Coming out of the fog of lack of sleep and pain medicine I think I am finally able to make it a few minutes to share our newest arrival.  Here he is Griffin John Nguyen Schnell born May 24, 2013 at 10:43 am. Measuring 6 lbs. 9.5 oz. and 19.75 in.


Where do I even begin… we knew the day long before it seemed possible and even then as it got closer I became more and more anxious about the surgery. If you remember my dream of a natural birth here turned into a very long day and something that at first I thought was disappointing but later knew that it was perfect for us.

Let me back track a bit I am a planner and a list maker and for weeks before his arrival I had made lists and plans and tackled a lot of things I wanted to to accomplish before I knew my time would be limited. So when the day before came and I had yet to see the Hubs take care of his share of list I became cranky and started to nag because I knew I wouldn’t feel “right” until everything was done and in its place. The night before I lay in bed, then got out of bed, then lay in bed, then out… I just couldn’t get comfortable and my mind just wasn’t able to settle down. I knew that I needed to get some rest because the next day even though we knew when the arrival would happen would most probably be long. Finally into bed and it felt like I had only been there two minutes before the alarm went off.

We headed to Nene’s (my mom’s) house to drop Archer off in the morning. My sister (Amanda) was going to watch the girls while my mom worked part of the day and then headed to the hospital. We arrived early and met the nurse that would be spending the rest of the day with us. After checking in and heading to our to be prepped all we could do was wait. I made sure the Hubs took one last picture of me pregnant as we did with Archer.


This is where the story takes a downward spiral (for the planner like me) because we were on time even early and now all we needed was to be monitored and for my fluids to get in. Well the nurse tried she really did and I warned her even but it took three tries for them to finally to get an IV started and even then they couldn’t use it for my blood draws so I had to get stuck twice more before the day was through. Once the IV was in things started to go quickly as they wanted me prepped and ready when Dr. Asdell arrived. Off we were to the OR where the numbing took place and all the other fun details. When all was set up they brought in the Hubs and began to get to work. I made a request to be able to see the surgery and they were able to maneuver the light so I could see in the reflection and know what was going on. My doc is a wonderful and talked me through the whole thing. And here is where the story turns into something that makes me appreciate life just a little bit more.

Once they had me opened up (which is totally cool by the way since they use a flexible retractor) they were able to see that getting this little man was no easy task. Thinking back to my last appointment my doc had guessed that he would be about 8 lbs., from the way I was carrying him and also based on our other pregnancy. Well they soon found out that this man was going to be easy (just like his sister) and be all the way up in my ribs.  We had thought his head was down and that he had dropped some time before but that wasn’t the case. She had to use a vacuum (called a Kiwi) to pull him down in order to get him out. Now I have always thought about horror stories when I hear about those being used in birth, but literally it took less than a minute. They popped his little body over the screen (but the Hubs wouldn’t take a pic of that) and announced that he was a tiny little one at 6 lbs. 9.5 oz. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and neither could Tyler. He had his eyes open and was only calmed when he was near one of us.

This is where the story takes another turn as this part should be part of the surgery where I am just focusing on my new little buddy, but I started to feel sick and was having trouble breathing so they gave me oxygen. Things were taking longer and I remember someone asking for a towel because my blood was pouring onto the floor. My doc quickly spoke to me how they were having trouble sewing my uterus shut and that there would be a lot of pressure. Time seemed to stand still for me and later I found out that it was 45 mins or more. And the craziness didn’t stop there… this week has been full of ups and downs with my health and pushing me to the limit of my sanity. But also with the overwhelming joy, happiness, and love knowing that my family is complete. Such a blessing.




Archer wasn’t so sure how she felt about all of it at first. She took a look a me in the hospital bed and was very confused.  But when she saw him she said baby and wanted to be able to touch him. She was very tired the first day that she met. Now that we are home she has been a great help. Getting things for him, kissing him, being very quiet when we are napping. I’m not going to say that everything is peachy keen but it sure has taken a lot of my fears and anxiety away to see how much she loves him already. It’s been great having the Hubs home to be with the family and help out. He has taken her on trips alone(zoo, bike rides, park, to work, the store) during the week and allowed me to hang out with her.




To be continued… surviving with two



I have been seeing here and there about a photo project where you take a portrait of your children or whatever else strikes your fancy once a week for 52 weeks (a whole year) and I instantly fell in love with it. Back in the Fall I took an online photography course where I got to learn how to get out of the AUTO setting of my camera and well since then I really haven’t used anything that I have learned so far. So when I saw this project and then got it in my mind to start a more low maintenance blog I thought this project would be perfect for me. I would have to touch base at least once a week, I would be sharpening my skills at taking pictures and I  would have a whole years worth of quality pictures. I have already been taking a picture a day and posting them on Instagram and from there I have made books of the year for Archer. You can find me on Instagram at ashleeschnell if you are interested 🙂 So here is week 1:


1/52 :  Her love of books has grown so much and now we are even allowing some that are not cardboard for her enjoyment. Her current love is BEST WORD BOOK EVER by Richard Scarry and it sees lots of use and gets constant questions for us to tell her what she is pointing at. (Our couch does have cushions, I was giving our house one final clean before the new babe and she loves the couch without the cushions)


1/52: Day 1 at being at home. My little man Griffin taking a snooze by my side after filling up on milk. Such a sweet love and a good eater. Each day is a joy to be near him.


1/52: Proud papa! Enjoying his little man while we were still at the hospital. Griffin calms right down when he is near him and is always alert when he hears him come into the room.


That hmm feeling

As I was heading to bed last night I couldn’t help but think that this was one of my last nights to get a full nights rest. Maybe that wasn’t the best thing to think about because that got the gears churning and I started thinking about why it would be one of my last nights and that turned into thinking about today and then that got me thinking…etc. As you can see my brain started working in overdrive and that isn’t the best thing to be doing when the whole intention of going to sleep is to get rest.

I hear quite often “we are just not ready” “maybe after I get my career together” “when we buy a bigger house” “when we own a house” so many reasons about why people don’t have kids and why they are waiting. The Hubs and I hadn’t known each other very long when we started dating, when we got engaged and then when we got married. We even didn’t wait very long before we knew we wanted to have kids. I remember the day as clearly as it is today the first time that we got pregnant. My brother was visiting and I woke him up to tell him that the test had said PREGNANT, but he made me take another and that one too said PREGNANT. But I also remember so clearly the weeks after that morning of heartache. And it was then that I fell into the category of not knowing if I was ready to be pregnant again. But that day when I realized that maybe I was pregnant again after eating a whole jar of pickles and almost a jar of salsa that I knew it would be perfect no matter if I was ready or not.

Fast forward nine months and Archer was in our lives. Our family of three was happy as we could be, making it through day to day without me working and just living our lives. Then comes her first birthday and I start questioning the idea if we are ready to add another addition to our family. Then a couple more months and I knew that if we wanted to her to have a sibling close in age that now would be the time. And well so we started to try and we tried and tried… things never seem to go easy for those that WANT something. I was almost to the point of just giving it up for awhile, it was hard to see the NO on the screen, it was hard hearing about others getting pregnant (especially those not trying), it was just getting straining on our family. And that is when we found out we were pregnant. And with both Archer and this little babe I knew that there was a risk and that the sooner I knew it was better.

Going into that first appointment I was so anxious. I couldn’t help but to cry because I just couldn’t bear to hear the news. But the news even though very early in our pregnancy (5 weeks) was wonderful. Fast forward another 9 months and a lot of ups and downs along the way. The in betweens were hard when I began questioning the timing and if I was truly ready to bring another life into our family. How would Archer feel? How would I feel about sharing my time with Archer? She had become such a HUGE part of our lives and now I was wanting to shove someone into her life whether she was aware of it or not.

In the last few months I have been able to see what a caring soul she has and it turned out to be a blessing that she has other cousins that were born before our little one. I was able to see her interact with babies, take care of her dolls (by mimicking me) and truly show how much she loves my growing bump with hugs and kisses. Does that mean she is ready? I’m not sure. Is she aware of what is happening? I think so. Kids no matter how young they are are more aware of what is going around them then what we give them credit for. Just look at how a baby reacts to your mood when you are holding them, they will tighten their bodies or even cry when they feel the stress or the uncertainty. Toddlers will bring you a tissue, give you a look of concern, or want to cuddle more if they see that you are upset.

Now the only question that is left is, am I ready? With less than 24 hours till we will arrive at the hospital and start the process to go into surgery I feel pulled in so many directions. I’m excited to greet our little one. I’m nervous about the surgery and the healing process (didn’t go quite as planned last time). I’m anxious to see how Archer will greet the babe. I’m stressed about the sleepless nights and then having to take care of a two-year old all day. I’m sad that I won’t get cuddle and rock Archer for awhile and that our play time will be limited. But I’m also happy to know that in a few months she will have a little one to play with, that in years to come she will have a best friend, someone to chat with in the backseat of the car and that our little family will have one more little body to love and cuddle. So if the question comes up if I’m ready, all I can say is that I am as ready as I ever will be because truly are we ever really (fully) ready for anything new that comes into our lives?

That hmm feeling

Remembering the past…

As we only have a day left until our new bundle of joy will be here I had to look back to the arrival of Archer:


Her= Archer. my joy, happiness, love and things that words cannot express…

finally 3

as I was saying it didn’t give me much time to really sit down and write about it all. so I would find myself making small notes on my IPhone so I could go back later and remember. I’m hoping to slowly tell my story and hers through all our moments that will never be undone.

where else to start but day one of my new life….mommyhood! the day before she arrived I had a doctor’s visit to have my stress test and ultrasound (conclusion: this little girl was too comfy and it was time to evict) I was past my due date and I was bound and determined to have her that day. it was a monday, rain was in the forecast and that meant my hubs wouldn’t have to be at work. I mustered up al my energy to raise a FIT so that this little girl would be meeting me and to my surprise my doctor wasn’t about to put up a fight. she calmly said it was getting late today (it was 11 am) so we would have to wait till tomorrow. UGH is all I could think…

  1. because I was so tired of trying to sleep and not being able to
  2. the 6 runs to the bathroom at night were beginning to be routine
  3. my ankles, feet and toes were becoming sausages
  4. the crazy baby dreams were starting to get strange and I do mean STRANGE
so I sucked up all my disappointment and made the earliest time possible to be induced the next day. I told my hubs we needed to have our last date without a babysitter and away we went (after 6 texts and 4 phone calls that is to prepare the family). we hit a matinee and one of my fav restaurants Barcelona Tapas. I gorged and enjoyed and made it to bed by 9, BUT I just couldn’t sleep.
we rose early in the morning (all the bags were packed plus the car) and arrived at the hospital at 6. jog back about 10 months and you would see this powerful, natural woman that wanted to have this baby the way God intended it to be done. I thought that being induced would just put a tiny strain in my plan but it ended up being more of a sprain and then a break and then well nothing is worse than that. they began the medicine by 7am and my water was broke by 9am and things just seemed to be very slow. I had to just sit in the bed waiting it all out because of the IV. everything I wanted was gone. after about 4 nurses and 5 hours I had about enough and that is when the pain set in. I continued to have this sharp pain in my right side and I asked if I could walk around… HA to the chair was my answer. SO I sat and it got worse. ALOT WORSE. 7cm and I had had enough and asked for the epidural. this was the first time the hubs had to go out of the room. after that things got rolling (my legs felt like when you sleep on your arm and you wake up and can toss it because it is so numb) my blood pressure kept dropping to the point I should be dying but nothing was wrong. I kept having contractions but they all thought they weren’t doing much.
it all took a change around 6pm. they checked me and I was fully dilated it was time to push. I could feel my legs more and I was so ready to see this baby girl. SO I pushed and pushed and well an hour and a half later things were still the same. the doc came in and I could see by her face that she was about to say a c-section. I was ready and told her let’s go just get her out. a few more this and thats and out the door I was being pushed into the OR… this is where things seemed to speed up as my body began to shiver and I was asked so many questions that now I know were routine. I started to cry because I knew this meant my birth story wouldn’t be the one that I wanted. it seemed only seconds later my hubs was by my side I was looking into the light above and could see the doc working and I kept asking questions and then there was silence as if everyone was waiting and I heard her first cry and yell. I couldn’t help but cry but I was quickly told that the work wasn’t over and only her head was out (doc said most babies don’t cry till their whole body is out). her cries filled the room and continued until she was nestled at my side. born may 3rd weighing 8 lbs. 5 oz. @ 8:20 pm Archer Quyen was born
together at last
Remembering the past…

It’s Your Birthday

FYI: This post first appeared on my other blog but I wanted to move it here because it represents what I am going for in this blog 🙂

May 3, 2011


Last night as I was thinking about writing this I started reflecting on the past year but all I could really focus on was the last week. This past week has been a hard one. You were/are sick and fighting so hard to be better, your temper and tantrums have hit their highest point, and your love for snuggles has grown. We have begun butting heads and I am realizing that even though you may look only like your daddy and his family, you have my spunk and personality with a little bit of his thrown in. I think that is why I have such a hard time with you because we both want it our way. But at night when you won’t go to sleep for your dad, when you want a little more cuddling and all I can do is oblige because it gives me those precious moments where I get to hold you just a little longer. Where your hand lays softly on my chest and you want my eye contact until you can no longer hold yours open. It is in those moments that I am glad I listened to the sayings that “time goes so fast” they grow up so fast” they will be old before you know it” because I have been able to spend almost every moment with you.

In this past year you have learned:  to walk, run, jump, shake hands, high-five, use the stairs, use the potty, hold hands in prayer, do your version of the sign of the cross, talk in sentences, show your glee, find the tiniest little ants and other bugs, drink from a cup, feed yourself, wash your face and hands, sleep in a big girl bed, put yourself to sleep at naps, almost dress yourself, water the plants, unload the dishwasher, draw with chalk, use a drill, give kisses and hugs, throw things in the trash and recycling, “read” books to us, make cheers with glasses, put on your shoes and socks, play peek-a-boo, use a vhs player, rock and swaddle your babies, use the rain barrel, spot an airplane in the sky, follow the squirrels through the trees, hold my hand when walking, eat an ice cream cone…

Just writing the title is bittersweet to me because I really no longer have a baby, especially when I see you growing and changing so quickly in front of me. Two years ago today you were born after a very long and then complicated delivery. And in a couple of weeks you will have a sibling. I really had a hard time deciding if another person in our family was right because I knew that meant that the time I have with you would be shared and I know that sometimes its hard to share. That our lives would be turned upside down again, our routines changed and our house a little fuller. But then your dad and I thought about how much you would like having another small person in the house. How as you grow older together you would get to play, laugh and maybe sometimes even fight but that person would become your best friend. Saying all of that I have to say that small person will take up a lot of my time and that will cause mommy some pain at first that won’t allow me to hold and rock you or to play as hard as you like but will also bring joy to your life. But this pain will only be temporary and that I will always still be here and you will always be my baby girl.

I love you baby girl! Happy Birthday 🙂



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It’s Your Birthday