Roen: 1 Month Old

On September 1st, our baby turned 1 month old!  It was the fastest, most surreal whirlwind-of-a-month of my life.  Here’s what our handsome little peanut is up to:

Roen - 1 one month old

things that happened during month 1:

Roen was born!
(of course)

He met three of his grandparents, his three uncles, his aunt and soon-to-be aunt, two great aunts and uncles, and a few of his (many) second cousins.

As a family of three, we went on lots of stroller walks, visited the farmers’ market, and went on other fun first outings.

Roen had 3 routine check-ups with his pediatrician and all were great.  He’s gaining weight (and eating) like a champ!
He went from 6 pounds 1 ounce to 7 pounds 12 ounces in less than 4 weeks.

At 1 month old, Roen…

wears newborn size clothing but is just about to upgrade to the 0-3 months size.

loves baths.

has beautiful, dark eyes which have yet to turn their permanent color.

is growing more and more alert each day (so fun).

gets kisses from his furry sister Zida whenever mom and dad turn their backs on them.

loves when daddy puts him in the “magic baby hold.”

smiles and laughs in his sleep, which is the best ever.

Jesse’s Birthday

This past Friday was Jesse’s 26th Birthday!

jesse, danica, roen - birthday

we look a bit like exhausted new parents here, huh? 

We celebrated with his dad and brothers who were all here visiting at the time.
With life being such a whirlwind lately, I hope Jesse felt loved on his day.

Jesse mark scott spencer roen - birthday

We spent time lounging at the pool, going for long walks by the lake, and eating delicious food (my father-in-law even made us all breakfast every morning).  We spent Saturday afternoon at a winery (my favorite part of the weekend) and the guys all went go-karting on Sunday.

family at winery

And, of course, there were lots and lots of cuddles with Roen.

roen and uncle spencer

roen and grandpa mark

We’re surrounded by blessings.

Postpartum Fitness {workout log: 8/23 – 8/29}

It’s no secret that I love to exercise.  It’s not only good for my physical health, of course, but I enjoy it because of how great it is for my mental health.  I was active all throughout my pregnancy, but the intensity and duration of each workout significantly lessened by the end since my body just required more and more rest.  Now that I’m in the postpartum stage, I’m excited to get back into regular, more challenging workouts again.

I feel good physically – no soreness for a couple of weeks now – and I can easily walk for a long time without being too fatigued.  That being said, I’m not about to go out for a 3-mile run quite yet.  My body has a ways to go first and I want to get there with one small step at a time (no pun intended).

I plan to go about this cautiously/wisely in order to do all I can to regain strength and prevent injuries.  I’m excited to be “a runner” again, but I’m not willing to try that out too early at the expense of my health (one very cute little baby relies on me now and I can’t afford to be out of commission).  I’m only 4 weeks from giving birth and since I didn’t run at all during my pregnancy or lift any weights the last 6 weeks, I want to make strength a priority first.

My plan:
-Start out/continue with regular walks with the stroller: 30-60 minutes, 4-5 times a week (ish).
-Do yoga/stretch several times a week.  I love Jillian Michael’s Yoga Meltdown video and I plan to use that to get back in the groove.
-Once I’ve gained a bit of strength from yoga and walking, add in some body weight strength training workouts a couple of times a week.
-At this point I’ll probably add in some weights to my strength training workouts and hopefully start running soon after.
-I don’t know what my capabilities will be with running until I get to that point, so I’ll figure that out when the time comes.
-I’d love to join a gym to participate in fitness classes at some point, but we’ll see if that becomes an option time- and budget-wise.

I’m so grateful for a healthy, capable body.

stroller walk

One of the biggest reasons I started this blog (4 years ago!?) was to record my progress with fitness and that included logging/sharing my weekly workouts.  Since I hope to see a lot of progress in this area once again over the next year+ I’ve decided to resume these posts.

Here are this past week’s workouts, week 1 of recording in this postpartum time:

Sunday, August 23rd
60-minute Walk with the stroller
(it’s safe to assume that every walk from here on out is with Roen in the stroller)

Monday, August 24th
90-minute Walk

Tuesday, August 25th
30-minute Walk

Wednesday, August 26th
60-minute Walk

Thursday, August 27th
rest day

Friday, August 28th
30-minute Walk

Saturday, August 29th
rest day

The First Couple of Weeks

Our sweet baby is over 2 weeks old already.  The time has all meshed together and totally flown by.  We’re adjusting to life with a newborn and learning more and more each day (not to mention falling more and more in love, too).  I’m so grateful Jesse is home on paternity leave during this precious time.  It’s priceless to experience all of this as a team.

Let’s catch up a bit on how things have been since August 1st…

Our Hospital Stay

We were in the hospital from the evening on August 1st until about 1pm on August 3rd.  We were more than ready to get home!  Our time at the hospital was fine, but I was operating on less than 9 hours of sleep in the past 3 nights combined (the night before Roen was born was interrupted with the start of labor) and I was just running on fumes.  It’s especially challenging to be patient with the constant nurse/doctor/cleaning staff/food delivery interruptions when you’re in that state ;)  Anyway, we happily brought our son (back) home that afternoon and it was a total breath of fresh air to be in our own space together.

I’ll also say that I totally had *a moment* when we got home.  I was holding Roen and we were showing him around our home (we know this is kind of silly because he’s a baby and all but it was still fun to give him a tour).  Once we got to our bedroom/bathroom though, I just stood in the spot he was born and sobbed.  I was just overwhelmed with emotions and told Jesse I just needed a minute.  It was completely surreal to be standing in that spot holding Roen, my healthy baby boy, after all we experienced for his birth.

baby Roen

Hospital - jesse and danica

Jesse & Roen

Jesse and Roen - coming home

Zida meets baby Roen


Our handsome boy is doing great!  He’s seen the pediatrician twice now and both check-ups went smoothly.  At his 2-week appointment, he weighed in at 6 pounds 7 ounces!  We weren’t surprised that he’d grown, but we were surprised at just how much – he gained 9 ounces in one week!  He’s eating like a champ and we seemed to both be in a good groove now with nursing.


Mommy, physically

My recovery has been good.  I was really sore for about the first week after Roen’s birth.  My bottom, my back (sore muscles after all that back labor), and my nipples (real life, people.) were all really sore, but after that first week I’ve hardly felt sore at all, anywhere.  My stomach has flattened out more than I anticipated, but it’s so…soft (that’s kind of how everything feels after having a baby) and I’m feeling really self-conscious about the stretch marks that appeared on my stomach after Roen was born.  That being said, I’m really happy with my recovery so far.  Some people made it seem like postpartum was something not far from a painful death, and while there were some rough moments after the birth, it’s been not a big deal at all.  Plus every bit of it is worth it for this little peanut.

Jesse, Zida, Roen, and I go on a 30-45 minute walk each day and I’m loving that for both my physical and mental health.

Jesse Danica Roen Zida walk

Mommy, mentally/emotionally

Hello, crazy postpartum emotions!  I figured you’d show up after my baby was born…

I alluded to the fact that Jesse and I are dealing with things regarding the care we received from the backup midwife during labor/birth, so there’s a lot of emotion surrounding that.  I know that Jesse and I are healing, so there’s definitely progress there.

One night I found myself crying and I just didn’t really know how to explain why – some combination of overwhelming love for Roen, sleep deprivation, and crazy hormones.  I did feel much better after shedding a few tears ;)

Sometime in the second week I think my hormones calmed down a bit because I’ve felt “normal” since, meaning things don’t make me quite so extreme on the emotional response scale.

Have I mentioned how full my heart is?!  so. much. love.

Danica and baby Roen


from Jesse:

Roen is just over 2 weeks old now, and he has been just the best baby.  In learning about parenting I read a lot about how it’s “by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever done” and “you won’t ever sleep again” or “it is an absolutely chaotic, impossible time” but I haven’t felt that way at all.  Of course it is difficult and of course my patience has been tested and stretched, but I’ve never felt like I’m drowning.  Maybe this is because Roen is abnormally happy and calm. Maybe this is because I have an amazing partner to raise this kid with. Maybe it’s because I was expecting it to be much harder than it actually has been; like when somebody tells you about the BEST. MOVIE. EVER. and when you watch it it seemed good, but didn’t meet expectations.  I really, really hope I do not have to eat my words on this.

Some of my favorite time spent with Roen is after he eats at around 10pm.  Normally at this time Danica goes to bed and Roen and I hang out until he’s hungry again.  This can be 15 minutes or 3 hours, by the way.  Most of this time he spends sleeping, but I love that when he’s fussy I can console him by holding and rocking him.  I’m learning a lot about how to raise him, and I hope that he’s learning who dad is.

Roen & Daddy/Jesse


Zida is adjusting well!  She wants to lick Roen any chance she gets, but she’s learning to just sniff and cuddle instead.  When he cries, Zida hurries to be near him, and when he’s “playing” on his mat on the floor, Zida always lays nearby.  She’s such a sweetheart.

Zida and baby Roen


My aunt, uncle, and three cousins were here from the 1st-5th – they were the first family members to meet Roen!  The timing of everything was pretty crazy.  We were SO grateful they were here when we were in the hospital with Roen because they were such a great help to our little family.  Hopefully they had fun doing some touristy things during their stay as well.

miests and Roen

My dad, mom, and sister arrived on the evening of the 3rd!  I started crying upon seeing my mom and dad, and then my sister walked in, too.  I had no idea she was coming to visit and it was the most wonderful surprise.  I sobbed upon seeing them – so many happy tears!
My dad and sister left on the 7th (or the 6th? days are hard.) and my mom stayed for another week.

Brooke and Roen

Roen, Grandma Kim and Grandpa Rich

My brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law arrived on the 10th and stayed until the 16th.  It was so fun to have them here!  Roen is sure lucky to have these awesome aunts and uncle in his life, and I’m so grateful he got to meet all of my immediate family so early on.
No words can describe how grateful we are for their visits.

Roen, Eli and Hannah

I can’t wait for Roen to meet Jesse’s immediate family in the coming weeks!

My Mom

This woman deserves a special shout-out.  She was here for a week and a half and I think we would’ve been a train wreck without her.  She was just so helpful with things around the house (cleaning, laundry, etc.), shopped for us (groceries, Target runs, etc.), comforting advice (“that’s nothing to worry about, he’s perfectly fine, I promise,” etc.), and loving to Roen, of course (he’s totally in love with his Grandma Kim already).  She even took me out for a pedicure one afternoon.  I’m sure there were many things she did that went unnoticed.  Jesse, Roen, and I love you so much, Mom!  Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts.

Danica, Roen, Grandma Kim

and the rest…

We’ve been on several outings with Roen and I think that’s been good for us all, though getting out with a newborn is something I have yet to navigate with a relaxed mindset.  He’s a champion traveler so far, I just get anxious about the timing of his eating and him needing to nurse when we’re out in public.  Time and experience will help us figure this out, I’m sure.

We even made it to the farmers’ market for Roen’s first weekend at home :)

Roen at the farmers' market

There’s no schedule for nighttime sleeping at this point (or eating for that matter), but it’s going alright.  We’re getting sleep in 2-3.5 hour chunks, typically, and Jesse and I sometimes nap during the daytime.  We’re a pretty good team, him and I.  I already love parenting with him.

And now this week we’re just soaking up the moments as a family.

Roen’s Birth Story

Ten days ago, Jesse and I met our sweet baby boy, and this is the story of my labor and birth that lead him to our arms.

This birth was not how we imagined it would be.  In fact, this was probably the one situation we didn’t think through ahead of time as a possibility.  That being said, Jesse and I are honestly very proud of ourselves because we did this essentially on our own – we used all that we learned in the past 9 months about labor and birth and we successfully brought a healthy baby into this world, by God’s grace.

There were some things that did not go as they should have – primarily due to the backup midwife we were in the care of at the time.  There are a lot of things we now know in hindsight and it would be easy to point fingers…
Please know that Jesse and I are dealing with all of that.
We want for us all to focus on the positives of this experience and to celebrate the joy of welcoming our healthy baby boy into our family.

So without further ado…


Roen’s Birth Story

On Friday, July 31st, Jesse and I went on our last pre-parenthood date night.  Since we had company coming on the 1st and would have someone here staying with us until late August (and then some after), we figured this was our last night truly alone – just the two of us – so we wanted to take advantage of that and have a fun night out together.  It was a special night, and as it turns out, we literally couldn’t have timed that “last night alone” any better than we did.

Jesse & Danica - last date night before baby

As I was heading to bed that night, around 12am, my lower back started to really ache.  I figured that it had been a long day and I just needed to get some sleep, that the ache would be gone in the morning.  Between 12 and 4:30am, I hardly slept more than 20 minutes at a time before waking up with an aching back and sore hips.  I was also having on and off light menstrual cramps, but these were nothing new (I’d been having them like this for weeks).

While my sleep certainly changed the further into my pregnancy I got, this was a very unusual night.  I finally got sick of trying to sleep when I ached that much so I just threw in the towel and went out into the living room at 4:30.  Jesse heard me leave the bedroom and came to check on me – he brought me a cold pack for my back and I told him to go back to sleep since I didn’t know what was really going on.

I sat around reading, playing around on my iPad, and stretching my muscles until 8am when Jesse woke up.  By this point my aches were a bit different – my lower back was consistently hurting, and then every so often I’d get a heavier “surge” of low back pain that would be accompanied by aching in my lower abdomen.

Jesse and I wondered if maybe this was the start of labor and the “surges” were contractions, so we started timing them. I was getting one surge every 7 minutes that lasted 30-50 seconds.  We were smiling at each other because we thought this might be the start of labor, but we also didn’t want to get too excited if it wasn’t.

We contacted our doula and the (backup) midwife at this time (our midwife was out of town that day).  Our doula suggested taking a bath and/or going for a walk – how I felt after each would help determine if it was true labor or not – and our backup midwife basically said that it sounded like maybe the baby was posterior and that was causing back pain, but she didn’t consider this labor, except maybe “pre labor” which could last for who knows how long.

I took a bath but it didn’t change my backaches or the surges at all, which seemed very telling that it probably was the beginning of labor.  Any other time during pregnancy when I had a backache and I took a bath, my pain would be relieved for at least a couple of hours.

Strangely though, we then went on a 30-minute walk and my surges actually went away, which indicated this might not be “real” labor.  My low back pain continued, but there weren’t any other visible symptoms of labor.  Needless to say, we were a bit confused about what my body was doing.  Since things slowed down on our walk, we figured that maybe this was just another “pregnancy thing” I’d be dealing with until I actually started labor.

When we got home from our walk, my lower back still ached but since I wasn’t getting any more surges, we started getting some things done around the house in preparation for our company that was arriving soon.  We filled in each our doula and the backup midwife at this time on how things were going – this was around 11am.

When I was making lunch around 12:30pm, the surges returned – they required me to stop what I was doing and breathe deeply through them, but they weren’t coming too frequently or even consistently.

By 2pm our company arrived.  My aunt, uncle, and three cousins spent some time hanging out with us, catching up on how their travels went.

By 3:30, my backache had intensified, the surges had returned, and our company decided it would be a good time to let Jesse and I be on our own for a bit – they headed down to the pool and then planned to go out for dinner after.

At this point, I laid down on the couch, on my side, and Jesse rubbed my back for a bit.  The surges were much stronger than earlier and I had to really focus to breathe through them and relax my body.  At about 3:50, I had a sudden urge to go to the bathroom and I quickly made a b-line for it.

When I went to the bathroom, I discovered I was dripping a bit of blood – I figured this was probably a normal sign of labor.

At 4pm, I lost my mucus plug.  I got so excited about this because I knew that, yes, this really was labor now!  I excitedly told Jesse and he relayed the update to our doula and the midwife.  All of us agreed that while this certainly meant labor was beginning, we had a long night ahead of us and should get some rest while labor slowly progresses.

By the time our phone conversations were over with, by 4:30, I started to get stronger back pain and heavier surges in my back and low abdomen.  At no point did I get contractions in the form I was told they would be – my stomach tightening from the top down – that just never happened to me until the very very end of my labor, like seconds before the baby was birthed.  I was also dripping blood with each contraction.

The contractions picked up quickly, both in frequency, length, and intensity.  I constantly felt like I needed to pee, so I pretty much stayed on the toilet as my back pain and surges grew stronger.   I distinctly remember thinking, “How can this be early labor?  I can hardly stand up or even take a deep breath during contractions!”

By 5pm, I asked Jesse to time what we now knew were, undoubtedly, contractions.  He was shocked to track they were less than 3 minutes apart, lasting almost 1-1.5 minutes each.  Again, he updated the midwife, but she repeated that this was early labor.  From my perspective, she seemed annoyed that we were calling her again.  My instincts just did NOT agree with her about where things were at with my labor.  Jesse also asked our doula to come to our home now since labor was obviously progressing quickly and we wanted her to be there for support and guidance.  She said she’d be there in an hour (this is the exact time frame we agreed upon, by the way – she was awesome about being available to us and ready to get to us as soon as we asked her to).

Between 5 and 6 my contractions grew so strong I could barely take it – I kept telling Jesse that my butt hurt so bad and it felt like my body was already pushing, whether I was going to help it or not.  It felt like I was literally going to split in half and the only way to ease that even the slightest during contractions was to push down with each contraction.

At one point, I was in the bathroom, bent over our storage cabinet during a contraction, and I told myself that maybe I just needed to get out of the bathroom, that I needed to get myself in a different environment, a different position, and that would help me breathe through the contractions better and lessen the intensity/pain.  I tried doing this as soon as the next contraction was over, but I only made it to the floor just outside of the bathroom door before the next one hit.  I laid there for a couple of contractions – on my left side, my feet both up on the side of the door frame, knees bent, the feeling of needing to push stronger with each contraction.  Jesse was on the floor beside me, doing what he could to comfort me, and I remember Zida pacing around the room – she was concerned about me, too.

Soon I was back in the bathroom again, on the toilet, and there was still blood dripping pretty consistently.

By 6pm, I told Jesse that no matter what the midwife said, we NEEDED to go to the hospital.  Things were very serious, I just knew this wasn’t “early labor,” this was the END of labor – we needed to be surrounded by our care providers SOON.

Jesse called the midwife to tell her all of this…I’m not going to share the details of that phone conversation, but I will say that it was disappointing.  So by this point I told Jesse that I didn’t care what she said anymore, we needed to get to the hospital (A hospital) because this baby was coming soon, whether the midwife thought so or not.  I was hurt by how the midwife acted (I still am – this is the stuff I said we’re dealing with), but unfortunately, it doesn’t do any good to point fingers at this point.  I just knew that we were pretty much on our own and we needed to do what we needed to do.

Jesse also contacted our doula – I talked to her on the phone as well as I could between/during contractions, and because of how I described everything to her (and the sounds she heard me making during the contractions) she knew that I was already pushing.  She said that she wasn’t coming to our house, that she needed to meet us at the hospital.  She understood that things were very serious.

Jesse began rushing around the apartment, throwing in our last minute items into the hospital bag.  He also called my aunt because I said I needed her to ride in the back seat with me – I hurt too much to be back there alone.

Sometime around 6:35, the pain was so intense and I was having to push so much…I started to feel a burning sensation.  I knew that “the ring of fire” was when the baby crowns so I immediately felt down there, only to come upon something that I knew wasn’t mine.  I yelled for Jesse and told him I thought the baby was coming out, that I swore he was “right there” – I needed him to look.  He squatted down to check, and I’ll never forget his face when he looked back up at me.  “I see his head.”

I suddenly came to terms with the fact that we were having this baby immediately, right here, right in our bathroom, on our own.  I told Jesse to call 911 NOW.

I grabbed a big towel out of the cabinet and threw it onto the bathroom floor.  I tried to sit down to be in a reclined pushing position (grabbing behind my knees, rounding my back), but that was terribly uncomfortable so I quickly stood back up.  I propped one foot up onto the counter so I could push in a squat with the next contraction, and that’s when I glanced at the mirror – I could see the top of the baby’s head.

Jesse came back in and was on the phone with the dispatcher who was telling him what to do.  The dispatcher was great, but I’m not sure his advice was really what we followed – I was just acting on instinct at this point and doing what my body needed me to do.
I remember Jesse saying “Am I going to deliver the baby right here?!”  To which the dispatcher responded, “Yes, you are.”  When we talk about this part of the story now, Jesse says that when I told him to call 911, he assumed paramedics would arrive and deliver the baby, whereas I wanted him to call 911 because I figured we were having this baby on our own and we would need to be brought to a hospital as soon as possible afterward.

With the next contraction, I squatted and pushed, and with that one push, the baby’s entire head popped out.  Jesse’s hand was on the top of the baby’s head, and with the next half-hearted push a few seconds later, at 6:45pm, the rest of our baby was born.

I squatted/sat down as the baby came out and Jesse lowered his head as the baby landed on the towel and I sat down just behind him.  I knew that the baby needed to be on my chest immediately, so I quickly took off my shirt and bra, wiped off his little face, particularly his nose and mouth area, and put him against my chest.  He looked SO good and started to fuss a bit – I knew at this point we were all going to be okay.

In the meantime, Jesse, who was still on the phone with the dispatcher, quickly ran to get a shoe, took out its lace, and tied it around the umbilical cord.  I sat there on the floor, rocking our baby, crying while saying over and over again, “Oh my God!!  We just had our baby!  He’s here!  He’s okay!  We’re all going to be okay!  Thank you, God!!”

Within a minute, the paramedics and some firemen walked into our bedroom.  They were really awesome through the whole thing.  We could tell they didn’t expect the baby to be born already though by the looks on their faces.  They first helped me up off the floor and over onto our bed.  I sat there with Roen on my chest while they checked his and my vitals – all were good.  At this point, other EMTs had rolled in a stretcher and I was soon moved over to that.  We made our way out into the ambulance but no one was rushing, which was a very good sign, and the lights weren’t on in the ambulance or anything on our trip to the nearby hospital.  This wasn’t the hospital we planned to birth at, it was a place we’d never even stepped foot into, but it was where we needed to be taken.

We made our final decision about his name on our drive to the hospital in the ambulance…

Roen Jay Buss

Once we were brought to a L&D room at the hospital, our room quickly filled up with all kinds of people asking what felt like a million questions at once.  Jesse and I were still trying to wrap our heads around what was happening (we’re still kind of doing this) and were trying to soak up the sight of our brand new baby boy.

Jesse, Danica, and baby Roen

We were apparently the talk of the L&D floor that night – everyone that came into our room heard about what happened to us.

I delivered the placenta once we got to the hospital, with the doctor’s guidance, and then I had to get some stitching for 2 small minor tears.  I was terrified of tearing beforehand but at this point it was no big deal and I didn’t think twice about it – I had just gone through labor and birth, a few stitches seemed innocuous.

Roen was checked over and declared perfectly healthy.  We were all overwhelmed with how things played out and yet our hearts were just full of happiness and gratitude because we were being taken care of and knew everything was okay.

I (clearly) didn’t receive any medications for the labor or birth, I received a local anesthesia for the stitches, and I declined all pain medications postpartum.  One positive thing about having this labor at home was that, while it hurt like hell for several hours, there was no opportunity for me to get anxious about being in a hospital setting or for pain meds to be any possible option – I was determined all along to handle this ‘pain with a purpose’ all along and I’m thankful I got to do just that.  I don’t know that I’ve ever done a better job of “listening to my body” than I did during that labor and delivery.

Breastfeeding started off great and my milk, to my surprise, came in just 24 hours after Roen was born, in full force.  We were visited by an awesome lactation consultant on Monday morning, and between hearing our fast birth story and seeing how much milk I had already, she told me my “body was just made to have babies!”  I wasn’t sure how to take that but I figured it was a compliment in some manner.  Her comment certainly reminded me that my body had just done incredible things, and I’m so grateful for its good health through it all.

We spent two nights in the hospital and we brought Roen (back) home in the early afternoon on Monday, August 3rd.


We now own a copy of the 911 call Jesse made during the birth of our son.  And as I look back on this story, which I’ve now retold many times to family and friends, I still can’t get over how it all happened so quickly.

There are a lot of things that, in hindsight, look apparent to me now:

  • I believe my labor started at midnight on Friday night/Saturday morning.
  • The “surges” I was having throughout the day were, without a doubt, contractions.
  • Back labor is totally a thing that happens to women, and while I didn’t realize this, the on-call midwife surely should have recognized it (along with other signs throughout the day).
  • No one knows my body better than I do, and if I hadn’t paid close attention to all of the cues it was giving me and trusted that it was doing exactly what it needed to, I’m certain I would’ve panicked and who knows what could’ve happened because of that.  I’m really proud of how I worked through the pain and how I communicated with Jesse during the labor.

Jesse was ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE for this whole experience – I don’t know what I would’ve done without him.  He was calm, strong, brave, and just handled everything perfectly.  I can’t put into words how grateful I am to have him by my side.  Not many dads can say they helped deliver their baby either.

We are a bit disappointed that we didn’t get the “full experience” of labor (or what we thought it would be like anyway) and that we didn’t get to have our birth team there for it all.

However, I don’t even know how to describe how grateful I am for all of the learning and preparation we did during this pregnancy.  There were countless moments during my labor that I used information I learned (from either our Bradley classes, books I’d read, experiences of other women, and knowledge from our doula or our midwife) and I’m certain its why I trusted my body, worked with my body, and never panicked that we were in danger during the labor.  I knew that while things were happening on an escalated time table, everything that was happening with my body was expected, normal, and helpful for the birth.  I truly believe that if we hadn’t learned all that we did, we wouldn’t have known how to handle the immediacy of the situation and things could have been disastrous if I had tried to fight what my body was doing or didn’t implement what I knew needed to be done to keep the baby safe.

I had a list of “birth affirmations” prepared for my doula to read to me during labor, but considering the circumstances, there was just one that I kept repeating (probably hundreds of times) in my head…”I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  Any moment I had to pray during that labor, I prayed for God’s wisdom and provision, for our baby and for us.  As you can imagine, I’m overwhelmingly grateful…

When I imagined meeting our baby for the first time, you can bet everything that the scene looked different than the one that actually played out.  And yet, the moment Roen was born, when I looked at his cute face, his quivering lips, and saw his little chest rise and fall with the first sounds he made, when I looked into the teary eyes of my incredible husband, in awe of the baby in my arms, I knew that was the exact moment I’d been waiting for my whole life.

baby Roen -

Third Trimester Recap

I was planning to share this post on my due date/the 40-week mark on August 4th, but as you all know, Roen arrived a few days early!  I still wanted to publish this post though since it was fun to track the third and final semester as I went through it.

In a few days, I’ll share Roen’s birth story!  I can tell you right now it’s going to be a long post about a very short labor with a very unexpected ending.

27 weeks pregnant - baby shower

Week 27

Baby is the size of a Rutabaga:

  • We just flew home to MN for our last pre-baby trip!  Traveling went really well, it was just tiring and I didn’t enjoy sitting for so much of the day.
  • I was a bridesmaid in my friend Hannah’s wedding.  I felt honored to be involved in her and Ethan’s big day.  We’re so happy for them!
  • My sister and mom threw me a baby shower!  This was an incredible day that I know I’ll never forget.  I’m so grateful for all of the women in my life who showed up to support me, and the motherly examples I’ve been blessed with throughout my life will certainly influence my own parenting.  I just laid in bed that night feeling overwhelmingly grateful to God for this blessing of a baby.
  • Overall, I’m feeling big but good!  My mother assures me this “big” feeling will only grow, literally, in these final 3 months.

Jesse & Danica - hannah's wedding dance

Week 28

Baby is the size of an Eggplant:

  • Since we aren’t sleeping at home (still in MN) my hips are hurting a lot every night and for a good hour or more after I wake up.  I’ve tried using a body pillow to get my one leg elevated and my hips more squared up, but apparently it doesn’t work as quite as well as the Snoogle – that thing was such a great purchase.
  • I got my glucose screening test results back and everything looked great!  My midwife said that my iron levels are so good that it’s possible I won’t even need a hep-lock (much less an IV) for this birth.  yay!
  • I was once again reminded of just how awesome and important chiropractic care is, especially during pregnancy.  I traveled with basically no tailbone pain and my headaches are very few and far between, plus quite mild when they do occur.
  • A few people commented to me that I’m “all belly,” which isn’t true, but I’m not going to lie, it’s a very nice compliment to receive when you feel a bit like a hippopotamus (dramatic).

Week 29

Baby is the size of an Acorn Squash:

  • My appetite has skyrocketed again – I’m hungry ALL the time and eating every 2 hours or so.  When I woke up for my routine 3am pee the other night, my stomach was growling, and I had eaten very close to bed the night before.  I’ve kept “emergency” snacks on my nightstand ever since (it’s like the first trimester on repeat).
  • My gums are still pretty sensitive.
  • While walking has consistently been my main exercise, my pace has certainly slowed.  That extra weight in front is becoming more and more noticeable to me!
  • Even though sleeping with my Snoogle pillow helps a lot, I’m still getting sore hips from sleeping.  It doesn’t really interrupt my sleep, I’m just uncomfortable for a while after waking up.
  • Overall, I’m feeling really good!

30 weeks pregnant

Week 30

Baby is the size of a Cucumber:

  • Our 30-week appointment with our midwife went well – my weight gain is on track, my belly is measuring right, I had a good blood pressure reading, my urine tests were normal (I do a self-check by doing the dip stick thing at every appt.), and baby boy’s heart rate was strong and perfect at 140bpm.
  • I have (what feels like) a hundred dreams every night.  Sometimes they’re strangely realistic and other times they’re just totally off-the-wall weird.
  • My fingernails are growing so fast!
  • Food craving = hummus
  • Workouts completed: 2 strength training workouts, 5 walks, a little time on the stationary bike, and lots of stretching

Week 31

Baby is the size of a Pineapple:

  • How did we go from a cucumber to a pineapple?!
  • Baby boy gets the hiccups at least 5 times every day!  He’s definitely Jesse’s son.  (Jesse gets the hiccups about 10 times every single day, but he’s become so good at getting rid of them, each “episode” only usually lasts a hiccup or two.  He’ll need to teach this little boy that same trick if this continues after he’s born.)
  • Overall I’m feeling really well – I’m thankful to be walking each day for some exercise and to be working, even though that’s becoming more and more exhausting all the time.
  • I’m feeling anxious about having “all that we need” before baby arrives!  The fact that we have a move to make before then probably adds to the anxiousness.

32 weeks pregnant

Week 32

Baby is the size of a Squash:

  • This was a rough week…my back hurt terribly.  We had a bit of a scare one day because I had some menstrual-type cramps + bad lower back pain, but thankfully, after a lot of rest, the cramps went away and we (us and our midwife) weren’t concerned it was preterm labor.
  • I posted a Bumpdate with more info!

Week 33

Baby is the size of a Durian:

  • If you’re wondering what the heck a durian is, you’re not alone.  I had to look it up because it was completely new to me – description here.
  • I had two chiropractic adjustments during this week and one prenatal massage – both were incredibly helpful for my sore back!
  • Not that I eat Chinese food often, but the thought of it currently makes me want to vomit.
  • Exercise is becoming much lighter – fewer, shorter sessions.  With my sore back due to this growing belly, exercise just seems to trigger the aches (I wrongly assumed it would actually do the opposite and help).  While I may need the exercise mentally, I’m learning that keeping my physical state as healthy as possible (which apparently means lots of rest right now), is what’s best for the baby.
  • ICED TEA.  I’ve wanted it every day for the past couple of weeks. (I save it for the weekends though just to avoid getting too much caffeine and spending too much money on it).

34 weeks pregnant

Week 34

Baby is the size of a Butternut Squash:

  • My teeth and gums have been sensitive this whole pregnancy, but they seem extra sensitive this week.
  • My back is feeling SO much better – all thanks to a little extra rest, chiropractic adjustments (getting one every week and a half or so), and that prenatal massage last week helped a ton.  Life is just better when your back doesn’t ache constantly!
  • My feet do ache if I’m on them too long, but I’m learning my limits and know that even if mentally I feel up to do things, sometimes I just physically can’t right now.  (and that’s okay!)

Week 35

Baby is the size of a Coconut:

  • This week we moved to a new apartment in a different city.  The packing, moving, and then unpacking was certainly exhausting, but I’m so glad everything went well overall.  We like our new place a lot!
  • A few stretch marks decided to make their appearance…bleh.
  • Craving fresh peaches and eating one every day.
  • My “workouts” pretty much entail unpacking and stretching some each day.  Doing much more than that and I start to not feel well.
  • We had an ultrasound and baby boy is HEAD DOWN!  And we confirmed he is, in fact, a he ;)  It was all great news.

36 weeks pregnant

Week 36

Baby is the size of a Honeydew:

  • We had an appointment with our midwife and doula to go over our birth plan all together and it was such a great meeting.  I feel so confident and comfortable with the “birth team” we have in place and I’m so grateful that we have people surrounding us that we fully trust with our baby’s and my care.
  • We’ll now have weekly appointments with our midwife until I deliver.
  • I have the craziest of dreams every single night.  For most of them, I only remember what happened immediately upon waking, but there are a few nightmares that I remember later – they’re all insane and it’s making me feel like I’m going crazy.  Maybe it’s hormones causing them??
  • Even with company here all week and extra walking/activity, my back has felt good!
  • SWIMMING is my new favorite workout (I practically weigh nothing in that pool ;)

Week 37

Baby is the size of a Winter Melon:

  • This week I started getting menstrual-like cramps off and on – nothing consistent and they weren’t necessarily getting stronger as time went on, so I wasn’t concerned it was the start of labor.  Regardless of just how much water I got and how much I rested, they persisted every day this week.  My midwife and I are just assuming it’s my body’s way of preparing for labor since there are no other symptoms and everything with the baby looks just fine.
  • We had company here this week so I was doing more moving around than I otherwise would have, but I was fine through it all – I could just tell when I’d hit my limit for the day and needed to sit or lay down for a bit.
  • I want to eat a BLT every day (and practically have).
  • Our hospital bags are packed!

37 weeks 5 days pregnant

Week 38

Baby is the size of a Pumpkin:

  • According to my midwife, the baby has lowered a bit since the previous week.  Ultimately, this doesn’t mean anything in regards to when I’ll go into labor, but it’s cool to know since it’s part of the process!
  • I’m feeling extreme exhaustion – it’s practically embarrassing just what little things wear me out.
  • Experiencing a lot of low pressure, particularly when I’m up and moving around.  One day I was grocery shopping and it felt like the baby was literally going to fall out of me.  Obviously I knew that wasn’t going to happen, but I kid you not, the pressure was so heavy that’s all I was thinking.
  • Also while out grocery shopping, a woman came up to me and asked if this was my first baby and if I had ever heard of MOPS.  Inside I freaked out because just the day before I was searching online for MOPS groups here but didn’t really know how to go about it.  This was totally a “God thing!”  I talked to her for a few minutes and she gave me her MOPS group card that contained all the information I need.  I don’t think she had any idea just how much I appreciated her doing that.
  • We installed the car seat!

38 weeks pregnant

Week 39

Baby is the size of a Watermelon:

  • Overall, I’ve felt really good this week!  Certainly tired/worn out easily, but no major “problems” going on or anything (edited to add: until day 4 of this week when things quickly changed…).  I’m still having menstrual-like cramps off and on throughout the day.
  • I literally drink a minimum of 14 glasses of water a day, plus I usually have either some tea or sparkling water, plus there’s water from fruits and veggies.  It’s feeling a little absurd.
  • We officially have all of the baby’s room furniture set up and the room is pretty much put together.  I love spending time in there imagining what life will be like with our son here in our arms.
  • Jesse and I had our last pre-parenthood date night, and just in the nick of time.
  • Our baby boy was born!!!  Birth story coming soon!

He’s Here!

Jesse and I are thrilled to share that our baby boy is here!

Jesse, Danica, and baby Roen

Roen Jay Buss

He arrived on August 1st at 6:45pm, weighing 6 pounds 1 ounce and was 19 3/4 inches long.
He’s healthy and the cutest thing we’ve ever laid eyes on :)

baby Roen

I can’t wait to share his birth story – it’s absolutely unbelievable.
teaser: things were (insanely) fast and furious and Roen made his arrival in a way we never even considered a possibility.

So far, he’s a champion eater, good sleeper, and incredible snuggler.

baby Roen -

We came home yesterday afternoon and are enjoying this new phase of life.  We’re feeling blessed beyond measure and simply grateful for this baby boy.

Patiently waiting for baby…

I’ll answer everyone’s #1 question first:  No, baby has not made his appearance yet ;)

I love how many guesses there are on the baby birth day post!  There’s still a little time to make your prediction if you haven’t yet.  I have to say though, I can’t believe how few of you guessed he’ll be born after the due date.  Like I’ve said from the beginning, I’d be shocked if he arrived before August 4th, and I’m still guessing he’ll make his appearance between the 7th and the 12th.  That being said, I’d be thrilled if he came sooner!

While we’re officially on “baby watch,” I don’t feel (at all) like I’m just sitting around waiting for contractions to start.  Between company and trying to get everything done I hope to before the baby is born, I’ve felt plenty busy.  Unabashedly, I’ve also spent some time just hanging out poolside this week.  I figure I may as well enjoy these last few days of simple, quiet me-time (plus it helps keep me cool – it’s been so hot here).

haircut pre-baby

Yesterday I got my haircut.  I obviously know that life after baby doesn’t mean I’m stuck in my house unable to do anything ever again, but it seemed like a smart choice to get it trimmed before these next few months are consumed by adjusting to life with a newborn.  Plus it was really fun to be pampered for an hour while chatting with the stylist all things pregnancy/childbirth/parenting :)

Jesse assembling baby furniture

I swear to you that seeing your husband building furniture for your baby’s room makes him sexy in a whole new way.

Speaking of Jesse…Our friend Hannah, who got married back in May, recently sent me these pictures her photographer captured of Jesse and I dancing at the reception, to “Jessie’s Girl” nonetheless.  I think they’re pretty cute.

Jesse & Danica, wedding dance

Jesse & Danica - hannah's wedding dance

This afternoon I’m making the rest of the freezer meals I planned on – we don’t have a large freezer but it’ll be full after today.  I hope the food is as helpful as I imagine it will be, particularly when our company is gone.

My “nesting” phase definitely applies to food, too.

Along with those freezer meals, I’ve been stocking our pantry with foods like oats, nuts/seeds, nut butters, etc.  A lot of it was ordered from Thrive Market – I’m so impressed with the site’s products and prices.

thrive market order

We have company arriving on Saturday morning and then someone from our families will be here until mid-August.  We’re looking forward to having loved ones here during this special time!  I’m hoping everyone gets a chance to meet him, meaning he isn’t two+ weeks overdue ;)

Since we’ll have people here for weeks, Jesse and I are also planning to go on our last pre-parenthood date night on Friday.  That whole idea seems surreal…I’m excited to spend the night out together!

I don’t know how often I’ll be popping in between now and when the baby is born because that all depends on when he arrives.  I promise though that I will be sharing the announcement here on the blog, so stay tuned!

Baby Buss’ Birth Day Predictions {giveaway!}

I hope you had a great weekend!  We spent most of our Saturday in Berkeley.  I had a health coaching session there, Jesse and I then got lunch, and later in the afternoon we attended a “refresher course” for our Bradley Method classes since we took them a bit earlier than most people.  It was a great time to chat with our instructor, catch up, and just review things we haven’t thought about for a while.  On Sunday we tried a new-to-us church (it was quite disappointing, unfortunately, but highlighted how much better-fit-for-us the previous church we visited is), assembled the baby’s crib(!), spent some time at the pool, and put together the bookshelf we received for the baby’s room.  All baby furniture is now assembled except for the glider we ordered, which should arrive the first half of this week.  I just stood in the baby’s room last night with a big smile on my face – I can’t wait for him to be here!

38.5 weeks pregnant

I’ll be 39 weeks tomorrow, and as we’re all aware, baby could make his appearance any day now.  Jesse and I are trying hard to be patient but it’s not easy.  I think our family is officially on baby watch now, too :)

I thought it would be fun to make a little “bet” out of WHEN he’ll arrive…so…

I’d love for each of you to make your prediction in the comments below!

  • the DATE of when he’ll be born

  • the TIME of day he’ll be born

  • and his WEIGHT

  • bonus: if you feel like guessing a name, that would be especially fun…we also haven’t decided for sure yet so we’re open to suggestions :)

If you can help it, try not to guess the exact same thing as someone else.

Anyone can enter!  Family, friends, blog readers of all kinds.  The more that comment with a guess the more fun this will be :)

Whoever makes the closest guess will win a prize from yours truly.

I can’t say *exactly* what I’m going to send yet because it’s going to vary a bit depending on who wins.  I’d love to mail a package of some of my favorite (food) things from either Thrive Market or Swanson Vitamins, but it may be something else like a gift card to Trader Joe’s or Target, a baby gift if you have a baby on the way, or even a stack of my favorite books if I know you love to read – something tailored to you that I think you’d like!

Predict away!!

A Handful of Great Summer Reads {book reviews}

Happy Friday!

Since we have another break in having company, Jesse and I are back at assembling baby furniture.  Last night we assembled his little dresser – it turned out so cute.  Now today I can start putting the baby’s little clothes in it so they aren’t just scattered all over the floor.

We’re not doing an all-out nursery like some people do (paint, theme, etc.), but we are putting everything together for the baby’s room.  If it’s all done with before the baby is born, I’ll definitely do a little post sharing the look of the room and the pieces we chose to get.  If it’s doesn’t get totally done before the baby arrives, I can’t promise anything.  Either way, I’m excited to have it all organized :)


There are a few more books I’ve read this summer that I wanted to recap on the blog in case anyone is looking for a good weekend/vacation read or something to add to their to-read list.

Here are a handful I recently finished…

the midwife of hope river by patricia harman

The Midwife of Hope River
by Patricia Harman


I really enjoyed this novel.  It was so interesting to read about how midwifery and childbirth were approached during the 1920s and 30s.  I thought the author did a great job of making the story a balance between midwifery and the other major issues in the South during that era, including how those problems affected the midwife’s “practice.”  It was a pretty quick read and I plan to also check out the sequel (plus Patricia Harman’s other books) sometime soon.

the christian atheist by craig groeschel

The Christian Atheist
by Craig Groeschel


This was truly one of the greatest faith-related books I’ve ever read, and I can’t recommend it enough.  The author was real and honest and shared so much unhindered truth about what it means to really be a Christian.  It was humbling without being a bit condemning.  This is one of those books that, upon finishing it, I wanted to buy a copy for everyone I know.  Also, I’m pretty sure I would benefit from reading this once a year for the rest of my life.


You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream
by Holley Gerth


If you’re contemplating your dream in life (God’s dream for you), to any capacity, this is a good book for you.  Whenever I read a book by Holley Gerth it truly feels like she’s having a conversation with me and practically giving me a big hug and friendly smile at the same time.  She’s so gentle and truthful with her words.  I enjoyed this book, but I will say that I loved this book of hers a lot more.

fly a little higher by laura sobiech

Fly a Little Higher
by Laura Sobiech


It took me a couple of chapters to really get into this story, but once I did I fell in love with this family.  Laura Sobiech is an incredible woman who lead her son and her family through an incredibly challenging time.  I found a lot of encouragement from her story, and it was easy to see how God worked through her son Zach and their entire family – He can always turn a terrible situation into something beautiful.  It was a really great book and I certainly recommend it, just maybe have a tissue around for the final chapter.

the nesting place by myquillyn smith

The Nesting Place
by Myquillyn Smith


This was really fun to read right after moving into our new apartment.  The pictures and design of this book in and of itself are beautiful.  Mostly, I loved how the author explained the reasons for making your home your own.  There were great tips for decorating without overspending on anything (she does everything on a very small budget, which is awesome) and gave solid advice that easily spills over into other areas of life.  I’ve never considered myself a decorator (primarily because it’s just not an interest of mine), but I still found this book to be refreshing, entertaining, and it gave me some good things to think about in regards to my home, my family, my faith, and my actions.


If you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to know what you thought of them!

Wishing you a sunny weekend!