Gracelyn Love Vanderlinda

Oh my heart. It is full to the brim. Our little Gracie. The past two weeks have been a dreamy blur. Nick and I are so in love with this little blessing!

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After what felt like forever, we finally have our baby girl! Nine months (but let’s be real, it’s really ten) is a loooong time to be pregnant. Every woman’s birth story is so different and I wanted to share ours. Waiting to go into labor and give birth was the longest and strangest thing I have ever experienced. I was 41 weeks and 1 day overdue when Nick and I went to our midwives for a check up appointment and do an ultrasound just to make sure everything was ok. I still felt so normal. I kept waiting for contractions or any signs of labor to begin that whole week and nothing was happening. SO frustrating! Our original plan was to deliver at the Midwifery Birth Center attached to St. Joe’s Hospital, but come Monday the 19th those plans changed. At our appointment we were frustrated to find out I still hadn’t progressed at all and was only dilated to 1cm. After the ultrasound our midwife ended up telling us she just had a feeling and needed to trust her gut and advised us to go straight to the hospital. Baby girl’s heart rate had dropped a bit so off to the ER we went. Nick and I waited in triage for a few hours while nurses monitored the fetal heart rate. I have never experienced so much anxiety in all my life during those hours. It was so hard! For a while she was doing good and the hear rate was in the 130’s, but then it dropped and ended up staying in the 90’s and long story short I ended up having to get a C-section. It was scary, Nick did awesome, I was throwing up the whole time… But in the end t all worked out, I didn’t feel anything, and we had a healthy baby girl.

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Gracelyn Love Vanderlinda was born November 20th at 12:08am. 8lbs 8oz and 19 inches long. What an experience holding my baby for the first time!! Indescribable. The doctors were unsure what exactly happened because her heart rate was perfectly normal and everything was healthy once she came out. I like to believe it was all God. Because, to be completely honest, even at 41 weeks the thought of going into labor and not knowing what kind of pain it would be and having to push her out with or without medicine… it still terrified me! I like to believe God protected me and blessed me with not having to go through any labor or contractions and I feel like I blinked and then boom, was holding my baby. Our birth plan didn’t go as planned and that’s OK because all that matters is getting your healthy baby out- whatever way is best for that to happen. I hope my story can be encouraging for any other mama’s who might be set on birth plans or scared of delivery or whatever the case may be! There is hope and all that truly matters is having your baby in whatever way is healthiest for you.

And now our sweet Gracie girl is here and we continue to swoon over her.

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The first two days after were spent in the hospital. The hardest part was the aftermath of recovering from the c-section. I was beyond frustrated with my body because I couldn’t just move it or sit up and hold my baby like I wanted to! I had to rely on Nick and other family members for help more than I wanted to admit. I just wanted to care for my baby like I knew I could but I had to care for my own healing body and take it easy. But now, only two weeks later, I have been feeling really great. My c-section wound is healing well, I’m much more mobile and have stopped needing to take the pain meds. Win win!

Nick and I are madly in love with this precious little thing. It is still surreal that she is finally here. I sometimes just hold and stare at her and then tears flood to my eyes. I’ve never known a love like this for such a little being. I feel freakishly protective over her already and cry thinking about the inevitability that she will grow up! And then I bounce back and remain in the present moment and continue to stare at her, smell her, feel her soft-as-rose skin, and fall more in love with her. It feels like such a blessing to finally meet her and now get to experience the days with her.

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Here’s a look at her first two weeks!

Pretty much just sleep, eat, diaper change, repeat. Plus… Lots of snuggles, family naps together, doctor visits, getting her jaundice looked at (and now it’s all under control, yay!) and just enjoying her overwhelming cuteness.

 First doctor appointment!

First doctor appointment!

 She is healthy and gaining weight!

She is healthy and gaining weight!

 Car rides! She has done great in her carseat so far and loves listening to the ocean while we go out.

Car rides! She has done great in her carseat so far and loves listening to the ocean while we go out.

 Breastfeeding has been going good overall! Sometimes are harder than others, sometimes it just hurts and we’ve had a few bad days, but we’re figuring it out together slowly but surely :)

Breastfeeding has been going good overall! Sometimes are harder than others, sometimes it just hurts and we’ve had a few bad days, but we’re figuring it out together slowly but surely :)

 Happy and milk drunk

Happy and milk drunk

 We went on our first family walk- two in one day! One in the morning to Starbucks and one in the evening to Wet Coast for beer. Lol, mom and dad love their drinks!

We went on our first family walk- two in one day! One in the morning to Starbucks and one in the evening to Wet Coast for beer. Lol, mom and dad love their drinks!

 I loveeee holding her in our kangaroo wrap! Her cute little face resting close to my chest is the best. Plus I can be hands free!

I loveeee holding her in our kangaroo wrap! Her cute little face resting close to my chest is the best. Plus I can be hands free!

 so many snuggles with dad. Nick was off work the rest of that week she was born. We got 8 or 9 days together as a new family of three and it was wonderful.

so many snuggles with dad. Nick was off work the rest of that week she was born. We got 8 or 9 days together as a new family of three and it was wonderful.

 The cutest little sleeper. We’re still nowhere near a routine or schedule, and sleep sometimes is challenging during the night. She loves to be held and sleep in mom and dad’s arms.

The cutest little sleeper. We’re still nowhere near a routine or schedule, and sleep sometimes is challenging during the night. She loves to be held and sleep in mom and dad’s arms.

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Only two weeks in and we’ve already seen her long eyelashes pop, and her eyes open so much bigger now! She makes lots of little grunts and noises and sometimes it sounds like she’s laughing. Even her cries are cute, it sounds like she’s saying LA LA LA. But the cries have already gotten louder- definitely noticed that haha.

 She loves her Wubba Nub!

She loves her Wubba Nub!

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So much cuteness! My phone is already just full of Gracie pics I can’t help it. It’s been a great two weeks with of course challenges and me getting snappy from being tired and hangry. I’ve had a few moments where the reality that our lives are forever changed sinks in pretty deep. Everything is different now but the change is good and I’m thankful to have Nick as my partner figuring it out together.

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I have been thinking about time and while Nick is at work how I spend it. It’s too easy to get caught up and check social media multiple times a day and just be on my phone. I don’t want to waste time like that and not be present or intentional with what’s really important. I’ve decided to just do a social media check one day a week (not sure what day, we’ll see…) and spend more time blogging, reading, listening to podcasts etc. So if you love looking at my cute Gracie or like keeping up with whatever we’ve got going on in life then feel free to subscribe to my blog below! I’d rather post on here than go on Facebook all day long ;-)


Dads and Daughters

I’ve been thinking about dads a lot lately. Seeing as our baby is due in less than a month, Nick is about to step into the unknown, scary, magical and beautiful role of being a dad. And then living with my parents where I see my own dad most everyday (unless he’s traveling for work) has been really nice. The role of a dad is powerful.

 My sweet poppy walking me down the aisle this summer at our wedding

My sweet poppy walking me down the aisle this summer at our wedding

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Days with my dad are special to me.

We’ve always been close. I would say we’re very similar and can talk about anything and everything. We love iced tea and sushi (not that I remember what sushi is, it’s been so long!), playing board/card games, and always having music on. He seems to always have an answer to my questions and isn’t afraid to challenge me into becoming a better version of myself.

My dad is sweet, strong, generous, loving, sensitive, a good listener, and super smart. He’s got four kids and I think he does a good job at making each of us feel special, heard, and valued.

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There’s just something special between a dad and daughter and a mama and her son.

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My brothers are so sweet, thoughtful, and kind to my mama. They are patient and loving. My sister and I are independent and strong. It’s been fun as my siblings and I have grown up to see our characteristics and which parent they come from etc. We definitely come from both of them! I feel extremely lucky for the relationships I have with both of my parents. Not everyone has that and not everyone even likes being around their parents! Since Nick and I have moved back to Gig Harbor at the beginning of July it has been really nice to be welcomed and comfortable as we stay with my parents. My dad travels for work off and on, more lately than normal, but I love it when all four of us are home and share a meal or just hangout together.You just never know how much time you have, so might as well be grateful through it all (the good and the bad) and cherish moments with the people you love. 

It’s been especially fun to see my dad and Nick connect and enjoy spending time together. I am learning how similar they can be sometimes and I don’t think that’s a coincidence :-) My dad’s opinion on the man I married has always mattered. I mean it was always going to be Nick, but it was a journey getting to that solidified place. Nick is confident, strong, responsible, and outgoing. A lot of similar qualities to my poppy. I do hope for a similar relationship for my daughter and Nick like the one I have with my dad.

All this to say so far, I think highly of both my parents, but I don’t put my parents on a pedestal. They’re not perfect, and Nick and I won’t be the perfect mom and dad either. We’re human and all make mistakes over and over again. We have to dish out grace upon grace.

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I LOVE this picture of Nick and I. Our first ultrasound. Man, did that day make everything feel sooo real. We’re going to be parents!!! Over the past eight months we’ve had so many conversations anticipating, planning, and dreaming about our baby and what we want life to be like. Nick is so excited for all the fun we’ll experience as a family. I remember probably 4-5 years ago we went to the Puyallup State Fair and were walking through the kid’s rides section and Nick made a comment on how fun it will be someday to bring our kids and go on the rides with them - ah, my heart! How special that next fall we’ll be able to bring our little girl to the fair for the first time :)

I am so excited to see Nick step into the role of being a daddy and all that it means to have a daughter. There are so many fears and unknowns involved with parenting in general, but good thing we’ll never achieve perfection and have our whole lives to learn as we go.

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I know Nick will be amazing. He’s shared with me early on how he always wanted to be a dad. He will be caring and protective. He’ll be silly and sensitive. He’ll make her laugh all the time and spoil her with love and affection. He’ll question himself at times (just as I will too I’m sure), ask a thousand questions, and lean on our people for support.

Like I said, dads are special and I can’t wait to see the special bond Nicky will develop with our girl over the years. I’m ready for her to COME OUT so we can experience her together! It’s different for Nick right now because he doesn’t feel her all the time like I do. I’ve already been building this little connection with her since we spend all day everyday together ;) I’m grateful we’re finally at end of this countdown to meeting her and it will be within the next month!

Our little girl is so lucky for who her daddy is and ALL the people who already love her so much. I’m grateful to confidently know she will be loved and cared for by both Nick and I. I believe babies are precious and bring BIG blessings. She already has and I just know this little girl is going to rock both Nick and I’s world and we’re ready for the adventure to begin!

Let the countdown continue: 22 days until her due date!