Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 11, 2013

Dear little Nola, 

Happy 11 month birthday! I am already getting emotional thinking about you turning 1 year old next month. I must say we've had such an incredible journey thus far and time really does fly when you're having fun. 

This has been a busy month. We celebrated Thanksgiving at the house and you enjoyed some of the yummy food yourself. You've also celebrated your independence in feeding yourself the baby food pouches. It's quite funny watching you eat it because once you can't get any more food out, you instantly throw it down and start screaming. Such a predictable and funny little character, you are...

We have certainly established the fact that you hate socks, shoes, hats, gloves or really any accessories. Actually, if we can't get you dressed in about .2 seconds, you are already irritated. I think it's because you just want to be on the move. You get bored easily and you're on to the next thing. Sometimes things like diapers, clothes and stuff just slow you down and keep you from your exploring. Who has time for that? 

Big news happened this month - you started walking! At this point, you're great at standing up by yourself and taking steps. It's so cute to watch you pop up in the middle of the floor, get your bearings and just go. You're up to about 10 steps at a time now, but you are faster at crawling, so that's still the go-to if you are really determined to get somewhere. 

You were not a fan of the snow, but I'm hoping that changes when you get older. Daddy really wants to take you snowboarding in a few years. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you will have to wear shoes and gloves for that as well. 

When you don't get your way or something isn't going right, you sometimes throw yourself on the floor kicking and screaming. I'm very concerned this is happening before you even turn one. Please tell me you're just getting your tantrums over with now and you'll completely skip that phase at age 2-3. 

In all seriousness, you are the light of my life. I feel so blessed to be your mom and can't imagine what our lives were like before you were here. You make me so proud and I love you more than I could express. I hope you always know that. Thanks for being a little ball of personality!

I can't believe how big you look here

Happy girl

This face immediately followed the smiling photo directly above this one

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013

Dear Nola Mae,

Happy 10 months! You have reached double digits and your first birthday is right around the corner. It's so much fun watching you grow up, learn new things and become your own person. You are little miss independent. You want to do things the way you want to, when you want to and how you want to ... and no one can tell you any differently. It's pretty funny to watch your little sassy personality shine through. You are a silly little girl - always making your dad and I laugh. 

You are so close to walking, but still not sure about it yet. You still love bath time and playing with toys. Though, your favorite things to play with are things that aren't for babies. You live for danger and exploration. I'm excited to see where that takes you in life. 

You hate when we take something from you (which is why you're holding a comb in your photos below - it wasn't worth the tears for the photos). Stubborn already - oh boy.

You've recently started going through the separation anxiety/attachment issues. There are times when you only want me and no one else will do. This isn't very fun when I have a lot of work to do around the house and you're screaming your head off. But, I imagine there might come a day when you don't want me near you, so I should probably just enjoy it while it lasts. 

Everyday is an adventure with you ... everyday is something new to look forward to and it really is such a blessing to be your mom. We're figuring it all out and I'm enjoying the journey. I do try to enjoy the little moments we share and soak it all in. These are memories I never want to forget. 

Thanks for being my sweet girl. I love you to the moon and back. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

October 11, 2013

Dear Nola, 

Happy 9 month birthday pretty girl. Today also happens to be your aunt Starr's birthday and your pawpaw Cecil's birthday, so it's a special day. 

This month, there were a few things that happened that forced me to be painfully aware of just how precious our time is. I won't go into detail here, but I do think it's important to recognize and acknowledge that. Your dad and I have had many talks about setting our priorities and doing our best to stick to them. There aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done, so I'm trying to not feel guilty about that and instead spend quality time as a family. What matters most is being together, making memories and soaking it all in. I know that every second counts and I have a feeling my friends would tell me that is ever so true, after their experiences this month. 

I love so many things about you and your personality is definitely one of them. You have some spunk for sure. You throw fits when you don't get your way and the smallest things can set you off. It's funny now, but I'm sure I won't always think so. 

You now have two teeth and I think more are well on their way. I love when you look at me and smile with those two bottom teeth showing. You are always looking for something to do ... always active. You get around really fast and you're still figuring everything out, so that's led to some head bumps and bruises this month. You are testing the limits of standing on your own without holding onto anything and you are really wanting to walk on your own. You have found the stairs and you think it's funny to climb all the way up as fast as you can. It gets more fun and exciting every day (also a little scary at times).

I am so proud to be your mom. I love you baby Nola.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11, 2013

Dear Nola, 

You can not be 8 months old already. It's bittersweet because of course I want you to grow up healthy and strong, but I also want you to stay little for just a little longer. 8 months seems so much older and I can't believe how quickly time is passing by. I guess that will be a reoccurring theme of our lives from here on out. 

It seems as if you've done a lot this month. You've gone from barely sitting up on your own to crawling, exploring, standing up and trying new foods. You're quite advanced and adventurous, which gives your mom a small heart attack almost daily. Gone are the days where I can sit you on the bed and get ready for work in the mornings. You get bored quickly and are on the move before I know it (as seen in the photo series below). 

Though you have an abundance of toys to play with, you gravitate toward the coffee table with hard wood edges and the fireplace made of brick. Daddy is worried you'll date a dangerous guy on a motorcycle one day. I say please don't. 

You did get your first tooth this month and that was very exciting. It's a sharp little thing on your bottom gums, just left of center. You did pretty well with that - only one night where you fought sleep. You really are such a good baby. I thank God every day for you (and also that you like to sleep at night).

We had the opportunity to have a wonderful weekend getaway at Big Cedar in Missouri. Dell and I usually take at least one trip a year and you've pretty much consumed 2013 for us. So, this was a last minute trip with just the three of us and it was fabulous. We went swimming, played mini golf and shuffleboard, cooked in our cabin, ate a delicious brunch, napped, went shopping, watched fireworks and floated in the lazy river. I wish I had a picture of this because you were in your own little turtle floaty and just held your head up like you owned the place. It was pretty cute and I look forward to more family trips in the future. 

Thank you for another month of memories and love. You are such a special little girl and we love you so much. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

August 11, 2013

Happy 7 months little Nola!

It really seems like the past month has flown by, even more so than the usual quickness of time elapsing. You are full of personality and still make the best faces. You make dad and I laugh all the time. This month we've started to notice even more of your personality and I think you are going to have a little sass in ya (which can be good if used correctly).

You are just about to crawl – you’ve almost got the hang of it, but you get so frustrated that you can’t make your legs and arms do what you want that you throw a small fit. It’s pretty cute, though I don’t think that’s your goal.

You’ve tried some new fun foods this month and you’ve mastered the art of sitting up on your own.

You had your first full night away from us and stayed with Mimi. We all enjoyed it, but of course we missed you.

You still love being outdoors and being active. If you are bored with what is going on, you have no problem letting us know. 

I'm still having a tough time figuring out what to do with your hair. The top is so cute and curly, but the back where you lay on your head is frizzy and funky. Though, it doesn't really matter because you're adorable no matter what. 

Thanks for being such a sweet and fun baby. We love you to the moon and back. 


Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 11, 2013

My sweet baby girl is 6 months old. You are growing up so fast and I can't believe how much you've changed, even in the past two weeks. We've enjoyed the summer and making memories with you. For your first 4th of July, you were able to meet some of your cousins for the first time and then we went to Stillwater. Walking around OSU's campus with you was so special. Later, we spent time with the Corbins and finally watched fireworks with Ryan, Amanda, Brenton, Rylee, Piper and Grandpa Sewell. You loved watching them and only got startled one time with a really loud one. 

We also went to a Tulsa Drillers baseball game and you slept through most of the game, but we had a good time. When we first got to the park, I took you out of your car seat to see if you needed a diaper change. One minute later, you and I were both covered in poop. I had a change of clothes for you, but nothing for me. I now own a really cute Drillers t-shirt, so thanks for that. It's always an adventure with you and I love it. You keep things interesting and keep me on my toes. 

You've tried all sorts of foods and so far you love everything except peas. You are still unsure about those, but we'll keep trying. 

We found that you love to be active. You like jumping in your jumpy jump toy, swinging and swimming. You are pretty much always on the move. This makes changing your diaper or your clothes very difficult.  

Your hair is now long enough to put into two pigtails. It is so curly and beautiful. I love it and hope you will embrace it later in life as well. 

I love your little personality and watching it develop. You are still a happy and content baby. There are these moments when you smile that big gummy grin and look up at me and I just melt. I love how you are so genuine and pure with your emotions - when you're happy, your entire face lights up and there's no denying it. It's one of my favorite qualities you have right now.

Thanks for another month of fun you little thing. I adore you.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June 11, 2013

Happy five months to you sweet girl. It's been another fun month and I'm enjoying this adventure with you. 

You started cuddling this month and it's one of the best things ever. I enjoy our time together in the mornings before work and really cherish our weekends together. Everything is better with you around. We are celebrating Father's Day this weekend, so I'm looking forward to another memory made as a family. 

Your dad and I are pretty silly and we make up songs all the time. Daddy wrote your favorite song "Hey pretty girl" and anytime you hear it, you look around for the person singing. It's pretty cute that you recognize it and know to look for it. 

This month, we went to the lake for the weekend and you did great. You also took your first road trip to northwest Arkansas and you were wonderful in the car. You slept almost the entire way there and back. 

Just this past weekend, you learned to roll over from your tummy back onto your back. Everything is so exciting and new. I love it.

You are constantly moving and "talking" - I think you will end up being a nice mixture of your mom and dad. 

Thanks for being such a sweet girl and well behaved baby. People tell us all the time how fortunate we are and I couldn't agree more. You are a joy to be around and I love you so much.

Oh, I still haven't figured out what to do with your hair ... maybe next month ... or next year :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 11, 2013

Happy four months! I can't believe how fast time has gone by, and I'm sure that will be the story of my life. You are such a little doll. You really have this wonderful personality - so sweet and happy. Your disposition is so pleasant and people love being around you. 

You've really done a lot this month. You found your voice and it's the cutest thing I've ever heard. The way you move your tiny mouth is adorable and I love watching you and listening to you. You also learned how to roll over all the time. You enjoy doing it, but don't like being on your stomach, so that makes the whole rolling over thing not as much fun as you probably imagined it would be. 

Your hair just keeps getting longer and longer. Pretty soon, I'm going to actually have to do something with it. For now, I just love the way it feels and how it lays down on your neck when we wash it during bath time.

You are a very active little girl - always on the go or kicking those legs. I hope you take your time learning how to crawl because I have a feeling you'll be across the house in no time. 

I love being your mommy and I'm so excited to celebrate Mother's Day with you tomorrow. Thanks for being such a good girl for me and making me so proud. 

I love you to the moon and back.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Easter and Dedication pictures

 Easter - 3/31/13
Love her surprised look 

Shy girl playing with her dress

Our little family

Nola's dedication at church - 4/7/13

Beautiful and delicious cake made by our friend and co-worker

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Clothes from Ghana

Not long ago, I received a message to expect a package in the mail very soon. I had no idea what to expect, but the package arrived a few days ago and I couldn't wait to open it. I literally ran inside and threw everything else down so that I could get to the contents of the packing envelope. 

The package was from my friend Caitlin, who currently lives in Africa. I met Caitlin at my current job and immediately loved her. She's a spunky, caring, smart, beautiful, young gal with a zest for life (and makeup). A few months after meeting her, she was accepted into the Peace Corps and would be leaving to live in Ghana for two years. I was sad to see her go, but happy she was getting this wonderful experience. We've kept in touch, thanks to technology, and we often send her care packages full of funny photos, junk food and treats she can't get over there.  

She posts the best pictures of her own African clothes that she helps put together - all the way from picking out the fabric to designing every detail. So, when I opened the package, I couldn't believe my eyes. I literally looked closely at each piece as I took it out. Touching the fabric, thinking about her putting these things together herself and imagining what my little girl is going to look like wearing them. I filled with pride and my eyes filled with tears. How very thoughtful of her to do something like this for us. To think of Nola and take the time to do this. I was overwhelmed and of course, I love the clothes. More importantly, I love the meaning behind them. 

Thank you so much Caitlin. You have no idea how special this is. 

I couldn't get the picture turned the right way, but this is everything

This dress is pleated and oh, so girly. I love the orange!

This little pantsuit is adorable and I plan on using the top as a dress while she's little

Thursday, April 11, 2013

April 11, 2013

Dear Nola,

You are 3 months old today. You continue to amaze us and make us smile every day. You are such a happy baby and such a joy to be around. You really only get fussy when it’s time to nap during the day. I think you fight it because you don’t realize how awesome sleep is yet, also because you don’t want to miss anything fun. If you are fussy and we want you to calm down, daddy found the go-to move that you love. It calms you down every time.

You are still tall and skinny – always in the lower percentile for weight and higher for length, but the doctor says everything looks great.  

I love your smiles, your little giggles, all those tiny baby noises, your raised eyebrow and all the funny expressions you make. You are still a good sleeper and I’m still ever so grateful for that.

I’ve had to go back to work, which means I’m missing you throughout the day. However, we have been very fortunate with your babysitter and I know you’re getting loved on even when I’m not around. I love the pictures she sends me throughout the day and I look forward to seeing your sweet face in person every evening throughout the week.

Thanks for being awesome. I love you little girl.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I thought I got it

I thought I got it. I had been an aunt for over a decade and really loved that role. I adore my niece and nephews all so very much. I babysat, went to every birthday party and spent as much time with them as I could (even while living away at college or in Arkansas). I’ve watched all of my closest friends become mommies and see how their schedules and priorities changed. So, when I was pregnant and people would say things like “it’s just different” when describing their new lives or “you just change,” I thought I understood. I thought I got it. But, I didn’t. You can’t truly GET IT until you are a parent. And there’s nothing anyone could have said to me to make me understand. 

When you see your baby for the first time, you start to get it. You realize your life will never be the same. You are in love with this little being whom you’ve just met. This person is a piece of you living outside of your body. As time goes on, you understand even more. You think you can’t possibly love anyone more than your child at this moment. Then, that little baby does something that makes you proud….it can be something simple like smile, or roll over, or hold their head up…and just when you thought you couldn’t love anyone any more, you do.

Being a parent changes you. It changes everything, including your most important relationships. 

Dell and I have a really great marriage. Those of you that know me know that I'm not bragging. For those of you that don't know me as well, you'll have to trust me. I've had the other side of that coin too, which is probably why I know and appreciate how great I have it now. But, before Nola arrived, I didn't realize I could love Dell more than I did. When he says he wants to do housework to allow me to focus my time and attention on Nola, or he helps change diapers without complaining, or even when I see him smile at his little girl, just beaming with makes me feel overwhelmed with happiness. This is my family. It's pretty great.  

Having a baby has also made my relationship with God even stronger. I enjoy reading the bible to Nola every night and praying for her. And I really recognize the importance of showing her God’s love as she gets older. 
I was in the car the other day and heard this gospel song that really struck me. It says something like this:
You loved me through my good and through my bad. 
You keep on loving me.You never stop. 
Through every mistake, every issue…you could’ve given up, but instead you lift me up. You keep on teaching me.
You gave your life for me. Who else would’ve done that?  
It made me realize that His love truly is like a father. Only a parent could love you like this. Only a parent would remain committed to you no matter how many times you hurt them or how often you ignore them. Only a parent could continue to lift you up every time you fall, teach you everything they possibly can and give their life for you to find happiness. Other relationships may not last in those circumstances. It would be easy to walk away. But, not for parents. It's unconditional love in the truest sense of the word. Recognizing His love in that context was a beautiful thing for me to see.

My relationship with myself is also different. In an instant, somehow my life became both more and less important. I would give myself up in a moment to save her, but I also want to be here to be the best mother and watch her grow up to accomplish her dreams. I am a different person today than I was last year. I'm more than I ever thought I could be and I'm proud of myself. 

So, while I understand what it's like to be a parent now, I realize I'm still very new at this. And I'm sure there will be lots of surprises down the road. But, I'm forever grateful to get this feeling today. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013

Dear Nola, 

Happy two month birthday! Another month down in the books and it's been a fun one. We've really worked on your schedule and I'm ever so grateful Nighttime Nola has taken a rest and let mommy sleep at night. You've really done a good job with everything and you make me proud every day. 

This month I've really enjoyed my time with you. You change so much all the time, so I'm trying to take in every moment and enjoy it before I have to go back to work. We spend a lot of time listening to music. I'll sing to you while we're dancing in the living room and you laugh at me. You've really come into your own this month and we're starting to see more of your personality. I love your big grin and how you just look up at your painting from daddy every time we change your diaper. I do hope you grow up with an appreciation for art of all kinds. 

You do okay for bath time sometimes, but for the most part I think you still don't understand it. In the evenings your belly seems to get a bit upset and you get fussy about that. But, you are a happy baby and that makes me really happy too. You seem content, which means I'm doing something right. 

You are really great at holding up your head, playing on your activity mat and you're just a good baby. We are blessed to have you in our lives. Love you so much sweet girl.

Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11, 2013

Dear Nola, 

Happy one month birthday! I can't believe it's already been a full month since you arrived into our arms and our world. You are such the miracle baby and such a blessing to us. I am so grateful you are healthy and happy. 

I can't stop staring at your face. It's just so cute. I can't believe you're mine. I love your chubby cheeks, your skinny legs, your head full of curly hair, the way you hold my hand so tightly, your long feet, those beautiful eyes staring up at me, tickling your full belly, laughing at the hair on your ears, cuddling with you, your eyebrows and the angry faces you make when you scrunch them up, those perfect lips, your tiny tush, your smiles, your loud belches and toots, seeing you wrapped up like a little burrito and making memories with you every day.

I love how you have changed so much already. One day I think you look like daddy, one day like me, but mostly I think you are 100% Nola and that's awesome. 

I am so grateful to be your mom. Your dad and I love you very much. 


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Things I've learned or been surprised by so far

A little less than two weeks in and here are some honest, random and somewhat raw thoughts from a new mom:
I've never been so tired in my entire life. I knew it would be hard, but didn't realize how hard not sleeping all night would be on me.  I'm grateful for last night when she was so much easier on me.

Breastfeeding is a real pain in the butt right now. Note to self: calling lactation consultants for advice might send you over the edge of feeling like a mommy failure.

I miss spending time with my husband.

Hormones make you crazy. I wasn't emotional my entire pregnancy and now I feel like I cry all the time ... reading a book to Nola, Dell saying something sweet about her or I, thinking about her growing up too fast or even a Disney cruise commercial. Honestly. When did I become that girl? 

Taking care of a tiny human is scary. 

I never knew I could love someone I just met so much. 

I'm so grateful to everyone who's helped me thus far. Whether through just talking, bringing food over, sending gifts or helping with the care of baby Nola. It's really made all the difference...(mom, don't leave!)

I prayed for a baby that liked to sleep. I didn't realize I needed to be more specific and ask for the exact times I wanted her to sleep (she currently sleeps all day and is awake all night). I also didn't realize I needed to pray that she would wake up to eat every few hours.

I can't stand to hear her cry or see that bottom lip come out. I just want to protect her forever. 

I will take advice and try just about anything to make sure I'm doing what's best for her. It's overwhelming at times, and I just want her to be happy. 

I'm obsessed with her - the funny faces she makes, that tiny little body, those chubby cheeks and all that hair  - I love everything!

Seeing Dell with her makes me love and respect him even more. He's already the best daddy and I can't wait for our adventure to continue. 

I love our little family. As Dell says, she's the best thing that's ever happened to us.

I know how blessed I am to have this healthy baby girl and I want to cherish every moment.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Labor and Delivery

At our last doctor's appointment on January 4, I was dilated to a 2-3 and having contractions almost every night. Because of this and the fact that we knew the baby was a good size, the doctor said we could induce the following week (at 39 weeks gestation). So, it was decided that she would  make her entrance into the world on Friday, 1/11/13. The night before, Dell suggested we go out for a nice dinner with just the two of us to celebrate the big event. It was wonderful - great service, delicious food and romantic. I was having pretty regular contractions at dinner. Dell was timing them and thought we should hurry up, get home and call the doctor. I didn't want to miss the molten chocolate lava cake. Priorities people! After dinner, we got home and rested a bit, but I couldn't sleep much. I was so anxious to meet her and I had one last blog post I needed to write. So, at 4 a.m. I translated the thoughts in my head to the computer screen and wrote the letter to Dell. Now, I was ready. 

We got ready, loaded up the car and headed out. Our first stop was to the bagel shop to get breakfast for ourselves and delicious cookies for the nurses that would be taking care of me that day. Hey, I'm not above kissing up. Dell ate his breakfast, but I was in a hurry and didn't get to eat mine. This later proved to be a big mistake. I drove to the hospital and sped the entire way. It was fun having an excuse to be in such a hurry and it kept Dell entertained as well. We checked in at 7:30 a.m. and the day officially began.

I was introduced to my nurse, Staci and she started all the paperwork and the IV. I knew she was going to be great, but didn't know at the time just how much I would love having her at my side until later. I was already having contractions before they started the pitocin, which was a good sign. My doctor made his rounds and came to break my water around 8 a.m. It felt weird. Not too painful, but I did feel pressure. The show was officially on the road. The doctor said the baby already had her first poop and he knew that because my water was greenish. This is not good, as it is very likely Nola swallowed some of the meconium and would need extra attention upon her arrival. No matter what, NICU would be here for her delivery and make sure to suck everything out. That was scary and not how I wanted to start the process. But I knew this could happen and wanted to stay positive no matter what. Of course I was worried, but I had to have faith everything would be okay. 

The contractions became more regular and more painful than they had been as time went on. When Staci checked me again, I was dilated to a 4-5 and I was ready for the epidural. I felt like I had experienced labor and knew what it felt like and my body was ready for some relief. My contractions were off the charts, so I was looking forward to that medicine to help ease the pain. My mom and sister left the room and Dell was able to stay in and hold me up while the anesthesiologist administered the epidural. The numbing shot was painful and then I felt warmth and pressure. It was odd, but within about 20 minutes, I was feeling much better. It wasn't long after that when we had our big scare. Staci was watching my monitors and saw that I was having a very intense and long contraction. The next thing I knew there was another nurse by my bed and they were talking to each other. Staci asked a question and then ran out of the room. This is never a good sign. She came back with a shot to stop the contractions. She put that in my arm and turned off the pitocin. After everything calmed down, she explained that I had a 5 minute long contraction and she wasn't sure why. They put me on oxygen and monitored me and the baby very closely. Apparently during that contraction, my blood pressure dropped to something like 70/30 and Nola's heartbeat went from about 150 to 70bpm. These are obviously major signs of distress for both of us and Staci told me later she was really scared. I'm thankful I couldn't feel the contraction and that they acted quickly to make sure everything was okay with us.  They eventually started the pitocin back up and I was able to get rid of the oxygen mask.

Throughout the day, Staci kept putting me in different positions to try and get Nola to turn the right way. She was head down, but still face up and the stubborn little girl wouldn't turn her head. I labored all day and the doctor kept asking about my progress. Not much new to report. I think we all assumed I would be having her earlier in the afternoon since I was having contractions on my own before and was already dilated. Nola had other plans. I was tired, but not really able to sleep. More than anything, I was starving because I hadn't eaten anything since the night before. I think at one point, I threatened to kill for a burrito. Luckily, no one was harmed by my hungry anger. 

At one point during the night, my alarm on my epidural went off. They assured me there was still medicine in there and I should push the button for extra relief. I pushed the button, but no relief came. The dreaded had happened. The epidural had worn off after me being in labor all day. The pain was really intense and each contraction had me on the verge of tears. After about 20 minutes, another anesthesiologist came in and refilled the cartridge and I was feeling better again. I was so worried I was going to have to push through that pain. The entire day, I am happy to say I remained calm and positive. I handled labor and delivery much better than I thought I would.

Finally, I was fully effaced and dilated. It was time to push around 8 p.m. Staci's shift ended at 7 p.m. and I didn't want her to leave. She jokingly said as long as I didn't make her stay until like 10 p.m., she would stay with me and deliver this baby. What a relief! I pushed for about 2 hours. It was hard and tiring, but I did it. Finally, my doctor arrived and said it was time to get this baby out. Nola's heart rate was starting to drop with my contractions and pushing, so we had to move quickly. I was scared, but tried to do whatever I could to get her out safely.  Staci stayed the entire time. I am so grateful to her for that. She was amazing!

After about 20 minutes of pushing with the doctor in the room, he said he was going to have to use forceps to get her out. I knew this was an option and was grateful he was willing to try this before resorting to a c-section. So, he coached me through everything and before I knew it, her head was out (she was still face up). Then, a pause, then her body came out and I heard her cry. I looked over at Dell and he was sobbing saying "That's my daughter. My baby girl. She's so beautiful." It was the sweetest and most perfect moment ever. My mom and sister were crying and Dell cut the umbilical cord. I felt so blessed. I got to see all her hair and it was adorable. NICU took her out of the room and Dell, mom and Starr followed. I finished the rest of my duties and waited to hold my sweet girl. Dell finally came back into the room and let me watch a video he took on his phone of them working on Nola. It was beautiful and allowed me to see her before they brought her in to me. 

The nurses brought her in the room to weigh her in front of me. 7 lbs 14 oz and the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. I was finally able to hold her and get some skin on skin time. It was just Dell and I in the room looking at her and we couldn't believe we did this. It felt amazing. I was just so happy that everything went as well as it did with all the complications. And, in the end, all you can ask for is a healthy baby - we got that!

Thanks again to everyone for their love and support.

She got a 9 and/or 10 on her apgar test, passed her hearing tests and measured a long 21" (I always felt like she was taking up a lot of room in my ribs). She made her entrance at 10:05 p.m. on Friday, January 11, 2013. We stayed in the hospital until Sunday, January 13 and brought her home that evening. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dear Dell,

I wanted to thank you for being such an amazing husband and friend throughout my pregnancy and always. I always knew I wanted children and a family, but I never longed for children or felt it was right until I met you. I was so excited to start our life together and couldn't wait to see what kind of family we would have. Then, we struggled with infertility. I remember feeling so scared that I may never get to know what it would be like to have that family I imagined. I hoped and prayed, but I doubted too. When the worry set in, you never waivered in your support and willingness to try and figure things out. When I questioned everything and worried that I couldn't provide you with a child, you never gave up. So, WE never gave up ... which is why I think God has blessed us to bring us where we are today. 

I've had a fairly easy and uneventful pregnancy. I've really tried to not be overly emotional, hormonal or just a complete mess. I think I've stayed pretty true to myself and made an effort to not complain much, even when I wasn't feeling well. But, I can remember at least a couple times when I was in nesting mode or just feeling overwhelmed with all the things I needed to do. And that's when I didn't feel like myself. Let's face it ... I got the crazy eye or snapped at you for no reason. And instead of saying, what the heck is wrong with you, you crazy woman?!?!? You simply said "have I done something to upset you babe?" Or, "what can I do to help?" You've taken everything in stride and rolled with the punches. You've been such a great support system and partner. I hope I've made you proud in how I've carried myself while carrying your baby girl.

It's been such an amazing journey and I have enjoyed being on the adventure with you. From wondering if we'd ever get to this point to thinking about meeting our little one in just a matter of hours, it's still unbelievable to me. We are so blessed. 

You are silly, caring, thoughtful, loyal, genuine, a man of integrity and you have the biggest heart. I love you for these reasons and so many more. And when I think about our little girl, I am excited because I know those are the same qualities she will see and love in you. You have always taken such great care of me and I can't wait to see you as a father. I know you will be so good to Nola and she will love having you as her daddy. I'm so excited to start this next chapter of our lives together and I love you so very much.    

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The nursery

Her crib and bedding

The framed poem from our wedding, written by Dell's cousin. P.S. thanks Jackie for the flowers

Bookshelf and toy storage. So many people bought us books and I can't wait to read to her.

Changing table

 Custom painting by Dell, just for his baby girl. We have named her Elle the elephant.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

False labor

One week before Christmas I started having pains. They started in the afternoon at work and I really wasn't sure what they were. By the time I left work and was driving home, they were more intense and I was very uncomfortable. I did some research to figure out exactly what was going on and realized I was indeed having contractions. I wasn't quite 36 weeks yet and these weren't the normal Braxton Hicks I was used to. No, these caused me to stop whatever I was doing and pay attention. Cramping and pain from my stomach to my back and all the way down. They were not consistent, so I knew it wasn't anything to alert the doctor for just yet. I knew the best thing to do was to take it easy and drink lots of water. So, that's what I did. I finally went to bed around 2am and was able to sleep through the night. I haven't had anything so intense since that day. I was glad to experience it though, so it gave me some sort of idea as to what I can expect in early labor.

A gift

As most of you know, I am the youngest of three children. I often enjoyed my role as the baby of the family, but there were times it wasn't as fun. One time, for example, was when my older brother and sister made up a song about how I was only worth $0.99. It sounds really cruel. Kids can be harsh, can't they? But, it stuck with me all these years and it probably keeps me grounded when I need it most. We'll chalk it up to a life lesson. I promise I'm not bitter.

Let me explain. We didn't grow up with much money. In fact, we were pretty poor. So, that forced you to be resourceful with things. Most of my clothes were hand-me-downs from my sister and there were always brand-name things we wanted, but would never own because we simply couldn't afford them. Also, there were many toys my mom couldn't just go and buy upon our request. One of those toys was a Barbie car. I always wanted one and never had one. It wasn't a priority so I just didn't get it. Incidentally, I used a shoebox for a Barbie car. I thought it was clever. My siblings thought it was dumb and added that to a verse in the song about me only being worth 99 cents. 

I guess at some point I told one of my friends this story. Fast forward several months later when she tells me she has a Christmas present for me. I open this:

That story about me not having a Barbie car stuck with her and she wanted to be sure I didn't go my entire life without one. I love it! I will share it with Nola one day, of course. What I really love about this is that it represents so much more than a toy. 

First of all, it shows she actually listened to me. I know I'm personally guilty of being in such a hurry at times that I don't truly listen to what the person is saying. I physically hear them, but am not actively listening and participating in the conversation. How thoughtful of her to listen, remember and think of me months later.

Also, I've said since I became pregnant with Nola that "I want to give her everything she needs, but not everything she wants." As a child, I didn't need this Barbie car. I needed food, shelter, love, etc. I received those things, but I did not receive everything I wanted. So, I found myself thinking many years down the road. I'm at the store with Nola and she's begging me for something she thinks she needs. I hope this car will be a reminder to Dell and I to never spoil her with things, but only with love and attention. Because I think I've turned out alright and I know she will too. 

Thank you

A special thanks to my friends, family and co-workers for all the fabulous gifts. You all have surprised Dell and I with your love and support beyond what we ever imagined. Thank you so much for everything you have done to help us prepare for our new little one and for showing her love already. Here are a few pictures from some of the showers and some to prove she's going to be a Thunder fan: