It’s been 3 weeks since Olivia Sky arrived and it’s only now that I’m able to sit down and write her birth story. Here’s how it all played out baby girl.
This is something that’s been on my mind a lot lately. If you’ve scrolled through my Instagram, you know we love our Lady. She’s the sweetest thing and ever since my belly started showing, she’s been by my side snuggled up next to her baby sister. But I worry about how she’ll react to the new baby once she comes home. What will she do when the baby cries? Will she be skittish around her? What about when she gets older and starts crawling around the floor?
Lady is a rescue dog. We’ve had her for about 3 years now and she fits in perfectly to our family. My 11 year old is obsessed with her and Lady kindly tolerates Jaime’s constant attention (whether she wants it or not). My oldest is not the biggest animal lover, but Lady’s personality is perfect for her. She knows when to back off and doesn’t bother her too much. Just the way Julianna likes it.
But this baby will be something new. Someone who will take my attention away from her. Someone who will take her place in our warm, comfy bed at times too. We started kicking her out a few months ago, encouraging her to go upstairs and sleep with Jaime, but she inevitably sneaks downstairs in the middle of the night and ends up under our covers. We’ve bought a few different dog beds, each one comfier than the next, but she doesn’t go near them.
We also started putting out baby things a few weeks ago so she can get used to them. The bassinet, a car seat (which she was not happy about since it stops her from jumping in the front seat next to me while I’m driving), diapers, a pacifier, etc. We plan to bring home one of the baby’s blankets from the hospital so that she can get used to her smell.
I wondered what else we should be doing so I did a little research. Here are some other tips I found online that we’re going to try.
When you get home from the hospital, greet the dog alone without the baby. I told my husband I want to come in the house first so she can greet me and I’ll love on her for a few minutes before he brings the baby in.
Praise the dog when she interacts with the baby in a positive way. Goes without saying, but Lady can be insecure so I think she’ll appreciate the words of encouragement when she comes over to sniff the baby.
Give your dog attention when the baby is around. I guess it’s obvious, but I never really thought about this. If I am only giving Lady attention when the baby is sleeping or out of the room, she’ll decide good things happen when the baby isn’t around.
Never leave the dog alone with the baby. Period.
I’ll keep you posted on our progress! If all goes well, I can’t wait to take a million photos of them together!!
Dear Baby Girl,
In the middle of the night, when I can’t sleep and I find myself staring at the ceiling, I think about you and what I want for your future.
I promise to take you on adventures. Let’s explore new places together. Find little pockets of the world that are beautiful and quiet and soak it all in.
I promise to paint your nails. To take the time to slow down
I promise to make a mess. Even though most days I’ll probably be asking you to pick up your toys or clean your room, I will make time to make a mess with you.
I promise to pig out on pizza and ice cream and donuts. But also teach you about being healthy and taking care of your body.
I promise to be your biggest supporter. To encourage and inspire you to be a strong, independent woman.
I promise to be there. All the time. In the middle of the night. When I’m busy at work. Whenever you need me. And your dad too!
I promise to let you be you. If you want to wear mismatched clothes. Color your hair. Pierce your nose.
I promise to tell you you’re beautiful. Not just on the outside, but the inside too. I want you to be confident in your abilities as much as your appearance.
I promise to be silly with you. Dance in the rain. Sing in the car. Tell jokes. Take a break from the routine of our day and have fun.
I promise to make your sisters read to you. They are older than you. A lot older than you, but they’ve been waiting a long time for you. They are excited to meet you. I want you to know that they may be busy at times, but I promise they will always make time for you.
I promise to hold your hand and protect you. As long as you’ll let me. And when you’re too big to hold my hand, I’ll walk next to you, side by side, still watching.
I promise to believe in you. Always. Even when you don’t believe in yourself. I’ll be your biggest cheerleader. Along with your sisters.
It’s Friday! Today I am 39 weeks. That means baby girl can make her debut any day now. The waiting is the worst part. Someone said this to me and it’s so true. There are 30 days in a month when you’re pregnant except the last one where there are 500. Lol!
I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the things that have helped me get through the long days … and nights.
The Greatest Showman Soundtrack. I finally saw the movie last weekend and LOVED it! Before it was even over, I was on iTunes searching for the album. Now, every morning, my daughter and I listen to it in the car on the drive to school and sing at the top of our lungs. You need this on your playlist!!
The Goal Digger Podcast. If you’ve never heard of Jenna Kutcher, I urge you to check her out. Especially if you’re a small business owner or creative entrepreneur. She’s super sweet and refreshingly honest. I hope to one day build a business and brand that mirrors hers. She’s got killer advice and always keeps it real. I listen while I’m answering emails or driving in the car.
Naptime. I could not get through the day without a little siesta before school pick up!
Instagram stories. If I can’t get a nap in, I’ll make sure I at least lay down for a few minutes and when I do, I’m usually scrolling through Instagram stories. Some of my fave accounts to follow are @lynzyandco @acefanning and @letteredcottage. All very different, but they all make me laugh.
Shopping. Do you know how hard it is to stop myself from buying all.the.baby.things??? This is the fun part about having a baby. It’s like playing dress up! BUT, it can also be tricky because I don’t know how big/little she’ll be so I don’t want to go overboard with one particular size and then she never wears them. I’m loving all the adorable stuff Gap and Old Navy have for spring. Especially this and this! I also love Spearmint Baby. How adorable is this dress??
I was not good about documenting my first two pregnancies. Maybe it’s because it was so long ago and I didn’t have the same tools I do today. Maybe it’s my reluctance to hop in front of the camera. Either way, this will be my last pregnancy so I’ve forced myself to take more selfies and capture this special time. And so should you!
Most of the images were taken with my iPhone, but I’ve also asked my husband and daughters for help too. In the photo below, I used the self timer on my DSLR and moved a big mirror in front of my bedroom door. I wanted to make sure I could see my belly button because that’s something that didn’t happen with my other two pregnancies.
Are you expecting? How are you documenting your pregnancy? It doesn’t have to be a huge commitment, but I totally recommend setting aside some time to snap a few pictures of your growing belly. It doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, here are a few simple tips to help you take a good baby bump photo.
Find good light
My bedroom is where I take most of my photos. I’ve got all white bedding, white paint on the walls, and lots of windows that get gorgeous morning light. My living room is also an option, but I hate my yucky grey couch so I tend to stick to what works. Take a walk around your own home and pay attention to the light. Which rooms are the brightest? You want soft, even light, not bright sunshine spilling in. The light will change throughout the day so keep that in mind too.
Create a shot list
Being in front of the camera is not my favorite place to be so I knew I was going to have trouble coming up with ideas about how to document this pregnancy. Enter Instagram. I searched through hashtags like #inspirepregnancy and #stylishbump for photo inspiration. You can also save photos on Instagram so I created a Collection where I could keep all of the eye candy I was finding in one spot. Only you can see the photos you save too.
Use a prop
It can add some dimension and depth to your photo. Plus, it can add to the story you’re trying to tell. In this photo, I had just gotten a few new outfits that I wanted to share so I just made sure to include the bump. These types of overhead shots are pretty easy to take with your cell phone. Just make sure you’re shooting square so you can see what fits in the frame and what doesn’t. Prop ideas include clothing, books, booties, blankets, teethers, rattles, bonnets, stuffed animals, a letter board, etc.
Take a lot of pics
Experiment with the self timer on your cell phone or set up a tripod and use your DSLR. Think of different ways that you can compose the photo too. Shoot from above. From the side. Back up to show more of the scene. Get in close to emphasize the size of your baby bump.
Edit your pics
This is the fun part! I love using different apps to get the effect I want. One of my new favorites is Lightroom Mobile. I also use VSCO and A Color Story. Usually I’ll play around with exposure, contrast, and highlights and then add a filter for a quick pop. Less is definitely more when it comes to editing.
You can totally do this! Now, when baby is older and you share the story of their birth, you can start from the very beginning.
Curious how I plan to document baby in the hospital or at home once she’s born? Check out my last few posts. I’ve also created a private, online community where I’ll be sharing daily baby pics, monthly photography related content, and behind the scenes videos. If you’re a mom who loves photography, i’d love for you to join me!