Sharon & Ollie meet Finn!

A week after my parents left and the day after Finn turned 1 month old, Sharon & Ollie visited us in Brazil to meet Finn, spend time with Colt and help Michael and me. They were only able to stay for about 10 days but true to form, we packed a lot in! It was a great mix of fun times with friends, down-time with family and then a great getaway to one of our favorite places – the Fasano hotel at the Fazenda Boa Vista.

Nana meeting Finn!

Nana meeting Finn!

"Welcome Back!" dinner at old fav, Sallvattore.

“Welcome Back!” dinner at old fav, Sallvattore.

Finn heading to church in his Sunday best.

Finn heading to church in his Sunday best.

Sunday afternoon, heading out to lunch.

Sunday afternoon, heading out to lunch.

Caipis and feijoada with friends at Museu da Casa Brasileira.

Caipis and feijoada with friends at Museu da Casa Brasileira.

Can't believe I didn't get a better picture of the table!

Can’t believe I didn’t get a better picture of the table!

3 on 1.

3 on 1.

Finn & Coralie.

Finn & Coralie.

During the week Sharon & Ollie developed a morning “tradition” with Colt. They would come over by 7:30am to be here when he woke up (so that Michael and I could get a little more sleep or Michael could go work out). They would do his whole milk, play, breakfast routine and then they would walk down the street with him to our grocery store. The grocery store is pretty nice and it has a great little cafe where they would sit and have coffee while Colt colored and snacked on pão de queijo. So sweet AND helpful to Mom and Dad! Then we would try to do something fun for lunches and dinners.

Colt wearing one of his dad's old hats that Nana & Papa brought down.

Colt wearing one of his dad’s old hats that Nana & Papa brought down.

Lunch by the pool.

Lunch by the pool.

Kisses!

Kisses!

Nana & Fincher.

Nana & Fincher.

Papa & Colt on the seesaw.

Papa & Colt on the seesaw.

Nana taking Colt for an afternoon swim. (Photo sneakily taken from our apartment - 26 floors up!)

Nana taking Colt for an afternoon swim. (Photo sneakily taken from our apartment – 26 floors up!)

The "Melting Pumpkin" was a little confusing to all the adults but was a big hit with Colt.

The “Melting Pumpkin” was a little confusing to all the adults but was a big hit with Colt.

Nagayama!

Nagayama!

With our favorite server.

With our favorite server.

Sharon - famous for how she handles the foie gras.

Sharon – famous for how she handles the foie gras.

After a fun week in SP we headed outside the city to the Fazenda Boa Vista for some R&R.

Hitting the pool upon arrival.

Hitting the pool upon arrival.

Finn & I love stripes.

Finn & I love stripes.

Colt & Dad.

Colt & Dad.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was actually battling a very painful arm infection through the Harpers’ entire visit but unfortunately it was the worst during our last weekend together at the Fazenda. On Saturday morning, Michael, Finn & I had to drive to the hospital for me to have a little “operation” on my arm and we were gone most of the day.

Coming out of surgery. Exhausted from nights of no sleep and lots of pain.

Coming out of surgery. Exhausted from nights of no sleep and lots of pain.

Thankfully, despite all I was going through, Colt was having the time of his life with Nana and Papa at the Fazenda!

Colt & Papa at the petting zoo.

Colt & Papa at the petting zoo.

Sizing each other up.

Sizing each other up.

"Colt hold NumNum. Nice soft NumNum."

“Colt hold NumNum. Nice soft NumNum.”

Trains with Nana.

Trains with Nana.

Petting Nanny the goat.

Sweet little goat.

More bunnies!

More bunnies!

And to top it all off, a ride around the property in the horse-drawn carriage!

And to top it all off, a ride around the property in the horse-drawn carriage!

We hated to say goodbye but it was a little easier knowing we’d be reunited soon over Thanksgiving!

Final sweet snuggle time.

Final sweet snuggle time.

Send-off caipirinhas!

Send-off caipirinhas!

Tummy-time.

Tummy-time.

We love you Nana & Papa! Thank you for a great visit and for all the ways you helped us out and loved on our boys! XO

Fincher’s 2nd Month!

On Sunday you turned 2 months my dear love, Finn!

Happy boy!

Finn Developments: Handsome boy, I absolutely love watching you grow and turn into your own little person!

Weight: Doctor’s appointment next week! You are definitely chunking up nicely but you’re not quite as roly-poly as your brother was at this stage. You have the lovely gift of showing it all in your sweet face first.
Height: Will find out soon!
Clothes: 3 months.
Diapers: Size 1.

Finn, you still have gorgeous blue eyes (hoping they stay blue!) and very little hair that’s kind of a light auburn color. Your acne has mostly cleared up (for now) but you are still a little dandruffy.

I am thankful that your personality continues to be pretty calm and laid back. Some of our friends joke that they never see you awake since you’re pretty reliable about sleeping in the stroller whenever we’re out and about.

Sometimes you can be fussier in the evening between your last two feeds. It’s easy enough to manage and to calm and soothe you IF there are two adults home, but since that’s also the time that your brother has dinner, has his bath and goes to bed, it’s a challenge to do solo. Your dad was traveling for 5 nights a couple weeks ago so 2 or 3 of our evenings were tough. One evening I tried to hold you in the carrier through it but that was kind of a mess too. However, I figure a little evening cry-sesh is a good lung workout and just gets you ready for a long night’s sleep, right? 😉

You’ve only given me a hard time in public once when we went downstairs to play one evening with your brother. At first you were hanging out in your stroller then slowly started fussing. I thought you would calm down but it just escalated more and more until you were absolutely wailing! It wouldn’t have been a big deal but of course your brother didn’t get it and wanted “one more slide! one more slide!” then he had to get on his scooter, put on his helmet, etc. before we could get out of there. It was kind of a scene and I had JUST told another mom down there that having 2 was great and “not too hard” so honestly it serves me right for having said that. 🙂

The most fun development of month 2 is that you started smiling, Finn! And boy, do you give some big ones. It melts my heart and brings so much joy to our life. Colt loves it too, “Finn happy! Finn smiling! Tiny little Finn!” {Heart explosion.}

Schedule: We are on a regular schedule with you and I am so grateful. It makes it easy for me to know what to expect and know how to plan, but it’s also easy to adjust when needed to fit into my daily plans. And I think it helped you start sleeping through the night so early which is just everything when there are multiple kids involved.

7:30 am First morning feed.
11:00 am Lunch feed.
2:30 pm Snack feed.
6:00 pm Dinner feed.
9:30 pm Last feed of the night.
11:00 pm Bedtime for Finn & Mom.

Eating: As seen above you are eating 5 times / day. You kept pushing your middle-of-the-night-feed later and later, from 3am to 4 to 5 to 6 and now to 7:30ish so we just “merged” that one with the first morning feed and you never seemed to miss it.  You normally spend 7-10 minutes per side. You’re a good eater and we’re still on 100% mama’s milk.

Sleep: What a good sleeper you are! Even easier than your brother!! As noted above, at night you’re giving us a 10 hour stretch between feeds and you’re sleeping for 8.5 of those hours. This started at about 7 weeks and was my saving grace while your dad was out of town.

Mom: I’ve kind of gone through the ringer this month. Just as I was clearing recovery from the delivery I got a random infection under my arm. I had always had a small cyst under my arm and one night it started to feel sensitive. It hurt more each day and after a couple of days it had grown pretty large and was quite painful. I went to the doctor to have it drained and it was one of the most painful 20 minutes of my life and unfortunately it just got worse from there. That appointment was on a Thursday and late Friday night I woke Michael up just crying. I was in so much pain and it was clear I was not improving. The infection had turned into a legitimate boil the size of a cherry. So gross. I couldn’t put my arm down but it hurt to lift it as well. I couldn’t sleep at night. In order to nurse Finn, other people had to hold him up to me and half the time I’d be in tears from the pain of it all. On Saturday we met my doctor at the hospital and she went ahead and put me under so that she could go in and remove as much of it as possible. When she was finished she left a straw in to maintain an opening so that it could continue to drain. Gross. After that I finally started to feel less pain but I went on a stronger antibiotic since the first one I was on did not work. This antibiotic was “OK” to nurse through but not ideal so while I did continue to nurse, we also emptied our freezer of all my frozen milk to minimize the amount of antibiotic that Finn received. And I just prayed for him through each feeding that he would not be negatively affected by it. Praise God that so far he has showed no indication of being affected. Anyway, the straw was in for about a week and then it was removed only to leave a hole in my arm. Then that started to heal strangely so I had to go back and have more stuff removed this past week. I think it is FINALLY healing properly so I thank God for that. Anyway, it was just such a strange, painful and stressful thing to go through while also trying to take care of a 2 year old and 1 month old and I am so thankful that it’s over.

OTHERwise, I am doing great and love being a mom of two sweet boys. It’s an adventure but so much joy each day.

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Pop Quiz: Colt or Finn?

From the moment of his birth, Finn has reminded me so much of Colt – now maybe you can see why!!
Can you tell who is who? Answers at the bottom! 
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Answers:
1. Finn, Colt.
2. Colt, Finn.
3. Colt, Finn.
4. Colt, Finn.
5. Finn, Colt.
6. Colt, Finn (both at 1 month!).

Fincher’s 1st month!

You turned 1 month old on Friday, Finn! Parabéns!

Happy 1 Month, Finn!

Happy 1 Month, Finn!

Finn Developments: Sweet Finn, you have grown so much and so beautifully in this first month. Here are some of your stats.

Weight: 9lbs 11oz (up 2lbs)
Height: 55cm (up 4cm)
Clothes: Basically out of Newborn and into 0-3 months.
Diapers: This week we moved you from Newborn to Size 1.

This month we have really gotten to watch you start to “wake-up.” IMG_2166

The faces of Finn.

The faces of Finn.

You are having more awake time and I am just in love with your beautiful blue eyes. They are so bright and clear. Stop-you-in-your-tracks.IMG_2178

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IMG_2010The baby acne on your face came and went pretty quickly, although it seems to be coming back again. Your skin went through a bit of a flakey stage but that has passed with the exception of your forehead still being a little dry. Your complexion seems so light and fair – your eyelashes are almost impossible to see they are so blonde. And although your baby hair is pretty light already, I have a feeling that when it falls out and grows back in your hair will be super blonde as well. One funny development is that the little “nibble” spot on your ear has evened out a ton and it’s hardly even noticeable now! Your dad and I are not thrilled about this — we totally adored it!

Day 1 and Day 28.

Day 1 and Day 28.

You are tracking objects and people and turning to sounds. Your neck is also getting a lot stronger and you love to practice holding it up and moving it around during tummy time. You’re feeling much sturdier, stronger and chunkier! IMG_2112

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I am thankful that you are a pretty calm, easy baby, but I have to say, you’re not quite as easy as your brother was. You generally cry only when you’re hungry, tired or are struggling to go to the bathroom but every few days you’re a little tougher and it seems like you struggle a bit with digestion. Thankfully you love the paci and between that and a good swaddle, you are normally pretty easy to soothe. I wouldn’t say that you love bath-time or diaper changes just yet but after a couple weeks you stopped crying through it which is an improvement. IMG_2078

IMG_2173Otherwise, you enjoy being snuggled, strolling and riding in the car. You still have the amazing new-baby smell and I am praying it stays with you for a long while.

Schedule: We have gotten on a pretty consistent feeding schedule with you. I haven’t tracked naps yet but after each feed we play with you and then put you down for a nap whenever you seem sleepy (sticking to feed, wake, sleep cycles). We have you eating every 3.5 hrs during the day then feed once at night on-demand.

8:00 am First morning feed.
11:30 am Lunch feed.
3:00 pm Snack feed.
6:30 pm Dinner feed.
9:30 pm Last feed of the night.
10:30 pm Bedtime for all!
4:00 am Night-time feed (although lately more like 4:30 or 5:00 am!).

The hardest part about being on a “schedule” vs. a routine are the mornings. As you push your night feed out later you naturally want to sleep later as well but I try to at least get us up before 9am so that we can stay on/around schedule each day.

Eating: As seen above, you are feeding 6 times each day and are pretty good about it. My body has regulated my milk supply more so it’s less messy than it was at the start, but if the let-down is really strong then you will struggle to latch at first and we’ll both get all wet. This is usually just once or twice a day though so we’re improving! You spit up after almost every feed but somehow you’re not quite as messy as Colt was so I’ll take it!

We have given you a bottle a couple of times with no problem. Personally I don’t love the bottle but we are trying to keep it in the rotation so that we don’t have to struggle with it later. I have only pumped once and it was to dump (after a big, fun night out with friends…!) but we still have over 40oz frozen and some in the fridge because I use these guys on the opposite side during the night and morning feeds. Although I realize that the milk is not balanced (probably all foremilk?), for the number of times that you take milk from a bottle I think it’s fine. Plus it gives us a little back-up emergency supply without me having to pump!

Nursing hasn’t been too hard this time around and at this point most of the discomfort has passed so I am able to enjoy it more and more quickly than I did with your big brother. I also enjoy it because it is our designated time together. With Colt, I was totally focused on him all the time but now, with my attention divided, I appreciate having set time that is just for you. That being said, I do sometimes have to nurse you while playing with or feeding your brother but we do what we can!

Feeding and playing legos!

Feeding and playing legos!

Sleep: I am very grateful to have a good sleeper on my hands – I can’t believe we have been blessed in this way twice in a row! IMG_1970

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IMG_2127You nap in between each feed for some varied amount of time but are more consistent with your sleep at night. After my parents left we decided to kick your dad out to the guest room (only for week nights – so that he can get some uninterrupted sleep!) and you have been upgraded into bed with me! You are well barricaded from me and the edge but it makes it so much easier for me to get you for the night-feed and help you get back to sleep afterwards. But don’t get too used to it! This is VERY temporary!!

Morning snuggles in bed.

Morning snuggles in bed.

Mom: Sweet Finn, I am absolutely loving being your mom. The reality of being a mom to 2 is certainly a new challenge, but man, what a blessing. You bring so much joy into our lives and I fall more in love with you every day. DSC_0138

Physically I am feeling basically fully recovered, although I still have a little sensitivity involved with recovering from the delivery. I feel like my body took a couple of weeks to get back to normal and while it’s definitely not exactly how it was before, I am totally comfortable with where I am.

Family Life: In the past couple weeks (since the last post) we have enjoyed so much special family time. My dad joined my mom for the final few days of her visit and they absolutely loved getting to spend time with you and your brother.  IMG_1992

IMG_1993Fun and chaos at home!

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Outing to Shopping Cidade Jardim.

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IMG_1945 Colt talked Dad into taking him for a ride on the pink pig.IMG_1977

Strolling to the park before dinner out!

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Lunch with friends & family at Praça São Lorenço.

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A full-family affair, getting Colt his second haircut. IMG_1875

We were also excited to celebrate your dad’s 33rd birthday! His birthday was the day AFTER my parents left so it was our first day as a family of 4 and per our tradition, we started the morning with special birthday breakfast. IMG_2008

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Then you and I met up with him for a wonderful birthday lunch at Manioca.

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That afternoon I started baking your dad a birthday cake. Half-way through I realized that I needed eggs so I took you and your brother out for our first solo-mission grocery run. It’s much easier to walk to the grocery store (less than a block away) but we don’t have a double stroller so I strapped you on and put Colt in the stroller and, success!IMG_2029

That night we stayed in and ordered sushi and savored being a family of 4!! (And we celebrated your dad big that Saturday with a night out with friends!)IMG_2041

The rest of the month was just full of the everyday highlights – not the least of which is watching you and your brother interact. Colt has been so INCREDIBLE with you we can hardly believe it. He is so sweet and so very gentle with you. He loves to hold you, look at you (“See Finn! See Finn!”) and help comfort you with a paci when you’re crying. He gives you sweet pats on the head or back, plays with your feet, points to your eyes and nose and always gives you kisses. He helps with your diaper changes and your bath and is always quick to bring you his favorite toys! IMG_2097

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Going downstairs to play together!

Going downstairs to play together!

I was worried that your brother might get jealous of our time and attention being split, and he was a little tough on us the first couple weeks but I think that was due more to all of the changes in his world and less about you. But, your dad and I do still try to get some time with each of you alone. While my parents were here I tried to go downstairs and play with Colt just like I used to and the first time we did it felt really special. We rode the scooter all over the complex, picked flowers and had a great time.

First time getting to go down just Colt & Mom.

First time getting to go down just Colt & Mom.

Colt picking me flowers.

Colt picking me flowers.

Sweet Fincher. You are a light and a joy in our lives. You are a blessing from our God in heaven. I thank God for you every day and am praying that He will draw you to Himself, that you may have true, full life in Him. What fun this first month has been. I love you!IMG_2135

Finn: Weeks 1 & 2

Weeks 1-2: August 18-31, 2015

Hospital Stay: So great!

View from the room.

View from the room.

We arrived at the hospital at 4:30am on Tuesday, August 18. Finn was born that morning at 8:10am and we checked out at 10:30am on Friday, August 21. We probably could have left that Thursday but while we were at the hospital I was able to focus on resting and since Finn had just gotten circumcised on Wednesday, we were also happy to have the extra help caring for him. Michael and I have said that it’s probably going to be a rude awakening for us to have kids in the US because the level of care and the quality of everything at the hospital here is so high.

Finn meeting his Godparents, Trent & Paige Hudson! Trent made Finn a sign to match his big brother's!

Finn meeting his Godparents, Trent & Paige Hudson! Trent made Finn a sign to match his big brother’s!

Michael and Finn at the hospital.

Michael and Finn at the hospital.

The other thing that was good about our hospital stay is that I feel like it allowed me to bond with Finn a little more before bringing him home. It’s hard to put into words but until Finn joined our family, Colt held 100% of my maternal love and I almost felt protective over that – over the space that he had in my heart. Of course my love for Finn doesn’t take anything away from my love for Colt, but the reality is that Finn’s presence does force me to split my time, energy, and even just who I’m looking at from moment to moment, so in that sense Finn does compete with Colt. Therefore, it was good for me to have a few days just with Finn in order to bond with him and let him find his own unique space in my heart as well.

Sweet snuggle time.

Sweet snuggle time with my new little guy.

On the flip side of that, the hardest thing about our hospital stay for me was missing Colt. We only had him come to the hospital to visit for an hour or so on Tuesday night so I was away from him most of Tuesday and then all of Wednesday and Thursday before we came home on Friday. Michael came home and spent a couple hours with Colt each day and I knew he was doing great, but it was definitely tough to spend that much time away from him.

Michael and Colt on one of his visits home during our hospital stay.

Michael and Colt on one of his visits home during our hospital stay.

Leaving the hospital and heading home!

Leaving the hospital and heading home!

Finn Medical: Praise God – healthy boy!

Looking ready to box!

Looking ready to box!

Weight: 7lbs 15oz. At birth on Tuesday morning, Finn weighed 7lbs 11oz. By Thursday he had gotten down to 7lbs 4oz but by that following Monday he was up to 7lbs 8oz. We just went to the doctor again yesterday and he had gotten up to 7lbs 15oz.
Height: 51.5cm or a little over 20 inches tall.
Clothes: Newborn
Diapers: Newborn
Other: The baby acne is in full-swing and his skin is super flakey. Yesterday (day 13) Finn lost his umbilical cord (always so gross). Also, Finn has a hemangioma located in his lower left abdomen. It’s below the skin but above the muscles so it looks like a hernia sticking out. It’s benign so for now we are just watching it and time will tell if it needs to be removed or if it will work itself out.

Kind of has the balding-old-man hairstyle.

Kind of has the balding-old-man hairstyle. And adorable ears!

Feeding: I’m very thankful it’s going great!

Giving me classic Colt-brows.

Giving me classic Colt-brows.

Nursing is going really well – very similar to how it went with Colt. We have been feeding around every 3.5 hours during the day (normally we have to wake Finn up to keep this schedule) and then we feed on-demand at night, generally every 5-6 hours. He eats about 10-20 minutes total (5-10 minutes per side).

There was definitely some pain/discomfort in the first week but I do think it has been easier this time around than with Colt. I’m not sure if it’s just because I knew what to expect so I haven’t been freaked out by anything or if the engorgement truly hasn’t been as bad but either way it’s been fine. Also, similarly to last time, I have been over-producing again which is a problem that I’m thankful to have. I have withheld from pumping and my body is definitely regulating itself but sometimes (especially before bed when it’s going to be a longer stretch before I feed again) I’ll manually express a couple ounces after feeding just to get more relief and to help myself last longer since Finn will normally give us pretty good stretches at night. Finn is a little bit of a sleepy eater and sometimes struggles to latch in the beginning when the flow is really strong so feeding him is usually a pretty wet and messy affair (getting better though!). Plus, he always spits up during and after. Colt was just the same way so I realize it just means that I’ll have another baby who is permanently in a bib.

Sleep: Praise the Lord, so far, Finn is a great sleeper! He is still in the sleepy baby phase so we have to work to keep him up during the day but at night he’s sleeping really well – we are only getting up once each night to feed. Plus, since my mom is here and getting up with Colt each morning at 7:30, I am sleeping in and feeling quite well-rested! (Thanks Gigi!)

Angel face.

Angel face.

Sleeping babies are the sweetest babies!

Sleeping babies are the sweetest babies!

Finn!

Finn!

"Mother Finn"

“Mother Finn”

Schedule: We are starting to move from a routine to a schedule. Of course each day/night is a little different but we are more or less on the following schedule:

8:00 am First morning feed followed by long awake time to establish “day” time.
12:00 pm Lunch feed.
4:00 pm Snack feed.
7:30 pm Dinner feed followed by bath and long awake time to start getting him ready for a good night’s sleep.
9:30 pm Final feed – if possible awake for 1 hour after.
10:30 pm Bedtime for Mom, Dad and Finn.
3:30 am Night feed then right back to sleep.

Finn: Finn’s looks and his personality/demeanor reminds us so much of Colt as a baby. He is a super sweet, calm and chill little guy.

Hey there!

Hey there!

He rarely cries except when he is cold getting his diaper changed or in the bath – not his favorite!

Just trying to get through bath-time.

Just trying to get through bath-time.

I was going to wait to introduce the pacifier to him just in case it affected his ability to nurse well but I caved on our first night home from the hospital and just like his brother, Finn instantly liked the paci. That being said, he definitely goes for his hands (whenever they aren’t covered by gloves) and has already amazed me with his success at getting his thumb – something Colt never really figured out.

Thumb sucker?

Thumb sucker?

Mama Postpartum: Whew-wee!

Although the healing/recovery process has been light years easier than the c-section recovery, the first few days still felt rough. There were just so many things that I wasn’t expecting or that were different this time around. My back felt bruised from the epidural, the cramps I would get while nursing during the first couple days were brutal (I’ve heard that they get worse with each child?!), I was s-o-r-e from the delivery and even worse than the pain, I was mentally super freaked out by it all. I had never gone through anything like this so I was constantly texting girlfriends or googling things to see if what I was feeling/experiencing was normal.

The other side of postpartum recovery is the hormones and mine were absolutely all over the place – definitely worse than they had been with Colt. I think I cried every day for the first week and bonus, they also caused my skin to break out. Oh, and days 3-5 I was randomly really swollen (apparently the uterus is trying to get rid of it’s extra fluids and sometimes that can cause you to swell) and I was super hot all the time – especially at night. Add to all of that a post-baby tummy and week 1 was not a pretty picture.

Of course a sweet baby makes it all worth it and by this point, 2 weeks in, I’d say I feel almost totally back to normal.

Family outing to the Kids' Food-Truck Festival!

Day 11: Family outing to the Kids’ Food-Truck Festival!

Other notes on the week: The first week was full of special moments including meeting our sweet new baby Finn, introducing Colt to his new little brother, having my mom arrive and spending time with friends.

Gigi holding Finn in the beautiful blanket that Aunt Sheryl knitted for him!

My mom, Susan FINCHER Zais, holding Fincher in the gorgeous blanket that Aunt Sheryl FINCHER knit for him.

Out and about with this tiny person!

Out and about with this tiny person!

Day 10: Family fun at the mall bookstore.

Day 10: Family fun at the mall bookstore.

Gigi with her grand-boys.

Gigi with her grand-boys.

Denim on denim - so hot right now.

Denim on denim on denim – so in right now.

Strolling.

Strolling.

Finn "meeting" his great-grandparents, Tom and Clare FINCHER!

Fincher “meeting” his great-grandparents, Tom and Clare FINCHER!

Uncle Joe stopping by for some snuggles.

Uncle Joe stopping by for some snuggles.

Colt has been awesome with Finn and is very sweet to him. He is so gentle whenever he touches him and loves to hold him, pat him and give him kisses. I think Colt realizes that Finn is here to stay and he doesn’t seem to mind. Colt knows that he is a big boy and Finn is a little boy or a little baby and he loves to remind us of that all the time.

Colt seeing Finn at home for the first time.

Colt seeing Finn at home for the first time.

Just the boys.

Just the boys.

Colt loves holding his little brother.

Colt loves holding his little brother.

Colt examining Finn's passport photo, convinced it is a picture of him.

Colt examining Finn’s passport photo, convinced it is a picture of himself.

Colt forcing some snuggle time on Finn.

Colt forcing some snuggle time on Finn.

Sometimes Finn is not so excited about it.

Sometimes Finn is not so excited about it.

Colt really is sweet and gentle with him though.

Colt really is sweet and gentle with him though.

Although he is an awesome big bro, we have seen Colt act out in other ways. I think it was partially due to all of the changes and chaos (us being gone at the hospital for a few days, then coming home with a new baby, then my mom arriving) but he has been giving us a tougher time – more tantrums, more easily frustrated, slower to obey, more “Mine! My toy!” attitude… but we are working on it and it already seems to be improving. We are trying to still set aside special time with him each day and Michael even took him to São Paulo’s “drive-through-zoo” last week which he loved.

Boys at the zoo!

Colt & Dad at the zoo!

Hippo spotting.

Hippo spotting.

Feeding the deer.

Feeding the deer.

Pool fun with Dad!

Pool fun with Dad!

So handsome!

Playing with his buddy Jack.

My heart.

My heart.

Cool dude scooting around the complex.

Cool dude scooting around the complex.

More pool time with Gigi!

More pool time with Gigi!

So handsome - even when he's a little scraped up.

So handsome – even when he’s a little scraped up.

Fincher’s Birth Story

Monday, August 17: 39 weeks, 2 days

11:15 am I have my weekly check-up with my OB.

Everything looks good on the monitors and when my doctor, Paula, checks me, I am happy to hear that I am 1 cm dilated. This means that she can strip my membranes, which I have been hoping we’d be able do today. (Since I am trying and praying for a VBAC I won’t be able to be induced into labor so I am happy to have this little “push” that is natural.) The procedure is quick and she tells me to expect cramping through the rest of the day. We go ahead and schedule a return visit on Thursday for her to repeat the procedure in the hopes that the baby will come by the weekend, on/around his due date of Saturday, August 22.

Up until this point I have been having some minor cramping and occasional detectable contractions but nothing painful or notable. My feeling is that the baby will be late but I am hopeful that the scraping of the membranes will help move things along.

12:30 pm Michael and I meet for lunch after my appointment. I’m feeling cramps but nothing bad and we have a lovely lunch together. We are trying to take advantage of these final days together and we talk about my appointment and how the baby might really arrive in the next week or so.

5:30 pm I am home playing with Colt and texting with my girlfriends (who both just had their second babies – each having gone into labor after 2 rounds of having their membranes scraped). Paige asks me if I’m having contractions and I tell her that while I am, I have to focus to distinguish them from the general cramping I’m feeling. I assume all are just normal after-effects from the procedure and don’t think too much about it.

6:30 pm As I feed Colt dinner I start timing contractions. The timing varies but they are around 1 minute long and 5 minutes apart. They are not strong though so after 45 minutes I stop timing them so I can focus on playing with Colt before bed.

7:15 pm Michael is home and we are playing with Colt together. I am feeling the contractions a little more but still feeling totally fine. When it’s time to put Colt down for bed, Michael suggests that I do it while he finishes getting our dinner ready. Although I still don’t let myself think that this could really be “it,” I stay in Colt’s room a little longer than normal, sing to him a little more and pray a little extra with him before saying goodnight. The maternal instinct in me knows that these are my last moments with him as my only and I am both excited and heartbroken at the same time. (I cry even now as I type this.)

8:30 pm Michael and I sit down to dinner and I start timing contractions again. After about 30 minutes of timing them they appear to be about 1:15 long and about 5:30 apart. At this point I tell Michael that I think tonight could be the night and that I think I should try to lay down and rest in case we have a long night ahead. I go back to our room and he starts preparing lots of food that we can leave for Colt. We text Michael’s brother, Joe, and tell him that we aren’t sure but basically to sleep with his ringer on in case we need him to come over in the middle of the night. I text my doctor and, knowing that I want to try to have the baby without any interventions (including pain medicine), she encourages me to stay home as long as possible and asks me to let her know when I’ve reached a 7 out of 10 on my pain threshold. I don’t exactly know what that means but I know I’ve got a while.

10:15 pm I’m unable to sleep so I return to the living room. I had started working on a general-update blog post earlier that day and I want to finish it and post it. After I post it I start timing contractions again. They are still about 1:15 long and 5 minutes apart. They do hurt but I can definitely still talk through them.

11:15 pm Michael and I lay down in bed again. He falls asleep but I’ve found that the contractions are more uncomfortable in bed so after 30 minutes or so I am back in the living room on the recliner. I’m trying to be calm and breathe through each one but I have a hard time not tensing up and I end up just wiggling around.

Tuesday, August 18: 39 weeks 3 days

12:15 am I finally feel confident enough that I’m in labor to text my mom. The contractions are now closer together coming every 3:30 or 4 minutes and are 1:20-1:30 long.

1:15 am I wake Michael up to update him on my progress. The pain is still manageable but I am kind of freaked out by how long and close together the contractions are and I am wondering how far along I am. Michael encourages me to call Paula and while she says that I am welcome to go into the hospital anytime, she tells me that she thinks I’ll be a lot more comfortable at home and she says she’s afraid I’ll go in early and be disappointed by not being as far along as I think I am. Michael and I agree that our plan has been to wait as long as possible to go in and since my doctor also feels like I have a while to go, we stay home. We sit together in the living room, eat ice cream, pray, watch TV and keep timing contractions.

3:15 am The contractions are stronger and more frequent – often every 2 minutes or so. I am not looking forward to the experience of driving to the hospital, checking in etc. so we decide we should start getting ready to go so that we can just get there and get settled. My doctor, Paula, is actually already at the hospital for another delivery so she says she’ll see me when I get there. We get some final things together for our bags. I change clothes and get ready. Michael calls Joe and he comes over to stay with Colt until the morning.

4:20 am We are in the car headed to the hospital. In the 10 minute drive (no traffic at this hour!) I have 3 contractions in the car and another one right in the front lobby of the hospital. I feel a little bit like a spectacle but they are manageable. I text my friend Paige that if I’m dilated to a 4 or lower then I don’t think I’ll make it without pain medicine but if I’m a 6 or higher then maybe there is a chance.

4:40 am I am checked in, wearing the gown and immediately get hooked up to the fetal heart-rate and contraction monitors. The straps around my stomach feel super tight and uncomfortable and I hate watching the contractions register on the monitor – it somehow makes it worse to have to watch them peak and double peak before coming down. This position, laying on the bed is the worst. Paula comes right in to see me and informs me that she has just finished another VBAC and tells me that I can totally do it too. Then she checks me and says I’m 3-4 cm dilated and it could be 12+ more hours. I burst out laughing and say she has to be kidding. I can’t handle being strapped to the monitors and get up sooner than the nurses would have liked but I just can’t deal anymore. Paula has to leave but my dedicated nurse from her team is staying with me. I knew that my nurse would be 1 of 4 women from the practice (just depends on the day) and I feel blessed that it’s Roseli. I had met her a week prior and had gotten to explain my situation so she knows exactly what is going on – plus she speaks pretty good English and I am relieved not to have to be thinking in Portuguese right now. God’s grace. Roseli suggests we move into the shower and that feels much better. I am wishing there was a bath but there isn’t one available.

5:15 am I ask Roseli to call the anesthesiologist to come in. I know it will be 30 minutes from when I make the request before he can get to the hospital and the contractions are feeling really strong. Michael is supportive but asks (about 4 times!) if I’m totally sure that this is what I want. I am really struggling to breathe through contractions and can’t imagine handling it on my own for too much longer so I say yes. As time ticks on the only thing that gets me through each contraction is the promise that relief is coming.

5:50 am The anesthesiologist arrives and begins to administer the epidural. I have to sit still through 3 contractions and it’s pretty brutal. I’m holding onto Roseli and she is talking me through it. They say I will feel some pressure but it feels like a terrible bee sting. I want to be sure that nothing is wrong since a bee sting feels different than just pressure so I’m shouting, “Bee sting, bee sting!” They don’t understand but Michael remembers the words in Portuguese (picada de abelha) and they agree that it’s normal to feel stinging. When it’s over they tell me it will take 10-15 minutes to fully kick in and the final contractions feel like the strongest yet.

6:15 am The epidural has fully set in but there is a spot on my left side where it just didn’t take. I am definitely feeling relief but still having to “manage” through each contraction due to the pain in my side. It’s funny how different the epidural is vs. the anesthesia that I got for the c-section. I think I expected it to be more like the c-section where I was totally numb but instead the epidural seems only to target the pain – I still feel like I could totally get up and walk around (although of course I don’t).

6:25 am Roseli checks me and I’m 7cm dilated. I am so surprised to have made so much progress in less than 2 hours and for a split second I question the epidural that I just got, but when the next contraction hits and I feel the pain in my side I’m glad that I’m not feeling it everywhere. Roseli breaks my water and says she’ll be back soon to check me again.

7:05 am The epidural is wearing off a little bit and the area on my side that doesn’t have relief is growing. Roseli checks me again and says that I’m fully dilated. I’m shocked but excited. This is happening much faster than I thought it would when I checked in only 2.5 hours ago. She has me “practice pushing” a couple times through a contraction and is not too impressed with my performance but says that she’s calling in my doctor anyway. Michael leaves to get scrubbed in. Roseli and my anesthesiologist talk and say that they want to give me another dose of the epidural. I question this since I say that I want to be able to push well but they say that I’m tensing up too much due to the pain in my side and they think I’ll be able to focus more on pushing if I’m not hurting. I concede and they give me another dose which takes completely and soon I’m pain free.

After a long night, about to head into the delivery room!

After a long night, about to head into the delivery room!

7:45 am My doctor arrives and I get moved into the delivery room. Everything happens so quickly now. It all seems so intense. It feels like this really big, crazy thing is happening to me and I can’t stop it. The lights. The people. The bed I’m on. They position me and tilt the bed so that I’m almost in an elevated squat of sorts. I feel a little more exposed than I’m totally comfortable with and I make sure that Michael is back with me up at my shoulders. He is God’s grace to me right now and is such a comforting presence through this whole process. He is truly getting me through it. Once everything is in place my doctor asks me to start pushing. I don’t feel like I’m doing a very good job but she and Roseli coach me through what to do and soon I can tell that the baby is close. Michael is getting excited and is really cheering for me. They tell me they can see the baby’s head and they give me oxygen for the final pushes. The next thing I know I can feel his head coming out. One more push and his whole body follows.

8:10 am Fincher Oliver Harper is born, praise God. My doctor puts him right on my chest and I have never felt more overwhelmed in my life. I can’t process all that just happened. The physical feeling of it all, even with the epidural, is the most intense thing I have ever experienced. I am in love with my new sweet boy and the first thing I think when I see him is how much he looks like his brother, Colt. This is a comforting thought to me – it’s familiar and already saturated with love. I notice that he has funny little ears – one of them looks like someone took a little nibble off the top. I love this detail. He is so white and slimy but Michael and I just hold him and kiss him. We call him by his name and tell him that we love him. We thank God for the blessing of this baby and for the way He honored our prayer for a successful VBAC. “We did it.”

First moments meeting our sweet boy, Finn.

First moments meeting our sweet boy, Finn.

After a few minutes they ask Michael if he wants to cut the cord. They tell him that it’s “harder than it seems” but he has done this before. He grabs the scissors and in one strong cut he goes all the way through, splattering blood across all the doctors and nurses. Everyone laughs.

Even with the sweet, slimy baby on my chest and the epidural, I am keenly aware of the fact that my doctor is now focused on getting me all cleaned up. I can feel more than I want to and they give me more local anesthetic to help me deal for the next 15 minutes. I don’t feel pain but I can still feel what’s going on and I don’t like it. Paula reassures me that everything looks great but I am super freaked out by it all and am shaking by the time it’s over.

The doctors take Finn to get measured and weighed. He is 3.485 kg (7 lbs 11 oz) and 51 cm (20 inches) long. His Apgar score is 9 then 10 and he’s perfect.

Proud dad.

Proud dad.

Brand new.

Brand new.

Hanging on to Dad.

Hanging on to Dad.

8:45 am They wheel me out to a little cove and bring Finn over to nurse for the first time. He has no problem and nurses for 30 minutes on each side. We hear lots of other babies crying but Finn is so calm, sweet and peaceful. Michael and I marvel at what a beauty he is and we are amazed at how much he reminds us of Colt as a baby.

10:00 am we go up to our room and I’m so exhausted that I basically fall asleep as they are wheeling me there.

That afternoon I am in and out of sleeping and nursing. I FaceTime my mom but I struggle to recount the birth story mostly because I am still so overwhelmed by it. I feel so thankful that God gave us the blessing of a VBAC and everything went great but I also feel a little like I’ve been traumatized. I take a shower and can’t believe how much better I feel than I did after my c-section, but I am also feeling pain in different ways (and different places) that scare me a little.

6:15 pm Joe visits and brings us dinner and, most importantly, Colt. It is almost more than I can handle to see Colt in this moment – I love him so much and feel a little torn over the reality the he is no longer my only. He is so sweet and gives his brother kisses. Finn “gives” Colt a puzzle and Colt loves it. Then he crawls up next to me in bed and asks to hold Finn so we hold him together. It’s too much but somehow I hold back the tears because I don’t want Colt to think that anything is wrong.

Colt checking out his little brother.

Colt checking out his little brother.

Harper boys.

Harper boys.

First photos as a family of four!

First photos as a family of four!

So blessed. Thank you Lord.

So blessed. Thank you Lord.

After they leave, Michael and I talk about how incredibly blessed we are. We thank God for His abundant provision and we trust Him for the days ahead.

São Paulo – “Winter” 2015

Before the new baby arrives, I wanted to post a quick, picture-filled update of what we’ve been up to lately. Michael, Colt and I returned from the US to São Paulo the day before Colt’s 2nd birthday and although we didn’t plan a big party like we did for him last year, he somehow ended up with three birthday parties! First, while we were in Vail we had an early birthday celebration honoring Ollie and Colt. Then, on Colt’s actual birthday we had a little family celebration for which total credit really has to go to Michael. Colt had recently been getting into Mickey Mouse (how that happens even when he’s never seen the show, I have no idea?!) so Michael took that and ran with it. First, for dinner Michael made Mickey Mouse pancakes. Then he went out and bought a bunch of random Mickey Mouse gifts including a blow-up beach ball, a pack of socks, sandals, and a coloring book with crayons — all wrapped up in Mickey Mouse wrapping paper! I hadn’t really planned on doing anything since it would just be the 3 of us and, let’s be honest, he’s 2 and doesn’t totally get it, but it turned out to be really fun and Colt had the best time of anyone. He was/is obsessed with the gifts and has the cutest ever pronunciation of Mickey Mouse so we loved getting to hear him say it over and over too.

Mickey Mouse pancake coming to the eager birthday boy!

Mickey Mouse pancake coming to the eager birthday boy!

The boys and the gifts.

The boys and the gifts.

LOVED the beach ball.

LOVED the beach ball.

Can you tell he's excited?

Can you tell he’s excited?

That Friday night we had some friends over to catch up and celebrate the birthday boy one more time! Just some gifts and cake but Colt was a happy camper!

Like his dad, Colt loves receiving gifts. :)

Like his dad, Colt loves receiving gifts. 🙂 Thanks Hudsons!

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to you!

Definitely loved the cake.

Definitely loved the cake.

Upon Colt’s turning 2, Michael and I decided it was time to make a few of transitions in his life to help him be more of a “big boy.” The first big transition was giving up the pacifier. Colt has loved pacis since we first introduced them around 2.5 weeks old. In fact, I think he has basically used one to help him fall asleep every night and for every nap since then! Until he was 1 he would keep the paci with him throughout the day and around his first birthday we decided to make it a crib-only item. This was initially met with some resistance but wasn’t too bad, however we had no idea how we would get him off them completely. I was hoping to do it before the new baby arrived so that there could be some space in his life of adjusting to being without a paci where he wasn’t also seeing them all the time being used by someone else, but I was also nervous about doing it too close to the baby’s arrival lest he just revert back and start stealing pacis from the baby. We already have some things set up for the baby (bassinet, bouncy seat) and we often talk about how the new baby will go there and sit there etc. and one day (July 24!) Colt was really getting into saying how he was a big boy, not a baby, so I decided to capitalize on it. I told him that pacifiers were only for babies and that he wasn’t a baby, he was a big boy. I asked if he wanted to give his pacifiers to the baby so he put his 2 pacis in the bouncy seat in our living room and left them. That evening we kept talking about how he was such a big boy. When Michael got home from work I told him that I thought Colt was ready to give it up so then we actually had him put them in a bag and kiss them goodbye and talked more about how they were going to the babies. That night Michael put Colt down for bed and reminded him that he was a big boy, that the pacis were with the babies and laid him down. And…no tears! He actually did end up crying before going down for naps for the first 4 days but it just required a little extra back rubbing and he was fine. He never cried at night but what’s funny is that while he used to fall asleep within 5 minutes of being laid down for bed, he now stays up talking, singing and playing with his stuffed animals for about an hour. It’s totally entertaining to watch and listen to him on the monitor. He still mentioned the pacis when he was going to sleep for the first week or two but would also always say that they were with the babies. I think it just took some time to get it out of his head as being part of his routine. Anyway, all in all much easier than I was expecting.

Up playing in the crib.

Up playing in the crib.

The next transition was to get him off the bottle. This might sound crazy but up until his second birthday we were still giving Colt warm milk from a bottle like a little baby. Even worse, he wouldn’t even hold it himself! He would curl up in our laps and we would give it to him like he was a newborn! We actually had this practice for several reasons. 1) Guaranteed built-in snuggle time! It was always so sweet and I totally loved it. 2) Teeth. I never wanted him to just walk around sipping from a cup of milk all day (and especially not all night) because it’s bad for their teeth. With our set-up, he had it at 2 specific times/day (morning when he woke up and after waking up from his afternoon nap) and the whole thing lasted 2-3 minutes and then it was over. 3) No mess. Spilled milk is kind of gross and this way we never had him walking around with a cup spilling it places only to get spoiled and nasty. So basically it was just easy, Colt liked it and I liked it so I never saw a reason to want to change. Michael, on the other hand, thought it was totally ridiculous that our 2 year old still took milk like a newborn and insisted that we change. I wasn’t sure if Colt would mind but he didn’t seem to care at all. One day we just switched it to a sippy cup and told him that he needed to hold it himself and it was done. We have now started the “tradition” of doing milk on the couch in the living room and that is also his designated cartoon-time for 15-20 minutes. Michael and I like that we still get to cuddle with him for a little bit but it also gives us some time to make our coffee and just wake up in the mornings as well. Plus it encourages Colt to still drink everything in one sitting so that, again, he isn’t walking around with the milk cup during the day.

All ready for his milk!

All ready for his milk!

Blanket and books for everyone.

Blanket and books for everyone.

Superman sometimes likes to sit on the coffee table.

Superman sometimes likes to sit on the coffee table.

The other thing that we have started to implement with him is the use of a toddler-clock in his room to help indicate when he should be sleeping versus when he is “allowed” to be up. We got this Tot-Clock and have been really happy with it so far. Basically the face of the clock lights up yellow during the day and is blue at night and during naps. It’s very user-friendly and easy to figure out for a parent and it was an easy association for Colt to learn blue = sleep and yellow = awake. He is still in a crib so it’s not like we have the issue of him getting out of bed when he should be sleeping, but we thought it would be good to introduce this and get him accustomed to it now so that when he does transition out of the crib it will (hopefully) be easier for him to know when he should be sleeping and when it’s OK to get up. Although it doesn’t necessarily make him sleep longer, it has been helpful for days when he wakes up too early for us to be able to remind him to look at the clock and go back to bed, etc. Sometimes he will put himself back down and other times he’ll play until he notices it turn yellow and then of course sometimes he’ll cry too. But he’s learning it.

Otherwise we’ve just really been enjoying being back in SP.

Could not love him any more.

Could not love him any more.

Out with Dad to the paderia for some pão de queijo!

Out with Dad to the paderia for some pão de queijo!

Colt is so much better dressed than me!

Colt is so much better dressed than me!

Staying occupied at the Havianas store.

Staying occupied at the Havaianas store.

Hide & seek with Dad! Can you find Colt?!

Hide & seek with Dad! Can you find Colt?!

34 Weeks, 1 day.

34 Weeks, 1 day.

Pool time!

Pool time!

Fun!

Fun!

Little bed-head making sure everyone has a diaper on!

Little bed-head making sure everyone has a diaper on!

Story time with Dad.

Story time with Dad.

Constant action.

Constant action.

Playmate!

Playground.

Running around.

Running around.

Riding a bike! He could honestly do this allllll day long.

Riding a bike! He could honestly do this allllll day long.

Play dough in the play room.

Play dough in the play room with friends.

Family sushi dinner.

Family sushi dinner.

Possibly Colt's favorite book: Daniel in the Lion's Den.

Possibly Colt’s favorite book: Daniel and the Lions’ Den.

Lunch date with Dad!

Lunch date with Dad!

Snuggles with Mom!

Snuggles with Mom!

Uncle Joe comes to visit and helps Colt dunk!

Uncle Joe comes to visit and helps Colt dunk!

Taking it all the way to the goal!

Taking it all the way to the goal!

Colt so proud of lining up the crayons!

Colt so proud of lining up the crayons!

And here he is lining up all the balls.

And here he is lining up all the balls.

ABC Bible Verses with Dad!

ABC Bible Verses with Dad!

Scooter time!

Scooter time!

Swing!

Swing!

Colt loves swimming!

Colt loves swimming!

When Uncle Joe comes to visit, Colt expects (and receives) Lara Bars!

When Uncle Joe comes to visit, Colt expects (and receives) Lara Bars!

Playing with friends (and nannies) in our apartment complex.

Playing with friends (and nannies) in our apartment complex.

We are so blessed to be doing life with such great friends who are also in the (exact!) same stage of life. These 3 are within 4 weeks of each other!

Mailey, Jack and Colt playing on Jack's new big-boy bed!

Mailey, Jack and Colt playing on Jack’s new big-boy bed!

Colt, Jack and Mailey lunching at Praça São Lourenço.

Colt, Jack and Mailey lunching at Praça São Lourenço.

And exploring the tree house they have there!

And exploring the tree house they have there!

Scrub-a-dub-dub, 3 babes in the tub.

Scrub-a-dub-dub, 3 babes in the tub.

Sweet birthday gift from Jack - a puzzle-name stool!

Sweet birthday gift from Jack – a puzzle-name stool!

And now for one of my favorite stories lately… this past Friday night Michael and I went to dinner with the Hudsons and the Parkers.

Family photo before dinner.

Family photo before dinner.

Our first kids are all within 4 weeks of each other and we all got pregnant for the second time close to each other again. Paige had her second, Coralie May Hudson, on June 22. Michelle was due August 18 and I am August 22. Well, on Friday, August 14, Michelle was having contractions all day but she said that she and Jamie were still in for dinner that night. We met at our favorite local Argentine steak restaurant around 8:15 and proceeded to have an awesome dinner together.

The whole group at dinner.

The whole group at dinner.

Michelle was sitting in between Paige and me so we talked about and timed her contractions all through dinner. They definitely seemed to be progressing but she was handling everything like such a champ that an onlooker would never know the difference. She and Jamie had driven with their hospital bags in the car just in case after dinner and dessert (and a coffee for Jamie!) we all agreed that it was best that they went ahead and drove straight to the hospital.

With Michelle right before they took off.

With Michelle right before they took off.

They arrived a little after 11pm and Jamie texted with Paige and me to keep us up to date on Michelle’s progress. We received a text that they had arrived and a few minutes later he said that the nurse just came to check on her and she was at a 10!!! Paige and I couldn’t believe it but sure enough their sweet baby girl, Finley Sophia Parker, arrived just before midnight! It was totally crazy!

We went to visit them at the hospital the next day and the whole family was beautiful and doing great. What an incredible labor, right?! I’m hoping for the same experience. 😉

Holding Finley with Michelle.

Meeting Finley with Michelle.