Simple Days

Simple Days

by Erica Lea


Three Months Update | James

Reading to James
Helen reading to James. They both really enjoyed it.

James 4-8-16
9 weeks old.

James 4-21-16

James will be content in the bumbo for a little while. It buys me a few extra minutes so I can fix myself some food or snap a few pictures.

James 4-29-16

12 weeks old.

James 5-5-16
3 months old.

James 5-5-16


  • * He's been wearing size 2 diapers most of this month, and he CAN fit size 3 already!
  • * He weighs 15.5 pounds.
  • * He's been able to roll over (tummy to back) for a few weeks now.
  • * He's been trying desperately to figure out grasping objects the past few days. He gets so frustrated because he's not too coordinated yet.
  • * He can lift his chest up when he's on his tummy pretty well. He hates his tummy time a lot less now that he can pick up his head better.
  • * He seems to like Helen - he started to almost laugh when she did one time. And he'll smile at her.
  • * We're still swaddling him for sleeping, but we're going to transition him out of it...soonish? We've started a couple of times, but he just doesn't want to sleep well without being swaddled. We were going to stick to our guns and train him to sleep without it this past weekend, but then I got sick so we decided my sleep was more important. If you have any tips for transitioning out of a swaddle, leave them in the comments, please!
  • * He's getting into more of a routine with sleeping. He usually takes 4 naps a day: around 8:30 or 9:00 in the morning, 11:00 or 12:00 in the afternoon, 4:30 or 5:00 in the evening, and then 7:00. His first or second nap is usually 3 hours long. Oh yes. It's glorious. His other naps are about 45 minutes to an hour. He goes to bed between 9:00 and 10:00 at night. He wakes about 2 times at night to feed, usually at 1:45 and 4:45. 
  • * He's still such a calm baby for the most part. He cries most when he's tired. 

And there's James' 3 month update!


Out For a Walk

Out For a Walk
Last Wednesday (April 27) we decided to take the kids out for a stroller ride in the woods. As you can see, we don't have a double stroller, so Helen just sits on the front. It works.

Out For a Walk
I didn't tell Reuben, but my main reason for wanting to go on a walk was to photograph the beautiful hepaticas.

Out For a Walk
I'm so glad that spring is finally here in northern Minnesota. Now I can take the kids outside without worrying they'll catch their death of cold. ;)

What are the first flowers of spring where you live?


Two Months Update | James

Getting some sun!

looking up at dad
Looking up at Dad.

5 weeks old
5 weeks old!

5 weeks, almost 6 weeks old
A quizzical expression. Almost 6 weeks old. 

tummy time on the boppy
Tummy time on the Boppy!

8 weeks old
8 weeks old.

8 weeks old - smiling!
Smiling for Mom.

I had heard about a mythical thing known as an "Easy Baby" -- I thought it was something I would never have. I was wrong.

James is such a sweet boy. He really doesn't cry much. Helen still cries more than he does.  

Lately he's been all smiles. And he's been cooing so much lately. I love talking to him and getting him to respond.

He doesn't really like his tummy time. I keep trying, but he's only content for a few minutes before he starts fussing. 

He's been kicking his legs a ton the past few days. And I'm pretty sure he's been trying to bat at objects.

He takes 3-4 naps a day, one long (3+ hour!) nap, plus a few more 45 minute to 1 hour ones. His nighttime sleep is kind of hit or miss. Sometimes he'll sleep peacefully, but sometimes he's so squirmy! It drives me nuts. But I'm feeling so much stronger and less like a zombie now. He'll sleep 8+ hours total, but he wakes 2-4 times to eat.

He weighed 12 pounds 4 ounces at his 6-week checkup, and we weighed him on April 7th and he was 14 pounds! 

I think this little boy is going to have light hair and blue eyes. 

He still doesn't spit up very much, which is such a blessing!

My cousin threw a baby shower for James on April 1. We got so many cute things and it was so much fun to see everyone.

So there's James' 2-month update!


My Postpartum Recover | Baby #2

James - Almost 5 weeks

"Let's just have two kids," I told Reuben about a week postpartum. I was only half joking. I think it's just difficult for me to bring children into this world.

A few days after giving birth to James, I was feeling pretty good. My postpartum bleeding was already going down. I was feeling much less exhausted than I was last time around. But I was being careful to not overdo it and wear myself out. I was adjusting to sleeping with a tiny baby that has to eat multiple times during the night fairly well.

By the way: one thing I wasn't expecting was the labor afterpains. Wowzers. I had read that they are much more painful the second time around, and boy were they ever. My midwife gave me this tincture, and it helped to ease the pain.

We had our "24 Hour Visit" from our second midwife, and everything checked out fine.

Then I had a short bout of diarrhea. I'm not sure if that's what started the cascade of events or not. In any case, at about a week postpartum, my bleeding started to increase. I was feeling worn out, even though I wasn't doing anything strenuous.

Then, mastitis struck. 

We went to my family's house after church. I basically sat the whole day. But by the evening I was feeling pretty worn out and a bit nauseated. We went home and I crawled into bed.

The next morning, I realized that I had a clogged duct. Later that day, I contracted a fever. It was SO painful to nurse. Next to labor pains, I think that was the worst pain I've ever felt.

The next morning, when I got up to use the bathroom, I had a strange ring of light on my vision. When I got up to go back to the bedroom, I suddenly couldn't see. It was like there was snow from an old TV blocking my sight.

I made it to the bedroom and said, "Reuben, I feel faint."

My hearing was also dimmed.

By the end of the day, I still had a low-grade fever. The next day my fever finally went down. And over the next few days I felt better and better.

Our midwife came for our 2-week checkup. James was doing great. Rebekah suggested that I take lots of vitamin C, zinc, vitamin D, etc. to help with the mastitis. And she said to keep up the protocol 3-4 days after all symptoms were gone.

That Sunday we went to church. I was feeling really tired, so we went home early. And I came down with mastitis again. I was able to fight back the fever within a day or two, but by Wednesday night, it was back again. I was only able to sleep about 3 hours that night.

Then, I started to go a little crazy. 

I started having panic attacks. It was like nothing I had experienced before. I couldn't breathe, and my face went all tingly. I was so anxious about being sick for such a long time. I just wanted to die. I knew I was being unreasonable, but it felt so real while I was having an attack.

Reuben read to me, I took a bath, and we went for a drive, all of which helped me to calm down. Reuben told me I had only 2 things to think about: pumping dry to get rid of the plug, and trying to sleep. That night I took melatonin to help me fall asleep (which worked really quickly!). Audra, my older sister, took James upstairs with her so I could sleep without a baby in the bed.

I finally started to feel better over the next few days. On Saturday I was still pretty weak, but we decided to go to my family's house to boost our spirits. It was nice to talk to my sisters, but I still had a small panic attack while there.

Over the next week I finally started to feel better for real. By the next Sunday (March 6th), my bleeding was finally down to spotting. Reuben went back to work the following Monday.

It was a bit of an adjustment being home alone with the 2 kiddos, but we made it work.

I've had another clogged duct over the last few days, but I think (fingers crossed) I have it sorted. I'm just so tired from lack of sleep at night.

I've been taking vitamin C, echinacea, chlorophyll, my prenatal vitamins, desiccated liver, sunflower lecithin, and probiotics. Hopefully it will all help me to regain my strength!

I'm wondering if my clogged ducts are related to James' tongue and lip ties. We're considering getting them released, but I'm not sure if I want to get the scissor or laser method done. Please pray that we would make the right decision and have peace about it!


I gained a total of 29 pounds while I was pregnant. I started out lighter than before my first pregnancy, but I weighed about the same at the end of both my pregnancies.

4 days postpartum I weighed 126.4, and 1 week postpartum I weighed 123.2. After having all that mastitis, I weighed about 116. By 5 weeks postpartum I was down to 114.5, and now I'm 113.

That's the great thing about nursing: you can eat and eat and eat and still lose weight. It's just so fun to physically be able to eat so much (I have a very low fullness tolerance)!

WARNING: Photos of ugly belly below...


One Month Update | James

Our little fella is over a month old now!

He's been growing and changing, and we're still getting to know each other and learn how to do this newborn mom thing again.

1 week
One week old...

2 weeks
Two weeks old...

3 weeks
Three weeks old...

4 weeks
Four weeks old.

James was 8 pounds 1 ounce when he was born. He was 7 pounds 11 ounces three days later. At about 3-4 weeks (I can't remember when we weighed him), he was 9.8 pounds. Now (at 5 weeks) he's 11.2 pounds! He's definitely a growing boy.

But he's definitely a sleepy boy! Just in the last few days he's been waking up a bit more. Hopefully that will help us get into more of a routine...

He's still in the erratic newborn stage, so he doesn't have a consistent schedule at all. I'm nursing him on demand, and he usually wants to feed at least every 2 hours. So, if I start nursing him at 10:00 in the morning, he might finish at 10:30, and I'll be nursing him again at least by 12:00, but more likely by 11:30. It feels like he wants to eat all the time! Though in the last week he's been a little less demanding.

It's also unpredictable how well he'll sleep at night. He slept for 6 hours in a row the other night. But last night was horrible - he tossed and turned most of the night and wanted to feed very often. I got such poor sleep.

He doesn't mind tummy time too much - he'll lay contentedly on a blanket for a few minutes at a time. He can pick his head up fairly well, though he won't always do it if he's feeling lazy.

James started out as a very content baby, but he got a bit more fussy at around 2 weeks. He started having a "fussy time" in the evening. In the last few days he's mellowed out a bit. And he's definitely not as bad as Helen was.

He doesn't spit up very much (again, nowhere near as bad as Helen did). Though that makes us complacent and we don't have a spit rag handy at all times. We're unprepared parents! Augh!

He hasn't smiled yet, but it seems like he's trying. (Update: he just smiled yesterday, March 14)

Also, he has a fairly severe tongue tie. We're still considering if we should get it corrected. He's nursing well and has a good latch, so our midwife advised us to just leave it. But we're a bit worried that it will interfere with his speech later on. I'll have to do more research, considering, and praying.

So there's a James' 1 month update!

I'm definitely not a fan of the newborn stage. Here's looking forward to more normal days ahead! 


My Birth Story | Baby #2


NOTE: As I mentioned in my last birth story, this post will discuss bodily functions (if you know what I mean). If you are at all squeamish or don't like to read that sort of thing, please click out of this post now!

I never thought I was the type to give birth without a midwife - an unassisted home birth just isn't my preferred style. Funny how life is so different than how you imagine it will be...

Saturday, February 6, 2016. 39 weeks, 3 days.

The day I went into labor started out fairly normal. I made a yummy breakfast of puffles (puff pastry waffles). In the afternoon I took a rest and did a few exercises to try to induce labor - hip rotations on my exercise ball, deep squats, rock-backs, cat-cow, butterflies, and acupressure. I had Braxton Hicks contractions throughout the day.

In the evening, we went to my family's to visit. My sisters and I decided to make molten chocolate cakes for dessert. After we took the cakes out of the oven, I decided to put Helen to bed so I could relax to eat my dessert. It was about 8:00.

Right after we put Helen to bed, I went to use the bathroom. I had a contraction that made me feel a little sick. "Oh great, now I won't be able to enjoy my dessert," I thought. But the sick feeling went away and I was able to eat the delicious chocolate cake. Partway through my dessert, however, I decided to start tracking my contractions on my phone. I was having to stop and concentrate whenever I had a contraction.

We moved to the living room and started watching random YouTube videos. I was having to stand and sway to get through contractions.

"I don't know, Reuben," I said, wondering if this was it.

At a little before nine, I decided it was time to go home. I didn't want to get my hopes up in case this was false labor, but I wanted to be home if it was the real deal. Reuben grabbed Helen (who was sleeping) and we headed home.

The car ride was not very comfortable - I like to be able to move around when I have a contraction. Slow drivers irritated me.

When we got home, I changed into a night dress - I didn't want to dirty my pants if my water broke. Reuben started cleaning up the house a bit and setting up the birth pool.

I had a bloody show soon after we got home, and I had 3 bowel movements in quick succession. By 9:45 my contractions were 2-5 minutes apart and about 1 - 1.5 minutes long. At 10:15 I tracked my last contraction. It was too painful to worry about that anymore.

At about 10:20, Reuben called our midwife (I was in too much pain to make a phone call). We were unsure if she should come yet. She asked if we could wait an hour and see what happened, and I agreed. I didn't want Rebekah to have to come all the way to our house if it was nothing.

Almost as soon as Reuben hung up, I had my first pushing contraction and my water broke. Reuben called Rebekah back and told her that we had changed our minds.

"I need help," I told Reuben.

"Do you want Audra to come down?" He asked (my married sister who has given birth at home 4 times lives in the apartment above us). I agreed.

I showered off a bit (the amniotic fluid was still on my legs), and changed into my swimsuit top and skirt in preparation for getting into the birthing pool (which Reuben was setting up).

Audra came down and started talking me through contractions and massaging my back. She and Reuben started putting pots of water on the stove to heat up - our water heater ran our of hot water before Reuben could fill the birthing pool.

More amniotic fluid came out with another contraction.

The water wasn't very warm, but I decided to get in the pool anyway. The pain was getting pretty intense. Just being in the lukewarm water helped a little.

I continued to have pushing contractions. I would grasp the side of the pool and either lean forward into the contraction or squat into it. Audra encouraged me to make low sounds as I pushed instead of panicked, high-pitched cries. All this time I wasn't sure if I should be pushing yet - was I dilated enough? But I HAD to push.

"Reuben, this is really hard," I said.

"I know, but it's worth it," he replied.

After a few more contractions I said, "I think he's going to come now!"

"That's okay," said Reuben firmly.

I could feel him crowning. I was a bit concerned because there was no sign of either of the midwives. But after a few pushes, James arrived at 11:35 PM.

"Is he alright?" I kept asking, holding his little body close. He didn't breathe right away, but he gave a short little cry.

Molly, my midwife's apprentice, arrived about 15 minutes after James was born. She said that James wasn't warm enough (I was still in the pool). We replaced the towel covering James with a fresh, dry one.

I birthed the placenta partially, but Molly said that there were some membranes still attached. She asked if it would be okay to give me a tincture. I asked Reuben what he thought, and he said he was fine with it.

After I finished birthing the placenta, it was time to move to the bed. I tried using the bathroom and taking a shower. I was shaking, but not from cold.

Rebekah checked James over and took his measurements. She mentioned that he was a "wet baby" - my labor had been so fast that there had been no time to squeeze the wetness out of his lungs!

After giving us some pointers on newborn care and making sure we were all settled in, Rebekah left.

And that's the story of my 3 1/2-hour labor. I have to say I much prefer the shorter, more intense labor. And I was so grateful that I wasn't up all night (though we didn't get to bed until around one in the morning).

Sadly, once again, labor was the easiest part of bringing this boy into the world. But that's a story for another day...


James Ezra | Birth Announcement

Helen + James

James Ezra

Born: Saturday, February 6 at 11:35 PM
Weight: 8 pounds 1 ounce Height: 21 inches

Stay tuned for the story of my super-fast labor!

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