the entire hospital stay.

So, there you have it.  A long overdue post to an utterly neglected blog.  Too bad I already used the title "Better late than never..."  Promise I'll be better at keeping this thing updated.  Cameron continues to be a pretty super chill baby, so I actually manage to sit down a few times a day...<knock on wood>

Cameron on the left, Caroline on the right.

 Welcome home, baby girl.  We love you SO much!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Better late than never...

Hiatus? Leave of absence? Sabbatical?

All of the above with none of the rest that those imply.  Life happened and the blog wasn't exactly anywhere on the list of priorities.

So, a lot has happened in the time between Caroline's birth and today.  Birthdays. New jobs.  A big move. More new jobs.  Here it is in a nutshell:

Kevin worked in California for about 6 months while I continued to be a SAHM. We decided that wasn't working for our family, so we both started job hunting in Indy.  In March 2014, I started working as a Practice Manager at IU Health and Kevin started working in Global Security at Cummins. Riley turned 3.  Caroline turned 1. Between the jobs and the farm, we were burned out -- so we put the house on the market, sold it, and moved to Zionsville (in an awesome neighborhood) just before Christmas. In March 2015, I resigned from IU Health to be a SAHM again (YAY!).  I started substitute teaching a few times a month and helping out at the barn (where the horses are boarding now) to help make ends meet.  And here we are...happily ever after :-)

I have so many more pictures to share -- for now, you get cute kid feet.

 We are really enjoying ourselves in the new house -- making it a home and getting to know our new neighbors. I'm hoping to be able to blog on a more regular basis so that family & friends near and far can keep up with our adventures/projects/miscellaneous happenings. It's nice to be back...

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sweet Caroline

In case you haven't heard the news, we welcomed our precious daughter into the world outside the womb on Sunday, August 4th, at 5:38 pm.  Miss Caroline Avery Gilles weighed 6lbs 13oz and measured 20in long (and that was with a little extra incubation time -- I was due July 31st).  For those who weren't able to be with us during labor & delivery or haven't heard the details from that weekend, here is Caroline's birth story:

I started early labor on Friday (2 August) around mid-day.  We did a lot of work out in the barn installing a new stall mat system in Cora's stall (Kevin did MOST of the work) and we also vacuumed the pool by hand...I guess this was my version of some last minute nesting.  We started timing contractions and they were getting pretty consistent and close together so we made the call around 9:30pm to go ahead and make our way to the neighborhood of the hospital.  We loaded Riley and our bags up and went to my folks' house to get Riley to bed and hang out for a bit before heading in to get checked.  I could still pretty well talk through contractions at this point, but they certainly were not going to let me get any sleep.

We made it to the hospital a bit after midnight (now 3 August) and waited in triage for a relatively short amount of time before getting checked.  We really thought I'd be at least 3 or 4cm dilated at this point...I was a whopping 1 cm.  FAIL!  I was pretty dismayed at this point because I hadn't had any sleep since Thursday night and I really didn't know how I could handle going a whole lot longer without some rest and still have a chance for a successful VBAC.  We went back to my parents' house rather than making the trek home and spent most of the day there waiting for something to change.  We went for a walk, I contracted regularly the whole time.  As soon as we got back to the house, nothing.  I had almost 25 minutes between contractions at that point.  We decided to load up and go back home for the night to see if I could get some rest while the contractions seemed to have tapered off.

Saturday morning.  Waiting for something to happen, watching Cars, and building seats out of cardboard bricks.
Something must've changed on the drive home, because I had what seemed like one marathon contraction for about the last 20 minutes of the trip.  I managed to eat a little bit when we got home (I hardly ate anything the whole day) and tried to get my body to relax a bit by taking a couple warm baths.  The baths offered a little relief, but the second one was far from soothing.  From about 8pm until 5am the next morning, I tried everything possible to get comfortable and ended up spending the night in bed tossing and turning, walking around our bedroom, swaying, or sitting on an exercise ball and leaning on the bed.  At 5am, Riley woke up and came in our bed and cried every time I had a contraction (poor kid).  So, I sent my mom a text asking her to come to our house as soon as she woke up -- luckily, she was already up and made it to our house by about 6:30am to take care of Riley and the animals while Kevin and I headed back to the hospital.  We were both really nervous about going back, because the contractions were super intense, but were still pretty far apart.  In fact, I probably only had a handful of contractions on the 45 min drive to the hospital.  So, we braced ourselves for the possibility that I'd made no progress and would either have to wait it out longer or that I'd be admitted for an induction or c-section or something else (I don't really know what the next step would have been).

We made it to the hospital a little before 8am and the triage routine went much more quickly this time.  Our nurse was fantastic and brought in this poor brand spankin' new resident to check my progress.  I may have been the first OB patient he'd seen...but he had a great bedside manner and I'm sure he'll make a great doctor.  Anyhow, he checked me and looked at the nurse with some doubt and said "um, uh, I think she's a 5 or a 6?"  I was ELATED!  The nurse checked and confirmed his assessment.  We were on our way!!  I swear, the pain melted away to a certain extent after that.  I made my epidural request immediately so I could get a little rest before I needed to push.  Again, we really lucked out in the nurse department.  We had a wonderful woman named Debbie take care of us through labor and delivery -- she was determined that Caroline would be born before her shift was over at 7pm.  She was really fantastic and so supportive and POSITIVE!  The labor part was pretty uneventful except that I didn't progress for a few hours after they started my epidural and broke my bag of waters, so they started the dreaded pitocin (I was gun shy from last time) to help get the contractions more regular and efficient.  The intensity of my contractions didn't need any help, but the interval between them needed to be shorter and more consistent.  Within about 2 hours of starting the pitocin, I was 7cm dilated and received a redose of my epidural.  We had evidently found the sweet spot for the pitocin, so I tried to rest as much as I could while Debbie prepped the sterile table full of all the fun tools to aid delivery (if the need were to arise).  That was when it started getting real for me -- we were only a few centimeters from meeting our baby girl and from me having a successful VBAC.  About an hour and a half later, I asked Debbie for another redose of my epidural.  I could feel very little from just below my hips down (including the REALLY important part), but I was able to feel each very strong contraction pretty well at this point and it was getting tough to talk at all during the contractions again.  We decided together that it would be best to get checked before doing a redose in case it was time to push.  I would probably have a lot more success pushing if I could feel a little more than I wanted to than to be completely numb.  So, Dr. Payne (I know, right?) came in shortly to check me and looked up at me with a very dry manner and said "so, what would you say if I told you that you had no cervix left?" And I think I replied with something along the lines of "I would say that is AWESOME!"  He declared that I was fully effaced, fully dilated, and that Caroline was a +1 or +2 station.  It was time to push!

At that point, it was just me, Kevin, my mom, and Debbie in the room and I started pushing at 4:52pm.  Debbie coached me through a few contractions and I got the hang of it remarkably quickly.  I had a mirror, which at first made me feel completely defeated and I wondered if I could do it, but a few good pushes later and I could see the top of her head and that mirror became my focal point and a source of incredible inspiration.  Pushing was not one of the most physically grueling things I have ever done, but the emotional aspect of it made it one of the most intense experiences ever.  About three contractions into my pushing effort, Emily made it back to the hospital and joined my bedside support team.  They were absolutely wonderful and kept things light between contractions and focused during them.  I'll be forever grateful that they were all able to share that experience with me.  After 30-35minutes of pushing, Dr. Payne returned to observe my progress and after just a few contractions, Caroline was crowning.  I was able to rest through two or three contractions while the doc, nurses, and the poor newbie resident dawned their gear...then Caroline decided she was going to go ahead and come out on her own whether they liked it or not and the delivery team kicked it into high gear/catch mode.  Before I knew it, she was out, stretched out on my belly, trying to scream.  And I was crying and couldn't be more in love.

Saying hello to my sweet girl.
I was able to hold my sweet girl for a while until the umbilical cord stopped pulsing (per my request).  After it was clamped and cut (my mom did the honors), the nurses worked on sucking all the gunk out of her mouth -- she pinked up right away despite being rather congested.  She really handled that long labor exceptionally well and never had any dips in her heart rate and stayed spunky and active the whole time.  I am so excited to see the person develop and emerge from this precious little bundle.  For now, I am soaking up every sweet moment and loving each second with this sweet little girl.

Caroline is a blessed little girl to have such a fun, loving, crazy big brother.  Riley has adjusted very well to the changes that come with a new baby in the house.  He was freaked out by me in the hospital until I could get out of bed and hold him on my lap for a story.  Then it was game on, unless of course I was holding the baby -- it took a few days for him to come near me if she was in my arms.  Now, he crawls up in a chair to snuggle with us and has even given his baby sister a few sweet kisses on the top of her head -- he has also already accidentally smacked her in the face (the first of many such "accidents" I'm sure).  He is definitely amused by his little sis, especially when she has the hiccups, and I see that amusement giving way to love and protectiveness very soon.

Kevin and I are so truly blessed by our two amazing, beautiful, healthy children.  They are our everything, even during epic meltdowns in the car or lap-running marathons around the kitchen island punctuated by high-pitched squeals.  We think we couldn't possibly love them any more...and then we do.  I can't wait for you all to meet our lovely Miss Caroline.  Until then, here are some pictures.

Pretty sure that Daddy is actually the one wrapped around her finger...

Baby feet!


How's that hand taste?

Taking a well earned nap after a long few days.

So cuddly!

Going home!

Ah!  Home at last!

I love these babies (and the crazy bed head)!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

37 Weeks!

Well, we have officially made it to term! We keep thinking good thoughts that the duration of the pregnancy is smooth and we are able to safely deliver our little girl a few days after Tasha's wedding on the 27th.

I am still in a bit of disbelief that we are so close...this pregnancy has been SO different for a lot of reasons. I am way more healthy, Kevin has been gone for the majority, I am not working, and I'm fully engaged with caring for Riley. And of course the pregnancy itself has just been different as far as symptoms, how I'm carrying, and whatnot.

Please keep us in your thoughts as we draw nearer to meeting our precious daughter. We look forward to sharing her with you when she chooses to make her grand entrance. Until are some pictures of her in utero...

11 weeks

37 weeks (a little low, ya think?)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Six Wonderful Years

Just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge that six years ago today I married the most wonderful man in the world. On June 2nd 2007, I never thought we'd be where we are today...and it has required a lot of sacrifice and effort...but I wouldn't have it any other way. I look forward to each and every moment of our future together. You make my dreams come true, Kevin. I love you with every ounce of my being (and you get an extra bit this year since I'm all bloated with baby)!

Monday, May 13, 2013

I know...I know...

I'm the worst blog updater EVER!

So, since it's been 10 weeks since my last post about this pregnancy, I figured I owed you all SOMETHING.  I'm just about 29 weeks along at this point.  I've got some compare and contrast photos to show our progress with our darling girl -- and also a few pics from my pregnancy with Riley so you can see how DRASTICALLY different a "paleo/primal pregnancy" is from a "standard American diet pregnancy."

Before I dive into the pictures, I'll give you a quick rundown of how things have been going symptom-wise.  As I enter the 3rd trimester, I JUST started getting a bit of heartburn.  Dizziness and light-headedness is pretty much gone (other than if I get a bit dehydrated or forget to eat).  Sleep has been OK...I remember sleep being more difficult with Riley at this point, but my belly really hasn't bothered me much.  Second trimester was probably worse because my knees and hips were aching a lot as I "expanded."  Our little girl is so low in my belly that my lung capacity hasn't suffered too much at this point.  She is head down (at the moment) and I hope she stays that way for the duration.  I can feel her movements so much more clearly than I could with Riley (probably because I'm so much smaller -- I only JUST hit the weight where I STARTED the pregnancy with Riley)'s awesome when she sticks her little bottom up against my ribs.  Of course, by awesome I mean unpleasant and slightly painful.  Anyhow, that's the rundown.  Things are going well and we certainly hope that they continue on the same trend through her successful delivery.

5 weeks

11 weeks
19 weeks with Riley (left) and Baby Girl (right)

28 weeks with Riley (top) and Baby Girl (bottom)
I know every pregnancy is inherently different, but boy do eating habits have a MASSIVE impact on things.  I wouldn't be surprised if this little girl gives Riley a run for his money right off the bat ;-)  I'll get some photos with that original outfit one of these days -- I stopped doing weekly progress shots at 11 weeks...but it'd be kind of funny to see the drastic difference at this point.  My abs held everything in until about 20 weeks and then they gave up and revealed the bump.  I'm still fitting pretty comfortably in a lot of pre-maternity clothes, but I'm usually wearing "farm clothes" anyway, so they have plenty of room in the first place and Kevin's jackets accommodate the belly very nicely.

Still tracking for a 31 July due-ish date.  I'll keep everyone posted as things continue to progress.

Friday, May 10, 2013

How did this happen?

How do we have a TWO YEAR OLD?!?! I think we are both still in a bit of denial that Riley has had our world turned upside down for two years already. What a wonderfully chaotic little blessing he is. We absolutely adore our little man and cannot wait to see him as a big brother.

Here are some pictures from the quaint gathering we had here this past weekend.

Thanks, Grandpa, for the popped collar.

Happy Birthday, big guy!

Up to surprise there.

Please excuse the weak birthday cake and candles...I assure you it was made with lots and lots of love (but no dairy).

Made with love = YUM!

Train table!!!!!

After the festivities, we had a low key day for his actual birthday.  The weather didn't exactly cooperate and let us do anything super fun outside...but it did break long enough for him to get his big gift from us.

His own John Deere Tractor.  We love you, Riley! 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Just wanted to share a few short videos of Riley going for an Easter egg hunt in the house this morning. Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

19 Weeks and Counting

We had our mid-term ultrasound yesterday morning!  Everything looks wonderful and right on target with growth and anatomy.  The baby was apparently laying on the placenta -- like a giant bean bag chair.  *Glad you're not hesitating to make yourself comfortable in there!  Just make sure you're ready to vacate the premises after 27 July (Tasha & Steve's wedding).*  Anyway, the little one just has quite a bit more growing to do over the next 20+ weeks.  At this point in the pregnancy, I have gotten over the hump (I hope, anyway) of the not-so-fun symptoms.  I haven't had any nausea or cramping like I did during the first trimester.  The only bothersome stuff I'm experiencing at this point are some normal aches and pains and light-headedness.  It's all well worth it though :-)  I'm a lot more active (thanks to ditching the 3hr round-trip commute everyday and having to single-mom it on the farm half the time) during this pregnancy, so I think that has helped me feel pretty darn good to this point.  I hope it continues!

I probably should've warned you to put on sunglasses to shield your eyes from my dreadfully pale skin...sorry.

We will certainly keep you posted (hopefully a bit better than we have been) for the duration of the pregnancy.  In the mean time, here are a few pictures of the newest addition to the Gilles Clan.

Same little nose as Riley (and the same camera shyness as well).

Quit wiggling just long enough to get a few good profile shots.

Cute little foot!
And now for one of the most highly anticipated images...

We love you and are so excited to meet you, sweet baby girl!