It’s hard to know where to begin, but I’ve been meaning to find time to write Hugo’s birth story for the last few weeks before the details start slipping my sleep deprived mind. I’ll start by saying that being a mother is amazing. I remember reading a quote while I was pregnant about having children…something about having your heart walking around outside your body. And I am here to confirm that feeling, 100%. A lot of people ask if it feels weird not being pregnant anymore, and it doesn’t at all, because I have my heart in my eye line –laying in my arms, fussing in his bassinet, swishing around in his tiny baby bath and being held so tightly by his wonderful father. He’s finally here, and is more beautiful and perfect than I could have ever imagined (even when I’m up for my fourth feeding of the night, bleary eyed and exhausted).
On Tuesday, February 18th, I woke up and went in to my weekly doctor appointment to check on Hugo’s progress. I was still 75% effaced and dilated at 2 cm, about the same as the week before and our doctor told me that he was still head down, and we really just needed some contractions to get things going. So I went to work, and went about my normal routine, packing orders and answering emails. Megan and Rebecca were in Las Vegas at our buyer’s market and were sending me photos all day of their picks from our vendors, so it was kind of an exciting day (one of my favorite parts of owning Hello Holiday is the buying process and going to market). That afternoon, I went to the dentist and joked around with the dental hygienist that he might come while I was in her chair (little did I know). After that, back to work for a customer pickup. By this point, I was having light contractions, but ignoring them and going about my business because I just figured they were Braxton Hicks contractions and that I would deal with them if and when they got stronger and more frequent.
I had last minute dinner plans to eat with my two best ladies, Janey and Jamie, and we met up at a local Indian restaurant, Jaipur (my pick, I was craving naan) to eat. Dinner was great and kind of took my mind off my contractions, even though I was becoming more and more uncomfortable as dinner went on. My contractions were coming consistently, and by the time I left dinner to go home around 7:30 pm, I called my mom and told her I suspected that wheels were turning and that I might go into labor that night. I went home and as I was getting out of the car Jon came out on the porch to greet me and I told him I thought he should put the car seat into the car, and he asked, “Are we on?”. I told him I didn’t know, but that I was going to come inside and start timing my contractions for the first time.
As I started timing my contractions (which is kind of hard to do in the beginning), I found that they were consistently around 7 minutes apart. So I sat on the couch, trying to stay calm and went through the dropbox folder of photos that Meg and Rebecca had sent me from market that day. I kept timing them as I typed up my notes, my selections, and they went from 7 to 6 minutes as the hour or so went on. After I finished my work, I told Jon that I thought we should lie down, try to get some rest (that’s what everyone tells you to do, but let me say, no rest was to be had!). Jon tried to go to sleep, and I just timed and timed and timed my contractions, getting more uncomfortable by the minute. In fact, I was starting to feel them in my lower back, which were my first truly uncomfortable contractions.
Suddenly around 2 am my contractions were consistently 5 minutes apart, and pretty uncomfortable. I woke Jon up (he was barely asleep) and told him it was time to go to the hospital. We called to let them know that we were coming once we were on the way, and they paged our doctor, Dr. Megan Prickett, to let her know where we were at. They admitted us and checked my cervix, which was still dilated to 2 cm and told me that I needed to walk for an hour to see if I would dilate anymore, and if I didn’t they would send me home. Jon and I speak of this hour as the longest hour of our lives, as I started vomiting almost immediately when we started walking, and my shaking began. I had to stop and hold the bar along the hallway walls every time a contraction came, and stopped a few times to throw up (really rethinking my dinner decision at this point) before the hour was over. They checked me again, and I was dilated to 3 cm at this point, so they said I would be able to stay, and they started all the admittance paperwork etc.
Around this time I learned that I was having “back labor”, which meant absolutely nothing to me until I realized that was what I was experiencing. My friend Jenny had warned me about it, and told me the week before that she hoped I didn’t have it, but until I did, it meant nothing at all. BACK LABOR IS HORRID. You can read about back labor here, but it basically means that I was experiencing all the pain from my contractions in my lower back, and that my little baby boy was facing the wrong way in the womb (albeit his head down position). My back just started spasming just thinking about it, you guys.
Somewhere along the way after they told us we could stay, Jon contacted our Doula, Kate, who came to the hospital to support us during my labor. In the end, my labor at the hospital was around 9 hours, and I think that I remember all of it, but it’s all very hazy. Per my birth plan, the room was kept dim, and I asked for a room with a tub to labor in, so the suite didn’t have any windows. Labor felt…endless? I had back labor the entire time (baby boy somehow twisted around to come out the right way at the very end), and for hours and hours my Doula and husband Jon coached me into different birthing positions, in and out of the tub, massaged and squeezed my hips and back to relieve pain and physically held my body up as I vomited and shook. I knew that it was a possibility that I would vomit or defecate, but no one told me that the hormones I would experience would make me shake so violently. My labor continued to progress, and I was a little more dilated every time they checked me.
I consider myself very lucky, as in the end, we were able to keep things on track and I got everything I wanted according to my birth plan. I had a 100% natural birth, without interventions. I didn’t have to be on an IV, but I had a hep lock in case they needed to give me fluids. I was supported throughout by my wonderful husband, our Doula, Kate and nurses, who never gave up on me even when I questioned my choice for a natural birth (I’m not going to lie, I asked about my pain relief options a few times towards the end during a few exceptionally bad contractions, but Kate and Jon talked me off the ledge, gently, reminding me why I wanted to have a natural birth, and how far I had already come). Somewhere around 7 cm, I was standing over the bed, shaking and holding myself up when I felt the sudden need to push come on, and I definitely peed all over the floor/some of my water probably broke at this point. Like I said, my memory of this is all really hazy. Like I was in a dream, or a fog. I told everyone that I was feeling the need to push and they checked me again, sure enough I was dilated at 10 cm. I was given permission to push. Somewhere around this time they called my doctor to start heading over. I don’t remember all the positions I labored in, but I know it was a ton, and I remember at the end, they rolled out the mirror I had requested in our birth plan and Jon and Kate held my legs up for resistance as I really began to push (now I’m crying just thinking about all of this).
Having a mirror at the end of my bed was the most motivating thing/horrifying, because I could see EVERYTHING that was happening, and how swollen my genitals/anus were (my god, you guys!). But I could also see the top of my beautiful boy’s head, covered in wet hair, peek out at us, for the first time. This gave me a new surge of adrenaline, and I pushed my little heart out, seeing a little more of his head every time I had a contraction. My mom came in at this point and I remember hearing her at my left as she held one of my legs up. Pushing really hurt, but at this point everything hurt and I could at least see the end in sight. I made noises I didn’t know I was capable of while I was pushing. After one really hard push, baby boy’s head was finally out and the rest of him seemed to fly out after that. They suctioned him out and placed him right on my chest and at this point I was completely overcome with relief, joy and exhaustion. He was so worth it, worth every moment of the pain, perfect in every way. Around 10 minutes later, Jon clipped his cord which was totally white and done pulsing.
What seemed like immediately after but was actually about 30 minutes later, it was time for me to deliver the placenta, which hurt like the dickens but happened really fast. I continued to shake a ton, and they told me I had a few blood clots that I needed to pass. They worked on compressing my abdomen (ouch, ouch, ouch…I thought this was over) to pass the clots, and Jon took our boy because I didn’t feel stable enough to hold him while they were doing this. At this time, I told them that it would be ok to give me a little pitocin, to help pass the blood clots so they hooked me up, but my vein rolled (?) or something and all the pitocin went into my hand and arm. When I tried to breastfeed for the first time, I asked if they could undo my hep lock/take everything out of my arm because I was having trouble moving it. When the nurse came to check, she realized I was having trouble because all the pitocin went into my hand and arm, not my veins, making them swell up HUGE, staying that way for a few days. So that was bizarre. But I was still able to breastfeed, and worked with the nurses and lactation consultants over the next few days to figure that all out.
After our sweet baby was born, we announced to our family that his name was Hugo, which means “bright in mind and spirit”. It took us a few days to settle on his middle name (we were toying around with a few for the last month or so) but we settled on Benes, which is of Czech origin (Jon is of Czech descent), meaning “blessed”. It’s hard to know where to “end” Hugo’s birth story, because I feel like it’s still going. We’re settled in at home, a little over two weeks later and are still getting used to each other. Sleepless nights are hard, I’m getting over mastitis, and still trying to figure out this whole breastfeeding/taking care of an infant as I attempt to get back to work (which I’m lucky enough to do from home right now). But in the end, Hugo’s birth story is perfect, he’s everything we hoped and dreamed for. I could just breathe him in all day, every day…and for right now, I am.Hugo Benes Tvrdik Arrived earthside on February 19th, 2014 at 11:10 am 7 lbs. 2 oz. and 20 and 3/4 inches in length
On the sunny little Sunday before last, my dear friends Janey and Jamie hosted a couple’s shower for my husband Jon and myself in our home. I didn’t get a chance to take many photos (as one forgets to do when they’re enjoying themselves…a good problem to have) but it was SUCH a lovely day so I wanted to share the few that I snapped before our guests arrived.
Isn’t this all so lovely? I feel like Pinterest just barfed up all my favorite things into our house. Although Janey and Jamie planned and hosted the shower, they enlisted all my best lady friends to help put the perfect day together, who showed up like a fleet of soldiers hours before the shower to make sure everything looked perfect (all while I was upstairs primping!). Rebecca brought a giant cheese plate (yum-city), Jenny brought tons of beer and snacks (cough *doughnuts* cough), Lynn brought two, count ‘em, TWO amazing cakes and Megan brought all the plates, napkins and silverware and a homemade cream puff dessert. Amazing, no? I was honestly brought to tears by the generosity of our pals.
I mean, I just wanna eat like this all the time, k?
How adorbs is that teeny tiny bee? Lynn knows me too, too well…this was pretty much my own private lemon cake, aka my favorite flavor of anything sweet (that I finished off yesterday, just in time for shower no. 2!).
See all those mini doughnuts? Jenny said she walked into Winchell’s Doughnuts (a local shop) and said she would “take them all”. True friends clear out pastry cases for you.
And let’s not forget about the overwhelming amount of gifts our guests brought for baby T. Beautiful gifts. Thoughtful gifts. Homemade bibs. Favorite books. I could go on for hours. His not-quite-ready room is just OVERFLOWING with everything he needs, much much more than everything we need to welcome him into our little world.
Guest appearance from the rocking horse Jon’s grandmother had made for him as a baby. It’s been in our garage for YEARS, waiting for a little reason to come out and play. So sweet.
We’ll never be able to fully express how grateful we are to have such amazing people in our lives. Our full house filled our hearts on this day and we can’t wait for baby boy T to meet all his “aunts” and “uncles” and all the wonderful things you’ll help us teach him. Grateful, thank you, more please.
I was over the moon when H&M contacted me again to be part of the launch of their collaboration with a Parisian designer than I have long admired, Isabel Marant. In true French allure, Marant has consistently delivered collections drawing inspiration from Bohemia and masculine tailoring since 1994. Available tomorrow, November 14, 2013 in around 250 stores worldwide and online, the collection features clothing and accessories for women and teenagers. And for the first time, Marant created a collection for men (y’all rejoicing over that, or what?).
Here’s a short video from Marant herself speaking a little bit about her signature style and the inspiration behind the collection followed by a few of my favorite looks. I simply adore the soft grey dress (top left), along with the oversized blazer (bottom left). I haven’t been to Paris for a few years, but I distinctly remember admiring the effortless style from the women I passed on the streets, particularly a group of ladies on the train (one of which in an oversized tweed blazer with natural hair and a simple red lip). I wouldn’t (ever) describe my personal style as effortless (let’s be honest, there’s a ton of effort that goes into my look, from my red locks to my signature cat eye) but I’ll never forget the simple, underdone allure of the women I came across. This collection is spot on Parisian chic.
I encourage you to check it out at your local H&M tomorrow, or if you’re like me (Nebraska is still waiting for our first location) you’ll be shopping this marvelous collection online. I’m eyeing this gold number (not for now –for my post baby body, duh), photographed at the launch party on the right, so make sure to leave one for me.
xo, Sarah & Rebecca
Just wanted to throw these photos up and dash. Two things: (1) I am over-the-moon excited for this dress, coming very soon to Hello Holiday. (2) We were featured in the Omaha World Herald today with a fabulous write up on our decision to carry clothing at Hello Holiday that fits and flatters all the beautiful bodies our customers inhabit. Many thanks to columnist Matthew Hansen for interviewing us for this piece.
Happy Labor Day! I hope everyone got some much needed relaxation in this weekend, even if you had to work (I feel you). Today I’m at the office having a quiet day with Meg. Even though we’re working, today seems kind of…chill. Maybe because I came in at 2? Sorry Meg.
Just wanted to do a little update because I am so excited for my second prenatal appointment tomorrow. I’m at just about 16 weeks, and am hoping they’re going to be able to tell us ye olde gender of our child. Not getting my hopes up (I know it’s early), but one can wish.
Overall I’ve been feeling pretty good. Little tinges of discomfort in my sides here and there, I’m more tired than usual (I think I spent half of this weekend sleeping) and I am snacking constantly. I’ve found that’s what works best for me to keep feeling a-ok most of the time. I read yesterday that our child’s eyelids are no longer fused shut as of this week, and that just really struck me. It’s beginning to feel more and more real.
But enough about baby, this is a “style” blog, after all (whatever that means). I finally bit the bullet and bought this dress on Friday. I’ve been wearing Megan’s quite a bit (she owns the black version) and I am SO HAPPY I did. The material is soft and stretchy, and not opaque at all and I can proudly report that you can wear a normal bra with it. I thought maybe it would show through the back but it doesn’t at all. I’m looking forward to wearing this a lot in the coming months ahead in my quest to purchase no actual “maternity” clothing. I think it’s pleated just enough to lay comfortably over my expanding waistline and the seam at the waist sits kind of high…so bring on the tights and cardigans to pair with this puppy.
If you read this before Tuesday, snag this style at Hello Holiday for 25% off by using code ‘JADE‘ or ‘BLACK‘ to purchase each respective hue. Cross my heart, stick a needle in my eye (none of that “hope to die” crap) you won’t regret this purchase.
Hello from Omaha’s mini-heatwave! I’ve been busy this week getting ready for my staycation on Saturday with Jon (you heard me, don’t judge), photographing all the new fall stuff that’s been rolling in for Hello Holiday (cat hats! to-die-for dresses!) and finally unpacking from our trip to market in Las Vegas. It’s been a very productive week, and I’m also getting pumped up for the second doctor appointment of my pregnancy on Tuesday.
I’m just about dying to find out the sex (for the record, I have no preference at all), but I think it’s going to be a little early to know still. Here’s to hoping that ultrasound is ultra clear.
As I mentioned, my husband Jon and I haven’t had any time to take a real vacation of any sort this year, so we’re planning a little day of relaxation on Saturday. I have all sorts of things planned and I’m hoping this dumb, end of summer heat wave we’re experiencing in Nebraska won’t ruin our plans as they are very outdoor focused. Can’t a girl get a cloudy day? Partially sunny, even?
Even though we take outfit photos almost every day, these are a few of my favorite as of late. Since it’s been so hot, I haven’t had a lot of chances to delve into Hello Holiday’s new fall stock, but I’m loving the new black and white polka dot sweater pictured above. Perfect with a comfy pair of trousers. I’m also loving my new nameplate necklace, something I’ve wanted since I proudly sported one that said “Princess” in high school (again, no judging!). I really wanted one that said “Lorsung Tvrdik”, but the form wouldn’t let me enter all those letters for a single necklace, haha. But really, I’m obsessed with my new necklace, it hasn’t left my neck since I received it a few weeks ago.
I know it’s not even Friday, but I hope everyone has a relaxing Labor Day weekend. Stay cool y’all.
Hey everyone! I’m posting today from sweltering, sunny Las Vegas, where I’m attending the WWD Magic Marketplace. We come here twice a year along with the rest of the buying world to search for new designers to carry at Hello Holiday, and place orders with our favorites. We’re on a tight schedule today, but I just wanted to let everyone know that it’s the last day to enter H&M’s 50 States of Fashion Campaign.
It’s SO easy to enter, just post an Instagram photo showing off your best H&M style, using the hash tag #HMShopOnlineXX (replace the XX’s with your state’s abbreviation) and that’s it! Be sure to follow H&M on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updates on the contest and to view the winners!