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Miss A’s birth story

Well, after my final, Rachel-like week of pregnancy (see OMG I am soo Rachel), Miss Ainsley Grace Charles decided to make her entrance into the world. Here is the long-awaited story of her birth, which took place on Wednesday, October 9th, one week and one day past her due date…

The days (and weeks) leading up to Ainsley’s birth were long. I was getting bigger and more uncomfortable by the minute so we became really limited in what we could do. Short stints out to eat or to the store were the highlights of our days, while the other 23 hours were spent sitting on the couch or sleeping.

My parents came to town September 30th, thinking she would show up sometime around October 1st when she was due. As each day passed, we made our predictions as to when we might meet her, only to revise them repeatedly when she didn’t show up.

Finally, on October 8th, I woke up with contractions. They were pretty far apart so there wasn’t much to do yet except wait. The entire day passed and the contractions remained more than five minutes apart (which was when the doctor said to call). I was scheduled to get induced the following day because she was already over a week late and we went to bed that night thinking we would just get up and go to the hospital at 9:00am as planned.

At 3:30am I woke up with strong contractions. Like the real ones where you can’t think straight and have to force yourself to even breathe. This was it. I took a shower, we woke up the fam and took off for the hospital. Turns out, I was five centimeters at that point. They moved us to a delivery room and started me on Pitocin to further things along.

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World’s fakest smile. When we first arrived at the hospital.

The anesthesiologist came to give me my epidural fairly quickly (yes, I did decide to get an epidural and I can’t lie, I am so glad I did). Jake told me there were multiple moments where I would just sigh and say “I feel like I’m at the spa.” Quite different than what I was saying earlier in the morning!

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Quick pic with my sister-in-law. Feeling goooood now.

As the, now painless, contractions continued I started noticing the tense faces of my family members. I felt great and didn’t know what was going on. The nurse came in suddenly and lowered my Pitocin levels as well as asked me to wear an oxygen mask. Apparently Ainsley’s heart rate dropped drastically after every contraction so they wanted to slow things down a bit and make sure she was getting enough oxygen. This continued for a while and when the doctor stopped by around 11:00am, her heart rate had regulated, my water had broken and I was fully dilated. Things were moving at a pretty steady pace now.

It was all totally different than I expected once the pushing began. Delivery is portrayed as this dramatic event on TV with tons of people around and lots of screaming and expletives being thrown out by the mom… It was actually pretty low key at first. My doctor even left for an hour while I was pushing which just left one nurse, three family members and me.

As they say though… it was the calm before the storm…

My mom, Jake and his sister all assisted with the pushing, coaching me and holding my legs. As with earlier in the morning, I started to notice some looks of concern as things progressed. Pushing got harder and harder as it went on because it became more difficult to breathe. On top of that, the nurse had me wear the oxygen mask again between pushes because Ainsley’s heart rate started dropping again. I could tell pretty quickly there was a tense vibe in the room. There wasn’t much time in between contractions to ask any questions, plus I had an oxygen mask on my face, so I tried my best to keep my calm demeanor and go with the flow. But something seemed off and I could tell my family was stressed.

Our nurse suddenly got a call from one of the other nurses who was watching the monitor from outside the room. I could only hear one side of the conversation but the gist seemed to be that Ainsley’s heart rate was continuing to drop rapidly between contractions. The other nurse was advising ours to call the doctor asap. She finally agreed (why she resisted at first I’ll never know). We continued on and the doctor showed up a short while later.

After a few more pushes, and increased looks of concern, the doctor finally told us we needed to get Ainsley out as soon as possible. We didn’t know this at the time but the cord was wrapped around her neck and she was having trouble breathing. It was like the situation went from zero to 100 in a minute and the doctor quickly got dressed in her head to toe scrubs, face mask, the works. The NICU nurses showed up in case anything went wrong. Suddenly the room was full of activity. Our doctor explained the risk factors of using a vacuum to suction our baby girl out and asked if we were okay moving forward that way. We didn’t feel we had much of a choice but to go with it because the situation suddenly seemed so dire.

To say I had an episiotomy would be an understatement. Without getting too graphic, I’ll just call it an episiotomy on steroids, which the doctor did in order to prepare my body to get the baby out as fast as possible. I pushed. She pulled. I pushed again. She pulled again. Out came Ainsley.

The crowd of nurses grabbed her, cut the cord and rushed her off to get checked out. She didn’t cry at first. Jake was able to watch what they were doing but I didn’t know what was going on for what felt like hours. Finally we heard her cry and we all lost it. I was exhausted and overwhelmed with fear from the delivery process and relief that she was alive. The nurses said she checked out well and seemed perfectly healthy.

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Getting all spiffed up to meet us.

Holding her daddy's hand.

Holding her daddy’s hand.

Man, I thought pregnancy was hard. Delivering this child was the most emotional experience of my life. (Mind you, this was before experiencing the flood of emotions that come with the postpartum days).

Holding Ainsley for the first time.

Holding my daughter for the first time.

 

Jake holding his baby girl.

Jake holding his baby girl.

Now I totally understand why there is a holiday celebrating mothers. There should be 365 of them! Our bodies, minds, hearts, tear ducts… every single part of us goes through the wringer before, during and after childbirth. We are strong and amazing people, ladies!

Since this post is so long I will share more details about the first few weeks later. But for now… welcome to the world our little miracle baby! We love you.

Perfection.

Perfection.

OMG I am soo Rachel

Breaking news! There is no news. Baby Ainsley is staying put until she is good and ready to come out. (Or until her doctor and parents force her out on Oct. 9th). Is this an indication of what’s to come, especially in her teen years?

As Jake and I learn the art of patience, I have been getting daily updates from my many preggo friends, all of whom were due after me but whattaya know? They have had their babies already. Here is the lineup:

Friend #1: Due Oct. 2nd – had baby Sept. 29th

Friend #2: Due Oct. 3rd – had baby Oct. 1st

Friend #3: Due Oct. 4th – had baby Oct. 3rd

Friend #4: Due Oct. 16th – had baby Oct. 7th

And then there’s me… Due Oct. 1st – and still no baby.

4 friends – 4 babies.

It’s actually getting pretty funny and as one friend tells me I am “sooo Rachel on Friends.” Here is a little something to bring a smile to your face and mine, as we wait for our sweet, stubborn cutie patootie to show up.

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5 Biggest Surprises of Pregnancy (3rd Trimester Edition)

It is hard to believe our little munchkin is due in two days. Pregnancy has been one of the fastest and slowest seasons of my life. At this point, I just can’t believe it’s almost over.

As with the 1st and 2nd trimesters, the 3rd has been full of surprises as well. Here are my top five:

1) The nausea resurfaces towards the end. Wha?? I thought that part was over. Apparently at the end it is not uncommon to have… er, stomach problems. But this was news to me. I haven’t felt nearly as bad as I did at the beginning but still, surprise, surprise.

2) Preggo brain reaches a whole new level. I won’t get in to all the chaotic details of our move again. Thankfully, that’s all old news. But seriously? Seriously?! It still baffles me every time I forget the smallest of details – from items on our grocery list to the times we need to be different places and even how to spell elementary-level words. Plus, oh so much more.

3) There is even more to learn than the other two trimesters. We thought all the car seat stuff was overwhelming when we registered… that was nothing compared to everything we are learning about the actual baby now. Since neither of us have spent much time around kids, learning the amount of time they really do eat, sleep and poop is pretty remarkable. We recently learned the 5 S’s from Happiest Baby on the Block. Everyone says they are a total lifesaver but now we just need to make sure we remember them. And how to do them on our kid once we remember them.

4) Preggo brain reaches a whole new level. I won’t get in to all the chaotic details of our move again. Thankfully, that’s all old news. But seriously? Seriously?! It still baffles me every time I forget the smallest of details – from items on our grocery list to the times we need to be different places and even how to spell elementary-level words. Plus, oh so much more.

Oh wait, that all sounds familiar. Duh.

Let’s try #4 again…

4) We have been showered with so much love and support. Looking back, it still blows our minds just how much we have been given… gifts of course but also texts, emails, Facebook messages, phone calls, lunch dates… all so encouraging and so loving. Even though we are starting this journey in a new city, it’s hard to feel alone when you are “surrounded” with friends and family all across the country who are praying for us and supporting us each step of the way.

5) The end is bittersweet. Are we excited for the arrival of our little one? Of course! Is there a part of us that’s also sad to be losing our freedom and “us” time? Most definitely. Jake and I are approaching our five-year anniversary and we have had our share of ups and downs. We have moved several times, lost a dear loved one, could barely make ends meet at the beginning as poor grad students, bought our first car together, bought our first house together, traveled a bunch, among other things. Throughout it all, we have had more fun than I ever thought possible and it’s hard to think of trading that in for a new family dynamic. However, all that to say, we know our lives will be greatly enhanced by our sweet new member and we look forward to discovering all that is in store!

Two more days and then welcome to the world little one! We can’t wait to meet you, Miss Ainsley Grace!

Don’t mess with the 38 week preggo!

I thought I was done. I really did. But the craziness just keeps on coming. Spoiler alert: like the other issues I have described, this one has finally been resolved as well. Just today in fact. But still I can’t help but share because even my uber-positive hubby is asking “Why all the fiascos? Is it us or just totally random?”

Anywho. Here is what happened.

It all started back the last week of July when the company managing the condo we’re living in requested a cashier’s check for the security deposit, as well as a personal check for prorated rent beginning August 23rd. We immediately hit up BOFA for the cashier’s check (not a small amount by the way – DC is not cheap). We also wrote a personal check and due to the sense of urgency expressed to us, while in California, on vacation, sent the checks certified mail.

The month of August passed not only to see no money withdrawn from our account, but we also heard nothing from the property management company stating that they had not received our checks. We waited till the first week of September to say anything, thinking perhaps they were going to deposit our first months rent and prorated rent for August at the same time.

We inquired about all this and after days with no response finally heard back from the company stating they never received our checks. Our tracking information showed that the checks made it to the local post office on August 8th, two days after they were sent. They had been signed for (with a completely illegible signature) however the delivery address line was left blank. The property management company insisted they never received them, and although we had proof of their delivery, we could not verify they made it to the correct address.

Shocker, we were in another pickle.

Jake started by visiting Bank of America to see if we could cancel the cashier’s check but they said we would have to go through a 90 day waiting period first. Well, that wasn’t going to help us because the company was demanding the money immediately and we are not exactly rolling in the dough right now with our combined total of ZERO JOBS.

We then turned our focus to the post office and as it turned out the manager of the local office recognized the signature as one of the mail carriers. I asked if that was standard practice because as it would seem to us amateurs, the purpose of requesting a signature at the time of delivery would be to confirm that our mail made it to the right place. But what do we know. The manager agreed it is not standard practice but when there is a lot of mail to deliver, sometimes the mail carriers do it to expedite the delivery process. Okay… So he let me know he would talk to the mail carrier to see if he remembered delivering it and get back to me.

Two days later we spoke again and while the mail carrier claimed he did in fact deliver it to the correct address, there was no way to prove it. It was he said, she said, we said.

At this point, I have reached 38 weeks. I am tired of dealing with this issue. Short of contacting USPS investigative services and threatening to sue the mail carrier unless he reimburses us, we were stuck. In a last ditch effort, I contacted Bank of America again and begged, and I mean, crazy preggo begged (where if you don’t get your way you will either cry or scream at the unsuspecting victim on the other end of the line) them to cancel the check and reissue a new one. They finally agreed.

Three days later we got a phone call from the bank stating that all of the forms had gone through and the permissions were granted to make this exception for us. Apparently this is a very big deal.

So on this sweet Saturday morning, we drove to the glorious branch of Bank of America located down the street and picked up our new cashier’s check.

They say that moms possess a supernatural amount of energy and strength when it comes to protecting their kids. I would venture to say that these supernatural powers begin all the way in pregnancy. The moral of the story: Don’t mess with us. You have no idea what you’re dealing with.

Schedule conflicts and a missing tooth…

We are finally feeling a bit more settled in our new home (being able to walk around without tripping over boxes works wonders). So, in an attempt to refocus my posts on what’s happening now, I am going to try to condense these last few moving stories as much as possible.

First off, my preggo brain struck again. I have tried to document my numerous mishaps on Facebook in order to explain why I have come off more like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, than my normal self as of late. So you may have read this story briefly there. But here is what happened.

I thought I did such a good job preparing for our move. Jake was busy studying for the Bar Exam and then doing all of the heavy lifting for our move (not to mention cooking, cleaning and 99% of the rest of our household tasks). So I figured the least I could do was handle the moving logistics.

My plan was brilliant. Or so I thought. All of the packing and loading would take place on August 29th. On August 30th, the house cleaners were scheduled for 9am  and that afternoon the carpet cleaners would come, along with the auto relocation company to ship one of our cars. On Saturday the 31st, our property manager would do an inspection first thing in the morning and pass the keys along to the new tenants by lunchtime.

We spent days (and by “we” I mean Jake, while I cheered him on of course) organizing and preparing for the movers. But when Thursday arrived, they never showed. An hour passed, and then another… the company is based out of Oregon so I couldn’t call their office yet to verify things so instead I went through all of my old emails and realized I got my dates mixed up. They were not scheduled to arrive until the next day.

This was a problem. Everything would have to be pushed.

We had to be in DC by Saturday because – and this was a whole other ordeal – the property managers for our condo had agreed to come in that day to give us our keys and orient us to our new place. Despite what we were originally told, they apparently only do this on weekdays. Getting them to agree to the Saturday move date was not an easy task so we didn’t feel like we had any wiggle room to reschedule.

So, I started making phone calls. First the house cleaner. I more or less begged for her to come first thing Saturday morning and she agreed to come at 8am. The carpet cleaners were unable to reschedule. So we kept them on the books and just hoped the movers would be finished by the time they got there.

On Friday, the movers showed up and took their sweet time packing and loading everything. (They actually told us they spent about two hours longer moving our stuff than they normally do – although we have no idea why they took that liberty). The carpet cleaner showed up an hour ahead of schedule and the house was a mess still with not a single room completely cleared out. The auto relocation guy showed up at the same time. All in all, it was chaos. We sent the carpet guy away and asked if he could come back in a few hours but as the hours passed and we did not hear from him, it was safe to say the answer was no.

After the movers left we called our property manager who was able to pull some strings and get his carpet guy to come the following morning after the house cleaner. The tenants did not experience much of a delay moving in and it all worked out in the end. But the road we took to get there was a bumpy one – all of which could have been avoided had my brain been working at full capacity. Oh well.

Friday night around 7:30pm all of the details were finally settled and Jake and I decided to venture out into downtown Durham for our final dinner in North Carolina. We went to Satisfaction, a sports bar/pizza place we ate at our very first week in town three years earlier. This is where fiasco number two began.

As I was taking a bite of my salad, I felt something “off” on one of my back teeth. I am pretty sure Jake thought I was being melodramatic but if there is anything I know, no matter how much brain capacity I am working with, it’s teeth. And something was not right. But since I couldn’t figure it out yet we went on with our night.

A few hours later we showed up at our friends’ house and were brushing our teeth, getting ready for bed. Mid-brush, the crown on my top left tooth, literally fell out of my mouth and into my hand. What are the chances? It was about 10:30pm at this point, we were getting ready to move the very next day and I am holding my tooth in my hand. Unbelievable.

So we spend the next half hour looking up dentists in DC, who happen to work on the weekends that we could call first thing in the morning. We made a list, put my tooth in my purse (who says that?) and went to bed.

Thankfully, like the rest of our crazy moving drama, it all worked out. We were able to find a dentist who was available after our appointment with the property manager and they successfully re-cemented the crown back on. Mind you, the office smelled like a nail salon and the hygienist was not shy to offer her two cents about how we should raise our baby. But again, as long as I have all of my teeth, we’re good.

The long and short of it is, the move started out rocky but we are here now. Every day we try to do something – anything – to make this place feel more like home. And slowly but surely it is.

Our new condo

It’s been a while since I have posted anything. In fact, this may be my longest stretch ever. Sorry folks, if you are a regular reader I will try not to be MIA anymore… although with the baby being due in two weeks I can’t make any promises.

This has been a craazzzzy few months. I don’t even know where to begin so I think I’ll just do some recapping. There may be a few continuation posts to follow.

Life has been ALL about the upcoming birth of our baby and our recent goodbye to North Carolina, ever since July. Between entering my third trimester and all of the new experiences that go along with that, to preparing for our move to Virginia, we have been beyond busy. This season has had its ups and downs and I imagine there will be more to come.

A quick preface… Here is what I know about myself:

I hate change. I have never liked change. From the first day my dad dropped me off at pre-school and I cried every day, refusing to let go of his hand until forced to by one of the teachers, to leaving for college and now multiple moves from state to state – I still hate change.

However, what I also know, especially as I get older, is that change is not all bad and the icky feelings associated with it do not last forever. So I am trying to keep that in mind as we come to terms with our new surroundings and all of the unknowns that exist in our lives right now.

Some days I am better at that than others.

I will start with the story of how we got the condo I am sitting in as I type this. It is a long story and may be all I have room for today, in which case I will leave the other stories for the days to come.

Jake and I started thinking about where we would want to live in the DC area, as soon as we found out our impending move was official. However, as to be expected, much of our research was preliminary until about 30-60 days before the big move. We narrowed down our options and finally settled on Alexandria, VA as the winner and concentrated our search there. It is a darling town, especially old town which is right along the Potomac, with quaint little shops and restaurants and lots of young families. We tried and tried to figure things out on our own (whether to live in an apartment or rent a townhouse or condo, what location would provide the best freeway access, proximity to metro stations etc), and made multiple trips up to the area but ultimately realized we needed some help and hired a real estate agent to assist us.

On July 13th, we drove up yet again to drive around with our agent and look at some of her recommendations. This was the best decision we ever could have made. It was on that day, after viewing a worm-infested townhouse among others that were simply “not us” we found The One. Unfortunately, another couple also decided it was The One. As our agent informed us, this neighborhood is “highly coveted” and it may be helpful to sweeten the deal in order to be selected. So we agreed to a two year lease and hand wrote a letter explaining why we would be the perfect tenants for their condo. And then it was wait time. We expected to hear back the following Monday but as time slowly inched along, we heard nothing. A week passed. Jake left for CA to take the Bar Exam and I was still in a holding pattern regarding the condo. If we were not selected, we would be back to square one.

A few days later, I received a call from our agent stating that “a red flag came up in one of our background checks”. She was not sure what it was or which of us was the culprit. This seemed like something we would have been aware of and other than moving violations, I could not think of anything that would be of note. I let her know about the two moving violations I could think of, one for each of us, both of which had been dismissed. She reported back to the property management company that had run the check and from that point on, all we could do was wait. Later that day, our agent called back to let us know whatever it was, did not appear to be an issue anymore and we were “in” for the condo. Phew. To this day, we still have no idea what came up and we have tried to find out multiple times (seeing that it is kind of a big deal and could affect other background checks run on us in the future) but the property management company is not being very responsive or helpful. So that is unfortunate. But again, the good news is we got the condo.

The community is adorable. It is right by a park, walking distance from the grocery store, has a great gym and bunches of other amenities. We are grateful to be living in a place that feels homey and even has a loft area where visitors can stay, a rare find in most of the places we looked at.

Anywho, I definitely exceeded my word count for this post so I will continue the updates later. As one of my good friends often tells me, I always have a story and there are at least six more associated with this move. So stay tuned…

The themes of our lives…

I’ve been noticing a reoccurring theme in my life recently. This has happened before where a conversation, will spark a memory of something I read the previous week, and perhaps heard in a sermon that weekend or overheard at work or all of the above. You catch my drift. It’s the same message over and over from, like, 10 different sources.

Be present.

As per my normal M.O., when I first noticed this, I immediately began to think of everyone in my life that needed to ponder that phrase “be present.” The message I was receiving though, loud and clear, was that I was the one that needed to consider it. Just me. Sigh.

If you have been reading Habit-Forming Success for a while, you have probably picked up on the fact that maintaining a calm demeanor in periods of high-stress or transition is not my strong suit. It’s ironic actually that I can sit in a room with someone else talking about their anxieties and be perfectly fine; even having something to helpful to offer in the process. But “therapizing” myself? Much more difficult.

Being present and consistently feeling anxious are completely contradictory. The most common phrase you’ll ever hear an anxious person say is what if? What if is all about the future and everything that could potentially go wrong. It takes you out of  the present and moves you into a world that has not yet occurred.

So message #11 in my life on the topic of being present is below, written by a very wise and insightful guy, who also happens to be one of the pastors at my church. Something more to think about…

I admitted to feeling occasionally very angry to a friend a few days ago. He responded, “. . .anger is a product of fear. What do you fear?”

It’s a great question. In the midst of feeling like something outside ourselves needs to change, or else, what if we sincerely asked, “what am I afraid of?”

Anxiety is very rarely based on something that IS happening. It’s always what might happen. What happened long ago that we don’t want repeated. What should be happening but isn’t. In truth, there’s nothing less present and alert to the reality of this moment than anxiety. We bring it into adulthood from the ashes of childhood. It serves as a shield against the threat of pain – with the unfortunate side effect of shielding against joy in the bargain. After time, fear normalizes. As though becoming part of our DNA, a mutation from longterm exposure to our family’s non-specific, general angst. It doesn’t do anything helpful. Much the opposite. But we’re so used to having it we can’t imagine life without it.

“…the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” -James 1:20, NASB  

Faith in Christ is as much about disbelief as belief. And today Christ invites you and I to disbelieve our fear and anger. To become at least skeptical about the efficacy of being upset. I’m persuaded that Christ isn’t trying to get us “righteously angry”, or upset about right things versus the silly things of our former life. Christ invites us into freedom, and free people have no fear. Free people don’t argue to get others to agree or conform. Free people aren’t angry, because they understand what Dallas Willard understood; “There is nothing that can be done with anger that cannot be done better without it.” (The Divine Conspiracy).

Here’s to freedom.

Here’s to peace. 

Steve Daugherty

Teaching Pastor

 

 

The 5 Biggest Surprises of Pregnancy (2nd Trimester Edition)

Pregnancy is not for the faint of heart. Thankfully however, the second trimester has been considerably easier than the initial few months and from what I understand, it is for most people. 24/7 nausea is, put simply, one of the most tortuous sensations one can experience. Picture having the flu -  all the time. And while I haven’t ever felt completely normal, anything is better than never-ending flu.

So, with my new-found energy and growing excitement (and belly), I present you with the biggest surprises of pregnancy, 2nd trimester edition.

 

1)      How much there is to learn about baby “stuff”

By “stuff,” I am referring to literal “stuff”… car seats, adapters, strollers and the like. So, last week we started registering. Our first surprise was learning we will need two car seats. In our ignorance, we assumed our kiddo would use the same car seat from infancy through year 5. At least. But no, car seats are based on the weight and length of the child. So when they are really little they need the rear-facing infant kind and then later when they outgrow that, they transition to the front-facing older person kind. Who knew? After about an hour and a half of car seat education with the nice lady at Buy Buy Baby, we moved on to strollers. It was there that we learned all about the base, adaptor and various other attachments. Oh and about the stroller itself. All in all, our first trip registering took two and a half hours and we barely made it out of the first aisle.

2)      Nausea has been replaced with other weird aches and pains. Sleeping has been replaced with… not sleeping.

I can’t even imagine what it’s going to feel like when I am all big in a few months. Because right now I feel like a house even though most people say I am all belly. Every time I wake up (which 60% of the time is at 3:37am to pee), my back and hips are stiff as boards. I literally limp to the bathroom, pee and do a stretching regime in the dark. If I don’t stretch I can’t go back to sleep. None of this has been too disturbing so far but the surprise is, I expected this towards the end of the pregnancy not in the middle!

3)      The anatomy scan was incredible

Remember in the 1st trimester edition I mentioned how shocked we were to breeze through our first ultrasound, unable to fully revel in the miracle we were witnessing on the screen? Well this one was the opposite. We were there for over an hour. It was ah-mazing. Despite the fact that our little munchkin was only the length of a bell pepper that week, we were able to see the valves of the heart, vertebrae of the spine and so much more. Half the time we had no idea what we were looking at but still, those black and white splotches were beautiful.

4)      Knowing the gender makes everything so much more real

The ultrasound tech said she had a feeling she knew what the gender was throughout the entire ultrasound but she just needed the money shot to confirm. That made us think boy for sure. If it was that obvious, I mean. But as it turned out, the money shot revealed GIRL, which, while she apparently knew all along, was very much NOT obvious to us. (Since that day I have seen the ultrasounds of friends’ babies and yes, it actually is pretty obvious what’s what, if you catch my drift). For us though, finding out it was a girl, somehow felt right. I can’t explain it. I wonder if it would have felt the same if we found out it was a boy. I don’t know… But somehow knowing the gender made everything right in the world. We are having a daughter. Our very own, female, mini-us. That day, the bell pepper became a human and we became parents.

5)      Her first kick upped the “realness factor” even more

She has been kicking for a while I’m sure. But I have not felt it. Then last week, for the first time, I felt two distinct twitches in my lower belly that somehow I knew were my baby girl. It was unbelievable. One of the biggest oddities in pregnancy is feeling so physically different, with the nausea and aches and pains, and yet not feeling the baby itself. In a way, it was reassuring in the beginning just to feel anything as a tangible reminder that the baby was still in there. But the kicks took away that fear and reminded me that there is a real, live, squirmy person being sustained somehow inside my body. Whaaa?!

 

Last night my husband and I had dinner with one of our favorite couples, who also happened to have twins 13 months ago. We still remember meeting the twins for the first time in the hospital and now they are over a year old! We picked their brains for hours about pregnancy, the baby “stuff” and parenting girls. They both agreed that while some days are so tiring and feel like they will never end, the year has flown by. I totally get that. I feel the same about pregnancy. Even though some days have felt long and consistently uncomfortable, it is halfway over and in a way that’s kinda sad. This will be my only first pregnancy. So I continue to live each day with gratitude. Thankful to be this girl’s mama.

What surprised you in the 2nd trimester?

Gender Reveal, Graduation and Mother’s Day… oh my!

This past week has been one that I will not forget anytime soon. It has been full of celebration and family bonding, two of my favorite pastimes. From organized events such as the Law School Gala, Family BBQ and my husband’s long-awaited graduation to spontaneous game playing, delicious meals and lots of laughing. This was the first Mother’s Day in three years that I actually got to wish my mom a happy day in person. And I even got spoiled as a mommy-to-be. Plus to top it all off, we did our highly anticipated gender reveal with our families all present so we could see their reactions up close. It was priceless.

I am blown away by how fast the past three years have gone by. I remember arriving in Durham, NC on what had to have been the hottest day since we have lived here. We had just finished our cross country trek, in two separate cars mind you (we communicated using walkie talkie’s given to us by my father-in-law), only to spend our first few hours in town unloading and carrying furniture and boxes up the two flights of stairs to our apartment. The sweet old lady sitting on her porch in the building across from us, after witnessing our exhaustion and declining patience with one another, brought us glasses of ice water. This was our first introduction to southern charm.

Since that day we have experienced milestones in our marriage and more personal growth than I can account for in one post. We purchased our first home and our first car as a married couple and now we are having a baby, among about a million or so other major things.

Anywho, we are not leaving yet, so here are a few pics from the weekend:

family reveal

Family Gender Reveal – Love my mom’s face!

 

gender reveal

Adorable Reveal Cards from Etsy

** I have to give a shout out to Ladybug on a Leaf Designs who did such a fabulous job and was a joy to work with!!

snoogle

Mommy-To-Be gift from my amazing hubby!

yummy

This man is yummy.

jake and i

Family BBQ

 

familybbq

The whole gang

 

sperbs

The Graduate!

As great as the weekend was though, all I can think about right now is sleep!

 

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