The Halfway Mark

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In 2 short weeks, Harvey will be 6 months old. What?! Halfway through his first year?! I don’t understand how this could possibly be the case… but alas, it most certainly is.

I recently told Nick that I thought I couldn’t love Harvey any more than I did the day he was born… and that sometimes I simply cry to myself when I really sit and try to measure the love in my heart. It feels as if, at any point, it could physically burst. That is a big love to carry around… a big weight on my body. But, it’s the best possible feeling in the whole entire world. Yesterday was a magical moment for me because I got to recognize that feeling in the faces of my dear friends, who just had their first baby. As soon as I saw him in their arms, and the way they looked at him, I realized that this is only something you can understand when you’ve been on the other side of it. It is other-worldly. I burst into tears of joy for them and their sweet, fuzzy little one. I knew the way they were smelling him, feeling him, loving him for the first time, and it brought me back to the early days with Harvey. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to freeze time in its tracks.

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He has changed so much in the past few weeks. He can sit up, roll over (both ways), and is really trying hard to move! He spins himself around in circles when he is in his crib… yes, I said crib!! We have successfully sleep-trained him for naps – and we owe a special thank you to Ms. Rochelle, his childcare provider, for help with that. We still co-sleep at night, but are moving away from that in the next few weeks, since he has mastered nap time now.

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Harvey eats baby oatmeal, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, avocado, and well… anything really. We are taking the “baby-led weening” approach (BTW) and so far, so good! He really loves sitting at the dinner table and eating with us, it’s so freaking adorable.

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My school year is off to an amazing start. I have some pretty incredible kids this year, and they are all so curious and sweet when asking about Harvey! I love sharing stories and pictures with them. Pumping at work is … annoying, but obviously worth it. It has become a chore that I consider a part of my work duties, like grading papers… and trying to stay ahead of/on top of Harvey’s demand is intimidating, but something that I have been able to manage thus far. He can hold his own bottle of mama’s milk now – which makes him seem so grown up!!

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I have lots of favorite “parts of my day” but there are three in particular I wanted to share with y’all. The first is when the three of us wake up together, and have a big family kiss and hug. Harvey is a bright, shining ball of sunshine in the mornings, and I try and soak in as much of it as I can before I head in to work. The second is when Nick shares their morning activities with me. He has about 1-2 hours with Harvey each day before taking him to Ms. Rochelle’s house, and the bonding that they’ve experienced as a result truly melts my heart. Nick sends me pictures of Harvey hanging out in his bouncy seat while Nick showers, the outfits he picks out for him each day, and the playtime they have in Harvey’s new “playroom” downstairs. I watch the videos over and over, and stare at the pictures during my planning period. How did I get so lucky? Nick earns his title as “the world’s best dad” every single day, over and over, and I have to pinch myself sometimes when I think about my fortunate life. The third best part of my day is when I walk through the door at Ms. Rochelle’s, and Harvey gives me that big, toothless, smile as I pick him up and squeeze him. It will never get old.

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The Fourth Trimester

Wow. I can’t believe it! Harvey is 12 weeks old, as of yesterday, and our 4th trimester is over! What a doozy. I wish I had the time and energy to write about every single moment… but time and energy are sparse these days (I’ll tell you why at the end of this post).

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Some of the highlights:

Harvey is a smiley dude. I knew that when my nugget started smiling (and occasionally laughing) it would bring me joy… but nobody told me it would MELT MY HEART over and over again. I can’t get enough of it! I’ve found myself doing all kinds of ridiculous things to see that toothless grin of his. Every time it happens, I feel as if I am enjoying a special moment in time that forever bonds us together.

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Harvey loves his jumperoo. I decided to put it together a few weeks ago, when I realized that his head control was really good, and he has had so much fun figuring that thing out. The other reason I put it together is because he loves pushing down with his legs (as if he is ready to stand up) and I thought it would be a great way to practice that. I did find… however… that his favorite time to poop is while he’s in the jungle jumperoo… so Nick and I have spent a little time cleaning not 1, not 2… but 3 “blowouts” up from that thing. Also, I realize, that it might not be the jumperoo that he likes, as much as the pooping part… haha!

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Harvey loves to travel. We went to Philadelphia a few weeks ago to visit some friends, and Harvey flew like a champ. He literally didn’t make a peep the entire time, and it really gave us some confidence before we embark on a much longer flight to Seattle later this summer. We also head to the beach with my family on Saturday and I cannot WAIT to put his little feet in the ocean for the first time! Hopefully, he will like it better than he liked his feet in the Eno River.

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Some of the lowlights:

Alright, I am going to simplify this story as much as possible… but I want you to understand that when it happened, I was f***ing devastated. I have been pumping once a day, since Harvey was born, to help keep a good supply of milk, and to start storing some away for when I have to go back to work in August. Well… a few days ago, our freezer (which is brand new) decided to die (we will NEVER buy Samsung products EVER again) and I therefor lost over 100oz of frozen breastmilk in the process. Holy s***. I had no idea that I would feel the pain and anger and frustration and sorrow that I felt if that were to ever happen to me. Pumping is not easy. It’s annoying, time consuming, and flat-out lame… but you do it for you baby, especially if you’re a working mom. When I lost all of that hard work, I sobbed as I had to pour it down the drain. What a waste. I also read lots of stories from women who had similar experiences… sometimes losing things like 500oz or 1,000oz when their power went out, etc. In reading those stories, and doing more research on my own, I found out that the actual chemical, hormonal, and emotional bond I have with my breastmilk is a legitimate cause for such suffering when a loss like that occurs. Mamas, my advice to you: spread your supply out if you can. Store some at work, some at home, some at daycare, and some at your in-laws’ house. Don’t let something like this happen to you! Lesson learned… the hard way.

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Harvey is going through a phase (we hope). This phase is called, “I am only happy when somebody is holding me.” Unless there is a very small part of the day where he is exceptionally happy… like the jumperoo time… he pretty much screams the second somebody puts him down. Wooweeeee… my back is starting to hurt!!!! Luckily, I have the Ergobaby carrier, and he enjoys going around in that… but somedays, bedtime can’t come soon enough! Thank goodness he (usually) sleeps through the night. I also want to add here that when I say sleeps through the night, I mean something very different from what most people mean. I am going to write a separate post about it someday, but for now I’ll say this: the three of us co-sleep. And by co-sleep, I mean bed-share. Harvey sleeps between the two of us every night, and it has been the most effective way that we’ve found to combat sleep-deprivation, nighttime feeding stress, and overall evening chaos. I never thought I would commit to it… but again, I will write about it more some other time! 🙂

In other news:

We celebrated our first wedding anniversary on Monday! Woohoo! Nick has been, and is still, my very best friend. I love him more today than I did the first time I told him so, over 8 years ago. They say that the first year is the hardest… and the two of us were like, “yeah right, we should go to Italy and have a baby and get this whole family thing started!” ……. HAHAHA!!!!! As if our year had not been crazy enough… Nick and I decided to buy a new house! YES! We are officially crazy (the whole energy and time thing). I can’t wait to write a big post about it in the future, but for now, I’ll say this: it is our dream home. We can’t wait to raise our babies in it… and it has more than one bathroom.

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Overall:

Life continues to be an adventure… one that I’m grateful to experience. We have amazing friends, an incredible family, and more support in this life than we could’ve ever hoped for. I keep counting my lucky stars because I know that it could all change in an instant. I’ve never felt that more than I do in these most recent days, after national tragedy strikes. I get to go to sleep tonight, with my loving husband, and my sweet baby, and that is more than most people can say.

Love to you all. ❤

Getting the Hang of this Parenting Thang!

What a time to be alive!! So sorry for the corny pun in the title… but life is good, y’all. Harvey is 8 weeks old tomorrow, and cuter than ever. I’m obsessed. It is seriously the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, and every single second that I get to spend with him is better than the last.

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What have we been up to? Well… the real question should be: What haven’t we been up to?! Harvey is still a very easy, happy-go-lucky baby, so we continue to take him everywhere! He had his first “babysitter” earlier this month when we went to my childhood friend Mary Cate’s beautiful wedding. Mimi (my mom) watched him while we were out, and he had a good time! Next month, it will be Lolli’s turn (Nick’s mom) when we attend a party for our friends Chris and Erin’s marriage!

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The next weekend was his first trip to the mountains. My brother, Brian, graduated from Appalachian State University, and we got to be a part of his celebration. The last few members of my family were able to meet Harvey for the first time, and those moments are mental snapshots that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Watching each new person lay eyes on him for the first time never gets old. When we got home from Boone, we had our first parenting scare when Harvey choked on some spit up and I thought he was having a seizure. We called 911, only to have them arrive right after he had calmed down and everything was fine. Not going to lie, it scared the you-know-what out of us… and the paramedics sort of laughed and did the whole “this must be your first kid” thing… which made me feel better, I think? Ha! A minor incident for sure, but one that really reminds you that you have to be on your game at all times.

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This past weekend we celebrated Nick’s 30th birthday a few days early. Our favorite thing to do is be with our friends, and we decided a fun activity would be the Durham Bulls game on Saturday night. We had a fantastic time, and Harvey enjoyed the baseball. However, we ran into a parenting fail when the fireworks started, and Harvey FREAKED out! I guess I forgot how loud fireworks are? Our friend Pete was holding him, and covered his ears the entire time… so hopefully we didn’t cause permanent damage! Yesterday we saw our friends Martha and Graham and their little girl Evelyn. Watching babies meet other babies is adorable!! So glad we got to see them 🙂

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Harvey is changing so much every day. He holds his head up pretty well, and tolerates tummy time! He went to several soccer games this month, took lots of long walks with mama, and continues to enjoy his bath the most. He prefers being held to sitting alone (and would like you to bounce him while holding him). He enjoys story time and listening to music! He is sleeping for 5-6 hours at a time during the night… woo hoo!! He is loving his binky more than ever. He is also turning into a little chunk, which makes me so happy (he weighs almost 12 pounds)! He is not the only one changing – I’ve lost 43 of the 65 that I gained! I realize that 20 to 30 of those pounds were preeclampsia water-weight, but still! I’m feeling very accomplished and proud to be back in (some of) my pre-pregnancy jeans!

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A few lessons learned, lots of laughs, a day of frightened tears, and 4 more weeks of wisdom gained since my last entry. This summer is going to be the best one yet! We fly to Philly in two weeks – wish us luck.

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Happy early birthday to my incredible baby daddy! We love you ❤

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My First Mother’s Day

When a woman becomes a mother, she, whether she knew it beforehand or not, joins a special club. This club is very large, and has many different sub-sections. Some of us belong to several of these sub-sections, and some of us belong to only one of them, but we are members all the same. Some mothers never held their babies. Some never felt their babies move inside of them. Some mothers lost their babies after a few short hours, days, weeks, months, or years. Some mothers have children with special needs. Some have boys. Some have girls. Some have twins, triplets, septuplets, etc. Some mothers have post-partum depression. Some moms are single. Some are divorced. Some moms adopted their children. Some mothers have fussy babies, and some have “easy” ones, (whatever that means) and some have children that they’ve only ever dreamed of in their mind’s eye. Some mothers have lost their own mothers. No matter what kind of mother you are, which part of the club you belong to, the moment you become a mother you understand two things: the love you have for your child stretches further, wider, and higher than the ends of the universe… and that mothers look out for one another no matter what.

I’ve always known that I am surrounded by strong women and strong mothers. Being a mama is something that I’ve always wanted, and I’ve spent so many years saving up advice, strategies, and stories from these women. They might not have realized at the time, but I was there… listening and watching and learning. I’ve watched them be mothers to their unborn children. I’ve watched them be mothers to their infants, their toddlers, their teenagers, and their adult babies. Their courage, skill, and strength is what gives me my courage, skill, and strength. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here… I wouldn’t be who I am.

This mother’s day, I wanted to take some time to personally thank some of the mothers in my life, near and far, for all they’ve done for me.

To Adele, my Mawma: When I think of the different sub-sections of the club, and how some mothers straddle the space between two or more of them, I think of you. You raised three handsome, kind, caring boys. Today, only two of them are still with us. It was not until I had my own son in my arms, that I could have conceived of the grief a mother would feel while burying her own child. Still, you carry on. You shower your family with unconditional love and adoration, while carrying a scar that most of us know nothing about. You are, and always will be, one of my role models. I love you!

To Shirley, my Oma: If I’ve never said this aloud to you, I’m saying it now. You are the glue that holds our family together. Your unwavering faith is something I admire. The ways in which you love, encourage, and support your children, your grandchildren, and now your great-grandchild are truly remarkable. The belief that family is the most important thing is something that I’ve learned from you, and hope to pass along to my own family someday.

To Rebecca, my Aunt: It takes a special kind of woman to be a military wife. It takes an incredible woman to be a military mom. Thank you for raising three, beautiful, smart, curious, and kind girls. Your family has traveled the world, and lived in countries like South Korea, Italy, Germany, and Australia. You have done a lot of your mothering while Uncle Steve is away, serving our country. Thank you for being the strong mama that you are, and for the example you’ve set for me over the years.

To Molly, my Aunt: My entire life, I’ve wanted to be exactly like you. You are smart, beautiful, funny, and thoughtful. We share a love for Camp Mikell, a profession in education, and now, I am a mother, with a son of my own. The ways in which you balance motherhood, work, and play with ease are more than admirable, and if my son turns out half as wonderful as yours are, I will consider that to be a massive success. Thank you for loving me and my family as much as you love your own.

To Laurie, my Mother-in-Law: One sub-section of the club includes the mothers who gain children through marriage. Although, long before I married your son, you accepted me for who I was and considered me a member of the family. This mother’s day, I want to thank you for the job you did in raising your children. Your daughters are delightful young women, and I love them very much. Your son is, in very large part, an incredible father and husband because of you. Thank you for sharing your life, compassion, and heart with him, because he has turned around and shared all of those things with me and our baby.

To Michele, my Mother: Mommy, thank you for everything. I literally owe my life to you! When a woman becomes a mother, I think that – inevitably – her relationship with her own mother transforms. There is an understanding that forms, a knowledge that exists, a love that becomes transparent. I now know that for the last 27.5 years, every single sacrifice you’ve made, tear you’ve shed, decision you’ve had to make, etc… had my brothers and me at the heart of it. A very important gift you’ve given me recently is the gift of recovery and sobriety. My son will truly know who you are, and for that, I thank you. Your love, advice, and support have carried me through good days and bad. Now that I am also a mother, I understand the depths of your heart and soul more than I ever did before. ❤

To Caroline: Your story, your words, your strength, and your daughter have touched me in ways you may never know. I can truly say that you have been my inspiration for writing about my journey, acknowledging my feelings, and expressing my concerns/joys/sorrows/etc. You have taught me that motherhood takes many shapes and forms, and that honesty and compassion for each other is the most important thing. You’ve taught me that you are not alone, that I am not alone, that we are not alone. Thank you for being so open and courageous. You and your angel are in my thoughts every day.

This week, wish the mothers in your life a Happy Mother’s Day. Not just your mother, every mother that you know. In fact, if you see a mother on the street, or in the store this week, give her a high-five… or a smile… or a hug. She is a badass. She has been to places that not every person will go to. She has seen things that not every person will see. She is a member of a club. The kind of club that lifts each other up, whenever, wherever, and however we can. To all of the mamas out there, whether I know you personally or not, Happy Mother’s Day! I now stand with you, and in awe of you.

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A Month with Harvey

I can’t believe that Harvey has been here for a month… especially since I was still supposed to be pregnant right now (well, I would be overdue at this point, but that’s what everybody tells you to expect with your first). With each new day that goes by, my heart feels like it is going to burst with all of the love I have for my son. What a beautiful life we live, y’all!!

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Harvey went to the pediatrician on Monday for his 4-week-old check-up, and he had gained over 2 pounds!! He had also grown over 1 inch and his head circumference was in the normal range! So is everything else – he is just in the lower half of “normal” because he was a preemie and they say it could take 6 months or more for him to “catch up” to the growth percentiles. However, everything else about him is “normal” to us, haha! He has definitely found his cry – which is funny to even write, but honestly, it took him 2 full weeks to even start crying when he needed something. His main form of communication is grunting. He grunts so much that he’s given himself an outie bellybutton in the form of an umbilical hernia (not that big of a deal, they generally correct themselves before age 5).

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He has been eating like a Hungry, Hungry Hippo – which is why I call him Hungry, Hungry Harvey! But seriously, imagine the children’s game, with the Hippos opening and closing their mouths ferociously, and that’s him… about every 2 and a half hours throughout the day. It’s so cute. The only reason I feel like I can say this, and make a joke, is because breastfeeding has gone extremely well for me. I feel like I am one of the lucky ones, because I have heard so many stories and have some friends who’ve had difficulty with it, and feel extremely grateful for every single feeding when I feel nothing but bonding and sweetness and love for him as we look at each other while he munches. I am looking into milk donation, because I have so much of it (I have two breast pumps if anybody needs one), and have been very happy to breastfeed in public. Harvey and I are going to a Nation-Wide Nurse-In at the State Capitol building on Friday, his actual one-month-birthday, to help bring attention to the unnecessary stigmas behind breastfeeding in public areas. ESPECIALLY because I will be breastfeeding him during the freaking summer time, and the thought of trying to put a blanket over myself every single time he needs to eat, is 100% ridiculous. I mean, we don’t eat with blankets over our heads do we? This picture is me feeding him at a brewery last weekend – and the Moby on my shoulder was to shield the sun from his eyes, not to hide my boob from the crowd.

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Other things Harvey likes: smiling (whether he does it on purpose or not), being carried in the Moby wrap, stroller walks, riding in the car, and…BATH TIME! He is obsessed with the water. It completely calms him into stretching his little body fully out and pretending to float (with the help of an adult, of course). It is one of my favorite activities with him.

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I love being a mom. It is, by far, the best occupation I’ve ever encountered. Nick and I have incorporated Harvey into our daily lives with ease – which we both felt very strongly about doing before he was born. I knew that the only way to get used to bringing him places was to just get out and do it! Showing him off has been so much fun! So far, he has been to Raleigh, Chapel Hill, downtown Durham, and Hillsborough. Taking him to soccer games has been super fun too! We also have trips planned for the rest of the summer that include Philadelphia, Hilton Head, Camp Mikell, Ohio, and Seattle! Some people think we are crazy for flying with a baby, but honestly, he is so good, and travels so well, that I think we will be happy we got out and visited people before I go back to work.

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One of the parts of being a new mom that not a lot of people talk about, is having a new body. It has taken some time, and some effort, to embrace the new way I look. My stomach will never look the same, and that’s ok. Mederma is helping a bit, but it will obviously never bring me back to pre-Harvey days. This week, I made the decision to join Weight Watchers, to help lose the baby-weight and to help stay on a healthy lifestyle track that will be much better for me in the long run. Breastfeeding requires extra calories, and a lot of moms want to cut calories to lose the weight. It is also in my nature to do the same thing, but, before Harvey was born, my therapist and I discussed some ways to prevent me from slipping back in to old habits, and WW, so far, has been a good plan. I’m not going to lie, it has been hard from time to time, thinking about the fact that its summer and we are going to go to the beach and pool and whatnot, and I have to go to the store and buy a new bathing suit that I think looks “ok” for now… but overall, the benefits of being a mom have outweighed the few “costs”. I am adding a picture here, for my own purposes. This is my body, one month postpartum. All of the mamas out there whose bellies look like road maps, bless you. We know it was worth it 🙂

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Harvey’s Birth Story

I’ve been trying to figure out how I wanted to start this story for a few days now. It is such an important story. In fact, it is the most significant thing that has happened to me in my life to date. I’ll try and limit the amount of times I use some silly cliché to describe having a child, but truly, nothing could ever possibly prepare you for the feelings that you will experience when your baby is being born.

The events leading up to Harvey’s birth and immediately after are actually the most perfect metaphors I can think of to relay the first, and probably most imperative, lessons I will learn about parenting in my entire life.

  1. Things are not always going to go according to plan… and that is ok. It just is. It has to be.
  2. You have to ask for help. You will need it. Receiving it doesn’t make you a bad parent. It makes you a better one.
  3. The most crucial part of being a parent is knowing that you are a team. Your partner is going to be the best advocate/resource/support you could ask for, and is the ONLY other person in the world who understands the love you have for YOUR baby. You all made the baby together, you will raise it together, and you will grow as people, together, when you set out on the journey known as parenthood.

Now, most of you know from Nick’s most recent post that I had planned on a natural birth at the Women’s Birth and Wellness Center in Chapel Hill, NC. I wanted to eat and drink while I labored, use the birthing tub as I pleased, have scented oils, music playing, candles burning, etc. etc. etc… I am not going to go too much into this, because, my intention is to try and make this happen someday. I love my original birth plan, and fully believe in the power of natural birth and my ability as a woman to bring a child into this world without any medical interventions. However, my birth plan was thrown out of the window around 11:30 AM on 3/28/16.

Preeclampsia. It’s a scary word. It’s even scarier when it is happening to you. For those of you who watched Downton Abbey, yes… Lady Sybil died during childbirth because of the condition Eclampsia. When Preeclampsia is not treated, or becomes too severe, it can lead to Eclampsia (seizures), which is currently the cause behind approximately 12% of maternal deaths around the world. This is the crash course in medicine that Nick and I received between 11:30 and 11:45 AM on March 28th.

Looking back on the whole thing, we were obviously in shock. We knew that at the time, too. We knew how serious things were when, within 15 minutes of arriving, my midwife, two nurses, two resident doctors, and one attending physician came into our triage room to explain that we were going to be admitted, I was going to be induced, and that I would be transferring care immediately from the Birth Center to UNC. What I did not know, is that the doctors, nurses, and midwife were hovering so closely over me for the next hour because they were afraid that I might have a seizure at any moment. That’s how high my blood pressure was. The moment that I started to cry and freak out was when the doctors explained the possibility of me going under general anesthesia and having an emergency caesarian. This was the “worst case” scenario. My goal, from that point on, was to try and remain as calm as possible, for me and for my baby. I had to have a moment with myself and with Nick where I looked around the room, took a deep breath, and say, “this is what’s happening, end of story.” Hence, my first lesson in parenting.

Once I was able to accept this new reality, my fears really set in. At the end of the day, I realized that I was not so much upset about my birth plan going out the window as I was about my baby. After all, it was “too soon.” He was a month early. I was only 36 weeks 1 day pregnant, and I was fearful for all of the possible complications that could cause him. Although the doctors assured me several times that they were MUCH more concerned with my health than with nugget’s, when you’re a mom, you don’t hear that. You don’t care. All that matters is that your baby is healthy and safe. What I had trouble swallowing is this: the way for my baby to be safe and healthy was for me to calm the f*** down. I was having trouble doing it. I needed help. I needed my mommy. I need prayer warriors. I needed all of the love and positive energy I could possibly get. Hence, my second lesson in parenting. So, Nick got on the phone, called our moms, texted our friends, and filled people in on the situation. After all of this, a magnesium drip in my arm, a few tears, a shot of steroids for Nug’s lungs, and a few doses of Labetalol to control my blood pressure, we were ready for the next step: Pitocin.

This is where my third lesson in parenting comes in. Being induced is no joke. The Foley Catheter that the doctor inserted into my cervix to begin dilation was really, really painful. I screamed. Nick let me squeeze his hand the entire time. Then, for the next 12 hours, I was on Pitocin without an epidural, which they turned up every 30 minutes to bring on contractions. Once my contractions really kicked in, I needed that partner support. Nick was incredible. He never left my side. Neither did my mom. I never once felt “alone” or like I was “in it by myself.” Nick and I made every decision together, and he was 100% supportive of my feelings, desires, questions, concerns, etc. When, at 3am, I was only about 4-5cm dilated, the discussion of an epidural took place. This discussion took place because I was basically having one big long continuous contraction. That s*** hurt. I felt no relief. I wasn’t getting “breaks” in between them. That’s what Pitocin does. I was hesitant. I’ve read that epidurals can slow the process down, and the doctors confirmed this. However, they also confirmed that the epidural would help to keep my blood pressure down. The more you can manage your pain, hopefully, the lower your BP is. I couldn’t manage my pain on my own at all. I was strapped to a bed. Literally. I had a catheter in to drain my bladder, and so that the doctors could keep an eye on my kidney functions while I was on the magnesium. I had an IV in my hand that was giving me magnesium, fluids, and Pitocin, I had a monitor on my finger, a blood pressure cuff on my arm, and two large straps across my belly that were monitoring the baby’s heart rate and my contractions. I couldn’t move. So, when the contractions came, and came, and came… all I could do was lay there. I breathed through them as best I could, but the Pitocin made it unbearable. Finally, my mom stepped in and suggested that I get the epidural. In a way, it is what I needed. It was almost as if I needed somebody’s permission to do it. I had wanted a natural birth so badly, and I was still clinging to that hope. Nick was able to help me reason through it. He helped me understand that nothing about what was happening to me was “natural” and that I couldn’t possibly expect to cope with my circumstances in the ways I had practiced (moving, eating, breathing, bathing, etc.) and that along with everything else, we had to make a new plan as we went. So… I got the epidural.

In the end, I wasn’t sad about it. I had the perfect combination of pain meds in mine. I had built up some fear in my head about the epidural completely numbing me out, but it didn’t. I could feel my toes. I could bend my knees. I could roll from side to side. What it ultimately allowed me to do was sleep for a bit, which I ended up needing, because less than 8 hours later, the doctors came in and told me I was fully dilated and that I could start pushing. What an awesome feeling!! It was finally time to meet my baby. I had the best team I could possibly have with me. So, with the help of my mom, Nick’s mom, and Nick, I began to bear down.

Pushing was amazing. I loved every second of it. In fact, I asked for music to be played. I wanted to hear some powerful women singing, so naturally, I asked for things like Florence and the Machine and Beyoncé, haha! Because my epidural was the perfect amount of incredible and amazing, I was able to try lots of different positions while pushing. The moms held my knees, I held my knees, I got on my hands and knees, and I even got on my side at one point. Approximately 90 minutes later, I could see my baby’s head in the mirror. I didn’t know if nug was a boy or a girl yet, but I could see so much hair! The next few minutes to an hour are undoubtedly the best moments of my life. The only other thing that comes close is the day that I married Nick. And, although this is probably the most important part to describe, words just won’t do it justice. Seriously… they just won’t. Elation. That’s all I can remember. The feelings and emotions and hormones that flooded my body and mind in the minutes after Nick said, “It’s Harvey!!” are impossible to describe. He came out pink and grunting, and when they laid him on my chest, all I could do is cry. I cried because he was alive and beautiful. I cried because it was over. I cried because I knew this would be the defining moment in my life to date. I cried because my life, from that moment on, was going to be forever changed, and I would have gone through that scary 24 hours leading up to his birth one million more times if it meant that I got to have my sweet Harvey in the end.

He is perfect. That’s all I can say. In the days following his birth, my preeclampsia got a little worse before it got better, and I am still on blood pressure medication. I had lost 30 lbs. in water weight by the time we got home on April 2nd (yes, 30 pounds in 5 days) and my ankles and feet and face have returned. Harvey is two weeks old and eating like a champ. He was born at 5lbs14oz, got down to 5lbs6oz, and as of yesterday he is now 6lbs4.5oz. He is the light of our lives. The story of the day he was born is one I will never forget for as long as I live. I love him with my entire being, and cannot wait to see what this new adventure will bring.

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33.33% Complete!

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Well, we are 13 weeks in to this crazy thing called pregnancy… and so far, it’s been pretty good! The newest development on the symptom front is headaches. Which, are not that bad… but still not that great, you know? Especially because I would like to not take any medications while growing a healthy nugget!!! Otherwise, no real complaints! We got to see the nugget this week for our chromosomal abnormalities screening, and he/she was bouncing around like a jellyfish!

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This is nugget at 12 weeks, 5 days old – and the arms, legs, face, and head are all there! The nose and mouth were pretty crazy to see. Throughout the duration of the ultrasound, we saw him/her wave arms, legs, and head… as well as a close up on the mouth, which looked open (crazy, right?!). His/her heart rate was a healthy 157 and the fluids, size, measurements, and overall appearance were all normal and pointed towards healthy, happy baby! I can’t express through words what a gratifying feeling that is… for the doctor to come in and say “everything is looking great, we will see you in 7 weeks” – it is such a relief and reason to rejoice.

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On Saturday, Nick and I got to make a trip to Pilot Mountain, NC for a fall hike on a sunny day. We had a fantastic time, and got to see a few beautiful autumn-leaf colors. It is actually really special for us to make these trips and bring nugget along on our adventures, because it will be, and already is, very important to us to instill a love for the earth and to share our passion for nature with our children. We know nugget will thank us one day 😉

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The other thing nugget will thank us for, is making him/her a Carolina Panthers fan long before he/she was born. We love Sunday football (especially when the sun is shining) and Nick even got to treat himself to a new local brewery… while I treated myself to some non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated, ginger beer! Now all we need is a Panthers win…

This week, we are going to make some real “moves” on the nursery. We have already moved some of the furniture out of the office, taken the pictures/paintings/diplomas off the walls, and then moved some of nugget’s furniture in. I am eager to pick a “theme” and get some paint on the walls… but I think a trip to Ikea has to happen first. Until next week!