A Lullaby for Little Sis

by Rachel on June 23, 2015

The question everyone is asking these days: “How is Parker adjusting to the new baby?” I think this video pretty much sums up his relationship with her.

In all honesty, I thought we were going to have some serious jealousy issues to deal with once Mia arrived. Parker is used to having 100% of our attention, and he thrives on it. But from the moment he met her, he was completely in love.

Parker meets baby Mia

Every morning when Parker wakes up, he asks to see “baby”. And he gives her about 500 hugs and kisses a day. He can be a little aggressive with his affection, but what do you expect from a 2-year-old? ;)

Parker and Mia

It will be interesting to see how their relationship develops over time, but for now I am soaking up the mutual admiration. Mia is one lucky little sis!


Mia’s Birth Story

by Rachel on June 3, 2015

Mia's Birth Story

The story of Mia’s birth begins on Friday, May 22. It started out like any other Friday — Parker and I ate breakfast, played in his playroom, read books, and went for a walk. I kept the walk short, though, because I didn’t want to tempt the baby to come. As much as I was over being pregnant, I wanted her to wait until Sunday, since my doula Janet had another birth to attend on Saturday. Of course, nothing ever goes according to plan.

I canceled my music therapy session that afternoon, because I knew there was no way I could sit on the floor at this point in time nor exert the amount of energy needed to be an effective therapist. I did, however, teach two lessons, since they were shorter and I could sit in a chair. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy for being at work that day, and I pretty much agreed with them.

Zach brought me dinner that night and took Parker over to his parents’ house so that I could eat and relax. I was feeling a little crampy laying on the couch, but I didn’t think much of it. I was just glad to have made it through the day without going into labor. Ha!

Later that night, Zach met up with his friend for a drink just down the street, which was fine since I was exhausted and ready for bed. I fell asleep almost immediately, but that didn’t last long. I woke up when I felt a strange popping sensation. Lo and behold, my water had broken.

This was when reality started to stray from my plan. First of all, Mia wasn’t supposed to come until Sunday! And secondly, my water wasn’t supposed to break until I was ready to push, like it had with Parker. But apparently she had plans of her own. I called Janet to let her know what was happening, and she said she would meet me at the hospital. I called my mother-in-law, who then called Zach to tell him to get home and headed over to stay with Parker.

All the way to the hospital, I thought out loud about how the night might play out. Since I wasn’t feeling any contractions whatsoever, I was super nervous I would have to have pitocin to speed things up, and then would probably have to end up getting an epidural for the pain. On top of that, I was physically exhausted after spending the entire day with Parker and then teaching those lessons.

Mia's Birth Story: Arriving at the Hospital

After they had confirmed that my water had broken, they hooked me up to a contraction monitor and told me I was having contractions five minutes apart. I couldn’t feel them at all, but I was hopeful that would change soon.

Mia's Birth Story: Getting Checked In

Janet arrived, and they admitted me to my room. I rested for a little bit, and then we started walking the halls just like we had when I was in labor with Parker. As we were walking, I began to feel the contractions which was very encouraging.

Mia's Birth Story: On the Birthing Ball

We walked for a long time, and then went back to the room where I sat on the birthing ball for a while. I was in pain by now, and after awhile, the resident wanted to check to see if I was making any progress. I was only 3-4 centimeters dilated, which was discouraging, but he was confident at that point I wouldn’t need any pitocin. So that was good news. Janet and I walked some more, hoping to move things along.

Mia's Birth Story: Checking Progress

After awhile, I started to get chills and feel super nauseous. The resident wanted to check me again in case I was close, but I was afraid I would be disappointed again. I was right — only 5 centimeters dilated and already in so much pain. A few more hours passed, which I spent going back and forth between the birthing ball and my bed. My dad and stepmom got to the hospital around 5 and came in to say hi, but headed to the waiting room pretty quickly after watching me experience a particularly awful contraction :)

Mia's Birth Story: Contractions

At about 8 am, my doctor arrived. I was so happy to see her and thrilled she would be delivering Mia, just like she delivered Parker. She checked me again and told me I was at a 6, and also that Mia was transverse. I pretty much FLIPPED OUT at that point. I was so scared I was going to need a c-section, not to mention that I was completely exhausted.

Mia's Birth Story: Doctor's Arrival

Janet calmed me down and they put me in a new position to help Mia turn the right way on her own. It was not comfortable, but I did actually feel her turning with each contraction. My doctor came back about 45 minutes later and checked me — I was at a 9 and she was in position! I felt ready to push, but she had me wait for a few more contractions.

Mia's Birth Story: Ready to Push

When it finally came time, I had another little meltdown, mostly out of pure exhaustion. Again, Janet brought me back to reality; I shut my eyes, held (more like crushed) her hand and my nurse Kat’s, and did everything they told me to do. I pushed for about 25 minutes or so, and then everyone told me how much hair the baby had. I was almost there. A few more pushes and she was out!

Mia's Birth Story: She's Here!

Mia Belle Rambach was born at 9:29 am, weighing 6 lb 13 oz and measuring 20 inches in length. I couldn’t believe how much she looked like her brother, and how beautiful she was.

Mia's Birth Story: Introducing Mia

After an hour or so, Parker got to come in and meet his new sister, and it was the most wonderful feeling ever having both of my babies there with me.

Mia's Birth Story: Siblings Meet

If you’ve read Parker’s birth story, then you know just how lucky I was the first time around. Labor and delivery lasted only 3 hours from start to finish with no epidural or complications, so naturally I just assumed the same would be true this time. Mia’s birth was almost 4 times as long and way more painful since my water broke right away, though I was able to avoid an epidural as planned. In both cases, the end result was the same: a healthy baby and love at first sight.

Mia's Birth Story: Love at First Sight

Almost two weeks have passed in the blink of an eye, and I know from experience time will only speed up from here. We are loving life as a family of 4 and getting to know our sweet Mia Belle.

Mia's Birth Story: Family of 4


The Final Stretch

by Rachel on June 3, 2015

Final Stretch of Pregnancy

The last month of my pregnancy was a bit of a rollercoaster. It started smoothly enough; I was feeling pretty good, just huge and tired. Work was keeping me more than busy as I wrapped up lots of loose ends, and of course Parker kept me on my toes at home.

But at the beginning of my 37th week, things went a little downhill. Zach left on a company trip to Puerto Rico, so of course something had to go wrong.

On that Friday I woke up feeling fine; Parker and I had a nice morning playing and eating breakfast. But as we were sitting on the couch reading, I got a bad case of the chills that wouldn’t go away and started feeling some pain in my back. I called my doctor’s office, and they thought it sounded like the symptoms of a UTI. The pain kept getting worse, though, and later that afternoon I thought I felt contractions. So they told me to go to the hospital.

Luckily Parker was able to stay with my mother-in-law so my parents could go with me to the hospital, and that’s when the real fun began (and by fun, I mean total misery). It turned out I was completely dehydrated, so much so that they couldn’t find a vein to start an IV of fluids. They had me drink a ton of water, and my contractions — which had been coming just a few minutes apart at their peak — started to die down. They sent me home at 8:30 that night with instructions to come back if I started feeling worse.

I woke up around 3 in the morning feeling completely awful…horrible chills, pain, and more contractions. My mom had stayed with me that night, and she insisted we go back to the hospital. By the time I got there I was running a fever and my contractions were worse than ever. They had to call an anesthesiologist to insert an IV since my veins were still so bad, and then they started running tests. Later that morning they admitted me and did an MRI to try and find out what was causing my fever. They thought it might be kidney stones or something even more serious.

All this time, there was a threat that the baby could arrive early if the contractions were effective, which was so scary since I still had over 3 weeks left and Zach was out of the country. My doula Janet stayed with me and helped me through the pain, and my mom too. The results of the MRI came back negative, so they decided it was some type of flu that had caused the fever and other symptoms. Also, I wasn’t dilated at all, which was AMAZING news after all those hours of contractions. After getting all that IV fluid, I started feeling better and later that day they discharged me.

The next couple days were rough, since I had basically been in labor all that time and my body was feeling the effects. Parker stayed with my mother-in-law and my mom stayed with me until Zach got home.

I returned to work after taking two days off, and at that point felt pretty much back to normal. I took it easy for the next couple weeks, but I also realized it was probably a good idea to get ready for the baby in case she did end up coming early. I got all of her clothes washed and put away, had Zach set up the pack n’ play downstairs and install the carseat, and packed my hospital bag.

And then I waited. I was convinced she would arrive at the start of week 39 just like Parker had, but she seemed nice and cozy. I continued working, even though at that point I was pretty uncomfortable and exhausted. In fact, I worked up until the day I went into labor…



3rd Trimester

by Rachel on April 26, 2015

3rd Trimester Belly PhotosWe spent the first few days of my 3rd trimester in Florida, which was (as) relaxing (as vacation can possibly be with a toddler in tow). But there was nothing relaxing about the following month, which I spent feeling completely miserable with a never-ending sinus infection.

It didn’t help that I had a LOT going on in the month of March, including several performances, a new music therapy group, a speaking engagement at Illinois State University, and the list went on. Looking back, I have no idea how I survived that month without completely losing my sanity.

By the time April rolled around, I was finally starting to feel better and ready to try and enjoy my final trimester. And I have, for the most part — despite feeling pretty huge and uncomfortable. We’ve been making progress around the house (I finally unpacked my dining room with the help of my mother-in-law, hurray!) and I’m making plans for maternity leave.

The hard part is feeling like I’m overdoing it with just about every physical activity. Even simple things like taking Parker for a walk, leading a music class, or organizing around the house, completely wear me out. I fantasize about the day when just getting off the couch doesn’t require all my energy — and then I remember that I’m probably MONTHS away from that, if baby girl causes as much sleep deprivation as Parker did.

As I write this, I’m exactly 1 month away from my due date. I’m determined to make the most of these last few weeks of pregnancy, especially my one-on-one time with Parker before he loses his only child status. Oh, and sleep. A lot of sleep.


Things are Getting Real

April 22, 2015

Before I talk about just how real things are actually getting, I have to wonder why in the world I waited until week 35 to get out my Snoogle pregnancy pillow? It was a nighttime necessity from the beginning of my 2nd trimester on when I was pregnant with Parker. It took our trip to […]

Read the full article →

A Child’s Angel

March 22, 2015

A few weeks before Parker was born, the mother of one of my students gave me a printout of a beautiful poem she had received when she was pregnant for the first time. It hung on our fridge right up until we moved a few months ago, and I’ve been meaning to share it here […]

Read the full article →

Parker’s Farewell Ride

March 12, 2015

The ErgoBaby carrier holds the #1 spot for me as far as baby items are concerned. I used it on a daily basis from the time Parker was just 6 weeks old up until earlier this month. But my giant belly is making it a little (or a lot) more difficult to wear Parker, not […]

Read the full article →

2nd Trimester

March 6, 2015

I’m only a couple weeks out of 2nd trimester, and I miss it already. It really is the “sweet spot” of pregnancy, especially after my rough 1st trimester and all the morning (a.k.a. all-day) sickness I battled. Despite feeling super big compared to my first pregnancy, I really didn’t have anything to complain about for […]

Read the full article →

Sissy’s Room

February 23, 2015

Every time we go upstairs, Parker asks the same thing: “Sissy’s room?” Actually it sounds more like “issy’s room” but we know what he means. It’s the room with the pink walls, his old glider, and a little side table — and literally nothing else. For some reason, this is Parker’s favorite room in the […]

Read the full article →

Pregnancy with a Sidekick

January 18, 2015

I loved being pregnant the first time around. I had the perfect situation, really: self-employed and working from home, I could take naps when I needed them and move as slowly as I needed to during the height of my 1st trimester morning sickness. I felt that “glow” from my 2nd trimester on and worked […]

Read the full article →