Our 2nd Pregnancy Announcement & Gender Reveal!

I’m here to share some exciting news, with much more to come! A month or so ago, we shared this little video we made for our friends and family on Facebook. Our little Preston is the cutest superhero I ever did see. And what does every superhero need?

A sidekick, of course! You may remember that we also created a video to announce our pregnancy with Preston in the spring of 2014. Well, here we are in the spring of 2016 with a new announcement and a gender reveal! We knew that we wanted to film a second video and I wanted to use the same happy song from our first. Coming up with the ideas for our superhero was the fun part! It took us a bit longer than anticipated to film, but I like to think it was worth the wait!

Finding Out We Were Expecting

I found out I was pregnant with Baby #2 on January 6th, 2016. We had just returned home from spending New Year’s in Florida visiting family, and out of nowhere (the day before), Joshua asked me if we had something sweet to eat. Mind you, he never eats sweets let alone asks for something sweet, and I believe his exact words were, “This is going to sound crazy, but do we have anything sweet to eat?” Bam! “I must be pregnant!” I told him. The last time he asked for something sweet was when I was pregnant with Preston, and it just hit me that this might be it! He of course told me not to be ridiculous. We had been trying for 4 months but we had decided to stop for awhile.

The month we stopped trying was the month we conceived!

All the signs were there, too. On December 30th, I got sick while we were on vacation. I had a head cold, sore throat, a cough, and an eye infection all at once. Ironically, I was sick for a couple of weeks with a terrible sinus infection right before I found out I was pregnant with Preston. Another tip off? The whole time we were in Florida, I was able to eat gluten without side effects. I have a gluten intolerance and I follow a gluten free diet, but when I’m pregnant it magically goes away until delivery day. When I’m not pregnant, I cheat every now and again and have yummy gluten-filled foods, like while on vacation… So I kept waiting for the side effects to show up and none did! Lastly, I had two glasses of wine on Monday, January 4th. Normal to most people, but I don’t really drink. It was the Bachelor season premiere with my friends and I indulged. Meanwhile I hadn’t had a sip in months. The weekend before I found out I was pregnant with Preston, I was out partying and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. So all of these little things on top of Josh asking for a sweet, and I just knew it—I had to be pregnant.

While Josh was at work, I went to CVS to pick up a pregnancy test. I was expecting my period in two days, but it immediately showed up with that happy blue “plus” sign. Positive! I wanted to share it with Joshua in a somewhat creative way, so I placed the positive pregnancy test in a Christmas box with a bow and set it in the kitchen.

That evening when he got home from work, I casually said, “Oh, by the way, we got a late Christmas gift today. It’s right over there for you to open.”

Yup, he was pretty much shocked and not expecting to find what he did! He said something along the lines of OMG-AreYouSerious-ICan’tBelieveIt-ThisIsAwesome. It was hilarious.

The Gender Reveal

From day one, I really thought I was having a girl. My pregnancy symptoms were so opposite of those I had with Preston. Instead of craving fruits, I was craving chocolate. I had terrible nausea the entire first trimester, and none with Preston. I was just exhausted every night and in bed by 8pm (normally I’m a night owl and up past 1am). I broke out all over my chin and neck (yuck!), so of course I was convinced… She has to be a girl!

Then, it’s hard to explain, but Joshua, Preston and I were at a party and I was talking to another mama of two boys who told me that her pregnancy symptoms were opposite just like mine were. For whatever reason, as soon as she said that, my entire mindset and attitude changed and it was like I just knew he was a boy. Intuition? I don’t know? Josh was still convinced we were having a girl.

Being the planners that we are, we scheduled an early gender reveal at 13 weeks. It was St. Patrick’s Day and the three of us went to a local 3D ultrasound place down in Wilmington to find out the news together! Lo and behold…

I shocked myself with how I was feeling when the ultrasound tech told us the news. Instantly, I felt relieved. It’s a boy! I love my boy! I know what to do and what to expect. We have all the right baby clothes, toys, everything! It’s a boy!

So that’s where we are. Ecstatic, relieved, anxious, excited! Preston is going to be a big brother, and his little brother and BFF will be 22 months behind him. We’re so happy!

(Just making sure he’s okay in there. Hehe.)

An Adirondack Nursery

The PK Posse |Preston's Adirondack Nursery

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been dreaming up themes for my babies nurseries. When I became pregnant with Preston, it was finally time to put some of those ideas into action! When I first approached Joshua with the idea of doing an Adirondack themed nursery, he loved it and I was thrilled! I grew up in the ADKs and Josh has been going up there with me since we first met, and we were married right on the gorgeous Lake George – surrounded by our favorite mountains. Since we now live in North Carolina, it was important to both of us to bring “a piece of home” into Preston’s life. Everything here is coastal, beachy, and southern, so we wanted somewhat of the opposite for his nursery.

Another idea both Joshua and I agreed on was that we weren’t really into “baby themes.” We wanted a more masculine theme that Preston could grow up with. We plan for Preston’s room to keep this theme the whole time he lives in our home. Even the crib is a convertible crib, so the back of the crib will become the future headboard of his future full size bed! All in, baby.

The wooden accent wall was something I loved, but Joshua took upon himself to create for Preston. He built the entire wall out of wooden pallets! It was the first piece to go into the nursery and it set up the whole feel for the room. It was a real labor of love! Overall, we’re so pleased with how it all turned out. From the curtains, to the rug, to the paint color, to the bedding, to the wall art, to the furniture, we hand picked every item in this room for our sweet baby boy. Our close friend Shana made the awesome sign hanging over his crib with his name.

Josh and I thrive on a good project we can work on together, and creating this special place for our little darling was such a fun, engaging, creative, heartwarming experience. We couldn’t wait to bring him home into a room we made together, just for him!

Adirondack Nursery Crib, Bedding, Chifferobe Adirondack Nursery | Glider, Double Dresser, Lamps, Mountain Art Adirondack Nursery | Double Dresser, ADK Decor, Mountain Art, Bear Lamp Adirondack Nursery | Chifferobe, CurtainsAdirondack Nursery | ADK DecorAdirondack Nursery | Tree Decor, Bookends, Deer and BearsAdirondack Nursery | Stuffed Animal Mounted Wall Hooks Adirondack Nursery | Rocker Glider, ADK PillowAdirondack Nursery | ADK Bears, Chipmunk

Hope you enjoy and that this inspires anyone else who may be considering an Adirondack, mountain, wilderness, or all around masculine theme for their little one!

Crib, Chifforobe, and Double Dresser | Baby Cache
Glider Rocker and Nursing Ottoman | Shermag (similar)
Moose Rug | Hautman Brothers
Curtains | Alton Print Grommet Window Panels
Adirondack Bedding | Donna Sharp
Wall Hooks, Bear Lamps, Placemats | Lake George, NY and Bolton Landing, NY village shops
Bookends | White Branch
Mountain Art | Etsy
Cabin Light Switch | Rivers Edge

Lastly, since I love a good before and after… Here is what this room looked like before it became Preston’s nursery. What a transformation!

The PK Posse | Former Guest Room

Making Things Happen

In early November of 2015, I had the privilege of attending the Making Things Happen conference in Chapel Hill, NC. Here is a bit of paraphrasing from the event description, because I can’t really say it much better.

This two-day conference, led by Lara Casey, author of Make it Happen, is designed to fire you up and set you on a powerful path. During the conference, led by Lara Casey, attendees dig deep, establish priorities, uncover a purposeful vision for their life and business, set goals, and discover how to make what matters most happen. Making Things Happen was founded on the idea that you have the choice to change your life. It was designed to fire people up to make bold decisions towards their best lives and empower them to step into their fears instead of away from them. Even those who have gone through the Making Things Happen experience have a hard time articulating it, but that’s okay – alums are encouraged to let their actions explain the powerful changes they’ve experienced! 

The conference was enlightening for me. It helped me figure things out in both my personal and professional life in ways I didn’t even think I needed. It helped me uncover what really matters to me, what matters most. And it gave me the wisdom and clarity to make “it” happen. “It” is something different and personal for everyone. For me, “it” became balance.

I’ve had a little over two months to digest everything I learned, and while I don’t plan to do a big long post about the conference, I do plan to incorporate bits and pieces into my posts here and there.

I went to Chapel Hill feeling so overwhelmed and exhausted. I left feeling purposeful and encouraged. I thought I went to figure out what to do in my career. I work from home full-time as a graphic designer and social media strategist for a government contractor out out the NoVA/DC area, which has never been my dream job but has provided a stable income for my family for the past four years. Since giving birth to Preston a year ago, I had come to resent my job for taking time away from Preston. I recently learned that I’ll more than likely be losing my job in the next 6 months or so because the contract I work on was not renewed with the government. It left me terrified and scared about not being able to contribute to our family’s income. I’ve always wanted to own my own business, but after I failed at my first freelance attempt several years ago and went into a bad depression, I’ve been scared to try again. I felt overwhelmed with what to do next. Everything has been piling up — chores, housework, work, fights with Joshua. At the conference, Lara shared a story about one morning when she yelled at her young daughter because she was so stressed out with work, and that was the first point in the conference when I broke down. I’ve done this, I’ve done this more than once. I’ve yelled at my sweet, sweet baby boy, for no reason other than being too stressed to handle whatever the situation was in a positive and intentional way. He never deserved that from me. I’m crying as I type this, because I hate that I’ve done it. I hate that I filled my tank with so much of what doesn’t matter that it took over what does matter.

::deep breath::

I know now that work and business are not my first priority. It’s my family. It’s my husband and my baby. They are my reasons for it all, and I want to make balance happen. I’ve been working on it everyday since leaving the conference, and I’ve already messed up several times. But as I also learned, sometimes your mess becomes your message. And my mess is becoming my message. Somehow, after setting my priority as family and giving myself permission to keep them at #1, everything else has been falling into place. I don’t understand it, and it’s crazy and messy and not totally how I pictured it, but it’s all happening.

I am so grateful to Lara Casey, to my breakout session leaders, and to the new friends I made in those two days for changing my life and giving me perspective and purpose.

// Photos by Callie Davis of Nancy Ray Photography

Size Does Matter, Right?

Get your mind out of the gutter, not that size! Your size. Your body size. Your clothing size. Big shoes generally mean you are a taller person. Big pants sizes generally mean you are a larger person. But does that matter? Of course it does… Or so I’ve been told.

I am so embarrassed by my size. I’m embarrassed because for me, it means that I’m eating my emotions, and you can see them. I’m embarrassed because I have an obvious, blatant, in-your-face and in-my-pants-size struggle that is visible to anyone I meet. “Hi, I’m Dani… Yes, I’m fat. Yes, I have issues. Yes, this is the first impression I make.”

If you watch The Biggest Loser or Extreme Weight Loss or any of those reality-style weight loss TV shows, which of course I’m addicted to, you know there are often deeper rooted issues than just eating too much food. A lot of people think that fat people are just fat because they are lazy and don’t care about themselves. And maybe some are. But more often than not, there are a lot of layers to that onion. ;-)

There has not been any one significant event in my life that affected me and made me eat more than I should, but I do struggle with depression. I don’t deal with stress very well, and there are a lot of stressful things in my life that I don’t handle the most gracefully. I’ve battled with depression since I was in high school, and definitely in college. I’ve seen therapists, I’ve been on medications. I’m not proud of it, but I’m also not hiding it… Or hiding behind it. Everyone struggles. It’s life. It’s okay. I could have been dealt a lot worse of a hand.

I started putting on weight my senior year of college, after the stress of school, finals, my portfolio, applying for jobs, becoming financially independent, etc. Then, after I met Joshua, there were the deployments. The first wasn’t too terrible; we got by. But the second… It was terrible. I used to walk back and forth in front of the family room bay window, looking up and down the street for the black unmarked government car. I was terrified. Every week it was a new casualty or more time without hearing from Josh. He told me before he left not to expect him to come home, and it was bad. It messed with my head and my heart. But again, we got by. Also during this time, my parents separated (and later divorced). After that, it was my failed freelance business. Unhappiness in my career. Moving far, far away from my close-knit family and missing them constantly, every day, even right now. Then it was the gluten allergy, the low Vitamin D, the borderline hypothyroidism, and of course the ugly depression peeking through every now and again. I put on the weight rather quickly. I just kept growing. Bigger. And bigger. And bigger. And I felt more and more out of control. And then we moved to North Carolina.

I was a target of bullying because of my size. It’s funny the way highs and lows work sometimes… It happened at my lowest emotionally while I weighed my highest. A couple of new friends thought it would be the right thing to do to tell me what was being said about me by people I had not even met in person. It crushed me. To this day, I will never forget the comments that were made or the people who said them. I will never forget how badly it hurt, or how ashamed I felt. How embarrassed. How alone. I’ve since forgiven them and moved past it, but you know how that is. You still can’t forget when someone hurts you like that. Especially when they never apologized.

So this is what I want to say. The next time you are about to make a nasty comment or snide remark — even to yourself, because we’ve all probably done it at some point in time, as I know I have — just think first. That person could be depressed. That person could be struggling. That person could be homesick. That person could be hanging on by a thread. She could be needing a friend. She could be needing support, without judgement, or someone to talk to. She could just need for you to not make comments about her size, or not to judge her so harshly before you even meet her. She could need you to see past the surface. She could need help.

I needed help. It took me much too long to open myself to accept it.

Every day is a battle with food for me. I don’t know why I’m like this or what’s wrong with me. I was raised in a healthy household and my parents and brother are not overweight or obese. Just me. I was. I am.

Which brings me to another point: What NOT to say to someone who is LOSING weight. Here are some examples of bad ideas:

  • How much do you weigh now?
  • What was your highest weight?
  • What is your goal weight?

Just don’t ask “numbers” at all, unless she offers them to you. By the way, what’s your weight? What’s the highest YOU’VE weighed?

More bad ideas:

  • I don’t believe in the type of diet you’re following.
  • Do you even have that much to lose?
  • I bet we weigh the same now.
  • I think the diet you’re on is too expensive.
  • I think the diet you’re on is too restrictive.
  • I would NEVER do that.
  • Aren’t you afraid you’re going to gain it all back?
  • I just won’t believe your diet works until I see the results.
  • You’re going to look anorexic at your goal weight.

No, friends… Just, no. Want to know what you can say?

  • Good for you!
  • Wow, you really have willpower!
  • Get it, girl.
  • I’m proud of you.
  • Let’s go shopping!
  • Keep it up.

Otherwise, give a genuine compliment, or… Just say nothing at all. Positive and supportive comments are all that are necessary. No one wants to hear about your cousin’s sister’s best friend’s co-worker that tried the exact same thing to lose weight, and it didn’t work. Or it did work, but she gained it all back.

Yeah, size matters. But other things matter more.

I struggle. But I’m happy. I’m trying. I’m fighting. I’m winning.

Our Birth Story

PKP-BirthStory1-20August2015

I absolutely love sharing our stories here on our family blog! This might be the best one so far. It’s the day we became parents! This is a continuation from My Pregnancy Story.

On Monday, November 10th, 2014 — The Marine Corps Birthday — I went in for my regular non-stress test (NST) at 37 weeks and 4 days pregnant. At this point, I was at the doctor’s office two days a week. One day for the NST with my OB, the other day at the high risk doctors for an ultrasound. They actually got a good reading and I didn’t have to go to another office for an ultrasound this morning! But… My blood pressure. The doctor said that it was high enough to put both Preston and I in danger, and today was the day I would be induced! “Head on over to the hospital and let’s deliver that baby!” she said. “Can I go home first to get my hospital bag?” I asked. (And get my husband? And bring Lady to the neighbors? And clean my kitchen? And finish up my work emails? And put a little makeup on?) “Nope, you have to go straight to the hospital.” Fortunately, I had already been prepared to be induced at 38 weeks per the doctor’s orders, so my bag was packed and my nesting had kicked in a few weeks prior, so most of the house was already squeaky clean. I even had a last minute list prepared to text Joshua in case of this very scenario.

Thank the Lord that Joshua answered my phone call right away, left work and went home to take care of Lady and get my bag, and met me at the hospital just as I was admitted to a room around noon. The nurses hooked me up to an IV and I pulled up my laptop to wrap up those work emails before my maternity leave started!

PKP-BirthStory2-20August2015

This is where I tell you that I planned to have a natural birth, minus the pitocin. Everyone will tell you that contractions are much worse with pitocin, and that if you’re going to be induced you probably won’t be able to deliver naturally because it’ll hurt too damn bad. Everyone will also tell you that even though you’re induced now, it could take up to 48 hours to actually deliver. The sweet nurses I had told us that I could sit back and relax, because I wouldn’t be having our baby until the next day.

Everyone isn’t always right.

Everyone’s bodies are different.

They started the pitocin around 1:30pm that afternoon, when I was already about 3cm dilated before arriving to the hospital. The contractions started about an hour later, and to be honest, I didn’t even know I was having them. The nurses saw them on the monitor I was hooked up to. Joshua and I had been preparing for our natural birth plan by having a big balance ball in the truck for me to bounce on during contractions, and by planning to walk the hospital hallways to help get through it. But because of my blood pressure, I was not allowed to do either of these things. In fact, I was told I had to stay in the bed. Period. I could only get up to pee.

I had this terrible fear of pooping during labor. I know, it probably sounds silly, but — I absolutely did not want to poop! I knew I’d be able to control my body if I didn’t get an epidural, and that was really important to me. I didn’t want to give Preston unnecessary drugs when I’d already been taking two medications throughout my pregnancy. But the plan to have a natural birth was slowly being taken away after learning that I couldn’t leave the bed.

I was so lucky to have an amazing nurse that had also had natural births, so she was very supportive and encouraging during my entire labor. I knew her shift ended at 7pm, so I wasn’t planning for her to be there for the actual delivery, which I was really hoping for. She had a nursing intern from the local college shadowing her the whole day, too. That was a little awkward, but I thought of all my nursing friends and how good of an experience it would be for them as students, so I gave the okay for her to be in the room with my main nurse.

Then at around 4:30pm, my water broke! It was the oddest feeling ever. It was like a really bad cramp and then suddenly, warm water trickling down my legs. It wasn’t gross, it was just uncomfortable. The nurses checked me and I was 4-5cm dilated. They said, “Wow, you’re progressing sooner than expected! It looks like you’ll be having this baby tonight, probably between 10pm and midnight! Hang in there!” Somehow or other, I convinced Josh to take a nap so he could be well rested for the real work to begin. He reluctantly agreed!

PKP-BirthStory3-rev-20August2015

The contractions started to get stronger and stronger. Each one was worse than the previous one. Finally, I couldn’t take anymore. At 6pm, I begged for an epidural. “Josh, I can’t do this. Josh, I need the epidural. Josh, I can’t. I just can’t. It hurts too bad. I need it. I need it now. Get the nurse. Get the nurse now!” Joshua was so calm, so sweet, and so encouraging. He was really pulling for me to have Preston naturally, and kept trying to talk me out of the epidural. Of course, in my pregnant rage, I just kept getting more and more adamant that I absolutely positively NEEDED it. “I can NOT do this for another 6 hours. I can’t do this until midnight. Get the nurse! Now!”

The nurse came in and said it would take a half hour before the anesthesiologist could come up to the room to administer the epidural. “I feel like I have to push,” I told her. “No sweetie, don’t push, it’s too soon.”

“No, I have to push. Either I have to push or I have to poop, but either way… I HAVE TO PUSH.” So she checked me again, and…

“Honey, you’re 10cm dilated! Let’s bring the doctor in! You don’t have time for the epidural, your baby is coming NOW! You’ve got this! You can do this!”

The doctor arrived, and literally – two pushes later – Preston Kade entered the world at 6:47pm, a mere 5 hours after being induced. Cue the happy tears! I could do it, and I did do it. I felt everything. Everything. It was painful, but it was so worth it.

Joshua cut the umbilical cord and before I could hold him, he was whisked over to the NICU table for a look-over because he was so tiny. 5 lbs 8 oz, 17 3/4 inches long. I yelled across the room to the doctors and Joshua, who was over at the NICU table with him, “His back, how is his back?! His foot, what about his foot?” and Josh yelled back, “He’s perfect! His back and his foot are perfect!”

After they cleaned him and wrapped him up, they finally brought him over to me. As Josh reached out to hand him to me, I saw just how tiny he was and became paralyzed with fear. “Wait, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to hold him. I don’t know what to do! What do I do?!”

Joshua placed him on my chest, and I immediately felt calm. I felt peace. I felt full of love. Joshua and I were both crying as we kissed each other and kissed his sweet, tiny face. It was the most precious moment of my entire life. It was the day we became a family of three.

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I did not develop gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. They labeled me as PIH for “why” they induced me — pregnancy-induced hypertension. Not the same thing as preeclampsia. Preston did not have a club foot or spina bifida. He was born 2 1/2 weeks early and quite tiny for his gestational age, but perfectly healthy. I loved being pregnant and I can’t wait to be pregnant again, but I made a promise to both myself and to Joshua that I would not bring another child into this world until my weight was at a “normal” BMI and my blood pressure was at a “normal” level. I’m so proud to say that I’ve been working very hard at this and nine months later, I’m down 60 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m off all medications and my blood pressure and thyroid are all normal! I have my health back and can’t wait to grow our family after I reach my weight loss goal.

We weren’t trying to conceive when we found out we were expecting, but I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe in God and that he has a plan for everyone. Preston was the plan for Joshua and I. He was given to us when we needed him the most, and he’s made our family strong and full of more love than we know what to do with. He’s turned our lives upside down, and made us better people and better partners to one another. He’s the best thing that’s happened to us, hands down. We are so very blessed!

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Other posts in “The Pregnancy Files” series:

Our Pregnancy Announcement
Gender Reveal: #TeamPink or #TeamBlue?
The Pregnancy Questionnaire
My Pregnancy Story
Our Birth Story

Coming soon:

My Baby Bump
Baby Shower Love
An Adirondack Nursery
Holiday Birth Announcements
Favorite Pregnancy Books
Ultrasound Photo Albums
What’s in my Hospital Bag?
Plus Size & Pregnant: Style and Tips
Pregnancy Essentials