A Birth Story

March 26, 2014

I woke up in the morning just like I had every day before. I was feeling relieved that we finally knew when LBD would arrive. But I also felt this horrible sense that my body was betraying me.

Why wasn’t I going into labor?

What was wrong with my body?

Everyone else seemed to do this just fine.

I had so many mixed emotions.

I knew that I really did not want to use Pitocin, which is a drug that helps labor progress. It also causes extremely intense contractions. Since I am not generally a big fan of taking medication, I was feeling extra disappointed with the fact that I might actually need it.

I tried to make myself find the bright side about the situation.

I wouldn’t have to experience a stressful car ride to the hospital while in labor.

My water wasn’t going to break in some dramatic fashion as the most inopportune time.

I wasn’t going to be stranded somewhere and have to deliver my baby on my own.

And I wouldn’t forget anything on my list for my bag because I would be able to pack it all calmly before we left.

I worked the whole day. I had mostly wrapped up all of my projects and had passed them one neatly to the person who would cover for me while I was out. My maternity plan was perfectly organized and thoughtfully done. I just needed to get through the day. I started to feel those Braxton Hicks contractions again, but these were more crampy and lower and OUCH! That one was a little bit worse than the one before. For the sake of keeping some things private, I won’t go into great detail, but I did have other signs in the morning that things were happening!

I went home and cleaned the entire apartment. Doug kept asking me if I was ready to go. I just couldn’t stand the idea of coming home to a messy apartment. We watched the end of “Chrisley Knows Best” and at the end of the episode I started to cry. I couldn’t leave Stella. And the idea of all the change and excitement and anticipation culminating was just too much. I pulled it together and we went to Panera, for my last supper. I had Broccoli cheese soup of course!

We arrived a the hospital and we checked in. We got all settled in our room. They had me put on the hospital gown and they hooked me up to the machines. They took blood samples and asked me a million questions. They set up my IV, which was the most painful part of the whole ordeal! When they got the heartbeat and the contraction monitors set they discovered that I was in the early stages of labor and those cramps I was feeling were in fact contractions! Yes! My body was not a total failure! Dr. Crosland came in and gave me the Cervadil, to help induce my labor.

And we waited.

Doug and I watched basketball and played Phase 10. And of course, I won! Around 10:30pm the nurse came in an offered me a sleeping pill. She said that it would help with sleeping in a new place and it would help me get a good nights rest since tomorrow would be the big day.

Or so I thought…

March 27, 2014

At about 3:30am I woke up to strong contractions. I tried to breathe deeply and focus. I had my mantras repeating in my mind and I was certain that I could get through these. After a little while, Doug suggested that we talk to the nurse to see what kind of pain medication they could offer, just to know our options. I assumed that this was just the beginning. They checked my cervix and I had already dilated 5 cms. My nurse said that I had dilated really quickly I could get the epidural if I wanted it. Dr. Crosland even said that things were progressing so quickly that she was sure that I was going to make her deliver the baby before her shift ended at 6am. That Cervadil had done the trick! After a few more intense contractions, I was ready for the good drugs.

The epidural did not hurt nearly as bad as I thought it would. I did not look at the needle or any of the equipment that came with it. That was pretty much how I survived this whole ordeal: just don’t look and it will be ok. Once I had the epidural going, the pain went away. I could still feel the pressure for each contraction, but it wasn’t bad. They checked me again and this time they started to get the room ready for delivery.   I had no idea that they would turn this cozy little room into a full blown surgery center with blue cloth and metal instruments everywhere. It started to make me anxious. So I just closed my eyes and imagined that it wasn’t there.

When Dr. Crosland came back she said that this baby was ready to arrive. I was totally in shock that it was happening so fast.

Wasn’t I supposed to be in labor longer?

This was supposed to be an all day event!

She broke my water and all I felt was warmth. The nurse asked me if I was ready to push and I didn’t know that I had an option. So I started pushing. Doug was great and was by my side the whole time. I can’t say that I was focused on him too much, but I do remember looking over and thinking that he looked anxious and a little pale.

I pushed more. I didn’t feel any pain, just the pressure. Dr. Crosland said that everything was going well and she could see the head with lots of hair. Only one more push. I pushed as hard as I could. And that was it.

At 6:06 am LBD was born. LBD was a he. LBD was officially Donovan Edward DeGroot.

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Everything happened so quickly. It is all a bit blurry. He was so slimy and he did have a ton of hair. I remember holding him on my chest as they cleaned him off. He looks like Leah! Doug cut the umbilical chord and we held our son. They cleaned him off and weighed and measured him. 7 pounds 12 ounces. 21 inches long. And those feet! The ones that kicked me and kept me up all night long, they were huge!

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We snuggled skin to skin and I tried to nurse him for the first time. It was so strange and wonderful to hold him. I wasn’t emotional, I was just so happy. Doug, on the other hand, cried enough for the both of us. Ok, I’m just kidding. But he was brimming with tears of happiness.

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And just like that everything else was done.

I was like, really?

The placentra is out?

I want to see it. They showed me. It looks like liver. But it was cool to see this special organ that helped my baby grow for 9 months.

And just as quickly as they set up the mobile surgery center, they were out and the room was quiet. I remember looking up and wondering where everyone went. Those quiet moments with Doug and Donovan were the best and most cherished I’ll ever have.

This is what it was all about.

This moment is what I had been waiting for.

I could hardly believe that I held in my arms my little boy.

Our first family photo :)
Our first family photo 🙂
A proud Daddy
A proud Daddy

I never thought that I could be so content watching a little baby sleep, yawn, blink, or stare. But all we wanted to do was hold him and watch his every move. We called our immediate family while we snuggled. Again, my mom’s reaction was the best. There was some screaming and I believe that she said that there was no way that it happened so fast. Only 11 hours of labor!

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We basked in the glow of our newborn son. I knew LBD was a boy. It was so much fun waiting to find out. It was all so surreal.

With Love,

From Me to You

The Third Trimester: Month by Month

December

Ahh the holiday season! Tis the season for so many fun times spent with those that we love. Now that everyone knew that I was pregnant and it was quite visible for all, it felt more real. People started doing nice things for the pregnant lady. And people started telling me that I shouldn’t be standing, lifting, or exerting any energy. Being a healthy, young, and active person, I didn’t really like being reminded of my limits.

We had planned to go to the ACC Championship game on December 6th. But, it was unusually cold and the idea of standing that long did not appeal to my pregnant body. Not to mention that I wasn’t exactly equipped for the cold weather. I bought a bigger pea-coat, but my nice layered ski jacket was a bit too small.

Being on-call was also starting to get a bit old. My nightly routine had long included at least one late night visit to the rest room, but now my bladder was getting even more squished. And so, I added a second nightly bathroom break during much of the third trimester. And if I was uncomfortable sleeping before, it only got worse as time went on. By now my nightly sleeping woes turned into rage when I looked over and found Doug fast asleep so easily. The nights of being on-call added additional nightly wake-ups followed by discomfort and frustration as I struggled to fall back to sleep.

Holiday parties and closing meant that the semester was coming to an end. I took my staff bowling and let me tell you that I am not a fan of bowling and I am generally not very good either. But there must be some sort of magic about being pregnant because I broke 100, a score which beat most of my staff. I also woke up with a sore left knee, so I guess it might have overdone it a bit! Walking up and down all of the stairs to close my buildings wasn’t too bad, but sitting in the car for 10 hours, now that was torture! It was so nice to be home with my family. Each week they got to see the weekly bump picture and watch as the bump grew bigger and bigger, but now they could finally see me in person. They could feel kicks and celebrate the excitement to come.

Me and my staff!
Me and my staff!

Christmas also held new meaning as I thought about the true meaning of the season. Full of hope for the future and many new memories to make as my child grows up. There would be so many holiday traditions to share and love to share with this little one.

Alcohol free wine…a nice gesture, but it tasted horrible.
Alcohol free wine…a nice gesture, but it tasted horrible.

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The Motleys on Christmas
The Motleys on Christmas

The baby shower was held just after Christmas and my sisters did such an amazing job. I am not one for all of the attention during such events, but this one was different. It was part about me but more about this little person who no one had met yet. It is amazing how much everyone had to say about him/her already. I loved how my sisters asked everyone to fill out these forms that asked if LBD would be a boy or a girl and how he or she would take after me and Doug. The love and support for our friends and family was so overwhelmingly wonderful. The ladies enjoyed the shower and the guys had a “pool” party. In typical Schwartz fashion, once the guys returned, the party continued on and on!

I love my sisters!
I love my sisters!

January

New Years came and went, and I did have a small sip of champagne. We headed back to Davidson filled with anticipation and the reality that LBD would be here pretty soon. I was adamant about doing my fair share with my colleagues so I selected all of the early weeks for duty. It was a lot to do five weeks of duty but I found solace in knowing that they were my last weeks of duty EVER!

Happy 2014!!
Happy 2014!!

My Seminoles won the National Championship!!

Garnet and Gold! And my view from the top!
Garnet and Gold! And my view from the top!

The winter continued to carry on and graced us with two snow storms. The first left us with only a dusting. The other threatened ice and raised concerns about loss of power and limited transportation. And since we were in North Carolina, no one was prepared for the snow, mentally or physically. And by the way, I was on duty for this snowpocalypse! It wasn’t as bad as we thought. And I got to enjoy my first and final snow day! Doug, Stella, and I braved the cold and went out to enjoy the beauty of the freshly fallen snow. Campus was beautiful since no one had touched the snow as we ventured out. I did squeeze in to my ski jacket for the outing.

The first snow dusting
The first snow dusting
Trekking out in the snow!
Trekking out in the snow!
Chambers' lawn with the freshly fallen snow
Chambers’ lawn with the freshly fallen snow
I managed to squeeze into my ski jacket
I managed to squeeze into my ski jacket

We took one more trip before LBD’s arrival. We went up to Richmond, Virginia to visit the Prevarski’s. We enjoyed delicious food and great company. We went to a museum and I quickly learned that I could no longer be on my feet as long as I thought. I was finally experiencing Braxton Hicks and when I did more that I should, they really flared up. Also, the drive was so long. I literally could not sit in one position for too long.

We did not prepare a nursery for LBD since we knew that we would be moving in July. You have no idea how many times people asked what color we were painting the nursery. We could have explained that we lived in a Residence Hall and that we were not painting or setting anything up or we could just smile and say green. It really just depended on how much I wanted to explain to a total stranger. We did wash everything in Dreft, which seriously smells like heaven. Just a side note, our bottle of Dreft said, “it’s a boy!”….. And we assembled and organized as much as we could in our small space. I guess you could call this nesting, but I think it was more like organizing.

This month we did our parenting classes. Infant CPR, parenting and childbirth were the classed that we chose. In all of our classes, we were always the only ones who were not finding out the sex. We also decided that we were the coolest parents in these classes. This might have been a biased assumption, but really, we are pretty cool. We learned lots of information in all of the classes. And I did feel a little bit more prepared after the childbirth class. The best exercise was when we made a birth plan. There were 25 double sided cards that we had to place in order of importance. Then we had to cut that list down to our top ten. Then top five. Then two of the cards had to be turned over to the opposite side than what we preferred. This exercise really helped Doug and I communicate what was most important and, in the event that I couldn’t verbalize these preferences, I knew that Doug would be able to do so.

February

I have always loved the Olympics, but there was something wonderful about being pregnant and watching the incredible athletes accomplish so much while I was just lucky to make it to the couch by the end of the day. When Doug and I weren’t watching the Olympics we were watching Friday Night Lights or House of Cards. I so loved our nights of watching episodes with a hot cup of tea.

My office threw me a beautiful shower. It was so kind and generous for them to think of us and to come together to celebrate LBD. As the people who saw me everyday, they were the ones who would update me on all of the observations that I would miss. According to them, from behind, I did not look pregnant and I never waddled!

Doug’s family hosted a digital baby shower from Grandma DeGroot’s home. It was fun to share all of the excitement via skype. They could see the bump and watch us open gifts since they all had them sent to us in North Carolina.

I started a project of recovering a glider, which ended up being a much more complicated project that I anticipated. Damn you bloggers! They made it seem so easy! After lots of planning and a few snafus, the glider was complete and it was so comfy!

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By the end of the month, we started seeing Dr. Crosland each week. Everything was looking good. It was strange to think that LBD could arrive at any point in time. Our bags were packed and the to do lists were on the doors. This month seemed like the last one before reality set in. LBD was due in March and this was the last month that we could feel like all of the excitement and anticipation wasn’t just about to become real. In some ways, I was almost sad that things were coming to an end. I reflected back on our journey and the feeling that March would never get here back in July. And now it was almost here!

March

I would like to say that I was a joy and extremely pleasant during my entire pregnancy. But that was just was not the case at the end. I was so uncomfortable all the time. Either it was my bladder, my legs, my stomach, my breathing, the lack of sleep, or just the sheer lack of patients that I had in regards to talking about my pregnancy. At first the little flutter of kicks and movement were such a joyous experience. However, by the end, I was certain that LBD was either a soccer player or a boxer. I was being kicked and punched all the time. It was pretty crazy to see the movement from the outside, too. By the end, I was just completely over it. Just a word to the wise, if you should ever encounter a woman in the last month of her pregnancy: Just leave her alone and ask her what you can do for her. Do no ask her when she thinks that she will have this baby and by all means, do NOT ask her why she is still here. Oh yes, people asked me why I was still “here” every day. I often replied with a question about my physical location or whether they were asking in the existential sense. Either way, my sarcasm was all that I could muster in an effort to not punch them in the face. I will be here until I am not, thank you. I mean really, what was I going to do? Sit at home, doing nothing but waiting for LBD to make moves? I don’t think so! That would have driven me nuts! So I tolerated the ignorance and dragged myself to work each day.

March is also Doug’s birthday month. We celebrated by taking a long hike at a local state park. Some might find this a bit much for a women who was nine months pregnant, but really it wasn’t too bad. Doug and I had a great four mile loop that we did frequently around Davidson and through the Greenway trails. These walks are one of the things that I miss the most since we moved.

By the end I was willing to try every old wives tale in the book. Spicy food, raspberry tea, pineapple, bouncing on a ball, going for long walks, ect. Nothing worked! I tried and I waited. A full moon even came and went, yet no LBD. People began to say, “maybe you will have the baby today.” No such luck. I think I really scared Brian because he was not prepared for me to go into labor while I was in the office across from his. Anytime I made a complaint or a grimace, he quickly asked if he could do anything such as call 911.

LBD was rather stubborn about departing from his comfy home. My doctor let me go past my due date before she scheduled me to be induced. Oh and I soon realized that my due date or March 23rd was actually wrong…it was really the 21st. We did get to have a third ultrasound to make sure that LBD and my fluids looked ok. Everything was fine. It was during this ultrasound that Doug and I both agreed that the images looked like a boy.

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So on March 26th, I worked my last day before my leave and we went to the hospital to have a baby.

December 27th--Week 28
December 27th–Week 28
January 3rd--Week 29
January 3rd–Week 29
January 10th--Week 30
January 10th–Week 30
January 17th--Week 31
January 17th–Week 31
January 24th--Week 32
January 24th–Week 32
January 31st--Week 33
January 31st–Week 33
February 7th--Week 34
February 7th–Week 34
February 14th--Week 35
February 14th–Week 35
February 21st--Week 36
February 21st–Week 36
February 28th--Week 37
February 28th–Week 37
March 7th--Week 38
March 7th–Week 38
March 14th--Week 39
March 14th–Week 39
March 21st--Week 40
March 21st–Week 40
Week 8 to Week 40
Week 8 to Week 40

With Love,

From Me to You

The Second Trimester: Month by Month

October

It is true what they say about the second trimester. It really is so much better than the first. I finally had energy again and food didn’t make me miserable.. My stomach still needed food when it needed food and certain foods still didn’t settle well but all in all, I was almost back to normal. I was able to get back into my daily workout routine, but the elliptical still made me nauseous so I stuck to weights and the treadmill for the rest of the pregnancy. I had to give up my hot yoga classes for regular ones, but they were relaxing. I took a few pre-natal yoga classes with an instructor who was also a dula. She covered some great information about pregnancy, labor, and child birth. And, boy, did that yoga breathing and mindfulness help me when I was in labor!

Fall is such a beautiful time of year in North Carolina. It is truly something to see when the leaves change a little each day until you are suddenly surrounded by bright oranges and yellows. It also means that the weather gets cooler, which is just what a pregnant lady likes to hear! It was really nice that most of my pregnancy was during the cool months. It sure made those hot flashes more manageable. It also meant that I could keep hiding my growing bump for just a bit longer.

My mom came to visit to help Doug and I make some decisions about what we would need for this baby. I found the whole baby registry thing even more overwhelming than when we registered for our wedding. For that registry, it was all about what you liked and what you thought you would use. When registering for a baby, I didn’t even have the first clue as to what I would really need. It was one of those moments when I was completely and utterly thankful for how giving and wonderful my mother is. She helped us get the whole thing organized. And of course, we had some fun in the meantime. It was also about this time that I became incredibly sad that we lived so far away from family. In such a special time in our lives where our family was about to change forever, I often wished that everyone could live in these moments with us. Not just via facetime or the weekly bump picture.

Found these while shopping at Target.
Found these while shopping at Target.
Found these while shopping at Target.
Found these while shopping at Target.

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October also began the middle of the night bathroom breaks and the beginning of never being comfortable when trying to sleep. I had slept so well at the beginning of the pregnancy and then I could never find a position that let me feel truly comfortable. I often laid awake envying how easily Doug could fall asleep each night. My stomach also seemed to shrink as it was being invaded by a growing baby. Portions became a lot smaller because a full stomach was not a comfortable thing while pregnant. I also began to have a hard time breathing. It was never anything serious, but LBD was taking over so much space!

We got to see LBD for a second time. These pictures looked more like a real baby. We saw a cute nose and could see LBD sucking his/her little thumb. It was amazing to see this little baby moving inside of me. Everything looked healthy. The moment came when the ultra-sound tech asked if we wanted to know the sex. It took everything in me to say no. So Doug and I looked away and one person in the whole world knew if we were having a boy or a girl. The sex was never listed on any of our medical records because my doctor said that she could never keep it a secret so she couldn’t know either.

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October also brought a big surprise. Evelyn Lucile Motley decided to make a surprise arrival a few months early. We were so excited and happy for Ben and Ashley and we prayed for Evey to grow stronger each day while in the NICU.

November

The day had finally come. I had to tell my staff that I was pregnant. The bump was becoming more real and at this point I was only wearing maternity clothes. It was getting harder to not talk about being pregnant in conversation in front of them. And there were a few students who caught me talking about it and figured the whole thing out. I told them at our weekly staff meeting and of course they were excited. The reactions ranged from “yeah, we were kind of suspecting something” to “No, I don’t believe you”. They were also adamant that I share the sex and possible names. They didn’t believe that we were waiting to find out if LBD would be a boy or a girl. They soon began suggesting names and one staff member was certain that his name (Shafiq) would be our choice. Either that or Jamies, since FSU was having a legendary season.

Also, have I mentioned that not drinking a beer while watching football is a little bit like torture? Now that the weather was getting nice, I began drinking tea. And I was working on two huge afghans for Leah and Rachel for Christmas. So, yes, I drank hot tea and crocheted afghans on my comfy couch each night and went to bed early. 
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We had visitors in November. Doug’s mom, Kathy, and Doug’s sister, Kristin were with us for a long weekend. The next week Doug’s parents, Ed and Cathy came too. It was fun to see everyone and to share in the excitement of LBD.

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This month I also felt the first flutters of kicks. It is hard to say when it first happened, especially since I had never felt it before and I didn’t t know what to expect. But eventually they grew stronger and I knew that they were more than just gas!

Doug and I toured the hospital where we would deliver. I was not sure how it would be driving to Charlotte while I was in labor. It was about a 20 to 30 minute drive. But this hospital was awesome. The birthing center was so nice and the rooms didn’t feel horribly sterile and white like most hospitals. It was becoming real seeing the place where we would meet LBD.

Doctors visits are a regular occurrence while pregnant. We were lucky that our doctor was close by and that we liked her sassy, southern charm. But after a while, they are all the same and they begin to feel like a hassle. Again, Doug was such a great support through them all. He came to every single appointment, except one. We would read magazines together and he helped me get over my dislike for giving blood, which you do all the time. I am so thankful for a partner who supported me through each annoying appointment!

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November ended with a small Thanksgiving with J.Nye. She was one of the first people who knew that I could be pregnant. While we were trying to get pregnant I didn’t drink. Jessica, being the amazing friend that she is, came for my birthday that year. She brought with her champagne and wine and was ready for a celebratory weekend. When we told her that I wouldn’t be drinking, she said, “cheers” and proceeded to drink her champagne by herself. Jessica has always been a wonderfully supportive and caring friend, even in spite of our opposite personalities. Our friendship only strengthened during our years in North Carolina. She is truly like family.

Happy Thanksgiving from the DeGroots!
Happy Thanksgiving from the DeGroots!
Doug's homemade pumpkin pie!
Doug’s homemade pumpkin pie!
J. Nye and Leah's stolen ornament!
J. Nye and Leah’s stolen ornament!
Watching football
Watching football

Thanksgiving was quiet and relaxing. There was food, football, and friendship. And lots of card games, Settlers of Cattan, and drinking (for Doug and Jessica, of course!).

October 5th-Week 16 First picture in maternity clothes!
October 5th-Week 16
First picture in maternity clothes!
October 11th-Week 17
October 11th-Week 17
October 18th- Week 18
October 18th- Week 18
October 25th- Week 19
October 25th- Week 19
November 1st- Week 20
November 1st- Week 20
October 9th- week 21
October 9th- week 21
November 17th- week 22
November 17th- week 22
October 23rd- week 23
October 23rd- week 23
November 29th- week 24
November 29th- week 24
December 7th- week 25
December 7th- week 25
December 13th- week 26
December 13th- week 26
December 20th- week 27
December 20th- week 27

With Love,

From Me to You

The First Trimester: Mind over stomach?

The excitement of the pregnancy almost keeps your mind off of how miserable you are feeling at the beginning.  Please note, I said, “almost”.

I only got really sick once.  Needless to say, I learned that cheese and a smoothie would not settle well in my pregnant belly.  I needed carbs at all times.  I certainly wasn’t sick all the time, but I had no energy and had a love-hate relationship with food.  I loved it when I needed something to keep my stomach from being upset.  I never left home without crackers (usually cheese-its), granola bars (a girl’s gotta try to be healthy), and a ginger ale.  I also noticed that I did have certain desires (I refuse to call them cravings) to eat random foods such as fig newtons, doughnuts, and McDonald’s hamburgers.

The hate half of my relationship with food arose when a meal was not instantly available.  The waves of hunger would hit me out of nowhere and I knew that I had a limited window of time to eat or else I would become like the characters in the Snickers commercials or I would be curled up in the fetal position.  So I began to keep a number of other snacks on hand, such as Leggo waffles, tortilla chips and salsa, and pita chips and hummus.

One evening, Doug took pity on my eating woes and prepared a wonderful pot pie from scratch (be very jealous…my husband can cook!).  The smell filled the apartment with warmth and anticipation as I was dying to eat it.  We sat down at our table and Doug served me a piping hot portion and I dove right in.  It was delicious!  After a few more bites, I began to notice the strong flavor of buttermilk.  By the fifth bite, I knew that I had eaten enough.  How was I going to tell my sweet husband that his labor of love was making my stomach turn?  I politely thanked him for his efforts and gave him a kiss on the cheek as I pulled out a Lego waffle from the freezer.  Thank goodness for his love and support through those rough weeks.

With Love,

From Me to You

The First Trimester: Keeping THE Secret

I hate keeping secrets.  I am a horrible liar.  I cannot keep track of the white lies and fibs that are woven when you can’t be truly honest.  And have I mentioned that my poker face is non-existent?

As many of you know, the beginning of the school year is the busiest time of year for me.  We spend all summer planning for our student staff training and when they arrive I kiss my personal life good-bye.  Two weeks of 12+ hour days is hard enough, but I had the joy of balancing the demanding schedule with morning sickness (I wish it was just in the morning) and fatigue.

Somehow, I made it through.  I am incredibly thankful for the support of my co-workers, Brian and Shanoya.  I knew that I had to tell them what was going on before they noticed that I was not on my game during the most important time of year.

Brian and I were running and errand off-campus.  Brian made a random, off-handed comment about me be pregnant and, being the horrible liar that I am, I was so caught off guard and couldn’t think of anything to say.  Brian, who was driving and looking for our stop, completely missed his turn.  I told him  that I was in fact pregnant and he was totally surprised.  So much so that he missed his turn for a second and then a third time.  Shanoya, on the other hand, took the news much better.  They both were excited for me and Doug and they played a huge role in helping me through my pregnancy while at work.

With Love,

From Me to You

First Trimester: Our First Ultrasound

Sometimes things don’t seem real until you see them with your own eyes.

When I saw the positive result on the test, I was in disbelief.  And as time passed and I felt sick and tired all the time, I knew that something was happening but I didn’t really see any changes.  And, most people keep their news a secret since the change for miscarriage is highest in the first trimester.  So I silently suffered and celebrated each day.

Doug attended every since doctor’s visit.  For obvious reasons, this appointment was one of the most special for us to share.  Neither one of us knew what to expect or what we would see.  At eight weeks there really isn’t a defined shape yet.  But the second we saw the little heartbeat pumping, we were both so in awe of our little baby growing.  It truly is such a miracle to see a small life developing inside you.  And even though I had been feeling sick and tired and crabby, it all seemed so insignificant compared to the beauty of the moment that we first saw LBD.

They printed us a few pictures and we literally looked at them all night long.  It was incredible that this small blob would soon grow and become our baby.  We couldn’t wait to share the news any longer.

First picture of LBD!
First picture of LBD!
Here is one more!
Here is one more!
Here is one more!
Here is one more!
First picture of the 'Bump" at 8 weeks.
First picture of the ‘Bump” at 8 weeks.

With Love,

From Me to You

The First Trimester: The Beginning

Before you decide to have a baby, you worry that everything in your life isn’t just right.

Should we have more money saved, aren’t babies expensive?

Shouldn’t we live in our own house, not a residence hall?

Are we ready to completely change our lifestyle and focus on the needs of another human instead of our own?

Doug and I asked ourselves these questions and decided that there would might never be a “right” time.   So we used our logical brains to make lists of pros and cons and then we decided to listen to our hearts instead.  If you know me, you already know that we did not enter parenthood without plans and backups. We tried to control what we could and let the rest go.  So, I eagerly purchased every “what to expect book” and began to research what pregnancy and parenthood would be all about.

When you want to be pregnant, suddenly you become hyper-aware of every different physical sensation.  Every day I would google ‘early symptoms of pregnancy’.

 Was that a cramp?

Do I have a heighten sense of smell?

Why is my stomach upset?  

Clearly I could will myself to have any symptom I wanted because I was so filled with anticipation and excitement.

Trying to get pregnant also fills you with hope for what the future will hold.

What will our baby be like? 

Who will he or she look like? 

How will we be as parents? 

How will life change for the better? 

Some of my favorite moments were talking with Doug about all of the possibilities.

Trying to get pregnant was the first of many reminders that you do not have as much control in life as you think. Doug and I were very lucky.  We didn’t have to wait long before we had good news.  Most couples will experience a negative test at some point in their journey.  And it is incredibly disappointing when the result is not what you had hoped.  Fortunately, there is always next month.

It was about 4am on a Saturday and I was getting ready to catch a flight to Florida to visit my family and spend some much needed time at the beach.  It was also just about that time to find out if I was pregnant.  I couldn’t imagine taking a test without Doug,  so I knew I had to take one before I left.  Plus I wanted to know if I could enjoy a beer or two while I lounged by the pool!  Somehow, I convinced myself that it was bad luck if I checked the results.  As if Doug checking the test would magically change it to the news that we hoped for!

I set my expectations low so that I wouldn’t be disappointed.  If the test was negative, I knew that I would dwell on the news the whole flight home.

I am an anxious traveler but this morning was extra emotional as I waited for the result.  I tried to stay busy double checking my packed bags and adding last minute items that I probably didn’t need; I am also a notorious over-packer. Somehow two minutes seems to stretch on forever.

I had covered the test with the instructions. I wanted Doug to check first.  He removed the paper and smiled.  It was positive!  At first I didn’t believe him.  Maybe Doug really did have magical powers!  I was so incredibly shocked that all I could do was give him a hug and a kiss.

Pregnant!
Pregnant!

I thought about being pregnant the whole flight.  I wondered if anyone could tell.

Was I glowing? 

Don’t pregnant women glow? 

What is it going to be like to be pregnant? 

What is labor going to be like? 

That was the quickest flight ever.  I was totally lost in excitement about the future.

Doug and I agreed to keep the news to ourselves.  It was so exciting to share in knowing about our little secret.  I even agreed to not tell my family about the big news.  And let me tell you, it killed me to not say a thing!  I really wanted to tell my family in person but I wanted Doug to share in that moment.

So I drank my La Croix and hoped that no one noticed that I wasn’t drinking on our vacation.  There were a few close calls when my sisters or parents offered me a drink that they had poured just for me.  I hoped that no one would catch on.

More pictures from the beach. Even Becky didn't know my big secret!
More pictures from the beach. Even Becky didn’t know my big secret!
Sisters on the beach at Anna Maria Island. Can you tell that I'm pregnant?
Sisters on the beach at Anna Maria Island. Can you tell that I’m pregnant?
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I made two baby blankets on the trip. One for Katie Cronberg and the other for Titus Echols. I had to do something baby related.

It was so wonderful seeing Doug after that vacation.  It was fantastic to share in the excitement that had finally sunk in.  We scheduled our first appointment and continued to secretly celebrate our big news.

With love,

From Me to You