taylor’s birth story

The night before baby girl’s due date, I made a special point to rock Jackson before he went to bed. He had been asking for several nights if we could do that and I felt it was important. I sang him a song and gave him a kiss, grateful for the two wonderful years of being his mommy.

As I got ready for bed, I looked up “acupressure points for labor” on Google, because I was ready to be done. I also downloaded a contraction counter app for my iPod, just in case. All of that must have been helpful, because at 3am I woke up with a contraction that was painful enough for me to wonder “Is this it?! I timed them and got up for a bit, and then laid back down and they persisted. After about 40 minutes of timing and the contractions being 3-5 minutes apart and lasting a good minute without deviation, I woke Kyle and told him I thought we better call our mom’s so they could get up here.

I texted them and about 10 minutes later called them both to ask them to make their way up to the hospital. We packed our things, ate some breakfast and called a friend from church to come stay with Jack for the morning. I called ahead to the hospital and the nurse thought it sounded like I was definitely in labor since the contractions weren’t slowing down or easing up at all.

A little apprehensive of arriving at the hospital too soon, we sat in the parking lot in the dark for about 10 minutes trying to decide if I was ready to check in. The next contraction was hard enough that I decided I was. I was wheeled into the same labor and delivery room where Jack was born! – that was surreal and fun. My nurse was great and things were definitely moving in the right direction toward delivery!

My mom got there at the same time we did (6am) and Char (Kyle’s mom) arrived a while later. For a while, the contractions just continued as they had been and I chatted and rested. After two hours, Dr. Barrett checked on me and I had progressed a little and my water had broken. She suggested getting in the tub for a while and seeing if that would ramp things up.

It did. I was having a little more trouble relaxing fully through my contractions because they were wrapping around to my back – I didn’t remember feeling pain there with Jackson’s labor. But I soldiered on. At around 10:30am, I was starting to think that drugs/pain relief sounded really, really good. I just liked the idea of turning off the pain and just dealing with pressure. I talked it through with Kyle and my mom and Char and told the nurse that I was interested in the interthecal shot. (Similar to an epidural but only requiring one poke with the needle and it wore off after 4 hours.)

JUST after that, I could tell I was probably in transition or something. The contractions were getting to the point where they didn’t really let up in between and I was feeling shaky, nauseous and just a little crazy. When my nurse came back to check me before ordering the drugs, I was far enough progressed that I would probably be complete too soon to have the meds and still be able to push effectively. Somehow I just knew that would happen and I wasn’t surprised, but I was annoyed that I couldn’t get the shot and turn off the pain. The nurses called my doctor to come from the clinic since I was so close.

Then all of the sudden it was like the contractions were tripling on top of each other. I was frustrated and trying to cope with the insane intensity. I knew I was ready to push, but my doctor wasn’t there yet! At some point I asked if there was PLEASE another doctor that could come in so I could push…which quickly turned into me TELLING them to get another doctor in because I was not going to be able to NOT push. Crazy people!

Thank goodness, just moments later, my wonderful Dr. Barrett skidded into my room and got down to business. She checked me and it was already time to push! I remember telling everyone in the room to just tell me what to do because I couldn’t think or process or anything. I also remember asking God to help me because I was having a really tough time dealing with the intensity of everything. My eyes were closed for about the last 30-40 minutes of her birth just so I could block out everything and focus as much as possible.

Dr. Barrett had me start pushing, which was SUCH a relief. I think it was about five pushes or less, and no more than 8 minutes of pushing before we met our daughter. SHOCK. That happened so fast! (Jackson took his sweet time – 2 hours+ of pushing!)

They placed my little girl on my chest and I was so happy to see her! I said, “Oh my gosh, she’s so tiny!” and soaked up the moment because I didn’t really experience it with Jack due to the exhaustion and shock of pushing so long. Here she was and she was beautiful. They measured her and weighed her and snuggled her in a blanket. She was perfect – 8 lbs. 5 oz. (a whole pound and one ounce lighter than her brother at birth), 21 inches long and scored 8-9 on APGAR.

We were instantly smitten with our gorgeous daughter and deliberated on her name for just 10 minutes before deciding she was, indeed, Taylor Charlotte Puelston.  We moved to a recovery room and I floated high on adrenaline and the joy of being delivered from pregnancy, now with my baby in my arms. Later we welcomed the grandpa’s, aunts and uncles to meet our sweet girl.


Recovery has been a DREAM, thank the Lord. She is a sweet, wonderful newborn with surprisingly dark hair and long fingers, feet and toes. Jackson loves her and has done really well so far with the new normal. I can’t believe how “right” it feels to have two children and be their mommy. God is so gracious and we love our little Taylor-girl!

hurry up and wait

out my back window, the neighbor’s maple tree is turning from green to crimson. It’s always the earliest tree to shed its summer cloak for the bright hues of autumn and I love it. The air has been crisp and cool for about a week now – fall is definitely in the air, though the calendar may disagree until Friday. This is my favorite season to live in our beautiful state. Fall, then spring, then summer and winter. If winter would drop off the list completely, I wouldn’t mind one iota. I mean, some snow is nice, but the cold and the necessity for almost total hibernation gets to me on about the fourth day of January. Once Christmas and the first snowfall have been enjoyed, winter is all down hill from there.

I’m in the twilight of this pregnancy – gosh, that’s kind of overly poetic. Just two weeks stand between being pregnant and holding a newborn. Hallelujah! I’m so very ready to be on to the next stage and snuggle my baby girl, figure out her feeding and sleeping needs, be starving and able to eat whatever without heartburn because I’m nursing and not pregnant anymore…at this point, any change from the current “normal” of being a lumbering pregnant lady will be super. 🙂

Last week marked the last “big event” before our little lady makes her debut. We enjoyed the fun and busyness that was Kyle’s sister Sarah’s wedding and marriage to Ryan. The ceremony was positively lovely and the decor stunning and the celebrating delightful. Our whole family was a part of the wedding party – Jack the adorable ring bearer in his little tuxedo, Kyle a groomsman and I a bridesmaid. Jack did indeed make it down the aisle without incident. I can’t say the same for when it was time to go sit with his grandparents instead of staying with his mother. ahem. Yes, that will be Jack screaming over the pastor’s prayer just before the message. 😛 Oh well.

He DID charm the world on the dance floor – oh my gosh. And was pretty much the last one standing as they shut down the party late that night. He eventually gave up the ghost and sat with his hands folded and his beloved pacifier in his piehole at about 10:30pm. I’ll admit that I didn’t cry when the bride walked down the aisle, but had to work hard to keep back the happy/proud mama tears as my own little boy did! lol. And I admit I felt pretty good for being nearly 38 weeks huge – my friends Rosanna and Brittni made a wicked awesome beautifying team. My hairs and face and the dress all worked together to work some magic, I think. Here we all are in our wedding finery:


My bag is packed for the hospital. The necessary post-partum supplies are stocked. (Raise your hand if you know what I mean. :-P) Snacks to sustain my husband while he supports me are waiting in the pantry. The girl child (who still is possibly Taylor or possibly Nora/Norah) has clothing. The boy child’s fall/winter wardrobe is being added to this week. The kid’s room awaits a few more touches of decor that I hope to finish this week. The freezer boasts about 12-15 meals or parts of meals for the weeks following her arrival since I plan to do little more than sit on the couch in a reclined position and make trips to the bathroom and shower for the first month after her sweet arrival.

so I hurry up and wait! and thank God for every minute I’ve already had with this person inside of me as I long for the days of having her in our everyday lives outside. 🙂


I’ve fallen so behind on this little project, but its only because life and developing other things (like another child) has been taking precedence over developing my photography skillz. I will say that I’ve been attempting to use manual or at least aperture priority settings more often as I’ve been taking photos this summer and I’ve been pleased with the results. We discovered that our camera tends to under-expose things (maybe a sensor issue?) so one has to set it for letting more light in than normal anyway. Fun facts to know and tell, as my mom and dad would say.

I took this the other evening with my iPod – it takes the best pictures in outdoor light, but even then, I know its a total cop-out. I just haven’t had it in me to set up the camera with the tripod and have definitely not had great amounts of inspiration. However, I do not mind be a model for OTHER, real photographers. Earlier this month, on our fabulous vacation with the extended Puelston family, Kyle’s sister Sarah (a pro) took some awesome family/maternity pictures for us. I just ❤ her style and eye for beauty. And oh my stars, did Jack ham it up for the camera?! Here’s my top four favorites from the shoot she did:

So there ya go – a 35 week pregnant me sitting in our front yard while the menfolk swept acorns off the deck, with REAL pictures of our current family at t-minus 5 weeks till Taylor/Norah makes her appearance. 🙂 ’tis a happy thing indeed!


a couple weeks ago, Kyle and I had the fun task of taking engagement photos for his sister Sarah and her fiance’, Ryan. We met them in downtown St. Paul and had a really great evening snapping their pictures. Kyle was behind the camera and I was the “creative director”. 🙂 While we were waiting for the happy couple to arrive, we were testing lighting and lenses and we did this fun shot of me and Taylor. 🙂

We do already love this baby, even though we have 15 more weeks, give or take, before we officially “meet” her. I’m not totally sure how in the world I will get through all of July, August and September, but I know the wait will be worth it!

its a…..


meet taylor charlotte

The ultrasound went great and the technician put the “answer” in an envelope for Kyle to open when he got home from his appointment. 🙂 It was so fun to have him open it up and find out Little Bit is a girl! Now we can call her Taylor. And continue waiting to meet her until the first week of October!

Keep growing and getting strong and stay healthy, baby girl! We love you.

18 weeks…

today marks 18 weeks of pregnancy with Little Bit. In less than two weeks we’ll hopefully find out if this person is a girl or boy! I am ridiculously excited to find out – even more than I was with Jackson, for some reason. 🙂 I really want to throw a “gender reveal” party for our close friends and family with pink and blue food, but I don’t know if we can fit it in before I would explode with curiosity due to scheduling. lol. So we’ll probably just find out and then celebrate/announce it later that day.

I feel like my belly has officially “popped” at right around the same time I did with Jackson – and I am on track for normal weight gain. Thanking God again for a (thus far) healthy, normal pregnancy.

foto friday: little bit

Can I get a shout out for a fun new blog layout? My dear friend Brenda over at Unsolicited Advice designed my awesome retro header and adorable background. I love it. 🙂 Thanks, Bren!

yesterday we got the sweet privilege of seeing our little person via ultrasound. 🙂 Maybe because we get sent to the actual ultrasound technicians at the hospital, the pictures we got of Jack and of this baby were super clear even as early as they are. I was right on target with my estimated due date, so we’re officially at 10 weeks 4 days. Due October 3. But I’m telling myself he or she will appear by October 7, just to avoid feeling annoyed if I “go over”. lol.

hi world!

It was very reassuring to see the fast little heartbeat blinking on the screen. I breathed a prayer of thanks and thought of all my friends that have been heartbroken by miscarriage or infertility…how I pray they get the joy of seeing the same miracle again or for the first time. I sure don’t take this life for granted. I know he or she is ours for as long as God ordains, and even then, this little person belongs ultimately to our mighty Lord.

In other happiness: all week our weather has been warming up. Today its supposed to be around 40 degrees and all next week might approach the 50’s! 🙂 Oh, this makes me happy. I have even more hope that upon our return from Nevada, the great meltdown (aka SPRING!) will be underway.

Another happy thing is that I’m starting to feel a lot better more of the time. Every once in a while a wave of nausea rolls over me, but for the most part, I’m feeling like myself again. I had prepared myself for another 3-4 weeks of feeling dreadful, so I’m grateful.

So combine better weather with feeling better and you get a more active Johanna again! Just add water. 🙂 Tuesday and Thursday Jack and I got out for a long walk and today I’m going to attempt an abbreviated version of P90X Legs and Back. It just feels so good to feel good again. Praise the Lord!

I hope wherever you are, you have some sunshine in your day. Whether its a beautiful day, your favorite tea in a beloved mug, a smile from a friend, a hug from your honey or cuddles from a kid, puppy or cat. 🙂