one month





It's here already. In fact, the day has come and gone. Our baby girl is just over one month old.

I could get extremely sentimental at this point and ramble on and on about how amazing and wonderful it is to be a mother (and it is), but I think I'll just stick with the basic facts for now and leave the emotions for later. In some ways, they are still very raw for me.

Since Lucy's birth, I will admit it's like I've been on constant sensory overload. Every thing I do - from what time I get up in the morning and what I wear to how long I can manage to run errands or even sit on the couch with Pierce and eat a hurried meal for dinner - revolve around our little girl. Going to the store means putting baby in her sling (which she loves!) and still wrapping my arms tight around her because I am terrified that at any moment the seams will rip and she'll go tumbling out onto the ground. It also means watching even more carefully for cars in the lot and attempting to predict exactly when they'll back out. Do they see me back here, twenty feet away, with my baby? Let's move the sidewalk instead. What's crazy about this whole adjustment, though, is how natural it becomes...even though it is absolutely exhausting. Sometimes even when Lucy has been a complete angel all day (and we're lucky...we've had lots of those days so far), I come home incredibly run-down by the sheer effort it takes to constantly think about her needs.

But Pierce...oh, my sweet Pierce. God definitely knew what He was doing when he designed the husband/wife partnership. There is no one more capable of being Lucy's daddy than my husband. I am so thankful He chose Pierce for us. Single mothers...I don't know how you do it. I cannot even imagine how you make it work. Props to heaven and back for you, my friends, because this is the toughest job there is. And knowing that I have someone else to share it with each day is such an inexplicable relief to me. Even better? Pierce is really good at it. He's generous and giving, patient and sympathetic. He's the best of the best, that one.

Okay, I promised not to be sentimental and there I go. I can't help myself.

Anyway, let's get to Lucy, yes? That's all you guys really care about, I know. She's just too darn cute to resist.

Lucy is, let's face it, the world's best baby. And I hope I'm not jinxing myself by saying so (especially since the dreaded 6-week growth spurt/sleep change is coming up soon). But it's true. After less than two weeks, she started sleeping through the night. For about three weeks I was exclusively breastfeeding (before we had those issues with her weight) and I'd nurse her about eight times a day, once every two hours like clock work. At first it was just one breast at a time, but then we started switching to both for each feeding to make sure she was getting enough food. Now we mix formula feedings and breast feedings throughout the day (usually formula while I'm at work and breast during the early morning and late evening). It hasn't affected her sleep schedule yet. That's partly why her lack of weight gain was so confusing. The girl was eating like a champ and sleeping like one, too. The pediatrician thinks that Lucy might simply have an intolerance to something in my diet (like dairy) and even though she's getting full, her body isn't processing the fats correctly. That's just conjecture at the moment, though and since the dairy isn't harming her in any way and formula is helping her gain weight, we're all good for the time-being. After we started supplementing with formula over the weekend, Lucy gained back five ounces! These are the things that bring me joy these days.

Oh, and her smiles...they kill me. Apparently, babies don't really begin smiling until about 6 weeks, but baby girl's got that skill down pat! She started smiling (in response to us and not just in her sleep or because she was filling her diaper) at about three weeks. Our pediatrician said she was "advanced" for her little age...which is, of course, what every mother doesn't realize she wants to hear until she does. Go baby girl! You are awesome, my love. I hope I can always make you smile the way you do now.


every hour I need You


I can't believe another Christmas is about to come and go. It's ridiculous how time moves...how this time last year Pierce and I were settling into our new home and picking out a (real) tree from our new neighborhood. I had also just lost my job (almost a year ago to the day, in fact). I wasn't too upset about it, as you might remember from my posts, because I had long felt like I wanted to freelance. But then I fell (well, more like dug myself into) a hole of anxiety and depression, brought on by extreme and irrational fear. It took me until about April to feel kind of normal again. And then it wasn't until August that I had no fear of being alone at all anymore. But now the fear is back. And I hate it, you guys. It's killing my joy. It's stealing the sweetness of this season. And I'm trying not to let it...but that's also part of the problem, I suppose. Trying not to let something happen means all I'm doing is focusing on what hurts me, rather than focusing on what brings me happiness and peace...or what simply keeps me distracted. Often, I have found, that distraction is actually the best healer. If I learn how to redirect my thoughts every time they move in the direction of fear, then eventually that will become my new normal. Fear will be overridden by healthier patterns of thinking.

My husband and my mother both have been encouraging me to face my fear a little at a time. Pierce calls it "the mountain" and says that if all I ever do is look at it directly, all I've ever do is think it's too big to scale. I have to put my head down, he says, and take one step at a time. So that's what I'm trying to do. I might be filled with anxiety the whole time I'm taking that step, but at least I'm moving closer to the moment when my anxiety disappears altogether. And I can't wait for it. Seriously. That day cannot come fast enough. But just as it took time for me to build bad thought habits, it's also going to take time for me to change them. Today, I'm thanking God for His grace, for the truth that He sees me as a beautiful bride and not a failure, and I'm asking Him with everything I have to help me look at Him. Just Him. To choose Him...and not fear. My daughter deserves that and so does my husband. 

And, dammit, I do, too.

pressure


I have no idea how these mama bloggers do it. They mother, they craft, they dress up, and they still blog regularly. I'm struggling to keep up right now and I'll be honest: as much as I'd like to have everything together, I don't. And it's okay. It really is. 

Something that motherhood has taught me already (beyond the fact that breastfeeding is a ridiculously amazing and, yet, still-kind-of-gross phenomenon...I mean leakage? C'mon, ladies. That's awkward.) is that no matter what we believe is ideal, we need to go easier on ourselves. I believe strongly in natural childbirth, but things went a little differently for us in that regard. I still labored through almost all of my unnatural pain (i.e. pitocin hell) without painkillers, but we chose intervention because Lucy was so incredibly late. And I knew that meant my labor might not match the experience I'd created in my imagination. Also, I'm breastfeeding little Lucy. She gained almost all her birth weight back just two days after she'd lost it, but then she started dropping again so I'm also giving her formula to supplement what she gets from me. In the meantime, I'm seeing a lactation consultant to fix any issues we might be having with nursing. But, for now, my baby will get whatever she needs while we figure this out. I realized I didn't give two shits about other people's expectations the moment I saw the number on the pediatrician's scale. All I cared about in that moment was making sure our baby girl was healthy.

I talked to a dear mama friend of mine yesterday and we shared our thoughts about all the expectations that mothers have placed on them...and the ones they put on themselves. It's really, really hard to be a mother. Harder than I ever through possible. But it's also humbling. And sweet. And overwhelmingly beautiful. It's sacrifice, grace, love, and pain all rolled into one...and the grace required to be a mom in these early days has to be extended towards oneself. Because mistakes will be made and patience will be lost and everything you thought you knew and believed about what made an ideal parent will be tested. After I had Lucy, I realized that any woman who had ever given birth was a true rock star, no matter how she did it. Elective C-section, natural, vaginal with epidural, or out in the woods crouched down behind a giant oak tree...they're all rock stars. And so are mothers who are truly seeking the very best for their children. The homeschooling, stay-at-home mama, the working mama, the do-it-all mama...rock stars, you guys. 

I'm not saying all this to preach (okay, maybe I am...just a little). I'm also saying it to encourage because it's challenging enough to keep a little one alive and healthy each day while simultaneously trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy with friends and family, eating enough throughout the day, making sure your floors aren't completely covered in pet hair (not completely) and oh yeah! actually hanging out with your husband. It's hard. We shouldn't make it harder by measuring ourselves against others. We need only measure ourselves against ourselves.

Okay. I got that out. I'll be back later with another sermon on why breast pumps are actually the devil.

I've got a baby asleep on my chest and, oh yeah, I'm guest blogging, too!


Hey everyone! Today, I'm guest blogging over at The Simply Beloved. I've got some simple tips to help you get healthy skin and achieve that perfect holiday glow! Check it out here.

Also, baby Lucy is fast asleep, but she still says hi :).

Lucy Jane: A Birth Story

This will be long. It might even be a bit gross at times. But hey...that's motherhood, right?

My first experience having a child was not quite what I expected or what I had planned. I knew going in that things could always change at the last minute, but I prayed they wouldn't stray too far from the ideal Pierce and I had in our heads. At 41 weeks, I went to see one of the midwives at Intown and she told me we could talk more about induction at my appointment the following Wednesday. Although induction was definitely not my first choice, I knew it was a likely possibility considering Lucy's size. So for the next week, until Wednesday, November 20, Pierce and I sat and waited for baby Lucy to come on her own. But she never did. I guess my uterus is pretty cozy.

At my 42-week appointment, the midwife asked what I wanted to do: be admitted to the hospital for an induction or wait and see when Lucy would arrive. Pierce and I had thought long and hard about this decision, but the waiting game felt endless. We were tired. We were over it. We were also a little bit sad. Every phone call and text message reminded us Lucy that wasn't here yet. We were grateful for all the people who shared our excitement and prayed for us daily, but if anyone ever says the last few weeks of pregnancy aren't somewhat tedious, they're either lying or they've never been pregnant. And every day that passed was another day our concerns about Lucy's size - and whether or not I would be able to deliver her vaginally - grew (no pun intended). After being told she would likely be at least nine pounds, I feared I would have to have a C-section. My midwife believed that if I was induced, it wouldn't take much to get my body laboring on its own so I could have the birth I'd planned. That was when I realized I was more than willing to deal with an induction than I was a Cesarean. So the midwife on call that day - Deena - scheduled me to be admitted to Atlanta Medical Center at 5:00 a.m. the next morning: Thursday, November 21st, exactly a week before Thanksgiving.

Later that day, my mom and little sister drove up to spend the night with us, and Kati, Pierce, and I went out to eat at a local Mexican restaurant here. The next morning, we got up around 3:30, showered, dressed, and drove a whopping two miles to the hospital. Pierce and I were so excited. We couldn't believe the little girl we'd been talking about for almost a year would finally be with us that day, and it was all a bit surreal. I remember feeling the same way when I got engaged and married. I kept thinking, "Is this really happening to me and not someone else I know?"




After we arrived at the hospital, we checked in and I was admitted to Labor and Delivery. My dad and stepmother showed up about an hour later and we all sat around the room, talking and laughing, while the nurse, Alisha, walked me through the induction process, hooked me up to the heart rate and contraction monitor, and checked my blood pressure. All of the staff there were simply incredible. Alisha was the best nurse I could have asked for: bubbly, encouraging, and pregnant to boot. She knew what I was going through and she made me feel as though we'd known each other for years. Best of all, Atlanta Medical Center is pretty relaxed about visitors and although their official limit for L & D is three at one time, they let Pierce, Kati, my mom, dad, and stepmother all stay in the room. I cannot say enough good things about that place. I should have made some Thank-You candy bags or something, what with all the time I had on my hands those last few weeks, but I didn't think about it until later. Perhaps a Christmas card will suffice...

By the time I'd eaten some Chick-Fil-A for breakfast and been hooked up to an IV for pitocin, it was about 7:30 a.m.  Just before I got started on pitocin, Deena gave me a physical exam and discovered I was only dilated to 3 cm and 50% effaced...the same as I had been a week before. The contractions began as very mild cramps and I remember feeling only slightly uncomfortable. I wasn't confined to the bed because I was hooked up to a movable IV, but with all the wires and bands attached to my body I wouldn't exactly say I was mobile. I reclined on the bed while Pierce sat next to me and we chatted with my family. Periodically, Alisha or Deena would come into the room for updates or to check this, that, and the other.



Around 11:00 a.m., the contractions were coming stronger and closer together. Unfortunately, I wasn't progressing very much. We asked Deena if it would still be possible for me to get off the pitocin and she said she was afraid that if we did my labor would stall completely and we'd have to start over. We weren't really discouraged at that point (even though it meant I probably wouldn't be able to labor in water like I wanted) because the pain was still manageable and I naively believed it wouldn't get much worse. Everything I'd ever heard about pitocin was that it made contractions much more intense than natural labor, so I was surprised I wasn't in unbearable pain. It's what I had expected, but I still felt very much in control. Pierce stood by my side and stroked my forehead. He held my hand and told me how great I was doing. My parents and sister stayed busy keeping in touch with family and friends All in all, the first part of the day was enjoyable despite the fact that the pain was steadily increasing.

And then lunchtime passed and a switch went off. Somewhere inside of me, the pitocin hit its mark and it was time for me to put those Bradley Method breathing techniques to serious use.

We had a beautiful view of the city from my room and when we'd first arrived it was pitch dark outside. As the world woke up and the sun came out, we turned off the lights and opened the blinds. The room had a dim, gray look to it and it seemed quieter somehow. Perhaps it was. My family sort of faded into the background as Pierce and I labored through the experience together. I've never loved my husband more than I did that day (and every day since). He rarely left my side. The contractions were building in intensity with each passing minute and I squeezed his hand tightly as they moved down my abdomen, rolling through my body like waves of sharp knives. He whispered affirmations to me over and over and I inhaled deeply, concentrating on abdominal breathing like I'd learned in all my reading. I didn't try to fight the pain. I simply tried to keep my body relaxed and let the pain take its course. My labor went on like this for a few hours.




Finally, I couldn't keep quiet any longer. I began to sound a little like the woman who'd been laboring in the room next to me when we first arrived. I made sounds that sort of embarrassed me at first, but I got over it pretty quickly. Alisha, Deena, and Pierce told me how great I was doing, that my breathing was excellent, etc. etc. but after awhile I kind of lost control of my emotions. I got up to move around the room with Pierce. I couldn't labor sitting down any longer. I tried swaying. I tried squatting by the bed. I leaned on his shoulder whenever a contraction would grip its iron-like fingers around my middle. How do I even begin to describe what labor is like? I wish I knew how natural contractions felt, but I don't. What I do know of childbirth is that pitocin is no joke and it will knock you on your ass. Each contraction would begin just below my breasts, at the top of my uterus, and work its way down to my pelvis. Eventually the pain became so incredible I could hardly rest between them. It was as though someone was sawing through my midsection, carving a path that became deeper each time. I could literally trace my fingers over the places where the pain would begin and end. I knew exactly where they would start each time and I imagined myself pushing the air in my lungs to those places inside of my body, forcing the pain to move through me. This approach kept me distracted at times, but mostly it just allowed me to keep hoping for that moment when the pain would release and I could rest for a minute or two. Walking helped, but only slightly. I wanted to stay mobile, but it wasn't long before I found my way back to the bed because the energy it took to stand upright was preventing me from being able to concentrate on my breathing. After that, I sat in the bed and labored through minute-long contractions that came every 90 seconds for the next five hours.

At some point, I remember my dad sitting on the other side of the bed, holding my hand. My mom was juggling multiple phones and her computer in order to try and talk to all our friends and family about what was happening. Kati was mostly quiet, taking pictures for us, occasionally making a joke, and trying to stay out of the way. My stepmother, Celeste, helped keep my mother calm during a few exceptionally painful moments for me. And although I wasn't quite present for all that was going on around me, I remember being so glad to have them all there.



By the time it was early evening, I was in so much pain I could barely speak. It took everything I had to make it through each contraction. I counted that five deep abdominal breaths would get me through one and, usually, by the third breath I felt like I was going to split in two. I kept thinking, "Just make it to four and five will be nothing...then you can rest for a minute." That thought went through my head countless times. But when Deena came back to check me again and we found out I was only dilated to 7 cm, I started sobbing. I thought for sure I was going through transition and it was a huge blow to find out I still had 3 cm left. I cried to Pierce that I couldn't go on and he did exactly what I'd told him to do: he reminded me that, yes, I could and also why it had been so important for me to labor with as little intervention as possible. Poor guy. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place. My family sat around the end of the bed and tried to encourage me as much as possible. Alisha did, too. I know it must have been hard for them, especially when I finally choked out, "I feel like such a failure, but I want an epidural." Suddenly, the room was loud again, filled with the shouts of my nurse, my midwife, my family, and my husband all telling me that I was far from a failure and I was about to push a baby out of my vagina, for goodness sake. I tried in between contractions to think as logically as possible, to remind myself that this was what I'd wanted, and would I regret getting an epidural? I asked Pierce, over and over again, if he would be disappointed in me. I was so caught up in thinking I would let someone down it wasn't until Alisha and Deena spoke up that I finally made a decision.

"This is not natural labor," they said. "This is much worse. You have nothing to prove to anyone."

At that point, Pierce asked everyone to step out of the room so we could talk. He brushed my hair away from my face, held on tightly to my hand, and told me that all he wanted was what I wanted.

After breathing through one last horrific contraction, I looked up at him and said through tears, "I want a fucking epidural."

The minutes had never passed as slowly as they did once Alisha started prepping me for the anesthesiologist. Rather than making my contractions more bearable, knowing I would soon be free from the pain seemed to increase them ten-fold. And P.S. the hardest thing I've ever done in my life is sit completely and utterly still as a contraction rippled through my hugely pregnant body...right around the same time a gigantic needle entered my back.

The epidural worked within minutes but, unfortunately, the whole left side of my abdomen didn't get the juice. So for about another half-hour I was still feeling the pain throughout that entire area. The anesthesiologist came back, turned me on my side, and gave me a little bit more. Alisha and Deena were going off duty, so they hugged me and said goodbye and, after that, I fell into the most blissful sleep of my life for two hours. When I woke up, Lindley, another midwife from Intown, was on call. She checked me, looked up with a grin and asked the best question I've ever heard in my life:

"Well...are you ready to have a baby?"

The room erupted after that. More nurses and staff came pouring in. My dad, who had left to drop my step mom off at home, came hurrying back to the hospital. My mother scrambled to get two of my best friends on Facetime so they could be "present" for Lucy's birth. Pierce continued to garner points for the World's Most Amazing Husband award. I was completely exhilarated...and also completely numb from the waist down. But, most importantly, I was present for what was happening.

The pitocin and epidural were turned off and, soon after, it was time to push. The nurse and Pierce both had to hold my legs up because I couldn't move on my own at first, but after almost an hour of pushing I started to feel my contractions again. I turned on my left side and was able to hold my right leg up on my own to push from that position. On a slightly more disgusting side note, I was secretly terrified of taking a crap on the bed. I know nurses and midwives have seen much worse, but after one extremely hard push I thought I smelled something not so lovely. I looked up, pulled off the oxygen mask they'd given me to make sure baby was getting what she needed, and asked my sister in a horrified voice, "Did I just poop?" Thankfully, the answer was no. At least that's what Kati said...


Anyway, I don't know exactly how long it was before Lucy arrived. I kept pushing, three or four at a time, as Pierce and Lindley counted aloud. Over and over I heard them say, "Good, Wendi!" and "You're doing such a great job, baby". Later, someone told me Lindley sounded like a cheerleader and they were right. She was amazing.

The most incredible part of the whole experience was the fact that I was able to feel Lucy bearing down on my pelvis. I knew when my contractions were coming and I was able to tell Lindley and the others I needed to push, rather than the other way around. I imagined Lucy making her way down the birth canal and out of my body and I was so impatient. I wanted to see her. I wanted to hold her. I wanted to hear her cry.


Finally, Lucy began to crown and I was able to reach down and feel her little soft head. I'll be honest: that was a little strange and it sort of freaked me out. It scared me because she seemed so utterly fragile at that moment and I just wanted her in my arms. A few big pushes later and I felt her head come out. One more push and the rest of her followed suit. It was the strangest, most wonderful sensation. She was here! I looked up at Pierce and he was wearing the biggest grin I've ever seen, his eyes wide with wonder over the little girl they were handing over to us. When I saw her for the first time, I burst into tears and clutched her close to my chest. She was slippery and slightly purple and absolutely gorgeous. She had my nose and mouth, Pierce's eyes, and when I said her name she looked up at me like she knew exactly who I was.

And then I cried some more.



Everything after that was a complete blur. A beautiful, messy, painful blur. And early that next morning, Pierce and I finally went to sleep next to our sweet little daughter. And I'll tell you what...she was well worth the wait.




an introduction

Meet our precious baby girl, please and thank you!

Lucy Jane Nunnery was born on Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 11:24 p.m. This last week has been a whirlwind in every sense of the word, and we are so happy to call this sweet, beautiful babe ours.


Waiting

These days, most of my time has been spent reading, cleaning, hanging out with Pierce and my family, and waiting...lots and lots of waiting. Baby Lucy is now twelve days overdue. We really didn't think she would be so late. She was measuring ahead for much of the last trimester and we assumed she would come right on time, if not a bit early. But Lucy has other plans. 

Last Wednesday, I went to see the OB for a fetal stress test and an ultrasound to check on baby since I was 41 weeks to the day. Everything was perfectly fine and Lucy is healthy, but the OB  guessed that she will be "at least" nine pounds! When I got that news, I sort of hung my head and muttered, "Oh Jesus," but he reassured me with a laugh by saying she was measuring fine and that I shouldn't worry.

"She'll fit," he told me. I sure hope so!

The next day, I went for an appointment with my midwife and discovered that I was dilated to 3 cm and 50% effaced, which was a huge relief. We weren't expecting there to have been any progress but, unfortunately, not much has happened in the days since. My midwife told me to come back this Wednesday, when I will be 42 weeks, and they will likely give me the option to either be admitted to the hospital and induced or keep waiting. Pierce and I have talked a lot about what we want to do, and I think we're going to go with induction. I feel confident about it because my midwife assured me that since I've already made progress they wouldn't have to give me very much pitocin to get labor started. From there, I can do the rest on my own and still deliver naturally once the pitocin wears off. That was a big encouragement for us since we really want as little intervention as possible. And if we wait until I go into labor on my own, its far more likely that Lucy will be too big and I'll have to undergo a C-section. Neither of these options were a part of the "plan" but, like I said before, I know that plans can change. And at this rate a little pitocin is a far better choice than a C-section. Or...Lucy could still come before then! Whatever happens, we will have a little baby girl soon and we are over the moon about it. This is going to be the best Thanksgiving ever.

In the meantime, here are a few shots of the last week:


Clockwise from top right:

1) Can never get enough of crunchy fall leaves
2) 41 week baby belly
3) A beautiful yellow tree on our street
4) The almost-full moon on Saturday night
5) I found a beautiful dedication in Jennifer Weiner's Little Earthquakes
6) Popcorn and an at-home date night
7) I finished grad school!
8) Coffee and conversations with hubby
9) Lucy's baby wash, ready to go by the kitchen sink, when she's big enough for her first bath
10) Loving on my little sis

It Ain't Easy Being Jazzy: A Review

Happy Friday!

Today I'm excited to share my review of Quanie Miller's sassy new novel It Ain't Easy Being Jazzy. Can I just say that a book with a good ol' fashioned love triangle (square?) gets me every time. If you enjoy a little drama, but don't want any in your own life, then Miller's book is for you, my friends!

It Ain't Easy Being Jazzy: A Summary
Jazzy secretly wants to get back together with her ex-boyfriend, Curtis, so when he calls and reveals that he’s got something important to tell her, she’s got no idea that he’s about to propose—to her first cousin and bitter rival, Mercedes. 

The annual family dinner is coming up, and fearing that she will spend the evening seething while Mercedes flaunts her four carat engagement ring in her face, Jazzy asks Reggie, an Adonis she met at the mall, to accompany her. As fate would have it, not only did Reggie and Mercedes used to date; that backstabbing, leopard print wearing cow is still carrying a torch for him! Revenge. It’s never been so sweet. 
But falling for Reggie? Holy crap! That wasn’t part of the plan! She’s got enough on her plate as it is; restaurant shootouts, a neurotic boss, a mother who spies on the neighbors, and a sister and best friend with man problems that could land them on Jerry Springer. Who has time to fall in love? So when Curtis comes sniffing around again—this time, with an accusation that sends her blood pressure shooting through the roof—the one good nerve that Jazzy’s got left has just about run its course.


It Ain't Easy Being Jazzy: What I Think

I spent a week in New Orleans when I was a sophomore in college, exactly one year before Katrina, and it was one of the best places I've ever visited. The culture, the history...the food. And the author's Louisiana-bred background is clear in her writing. There are deep (and sometimes uncomfortable) familial bonds between her characters which make for authentically funny scenes and, overall, a lighthearted, enjoyable read.

What I love most about this book is the humor with which the protagonist approaches her situation. With so much happening between these characters, it would have been easy for Miller to turn this story into something a little more serious. But it's pure escapism in the best way. At times, it was hard to follow the action, what with the complexities of relationships being what they are, but it didn't take too much to push through those moments. Miller's voice is strong enough to get the job done.

Want more It Ain't Easy Being Jazzy? Visit Quanie Miller's official website here to preview a short excerpt from her debut novel. And be sure to stop by and say hello on Twitter and Facebook!

Thanks for reading! And a big thanks to Quanie for the fun read. Good luck on the rest of the tour!

overdue


Well, Miss Lucy has decided that she is quite cozy in her home and she doesn't seem to have any intention of coming out soon. Yesterday was her due date, but I've known this whole time that it was just an estimate, that it could be off by days or even weeks, and that she would come when she needed to come.

I say she's overdue, but I know Lucy will be right on time.

Now that I've taken time away from work projects in anticipation of our girl's arrival, this week has been lovely and slow. Leaves are falling everywhere and there's a constant breeze, sweeping the smell of firewood and pine into the air, and I'm content. I have moments of impatience and our loved ones are certainly excited for the big phone call, but I've been able to read, relax, sleep, and pray...all much-needed in light of the transformation our little family is about to undergo. Everything is ready for Lucy (except the slipcover for the chair in her nursery, which I just found out will be delivered tomorrow via FedEx...maybe that's what Lucy's been waiting on?) and I bounce back and forth between thinking every twinge and creak in my body is a contraction and completely brushing it all off. It's my first time. I don't really know what to expect. I'm sure I'll figure it out fairly quickly when it's time. But, for the moment, that time is not now.



I had one last appointment with my midwife today and we scheduled a time for me to visit with Dr. Bootstaylor at See Baby next week for an ultrasound. If Lucy hasn't come before then, they'll want to check my amniotic fluid and make sure she has enough room in there and that her size will not be a problem for delivery. We'll talk about induction options but for now that's not a concern. As long as there are no issues with the ultrasound, I'll be able to go to 42 weeks without an induction. I have an ideal plan in my head, but I honestly don't feel too concerned about it all anymore. Lucy will arrive in the best way possible, and I know our midwives and Dr. Bootstaylor will see to that. More than anything, I trust that God designed this pregnancy long before it happened and He knows exactly how Lucy should be brought into this world.

Hopefully the next time I write it will be to announce that we've finally met our baby girl. I'm so excited to share her with the world!

Here's to a happy Halloween, our five year anniversary...and maybe Lucy's birthday, too?


Is it just me...or have I been pregnant forever? 

We found out I was expecting when I was just four weeks along and subsequently told everyone we could think of within the 72-hour period following that discovery. One of my old college buddies just announced her pregnancy (at 12 weeks) and yesterday she posted the gender reveal photos on Facebook. I swear it seemed like four seconds between the two announcements, but that's probably because she waited until she was through the first trimester to share the good news. I'm not good at keeping secrets like that. Not my own, anyway...

I was praying really hard for a Halloween baby yesterday but, obviously, that didn't happen. It's okay, though, because I got a cute costume idea out of it and enjoyed taking what are hopefully some of the last photos of my ever-growing belly. I found out at my last appointment that Lucy is a "large seven pounds" :).

Anyway, I spent the rest of my afternoon trying to get over this dreadful cold and getting the house ready for my women's small group and trick-or-treaters. We had lots of them! I was really excited about that because this time last year we had just moved in and were not even remotely prepared for a bunch of costumed, screaming little ones to ransack our candy dish. So I just stood out in the front yard and waved at everyone as they dashed about in their costumes, feeling out of place and not at all like that weird next door neighbor who piddles about in the yard doing nothing every day.

The girls came over around seven and we finished up our study on Ruth (so good!), ate lots of good food (and maybe some candy, too), and spent a few minutes going around the room sharing our thoughts on the strengths of each woman in the group. It was kind of an impromptu feel-good exercise inspired by the study, but man, oh man, was it encouraging for this mama-to-be. We all hoped that Lucy would come sometime before midnight but we went to bed last night with baby girl still snuggled up close to my ribs. 


Perhaps she'll come today instead? After all, it is our five-year anniversary! We're just a bunch of old married folks now with a baby on the way. And can I tell you something? It's pretty darn amazing. I can't imagine sharing my life with anyone other than Pierce. There were times back in college when I thought I could, and would, but when I look back on the first five years of this incredible adventure, I almost weep with gratitude over the love we share and the simple ease with which we fit one another. This little home we've built together is full of laughter and silliness, love and comfort, hard-work and maybe a little bit of sarcasm, too. And, soon, it will be filled with the sounds of our sweet baby girl...and we cannot wait for that day!

It's a good life, you guys. A really good life.

Happy November! 

born in God's thought.

via

Last night (or early this morning), as I was perusing Pinterest just before bed, I came across this quote from C.S. Lewis (one of my favorites):

"I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God's thought, and then made by God is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking."

I love how C.S. Lewis was both an empiricist and a romantic. He was rational and emotional. He talked and wrote his way through things but never stopped letting himself feel. I'm a lot like that. 

And this week I'm definitely experiencing some powerful "feels". 

I'm thirty-eight weeks and one day pregnant. Our house is ready, I've pre-registered at the hospital, our bags are almost packed, and I've currently got two veggie lasagnas cooking in the oven so I can freeze them for after Lucy arrives.

On the outside, I am totally ready for our baby. But my heart and my mind are still tumbling about in this place - in this exciting and distressing mixture - of fear, love, anxiety, impatience, and wonder. 

People like to ask mamas-to-be a lot of silly questions. This week it's been, "Are you having twins?" which I could go my whole life without hearing ever again (don't ever ask a pregnant woman that!). Another popular one is. "Are you ready?"

Well, hell no. I'm not. 

But I smile and say the thing they want to hear, which usually sounds something like this, "Yes, we're very excited! It's going to be a big change, but we can't wait to meet her!"

And that's absolutely true. But it's only part of the truth.

I'm ready to meet my girl for a number of reasons. But mostly because I'm tired of waiting. I'm tired of wondering. I want to know her. I want to know if I'm going to be any good at this. I don't have a choice, of course, because no one else is going to be her mother and it's not like I can give her back. So I'm ready to prove to myself that I can do this and do it well. 

When I read that quote last night, I felt a deep, humbling gratitude to God for what He has given us. And I was reminded of my own value...not just as a mother or a woman...but as a child of God. 

The idea that my heavenly Father took the time to think of me - and then to go on and find me so incredibly valuable as to actually create me - is overwhelming. We don't think of ourselves like this much. As Christians, we do a lot of talking about being made in God's image and referring to Him as our Creator...but how often do we sit and soak up this beautiful truth? 

My God, the ultimate Artist, decided I was a creation worth making. Then He went even further and decided that Lucy was, too. And somewhere between my birth and nine months ago, He chose to put the two of us together. 

I can do this. Not because I'm any good or because I have some otherworldly knowledge that millions of other mothers don't. But because I was born in God's thought. We all were. And that, more than anything we can think of, makes us worthy.

We've got a full-term baby over here!


Today, I am thirty-seven weeks pregnant, which means that Lucy is officially full-term and can come whenever she darn well pleases. I can't believe we're finally here! Of course, now begins the waiting period...and I can't decide if I want it to speed up or slow down.

For the last week or so, every time Pierce and I have had any time to ourselves I've thought, "Is this the last time we'll go out to eat just the two of us? Will this be our last night as just husband and wife? Is that pain a contraction?" I'm so excited I can hardly sit still (an exaggeration, I promise, considering the fact that I actually have a very difficult time moving around) and so is Pierce. Each morning when he leaves for work, he kisses me and then leans down to kiss my belly. It's my favorite of all our little routines and, soon, he'll be kissing our baby.

Our baby. Our daughter

We are going to be parents.

I really don't have any words at this point in my pregnancy. I've spent so much time thinking about the "what-ifs" that now I'm just ready for Lucy to be here. Even though I'm not really ready, you know? But all the questions I have come from not knowing...so the sooner I can know the sooner I'll stop worrying. At least about those things anyway...

Lucy girl, we're as ready as we'll ever be! And we can't wait to snuggle up with you and kiss on that cute little nose. Come on out whenever you feel like it. We'll be here with open arms.

A few updates:

Baby Lucy: This girl moves like a break dancer! Sources keep telling me that she will slow down as I progress because there is less amniotic fluid for her to move in. But she is defying those odds, I promise. Not only is she NOT slowing down, she seems to be speeding up! But, then again, I have been drinking a lot of sweet tea lately...

Mama: Difficulty staying asleep because pretty much every position gets uncomfortable quickly. Pelvic pain is worse than ever, but no surprise there. I can feel Lucy literally bumping against my pelvic floor, which is both a strange and slightly painful feeling. It's kind of like she's going to fall out...and since she dropped last week, I suppose that description is not too inaccurate.It's also pretty funny to see me try and get up off the couch on my own these days. I kind of can't wait until I have my mobility back! But, all in all, I feel as good as can be expected at full-term. I've been staying busy with work and friends and I'm enjoying the still growing belly :).

Also, my belly button is trying really hard to pop, but it just can't seem to get there. If it does, I'm going to have to snap a pic before it goes away again!

Classes: We took our breastfeeding class a few weeks ago and it was a HUGE help! I learned so much about how to get baby to latch properly, so I feel more confident about getting to experience that bonding time with little Lucy. 

Appointments: We are meeting the midwife once a week from now on until I deliver. I had my Group B Strep test last week. Yeah...that was fun. But it was negative so praise God for that! Lucy is, as always, head down and ready to go. So come on out, baby!

Weight Gain: 28 pounds as of my last appointment. My midwife said Lucy is probably weighing in around 6 pounds right now. I was 7.7 when I was born, as was Pierce, so I'm guessing she'll be pretty close to that, as well.

Happy Bump Day to you guys! 





Nursery Tour


So last week the hubs and I finally finished Lucy's nursery! It was a huge milestone for us in terms of preparing for Lucy because it allowed us to put away all her wonderful gifts, hang up pictures I've had sitting around for months, get her bassinet set up in our bedroom, and finally just get organized. There are still a few things here and there to get set up, like the dresser my dad is building for her and the slipcover for my nursing chair, but none of those things are crucial for her arrival. And can I just say that when we stopped to look around the room we realized that we bought almost none of the things we have for Lucy? We are so, so blessed. Truly.

What I love most about her nursery is that everything has a story. Every picture, every knick-knack, every book. Some of them I found at Goodwill early in my pregnancy when I was still dreaming about what seemed like the far-distant day our baby would arrive. Some are gifts from friends and family. And some are personal items passed on to us. I can't wait to share these stories with our little girl.

Lucy, darling, we are ready for you!













Double Click: A Review



Happy Friday!

Two years ago, I had the chance to review Lisa Becker's quirky romance Click: An Online Love Story and it was one of the most fun love stories I've read. So when Lisa approached me this year and asked if I'd like to review Double Click, the sequel to her fabulous novel, I jumped at the chance. And, seriously...look at that cover. If I judged books only by how they looked, I would give this one five stars every time!

I can't wait to share my thoughts with you on this hilarious novel...so let's get started!

Double Click: A Summary

Fans of the romantic hit Click: An Online Love Story will enjoy another voyeuristic dive into the lives of Renee, Shelley, Ashley, Mark and Ethan, as Double Click picks up with their lives six months later. Are Renee and Ethan soul mates? Does Mark evergo on a date? Has Shelley run out of sexual conquests in Los Angeles? Will Ashley's judgmental nature sabotage her budding relationship? Through a marriage proposal, wedding, new baby and unexpected love twist, Double Click answers these questions and more. Readers will continue to cheer, laugh, cry and cringe following the email exploits of Renee and friends.

Double Click: What I Think

What I love about this story, and about Lisa's writing in general, is that she knows how to guide her readers into the action without making them (or, in this case, me) feel like they're being forced to go there. I believe in the relationships between her main characters - between Renee and Shelley in particular - and I share their emotions. And the format in which Lisa gives us their stories - by way of emails and personal correspondence - gives the story a bit of an edge. By that I mean it allows us to be inside the personal dynamics of these relationships as if we are a part of them ourselves.

Although we can't necessarily go into each character's mind, we still see from the outside what they're doing and begin to know enough about them to understand why. And, most importantly, we begin to care why which, in my opinion, is the only reason I ever keep reading a book. 

In Double Click, we're not hearing things from only one side. And that's just the way I like it.

Want to know more about Double Click? Check out Lisa's official Facebook page here or visit Amazon to get your own copy! 

And thank you, Lisa, for sharing your book with me once again. I look forward to more wonderful stories from you!



books for baby


Two weeks ago, a dear friend of mine from college hosted the cutest little baby shower I think I've ever seen. The theme was books...books, books, and more books! Even the food was book-themed: Streganona pasta, The Very Hungry Caterpillar fruit cups, Cloudy with a Chance of Sausage-and-Cheese-Balls, and even some mini chocolate moon pies to take home (because, hello...Goodnight Moon?). It was seriously adorable. Melissa is a girl after my own heart. And she also just also happens to be a fantastic baker, so her homemade butter cream cupcakes deserve a medal or something. YUM.

I couldn't ask for better friends, you guys. Thank you, Melissa, for taking so much time out of your own busy (and pregnant!) schedule to host this beautiful shower and celebrate Lucy with me. You are one of a kind and I love you dearly, my friend. 

Also, I can't wait for our little ones to watch GSU games together ;).










P.S. I'll be 36 weeks tomorrow. Lucy's coming soon!