This year was one for the books. For starters, we celebrated Jessie’s birthday during a pandemic. As I write this [on the 50th day of social isolation], a lot of things have changed. Jess’ birthday was a week after ‘social distancing’ came into practice and to say that I was sad for her is a complete understatement. Turning three is a pretty big deal in this house and I wanted it to be as special as she is.
So we did all the things:
Blew up balloons
Opened presents first thing in the morning
Had a mini puppy party
Made birthday pancakes with dream whip and candles
Played all day long
Swam in the bath
Ordered cheesy bowties from Eastside Marios for dinner
Sang Happy Birthday just the 4 of us and blew out candles on a homemade chocolate cake that the girls helped make & decorate
Although it wasn’t what I had envisioned, it filled my heart. My sister and her family even braved the terrible weather to come sing Happy Birthday from the sidewalk. They dressed up as princesses and held up a homemade banner. Needless to say, Jessie was thrilled and I think she had as weird and wacky of a day as she is in general. I can’t believe my baby is three.
It recently dawned on me that I have never shared either of the girls’ birth stories on here [even though I have them meticulously written down]. A couple weeks ago I went through Jess’ to ease the mind of an expecting mama preparing for a scheduled c-section and have since decided to publish it.
Jessie’s due date according to our dating ultrasound was April. 3ʳᵈ 2017 – basically two years after Brynlee’s. However, with the option of a repeat c section, I knew that she would come early and therefore had the privilege of scheduling her birthday for March 30th, 2017.
Late in my pregnancy with Brynlee, I experienced Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) and was waiting for that to pop up again. Thus at my routine 38 week prenatal check up with Jess, it started. I had +2 protein in my urine, a normal blood pressure and was sent to the lab for a protein creatinine ratio test.
The following day I experienced a headache and blurred vision from noon onward (pretty indicative signs of PIH). So once Craig got home from work we decided to head to the hospital while Brynlee was with Lola. At the hospital my urine was dipped and had +3 protein & my blood pressure was 123/72. For most, this is considered a normal blood pressure but for me it was high. They did a few other tests that I won’t bore you with – some came back higher than normal or previous and some came back just fine. However, the decision was made to move up my c section to March 24th and we were sent home to recoup.
A couple days later I got up with Craig before work and felt a little trickle. I wondered if my water had broken but expected it to gush like it had with Brynlee. Every time I changed position or moved it would trickle again but never gushed, even when I stood up. My sister had given me an amniotic fluid swab so I tested and it instantly turned blue. So we grabbed our bags, dropped Brynlee off at Lola’s and headed to the hospital to meet our new baby!
There are many perks of having an older sister who works on the l&d unit you’re delivering at. However, the best was that we were greeted by her good friend Erin as soon as we stepped onto the unit. She had my chart under her arm ready to go and I knew that we were in the best of hands. Erin went to work double checking that my water had indeed broken, hooked me up to the fetal monitor and gave Dr. Chua a call. At this point my contractions were really starting to come – I remember her looking at the monitor and asking if I could ‘feel that’. I looked up at her and said, ‘oh yea!’ Very briefly I considered a VBAC and then remembered the odds my doctor had stated when we discussed a ‘birth plan’ – 20%. NO thanks.
The original plan was to wait until the end of Dr. Chua’s clinic day but because my labour was coming on quite quickly, they changed their minds. Erin started my IV, got us ready for the OR and provided some quick education on what to expect during surgery. We walked over to recovery in preparation to go into the OR no more than 90 minutes from arriving on the unit. This was it!
In the OR my fantastic nurses were Natalie & Kristen and Sara & Ashley. I hopped up onto the operating table, and once the anesthesiologist came in, he tipped the table and administered the spinal into my lower back. I was instructed to hold a pillow but something I had remembered from my epidural with Brynlee was to ask a nurse to place her hands on my shoulders. My contractions were fairly strong and quite regular at this point so this felt extremely grounding to me. They continued to get everything prepped and finally brought Craig into the OR at 12:58pm.
Jessica Olive Hunt was born at 1:15pm on March 23rd, 2017 weighing 8 lbs 3 oz and was 20 inches long. I was able to hear her first cry and remember crying myself. Craig cut the umbilical cord and the nurses washed & weighed her. In true Hunt fashion, she went through 3 diapers before the nurses were able to get a clean one on her. We were so overjoyed that we had another beautiful healthy baby GIRL!
Craig snuggled her and did skin to skin while they finished up surgery. When all was said and done, we hung out in recovery for a bit to keep an eye on my vitals and assess dermatomes. I also got a dose of Gravol since I was feeling nauseous from the anesthetic. Eventually I felt well enough to hold Jess and just like her sister, she latched easily and started to feed immediately.
We had a bunch of people eager and excited to meet Jessica. But most importantly, her big sister Brynlee wanted to figure out what all the fuss was about. Seeing the two of them together made Craig and I’s hearts burst with love. We could already tell that they were going to be best friends for life and that the love we had for our children had multiplied.
We luckily only spent 2 nights in hospital with Jessica. Unfortunately my hemoglobin had dropped significantly post-op and Dr. Chua mentioned a possible blood transfusion. I declined in hopes that my levels would rise on their own. I was determined to get out of there quickly and be able to celebrate Brynlee’s birthday with her at home. Thankfully that is what happened and we were discharged on March 25th, 2017.
These past couple of days have been hard. This little girlie (or ghost as we’ve come to call her) has been sick with a stomach bug. Therefore it seemed fitting to capture a quick photo of what we’ve been stuck doing as of late. There have been many baths, showers & cycles of laundry. Missed naps, early bedtimes & snoozies in the car. Bland dinners, countless cuddles on the couch and crossed fingers. But there isn’t anything I’d trade this life for. Even when it involves catching puke in my hands in the middle of the night.
This year we were in Mexico until the beginning of December so as soon as we got home it was full on Christmas season! I know I say it every single year, but this year was my absolute FAVOURITE.
The first thing we did was check out Birchwood Meadows. It was freezing and snowing but we had a great time. We roasted marshmallows at the bonfire, snuggled kitties and made the girls fresh Christmas arrangements for their rooms. Lola even treated them to adorable new unicorn ornaments!
Brynlee had Christmas break from Dec. 20 – Jan. 6th and enjoyed slow cozy days spent taking it easy. This mama enjoyed not having to head to drop-off & pick-up and marked the last one of the decade with a celebratory photo. We also got to experience our first school Christmas concert – Brynlee’s class sang 5 Little Elves while her dance class performed to Let it Snow.
Craig & I celebrated our FIFTH wedding anniversary. In addition to dinner, we booked a relaxing getaway to the Nordic Spa.
We saved going to see Santa until December 24th since we got back from Mexico so late. The girls did amazing considering Jess wanted NOTHING to do with the big man in red last year.
This November we took a family trip to Mexico. It was a little earlier than usual but we were sick of the cold and excited to get away. It was the SMOOTHEST flight with two kids that we’d ever had. We lucked out and ended up with 6 seats between the 4 of us. The girls kept themselves busy and Jessie decided to have a snoozie during the descent. But overall, huge win.
One of my favourite parts of this trip was seeing Jess & Craig simultaneously sprout beads of sweat on their noses in the heat. A lot of people say that Brynlee is Craig’s mini and that Jess looks like me. But this is one distinct trait that the two of them share. That, and their love for bubblegum ice cream!
We did a lot of what we usually do down in Mexico: swim in the pool; play in the ocean; build sand castles; release baby turtles… & this time Jessie and I joined in on a dolphin excursion! I can’t believe that in my 30 years I had never swam with dolphins before. One of the trainers came up afterwards and told us how impressed she was with Jessie. She said that kids her age just usually cry the whole time. Not the case. It appears we now have two dolphin enthusiasts! The dolphins we swam with were named Lalo & Dolly.
A few cute notes I jotted down about Jessie on the trip…
⁃ Wore shoes with socks the vast majority of the trip because her sandals gave her ‘busters’
⁃ Sweatiest monster. Would turn red as a tomato and had beads of sweat on her tiny button nose whenever she got too hot
⁃ Wandered into our room fairly consistently at night. We would wake up to see her starfished in our bed with a pillow across her forehead while open mouth breathing
⁃ Took her job of pressing the outside alligator button VERY seriously (it was B’s job to press the buttons on the inside of the elevator)
⁃ Insisted on giving the man who played the guitar at our favourite restaurant 200 pesos on our last night after dinner
⁃ Was obsessed with dancing. Insisted on dancing in the middle of the Bucerias square during Saturday techno night [complete with DJ]. Her ‘dancing’ consisted of jumping up and down on her heavy flat feet
⁃ Loved to dance naked in the condo & shake her hips while cooling herself off in front of the fan
⁃ Said ‘Daddy! He gave me a blankie’ after the waiter took a folder napkin from her plate and placed it on her lap at dinner one night
⁃ Requested to pet every single dog we saw on the street