The First Week

Being welcomed home by my family was the perfect way to start off our journey as new parents. I had plenty of helpful hands to hold the little guy and all meals were planed and prepared before I could even think about being hungry.  Just having my family there made things so simple and it was wonderful sharing this special time with them.  On Sunday, Teri, Fred and Kelly Learned came down from Winston-Salem to meet the little guy, too.

First Schwartz Family picture!

First Schwartz Family picture!

GiGi and Granddad

GiGi and Granddad

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By Sunday night, the exhaustion and the realness of being a new mom was beginning to hit me.  I was so tired and I was still fighting off a head cold.  My Dad suggested that we play a round of “Settlers of Catan” and given my love for the game, I agreed.  I didn’t make it very long before Donovan was awake and needing to be fed.  The rest of the events are a bit foggy, but I do remember loosing my cool and basically ending the game.  I was beginning to learn that my priorities would be playing second fiddle to my baby for a while.

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Stella loves her brother!

Stella loves her brother!

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My sisters and Dad left on Monday, but my Mom was able to stay with us for a week.  Having my Mom stay with us was such a gift.  Moms know you.  They know what you need, want, and what you don’t.  They do things without you asking or without needing pleasantries or ‘thank yous’.  They do it because they are your Mom and they love you.  I am lucky to have learned how to be a Mom from a woman who is an amazing example of selfless and unconditional love.  I know in that first week I was not always patient or nice.  I was sleep-deprived, stressed, and trying to adjust to the craziest change of my life.  My mom was there to help me get the hang of nursing, which was no simple task.  She was there to teach me how to BE a mom by showing me tips and tricks that must be part of a secret motherhood society.  She was there to make the most delicious meals, because you know meals taste better when they are made by your Mom.  She was there to give me a break when I needed it.    She was there to make me go on a date with Doug before she left, since she knew that time alone together would be hard to find as new parents.  She was there to do every chore that I had forgotten about because I had a new baby that demanded my full attention and who has time for chores with a newborn?!?  She was there to help with errands and to prepare meals for after she left.  She was there to tell me that I was doing a good job, even when I felt that I wasn’t.

In the first week we did enjoy a few outings:

To the pediatrician: We loved our doctor.  She was so sweet with Donovan and she was super helpful with all things breastfeeding.  She said that things were looking good.

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To Target: This was my first solo outing.  It felt strangely amazing to be able to go somewhere alone.  I could zip through the aisles and I could do whatever I wanted!  Of course, I was on a short time-frame, since feedings were every three hours or less, so my freedom was short-lived but very much appreciated.

To Verde: This is where Doug and I went for our first date as new parents.  I love Cuban food and everything was delicious!  I also enjoyed my first beer post pregnancy!  It was nice to spend time with Doug without any distraction.  It was hard leaving the little guy, but I knew he was in good hands with my Mom.

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To the office: My breast pump (thank you insurance!!) was delivered to my office because I lived on campus.  It was nice to pop in and see all of my co-workers.  They wanted to know all of the details of the birth and how things were going.  I know that they were dying to meet the little guy, too!

To walk around Davidson: Doug and I took Stella and Donovan out for our first walk to enjoy the beautiful weather.  We put him in his carrier and used the stroller, but we quickly realized that the brick around campus was really bumpy so we had to take alternate routes. It was nice to get out and move my body after being cooped up for a week.

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We had a few more visitors before my Mom left. Shanoya, Brian and Rosie all came over to catch up and meet the little guy.  Sarah and Cayce came a little bit later too.  It was fun introducing everyone to this little person that they had been waiting to meet for so long.

Donovan got his first bath by the end of his first week.  It was my mom’s expertise that made the whole process possible.  It is so much harder than it looks. Who knew that bathing a little human would be so difficult?

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I was so sad to see my mom go. And I’d like to blame all of the hormones, but I have always been an emotional person when it comes to family. We were so thankful for all of her help and we knew that she had done so much. And we couldn’t wait to have her back just a few weeks later.

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By the end of the first week, I was feeling pretty confident that Doug and I could do this parenting thing.  I knew that we could handle it together.  And I knew that my Mom had passed on so much to us in that first week together.

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One week new.

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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